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

american flag FRIDAY,  OCTOBER 21,  2016   "Don't save your pitcher for tomorrow;  it might rain tomorrow." Leo Durocher, Hall of Fame baseball manager

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 refining 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.   










*********** Got this email from my son, Ed -

A new girl started in the office…her grandfather is Tom Fears!
Wow, I told him - One of the all-time great receivers - and a coach in the WFL!

(Tom Fears was head coach of the Southern California Sun when I was a lowly executive with the Philadelphia Bell and then the Portland Thunder.  That was 1974-1975.  Before that, he was a longtime NFL assistant, and then the first head coach of the New Orleans Saints; and before that,  he was one of the NFL’s first great wide receivers.)

Get this:  He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico,  the son of an American mining engineer and a Mexican mother. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was six.

Drafted in the 11th round in 1945 by the Rams, he is the first Mexican-born player to be drafted by the NFL.

And when he was named the head coach of the Saints, in 1967, he became the first Hispanic-American head coach of an NFL team.
Those LA Rams teams of the late 40s and early 50s with Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin  (the original “quarterback controversy”) throwing to a bunch of great receivers,  were way ahead of everyone else in the NFL.  Fears may have been the best receiver in the NFL of his time.

Way back before the rules were rigged to favor the passing game, the Rams were throwing the ball all over the place and putting up amazing numbers.  (The Pittsburgh Steelers were still running the single wing.)

The coaching genius behind it was a guy named Hamp Pool, who had the distinction of having played as a freshman at Cal and then, after the war, as an upperclassman at Stanford.

In addition to Tom Fears, they had an all-time great receiver named Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, and  a running back/receiver/returner named - no lie - Vitamin T. Smith.

As if their wide-open passing game wasn’t enough,  they also ran the ball exceptional well, with what was called the Baby Elephant backfield - big, strong guys named Deacon Dan Towler, Tank Younger (the first of a long line of Grambling guys to play in the NFL) and Dick Horner.

Football historians, most of them based on the East Coast,  love to repeat the claim that the (Baltimore) Colts’ sudden-death win over the  Giants in the 1958 NFL championship game (often called “The Greatest Game Ever Played”) was what finally made the American public aware of pro football. 

To that, I call bulls—. 

From the early 50s, the Rams were drawing large crowds to the Coliseum.

In 1958, the year of  The Greatest Game Ever Played,  the average attendance at  Rams’ games was 83,681. 

Meanwhile, the average attendance in 1958 at all NFL games (including the Rams) was 44,690.

Granted, in those were the days before jet travel and the Internet, a lot of Easterners were unaware of what was going on out West.  But a little research by  historians would have made it clear that way out in Southern California,  the public was already well aware of the NFL.

***********  At a time when our national unity is being fractured, the news that 2,000 Seattle teachers observed what the Seattle Schools called a "Day of Unity" by wearing Black Lives Matter tee-shirts to class is both enraging and discouraging.

Enraging  to think that those people have control of our young children's minds all day, 180 days of the year.

Discouraging to think  that thousands of young children will grow up believing that the sh-- that those "teachers" feed them.

I can't imagine what would have happened if a teacher had worn a TRUMP-PENCE shirt . (Hahaha. That would take some imagination. Realistically, having been a school teacher for 22 years, I'd say that the chance of that happening is approximately zero.)

*********** I came across this…

American Football Without Barriers is proud to announce their 5th annual camp and charity visit to take place in Helsinki, Finland, February 21st thru March 2nd, 2017. The event is organized by the SAJL a Finnish government approved non-profit organization that promotes American Football and its different variations in elite and recreational playing by spreading knowledge of the game in Finland.
After successful camps in China in 2013, Brazil in 2014, Turkey in 2015, and Egypt in 2016, 12 top National Football League (NFL) players are heading to Finland, the first AFWB International camp in Europe.

The NFL players working with AFWB are passionate about sharing their professional skills with emerging fan bases around the world and spreading their commitment to service and leadership. The 12 professional athletes will include All-Pro Tight Ends Gary Barnidge and Jordan Cameron, Super Bowl Champion Breno Giacomini, and All-Pro Running Back DeAngelo Williams. Over the course of the week they will teach on-field technical skill building and leadership to Youth, Women, and Men that are part of SAJL. The players will also hold a Coaches Clinic with in-class instruction and on-field implementation.

As part of their global goodwill tour, the players have designated two days of community outreach and will be visiting various non-profits in and around Finland.

The NFL players will be hosted locally by SAJL, the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) recognized governing body of American Football in Finland, and the organizers of the Finland Men’s and Women’s National Team.

SAJL currently has 39 Member Clubs with over 3000 players, and is actively engaged in growing American Football among the Finnish Men, Women, and Youth. They have National Teams for men, women, under 19, under 17, and under 15. Since 2000 annual American Football numbers have tripled (annual growth approximately 12%) and SAJL has been a member of the Finnish Olympic committee since 2014.

Media interested in attending any portion of the camp or charity events should make arranges through Todd Buelow, AFWB Board of Director Member (contact below).

I know how worshipful most foreign football people are ofanything associated in any way with the NFL, and I’m always suspicious of any organization (such as USA Football)  that is funded by and fronting for the NFL,  but I really don’t know enough about  AFWB to pass judgement on it.

Berkeley Holman,  a senior wide receiver for one of the top teams in Southern California - St. John Bosco, of Bellflower -  is  headed for Northwestern next year.

His coach and his father attribute his success to the fact that he didn’t play football until the eighth grade.

Growing up, he played basketball, baseball and soccer, and ran track.

His father, Scott, who played wide receiver for Oregon and then for two seasons in the NFL, said, “I’m a firm believer in developing a full athlete. He was always gifted with speed and quickness, so we just wanted him to have fun playing sports. Why start (contact football) before you have to?”

Says his coach, Jason Negro, “Unlike a lot of kids today, he is very coachable.   Kids are so overtrained with so many people telling them how to do things. That’s quite the opposite with him. He didn’t go on the 7-on-7 circuit. He didn’t get coached up by a bunch of outside sources. His family trusted us and that’s a big reason he’s been so successful.”

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

We rebounded from an emotional loss to Farmington with a win at 5-2 (now 5-3) Knoxville.  The Blue Bullets were champions of their conference and are a playoff team.  

Playing Bob Reade-style wing-t, they created issues for us all night with double dive and the wing counter off of that.  Honestly, at least defensively, I think we had a bit of a hangover from the previous week, at least in the first half.  We allowed over 300 yards rushing, something that was an absolute surprise given our front seven's success against the run this year.  Like I said, things settled down in the second half.  After being down 28-20 at the half we outscored them 40-14 in the second.

The highlight for the Trojans was wingback Jackson Harkness.  The 5'9, 205 pound bull (4th place in the state in the shotput last year) rushed 36 times for a school record 356 yards (4 TD and 2 2-pt conversions).  He went inside, around, and over defenders all night.  To be sure, our line did a nice job blocking, but every once in a while you get that back who just accepts the load on his shoulders. Overall we rushed 70 times for 505 yards and completed four passes for 40 yards and 2 2-pt conversions.  Not a bad offensive night.

At 7-1, we play 5-3 Rushville, another wing-t team, at home on Friday.  We are playing for playoff seeding now and our practices have taken on a bit of that edge that you want this time of the year.  

Good luck to you and the Hyaks.  Congratulations on the Monday win.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


Nice rebound.  That had to be quite a second half of football.

I would imagine a Bob Reade-type team would be handful.  Bob Reade was quite a good football man - one of the very best - and I know his influence is still strong in your part of the country.

Good luck this week against Rushville.  Nice to know that you’re in the playoffs and now playing for seeding.  I do like a lot of things about the Illinois playoff system.

yale-dartmouth program***********  When it comes to political correctness, Yale just can’t seem to keep from tripping on its own male member - if it still has one.

Two weeks ago, Yale and Dartmouth celebrated the 100th game between the two Ivy schools, and as part of the celebration, the Yale athletic department put together a program cover that has caused quite a stir.

Seems the cover consisted of a collage of Yale-Dartmouth program covers from years past, including a couple from the days when Dartmouth was known as - TRIGGER ALERT!!!! - the Indians.

Well, yeah. 

Dartmouth, you should know,  was originally founded with the mission of educating the natives who inhabited the then wilds of northern New England.  Nowadays, of course, such a mission would be considered culturally insulting -  the very idea that one culture considered itself so superior that it felt the need to “educate” an “inferior” culture.

But anyhow, back in the 1970s, the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, no doubt coming under some pressure from activist students, decided that “Indians” was no longer acceptable, and since then, Dartmouth has been known as The Big Green.  Nothing wrong with that.  Long before Yale was the Bulldogs or the Elis, its teams were known as The Blue.  Harvard is still The Crimson.  Penn was once the Red and Blue.  Cornell is still the Big Red.

Well.  Back in the days when Dartmouth was still the Indians, it was not unusual for Yale’s program covers to depict some sort of cartoonish Indian suffering some sort of embarrassment at the hands of a Yale football player or the paws of a Yale Bulldog. And three of those old covers - one showing a Yale football player giving an Indian a hotfoot (anybody remember them?), another showing a terrified Indian being chased by a bunch of Yale football players, and a third showing an Indian being treed by a fierce bulldog - have caused quite a stir  among a group of Native American students,  upset at what they consider a cultural  indignity.

I rather doubt that any insult was intended;  those covers are definitely  from a different time and a different take on such things.  But I’m truly amazed that the people in charge of putting together the cover - at Yale, of all places, the mother ship of Political Correctness - could be so stupid that they couldn’t see where their creation was going to take them.

*********** Last Saturday I was able to watch the streaming telecast of the fourth quarter of the Pacific Lutheran-Whitworth game, being played for a share of the Northwest Conference lead.

I tuned in because I was texted that former North Beach quarterback Carson Ketter, who now plays free safety for PLU, had just run 93 yards with an interception to give the Lutes a 41-24 lead with 11:45 to play.

And then, as the PLU offense sputtered and continued to give up the ball, their defense proved unable to stop Whitworth, which put on drives of 55, 81 and 82 yards - mostly on the running of a stocky back named Duke DiGaetano. 

Final score: Whitworth 45, Pacific Lutheran 41.

To be frank - the PLU tackling sucked, something I attribute largely to their employment of  the vaunted “Hawk Tackling,” which you recall was touted as the greatest addition to our game since the huddle, in one fell stroke cutting down on concussions while improving tackling efficiency.  (In fairness, it does seem as though Hawk Tackling may indeed reduce concussions, because when you miss tackles, there’s a lot less chance of your getting hurt.)

usa football*********** Hugh,

Thought you might find this interesting.  "Biggest and brightest minds???"  Puhhlleassse!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

The arrogance of USA Football  is sickening. 

They’re just an arm  of the NFL octopus,  part of its design to one day take over all levels of football.

“Biggest and brightest minds?”

I guarantee that any coach will get a lot more out of his state coaching association’s clinic.

***********  We Twenty-First Century Americans have a very difficult time accepting anything as final.

In football, we have instant replay to determine when a catch is not a catch.

In the justice system, we have appeal after appeal of jury decisions.

So why should Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed Man of the People, automatically  accept the  election of the President of the United States as legitimate?

The great irony of The Donald's announcement that he'd just have to see whether he would accept the election result as final is that it has beaten the Democrats at their own game.  The party of Al Gore, the party that spent eight years saying  that George Bush was elected President by a vote of 5-4
(referring to the Supreme Court decision in his favor), is squawking so loudly, abetted by the captive media, that it's going to be VERY difficult for them to complain should Mrs. Clinton lose the election.

(I am appreciative enough of gamesmanship to believe that this was exactly Mr. Trump's purpose in saying what he did.)

american flag TUESDAY,  OCTOBER 18,  2016   "If you make every game a life-or-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot."  Dean Smith

***********  Monday,  October 17, was the 49th anniversary of the Battle of Ong Thanh, in Vietnam.

In that battle, a small band of the 28th Infantry - the Black Lions - was ambushed by a far larger body of North Vietnamese, and when the battle was ended, 64 Americans were killed in action, 75 were wounded, and two were missing in action.

Among the Americans killed that day were Army Major Don Holleder, a former West Point All-American end as a junior who switched to quarterback his senior year and was the inspiration for  the Black Lion Award.

***********  Wrote Dave Berry, an Army medic and veteran of the battle of Ong Thanh whom I was privileged to share a room  with one weekend at West Point...

Today is the 49th anniversary of the Battle of Ong Thanh. It's hard to believe that it has been that long. I am fortunate to be able to spend the day with Joe Costello and Tom Hinger, 2 of the bravest soldiers I was privileged to serve with and best of friends I have ever had.
On 17 October 1967, elements of the 2/28th Infantry found the basecamp of the 271st Main Force VC Regiment, which we had been pursuing and skirmishing with for several days. The Black Lion force was caught in a bloody ambush in which at least 60 American soldiers were killed or missing and presumed dead, and at least 75 others wounded (typical of the Vietnam War, the numbers vary slightly, depending on what account you read). Four of those killed were fellow Black Lion medics. Military strategists use the term "acceptable loss", which is the approximate number of casualties that are acceptable in order to achieve an objective. To a combat medic, no loss is acceptable. Loss on this scale is devastating.

If you follow this link you will find the story of SP4 Ray Neal Gribble, a squad leader with Alpha Co. who gave up a safer job to return to his squad, which needed him. He fell in battle along with many of them on 17 Oct. 1967.


The known list of KIA/MIA (Body Not Recovered)
• MAJ Donald W. Holleder, Webster, NY
• SP5 Verland A. Gilbertson, Banning, California
• 2LT Harold B. Durham, Tifton, Georgia - Medal of Honor
• PFC Larry M. Anderson, Spencer, Iowa
• PFC Clifford L. Breeden, Hillsdale, Michigan
• PFC Santos Camero, Malaga, California
• SP4 Ralph Carrasco, Phoenix, Arizona
• SP4 Elwood D. Chaney, Washington, D. C.
• PFC Richard L. Crites, Cleveland, Ohio
• PFC Wesley E. Dodson, Robinson, Pennsylvania
• SP4 Leon N. East, Ironto, Virginia
• SP4 Maurice S. Ellis, Asheville, North Carolina
• PFC Anthony J. Familiare, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
• SP4 Michael J. Farrell, New Orleans, Louisiana
• SSG Paul L. Fitzgerald, Fort Valley, Georgia (MIA/BNR)
• SP4 Michael J. Gallagher, New Hyde Park, New York
• SP4 Arturo Garcia, Mercedes, Texas
• SP4 Ray N. Gribble, Muncie, Indiana
• SSG Olin Hargrove, Birmingham, Alabama (MIA/BNR)
• PSG Willie C. Johnson, Jr, Savannah, Georgia (DoW 11/09/1967)
• PFC John Daniel Krische, West Hempstead, New York
• SP4 Jerry David Lancaster, Lebanon, Tennessee
• PFC Walter Platosz, Hartford, Connecticut
• PFC Allan Vincent Reilly, Los Angeles, California
• PFC Donald Wayne Adkins, Gretna, Virginia
• SGT Gary Lee Barker, Garden Grove, California
• SP4 Jackie Everrett Bolen, Jr, Ury, WV
• PFC Joseph Otis Booker, Richmond, Virginia (DoW 10/18/1967)
• SP4 Melvin Bruce Cook, Salem, Oregon
• PFC Joe Albert Crutcher, Winter Park, Florida
• PFC Edward Phillip. Dye, Wellston, Ohio
• PFC Robert Lee Fuqua, Mansfield, Ohio
• PFC Melesso Garcia, Watsonville, California
• SP4 Stanley Donald Gilbert, Dexter, Minnesota
• PFC Richard William Jones, Cairo, Illinois
• PFC Gary Gene Lincoln, Eaton, Ohio
• 2LT Andrew Patrick Luberda, Chicago, Illinois
• PFC Emil George Megiveron, Pontiac, Michigan
• SP4 Michael Merlin Miller, Mount Pleasant, Florida
• PFC Robert Joseph Nagy, Lorain, Ohio
• SP4 Steven Larry Ostroff, Sun Valley, California
• SFC Eugene John Plier, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
• PFC Ronney Dean Reece, Atlanta, Georgia
• PFC Jack Wayne Schroder, Clay Center, Nebraska
• PFC Jackie Echol Shubert, Jacksonville, Florida
• SP4 Daniel Sikorski, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
• SSG Luther Augustus Smith, Miami, Florida
• PFC Theodore Dave Thomas, Houston, Texas
• SP4 Kenneth Pete Wilson, Clinton, North Carolina
• LTC Terry De la Mesa. Allen, Jr, El Paso, Texas
• CPT James Lisman Blackwell, Jr, Evansville, Indiana
• SGM Francis Ellsworth Dowling, Cooperstown, North Dakota
• PFC Allen Dale Jagielo, San Gabriel, California
• SP4 Joe Lovato, Jr, Lubbock, Texas
• PFC Joe Davis Moultrie, St Stephen, South Carolina
• SP5 Archie Andrew Porter, Cameron, West Virginia (DoW 10/21/1967)
• SP4 Garland Jerone Randall, Houston, Texas
• SP4 Pasquale Joseph Tizzio, New York, New York
• SP4 Harry Carl Sarsfield, Oxnard, California
• SGT James Edward Larson, Mauston, Wisconsin

*********** We had a great week of practice last week.

We'd come off a big win, and the kids were unusually focused.

On Wednesday, when we gathered at the end of practice, head coach Todd Bridge said, "I wish we could play tomorrow."

I did him one better, and said, "I wish we could play right now."

We were that ready, that sharp.

And then, on Thursday, the rain rolled in, along with the prediction that the entire Northwest Coast was due for the Mother of All Storms - three of them, in fact, one right after the other.  We got through Thursday's practice just fine (we always go outside, regardless of the weather) and then, as is our custom, leaving nothing to chance, we coaches checked off the kids as they packed their bags for the next day's trip.

And on Friday, just before noon, I got a text from Coach Bridge informing me that our opponent, South Bend, had just sent its kids home, and postponed out game until 7 PM Monday night.

My wife and I quickly packed up and headed home to Camas for a short weekend, returning in time for a late Sunday walk-through.

To give you an idea what kind of kids we have - it was cold and rainy, but when he hit the field at 5:30 Sunday evening, every single kid was on hand.  Some of them live 25 or so miles "up the beach."

When the postponement was first announced, we immediately discussed moving Friday's game back to Saturday.  We decided against it because the following week's game, the final game of the regular season,  will be played on Thursday to allow for the possibility of a weekend Kansas-Plan playoff to decide seeding for the following weekend's district "play-in" games.  (Have I lost you yet?)

The game... written at 11 PM Monday...

On a cold, rainy night in South Bend, Washington, self-styled "Oyster Capital of the World," the North Beach Hyaks improved their record to 4-3 with a 24-7 win over the South Bend Indians.

The Hyaks took the opening kickoff and drove 66 yards in 12 plays to score with 6:37 left in the first quarter, and the first of their three two-point conversions on the night made the score 8-0.

But on their first play from scrimmage the Indians broke an outside veer for 65 yards and kicked the extra point to make the score 8-7.

The Hyaks fumbled on the kickoff, but stopped the Indians with an interception - one of three they would make in the game.

From there, the Hyaks drove 80 yards in 17 plays to take a 16-7 halftime lead, then opened the second half with a 53-yard scoring drive to make the score 24-7.

The Hyaks put on one more drive of 76 yards, but coughed up the ball inside the South Bend 20.

All told, North Beach rushed 60 times for 328 yards, and completed one of three passes for 25 yards.

Quarterback Brenden Chaney carried 26 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Patrick Day-Heyd had 103 yards on 10 carries, and Elijah Ewing added 76 yards on 6 carries.

It's a short week:  Friday the Hyaks host powerful Willapa Valley, which in a Monday night meeting of the two league leaders handed Ilwaco a 45-2 trouncing.

*********** The idea of the Black Lion Award actually goes back to when I was a kid, growing up in Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, where Penn (not Penn State) football drew crowds twice the size of the Eagles, the Army-Navy game, coming at the end of the regular college schedule,  was our bowl game.

And those were the Blanchard and Davis years, when Army could have fielded two teams of equal ability, each capable of winning a national championship.

I was in awe of  those teams.

I once pestered my mother to take me to the Trans-Lux Theatre downtown on Market Street to watch the film of the 1947 entire Army-Notre Dame game - a scoreless tie between two unbeaten teams.

Years later, when I became a coach myself and was in need of guidance, I found it in a copy of Army coach Earl Blaik’s book - “You Have to Pay the Price.”  You might say he was my mentor - I would be more than proud to be included in  his very impressive coaching tree.

When read the chapter about his decision to move All-American end Don Holleder to quarterback,  I admired Coach Blaik’s resourcefulness.  I also admired and respected  the support he showed his quarterback during tough times.  But in my first reading of the book, it was just one of many memorable chapters.

But then,  years later, I re-read the book. And as so often happens when you read a book a second or third time, I saw things differently.  The book may not have not changed, but I had.

When I re-read Colonel Blaik’s book, I had 25 years of coaching behind me, and this time, the chapter on Don Holleder really grabbed me.

Here was a guy who was as good as there was at his position, being asked before his senior year to learn a totally new one - a position requiring skills that he’d never demonstrated that he had - in order to take full advantage of his leadership abilities.

Even a West Pointer, conditioned to do what the team needed regardless of what he himself might have wanted, had to have had some misgivings.

But he accepted the challenge, and despite numerous stumbles along the way - and considerable criticism of his coach for making what most observers considered  a reckless move -  player Holleder and coach Blaik proved the critics wrong when Army upset a powerful Navy team.

At some point, it hit me - the unselfishness, the willingness to do whatever was required, the desire to lead, the willingness to stay the course in spite of obstacles was, I realized,  exactly what football coaches everywhere look for in our kids - it’s the sort of thing we try to instill in them.

My research into Don Holleder leads me to conclude that there was no sense on his part of seeking personal glory when asked to move to quarterback.  Nor was there any sense that he was giving anything up - he made the move willingly,  because he wanted to lead.  But to make what he did more understandable to today’s kids, I point out that making the switch in positions did mean giving up a chance to be a two-time All-American,  the equivalent  then of being an NFL first-round draft pick today.

And then I dug deeper. I felt sure I’d read that Don Holleder had been killed in Vietnam, but those were the early days of the Internet, and there wasn’t much on him.  I did, however,  come across an article in Time Magazine about the Black Lions’ being ambushed at a place called Ong Thanh. All told, 64 Americans were killed that day, and 75 were wounded, many gravely.  Among those killed in action that day were the Black Lions’ Battalion Commander, Lt. Terry Allen.  And Major Don Holleder. Although not himself a Black Lion, Don Holleder was cut down by sniper fire while charging into the jungle to rescue men wounded in battle.

This was an amazing story, I thought - a man who twice in his lifetime had put others ahead of himself.  What an amazing example for young football players.

I wrote about an article about him and posted it on my web site - I was an early adopter - and not long after, I received an email from a gentleman named Tom “Doc” Hinger, who said that he was an Army medic at Ong Thanh, and Major Holleder had died in his arms.

Doc Hinger introduced me to General Jim Shelton, also a Vietnam Black Lion, and as we got to know one another better,  I proposed to them the idea of an award to honor Don Holleder and the men who died with him that day.  It would be called the Black Lion Award, but it wouldn’t be another Most Valuable Player Award.  At the same time, though, it wouldn’t be a consolation award for the player who didn’t win anything else, or a feel-good award for the kid who overcame the most hardships or showed up at every practice.  Very simply, the criteria for the award would be how well the recipient lived up to Don Holleder’s example of courage, unselfishness, leadership, and putting the team ahead of himself.

They thought it sounded great, but General Shelton cautioned  that there were some hurdles to be cleared when dealing with anything associated with the Army, and I have to give him credit for carrying the ball from there.  I do know that the late COL John McGinn, one of Don Holleder’s classmates and teammates, was instrumental in my being vetted - to make sure that I wasn’t intending to commercialize the award, and that I would not in any way demean the Army.  And then I was privileged to speak with Don Holleder’s widow, Mrs. Caroline Ruffner, and her husband, Ernie Ruffner, another West Point classmate of Don Holleder.  I assured Mrs. Ruffner that the Black Lion Award would always reflect credit on Don Holleder’s name.  (And she made certain that I knew that there was no “N” in his name -  that it was pronounced “Hol-LED-er” and not Holl-END-er.)

And then, through the coaches that followed my web site, we introduced the Black Lion Award to youth, middle school and high school programs in the United States and Canada.

It was first presented in 2001, which by coincidence was the 100th anniversary of the constituting of the 28th Infantry at Vancouver Barracks, Washington.  (By another coincidence, Vancouver Barracks is about 12 miles from my home in Camas, Washington.)

The Black Lion Award has since been presented to hundreds of youth, middle school and high school players.  Only one college presents the Black Lion Award - the Army Football Club, the association of former Army football players, has made it a part of West Point football program, and the Black Lion Award is presented annually to a member of the Army football team.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE - coaches are urged to sign up their team for 2016.  There is no cost.  Recipients receive a Black Lion patch (emblem) and a certificate suitable for framing plus - as long as they last - a beautifully done video about Major Don Holleder, produced by his West Point classmate, General Perry Smith.  All that you are asked to do is provide, via email, a thorough, detailed letter nominating your player.


*********** This week's Football Writers/National Football Foundation Top 16 - (16 because these are the teams that would take part in a "True National Playoff"

    1    Alabama
    2    Ohio State
    3    Michigan
    4    Washington
    5    Clemson
    6    Louisville
    7    Texas A&M
    8    Wisconsin
    9    Houston
    10    Baylor
    11    Oklahoma
    12    Nebraska
    13    Boise State
    14    West Virginia
    15    Tennessee
    16    Florida

***********  The ACC showed some of the competitiveness which it's been sorely lacking.

Clemson remained undefeated only because NC State missed a chip-shot field goal attempt with seconds to play...

Wake Forest gave Florida State all it wanted.

It was 17-14, Louisville, when Duke roughed the Louisville kicker on a missed field goal attempt that would have given the Blue Devils the ball close to midfield with time remaining to win or tie...(I consider the roughing call to be questionable, but I'm prejudiced)

And Syracuse, despite being outfitted in the ugliest uniforms ever put on a college team, went out (went "in," actually, since they played in the Carrier Dome)  and thumped  Virginia Tech, whose outfits were nothing to brag about, either.

ACC member-of-convenience  Notre Dame fell to Stanford, which at halftime found a running game to go with its stout defense.   I like Brian Kelly, I think, but I can't imagine what the hell he was thinking when he yanked his starting QB and then, when the replacment looked lost, put the starter back in and then expected him to pull their chestnuts out of the fire.

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

Well our P.W. season is over and although we did not have the kind of success  we would have liked to have had, we did finish with a 25-12 win.

We ran the Open Wing right from your DVDs.

Thought you might like to know that, "3 trap 2" was a sure gainer for us. Guess lt's true that few youth teams use a trap so they do not know how to defend it.  The T.E. seam & corner routs worked well as did the toss to the wheel route. We also installed a B Back screen off of the 5-C "fake"!  The B Back loved it and it never failed to gain yardage. 

Coach, on behalf of the Palm City Dolphin- Peewee division, 10,11, &12 year olds,  we thank you for the Open Wing!  It is a load of fun to play as well as to coach!

God's blessings for you and your family, coach, and looking forward, already, to next season.

J.C. Brink
Stuart, Florida

*********** Purdue decided it was time to pull the plug on head coach Darrell Hazell. 

Purdue is 3-3 right now, but in his three-and-a-half season at West Lafayette, Hazell was 9-33.  More to the point, he was 3-24 against Big Ten competition.

This is not in any way a condemnation of  Darrell Hazell. He forged an 11-3 record his last year at Kent State, not an easy place to win at.  But he found that Purdue is even tougher;  finding that out first-hand has ended the head coaching career of many a good man.

Purdue has had the most success, it appears, when it went the contrarian route.  Many years ago, Purdue and Stanford were throwing the ball when everybody else was running. Quarterbacks like Len Dawson, Ross Fichtner and Bob Griese made Purdue competitive.  They could get quarterbacks like that when the alternative was to go to Michigan or Ohio State and hand off.

More recently,  Joe Tiller brought an early version of the Air Raid to West Lafayette, managing to sneak Drew Brees out  of Texas, where they weren't yet throwing the ball.   Fat chance of doing that now.

As an Army fan of long standing, I'm not going to do myself any favors by proposing that they take a long look at Army's Jeff Monken.   He is a triple option coach,  who showed when he was at Georgia Southern - and beat Florida and nearly beat Alabama  - that when he can recruit  he can beat anybody. And he's a Midwesterner; with the kind of talent he'd have access to, he would win in the Big Ten.  Did I say he's underpaid?   Fortunately for Army, Purdue will never go that route, though, which means that by continuing to imitate the big guys, they will continue to come in second on the recruting trail, and they will continue to lose.

***********  Lawton Nalley, an assistant professor of agribusiness at the University of Arkansas, had a bit too much to drink at the Arkansas-Alabama game a week ago, which gave him to courage to confront and profanely berate a fellow faculty member on the field after the game.

The fellow faculty member was Professor of Applied Football Science Bret Bielema.

For his own good, Mr. Nalley was arrested and spent Saturday night in the slammer.

He has since said he's sorry, blah, blah, blah.

Too late, Prof.

Since that game, a 49-30 loss to Alabama, the Hogs rebounded and beat Ole Miss, and now the shoe's on the other foot.

Do not be surprised if one day, as class ends and the students file out, a very large man enters and heads for you (if you'd been sober last Saturday, you'd have realized that Professor Bielema is tall and maybe a jelly donut or so on the other side of 300 pounds).

It would serve you right if he were to storm in, very drunk, grab you by the neck and hold you out the window and holler, "You c-- s--ker, you call yourself an agribusiness professor? I knew professors of agribusiness at Wisconsin that would kick your f--king ass!"

american flag TUESDAY,  OCTOBER 11,  2016   "Field goals frustrate me, to be honest. You get tired of the damn things unless you're the guy kicking them. When you get beat by some kid kicking four field goals you say, 'Come on. What the heck kind of way is that to lose a game?'"     Bo Schembechler

*********** It was Homecoming at North Beach High in Ocean Shores, Washington, and the North Beach Hyaks came out with guns blazing against league rival Ocosta, defeating their foes from across the harbor, 56-0.

The Hyaks had lost their last two games, and the two teams brought identical 2-3 records into the game, but the North Beach dominance was pole to pole, and a running clock was imposed when the Hyaks went ahead, 42-0, with seven minutes left in the third period.

Taking the opening kickoff, they drove 61 yards in 8 plays and less than three minutes to open the scoring. There followed drives of 62, 58, 84, 32, 76 and 58 yards.   The Hyaks  didn't  suffer a turnover and never punted.  
Only once did they fail to complete a drive, coming up six inches short on a fourth down measurement after driving 43 yards deep into Ocosta territory.

Quarterback Brenden Chaney rushed 25 times for 176 yards and four touchdowns.  He completed eight of 13 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown.

Patrick Day-Heyd carried seven times for 132 yards and Tavo Muro ran for 63 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.

Ben Poplin carried six times for 45 yards and a touchdown, and caught five passes for 53 yards and a TD.

A point of pride - since Todd Bridge took over as head coach and I came on board with him in 2011, we have yet to lose a Homecoming game.

*********** Charlie Strong isn’t dead yet, but the corporate headhunters who had already begun compiling their lists of possible replacements for him certainly weren’t deterred by Oklahoma’s defeat of Texas Saturday.

Forbes Magazine (does everybody have a sports section now?) put out this list before the UT-OU game.

1. Tom Herman, Houston head coach  (The Forbes article also was written before Navy’s upset win over Houston.  This was Houston’s second year in a row of being knocked from the playoffs by an underdog - last year, you may remember, it was UConn that did it.)

2. Chris Peterson, Washington head coach  (Nice try, Forbes.  Out here in the Northwest, we remember how long he stayed at Boise State, where he had a good job running a solid program, turning down any number of prestigious jobs until Washington came open.)

3. Art Briles, former Baylor head coach (Yeah.  That’ll be a lot of fun for the UT people to explain to all the activists on campus.)

4. Les Miles, former LSU head coach (A good coach by any measures.  But if style points count - if you insist on seeing an entertaining offense - Miles, a Bo Schembechler guy,  may not be your man.)

5. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State head coach  (He can win games.  But let’s face it - as Paul Finebaum points out in his book, “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference,"  Florida State is an SEC program playing in the ACC.)

*********** Saturday was another amazing day of college football.

I'm sorry Army didn't win but I was very happy for Duke, whose passing offense was at a huge disadvantage in the hurricane-driven wind and rain. The Blue Devils showed a toughness I didn't realize they had.

Wake Forest, another one of my schools - a grandson goes there - beat Syracuse! This could be a bowl year for the Deacons!

Notre Dame looked terribly frustrated by the conditions.  N.C. State didn’t.  The Wolfpack dealt the Irish their fourth loss.  The last Irish chance vanished when the Irish center snapped the ball while the QB was looking elsewhere.  I like Brian Kelly, but his subsequent sideline “conversation” with the center was on national television and was not what TV people call “good optics.” Being under the microscope goes with the ND job,  and public chastising of his players can’t be a point in his favor if and when the good fathers at Our Lady sit down to discuss his future.

Northwest report…

Washington came into Autzen Stadium and from the opening kickoff dispelled any thoughts that the Oregon Ducks belonged on the same field the the Huskies. The Huskies ended the Ducks’ 12-year dominance with a vengeance,  downing them 70-21.  Only once in Oregon football history, a 1941 game in which Texas hung 71 points on them, has anyone scored more points on them.

Washington quarterback Jake Browning threw for six touchdown passes - an all-time school record - and ran for two more. His eight total touchdowns tied a conference record. Running back Miles Gaskin ran for 197 yards and a touchdown; wide receiver Dante Pettis caught eight passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns (including a one-handed, diving grab that belongs on SportCenter) and all-purpose receiver/returner John Ross caught nine passes for 94 yards and three TDs.  The Ducks’ porous defense gave up nearly 700 yards of offense.

The Ducks  looked silly as hell getting spanked in what were billed as “throwback” uniforms.  The uniforms were dark blue with gold trim,  and the (very) old nickname “Webfoots” was printed on the front.  (Because it rains so much in the Pacific Northwest, Oregonians liked to joke that they had web feet.)   “Throwback?” To when?  The togs predated anything I can remember in all my years of watching football.  My oldest resource in this matter dates to 1948, and it refers to Oregon and “The Ducks” and lists its colors as lemon yellow and emerald green.  (Not that that matters any more, as anyone knows who’s been watching the Ducks the last several years.)

Speaking of going down while wearing the wrong  colors… maybe Stanford’s reason for wearing all-black uniforms was so no one would recognize them when they slunk off the field after being drubbed by Washington State, 42-16.  Don’t let the final score fool you - the final six Stanford points came as time ran out and the quarterback reached over the goal line as he fell to the ground.  (In my opinion he wasn’t in, and if they ruled it wasn't a score there weren’t any Stanford fans left in the stands to complain anyhow, but what the hell.)

This was no upset.  Washington State was by far the better team.

Once Christian McCaffrey left the game with an apparent hip injury, Stanford had little offense.  But in truth, it didn’t have much of a one when he was in the game,  either. All told, the Cardinal rushed 26 times for a puny 61 yards.   Even worse than the Stanford offense, though, was its defense.   Washington State’s Luke Falk was sharp, completing 30 of 41 for 357 yards and four touchdowns, and the Cougs rushed for 101.

After starting out the season with a loss to FCS Eastern Washington (admittedly, a very good club), the Cougars have regrouped and in the last two weeks have routed Oregon and Stanford, who between them have won the last seven Pac-12 titles.

After being whaled by Washington last week, Stanford has now lost two games in a row, the first time that’s happened since David Shaw took over as coach six seasons ago.

As for slinking out of the stadium unnoticed by anyone - Stanford had no need to worry.  No one was watching.  By the time the Cougs had finished their job, only WSU fans were left in the stands.

The Cougs could definitely beat the Huskies, especially with the Apple Cup game in Pullman this year. Strange things can happen any time  those teams meet in the Palouse in late November.

Oregon State blew a 17-point lead in the last 10:35, and appeared to be on their way to their 13th straight Pac-12 loss as Cal kicked a field goal in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.  And then Oregon State QB Darrel Garretson, after Cal had been held to a field goal in the top half of OT, ran 16 yards for a touchdown to give the Beavers the 47-44  win.

It was the Beavs’ first Pac-12 win in nearly two years, following 12 straight defeats.  The win was not a fluke - the Beavers found the answer to Cal’s “Bear Raid” offense by holding onto the ball and rushing for 474 yards.  They were led by  a big Portland kid named Ryan Nall, who rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

A significant milestone for the Beavers: it was the first time in quite a while that they got top billing on the front sports page of Sunday’s Portland Oregonian - over their archrival Oregon Ducks.

*********** Sorry to see Houston drop out of the playoff picture, but I sure did admire the job that Navy did on the nation’s #6 team. The middies swarmed onto the field following the win, and in honor of Navy’s first win over a top 10 opponent in years, the Naval Academy Superintendent declared that Tuesday would be a school holiday.

***********  Miami scored at the very end and missed a stinking extra point, because a blocker did a lameass job ( check the video); Texas A & M was about to go ahead by two touchhdowns - and clinch the game - when a Tennessee pursuer punched the ball loose just before the runner crossed the goal line.  Tennessee then scored to tie it up and the A & M kicker missed a field goal attempt and  sent the game into OT - where that same  kicker made the winning kick.   Oregon State took a big lead into the fourth quarter, then blew it, then won it overtime. 

I was very happy for Oregon State.   I felt bad for Miami and Tennessee.  I was pulling for both of them. 

Now,  take  just those three games and their most improbable, exciting endings and consider - in the entire NFL season that remains, Big Football won't give us three games like those.

*********** “I’ve long held that the dumbest question, asked repeatedly by female reporters on the sidelines after sporting events, is ‘What was on your mind when… (fill in the event)?’  A truthful answer is probably that the athlete knew once the game ended he would have to face the inanity of the question of what was on his mind and have an answer ready.”

Author Joseph Epstein

***********  Hugh,

We won our Homecoming game on Friday 49-21 to boost our record to 4-3, and clinch a playoff spot for the first time in our school's short 8 year history.  We have two games left in the regular season and if things remain as they are we will go into the playoffs as the number 3 seed.

It was great to see the joy in the faces of the players.  They've been through a rough last two weeks but they showed some real resiliency, and played their best game of the season so far in beating the probable number 4 seed. 

We gained 502 total yards, mostly rushing, with only 40 of those yards coming through the air.  One of our backs went for 151 yards, another just missed 100 with 98, and three others contributed the rest.  Our offensive line was stellar.  Defensively our first group held them to 7 points until late in the game when they scored on our reserves.

On another note I just wanted to remind you that we will be holding our season ending awards ceremony on Wednesday, November 9th.  I will e-mail you the name of the individual player who will receive the Black Lion Award and why he should receive it within the next couple of weeks.

Finally...I couldn't agree with you more about teaching the blocking rules.  It happens to most of us, but boy...when it's taught's a beautiful sight.

Continued best wishes to you and the Hyaks, and your lovely bride.Joe Gutilla

Joe Gutilla
Assistant Principal - Head Football Coach
St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School
Austin, Texas

How about you?  Are you a Black Lion Award team?   Do you have a player who meets our criteria?

leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and - above all - an unselfish concern for the team ahead of himself.

Sign up now:

who is eligible?
 Hi Coach,

Can you take a peek at this, please. I want to inform my son's HS coaches about a little trickery their upcoming opponent may utilize. Like we did for years in DW, this team will line up in what looks like 21 Personnel, but, it's really a Tackle Over alignment. Then, they replace the Tackle with their regular TE (In essence, they swap spots).

#82 becomes a legal receiver, yes?

Many Thanks,

Ed Campbell
Land o' Lakes, Florida

Hi Ed-

To be eligible, a player must meet two qualifications:

1. He must be in the backfield, or on one of the ends of the line of scrimmage

2. He must wear an eligible number (1-49, 80-99)

#82 qualifies on both counts and is eligible.

*********** As Bellevue and its rampant cheating-to-win schemes fade into the past,  the big story in Washington high school football is the plight of Archbishop Murphy.

Not the man, the school.

Archbishop Murphy, a private Catholic school in Everett, a navy port and airplane manufacturing city north of Seattle, hasn’t done anything wrong.

Its problem is that it’s too good for its own good.

As is the case in parts of our country where there aren’t large numbers of private schools, Archbishop Murphy is in a league with mostly public schools.

By enrollment (403 students in the top three grades), Archbishop Murphy should be a 1A school, but as is the case with all larger Catholic high schools in the state, it has chosen to “opt up” - to play in the next higher classification.  Two such schools with 2A-size enrollments, Gonzaga Prep of Spokane (663 students) and Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma (758 students), have opted up two classifications in order to play at the Class 4A level, whose schools range in size from 1300 on up.

Archbishop Murphy is in a combined league of 1A and 2A teams, and it has dominated.  Its only loss last season came in the state 2A semifinal game. 

It tried last off-season to join a 3A Seattle-area league made up of mostly private, Catholic schools, but was turned down.  The argument against admission was the extra travel involved for the Seattle schools.  (On the surface, coaching at  a school whose shortest trip is more than an hour, it’s hard for me to sympathize, but then sitting in the traffic headed out of Seattle on a Friday evening isn’t something I’d ever want to deal with.)

So going into the season,  for Archbishop Murphy and its league mates, it was life as usual:  Archbishop Murphy, with 16 starters - many of them college prospects - returning from last year’s semifinalist team, once again riding roughshod over the rest of the league.

And then, some league members took a stand.  So far, three of them have chosen to forfeit their scheduled league games with Archbishop Murphy.

It wasn’t so much the fact that they were going to be beaten, said those schools who chose to comment; it was the safety issue.

"It's not that we're afraid to play the game, it's an injury issue," said Granite Falls head coach Tim Dennis. "Because of the size disparity between the linemen. They have 300-pound linemen. And we have sophomores that weight 210, 220 pounds and starting on varsity.  So that's the issue, is the size disparity."

Six weeks into this season, Archbishop Murphy has played only three games (winning them by a combined score of 170-0).

As of Monday, this coming week’s opponent, Cedar Crest of Duvall, had not yet announced whether it would play the game as scheduled.

I think this is a true dilemma that requires a strong hand.

If the state association (WIAA) had a set of stones, it would tell those 3A Seattle-area Catholic schools to take in Archbishop Murphy or leave empty holes in their schedules and take forfeits for those dates.

But the WIAA, as it did in the Bellevue case and as it always does whenever strong leadership is called for, has chosen to wash its hands of the matter.

“Players on both sides are losing the opportunity to represent their schools and communities on the football field,” said WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese. 

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

“The WIAA understands how valuable these opportunities are for all students,” he went on.

Blah, blah, blah.

The WIAA said that it would work with schools to “examine” the 2017 schedule.

Blah, blah, blah.

*********** Whew.  Remember some of the things you said when you were in a car with your buddies? Suppose one of them was recordng everything that was  said. Aren't you glad you decided not to run for President?

Not excusing what Trump is accused of saying, but there sure is a double standard at work here.

Anybody else remember when Billy Clinton's perjury was excused by the Dems because it was "about sex?"

If you do, you'll remember their argument: "Everybody lies about sex."

"How to explain to your daughters the meaning of what Trump said, " went a recent headline to a story expressing shock at what Donald Trump said years ago. I'm willing to bet the writer  saw absolutely nothing wrong with the PRESIDENT  OF THE UNITED STATES GETTING A BLOW JOB IN THE OVAL OFFICE.  Or lying about it.

american flag FRIDAY,  OCTOBER 6,  2016   "Don’t be sad that it’s over… Smile because it happened.”  Legendary Dodgers' broadcaster Vin Scully, at the conclusion of his last broadcast

*********** It was the sixth week of the season, a Tuesday practice, and I watched as the scout team’s nose man blew up our play.

“What the heck happened?” I yelled to our center.

“I blocked Thomas,” he said, indicating the man to his left.

“Wait a minute,” I said.  “You had a man on your nose… and you blocked a man to your left? What does your card say?”  (I’m referring to the play card that all of our players wear on their wrists, telling them in brief what their assignments are.)

“On, Away,” he answered.

"And you blocked the man Away?"

"Yes, Coach."

And then it hit me.   I said, “Bob, did you think that ‘On, Away’ was a choice you could make?”

“Yes, Coach,” was his reply.  Bingo.

Mea culpa.   It was my fault. 

I had never thought it necessary to explain to him that blocking rules were a list of things he was to do, in order of their importance. Like triage.   First, “On” if there was a man “On” him,  then “Away” if there wasn’t a man on him.

For years, I had - mistakenly, it turns out - simply assumed that all kids understood this to be the case.

It’s the first time that had ever happened, and it’ll be the last.

Coaching is teaching, and I’d made a mistake as a teacher of assuming that a player knew something that I should have taught him.

*********** Josh Norman of the Washington Team-That-Must-Not-Be-Named celebrated an interception in Sunday’s game by pretending to shoot an arrow into the air. 

Oh. My. God.

The action cost his team a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and - upon further review by the League Office (which as we all know comes down VERY hard on ALL objectionable actions by its players) - he was fined TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.

And that’s today’s NFL news.

*********** Oh, wait.  There is more NFL news, and it’s not good for Big Football.

TV ratings for the season continue to plummet, partly because of widespread disgust at the narcissistic acts of “protesting” players, and partly because of growing public awareness of something I’ve contended for years - the NFL’s product sucks.

I’ve made no secret  of my dislike of the NFL, but although there are plenty of reasons why I wouldn’t miss it, I can’t in good conscience root for it to disappear.

Twice in my life, I’ve been left out of work when a league folded - the last time was in Portland, Oregon, in 1975.  I was 3,000 miles from “home” (in the East).  I had no immediate job prospects. But I liked the area, my wife had a job teaching, and our four kids were in good schools - we didn’t have the money to move back anyhow.  That’s when I decided it was time to put away my pro football fantasies and get my teaching certificate and into high school coaching. 

Fortunately, things worked out well for me and my family.

But I saw way too many good people lose their jobs in those collapses.  And although it’s unlikely that the NFL will ever vanish, the fact is that there are plenty of good people in the NFL, too - players, coaches, trainers, equipment people, front office people - who would suffer if that were to happen and I wouldn’t wish hard times on them.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind if there were an economic version of a “clean bomb” that would wipe out only the jerks and fools and leave the rest of the NFL intact.

Meantime, brace yourself for the annual  Pink Tsunami, the NFL’s extortion-payment-disguised-as-campaign-to-raise-awareness-of-breast-cancer.

*********** I have nothing against Riddell - good company, good products, good people.  They’ve been through a lot and still managed to stay in business, and  they do have a right to sell products when and where they can - but I find their recent offer to sell high school coaches shirts combining  the very worst of everything the NFL stands for  -  pandering to females and false patriotism - to be detestable.  Not to mention ugly as sin.

pink jerseycamo jersey

*********** Did someone on the inside at Texas leak the story that Charlie Strong will be fired at the end of the season so the Longhorns can jump out front in the Tom Herman sweepstakes?

*********** This Saturday’s Oregon-Washington game could be a “defining moment,” as the cliche goes, for both programs.

For the Huskies, ranked Number Five, a win would solidity their spot on top of the Pac-12 North, not to mention putting an end to their once-unthinkable 12-game losing streak in the series.

For the Ducks, well…

Oregon has lost three in a row, and the last loss, a 51-33 thumping by Washington State, was ugly. Lots of the Ducks’ fans are unhappy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that coach Mark Helfrich is in trouble.  He’s part of a steady line of Oregon head coaches - Helfrich, Chip Kelly, Mike Bellotti and Rich Brooks - that began in the mid-1970s.  Following Rich Brooks, every Oregon coach - including Kelly, who was hired to be Bellotti’s offensive coordinator - has been promoted from the Oregon staff.

Anyhow, regardless of how Oregon finishes, the decision on whether Helfrich stays or goes will depend heavily on the wishes of Nike founder and Oregon alum Phil Knight, once called by UCLA’s Bob Toledo “the best owner in college football.”

*********** It seems to me that the best time to ask the higher-ups for something is when your position is strong. 

Yet there was Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson, now 3-2 after embarrassing back-to-back beat-downs by Clemson and Miami, daring to question the “commitment” of… of… of…

The Georgia Tech higher-ups?

Speaking at his weekly press conference, he said,

“…if you say you want to be on this level, then you have to be committed to be on that level and you have to do what those people are doing. It’s as simple as that.”

(“Those people,” he made clear, were the ACC powers.  Clemson.  And probably Florida State.)

“Do you think we have the same things Clemson does?” He asked those in attendance.

When they answered, “No,” Johnson replied, “How can the expectation be to beat them?”

Interestingly,  Tech has just hired a new AD from Oregon State, a former GT player named Todd Stansbury, who has yet to arrive in Atlanta.

The coach’s words sound as if they might have been aimed at the new AD; I can’t believe  it hasn’t occurred to the coach that the new AD may have been hired specifically  to fire the head football coach.

***********  Russ Vaughn in American Thinker summed up Tuesday night’s “debate”  as well as anyone could…

If the best casting director in Hollywood went in search of the perfect actor to play a typical know-it-all, smug, smarmy liberal to represent the Democratic Party on the vice presidential debate stage Tuesday night, he could not possibly have made a better selection than Tim Kaine.  This was my first opportunity to see this potential president-in-waiting in action, and all I can say is that this sneering motor-mouth, who immediately began a pattern of repetitive and, I believe, intentional interruptions of his opponent and continued it as long as the moderator would let him get away with it, was woefully less than impressive.

Kaine was a squeaky-voiced, unctuous reminder of far too many of the self-righteous liberals I've had to contend with in my long life.  You know the type: rolling the eyes, shaking the head to deliver their not so subliminal message that we're just so totally smarter than you are that you can't possibly understand what we're saying.  We've all seen it, in the past mostly within our own families, but in the last few years it has become the standard form of public liberal discourse.  There is only one side, and that is theirs.  They know it all, and if you disagree, you are a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, and they're entitled to smirk snottily about it.

That is exactly the role Tim Kaine played on his opening night on the world stage, and I must say he did it flawlessly.  Not everyone can play such an irritating jerk so convincingly, depicting to perfection the arrested adolescence that is the defining characteristic of liberalism, and do it so well before such a huge audience.

I guess congratulations are in order: hey, Timmie, you really showed us deplorables, kid!

*********** I can't believe that this ad campaign is going to sell much beer, but...

What would YOU say if you were grilling and a guy (played by an actor widely known to be gay) came up to you and asked , “CAN I FLIP YOUR MEAT?”

*********** Now that cultural appropriation has become the newest no-no among the habitually offended, this Hallowe’en is going to be pretty dull on college campuses.

I suggest Hallowe’en parties with a “Serious Student” theme.  Participants would come dressed as “Serious Students” -  the only group left on campus small enough and quiet enough not to claim to be victims of microaggression.

*********** Thought you'd get a kick out of these two photos....Varsity in Black, JV in white, both quite engrossed with their wrist's working out so well. I can't thank you enough.

Hi to Connie.

Rick Davis
Plymouth, Massachusetts


***********  Father John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, writes in the Wall Street Journal that it’s not the business of the NCAA to take stances “on restrooms and other contentious social issues.”

… it is not the role of the NCAA to employ the economic power it derives from member universities to attempt to influence the outcome of the legal process or change legislation. When it comes to complex, contentious social issues, universities have a critical role to play in fostering reflection, discussion and informed debate. No matter how popular or profitable certain college sports become, athletic associations should not usurp that role. I was particularly disheartened that the NCAA took action without consulting its member universities.

The role of such associations is to foster athletic competition that is fair and serves the well-being of student-athletes. There is plenty of work for them to do in that sphere without assuming the role of spokesperson for their members on contentious political and social issues.

***********  Coach,

Two weeks ago the Trojans traveled to Bushnell-West Prairie.  I missed the game to attend my father-in-law's funeral.  My first Friday night off in twenty-four years.  With a veteran staff and a solid group of boys I had little worries.  We were 50 points better than them.  And then "one of those nights" happened.  One of our two-way starters (running back/linebacker and two-year captain) was late for our pre-game classroom session because he was having one heck of a bowel movement.  Our always reliable all-conference guard forgot his shoulder pads.  The officials decided that our tight ends certainly WERE NOT inside the free blocking zone (no pre-game talk with them because I wasn't there).  Two fumbles inside the ten in the first quarter.  In general, we were in a funk all night.  Fortunately, we kept pounding and pulled away in the 4th quarter.  Trojans win 34-6 to improve to 5-0.  (My family spent the night at the Pittsburgh Pirates game and I had a Yeungling...thought of you).

Last week we played tradition-rich Illini West.  One week after our "bad" game of the year we hit on all cylinders.  440 yards rushing on 42 carries.  5 of 7 passing for 57 yards and a touchdown.  Limited them to less than 175 yards total offense.  Special teams created turnovers.  Six different players scored.  48-0.  Trojans are 6-0.

And this week we make the eight mile drive to play the 6-0 Farmington Farmers.  You know the town.  That little corner tap is still there.  Conference championship on the line.  The players all know each other.  The fans all know each other (I think there is a bit of wagering going on).  Should be an awesome night for football.  Their passing attack against the double wing.  As my good friend Greg Koenig says, DWWD.  Playoff atmosphere before the playoffs get here.

Best of luck to you and the Hyaks.
Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


Very sorry about your father-in-law.  Only something major like that can take a coach from his team.

No matter how well-prepared a team is, no matter how seemingly weak the opponent may be, there is nothing like the captain’s steady hand on the wheel.

I thought immediately of something I’d written years ago, about Army’s great Earl Blaik…

The Cadets opened the 1944 seasons with four lopsided wins, before having a mild scare, trailing Duke 7-6 at halftime, before earning a hard-fought 27-7 victory.

The real challenges - Notre Dame, Penn and Navy - lay ahead. No Blaik team had ever beaten any of the three. In fact, Blaik's teams had yet even to score against Notre Dame, and as for Navy, Army had now lost four straight to the Midshipmen.

Blaik wanted desperately to beat those teams - so much so that on the day the Cadets played lightly-regarded Villanova, he and a group of assistants went instead to Baltimore to watch Navy and Notre Dame play, leaving his team in the hands of assistant coach Andy Gustafson.

At breakfast on the train to Baltimore, a fellow diner recognized Blaik, and reminded him that the great Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne had once done the same thing Blaik was now doing; that while Rockne was on the road scouting a future opponent, the Irish were upset by Carnegie Tech.

One of Blaik's assistants, sitting opposite him at the table, said he watched the coach turn pale at hearing the story.  Blaik informed the gentleman that he himself remembered the incident well; in fact, he had seen Rockne at the game in question - it was, in fact, an Army-Navy game. Unnerved, Blaik got up left the dining car, his breakfast left uneaten. As it turned out, he had little reason to worry - Army defeated Villanova, 83-0.

I would love to see the game against Farmington.  Small-town, small-school football at its best!

(Back in 1989 or 1990, I was doing color for Portland State TV, and the Vikings played at Western Illinois.  On the way from the airport in Peoria to McComb, where Western is located, we drove through Farmington.  Apparently it's about halfway between St. Louis and Chicago, and right on a corner  in the heart of town, there's a tavern that makes it known it doesn't want to make enemies of any baseball fans - the wall slong one street is painted in Chicago Cubs' red-and-blue and the Cubs' logo; the door is right on the corner, and around it, the wall on the other street is totally St. Louis Cardinals.)

PS- A friend in Louisiana who’s seen your name on my site sent me a link to a Facebook article about the video your sons did in support of their sisters.  Priceless.

*********** I have a great deal of admiration for Army’s great coach Earl “Red” Blaik.  HIs book, “You Have to Pay the Price,”written with Tim Cohane, was a guide to me in my early days of coaching, when I was pretty much on my own without an  mentor to rely on.  Several years ago I did a short rewrite of the book, and I think you’ll enjoy reading it.

american flag TUESDAY,  OCTOBER 3,  2016   "As coaches we represent one of the few remaining organized systems for demanding discipline of young men. Their education will not be complete if it does not include the discipline and generosity that can come from being a team member, if it does not include an awareness of responsibility to others. We are "people coaches," not just "football coaches."  Ara Parseghian

The North Beach Hyaks fell to rival Raymond Friday night, 46-20. 

North Beach and Raymond played even-steven for a half,  with Raymond scoring just before halftime to take a 20-14 lead.

By halftime, the Hyaks had rushed for nearly 150 yards - converted tight end Ben Poplin alone ran for 122 - and QB Brenden Chaney had thrown his first touchdown pass of the year.

But then the wheels came off.

The Hyaks’ lack of depth exacted its toll, as injuries sustained in last week’s game  required  offensive and defensive lineups with four men playing in unfamiliar positions.   The final Raymond score was symbolic of the night’s frustration: suddenly realizing that he was supposed to be in the game, an inexperienced defensive tackle was just running onto the field  as Raymond snapped the ball - and ran  a play right through his vacant position.   What are the odds?

It was North Beach’s worst loss in four seasons, and its first loss in league play since 2013.

The loss leaves the Hyaks 2-3 overall and 0-1 in league.

Friday night, it’s Homecoming, against Ocosta.  Finally - another home game. 

Our second of the season.

WTF?  If you’re a small, underfunded college program that has to go on the road in order to stay afloat financially, I can understand.  But how in the hell does a high school team wind up playing  four of its first five games on the road?  (Actually, I know the answer, and I’ve been pissed since I first saw the schedule back in the spring.)

*********** “For a place like Michigan State, the head football coach and the football team is the biggest element that a university has in terms of maintaining relationships with its constituents, whether they are in East Lansing or Hong Kong. If you’re an alum thinking about giving money, if what you hear about the football team is positive, you’ll write a check.”  

Former Michigan State athletics director Merritt Norvell on why he believes MSU’s Mark Dantonio (and other winning big-time college football coaches) are worth the money they’re paid.

*********** Coach Ken Hampton, of Raleigh, North Carolina, sent me an article about Bobby Wilder, the head coach at Old Dominion, whose belief it is that we coaches should listen more to our players…

Late last week, Wilder met with his team captains and they came to the decision that they would join hands with coaches and their teammates in a circle before the game against UTSA in response to the latest shootings in Charlotte. Wilder called the gesture the “circle of unity” and it has made national waves in the week since. The Saints and Falcons even did something similar a few days later during Monday Night Football.

This weekend, Wilder and ODU will be joined in the circle of unity by their opponent and Charlotte head coach Brad Lambert.

“This is gaining momentum,” Wilder says proudly during the interview. “We respect everyone’s freedom of speech, but let’s start doing things to unify the country rather than add to the noise.”

“When I listen to our players, they want their voices heard, and they feel right now like the adults, the politcians, the people that make policy, are not hearing them.”

“This is a shoutout to college coaches all over the country, you’d better get in your locker room and meeting rooms with your players and you better listen to them. Take your attention a little bit away from your third down defense, and your red zone offense right now and open your ears, listen to your players, and respond to what they’re feeling because they need to channel what they’re feeling right now. They cannot have that suppressed.”

“I made it very clear – if I suppressed their ability to express themselves, then I am part of the problem, I’m not part of the solution and there are too many people right now that are not listening to our young people. They have a powerful voice, and they need to be heard.”

My take?  Sounds like the 1960s all over again, when there were coaches who let their players vote on the starting lineups.

Call me old-fashioned, but  with all due respect for Coach Wilder, I think he's got his priorities ass-backwards.

In my opinion, what’s needed is for these kids,  many of whom come from single-mom households and haven’t had men of substance in their lives, to listen to their coaches.

“Listen to our players?” Are you serious?  Today’s college players? Come on. Way too few of them are serious students,  and fewer still are sufficiently  informed on any serious topic to warrant a coach’s listening to them.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially if they don't know that they don't know.

Which brings up the real issue - what today’s players really need are coaches worth listening to.  They need men who are more than one-dimensional x-and-o guys - men who can really talk to them intelligently about life and issues - and unfortunately, most big-time coaches are not well-rounded people.  They’re minimally educated, they’re not well-read, they’re not well-informed on the issues, and they have very little real-world experience.

Unfortunately, the nature of the business they’re in does not reward them for expanding their minds.  The sad fact is that coaches who care for their players off the field as well as on, coaches who can educate and advise,  get fired just as fast for losing as those who couldn’t care less about their players.

*********** Along somewhat the same lines as the previous article, I received this from a friend who's a West Point graduate and said he got it from a classmate…

In  Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA's   convention.

While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.

In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.

Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy?
After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.Then, finally …“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. 

“I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.” Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room.

“Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”

After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

 “Seventeen inches!”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to  Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches.  We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'” Pause.

“Coaches…” pause, "… what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? When our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate? The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves!  And we allow it.”
“And the same is true with our government. Our so called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves.  They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate and we see our country falling into a dark abyss while we watch.”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …” With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “… dark days ahead.”
Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches."
And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and how to fix it.  "Don't widen the plate."  An absolutely great speech

Interestingly, the author of the piece turned out to be a guy named Chris Sperry, who was a high schooler in Vancouver, Washington when I was coaching there.  He went to a different high school and didn’t play football, but he was an American Legion teammate of several of my players who also played baseball.  After his playing days were over, he had a long and successful career as head baseball coach at the University of Portland.  I was so impressed that I had to write him to compliment him on his writing skills - and tell him how important a piece he’d written:

Chris,  I was forwarded a copy of your story about John  Scolinos and the 17-inch home plate. Unfortunately, it was not attributed to you, and I only discovered that you were the writer after I did some research on Coach Scolinos.  As a longtime football coach at Hudson's Bay I've followed your career over the years,  and I must say that few things you've done on the field can compare to this bit of wisdom which you've shared with others.  I'm still coaching and I'm trying to pass along to other coaches what I've learned, and I intend to reprint your article on my site ( - and make sure that people know where it came from.  Thanks on behalf of coaches and teachers everywhere.

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

I was watching your new Disk 4 and and had a good laugh when you explained the bison formation. I'm glad you clarified that Folks in Winnipeg and North Dakota pronounce it BIZON. I'm a big NDSU fan.

Matthew Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota

*********** Whatever you may think of LSU’s interim head coach Ed Orgeron, the guy can coach.  It was well known that he could recruit, but after the great job he did as USC’s interim head coach and now after the Tigers’ smashing of Missouri Saturday, there shouldn’t be any doubt that he can manage a staff and get a team ready to play.

I like the guy because he is not your usual coach-speak type.  He is a Cajun (I hesitate to say Coonass) from the bayou Country of Southeast Louisiana and he hasn’t left his roots behind.  He talks straight and he talks in the part- French-accent, part-drawl of the bayous.  You half expect him to jump in a swamp boat and go catch him some gators.

He evidently is very popular among the locals.  Shouldn't be surprising. After all, he’s one of them.

Following Saturday’s game, he told about his first week doing the coach’s radio show.

He said he had a caller who said, excitedly, “Finally - an LSU coach who doesn’t have an accent!”

With eight seconds remaining, and within range of a game-winning field goal, a local high school team spiked the ball to stop the clock.

Tsk, tsk.

They were a shotgun team and didn’t know the rules: unless you’re under center when you spike it, it’s intentional grounding.

Backed up by the penalty, they missed a 51-yarder at the gun.

*********** When he was young, Joakim Noah was an immature ass. He's a little older now, but the years don't seem to have changed him in the slightest.  He's still an ass.

Recently he chose not to show up with his teammates for a meal with West Point Cadets, after the Knicks had been practicing there.

Said it was because he's "anti-war." 

Uh, dipsh--, so are most of those cadets.   They don't want to go to war, either, but the difference between them and you is that they know that a strong defense - which means being prepared for war  - is the surest guarantee of our liberties.

But not all NBA players are idiots!

And, yes, there are coaches who really are leaders of men.

***********   A Maryland high school football coach is facing a second-degree assault charge after  allegedly punching a player on the sidelines  of a game in early September.

According to the police report, the coach was screaming and using “vulgar language” on the sidelines and when a 17-year-old player got into an argument with him, he struck the player with his fist.

The player was wearing full gear and was not injured, and the coach apologized to the player on the bus afterwards.

The coach also texted the kid's father several times.

All to no avail.

The kid's father filed charges and the ugliness has begun.

***********  According to  CBS Los Angeles...

Mary Campos said her pre-booked ticket was given away by United Airlines. The reason? She’s a woman, and two men didn’t want to sit next to a female.

A million-mile flier, Campos, a mom who lives in Coto de Caza, said she thought she’d seen it all – until a gate agent handed her a new boarding pass just before she got on a flight to Houston last Monday.

“He said, ‘This is your new seat,’” Campos said, “and I said, ‘Excuse me?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this.’”

She said she continued by saying, “Yes?”

And the agent told her, “The two gentlemen seated next to you have cultural beliefs that prevent them for sitting next to, talking to or communicating with females.”

Hard to believe this actually happened.  You'd think even United would have been smart enough to say, "Gentlemen, we'll be happy to try to book you on a later flight..."

*********** Watching North Carolina beat  Florida State, I was reminded of how long it’s taken the NCAA to nail the Tarheels for what surely would have earned them, in another time, a death penalty sentence,  yet it was able in a heartbeat to pull NCAA championship events from the state of North Carolina because of some twisted liberal notion that trannies should be welcomed into women’s restrooms.

*********** I have a VERY tough time watching John Gruden, and it’s mostly because of those f—king hands.  Somebody must have sent these TV types to Gesticulation Academy, because it’s everywhere - check out Samantha Ponder - but nowhere more so than with Gruden.  And now I notice that Jesse Palmer, who really isn’t that bad to listen to, has an advanced case of Gruden hands.

*********** Call it karma…

An excessive celebration penalty against Georgia, assessed on a kickoff, allowed Tennessee to get close enough to the Georgia goal to throw a final Hail Mary pass into the end zone - touchdown Vols.

The 49ers, infested with self-absorbed louts who  can’t stand respectfully for our national anthem, are now 1-3. 
Would their record be any worse if team management had simply said, “Stand respectfully or hit the road?”  (I happen to have a few beefs of my own with our government, but it would never occur to me not to stand and honor our flag or our national anthem).

*********** If Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson wasn’t on the hot seat before Saturday, he’s got to be on one now.

Not only has the offense for which he’s famous - and, often, derided - been failing to put up points, but in the space of a couple of minutes Saturday, Miami scored three times.  Two of the touchdowns were scoop-and-scores after miscues by the Tech offense.

I’d hate to see Coach Johnson get fired, because there's almost zero chance that his replacement will run a triple option, which means a fun-to-watch offense could be headed for extinction at the major college level.

*********** Did I tell you to watch the Washington Huskies?  They picked a good weekend to have that big win against Stanford, with higher-ranked Louisville, Wisconsin and, of course, Stanford, falling.

*********** You easterners probably didn’t stay up to watch the Washington State Cougars make the once-mighty Oregon Ducks look like a pretty ordinary team.

The Cougs beat the Ducks, 51-33.

Given great protection, their quarterback, Luke Falk,  picked the Ducks apart.  And they sacked the crap out of Oregon’s Dakota Prukop, including one sack for a safety.  The Ducks simply couldn’t handle a Cougar defensive lineman from Hawaii appropriately named Hercules Mata’afa.

What was most shocking about the game was that WSU’s pass-happy offense, often mocked for its one-dimensionality, gashed the Ducks on the ground - for six touchdowns and nearly 300 yards rushing.

Asked after the game about the uncharacteristic success of his running attack, WSU’s Mike Leach said, dryly,

“Maybe before I retire I’ll do nothing but throw for an entire game.  And then the next game, I’ll do nothing but run.    And then people will say we’re balanced.”

But then, probably realizing what a great quote that was, and that it was likely to be attributed incorrectly to him, he quickly gave credit where it belonged:  “I got that from June Jones.”

*********** Last week I wrote about the idiocy of allowing games to  go way too long, mainly because of unnecessary stopping of the clock every time someone throws an incomplete pass.

So Saturday, I very punctually tuned in the Navy-Air Force game at the time scheduled, only to find that the East Carolina-Central Forida game was still going on.  Not to worry, I thought - the score was 40-21 in UCF’s favor, with under two minutes to play (the figure 1:47 sticks in my mind, but I can’t be sure).  How long could that possibly take?

Answer: L-o-o-o-ng.

It seemed as if the clock stopped after every stinking play.

It went something like this: incomplete… first down… complete, then out of bounds… incomplete… complete, first down… touchdown… Pat… commercial… Kickoff… UCF scores…Pat…commercial…kickoff… and so forth.

Finally, ECU fumbled and UCF took a knee. 

Upshot: It took TWENTY MINUTES to play the last two minutes of a f—king runaway.

*********** For an Aussie footballer, winning the Grand Final - their Super Bowl, if you will - is the dream of a lifetime.

And when you’re the winning coach,  of a  club that hadn’t won a Grand Final in most people’s lifetimes (62 years to be exact), it’s extra special.

Every member of the winning team - and the team’s coach - receives a gold medal.  And that’s it - only the coach and the players who were on the active roster for that one final game. (Unlike the NFL, where the winning team typically buys Super Bowl rings for everybody in the f—king organization, right down to the ball boys.)

The rule is so strict that not even the captain of this year's  winning squad, who was unable to play in the Grand Final because of an injury suffered during an earlier playoff game, got a gold medal.

And so as the 90,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds remained afterwards to watch the winning Western Bulldogs receive their gold medals, they witnessed an unforgettable moment in sport as the Bulldogs’ coach, Luke Beveridge, stepped to the microphone and, removing his gold medal from around his neck, asked  team captain Bob Murphy  to come and accept it.

*********** Some tool wearing a gorilla costume ran onto the field at the Bears-Lions game and led security a merry chase until he was finally corralled.

I wouldn’t have watched the game if it were on - it wasn’t - but I’m willing to bet they’d make sure the cameras didn’t let the viewers see the action.

See, they don’t want us seeing it because… because… because I’m not sure why.

Funny, because they’re careful to make sure that we see the idiots giving their country the finger during the national anthem.

And that’s it for this week’s NFL coverage.  See you next week with more NFL excitement, should any occur.

*********** Life in a liberal paradise…

If you’re anything close to normal, it’s not always easy living among the fruits and nuts in a place like Seattle.

If you’re a youth football coach, practice means going to the park - the one that you pay the city to use - and finding homeless tents on your field.  It means picking up used discarded needles.  It means being attacked by their dogs.

And it means being ignored by the police when you call for help.  (In fairness, they almost certainly  have their orders not to touch the precious homeless.)

And it means laws that make it increasingly difficult to remove the vagrants -  and even then giving them 48 hours to leave.

american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 30,  2016   "We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts."  Aristotle

*********** Bill Lawlor, longtime Illinois coach at the high school and youth level and winner of numerous Bill George League state titles, wrote me…


If you have five minutes and need a good laugh during a break today then you should read this and hopefully learn to "Master The Double Wing."   Just click on See His Tips......You think Hudl was making enough money that they could hire some football guys to vet their marketing e-mails.   I thought the open wing DVD's were great and I will save my questions for the off season.  Good Luck tomorrow! 

Wow. Here’s a guy presumably an expert on "the double wing" (why else would Hudl put him out there?)  and he's advising gullible youth coaches to …

Use Wide Splits

This is one of the pillars of Beeson’s offenses. He has all his linemen at least two feet apart, creating natural holes for his backs to slither through.

Beeson’s strategy is to simply have his linemen keep their man from making the tackle long enough for the back to get by. He doesn’t need his linemen driving the opposition 10 yards downfield.

“We know the defender is not going to be able to cheat off and shoot that gap,” Beeson said. “We believe with that two-foot block, all we need to do is get a body on him and execute one thing – don’t let him make a tackle. It doesn’t have to appear as if we drive him downfield. We’re just keeping him where the ball is not.”

Don't Double Team

Beeson sometimes drives his players crazy with how much time he spends on teaching them their blocking assignments, even lining up laundry baskets on the field. But the athletes have them down pat when the game starts, and Beeson believes this gives him the opportunity to win every one-on-one battle.

“When you double-team, you give free reign to the linebackers, and these linebackers are some of the best athletes on the opposing team,” he said.

“That’s a worst-case scenario for me. So what I’ll do is allow a chip block or we’ll cross block it and come around or we’ll also chip, then go to the middle. I don’t want these linebackers active. I want them fighting through traffic at all times.

So go ahead, fellas.  Take those big splits -  those “natural holes” that your backs can “slither through.”  Those guys that say “penetration kills offenses” have no idea what they’re talking about.

And those old-timers who preached double down-kickout-lead through?   What the hell did they know?

Good luck.  You are in for a shock.

*********** Ever been willing to give up the ball to get out of  bad field position?   Ever punted on third down? 

The chess guys have a word  - “Zugzwang” - a German word that basically means  a position in which a player is in a bad spot and it’s his move -  and he’d rather not move because anything he does is likely to make things worse for him.

*********** Milt Tenopir, architect of the great Nebraska lines that made power football a Cornhusker trademark, has died.

The most important lesson for young guys with aspirations of coaching at a higher level is to learn of the price he paid to become a college coach:

He had already had a good run as a successful high school coach when he dropped it all and took a giant step back…

He posted a 76-34-1 high school coaching record. His final years of high school coaching were in McCook (Nebraska) before he sold everything, including his house, to become a grad assistant at Nebraska in 1974. He was promoted to full-time by Tom Osborne in 1979.

"I hired three high school coaches — Milt at McCook, Frank Solich at Lincoln Southeast and Dan Young at Omaha Westside — as grad assistants, and they left good jobs and made big sacrifices to come to Nebraska," Osborne told the Journal Star on Monday. "Milt was one of the main reasons we had good offensive lines after good offensive lines every year."

While he rose to be a giant in his profession, Tenopir just as fondly recalled when he was an up-and-comer in Lincoln. He remembered getting about $1,000 his first year as a grad assistant. He also drove a dump truck in the day and painted houses at night.

*********** The Beloit (Kansas) Trojans are off to a great start this year, and at least some of it has to be due to their motivation.

They’re playing for Noah Smith, a loved and respected teammate who was killed in an automobile accident in the offseason…

*********** Not sure what this says about the men at Cornell, but…

Cornell students passed a student-sponsored referendum to provide free tampons and pads in all Cornell bathrooms, with 78.6 percent of 3,034 voting students casting a ballot in favor.

The "#FreetheTampon" initiative aims to provide all bathrooms on campus of both genders—yes, men’s too—with free menstrual products throughout the year, and comes shortly after Brown University recently implemented a similar program. 

The reasoning behind stocking both men’s and women’s restrooms with feminine products is that not all people who menstruate are women, when accounting for the transgender population.

*********** Still on the campus front...

A group of student activists at Texas A&M University is demanding that the school incorporate a mandatory anti-racism class into the core curriculum.

What’s more, the group of students, known as “TAMU Anti-Racism” is also demanding that the university implement penalties for any sort of racist behavior. 

“We have three main pillars we want to see accomplished,” student member Emilio Bernal told The Battalion. “We want this mandatory class, more minority students and faculty on campus, and for there to be penalties for racist behavior on campus.”

Said one of the students, “Racial justice is just as important as mathematics, English, and science.”

*********** Some dumbass picked the wrong Trump supporter to give sh-- to on a recent flight…

***********  NFL Week 3 Overnights: Debate Sends MNF to Likely Record Low

It would not have been much of a draw under any conditions, but against the first presidential debate, Falcons/Saints was about as minuscule a draw as Monday Night Football has ever seen.

The Week 3 Falcons/Saints Monday Night Football game earned a 5.7 overnight rating, down 36% from Chiefs/Packers last year (8.9), down 38% from Bears/Jets in 2014 (9.2) and the lowest for any NFL telecast through the first three weeks of the season. Ratings peaked at a 6.9 from 8:45-9 PM ET, the final quarter-hour before the debate started.

The 5.7 is likely the lowest in the history of Monday Night Football. Complete overnight records were unavailable, but the lowest final rating in franchise history is a 5.1. No other MNF telecast has gone lower than 5.7 in the final nationals.

Coverage aired opposite the first presidential debate, which had a combined 46.2 rating across nine broadcast and cable networks. The last time MNF faced a presidential debate, Week 7 in 2012, Lions/Bears scored a 7.3 overnight. That game faced both a presidential debate and Game 7 of the MLB National League Championship Series.

ESPN’s telecast earned a 14.1 rating in Atlanta and a 12.5 in New Orleans. Coverage was simulcast on local affiliates in both markets, earning a 25.8 on New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU. Local affiliate ratings in Atlanta were not immediately available. Denver was the top neutral market with an 8.7, with Richmond (7.7) and Nashville (7.4) rounding out the top five.

*********** Amazing - here's an article on how/why the NFL’s TV ratings are down and it never mentions Colin Kaepernick.  It must have been written by the same government official who notes that five women were shot and killed at a  mall by a guy who came here from Turkey  and then informs us that police are still looking for a motive…

*********** By the way, the guy who killed five people in Washington last week, although not a citizen (he is a “permanent legal resident”), has voted in three elections.  (All you have to do in Washington to register online is to affirm that you are a citizen.)

Nowhere could I find how many times he'd voted in those elections.

So here we have people running for President of the United States who lie openly and brazenly - and yet we’re expected to take the word of someone who comes here from a Third World country and brings his values with him?  (Gee - I wonder which way he votes.)

Not to worry, says the Washington Secretary of State, who’s in charge of such matters: “we want to make sure that everybody has confidence that people casting ballots are eligible.”

Yeah, right.  Of course we have confidence.  With online registration and mail-in voting, what could possibly go wrong?

And,  as we all know, requiring voter ID is a right-wing, racist plot to suppress voting.

Nothing to worry about here, folks.

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

Three longtime sports media execs are planning to launch a spring football league by ’18. Former NBC, TBS and MSG exec Michael Lardner, former NBC, CBS, TBS and WWE exec Rex Lardner and MSG CFO Robert Pollichino are behind the Spring League of American Football (SLAF). The league plans to launch with 10 teams playing a 10-game regular-season schedule that runs from April through early July.

The league will place teams in regional areas, like the Texas/Southwest region and the Florida/Southeast region, and will feature players that have some sort of geographic affiliation to the area. The three execs say they are negotiating with additional ownership groups and media companies, and expect to have more announcements later this year or early next year.

I wish them all the luck, but I'm highly skeptical,  because if it made any sense the NFL would have already been on it. In fact, they already have - and they’ve given up on it.

But one thing I have maintained for some time is that the colleges are leaving a lot of money on the table by not playing at least one spring game.

Oh well,  what the hell - at least it’ll be football.   And it’s not my money.   Just so long as they either do away with the national anthem or the dolts who refuse to stand for it.

american flag TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 27,  2016   “When it is absolutely a question of the safety of one’s country, there must be no question of just or unjust, of merciful or cruel, of praiseworthy or disgraceful; instead, setting aside every scruple, one must follow to the utmost every plan that will save her life and keep her liberty.” Niccolo Machiavelli

*********** One definite caveat if you play ball-control offense:   make sure you stay on offense.

That philosophy worked well for us Friday night against a tough opponent, Kalama.  

Up to a point.

We stayed on offense, moving the ball in long stretches while playing solid defense. 

For a half.

Thanks to 177 yards rushing and scoring drives of 80 and 55 yards - and sound defensive play - we led, 12-7 at halftime.

But early in the second half, we lost our workhorse A-Back, and - life at a small school - without an adequate replacement,  there went our offense.  With our offense held to just  50 yards in the second half,  our defense spent too much time on the field, and we wound up losing, 28-12.

We’re now 2-2, and this week we begin league play at Raymond.

If you haven’t been counting (I have),  that’ll make four away games in our first five games.  Are you kidding me?

*********** There comes that time for all of us, but knowing that doesn’t make the loss of Arnold Palmer any less painful, any less sad.

By any measure - as a golfer, as a businessman, as a man -  he was truly one of the giants of my lifetime.

It’s seldom that a man can achieve the greatness and the worldwide renown of an Arnold Palmer and not alienate some  people along the way, but that was not Arnold Palmer.

He was warm, friendly and considerate of others.  Anyone who knew him, and many more who never did, loved him.

When he began to play golf, the life of most pro golfers was hand-to-mouth.  His wife married him against the better judgement of her father, who wanted better for his daughter than the life of a pro golfer.

He not only grew with the sport of golf, but more than any other single person, with his aggressive, daring style of play he captured the imagination of the public and  helped golf grow into a major sport.

He walked with kings - kings of sport, kings of industry, and real, honest-to-god kings - yet never lost the common touch.

He built a business empire worth untold millions, and could have lived like a lord anywhere in the world, yet he chose to live on the same golf course in Latrobe, Pennsylvania where his father was both the pro and the greenskeeper, and where he first learned to play the game.

My condolences to the people of Latrobe, to whom he meant so much, and to my friend Tom Hinger, a Latrobe native and, like me, an Arnie admirer.

I’m terribly saddened.  We will never see his like again. 

God bless him.

*********** Watch out, Under Armour - you’ve been out-uglied.   Oregon jumped the shark Saturday when they put on Nike-designed costumes instead of uniforms, costumes with orange stockings and shoes meant to look like real duck’s legs and feet. Losing is bad enough.  Losing and being a laughing stock is as bad as it gets.

It takes a certain arrogance to dress in ridiculous getups and then go out and play, and Colorado responded to the insult by winning - right in Autzen Stadium, where at one time visiting teams almost needed the permission of the governor to beat the Ducks.

*********** While Donald Trump is derided for his call to build a fence to keep people out, some in Sweden are proposing a fence -  to keep people in.

With the news that Sweden now has at least 50 “no-go” areas - violent, lawless places inhabited by Muslim immigrants  where even  the police don't dare go, a number of Swedes are suggesting that the only solution is going to be to build walls around those places to keep their inhabitants - and their violence - contained.

*********** After watching a couple of hits delivered to Stanford ball carriers and receivers by UCLA defenders, I’m left wondering what it’s going to take to get Pac-12 officials to call “targeting.”

They pay lip service to player safety but continue to allow defensive backs to assault receivers.

All that is needed is a definition of the term "tackle" - I’d be happy to sit down with a couple of other coaches and a good lawyer and I think we could do it in an hour or so.

For example, where there's contact above the waist of the ball carrier, there would have to be an obvious attempt to grasp.  None of this arms-tucked-in, human missile sh—.

As I said, I’m confident that we could easily draft a definition.

And then, if a hit were to occur that  does not fit the definition, it would by definition not be an attempt to tackle, but by default an attempt to punish (injure).

Targeting by delivering blows above the numbers is a relatively new phenomenon and it has changed the nature of football from a rough game in which the object is to tackle a ball carrier to a vicious, dangerous one in which the object is to harm him. 

It doesn't take a genius to see how this endangers our game.   Be honest - would you want your son - or grandson - exposed to this viciousness?

Most angering to me is that targeting is basically a cowardly act,  the football version of the knockout game, because while the hitter/human missile is delivering a potentially-lethal blow to his helpless victim, there is minimum risk to him.

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

two weeks worth of games to tell you about.  Lost last week vs. tough Canandaigua team 32-14.  it was a 10-7 game (them) through 3 quarters so it was actually a close game for most of the night.  They were tough and we moved the ball but stalled out a few times.  I didn't call my best game and probably "reached" for some offense more than usual rather than be patient.  Tried a few old trick plays (like 47 shuffle) and a halfback pass. Threw a lot more than I probably should have given how it worked out -got off schedule too much.  Anyway we got picked 3 times and thats why the final was a little more lopsided.  

Back to basics last week and renewed focus on Tight formation and the handful of plays that we always run.  Back to trying to attain perfection.  Worked well Friday night.  We rushed 55 times for 643 yards and scored 63 pts.  Alton Jones a JR C back ran 26 for 491 and 7 ads (caught our only pass completion of the night for his 8th TD).  This was a Section V record and is the third best single game rush total for an individual in state history.  He broke 6 long ones of his 7 rushing TDs ranging from 45-80 yards.  5 of them were on 47-C.  It was pretty amazing.  Interestingly enough he had 399 at the half!  His coach (me) was either dumb enough to distribute the ball a little more evenly - or smart enough to "slow the game down" - since we were up 49-32 at half.  Nobody scored in the 3rd quarter as we ate up clock mixing the FB game in quite a bit.  Final was 63-39.   We are 3-1 and face HFL for homecoming this week.  The playoffs look tough as does the rest of our regular season but I like my kids a lot win lose or draw and I think they will give people a run for their money.

John Dowd
Spencerport, New York

*********** Spencerport NY running back Alton Jones set a new upstate New York record Friday night with 491 yards rushing.

The junior rushed for 491 yards on 26 carries, almost 19 yards per carry, to break the Section V single-game rushing record. It ranks third on the state's best single-game rushing performances.

Canandaigua's Kaheem Gist previously held the record with 449 yards rushing in a 2007 game.

Seven of Jones' rushes went for touchdowns, and he added an eighth on a 13-yard reception. His eight scores helped Spencerport (3-1) defeat Irondequoit (2-2) 63-39.

He had 399 rushing yards at halftime.

Here's the important part:  his coach, John Dowd, is an old friend, and I know that he didn't do anything out of the ordinary to set any records.  HIs aim was to win a game.

(Thanks for the link to the story from Coach Russ Meyers of Annapolis, Maryland.)

*********** It took us back a few years, but my friend Don Shipley, whose dad, Dick Shipley, was my coach when I played for the Frederick, Maryland Falcons in 1968 and 1969, emailed me that Wisconsin’s freshman QB, Alex Hornibrook, could be related to John Hornibrook.

John Hornibrook was from the Delaware County, Pennsylvania area.  He had played QB for Miami and, his college career over, was persuaded by the Ridley Township Green Knights, a powerful Philly-area team, to come on board as a backup to their starting QB, a great passer from Temple named John Waller.  We were very impressed that they had signed a guy who’d started at Miami,  but we weren’t aware that an injury to his throwing arm had ended his playing days at Miami.

Anyhow, Alex Hornibrook is also from the Philly area.  He played high school ball at Malvern Prep, a long-time rival of my alma mater, Germantown Academy, and he’s the grand-nephew of John Hornibrook.

Research on John Hornibrook led me to a great story that he was involved in when he played for Miami.  The Hurricanes were playing Florida, and the Gators had the game well in hand.  But their QB, John Reaves, was in reach of Jim Plunkett’s all-time career passing yardage record, and they wanted him to break it.   Trouble was, Miami had the ball.  So the Gator defense flopped - yes, fell to the ground - allowing Hornibrook to roll out and score, untouched.

And then the Gators got the ball back, and Reaves got his record.  I’ll bet he was really proud.

*********** It’s getting very hard to support certain teams… to support the sport of football itself, for that matter…

*********** Before Texas A & M wound up blowing out Arkansas…

The score was 17-17 and Arkansas had driven 94 yards to a 3rd and goal from the 1.  The Hogs were driven back, and failed to score on fourth down.

Seconds later, A & M threw a 92-yard touchdown pass, and the rout was on.

It’s possible for an entire game to hinge on a matter such as making the right call on 3rd and one. (Or, conversely, stuffing your opponent on 3rd and one.)

*********** Tennessee, down 21-3, scored 38 straight points to win 38-28.

*********** WTF Department?

          Mississippi State plays AT UMASS?  Are you kidding me?  Attendance:  13,074. In Gillette Stadium.   Have you ever seen what a crowd like that looks like in Gillette Stadium?

          Vanderbilt plays AT WESTERN KENTUCKY? (And then has to win in OT)

*********** Give Vandy credit - about to be upset by Western Kentucky, they had time for one play to send the game into OT - and they lined up in I formation and ran off-tackle and got the score.  They won in OT when WKU went for two and the win and failed to get it.

*********** Ole Miss finally built a lead that it couldn’t blow, and trounced Georgia.

*********** Notre Dame went up 14-0 over Duke and the game looked to be over, with plenty of the first quarter left to play.

And then Duke returned the kickoff for a TD, and proceeded from there to play the pants off the Irish.

The Notre Dame DC was fired afterwards, as if he was the reason, but the difference, it appeared to me, was that Duke played with the enthusiasm of a bunch of kids who believed they were going to win, while Notre Dame’s players appeared lifeless, resigned to the fact that they were going to lose to a team they were supposed to beat.

Oh - and Duke was exceptionally well prepared and well coached. 

*********** It  may have escaped your attention, but Wake Forest is 4-0.  

*********** Colorado redshirt freshman QB Steven Montez, making his first start, led the Buffs to a win over the Oregon Ducks - at Autzen - with 333 yards passing (23 of 32) and 135 yards rushing.

*********** After the events of the last couple of weeks - the death of a promising young starting corner, followed by a trip to one of the most remote schools in the country - UTEP - where the team played lights-out football to go 3-0, it isn’t hard to believe that Army could have experienced a let-down against Buffalo Saturday night.

Army rushed for 400 yards, but the Black Knights killed several drives with  turnovers and penalties, and  lost their first game of the season, 23-20, in overtime.

They lost their placekicker while making the tackle on the opening kickoff.

That loss wound up hurting Army big-time.  The replacement - who had been the holder - missed one at :03 for the win,  and then missed another one in OT.

Maybe worst of all, on the first play of overtime, a nice gain was nullified by a chop-block penalty.

Maybe the chop blocking had been going on, maybe not.  Whether or not the call was justified, a chop block is a calculated risk when you’re using what amounts to an old-time blocking scheme that often combines one linemen releasing outside an opponent to the next level while the lineman to his backside is trying to cut that same opponent.

Anyhow, YOU try starting OT with a first-and-25.

***********  Up to now,  Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson has been able to keep the hate-that-offense people quiet for one reason - his triple option has worked.  But when Clemson holds it to under 100 yards in the first half, and nothing much works in the second half - think there isn’t trouble in Atlanta?

*********** Samantha Ponder is becoming as overexposed as Erin Andrews once was, and thanks to whoever is coaching her to be overexpressive, she is becoming just as annoying.

*********** The final score was Stanford 22, UCLA 13,  but it’s deceptive - the final Stanford score came on a scoop-and-score on the final play of the game when UCLA QB Josh Rosen was sacked and fumbled.  Something like an empty-net goal in hockey.

*********** You probably didn’t stay up to watch it if you live in the East, but Washington beat Arizona in OT, for the first Huskies’ win in Tucson since 2006.

But that shouldn’t diminish the heroics of ‘Zona QB Brandon Dawkins, playing in place of injured starter Anu Solomon.  Dawkins made an incredible play to tie the game, 28-28 with 17 seconds left to play, and send it into overtime.

He gave the Huskies fits all night, and his stats showed why: 176 yards and two touchdowns rushing, 167 yards and a touchdown passing.

*********** The Baton Rouge Advocate reported Sunday afternoon that Les Miles had been fired as LSU head coach.

To think that he’d still have his job if it hadn’t been for a loss to an Auburn team that needed SIX field goals (you read that right) to do it - not to mention the disallowing of a last-second winning LSU touchdown.

So the hunt is on for Miles’ successor.  In the meantime, old faithful Ed Orgeron will serve as interim head coach, a position he held when he was an assistant at USC at the time Lane Kiffin was fired.

Although LSU will undoubtedly go for a name hire,  but depending on the job he does under trying conditions, they could do a lot worse than Orgeron, a Louisiana guy.

Orgeron did such a good job picking up the pieces after Kiffin - the Trojans were 6-2 under him -  that USC should have hired him, but he wasn’t polished enough for the hoity-toity USC alums.  So they went for  the “polish” and look what they got - Steve Sarkisian.

*********** If LSU is willing to pull the pin on its head coach in mid-season, can USC be next?  How about Notre Dame?  (The Irish, remember, did it to Tyrone Willingham.)

Charlie Weis is rested and ready.

american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 23,  2016   "The first and foremost requisite of a good football player is that he must have a burning desire to play the game. There is absolutely no substitute for this." Frank Leahy, legendary  Notre Dame coach

*********** According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, in the 25 years from 1990 and 2014, nearly 3 million American soccer players between the ages of 7 and 17 sustained soccer-related injuries serious enough to send them to a hospital ER.

Part of the reason is that the number of kids playing soccer nearly doubled from 1990 to 2014.

But it’s more than that:  pro-rata, for every 10,000 soccer players, the number ending up in an ER more than doubled during that time.

The most common types of injuries were sprains or strains (35%), then fractures (23%), then soft-tissue injuries (22%) and then concussions.

Major causes of injury were (1) being hit  by a soccer ball or being “hit by, kicked by, stepped on, elbowed or kneed” by another player; (2) falling, tripping, or being tripped; (3) “twisting,” resulting in knee or ankle injuries.

But, going a long way to explain why soccer is loved by today’s overprotective parents, only 6% of the injuries resulted from a collision with another player.

There was an increase in concussions, attributed  possibly to “more aggressive play,”  but almost certainly in part because of the “growing awareness among players, coaches, athletic trainers, medical professionals and the public in general about the potentially serious consequences of sports-related concussion,” according to the authors of the study.

The number and rate of concussions in youth football have also increased in recent years, and likely for some of the same reasons, the study authors said.

The authors recommend that soccer leagues should also consider requiring “protective headgear.”

No doubt there will be a federal program to provide headgear for the children of refugees so they can continue to play the game they love once they come to our towns.

Wouldn’t want them to become assimilated by  learning to play American games, as millions of other immigrants once did.

*********** Pointing With Pride - Last Weekend’s Double Wing (and Open Wing) Wins

Coach Joe Gutilla - We are now 3-1 thanks to the leg of a freshman kicker that helped us come from behind to win 17-16 on Friday night. With just under 2 minutes left in the game our opponent scored to go up 16-14.  We took the ball at our own 35 with one T.O. left.  After a short drive to their 40, and only 56 seconds remaining we fell short of a first down on 3rd down by 5 yards.  Calling our last T.O. I elected to have my young kicker go in and kick a 42 yard FG (he had made three 40 yard FG's in practice on Thursday).  I know...either ballsy or crazy on my part. Wouldn't you know it.  He calmly went in and drilled it through the uprights to take the lead. Frankly...he cleared the crossbar by 10 yards.  We sealed the win with an interception on their last drive.  Geneva had not been beaten in 23 straight games.







*********** Fellow Yalie Matt Oravetz, Class of ’92, wrote to ask if I’d seen Saturday’s Yale-Colgate score.

I hadn’t.  Gulp. It was Colgate 55, Yale 13.

In 144 years of  Yale football, the 42-point difference tied for Yale’s worst loss ever in the Yale Bowl, along with the Elis’ 63-21 loss to UConn in 1998.

The Colgate loss is not easily explainable.

The UConn loss was understandable.  The 1998 game between Yale and UConn was the final one in a 49-game series that began in 1948, and the programs were growing further and further apart.

After years of being dominated by its more prestigious  Ivy-League in-state rival, UConn began making plans to move to Division I, and as their program grew stronger, they won 14 of the last 16 games in the series.   Can you say trouncings?  UConn won 10 of the last 11 by a combined score of 404-156.

They’ve gone their separate ways now, and it’s not likely that Yale football - or Ivy League football for that matter - will ever return to the position of prominence it once occupied atop the football world.

There actually was a time not so long ago that Yale was able to recruit players of the calibre of Calvin Hill, Gary Fencik and John Spagnola.  Carm Cozza was the coach of those Yale teams, and at the time of the 1998 game with UConn, he put it in financial terms that anyone could understand: ``A lot of the great players I had came to Yale for maybe $3,000 more than Notre Dame or Ohio State. Now it's $30,000.”

He meant that even though Ivy League schools gave no athletic scholarships, it didn’t cost a middle-class family that much more to send their football-playing sons to Yale.

That was 1998.  Now?  The annual cost of a Yale education is north of $60,000.  And still no athletic scholarships.  Prestige or not, even parents who are able to pay the full fare at Yale are going to think hard before turning down a full-ride to a decent FCS school.

The 1998 game was Cozza’s first as color commentator for Yale games.  Coincidentally, the first game he ever coached at Yale was against UConn.  In 1965.  The Huskies upset the Yalies, 13-6, for their first win ever over Yale.  Old Blues - Yale alums - who were accustomed to chalking up a win over UConn before moving on to the Ivy League schedule were not pleased.

Losing an opener is not something Yalies are used to.  Amazingly, according to the New Haven Register, the loss to Colgate was only the 19th opening-game loss in Yale football history.

*********** In Sacramento, some creep (he’s 30-some years old and the most significant line on his resume is his having taken  part in Occupy Wall Street protests), walked up to the mayor at a dinner, whispered in his ear, and then shoved a pie in His Honor’s face.  Uh-oh.  Big mistake.

This mayor happened to be former NBA player Kevin Johnson, and according to various eyewitnesses (and no telling how many smart phone cameras) he threw the turd to the floor and then landed anywhere from four to 12 punches  (accounts vary) to the guy’s face.

No doubt the guy will sue, claiming the mayor’s response was inappropriate to the offense.  I agree. He should have broken one of the guys’ legs, too.

Racism test:  Below are photos of the two participants. Without my telling you which one is which, you are to choose the one you’d want to run your city.  Or have dinner with.   If you’re a white guy and you chose the guy on the right,  damn - you ARE a racist!

Mayorpie guy

*********** Interesting facts about gambling from the Wall Street Journal…

*** Casinos maybe flashier, but lotteries account for 66 per cent of states’ total gambling revenue.

*** Based on the revenue they produce, Indian casinos ($29.34 billion in 2015) aren’t  very far behind commercial casinos ($38.32 billion)

*** Outside of Nevada, the most casino gambling is in California, whose Indian tribes generated about $7 billion in revenue.  But - big surprise - in terms of purely commercial casinos, Pensylvania ranks second.

*** More people are visiting Las Vegas, but they are not gambling as much - the amount of gambling per visitors is down15 per cent from the peak level of 2007.

*** Las Vegas strip casinos derive only 35 per cent of their revenues from gambling. More and more, they have to make it on food, nightclubs and entertainment.

*** 77% of casinos’ revenues come from slots, but younger people don’t seem to care for slots that much, and as a result slot revenue is down 16 per cent since 2007.

*** Hawaii and Utah are the only states that have no form of legal gambling.

*** Including lotteries, New York collects the most revenue from all forms of gambling ($3.2 billion). Pennsylvania is second ($2.4 billion)

*********** Army's Jackson remembered for life of 'promise and purpose'

NEW YORK by Ralph Russo of the Associated Press — The colors of Brandon Jackson's short life filled the church and helped tell his tale of "promise and purpose."

The bright green and gold jerseys on the dozens of high school football players, just like the ones Jackson used to wear. The NYPD blue on the colleagues of his mother, Morna Davis, a police detective. The white and gray uniforms worn by 10 bus-loads of U.S. Military Academy cadets who made the trip from West Point to say goodbye to a teammate, classmate and brother.

The framed black jersey with the dark gold 28, the number Jackson wore while quickly becoming one of the Black Knights' best players in a college football career that lasted just 14 games.

Hundreds of people came together Monday at a funeral for Jackson, the sophomore cornerback killed in a one-car accident during the early morning hours of Sept. 11 at the age of 20.

He was remembered for his uplifting smile and infectious confidence. For rapping 50 Cent lyrics on the school bus and pushing teammates to lift more weight than even coaches required of them. For an accent that mixed Queens with a splash of Savannah, Georgia. For never giving his mom a reason to "raise her hand to him." And for leaving Davis a new extended family.

"You will never have to worry years from now if this group of men will remember your son," academy superintendent Lt. Gen Robert L. Caslen said to Davis, an Iraq War veteran of the Army Reserve. "You may have lost Brandon, but you have gained about 120 new sons. And about 4,000 cadets."

Photos of Jackson were displayed on two large video boards at the front of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in the Jamaica section of Queens. They told the story "of a life barely 20 years lived, and it was jam-packed," the Rev. Alfonso Wyatt said during a rousing and rhythmic eulogy.

Baby Brandon with a Big Bird doll bigger than him. Jackson in his Bay Side Raiders Pee Wee football uniform. Celebrating at track meets. Prom. Graduation. Receiving his acceptance to the academy. Playing for the Black Knights.

The accident that killed Jackson occurred about 20 miles south of the West Point campus in Westchester County, according to police and the Academy. The crash, which remains under investigation, happened several hours after Army had defeated Rice in the Black Knights' home opener at Michie Stadium.

The team returned to the practice field a few days later and last Saturday improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1996 with a 66-14 victory at UTEP.

"Through you, his spirit was on the field," Jackson's uncle, Fitzgerald Miller, told his teammates.

The Black Knights play at Buffalo on Saturday.

When Davis was deployed, Jackson was sent to live with his grandparents in Savannah. It is in Georgia where he will be buried, Miller said.

Out of loyalty to his mother, Jackson developed a love for Army football.

"We can beat them boys," Miller recalled a young Jackson saying.

"Who is we?" his uncle asked.

"Army. Army can beat Navy," Miller said was the boy's reply.

Jackson mostly grew up in the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens and attended Holy Cross High School, a bus ride away in Flushing. The school has a tradition of playing some of the best football in the city. Recent graduates include former Stanford receiver Devon Cajuste and Carolina Panthers safety Dean Marlowe.

Longtime former Holy Cross coach Tom Pugh, who retired after the 2014 season, said he went to West Point to watch Jackson in the Army spring game this year. Pugh said he told Jackson the old coach expected his former player to make an interception during the intrasquad scrimmage.

"And he started laughing," Pugh said. "He goes, 'Coach, this is Army. We don't throw the ball.'

"And guess what, he got a pick in the spring game. He pointed up to the seats where I was. He was special. Special young man."

Jackson was being recruited by Lafayette College in Pennsylvania during high school, but when the coach recruiting him, John Loose, was hired by Army head coach Jeff Monken, the opportunity to play for the Black Knights became a reality.

Jackson earned a starting job as a freshman and had 68 career tackles and three interceptions.

"Brandon embodied everything it means to be part of this brotherhood," Army linebacker and co-captain Andrew King said. "Because of him, we're not afraid of failure."

Monken said Jackson had a disarming smile.

Even after a mistake on the field, "I couldn't stay mad at him," Monken said.

The program mourners received at the church had printed on the front over a photo of Jackson: "Celebration of a Life Full of Promise and Purpose." A two-hour viewing preceded the service, the casket half open to display Jackson in cadet's full dress and white cap. The service was about two hours and ended with Wyatt imploring those gathered to "keeping on marching."

"March through the tears. March through the fears. March through your pain. Keep on marching," he said to applause and replies of "Amen."

When it was over, the cadets, police officers and high school football players lined the usually busy two-lane street in front of the cathedral. Six cadets carried Brandon's casket, covered with an American flag, out of the church and slid it into an awaiting hearse as the rows of cadets saluted and a police officer played bagpipes.

The black car was filled with flowers, then drove away. Those left behind cried, hugged and slowly dispersed, making it clear that Wyatt's words from earlier would ring true.

"This is a seminal moment. A defining moment," Wyatt preached. "You will remember No. 28."

*********** Navy head coach Ken Niumatololo and the entire Navy staff attended the funeral of Army football player Brandon Jackson, who was killed in an automobile accident.

A very noble gesture by a very classy coach of a very classy institution.

*********** NOT EVERYTHING ABOUT THE NFL SUCKS… The Steelers’ DeAngelo Hall, The Wall Street Journal notes that in the long history of the NFL, only four runners  have had more  100+ yard games  at the age of 32  or older than the Steelers’ DeAngelo Hall (who has five).  They are:

John Riggins (13)
Franco Harris (8)
Emmitt Smith (8)
Jerome Bettis (7)

*********** Hi Coach, while not a coach myself, I've been a reader of your news for several years. I'd been reading a book about pre-WWI football and actually found a photo from 100 years ago picturing these players. As a football historian, you can probably figure out who they are. As a hint, the team manager was also president of the NFL during it's formative years and none of these players are in the Hall of Fame (possible injustice there). Anyway, I'm sure the attachment should be safe to open and if you don't know who these guys are let me know and I'll give the answer. Thanks for all you and the other like-minded coaches out there are doing for the sport of football.

Jeff Hansen
Casper, Wyoming

Hi Jeff-

Nice to hear from you.  I’m pleased to know that you’re a reader - and for several years at that.

Those would be the Nesser brothers of the Columbus Panhandles, originally a sandlot team and then an early NFL team.  Their manager was Joe Carr, later president of the NFL.

I appreciate your note and the photo - they’ve prompted me to write a little something about the Nesser brothers.

***********  We can all rattle off the names of famous brother acts in football  - the Olsens, the Van Burens, the Browners, the Fullers, the Mannings - and on and on.

But how many fans know that at one time one of the biggest draws in a sport that desperately needed ways to attract fans was a team that had SIX brothers playing on it.  The team was the Columbus Panhandles, and the brothers were the six Nesser brothers.

HYaks National anthem

*********** Breaking news!  A small-town high school team stood as one for the national anthem Friday night, and our cameras were there to record the historic event!   Their coach said he supported  them completely and  understood perfectly that they might want to show their respect for the flag and the nation it represented, as well as all the people over the years who’d made it possible for them to be able to play a game of football in a free country.  One player, asked why he and his teammates stood respectfully, said, “Because I’m an American, and it’s what Americans do.”

*********** I pray that the riots haven’t done lasting damage to Charlotte, but if the boys-in-the-girls-room issue hadn’t already promoted the NBA to pull its All-Star game from Charlotte, the chaos of the last two nights quite likely would have.  This recent uprising is significantly different from those we’ve witnessed in other cities in that this wasn’t North Baltimore - this time the rioters overran a vibrant, supposedly safe downtown area.  Peace will surely return to downtown Charlotte - broken windows will be fixed and looted businesses restocked - but human nature being what it is, people preferring to feel safe and all that, it could be a long time,  before visitors and workers and businesspeople view it the way they once did.

*********** Cornell’s  football Coach Roy Istvan has apologized to students who claim to be offended by an image he tweeted of two of his players wearing sombreros.

They were wearing sombreros because Istvan presents the “Big Hat Award” to a player or player who best exemplifies team spirit.

Not so fast, coach - that  was ”cultural appropriation”:   "They're appropriating a culture that isn't theirs and using it as a joke," a student wrote on his group's Facebook page. "It's disgusting and I'm ashamed that you can't see that."

Students have called on the student government to take action.

"So many of your fellow students' culture is being used as a prop consistently on this campus,” wrote one student, “and it is supported publicly by this university. Will you pass a proposition to recommend a faculty/staff diversity and cultural sensitivity training? Or will you just push it under the rug as you did the Cinco de Octubre event? I expect a response to this from the Minority Liaison."

This undoubtedly  surprised Coach Istvan, who was probably so busy coaching football that it never occurred to him that at an Ivy League school, everything offends somebody, so he issued one of those nauseous apologies that we've come to expect.

"I am truly sorry for the cultural insensitivity and understand how our expression of pride came at the expense of others in the Cornell community," he wrote on Twitter.

I have an idea what he really wanted to say, and just once I'd like to hear someone like that say it.  Can you imagine how those poor snowflakes who can't even bear the sight of a gringo wearing a sombrero would react if he told them "kiss my ass?"

Anyhow,  WTF are morons like this doing at Cornell?  How did they ever get away from Yale, the Alabama of political correctness?

***********  Wouldn’t the Mob have had a great time with this “cultural appropriation” sh— back in the early days of pizza?

Can’t you just see Little Nicky and Joey Bananas walking into the offices of Papa John’s and asking the CEO, John Schnatter, how much he, a non-Italian, was willing to pay them tribute for  appropriating such a treasured  part of their culture?

american flag TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 20,  2016   “I believe that football, perhaps more than any other sport, tends to instill in men perseverance - perseverance means 'not giving up,”'even when something is hard, and you feel discouraged. It is the self-discipline to follow a goal or a dream, with determination and patience, when you want to quit." General Dwight D. Eisenhower

***********  It took the North Beach Hyaks the better part of the game to get their act together, but they broke a scoreless tie by scoring twice in the fourth quarter within a span of two minutes to defeat the Toutle Lake Ducks Friday night, 14-0.  The Hyaks move to 2-1 on the season.

Although the Ducks marched to the Hyaks’ 10 on their first drive before being stopped on a fourth-and-one, the Hyaks’s defense was so stout that Toutle Lake crossed the 50 only once the rest of the game.

Meanwhile the North Beach offense, although able to put together a few decent drives, hurt itself with two fumbles and two interceptions, and didn’t begin to execute consistently until near the end of the third quarter.  Then, starting on their own 15 following a procedure penalty (the Hyaks were only penalized twice all night, for 15 yards) they marched 85 yards in 16 plays to score with 8:01 left to play.  Junior Tavo Muro ran it in from 7 yards out on a counter play.

The Hyaks missed the PAT, but recovered the kickoff on the Toutle Lake 45, and this time took only six plays to score, Muro carrying the final 15 yards - on a WEDGE - with 6:06 remaining.  (One or two defensive linemen had been submarining all night but possibly, as they wore down, they forgot their instructions.  Or else they finally said, “the hell with this.” ) Muro ran in the two-point conversion.

The Hyaks ran for exactly 300 yards on 59 carries. After only 102 yards in the first half, they ran for 198 yards in the second half.

Marcus Pope, a 195-pound sophomore, carried 33 times for 168 yards, and Muro carried 13 times for 103.

Next week, the Hyaks make a 3-hour trip to play Kalama, which last year won its league in a higher classification and this year is playing at North Beach’s level.

*********** Stanford beat USC.  Christian McCaffrey accounted for 260 all-purpose yards. Added to his 710 all-purpose yards against the Trojans in two games last season (including the conference championship game), that’s 970 yards in his last three games against USC.

Nebraska coach Mike Riley had lost seven straight games to Oregon before finally beating the Ducks Saturday.  Turned out  all he had to do was move from Oregon State, where he was fated to play perennial second fiddle to the Ducks, to Nebraska, where they have a tradition second to none.

Oklahoma has lost two in a row.

So has Notre Dame.

Alabama showed that it can take a punch.  Ole Miss showed - in case anyone needed any more proof - that with their defense, there’s no such things as a safe lead.

A dirty hit to the Alabama QB by a pass rusher’s helmet sure seemed to take place in the area of the QB’s jaw, but here was the lameass explanation by the officials:  The hit was “not indisputedly with the crown of the helmet to the head.”

I see.  So it’s okay to hit with the crown of the helmet (can anyone say “Chucky Mullins?”) - just don’t hit anyone in the head that way.

Ole Miss got a TD it didn’t deserve when,  as an Ole Miss player stepped on the 10 yard line on his way to a TD, back upfield at the 30 a teammate blocked an opponent in the back.  Genius.

Louisville showed that it may be in a class by itself in the ACC after totally thumping Florida State.  And Louisville QB Lamar Jackson showed that he might be this season’s outstanding player.  (Notice how I managed to avoid saying “Heisman?”)

*********** And then there’s Army, now 3-0 after a 66-14 shellacking of UTEP.    That was the most points scored by any Army team against a Division I school since the Blanchard-and-Davis national powerhouses of the 1940s.

It can’t have been fun for new UTEP defensive coordinator Tom Mason, an old friend from his days at Portland State in the late 1980s.

Army had 600 yards of total offense, 426 on the ground and 174 in the air.

Talk about ball control - the Black Knights had 32 first downs and didn’t turn the ball over once.  They converted on 10 of 12 third-down attempts.

Time of possession?  Army 41:40 to UTEP’s 18:20

*********** Following the Army-Navy game, it’s customary for the alma maters of both teams to be sung, loser first and winner second. During the long drought of wins over Navy,  “Sing second” has been Army’s hopeful but futile motto.

But when they play Wake Forest in a month or so, Army will “sing second,” win or lose.

Strong academics and school colors are two things that Army and Wake Forest have in common.

But in addition, coincidentally, their alma maters are set to the same tune.

So assuming that the two schools’ alma maters will be played after the game, Army can sing second either way, even if it means having to sing along the second time with the Wake Forest people.

(The game’s going to be a tough one for me, because although I'm a diehard Army fan, my grandson, Connor Love, is a sophomore at Wake, and any school that my kids or grandkids go to automatically becomes “my” school.)

*********** If it happens on the West Coast late Saturday night, when Easterners are fast asleep, did it really happen?

While you slept, Cal and Texas met in Berkeley and played a game for the ages.

Cal won, 50-43.  After going back and forth for the first two periods, Cal led at the half, 35-33 - and then, as if the coaches told their teams at halftime to slow down a bit, the two teams played a scoreless third quarter. 

Shortly after the start of the fourth quarter though, Texas went ahead 40-35 on a long run. Cal answered, and went for two, making the score 43-40.

Texas kicked a field goal with 8:29 to tie the score, but Cal scored on a pass with 3:41 left to take a seven point lead, 50-43.

That’s where it stood as Cal tried to run out the clock and Texas began using its time outs to stop it.  With 1:30 left, Cal faced a 3rd-and-1 on their own 55, when Vic Enwere broke through for a 55-yard touchdown run.

Make that 54 - and scratch the touchdown.

In another one of those brainless “no big deal - I score touchdowns all the time” stunts, Enwere casually dropped the ball to the turf - a yard short of the goal line, the video review would show.

As Cal players milled around in the end zone congratulating Enwere, a Texas player - somewhat belatedly - picked the ball up.

It should have been ruled a touchback, making it Texas’ ball on their own 20 with over a minute left to play, but the officials ruled that since there had been no “immediate recovery” by Texas, the ball belonged to Cal on the one.

Not good, officials.  Granted, Texas still would have had to go 80 yards in a little over a minute with no timeouts, but not good.

But look at it this way - when you bring up the NFL, the topic eventually works its way down to the level of highly-paid oafs flouting the concept of national unity, but when you talk about the college game, you talk about football.

*********** How many times have you set your DVR to record a college game and then, just to be safe, added on another half hour to the time the network allotted - only to find that you still ran out of time before the game ended?

How many of you are starting to find the same thing happening when you add on an extra HOUR?

My wife, who’s often the one who sets our DVR when games start while I’m still at practice, shares my frustration, and knowing that the major reason why games are going so long is that there’s so much passing (too much, if you ask me), asks quite reasonably why the clock has to stop after an incomplete pass.

We are well past the day when they had to stop the game to retrieve the football - the only one provided - after an incomplete pass went into the tall grass.

Look - I don’t want to alter the game to the point where a team can’t go 80 yards with under two minutes to play, aided by what amount to  time outs awarded simply because it throws incomplete passes.

I wonder if it’s too much to ask for a rule change allowing the clock to stop for maybe 10 seconds to allow teams to get back to the line of scrimmage after an incomplete pass.  It makes no sense to reward a team with an unearned time out simply because it threw an incompletion.

The same 10-second rule would apply, of course, to that perversion of the game known as “spiking the ball.”

*********** Missed the start of the Oregon-Nebraska game because we had to hear the post-game interview with Bobby Petrino after The Game That Just Wouldn’t End.

It’s official, by the way - Petrino, for all his faults, can coach the game.

*********** Kudos to North Dakota State.  What was Iowa’s AD thinking when he scheduled them?

The game itself was hard to watch.  Or at least listen to.

That’s because the PC guys at the network insist on inflicting Beth Mowins on us. 

My wife says she’s tired of hearing female voices on football games, and I agree.  But Beth Mowins takes it to another level.  She’s got a harsh voice and a harsh accent that reminds me of that Woman Who Wants to be Our First Female President.

Yes, I know that makes me sound like a  misogynist. Such is life. So where’s my “KISS ME - I’M DEPLORABLE” tee shirt?

*********** The national anthem before the Rams-Seahawks game took so long that under other circumstances, in earlier times, if I were at the game I might have been tempted to sit down partway through.

*********** Speaking of the Rams-Seahawks game, a 9-3 masterpiece representative of the pro game at its finest -  can you imagine paying the prices they charge to watch what amounted to a 3-1 soccer game in football gear?

*********** Or how about the Chiefs-Texans game?  19-12, Texans.  One TD and EIGHT field goals!

There was the Broncos-Colts game - 5 TDs (only 3 of them scored by the offenses) and SIX field goals.

And there was the Giants-Saints thriller: Giants 16, Saints 13. ONE offensive TD and FIVE field goals.

You've got to admire the NFL for being able to brainwash the American public into thinking that this dreck is worth paying good money to watch.

*********** “Our leaders want to package terrorists into nice neat boxes. So they conclude that if a terrorist is not a member of a terror group the violent act they perpetrate is not considered terror. The obvious example is the terror at Fort Hood, officially classified as workplace violence.

“Even more poignant is the Orlando terrorist. The perpetrator was actually on the phone with local media bragging that he was part of ISIS and explaining that his actions were motivated by a need to defend Islam.  He even repeatedly chanted the Islamic terrorist battle cry: ‘Allahu Akbar.’  Yet, the US Attorney General still responded by saying ‘We may never really know the motivation behind the attack.’”

Micah Helpern, The Observer

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

This weekend helped finally convert some people into believing in the power of THE WEDGE play.  I have only coached this league for two years, but according to others, this is the first time that our team has ever won a game against this powerful team and my fellow coach cannot stop talking about how we scored on one of our TD run plays.  We were on about the 18 yard line trying to go in for a score in the second quarter, and the other coach wanted to know what play I thought we should run.  We had been moving the ball pretty good with sweeps, but had not run much up the middle so far.  The defense had begun loading the outside edges to stop our sweeps and were having some success.  I immediately said to run THE WEDGE and watch what happens.  My fellow coach looked at me in shock and wanted to know if I sure this was the place for THE WEDGE?  and I confirmed that now was the perfect time!  Our running back is not big, or super fast, but has gotten tougher this year and is very coachable.  I knew he would do his best to get every yard he could.  We practice THE WEDGE every day in practice, so I was confident on what was about to happen.  The kids got so tight and the ball carrier was so well protected, he walked into the end zone for the TD.  My fellow coach said if we had a big umbrella, everyone could have been under it as they marched in for the score.  It was a great game and lots of fun, and THE WEDGE made it all the more special.  Thanks for your help all these years as I have learned so much from you and the videos you have produced.   

Kind regards,

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina   

american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 16,  2016   “No kingdom can stand when two feeble princes follow in succession.”  Niccolo Machiavelli

*********** Pointing With Pride - Last Weekend’s Double Wing (and Open Wing) Wins

Elmwood-Brimfield (3-0) Elmwood, Illinois -  56-12 over Peoria Height-Quest
From HC Todd Hollis -  It rained here all week and their field is in a bowl.  There was standing water in spots and generally it was a soggy place even before the game started.  By the end it was one of those fun games of spit and slop and general stink.  The double wing is tailor-made for that environment and we slogged our way to a 56-12 victory.  Their spread suffered mightily (I bet the football weighed 17 pounds by the end of the game!).

Ridgeview High, Colfax Illinois  52-6 over Flanagan-Cornell-Woodland
From new OC - and longtime Double Wing head coach Mike Benton: The Ridgeview Mustangs ended a 30 game losing streak with a win over Flanagan-Cornell-Woodland 52-6.  We rushed for 461 yards on 42 carries and were two for two passing for 76 yards and two tds.  Very proud of our kids efforts tonight as six different players scored. 

Beloit, Kansas (2-0) - 58-52 over Ellsworth
Beloit outscored Ellsworth 36-26 - in the fourth quarter!  Beloit rushed 81 times for 502 yards, with Trojan Hunter Budke accounting for almost half of Beloit’s carries and half of its rushing total (40 for 249).  The Trojans completed 3 of 8 for 29 yards. Ellsworth completed 16 of 37 for 300 yards and rushed for 204. A major difference? Beloit, which never kicks PATs,  was 5 of 8 on 2-point conversions.

Oskaloosa, Kansas (2-0) - 14-6 over Horton

Frontier Regional (1-0) South Deerfield, Massachusetts -  20-0 over Drury

Elmira/Southside, New York (2-0) - 42-20 over Horseheads

Hoosic Falls, New York (2-0)  44-21 over Hoosick Valley - Hoosic Falls now ranked #4 in state

Queensbury, New York (2-0) - 47-6 over Albany Green Tech

Spencerport, New York (2-0) - 21-14 over Greece-Arcadia

East Jordan, Michigan (2-0)  - 34-6 over Central Lake

Polo, Missouri (4-0)  36-21 -  over Gallatin

Sciotoville, Ohio (3-0) - 15-8 over Alexander

St. Dominic Savio, Austin, Texas (2-1) - 48-0 over  Austin Brentwood Christian    

Did I miss your team?  Email me:

Brandon Jackson
***********  With great sadness, the entire West Point family notes the tragic death in an automobile accident last weekend of Brandon Jackson, a model cadet and outstanding football player…

One of the great tragedies of the loss of such a promising young man is that we will never know what a great leader he might have become.

At a place whose graduates are prepared to serve our country in time of great danger to us and them, the loss of one of its own,  in war or peace, brings the West Point community together in a way that never fails to amaze and inspire  me.

This note from the Army Football Club, the association of former West Point football players, went out to its members…

The AFC will be sending flowers on behalf of the Brotherhood and we will have some representation in attendance as well.

Grip Hands...

Be Thou at Peace, Brandon.

“Grip hands” refers to a line from a West Point hymn called “The Long Gray Line," the term given to  all who have graduated from West Point.  It calls for them all - “though they be from the shadows” - to join and grip hands in one long, unbroken line.

“Be Thou at Peace,” is from the last stanza of the West Point alma mater…

And when our work is done,
Our course on earth is run,
May it be said, “Well done.
Be thou at peace.”

E’er may that line of gray
Increase from day to day;
Live, serve, and die, we pray,
West Point, for thee!

*********** Coach, I know you are extremely busy with football season, but we installed the DW up here in Alaska and have had some great success and some horrible games.  Two weeks ago we rushed for 412 yards and 56 passing yards, this past week we had about 125 total yards.  In the tough games we have seen a 6-2/4-4 defense with the DTs cutting our guards right off the snap.  This is shutting down our Wedge and makes it extremely difficult to pull.  How do we counter this?

I do not feel as if our offensive line is firing off the ball or very physical.  We have a good size line this year, but next year we will be small.  However, we will have an offseason strength and conditioning program so I am hoping we can make up for our size by adding strength.

I know I spoke with you about doing a camp up year during the summer, is that something you are still interested in doing?  Please let me know when you can, so I can make arrangements.  

Hi Coach-

From my earliest days of running the Double Wing, the first thing that comes to mind is not that the defense is that quick or your players are too slow.

Most likely, it's that your linemen are just not back far enough off the ball.

They are permitted to line up so deep that the tops of their helmets are even with the center’s waist.

Unless tou're already doing that, that should solve that problem. 

Also I suspect it might cure another problem:  most Double Wing linemen I see turn their shoulders when they pull, which causes them to run too wide a circle and get into the runner’s path.

If they aren’t lined up deep enough, they will almost certainly have to turn their shoulders in order to get past the center.  But if they are lined up deep enough, they will be able “slide” to playside, which is how we have progressed to teaching it.  They do NOT turn their sholders, even a little! They turn upfield at the first opening.  Since I’ve adopted that technique, it has solved that problem.

With your linemen back off the ball, you may now find yourself faced with another issue - if your QB is too close to the center, and if he’s not pulling the ball quickly to his “stones,”  there’s a chance that a pulling guard can knock it loose on a power or counter.   It's curable, but you need to be aware of this.

I address these things in my A Fine Line and Old School Blocking videos.

*********** I’m proud to be able to ask you to add the Plymouth South Youth Football midgets to the Black Lion Award list. I spoke with our president the other day and then wrote quite a long (maybe overkill) email about the award, sent an example of a nomination letter, the picture of young Brad Backlund with his patch and hand over heart, etc. The president (Kaitlin Davis, no relation) and my assistant (Ralph Guadagno, from Jersey, figuring out I have a lot of Italians on my team, maybe they settled further south than "Southie") have been incredibly supportive, especially when my mom passed away. They are always asking if I need anything else, Kaitlin is incredibly organized and tough, no nonsense, and we see eye to eye on how things should be run. Can't say enough great things about my experience here (they scheduled the end of year banquet to accommodate me before I fly back to NZ). Saturday night I saw young Brad (now a junior), Jack McKim (the boy who went to the Army lacrosse camp), and Cam Smith at Brad's, they are impressive young men.

I read your last blog entry from David Aldridge a number of you, I have difficulty equating the courage of a soldier with pretty much anything that civilians might encounter, but it was still awesome. Your saying, "make where you are the big time" is something I think about often, especially when I figure that I'm just a "youth coach", and kind of applies here. For my 13 and 14 year-old boys, this is their first opportunity to find "courage", a lesson that they will apply later on in their lives when faced with "grown-up" adversities.

Good luck this week.

Rick Davis
Plymouth, Massachusetts

ENROLL YOUR TEAM: - contact me at

*********** “Our schools are founded on the teaching of respect and honor; respect and honor for God, country and duly appointed authority,” wrote Supterintendent Mary Boyle to all Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, which covers the southern part of the state.

“The best approach is helping our young people understand that blood was sacrificed so that we all can enjoy the gifts of our faith and our country.”

“Players, coaches and administrators are expected to show respect during prayer, pledges and the playing of the national anthem.”

“Failure to demonstrate appropriate respect,” she added,  “will result in suspension from play (2 games) or dismissal from the team for a subsequent offense.”

At one of the Diocesan schools, Bishop Eustace High, in Pennsauken,  the football team is required to stand at attention.

“Helmet under left arm. Stand straight. Chest out. Eyes ahead,” said assistant athletic director Frank DelRossi. “We think it’s important, and our kids do too.”

Exactly as we teach it at North Beach High.  We don’t have to put it in the form of a “requirement.”  It’s simply “what we do as Hyak football players,” and I can't imagine even coaching a kid who would use a team function as the time and place to draw attention to himself.

Writes Todd Starnes on his blog,,

To be clear -- professional football players have a Constitutional right to demonstrate their hatred of America. They have a right to denigrate our troops and desecrate the flag.

But we have rights, too. We have the right to boycott their games along with the corporate sponsors who finance their anti-American platforms.

Eli Harold, a 49ers teammate who raised his fist in defiance of our nation, told ESPN he was furious that fans objected to the protest.

“What really pissed me off was when Kap was getting snaps at the end of the game and the crowd was booing,” he told ESPN. “I’m not throwing shots at our fans. It’s not about that. Liberty and justice for all. Just because this man is standing up for something he believes in doesn’t give you the right to boo him. I just don’t understand it, man. I really don’t.”

Eli Harold, you dolt, it’s called the First Amendment. Fans most certainly do have the right to boo and heckle and boycott.

Now you understand why so many people are disgusted with the National Football League.

And that’s why it was so refreshing to hear about the edict handed down by the Diocese of Camden. They are teaching young men to be patriots - men of honor and duty. It’s instruction that’s badly needed in the National Football League.

Maybe the diocese could send a delegation of nuns to the next 49ers game -- armed with rulers.

*********** Yale’s admissions office is making a change in the essay required as part of the application.

It’s eliminating the “Tell us about you” invitation to brag, and replacing it with the choice of two subjects (from a list of three).  Sounds like the new requirement is going to reward the “change the world” types.  Said the Dean of Admissions,  “We want to send a message to our applicants that Yale expects its students to be engaged citizens in our diverse community…”   Just what we need - more and more activists, whose first task on arriving at Yale will be to ferret out all things wrong (in their eyes) and demand change. 

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions recently released the essay topics that will appear on the 2016-2017 freshman application to Yale. Although most of the application will remain the same, the updated topics and application options will help to shed new light on applicants’ unique experiences with the communities to which they belong, their intellectual pursuits, and their diverse passions. The new questions also echo Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway’s priorities for Yale College and reflect input from Yale’s Faculty Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid.

(FYI - "Yale College" refers to the four-year undergraduate part of Yale University, which also encompasses the Medical and Law school as well as assorted other graduate schools.)

In his address to Yale’s incoming freshmen in August, Holloway challenged students to accept all the responsibilities of being a Yale citizen — from making substantive contributions to the community to embracing the challenges and differences of their new classmates. The Dean urged freshmen to “Journey into uncertainty and meet with excitement and passion all that confounds you, angers you, challenges you, and enthralls you. Come to these moments with integrity and honesty, and, most of all, dare to listen to what you hear.”

Holloway has made civic engagement a central part of his vision for Yale College. In an effort to support this vision, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions recently updated its freshmen application with new questions that ask students to reflect on citizenship in a community and on intellectual excitement.

Previous Essay Prompt

Please reflect on something you would like us to know about you that we might not learn from the rest of your application,  or on something about which you would like to say more. You may write about  anything — from personal experiences or interests to intellectual pursuits.

New Short Essay Topics

Please choose two of the following topics and respond to each in 200 words or fewer:
    •    What is a community to which you belong? Reflect on the footprint that you have left.
    •    Reflect on a time in the last few years when you felt genuine excitement learning about something.
    •    Write about something that you love to do.

*********** An amazing article sent me by my friend Shep Clarke of Puyallup, Washington puts the upcoming election in terms that ought to make any thinking American realize what’s at stake…

You sure can’t beat his opening analogy…

2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.

The author accuses so-called “Never Trump” conservatives of being the political version of the  Harlem Globe Trotters’ favorite foils…

If you’re among the subspecies conservative intellectual or politician, you’ve accepted—perhaps not consciously, but unmistakably—your status on the roster of the Washington Generals of American politics. Your job is to show up and lose, but you are a necessary part of the show and you do get paid.

The conservatives think that even if the Republicans lose, they’ll still have their jobs and their paychecks - but the author contends that if the Democrats win this one, they’ll be so powerful that they won’t even need the appearance of an opposition…

So what do we have to lose by fighting back? Only our Washington Generals jerseys—and paychecks. But those are going away anyway. Among the many things the “Right” still doesn’t understand is that the Left has concluded that this particular show need no longer go on. They don’t think they need a foil anymore and would rather dispense with the whole bother of staging these phony contests in which each side ostensibly has a shot.

Conservatives win the mid-term elections, but not the Big One.  How come?  The deck is stacked against them, in three ways…

… we can’t win the big ones at all. Because the deck is stacked overwhelmingly against us. I will mention but three ways. First, the opinion-making elements—the universities and the media above all—are wholly corrupt and wholly opposed to everything we want, and increasingly even to our existence.

Second, our Washington Generals self-handicap and self-censor to an absurd degree. Lenin is supposed to have said that “the best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” But with an opposition like ours, why bother? Our “leaders” and “dissenters” bend over backward to play by the self-sabotaging rules the Left sets for them. Fearful, beaten dogs have more thymos.

Third and most important, the ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners with no tradition of, taste for, or experience in liberty means that the electorate grows more left, more Democratic, less Republican, less republican, and less traditionally American with every cycle. As does, of course, the U.S. population, which only serves to reinforce the two other causes outlined above. This is the core reason why the Left, the Democrats, and the bipartisan junta (categories distinct but very much overlapping) think they are on the cusp of a permanent victory that will forever obviate the need to pretend to respect democratic and constitutional niceties. Because they are.

The 2016 election, he contends,  is America’s final test…

The election of 2016 is a test—in my view, the final test—of whether there is any virtù left in what used to be the core of the American nation. If they cannot rouse themselves simply to vote for the first candidate in a generation who pledges to advance their interests, and to vote against the one who openly boasts that she will do the opposite (a million more Syrians, anyone?), then they are doomed. They may not deserve the fate that will befall them, but they will suffer it regardless.

*********** The back story of Central Michigan’s hard-earned but official-tainted 30-27 win over heavily-favored Oklahoma State: the Chippewas' head coach, John Bonamego, is a cancer survivor.   He spent most of the summer of 2015 undergoing radiation treatment for throat cancer.   A big win for a good guy.

*********** In our 14-13  win last Friday night,  our offense was hobbled,  and we couldn’t have won without one of our better defensive performances in recent years.  That includes teams that went 19-2 over the last two seasons.

Many of our kids who’d never played much high school football came up with outstanding plays, none better than that of a kid who wound up at outside linebacker because there was a need and he was available.  Great attitude, very coachable, fair coverage skills and decent size - but to be truthful, we had no idea how he was going to do.

On one particular play midway through the fourth quarter, as we fought to hold onto to 14-7 lead, an opponent broke free up the opposite sideline from him.  The play started on about our forty, and from clear on the other side, this kid took a great pursuit angle and caught the runner at about the 15-yard line, saving the score.   We held. 

They would score later, with 1:30 to go, and miss a 2-point conversion, but the importance of this play, coming when it did, is that if they had scored then they would likely have kicked the PAT to tie the game, and who knows how it would have played out from there?

When I complimented the kid on his effort, he said, simply,  “Texas Drill, Coach.”

No kidding.

Since I got the drill a couple of years again from my friend, Greg Koenig, who got it from a coaching friend in Texas, it has been a staple of our program.

I often find myself, when coaching a defensive player and talking to him about the correct pursuit angle to take, simply saying to him, “Texas Drill!” and I don’t need to say anything further.
Texas Drill

american flag TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 13,  2016   “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” Benjamin Franklin

***********  The North Beach Hyaks broke into the win column Friday night with a hard-fought 14-13 win over Life Christian Academy of Tacoma.  We were hobbled offensively by a series of mishaps and didn't get straightened away until we finally went into Ram formation (you guys who have the DVD Clinic Series know what I mean).

Our defense, on the other hand, played lights out against a team that must have thrown two dozen different offensive formations and motions.

We led 8-7 at the half, and14-7 after three quarters.  But Life Christian put together a late drive that brought them to within 14-13 with 1:30 to play.

Possibly because they faced a two-hour bus ride home and didn't want to go into overtime, they chose to go for two. They put the ball in the hands of their quarterback, who'd been a problem for us  all night, and  in one of the most amazing displays of effort, hustle and toughness I've ever seen on a team I've coached, we chased him around until we finally managed to knock him out of bounds three yards short of the goal line.

*********** With a convincing win over Rice, Army is 2-0 for the first time since 1996.  That’s 20 years, if you don’t want to do the math, since Army won its first two games.

6-2, 220 pound fullback Andy Davidson, from Emmaus, Pennsylvania, carried for 107 yards and three touchdowns, and QBs Ahmad Bradshaw  and Chris Carter ran the triple option offense beautifully.

Interestingly, two of Army's upcoming opponents played each other Saturday and the result of their game turned pre-season predictions upside down. Wake Forest, once considered a winnable game on Army’s schedule, defeated Duke; the Blue Devils were once considered one of the games (along with Notre Dame) that were out of reach.  Now, who knows? 

(Our local cable service in Ocean Shores, Washington doesn’t carry CBS Sports Channel, which televises all Army home games, so that means having to drive home to Camas, Washington - 3 hours away - to watch Army games, which kick off at 9 AM Pacific.  With a home game on Friday night, we get to sleep about 1:00 or so after grabbing a bite to eat and looking at some of that night’s college game.  And then, we’re up at 5 AM and on the road by 5:45 or so.  Not much traffic that early on a Saturday morning, so we’re almost always home before kickoff.  Away games for us, interestingly, are much easier because they’re all at least an hour closer to home, so we drive home right after an away game and arrive around midnight or so. )

*********** Just hours  winning its second straight game,  the Army team was shattered by the news of the death of starting cornerback Brandon Jackson, who was killed in a single-car accident early Sunday morning.

A sophomore from Queens, New York, Jackson had two solo tackles and one assist in Army's 31-14 win over Rice.

Said Army coach Jeff Monken, ”Words cannot describe the grief that our team is feeling over the loss of our brother and friend, Brandon.  He was a beloved teammate and our hearts are with his family at this time of tragedy."

Brandon Jackson’s  mother is an Iraq War veteran.

Rest in peace, Cadet Jackson.

*********** Hugh,
Please sign us up again to be part of the Black Lion Award.  This has become an important component of our
football program.  We stress TEAM and Teamwork!  I have a great group of young men this year.
Don Gordon
Frontier Regional
South Deerfield, MA

*********** Great college games that the NFL couldn’t possibly duplicate …

Pitt over Penn State - Penn State falls way behind, storms back, but Pitt intercepts a last second pass in the end zone.
Utah over BYU - BYU scores at the end but their two-point conversion try fails
Arkansas over TCU - Arkansas comes from behind, wins in OT

*********** Penn State was driving in the last minute or so, and after a clutch fourth down pass, the Lions were nearly in position for a tying field goal.

But with enough time on the clock to try to move the ball closer, they decided to get greedy and go for it all.

The QB wound up and threw it deep into the end zone, some 35 yards away, and the ball was intercepted, sealing the Pitt win - and despite the fact that it was a good pass and a Pitt defender made a great play,  the announcers blamed it on the quarterback. 

Right.  Blame it on a college kid.   Not on a coach who’s paid hundreds of thousands of dollars - millions, if it was the head coach - not to cost those kids the game.

*********** A Clemson player returned a Troy punt for what should have been a 75-yard touchdown.   Unfortunately, after 74 yards - a yard short of the TD - with no one close to him, he pulled a Joe Cool “I do this sh— all the time” stunt and casually dropped the ball a yard short of the goal line.  Touchdown?  My ass.  Touchback.  Troy’s ball on the 20.

*********** Oregon proved that Royce Freeman is the real deal.  A Double Wing A-Back in youth football, against Virginia Saturday he ran for 207 yards and two TDs including an 85-yard sprint to the end zone that served as sufficient proof that in addition to run-over-you strength (5-11, 230), he has breakaway speed.  What a shame that most people in the East will go the entire season without seeing him.

New Ducks’ QB Dakota Prukop, who last year played at Montana State, looked good, never better than when he hung one out for Olympic hurdler Devon Allen to catch in full stride for a 55-yard TD.  (We are talking serious speed - Allen can run a 4.5 - over hurdles!)

Oregon is not without its flaws.  The defense, under new DC Brady Hoke, looked porous at times against the Virginia running game, which shredded them for 150 yards more than the 38 it gained against FCS Richmond last week.

*********** The people at NFL headquarters must have breathed a collective sigh of relief when the Seahawks, who promised some sort of surprise action on the anniversary of 9/11 stood arm-in-arm for the national anthem - not unlike what I’ve grown accustomed to seeing at international rugby matches -  rather than kneeling or sitting it out.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, at least four members of the Dolphins, a team that if it played soccer would be fighting to avoid relegation, chose instead to kneel,  honoring the many, many countries elsewhere  in the world where Americans of all colors would have better lives than they do in the United States.

The best-known of the four Dolphin malcontents was running back Arian Foster, who said of Kaepernick, “He’s frustrated, just like me. He’s just like my brother. He’s just like my cousins out there. He’s frustrated. It’s hard seeing people get murdered and killed without repercussions.”

Foster evidently is generous in sharing his disdain for America with impressionable young men:

“I speak my mind. I’m active in the communities. I try to educate young brothers that are in gangs and victims of what people don’t understand — this is a systemic problem that’s been going on for generations.”

I hope that when he tells them all about the Constitution and their First Amendment right to freedom of speech he remembers to tell them that if they should ever happen to be stopped by a police officer,  that would be one of those times and places where misunderstanding what  “exercising one’s right to free speech” means could have unpleasant repercussions.

Whether you consider it a “systemic problem” or not, we must all admit that race relations as well as conditions in the inner city are in dire need of improvement, and by talking with young men and reminding them that for all America’s perceived ills, it still is the best place on earth for them by far, Foster and others like him could help dealing with the problem. 

*********** Arian Foster, meet James Harrison.   Maybe you don't remember when he was the baddest ass in the NFL?  He might still be.  Plays for the Steelers.

Anyhow, here's something he tweeted:

"If you on my team and not standin for Anthem better be from a broken leg or I'm gonna give you one."

When you pray tonight, Arian - if you pray - I'd suggest you ask God not to let them trade you to the Steelers.

And you might want to pass Mr. Harrison's tweet along to your friend Colin Kaepernick, who could very well find himself in another uniform one of these days.

*********** I attended Chris Peterson’s first spring clinic after his being named head coach at the University of Washington and I made special note of the fact that he said he was going to build the Huskies’ program with “OKG’s” - Our Kinda Guys.

Marcus Peters,  one of the players Coach Peterson inherited, was not, as it turned out, an OKG.

Although quite talented, Peters was finally thrown off the team - in November -  by Coach Peterson after a series of infractions, from selfish penalties to clashing with assistant coaches to being chronically late to meetings.

Peters was nevertheless a first-round draft choice of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Now I ask you - how big a cancer must a player like that  have been for you to kick him off your team?

I bring this up because Marcus Peters stood for the national anthem Sunday - with his fist (in a black glove) held high over his head.

This is the sort of guy who’s going to help bring attention to our nation’s ills?

*********** A California JUCO player was arrested after punching an official who was trying to break up a fight.

After this,  the poor guy doesn’t have a shot at going to a major college.  Unless he’s really good.

*********** America seems more and more like an eight-man shell with some of the rowers pulling to the proper beat while others pull at their own pace and still others sit on their asses and complain about the injustice of even having to row at all.

New students at Pomona College were welcomed to campus with posters in their dorms giving instructions on “How to be a (Better) White Ally” and stating that all white people are racist.

The signs state white people should “acknowledge your privilege” and “apologize if you’ve offended someone,” adding that offensive language includes words like “sassy” and “riot,” which are “racially coded.”

“Remember, just because POC [person of color] #1 isn’t offended by something, does not mean that POC #2 will not be offended by it either,” it says.

The poster goes on to state that “social justice is about BOTH elevating oppressed groups and simultaneously unpacking the privilege of dominant groups. These aspects are equally as important!”
Additionally, the sign claims that all white people are racist.

“Understand that you are white, so it is inevitable that you have unconsciously learned racism,” it asserts. “Your unearned advantage must be acknowledged and your racism unlearned.”

*********** Poor Megan Rapinoe - she’s in tears because -sniff - they went ahead and played the National Anthem before she - sniff - had a chance to sit or kneel.  Waaaa.

*********** I’ve made it pretty obvious that I’m not a Cam Newton fan.  At least not now.  But only a fool would deny that he’s a great talent.  Assuming that he will one day grow up, as even the most childish among us usually do, I could actually see myself liking the guy some day.  It’s always nice when  talent and  poise coincide.

But regardless of what anyone might think about Cam Newton,  the guy has been getting the crap kicked out of him - and only Panthers’ fans and Newton fans seem to care.

Last Thursday night against the Broncos, after scrambling out of the pocket, he took a dirty shot right as he was throwing a pass.  The defender was called for roughing the passer.

Actually, the hit came so soon after he’d released the ball that in my opinion it wasn’t roughing, especially in the case of a quarterback of Newton’s skills when he’s on the run.  Newton is big and fast and a very dangerous runner, and pulling up short so as to make sure not to rough him is not sound defensive play.

But while it may not have been roughing,  it was sure as hell targeting - a launched, helmet-to-the-head shot that might have killed a lesser football player than Newton.  And the official didn’t call it.

To hell with the roughing call - football’s (still) a tough game, and a running quarterback  should not be entitled to the same “man in a dress” protection as a quarterback in the pocket.

But there seems to be growing agreement that targeting amounts to a deliberate attempt to injure an opponent.

As it was, Newton appeared a bit dazed, and there’s been a lot of talk lately about the Panthers’ not having immediately submitted him to the NFL’s “concussion protocol,”  when what the talk should have been about was the officials’ failure to penalize a player who certainly appeared to be deliberately attempting to injure one of the game’s best players.

*********** On Sunday, Jerry Jones gave us viewers on Fox a quick look at the Cowboys’ new over-the-top training complex in Frisco, Texas.  The tour ended up at their $1.2 billion, 12,000 seat Stadium, which by arrangement with local offificials, will be used by area high school teams.

Okay, I guess.  But then Jones had to ruin it for me by saying words that sound to me like fingernails on a chalkboard: “This is high school football - NFL style.”

Just what high school football needs.

***********  I was corresponding with Dave Aldridge, a Vietnam era Black Lion and combat infantryman, discussing the subject of courage.  I mentioned that it didn’t seem appropriate to equate the courage required of a football player with that of a soldier.

Dave disagreed…


To be fearless is to be prepared for miracles. To me, courage is courage, whether you are facing an NVA Regiment in the jungle, snarling attack dogs while you are peacefully marching for your Constitutional Rights, or on the football field where maybe it seemed you were outweighed, outgunned, and just about to taste bitter defeat, when one player with the heart of a Lion steps up and inspires his team to let go of their fears, and work together and miracles happen that folks will talk about for the next 20 years. 

To me, that's what your Black Lion Award is all about. I celebrate all those young men and Coaches who pursue greatness selflessly. You have such a great program and it has set wonderful standard for others to follow.

Black Lions!
Dave Aldridge

american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 9,  2016   “A lost freedom is defended with more ferocity than a threatened freedom is defended.” Niccolo Machiavelli

*********** I have lived in the Northwest since 1975.  The Seahawks arrived in 1976. During that time, I may have rooted for them once or twice, especially back when they had players like Jim Zorn and Steve Largent and Curt Warner (the runner, not the QB).

But I can't stand Pete Carroll, an out-and-out cheat at USC, and I will never forgive Doug Baldwin for simulating crapping a football in the end zone of a football game. (A Super Bowl, actually.)

And now the entire Seahawks team has announced a special surprise for us all on Sunday, the 25th anniversary of 9/11. On the aniversary of perhaps the last time our country has been truly united, they threaten  a mass demonstration of how far apart we've grown.

They will be lionized in Seattle, a beautiful city infested with leftist types who hate the Unietd States and everything it stands for.

Their argument, we hear, is that disrespect of the flag and the national anthem is "getting people to think."

They're right about that, but what it's getting a lot of people to think is that having the NFL around isn't worth it when it means providing a stage for  spoiled louts to use their celebrity to foment  societal unease.

*********** Broncos 21, Panthers 20.  Whoever you were rooting for, you have to admit that the NFL's game would be a lot more exciting if kickers would miss more of those end-of-game field goal attempts.

*********** Great stat during the Broncos-Panthers game: since 1950, when the NFL and the AAFC merged, only four quarterbacks from Northwestern have thrown touchdown passes in the NFL. All told, they've thrown 92.  (Otto Graham threw 88 of them.)

*********** Back in the 60s, when I lived in Baltimore, a professor at Johns Hopkins named Earnshaw Cook was frequently mentioned in the local newspapers because of his heretical views of the game of baseball.  He not only thought that such time-honored strategy as the sacrifice bunt and “taking a pitch” were unproductive, he had the science to prove it.

A great writer named Frank DeFord, who like Cook was a Baltimorean and a Princeton graduate, wrote a nationally-published article about him.

Didn’t matter.  What the hell did he know?  Most baseball people wrote him off as just another an egghead in an ivory tower.

As most people who follow baseball now know, Earnshaw Cook was way ahead of his time.  Debunked and ridiculed in his day by old-time, play-it-by-the-book baseball guys, his theories became the basis of today’s sabremetrics approach to baseball.

Well.  Perhaps the work of David Romer could lead to a similar assault on the “established wisdom” of pro football.

If only.

In 2002, after studying NFL data between 1998 and 2000,  Romer, an economist at Cal-Berkeley, found that it would almost always have been better for a team to go for it on fourth down and four or less, than to punt.

After updating his data in 2004, Romer found his conclusion strengthened.

Punting unnecessarily, he found,  was costing teams an average of one and a half wins a season!

In a sixteen game season, as an article in realclearscience points out,  “a swing of two wins can make the difference between the postseason and the offseason!”

A man after my own heart,  Romer also concluded that teams would be far better off passing up a field goal on fourth down and goal from inside the five.

As everyone knows, established wisdom dictates “coming away with points,” even if it’s only three points.  Romer contends that statistics support going for it.

(He doesn’t even mention the way excessive reliance on the field goal has made NFL football stupefyingly dull.)

Article sent me by my friend Charlie Wilson in Crystal River, Florida…

Earnshaw Cook:

*********** Charlie Wilson of Crystal River, Florida, is an astute observer of all things football and in my opinion an expert on Belly-T and Triple Option football.

He wrote to tell me a couple of things:

1. Kathy and I went to watch Seven Rivers Presbyterian School play a week ago and I saw a familiar Formation.  Toe to toe Splits, FB a yard (If that...) behind the QB, sometimes behind the Guard.  "Let's Wedge it!" - 12 yards. Then,  "Let's Power it". 10 yards later...etc.

Of course, running an Offense that the other team can't stop calls for Passing, etc.

Meanwhile, Brand X was running the Official Offense of Modern Football with a QB who could not throw, Receivers who could not catch and a Line that could not Zone Stretch because, well, because, that's why.

42 - 0.


2.  Go to the first series for Cal Poly (White Uni's).  The C uses 2 forms for snapping.  For Under Center, the ball is pre-rotated 90 degrees.  I know we've seen some weird stuff but is Cal-Poly the Keeper of the Flame of the Cat in the Cat Box Snap?

*********** Updates on some Double Wing teams -

Elmwood/Brimfield, Illinois is now 2-0 after defeating two ranked teams.

Hoosic Valley, New York won its opener

Queensbury, New York defeated Averill Park, 44-36

Spencerport, New York defeated Monroe, 52-20

Beloit, Kansas defeated Concordia, 22-12

*********** Kudos to #54 Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, who knelt during the National Anthem before Thursday night’s game in protest of James Comey’s reluctance to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, and taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood.  Oh- and he believes the mainstream media is heavily biased in favor of Hillary Clinton, and he doesn’t plan to stop his protest until it reports all the news fairly. 

*********** I watched the Broncos' #32 stuff a Panthers' linebacker, springing CJ Anderson loose for a big gain, and said, "Yes!  A FULLBACK!  A REAL FULLBACK!"

At a time when there are pro and college teams that don't even have a fullback on their roster - not a single one - it's great to see a team that still clings to the idea that there's a place for power football.

Then a couple of plays later, on third-and-one, that same fullback, a Nebraska kid named Andy Janovich, got his first NFL carry, getting the first down and then some, scoring from 29 yards out.

*********** Were you like me?  Did you write off Florida State when Ole Miss was up by 22 as they neared halftime?

If you live in the East - did you decide it was over ay halftime and go to bed, even after FSU scored with seconds to go in the half?

Wow.  What a game.   Actually, what a pair of games.  Ole Miss 28, Florida State 13 in the first game;  Florida State 32, Ole Miss 6 in the second.

Top that, NFL. Oh, that’s right - your players are too busy trying to bring attention to their grievances.

*********** ESPN suddenly realized that Florida State was…  PRAYING.  PRAYING, for God’s sake!

They got as far as “Our father…” before the network, suddenly realizing what was going on (there has to be SOMEONE at ESPN who can recognize a prayer), pulled off the fastest cut you’ve ever seen.

But surely in our great country of some 300 million people, there was at least one atheist looking on whose sole purpose in life is to bedevil those of us who pray.  Stay tuned.

*********** After waiting patiently  behind Heisman Trophy candidate QB Keenan Reynolds for three years, Navy QB Tago Smith suffered a season-ending  ACL injury Saturday in his first start.

Smith led Navy to a dominating win over Fordham, with 184 yards of total offense, including 2 TDs -  in the first quarter.

I love Army and I hate losing to Navy, but I respect their program and I feel horrible for Tago Smith, the embodiment of a team man.

*********** The Army team celebrates its win over Temple in the locker room.  Trigger alert: if you could be offended by the sight of young men who’ve just played a football game - young men who one day could be required to lead other young men in actual combat - kneeling as if they might be (gasp!) praying, please avoid watching it all the way to the end.

*********** A friend wrote to tell me that his team is having tackling problems.  From the sound of things, they’re a “Hawk Tackling” team (you know what I’m talking about - helmet behind the runner, “eyes to the thighs”) and as a result they’re attempting mostly arm tackles.  And missing.  And going to the ground. (You people in the stands -  I didn’t make the tackle, but at least I tried.)

As many of you probably know, scores in 8-man football are often astronomical.  The reason is that the game is played on a regulation-size field, and as a result, it’s typical for only one man to have a shot at the ball carrier.  When that one man misses - AMF.

As any defensive guy knows, you design things to get a man to the play unblocked. One man.  If that man misses an arm tackle - goes to the ground without so much as getting in the runner’s path - the chances of your other players coming off their blocks and getting to the play are greatly reduced.

In my opinion, when your one unblocked man is unable to at least get in the way of a ball carrier and hold him up until pursuit to arrives, you’re playing 8-man football.

You guys who worship at the shrine of the NFL and think that because Pete Carroll (or USA Football) say it you should do things their way -  take a long, hard look some time at how poorly most NFL players tackle.

american flag TUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 6,  2016   “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”  Ayn Rand

*********** Friday night, North Beach travelled to Rainier, Washington where we lost, 31-0. It was our first regular-season loss since 2013.

It was the first time I’ve ever coached a team that went into its opening game without having been able to scrimmage.  I don’t recommend it, especially with inexperienced players. 

Rainier was better than we expected, but we played worse than we hoped we would.  On the other hand,  we really had no way of knowing how we’d do.  That highly promising team we had last spring was short two starters who for various reasons were unable to play.

We had seven kids on offense starting for the first time - only one offensive player started  at the same position as last year.  Two of the offensive starters were playing their first high school game ever.

On defense, we had five returning starters, four of them playing at the same positions as last year.

Offensively, we struggled with a quicker and physically superior opponent. We completed a couple of long passes and drove deep into their end of the field a couple of times, but two turnovers and poor execution killed us.

Defensively, we gave up four big plays, including a long score on Rainier’s first play from scrimmage, but throughout much of the game our kids played pretty good ball.

No question our low numbers are affecting us.  Because we can’t afford to lose a single player, we go very light on the contact.  (I’m sure our state association would approve.)  Even if we didn’t care about injuries, though, we have only 13 varsity bodies, so there’s no one to scrimmage against anyhow.

Enough of the whining.

We’ll get better. The game video shows that most of the things we did wrong are correctible. The big question is how quickly inexperienced kids can make those corrections.

I pray for patience.

 *********** Friday night, pregame, they played rap, presumably for the enjoyment of spectators.  It was very loud and very vulgar.  And there was liberal usage  of the “N” word throughout.

This, mind you, was in a small, remote logging town that very likely has no black families.

So would it be any surprise if we were to learn that the local kids take their cue from rappers and freely use the “N” word?

***********  When you have some free time ,google Sun Tzu's "art of war" and the Vietnam war
can be interesting reading. Tim Brown, Athens, Alabama

I don’t have any free time during football season, but I have the book.  It is extremely interesting.

I value three books on war above all others in affecting my thinking on football -

Sun Tsu’s “Art of War”

Clausewitz, “On War”

B. H. Liddell Hart, “Strategy - an Indirect Approach”

***********  OMG.  Megan Rapinoe,  a women’s soccer player, has knelt for the national anthem, in solidarity with whatsisname.

Ooooh.  A woman’s professional soccer player. Who knew there even was such a thing?

If a protest takes place and  no one's watching, does it count as a protest?

Next protest - the Olympic fencing team.

*********** Did anybody have any doubt that Our President would feel the need to speak out on the Kaepernick incident?  Or which angle he’d take?

*********** For some reason I was doing some research on the late actor William Bendix, who among other roles played Babe Ruth in “The Babe Ruth Story.”

I never knew  how well he knew his subject.

Evidently as a kid growing up in New York, he was a bat boy for the Yankees, and later claimed that he had personally seen The Babe hit more than a hundred home runs.

Babe Ruth was famous for his enormous appetites - for food, strong drink, and women - and he once missed a game because he’d eaten too many hot dogs and drunk too much soda pop.

There’s where William Bendix came in.  As an all-purpose clubhouse boy, he was the one who’d procured the hot dogs and soda pop for the Bambino, and the Yankees fired him for it.

*********** Ever seen/heard two ladies called Diamond and Silk?

I just did, and thanks to them, I think there may still be hope for our country…

*********** Nice to see so many ranked colleges step out on Week One and play somebody of their caliber.

There are two main reasons why they’re doing that, instead of the usual beat-up of some compass college willing to take a beating for a buck.

One reason is that most of these games are scheduled at neutral sites (such as LSU vs Wisconsin at Lambeau Field).  With schedules set for years in advance, it’s tough for schools to arrange a home-and-home series with each other.  But a one-off in a big NFL stadium (if you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot of NFL stadia that are only busy during the NFL season, and NFL owners, who love money,  don’t mind at all renting them out for college games.

The other reason is the new college football playoff, which doesn’t punish a team that might lose its opening game to a quality opponent, then win out the rest of the way.  (Can you say Bama?)

And oh - that beat-up of the small-time opponents?  Not a sure thing.

Just this past weekend…

Eastern Washington beat Washington State.

Richmond beat Virginia.

Northern Iowa beat Iowa State.

South Alabama beat Mississippi State.

South Dakota State nearly beat TCU.

App State took Tennessee into OT before losing.

Cal Poly almost beat Nevada.

*********** Sorry, NFL.  While you’re hoping the Kaepernick thing will disappear and your teams are shaking down their season ticket holders, making them pay full fare to watch “preseason” games in which their starting quarterbacks don’t even play, college football gives us Texas-Notre Dame. College football fans are well aware that in an entire NFL season they might see one, maybe two games that exciting and well played.  And a doofus public that’s been brainwashed to believe that the NFL’s product is really exciting misses out once again.

*********** Watch… the… Washington… Huskies.

*********** Sure would like to see Houston win out and pick the pockets of the Power Five Conferences.

***********  I root for any Pac-12 team when it plays out of conference.  Except for USC, that is.  

Lest I might begin to run out of reasons for disliking them, a Trojan was kicked out (“disqualified himself” in the words of the official) of Saturday night’s game against Alabama  for stomping on a Bama player as he lay on the ground after a play. Stomped him right in the family jewels.  Video caught it from two or three different angles.

Just in case you Easterners  wonder why people on the West Coast hate (or, in street talk, “hate on”) USC.

Fight on.

*********** Can’t verify it as fact, but  the strongest claim for first use of a leather football helmet belongs to Navy player Joseph Mason Reeves, who wore one in the 1893 Army-Navy game.

After Navy doctor advised  Reeves that “another kick to the head” could result in death or “instant insanity,” Reeves commissioned a shoemaker in Annapolis to construct a leather head protector.

(Sounds as if they didn’t have much of a concussion protocol back then.)

The helmet must have worked.  Joseph Mason Reeves not only survived Navy football to graduate from the Naval Academy, but he went on to achieve the rank of admiral, and was one of the pioneers of naval aviation and carrier warfare.

*********** I was a bit down Friday night after our loss, and as we drove home, I handed my wife my phone and asked her to try to find the Army score.  (Army had played Temple in Philly Friday night at 7 PM Eastern.  That means it was actually over by the time we kicked off at 7 PM Pacific.)

She said, “28-13…”

I blurted, “Hey - not bad.  Sounds as if they played a decent game.” (They went into the game 16 - point underdogs, so they beat the spread.)

“Army,” she finished.

“Army???” I said, nearly driving off the road.

“Army,” she confirmed.

Amazing, for a lot of reasons:

It was a road game.   Army seldom wins on the road.

It was the opening game. Army rarely wins its opening game.

Temple was a quality opponent.

Army hadn’t won a game in Philadelphia (where most Army-Navy games are played) since 2001.

In recent years, Army has led major college teams in turnovers; Friday night, they didn’t have a single turnover.

Army’s poor record over the last several years reflects way too many games in which they blew  fourth quarter leads: Friday night, down 10-7 at halftime, Army outscored Temple 21-3 in the second half - 14-0 in the fourth quarter.

Best of all, it was done the way the Army people like their team to do it: with a dominating ground game. Coach Jeff Monken’s offense featured two powerful sophomore fullbacks (both converted linebackers) and a quarterback who knows the triple option and has the skills to run it.   (Army rushed for 329 yards, 171 of them coming  on 34 fullback carries. 

Passing?  Come on - we’re talking triple option.  They were 2 of 5 for 15 yards.)

*********** North Carolina’s Larry Fedora got a penalty for arguing about an illegal man downfield call.  Uh - his right tackle was maybe only 3 yards downfield - BUT HE WAS BLOCKING A LINEBACKER!!!  ON A F—KING PASS PLAY!!!

I mean, I’m no friend of defensive people, but this crap of allowing linemen a “buffer zone” of two or three years is B-S, because defenders should be able to read the set-up of the offensive linemen.

The penalty moved Carolina back up against their own goal and evidently rattled the UNC coaching staff. Why else, on the very next play, would they called a screen pass - from their own end zone - to a receiver in their own end zone?  Damned if the guy didn’t catch it and get knocked out of bounds, still behind his own goal line.


american flag FRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 2,  2016   “An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

*********** I am not a huge - sorry, yuge - fan of Donald Trump, but in my judgement, the alternative will mean the end of our country as I’ve known it.   Without a doubt Hillary Clinton and that scumbag she married are absolutely the most corrupt people ever to rise to the top of American politics, and a Supreme Court packed with Hillary Clinton appointees will mean the death of much of the Constitution that we always thought was inviolate.

What follows is a reasoned argument for why the so-called Never Trumpers, who somehow think that there’ll be a Republican Party worth saving once he’s defeated,  had better get on board…

*********** A team of New York City cops, whose ranks were once heavily Irish (and still retain an Irish flavor) will be in Ireland Saturday to play a game against Trinity College Dublin.

I’m guessing it will be a friendly sort of game, quite unlike one I witnessed several years ago, when I was in Ketchikan, Alaska to put on a camp for the local high school.

Ketchikan, like other coastal Alaska cities, is reachable only by air or water, so the high school has to fly to all its away games (and, of course, opponents have to fly in to Ketchikan when they play at home).

In this particular game, a traditional “pre-season” game - they faced a team made up of the local police and firemen.  Based on the intensity with which the kids played, it occurred to me that some of them might have had a previous encounter or two with Ketchikan’s finest and were using the game to settle the score.

*********** Internet humor…

A cowboy, who just moved to Wyoming from Texas, walked into a bar and ordered three mugs of beer

He sat in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn.

When he finished, he came back to the bar and ordered three more.

The bartender approaches and said, "You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it.  It would taste better if you bought one at a time."

The cowboy replied, "Well, you see, I have two brothers.  One is an Airborne Ranger, the other is a Navy Seal, both are serving overseas somewhere.  When we all left our home in Texas, we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together.  So I'm drinking one beer for each of my brothers and one for myself."

The bartender admitted that this was a nice custom, and left it at that.

The cowboy became a regular in the bar, and always drank the same way:  He orders three mugs and drinks them in turn.

One day, he came in and only ordered two mugs.

All the regulars, taking notice, fell silent.

When he came back to the bar for the second round, the bartender said, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."

The cowboy looked quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawned in his eyes and he laughed.

"Oh, no, everybody's just fine," he explained.  "It's just that my wife and I joined the Baptist Church and I had to quit drinking.  Hasn't affected my brothers, though."

*********** Alejandro Villanueva is the son of two Spanish parents, but he is an American,  born in Meridian, Mississippi while his father, a member of the Spanish Navy, served there as part of a NATO exchange.  He attended high school in Europe, but won admission to the US Military Academy (West Point) and played four years of football for Army.

After graduation from West Point he served three tours of combat duty in Afghanistan. 

He has his Ranger tab and his parachutist badge and, perhaps most prized of all Army awards, the combat infantry badge, which can only be earned by participating under fire  in real combat.

For his bravery in rescuing wounded soldiers while under fire, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor.

Now, he’s a starting offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he had something to say recently about Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit out the National Anthem.

What he had to say is well-reasoned and well-expressed, as you’d expect of a West Point graduate.

*********** Okay.  I gave Colin Kaepernick the benefit of the doubt and allowed as to how he might actually be making an semi-informed if ill-advised statement in good conscience about oppression of minorities, etc. 

I sat quietly as people praised him for being so “brave.”  Yeah, bravery.  Sort of on the order of Caitlyn Jenner.

But that was before I saw him in a TV interview, wearing a tee shirt with Fidel Castro on it.  Heres' a guy who made such a big deal of America’s “oppression” of minorities but couldn't take the time to do even the slightest research into the guy on his shirt - one of the great oppressors of our lifetime.

And then, with the revelation that he was at practices wearing sox depicting cops as pigs,  he exposed himself as just an another ill-informed whiner.  So much for any intellectual substance.  So much for bravery.

The 49ers knew what was going on and failed to do their duty and put a stop to that shameful idiocy.  So did the NFL,  that same NFL that refused to let the Cowboys wear a helmet decal honoring the Dallas Police. The same NFL that used to discharge its “patriotic duty” by making our armed forces pay them for staging “Armed Forces Days” did absolutely nothing about his absolutely disgraceful attire and his refusal to show respect for out country’s flag.

The 49ers and the NFL.  Ugh.   A pox on both their houses.

*********** As long as we’re chastising Colin Kaepernick for disrespecting our national anthem and our flag, why do we continue to give a pass to entertainers and others who “perform” our national song in a manner unrelated to honoring our country with dignity and instead designed totally to draw attention to themselves?

There are times when I can almost see myself sitting on the bench, like Kaepernick.  Almost.  And then, when someone asked me why I didn’t stand for the national anthem, I’d say, “Holy sh— ! Is THAT what that was?”

*********** As the tidal surge of feel-good feminization sweeps over America, we hear more and more stories like this one, sent me by a coach with whom I’m familiar…
My school has been through 5 principals in 10 years. That should kind of tell you the place I'm at. They also want 100 kids out there playing and practices to be short.  The district told my lawyers that they don't care about winning at all. They just want lots of kids out there enjoying themselves.   The program is terrible here. No pride. No hunger. I feel bad for the kids. Like you know. It's great to have numbers. But losing turns everybody sour.  The kids are the ones who lose in the end. Sad. 
You think there's any chance we could defend ourselves as a nation with kids  coming out of places  like this?  You think the Chinese, the Russians and the Iranians aren't paying attention?

***********  Hugh,

Hope all is well with you and Connie.  I've been trying to stay caught up with your News You Can Use and saw the Black Lion announcement so I thought I would check-in with you.

I started my 44th year of coaching football.  Had our first game on Friday night against one of the better Division III teams in the state of Texas (3 state titles and numerous district championships), and despite making a ton of mental errors on offense we managed to keep it close.  Down 7-0 with just under 3 minutes left in the game we started what we thought would be the winning drive only to have it fail on a fourth down and 2 at their 35.  Missed one block on a Power and sure enough that was the guy who made the tackle.  They scored late to win the game 14-0.  Not sure if I was more upset about the failure to convert on 4th down running our bread and butter, or...allowing that last score.  Probably both.  All said and done though once we get the mental mistakes cleaned up I think we should have a pretty good football team, and after watching film with the boys on Saturday morning they think we will too!

Please sign us up for the Black Lion Award again.  It has become a very significant award to the boys, and has served as a catalyst for some to turn their lives around.  Yes...even in a Catholic school we have youngsters who still need "guidance".

Best of luck to you this season!


Joe Gutilla
Head Football Coach
St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School

Hi Joe-

Good start to your 44th season. (Doesn’t seem that long, does it?)

Of course you’d have preferred to win, but I know Texas football enough to know that the key is to keep getting better as the season progresses.

For sure you’re in for the Black Lion Award.  Very pleased to have you among us!

*********** From a friend whose name is being withheld…

My friend, Hugh,

Continuing to share this story how your teaching points have come to produce positive results in youth soccer:

Something told me this would be a rewarding and a challenging experience when I was asked by the local soccer rec league to step out of my comfort zone and coach a team of 10-11 year old boys and girls- several with legit. challenges and circumstances, including :
1.  10 year old girl - bipolar (real)
2.  11 year old girl - severe Asberger syndrome (real)
3. 11 yr old boy - emotional anxiety
4. 11 yr old girl - will lose her mother this week after 8 year battle with cancer .

Near the end of last week's practice, there was a slight distraction, which threw me off and I forgot to do the customary end of practice handshake .  Until, the beautiful girl with Asberger syndrome came through the crowd, and stretched forward her hand for the handshake . And looked me straight in the eye, and smiled. I paused, held that moment, and will never forget it, then quickly hustled to each played and delivered that moment for each one.   It was for me too.

See below the note from her mother:

Thank you! I am so glad you are - - - - - - -’s  coach this year. You motivate her to want to do well. I have never seen her go after the ball like she did Sat. It was very exciting and she was so happy after the game. She felt very proud of playing well and liked hearing people cheer for her. She said it was like running with her dad and you just keep going :)
- - - - - - -   loves to make people smile. When I made the cookies the first thing she said was "We have to save one for my coach because he loves chocolate chip cookies!"


Coaching is coaching.  Even soccer. Hahaha.  A good friend who’s won several titles in Mississippi was AD/head coach at his HS and had to take over as soccer coach when his head coach resigned.  He found an assistant who knew soccer and he handled the “people” part of it and they won a state championship.

Whatever it is that we coach, we have a great opportunity to affect kids for the better, and it’s obvious you’re doing that!

Keep Coaching!

*********** As Army gets ready for its opener Friday night against Temple, a look at its 2-deep roster reflects the fact that West Point truly is a national institution: there are players from 22 different states on the 2-deep chart.  There are 15 different states represented on the offense, and 13 on the defense. (Some states, such as Georgia, California and Texas are represented on both offense and defense.)

Interestingly, there’s not a single player on the 2-deep from Florida, one of the top talent-producing states in the country.  Considering Florida’s population and the quality of its high school football, I’m willing to bet that there aren’t a half-dozen other FBS teams East of the Mississippi that don’t have at least one Florida guy on their 2-deep.

*********** To a certain extent, I guess maybe I'm somewhat  to blame for the following letter.  It's from the head of our regional officials' association.

As many of you have heard me say that the number of officials are down this year, in fact there has been a declining trend for the past 3 years, but this year the impact is much greater.  It is not just our Association, as I talk to other Associations they are experiencing the same.  It is not just football, in baseball this past season we experienced the same.
Right now I have 3 Friday nights (Sept. 30th, Oct. 14th and Oct. 28th) that we don’t have enough officials to cover the games.  I’ve reached out to other Associations asking for help and they in turn they are asking me for help, folks we are not talking about needing officials like the past we are talking about needing crews.  I’m are working on a game plan on how we will address any night we cannot cover the games, here is the draft that I put together and would welcome any comments.
    1    If crews members cancel the day of the game due to whatever reasons, work, health issues, etc. and I don’t have anyone available to take their place I will contact other Associations to try and fill the game, if they can provide help I will bill the school for our regular travel and for the official(s) I’m bringing in from another Association.  I will do my best to move people around at the last minute to make the travel costs as low as possible.  However there may be times that I can’t make those switches and will have to have the incoming official(s) travel longer distances to cover the game.
    2    If crews members cancel the day of the game due to whatever reasons, work, health issues, etc. and I don’t have anyone available to take their place I will contact other Associations to try and fill the game,  if I cannot find anyone then I have no choice but to call that school and let them know they will have to reschedule their game to either Thursday night or Saturday.
    3    If we have more games scheduled for a Friday night than what I can cover, I will go to other Associations asking for help, if they can provide help I will bill the school for our regular travel and for the official(s) I’m bringing in from another Association.  I will do my best to move people around at the last minute to make the travel costs as low as possible.  However there may be times that I can’t make those switches and will have to have the incoming official(s) travel longer distances to cover the game.
    4    If we have more games scheduled for a Friday night than what I can cover and I’ve worked with other Associations and by the Monday before the scheduled game I cannot cover the games;  First I will send out an e-mail to all the schools involved on that Friday night asking for volunteers to move their game to either Thursday night or Saturday, I will give the schools to noon the next day to respond, if I don’t have any volunteers by that time then I will put the schools names in a hat, that are playing that Friday night, and draw out name(s).  For example, let’s say I have 10 games scheduled on Friday Sept. 30th, and I can only cover 8 of those games, I would draw out 2 names from the hat and then notify those two schools that there are no officials available to cover their game on the 30th and they will have to reschedule their game to either Thursday night or Saturday.  I can tell you that Saturday night is easier to cover than Saturday during the day, but we will make it work one way or the other
We certainly hope that it does not come to this but we need a plan to activate should this happen.
In the past I have provided you with a recruitment flyer to place in your faculty room and any other gathering spot for teachers.  I have attached a current flyer asking for help.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

In Washington as in most of the country, officials’ associations are having trouble getting new officials.  There are lots of reasons, of course, but one, I suspect, is that it has increasingly become a thankless job. 

I confess.  I will be the first to admit that I am often unappreciative of officials.  Not disrespectful, you understand.  I’ve never so much as received an unsportsmanlike conduct call against me, and especially now that I’m an assistant, it just isn’t going to happen. But I don’t like the attitudes and lack of knowledge of the rules among the officials I see, and I have a hard time respecting them. Come clean, guys - most of you probably feel the same way.

In my case, it’s mostly a matter of the officious, superior air of most of the officials I’ve run up against.  For the most part, they are extremely defensive and unwilling to discuss things rationally, much less admit that they might be wrong.

It may just be their nature, but in their behalf it’s also quite possible that their chip-on-the-shoulder demeanor is an understandable reaction to mistreatment by coaches (not to mention the public). Their response is to take no chances - grow a hard shell and be a prick to everybody.

It’s not too different from police-inner city relations, is it?

It’s time for us to get together in some manner and arrange a truce - coaches must pledge to do more than pay lip service to the idea of respect for officials, and officials must do the same.

Only when young guys are able to see officiating as a necessary - and respected - part of our game are they going to be willing to sign up to learn to become officials.

And just as I write this, another member of our staff corrects me, saying the biggest reason  they can't get good young officials is the Old Boys Network in most associations that assures that the most senior members always get the good games, regardless of ability.

*********** Greetings coach. I live in Orange County. Right near Mission Viejo with their 28 uniform combinations!  Lol. I was thinking about you today. I opened up the oc register and they had a front page picture of USC offensive line. The right side had their right hands down and left side had their left hands down. You rarely ever see this in college or even in high school except for some double wing teams. That's what you preach. And to see it at USC. That's very interesting.  Anyways. Hope all is well coach and best of luck with your season!  Sincerely, Craig Cieslik


It’s nice to hear from you.  I well remember the excellent presentation you put on at a clinic I held in Burbank.  I hope you’re still coaching and still running your no-huddle offense.

Thanks for thinking of me - That’s not going to get me to pull for the Trojans - unless by some chance they start running Double Wing!

There’s nothing new under the sun, is there?

*********** It was back in the 1970s when Jack Lambert, Steelers’ Hall of Fame linebacker, saw the way the game was headed, and suggested that if the idea was to protect quarterbacks, maybe they should just put dresses on them.  Putting aside the fact that among today’s NFL denizens, women in dresses aren’t always safe,  Lambert couldn’t possibly have foreseen the extent to which today’s quarterbacks are protected, in practice as well as in games.

Yet there goes the Vikings’ season up in smoke with the news of Teddy Bridgewater’s season-ending knee injury… suffered in a non-contact!

(Did I say that the Vikings could be jinxing themselves by allowing the first game in their new stadium to be a f—king SOCCER match?)

*********** You KNOW how bad things have become when people start saying your mascot is too fierce.  Your mascot!

And we’re not talking a tiger, or a panther, or a grizzly, or a lion, or a wildcat.  Not even a “Fighting Duck.” (Which is something I’d like to see.)

There’s a guy on the faculty at Iowa who evidently has plenty of time on his hands and nothing better to do who’s arguing that their “Herky the Hawk” mascot needs to smile more.  And I think he’s serious.

*********** Coach Wyatt,
Coach we played our first game of the season this past Friday. We won 49-16. The score was 49-0 when we put our JV team in. Our stats were not great because we played on a short field all night. Our varsity ran 26 plays for 285 yards. We were 15 rushes for 142 yards and passing we were 7/11 for 143 yards. We scored on 55 X-O, X Choice, Lazer 99 reach, and Y corner twice. And our defense scored twice. The team we played ran the double wing but it was not your system. After the game I talked with their coach and told him that your system was far superior. With the school I was previously at we scrimmaged them every year, they saw that before we put the Double Wing in that the school was horrible. But after we did, we were competitive in every game we played. So their coach may be purchasing your system. On a side note, the school I coached at last year who didn't hire me because they didn't like the Double Wing, lost their first game 42-12 against a school that we had beaten the past three years with the Double Wing.

Name Withheld


Sounds like a great outing!  Congratulations!

You may not have made any friends when you told that other coach that my system was better than his - hahaha!

Also, it sounds like you’re using a lot of Open Wing - next time, your offense won’t keep you from being hired!

Thanks for the update and good luck this week!

american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 30,  2016   "I take real offense when people insist I am a bigot just to make themselves feel good."   Jonah Goldberg

*********** Ogden Nash, the Baltimorean who wrote the poem about the return of the Orioles in 1954, later stepped up and wrote about the great Baltimore Colts team of ’68 - the year they blew through the NFL, only to lose in Super Bowl III (the first one to actually be called the “Super Bowl”) to Joe Namath and the New York Jets.

Dick Szymanski

The life of an offensive center
Is one that few could wish to enter.
You’ll note that that of Dick Szymanski
Is not all roses and romanski.
He centers the ball, he hears a roar -
Is it a fumble or a score?
What’s happening, he can only wonder,
Because he’s upside down, down under.

Tom Matte

Is there a Baltimore fan alive
Who’s forgotten Tom Matte in ’65?
The Colts by crippling injuries vexed,
Unitas first and Cuozzo next -
What would become of the pass attack?
Then Matte stepped in at quarterback!
He beat the Rams in a great display,
He did, and he damn near beat Green Bay!
Ask him today to plunge or block,
Tom’s the man who can roll or rock.
In Tokyo they say Karate,
In Baltimore they call in Matte.

(A running back, Tom Matte been was forced into service as the Colts’ QB in 1965 after injuries to starter John Unitas and backup Gary Cuozzo.  He’d played QB at Ohio State, but in Woody Hayes’ offense he’d thrown maybe five passes a game.  Colts’ coach Don Shula fitted him with a custom wristband - something previously unheard of - and Matte nearly took the Colts to the NFL championship game.  Only a controversial field goal by the Packers’ Don Chandler kept the Colts out. The controversy, it should be added, led to the league extending the height of the goal posts. And the  wristband in now in th Pro Football Hall of Fame.)

Earl Morrall

Once a grim second-stringer,
A sad Giant castoff,
Earl today is the spark
Of a thundering blastoff.
Though the fables of Aesop
Still wear a green laurel,
They end where the Colts now begin,
With a Morrall.

For it’s Morrall to Mackey,
Yes, Morrall to Mackey,
A refrain that is driving
The corner men wacky.
They lock up against Richardson,
Perkins and Orr,
Then it’s Morrall to Mackey,
Right through the front door.

Perhaps it is hindsight.
Perhaps it’s a sophistry,
But the Colts owe a lot
To Giants’ front-offistry.

(Acquired from the Giants in a bargain deal, Earl Morrall filled in after Unitas was injured and took the Colts to Super Bowl III.  Interestingly, five years later Morrall would take over for injured starter Bob Griese and lead the Dolphins to the only undefeated season in NFL history.)

Bubba Smith

When hearing tales of Bubba Smith
You wonder - is he man or myth?
He’s like a hoodoo, like a hex,
He’s like Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Few manage to topple in a tussle
Three hundred pounds of hustle and muscle.
He won’t complain if double-teamed;
It isn’t Bubba who gets creamed.

 (A legend at Michigan State, he was a giant of a man whose promising career was cut short by an injury caused when he crashed into a down marker on the sideline.)

*********** Zion Harvey, of Baltimore, is 9 years old and it’s been a year since he received new hands. You read that right - hand transplants!  Only 11 other Americans have had both hands replaced, and he’s the first child to undergo the procedure.

How’s he doing now?  Not long ago, he threw out the first pitch at an Orioles’ game.

Now, what he really wants to do is play football.  That’s his dream.

Unfortunately, his mom (I haven’t read anywhere about a father) won’t let him.  Says football’s “too dangerous.”

She wants him to play baseball instead.

Said Zion, ”My next goal: convince Mom to let me play football.”

C’mon Mom.  Man up.

*********** The season’s young, and I’ve only seen him a few times, but so far I’m very impressed with Jonathan Vilma’s work as an analyst for ESPN.  Unlike most new-to-TV former NFL stars, he has something to say, and when he says it, he does so in a patient, conversational way, rather than putting on a show, ranting and emoting like most other newbies.  I predict a bright future for him.

*********** Ezekiel Elliott came to Seattle. 

To a kid born and raised in the Midwest and now playing football in Texas, the Queen City of the Pacific Northwest had to be a real eye-opener, especially on a beautiful summer day.  Unlike most places in the United States, you can walk around the city on an August day and not break into a sweat.

There’s Mount Rainier off in the distance, and Elliott (no, not named for him!) Bay right there at the foot of the city, with the snow-covered Olympics off in the distance.  (You could jump on a ferry and take a ride to any number of exotic locations.)  There’s the Space Needle and Pioneer Place Market (you know, where the fish guys throw the salmon across the room?) and the quirky old neighborhoods - the ones that haven’t yet been bulldozed to make way for multimillion-dollar apartment complexes. And there’s Lake Union with its houseboats -  remember  the movie Sleepless in Seattle?  There’s the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum and the University of Washington and beautiful Husky Stadium, down on the shores of Lake Washington. 

So what does Elliott do?

The dumshit goes and visits a Pot Shop.

Whee - marijuana’s legal in Washington!  Cool.

Can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing if I were 22 or 23 years of age, visiting Seattle for the first time.  Just a quick photo to show the folks back home that I’m Where It’s At, weed-wise.

But not if I were the first round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys.

*********** For quite some time I’ve had pretty strong opinions about Colin Kaepernick as a person.  To be frank, I’ve suspected him of being a pothead, or an airhead, or both, and his erratic play on the field has somewhat borne that out.

The latest incident - his refusing to stand for the national anthem because he won’t respect the flag of a country that in his opinion oppresses black people and other minorities - doesn’t change my opinion of him one way or another.  

But it does anger me because at this time in our history, when polls show that both blacks and whites agree that the racial climate is worsening, when we are in desperate need of a national awakening to the fact that all Americans - black, white, brown, yellow - are in it together, the last thing we need is another racially incendiary act or statement.

I hear the pundits on TV saying some crap about “starting a national dialogue.” Dialogue?  Based on the statements I’ve read on both sides of the issue,  this is one dialogue we don’t need.

What we need right now is a healthy dose of that miracle drug STFU.

A tantrum, a rash act or statement, may make us feel good for a moment - an instant, really - but how does stirring up a hornets’ nest advance our cause?  Other than to fire up those who already agree with us, it  insults, angers and alienates the very people we have to convince to change policies or actions we disagree with. 

Not to pass judgement one way or another on whether there’s any validity to what Kaepernick had to say, because he seems sincere, but how is pissing off millions of servicemen and veterans and their families - not to mention millions of others who’ve been brought up to show their appreciation and love of their country by taking a moment before a game to show respect for their country and its flag - going to get them to listen to what he has to say?

Despite all the talk about Colin Kaepernick’s right to free speech, blah, blah, blah, it seems to me that in the interest of racial harmony and in the best interest of the country that serves and protects us all, it would be the height of wisdom when we feel we have something we have to say  to first think before saying it, then to say it at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way.

Let’s face it - what makes this such a big deal is that Kaepernick’s “cause” is racial, which immediately assures that he’ll get air time.  And at a time when racial tensions in this country are higher than at any time in my memory, stories that feed them are catnip to the progressive media. 

For the sake of our kids and our country - pass the STFU.

*********** Ahem.  A man was prevented from praying on the Clemson University campus because he wasn’t in a “free speech area.”

Maybe if he had just been burning a flag…

*********** Hi coach Wyatt,

Beautiful day here in South Florida. Hope it is the same where you are!
Coach, would you recommend  flipping the line when running "Tight Wild Cat" with 10, 11, & 12 year olds? Would it be better to flip the backfield at the same time? I thought two "good" pulling Guards followed by two fair Tackles would work for us but we got creamed, yesterday, in our 1st. game of the season! Pulling and backside chase were a big part of our problem. I will solve the "chase" problem  by going to strictly "O" blocking on the power plays. That will, I think, require that I have 3 good pulling Guards. One for injury sub.! I wanted to run Spread Cat but our officials said that "crack blocking" was going to be heavilly scrutinized  for the protection of "defenceless" players!?!? My favorite Offense, in the crapper!
Thank you for any advice you care to offer!


You can make it work with “O” blocking.

Flip-flopping the linemen does cut the amount of play-learning in half, but I definitely would not advise it as a way to create a “good” side and a “bad” side, with better linemen on one side and lesser linemen on the other.  For example, if you put your better linemen on the playside to run your power play, that would mean that your lesser linemen would be on the playside on your counter.

I’m not sure that flip-flopping of the line is necessarily helpful unless you have two different aspects to your line, such as a tight side (with a tight end) and an open side (with a split end).

I wouldn’t flip-flop my backs and ends, either, except that in the Open Wing they have different roles, while in the Double Wing their roles are mirrored.

In short - when we run out of Double Wing, we don’t flip-flop.

Also- Not sure where your officials tell you to can’t crack.  You can’t block low, certainly, but it is still legal for a man on the outside to block a man to his insise so long as initial contact is clearly against the front of the defender.

Nice to hear from you!

*********** A friend named Jack Morrison, who started on Army’s last undefeated team (1958) is a very sharp analyst of Army football, sending out a weekly report on that week’s game and the outlook for the next game.

In his latest report he argues against the use of the win-loss record as the only measure of the job a coach is doing, claiming that the 2015 Army team, which went 2-10, was actually a better team than the 2014 team, which went 6-8.

One of his main points was that the 2014 team lost four games by 20 points or more, while the 2015 team lost only one game by more than 21 points (to nationally-ranked Duke, 44-3).  The 2015 team lost to Air Force by 20 an to Rutgers by 10, but otherwise, it lost seven games by a total of just 30 points.

He makes a great point.  I have long said that  one of a coach’s main jobs and one of his most unique talents  is to be able to recognize improvement where no one else can.

Unfortunately, most people will stop at the won-loss record, but as Jack shows, by almost all measures other than the won-loss record, the 2015 Army team was better than the 2014 team.

Jack noted that he and Frank Beamer, the great Virginia Tech coach, told him of the time he was coming off a bad season and went into the AD's Office expecting to get fired.  

Instead, said Jack, the AD told him that he was seeing good progress and felt that they weren't far from turning the corner and he extended his contract.  

Check this out:

After his first three years, Frank Beamer was 11-21-1.  Not exactly encouraging.

After six years it was no better: 24-40-2.

But in his seventh year, the Hokies went 9-3.  That was the first of 23 straight winning seasons and 23 straight bowl game appearances.

The AD was a gig named Dutch Baughman.  He’s the real hero.

Read about what went into Baughman’s hire of Frank Beamer, and how Bobby Ross figured into it.

*********** Cal beat Hawaii 51-31 Friday night in the season-opener for both teams.  At least it was Friday in the US.  The game was played in Sydney, Australia.   It was Saturday there.

Even though in terms of the number of participants football (called “Gridiron” in the Land Down Under) ranks way back in the list of Australian sports, behind Cricket, Australian Rules, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Soccer and Basketball, the game drew more than 60,000.

Make no mistake - Sydney is a big city (5,000,000 or so) full of sports-mad Australians.  And Melbourne, Australia’a second-largest city, isn't a lot smaller, with arguably even more sports-mad fanatics than Sydney.

My son Ed, who covers sports in Australia, assures me that the crowd was the real thing - paid, not “papered,” that is, made up of lots of people given free tickets just to make the crowd look good, and that the spectators , mostly Aussies, were quite knowledgeable of the American game.

The reason for this is that Australians actually get to see a lot of American football on TV - and it’s mostly college football. The time difference is the reason.   With Sydney and Melbourne both 14 hours ahead of Eastern Time, a 7 o’clock Saturday night kickoff of a game in, say, State College, Pennsylvania would air in Sydney at 9 AM Sunday. 9 AM is no big deal when you realize that for those of us on the US West Coast the first flight of college games comes on at 9 AM, and on Sundays the first NFL games kickoff at 10 AM.

A Saturday game starting at 7 PM Pacific, routine for at least one PAC-12 game every week, airs at noon Sunday in Australia.

For once, the NFL plays second fiddle to the college game: Sunday NFL games air in Australia on their Monday, when most Australians, like most Americans, are at work.

One group of Australians, unfortunately, was not knowledgeable about the American game - the concessionaires didn’t realize that an American football game lasts some three hours, unlike a rugby match that lasts about two hours - and they ran out of beer.

*********** The weirdest idea ever for a bowl game unfortunately never happened - the Glasnost Bowl

*********** A new Department of Justice (now there’s an oxymoron for you) video made to prepare police departments to deal with transgender types advises officers encountering someone they’re not sure of to ask, “Do you prefer if I call you ma’am or sir?”

*********** Following the Sunday night game on NBC was a special about the Manning brothers - mostly Peyton - and their return in the off-season to work with their longtime personal quarterback coach, Duke’s head coach David Cutcliffe.

“Coach Cut” was Peyton’s offensive coordinator and QB coach at Tennessee, and he was Eli’s head coach at Ole Miss, and the TV special gave us some great looks into his teaching methods. 

Coach Cut has done a marvelous job in rebuilding the once-downtrodden Duke program, but ability to develop quarterbacks will really be put to the test with the news that his starting QB, Thomas Sirk, reinjured his achilles tendon a few days ago and will miss the entire season.

*********** Wow.  After the Super Bowl, followed by the NFL draft, followed by countless examples of idiot pro football players doing and saying stupid things, followed by even stupider pre-season games, the college season finally kicked off on Friday night with the Cal-Hawaii game in Australia, followed by an FCS game between perennial power North Dakota State and up-and-coming Charleston Southern.

It was a tremendous back-and-forth game, with Charleston Southern tieing it up at the very end, and the hometown North Dakota State Bison (“BYE-zin”) winning it in OT, just another reminder that at the heart of it all, when you tear away all the promotion and all the hype, the NFL’s product sucks.

*********** After reading an article in the L.A. Times by ace high school sports reporter Eric Sondheimer, I realize how happy I am to be coaching at a small high school in a remote place in the Pacific Northwest.

According to Sondheimer, at least 20 schools in the Southern California area will have starting quarterbacks who started for a different school last season.  In at least one case, Team A had a quarterback who last year played for Team B, which replaced him with a QB from Team C, which…

You get the idea.

Ambitious quarterbacks, striving to find the perfect place to showcase their talents,  have thrown such corny old notions as loyalty and team spirit out the window.

I didn’t get in this game to coach whores.  I’ll take our kids.

*********** I imagine that the fans of the University of North Carolina women’s basketball team were devastated to learn that the University of Vermont had cancelled its women’s game with UNC because of that North Carolina law that (gasp!) restricts bathroom access for transgenders.

Funny what a big deal has been made of an issue which doesn’t affect sports in the slightest.

The NBA has even moved its All-Star game from Charlotte (North Carolina, if you didn’t know) because… because… because…

Meanwhile, the hypocritical NFL, positively paranoid about marijuana use by its players, never said a word when Washington and Colorado, home to two of its teams, were voting to legalize pot.

*********** Mr. Donald Galarneau died last week.  He was 92.

Mr. Galarneau was born and raised in Portland, and after graduating from high school in 1942, he enlisted on the Army Air Corps (now known as the Air Force).

From his obituary:

On Aug. 9, 1945, after dodging 16 rounds of flak to complete a bombing mission over Matsuyama, Japan, Donald and his crewmates witnessed a plume of smoke rising into the atmosphere 200 kilometers to the southwest. The smoke plume originated in Nagasaki, site of the second and final wartime atomic bomb detonation in history.  Donald was the final surviving member of his B-24 crew, a crew that carried out 35 raids without losing a single man.

american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 26,  2016   “An efficient hawk hides his claws.”  World War II Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

*********** Bob Novogratz is a friend and a member of the board of the Black Lion Award. He is truly a wonderful person who with his wife has raised an amazing family.

IN addition to being a two-way All-American football player for Army in 1958, Bob was also an All-American heavyweight wrestler.

One of his children, MIchael, was also a great wrestler, an All-American at Princeton.  Michael went on to achieve great success is business with his own hedge fund.  He is reported to be worth billions (with a “b”).

And to his great credit, he has used his influence and large sums of money to keep amateur wrestling alive in America.

Thanks to his generosity, there is high school wrestling in New York.

Thanks to his efforts, there is an annual college wrestling exhibition in Times Square.

Thanks to his efforts, wrestling is still an Olympic sport.

Now now, thanks to him and other wealthy former wrestlers, American Olympic medal winners will now receive bonuses of up to $500,000.

From The Spectator…

for most athletes in the Olympics, a medal is the ultimate payoff. Not for wrestlers, however, the sport that remains as pure as it was in ancient times, but whose name has been muddled in the public’s mind with that phony show that is called professional wrestling. Olympic wrestlers do not get the endorsements after a victory that, say, a great track and field athlete does, or a swimmer.

At least in America, where wrestlers are not sponsored by the state, as they are elsewhere, and are mostly dependent for a college education on scholarships to make ends meet. Until now, that is. A billionaire by the name of Mike Novogratz, a private equity tycoon, heads a fraternity of well-heeled former wrestlers, several of whom have made it big on Wall Street. They have offered a prize of half a million greenbacks for a gold, and less lucre for silver and bronze, suddenly making wrestlers the envy of athletes not named Bolt or Phelps.

*********** In February, at the University of Chicago to deliver a speech, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez had to leave the building after she was confronted by Black Lives Matter protesters in the audience who held up signs started chanting.

The very next day, the University’s police department had to being an end to a scheduled talk by with a Palestinian human rights activist after protesters disrupted his speech.

And in April members of the Armenian Students Association broke up a talk by a scholar who they said denies the Armenian Genocide.

Enough, said the University of Chicago.

Incoming freshmen just received a letter from the school  stating clearly  that it does not condone so-called “ safe spaces" or “trigger warnings.”

Read the letter from Dean of Students Jay Ellison, “Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual ‘safe spaces’ where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.”

In 1939, University of Chicago President Robert M. Hutchens, disturbed by the fact that football was being glorified at the expense of academics (yes, this has gone on for a long time), persuaded the board of trustees to pull out of the Big Ten and  discontinue football.  No other major college followed Chicago’s lead.  Let’s hope that this time the Grand Poobahs at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Brown and other elite hives of liberal illiberalism will take courage from their betters at Chicago.

*********** A friend took over a team that had zero success last year, and he’s struggling.

Seems the players are questioning some of his strategy - you know, the old “this offense doesn’t work” whinging.

In such cases, where coaches have shared their frustrations with me, I’ve often deferred to Bill McCartney, former national championship coach at Colorado and President of Promise Keepers:
  "You have to convince your players that the only reason a play failed was that they didn't execute properly."

Very simply, you will not solve anything when players who have never accomplished a thing as a team are permitted to bellyache and shirk responsibility.

So long as your players are permitted to blame you or your strategy, they will work hard to prove their point -  not to improve.

It means that they believe that it is up to you to solve, and that they have no responsibility.

*********** Much is being made of the fact that Hillary Clinton is not really campaigning.  She’s out raising money and showing up on TV shows, but she hasn’t attended many rallies and she hasn’t had a press conference in months.

For those who don’t know history, she is running what used to be called a “Front Porch Campaign.”

It is one in which the candidate simply doesn’t get out and campaign.

One example was the 1896 campaign in which William McKinley pretty much stayed in his hometown of Canton, Ohio while his rival, William Jennings Bryan, made hundreds of speeches.  McKinley defeated Bryan.

***********  Food City, a supermarket chain in East Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia,  has produced a highly-moving commercial that honors those who’ve served our country…

*********** Internet Wisdom…

I took down my Rebel flag (which you CANNOT buy on EBAY any more) and peeled the NRA sticker off my front window. I disconnected my home alarm system and quit the candy-ass Neighborhood Watch.  I bought two Pakistani flags and put one at each corner of my front yard. Then I purchased the black flag of ISIS (which you CAN buy on EBAY) and ran it up the flag pole.

Now the local police, sheriff, FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, Secret Service, and other agencies are all watching
my house 24/7. I’ve NEVER felt safer and I’m saving the $69.95 a month that ADT used to charge me.
I bought burkhas for my wife and me to wear when we shop or travel. Everyone moves out of the way and security can't pat us down.  If they ask why a male is wearing a burka, I just say I'm feeling like a woman today.

Safe at last!

*********** Tom Smythe is one of the great coaches in the long history of Oregon high school football.  One of his tenets has always been “Less is More” - that you could over practice, that there was such a thing as a point of diminishing return beyond which the work you put in simply didn’t produce sufficient results to justify the effort.

Like most coaches, I haven’t had the nerve to depart from the time tested football coaching formula of work, work and more work.  I believe in repping and repping and repping. I always want to run one more play.

I just wouldn’t feel right practicing offense one day and defense the next.  I know of successful coaches who practice that way, but I just have this fear that if we ever missed a day of offensive practice, things would go all to hell.

How smart is that? The evidence is all to the contrary.  We’ll play a game on Friday night and give our kids the weekend off and they’ll come back on Monday and run the offense without a hitch.

And yet…

So there we were Wednesday and (for us) it was hot.  We’d had an exceptionally good morning practice, and we decided to cut the afternoon practice short by nearly an hour, and I’ll be damned if the practice wasn’t exceptionally sharp.  The enthusiasm was amazing. 

Less is more.

*********** A while back I wrote about Army’s Ahmad Bradshaw, the starting QB on a triple option team. (Can’t get any more important than that.)

A week ago, going into his junior year, he faced the biggest decision that any West Point cadet can face - whether to drop out at that point, and owe the American taxpayers absolutely nothing, in return for two years’ education at one of the top institutions in the nation, or to sign up for two more years at West Point, followed by five years of active duty in the US Army.

Bradshaw chose not to stay.

You talk about some anxious people.  I’m told that the Superintendent himself spoke with the young man to point out to him the pluses and minuses of his decision.

At the very least, the football team was without its starting QB, less than two weeks before next Friday’s opener at Temple.  At the most, the US Army lost a potential officer, and Ahmad Bradshaw lost out on a chance to earn the West Point degree, than which there are few more prestigious.

However it worked out, Ahmad Bradshaw relented, returned to the classroom and the football field, and he’s now a full-fledged member of the West Point Class of 2018.

Army’s Jeff Monken has to be breathing easier now, but such are the problems faced by a service academy coach.  I rather doubt that Nick Saban has ever had to deal with one like this.

*********** From the Shaking My Head and Wondering if These Might be the End Times Department:

Mission Viejo, California High School is a powerhouse program, and it has “partnered” with Under Armour to - get this - make it possible for them to have  28 f-king different uniform combinations.

“We did this for the kids,” Mission Viejo wide receivers coach Garrett Gray, who worked with head coach Bob Johnson and UA executives to design the looks, told USA Today.  “It’s going to give them something special that they can put on their social media.  What’s really great is the kids will choose the uniform combination they want to wear each week.  The goal is to not re-use a combo.”

Yeah, right.  Something special.   We have kids who sleep in three different places, depending on the day of the week and how they’re getting along with this person or that, so you’ll have to forgive us if we sometimes fail to give our kids “something special that they can put on their social media.”

Not to mention 28 different f-king uniform combinations.

Black Lion Patch*********** IT’S TIME TO SIGN UP!





(1)  Have your team’s head coach email me with his contact information.

(2) Head coach: Once you’re approved, inform your players that they’re a Black Lion team and one of them will be selected as the team’s Black Lion, based on his leadership, his courage, his unselfishness and his willingness to do anything for his team. Tell them that if they all try to win it, you’ll wind up having a great team.

(3) Head coach: at season’s end, select your award winner.  We strongly suggest that the coaches do it.  We strongly discourage having the players do it.

(4) Head coach: Email us your letter nominating your winner.  We do ask that you send us a letter being specific about why you chose him.  (HINT: Use some of the comments your coaches made when you decided on him.)

Be sure to include the mailing address where the award should be sent.

Be sure that you get an email back, informing you that we received your nomination

(5) Once your nomination is approved, we will send you the Black Lions patch (as shown on the player in the picture) and the certificate suitable for framing.  There will be space on it for you to sign.

(6) Present your award at your banquet or award ceremony.  Where possible, it is a great idea to have a service member - retired or active duty - on hand to present it.  If we can, we will try to find someone nearby who might be able to do it.


american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 23,  2016   “I am a juggler; I never let my right hand know what my left hand does."  Franklin D. Roosevelt

*********** TESTIMONIAL

Hi Coach Wyatt,

Love Video 5 -- And 4, and 3, and 2, and 1 -- the Entire Package

This ain't your Mama's Wing-T no more.

       Instead of
  .... it should be...

Great package of football information.  Thanks for sharing.

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

***********   I thought you might enjoy a Finnish explanation of Amerikalainen Jalkapallo. Er, American Football.

Hey - you might even learn a little Finnish:

That’s about how much I know.  A little.  I coached seven seasons in Finland,  and Finnish friends have told me my Finnish is excellent.  But then, I'm not sure how they would know.  Most Finns speak English quite well, and they’re blown away when they hear ANY foreigner even try to speak their language.

Finnish is hellishly difficult to learn. I’ve worked hard at it.  If I’d spent seven seasons  coaching in France, or Spain, Italy or Germany, I’d be fluent in their language.

Amerikalainen means American type, Jalkapallo means football -  Jalka (foot) pallo (ball).  To get a bit more complicated: Amerikalaisen Jalkapallon, which you’ll see,  means “OF American Football.”  Finnish doesn’t have prepositions - you have to learn what all those “case endings” - different endings to the same word - mean.  Fortunately, my study of Latin prepared me for that concept.  It just didn’t prepare me for how difficult Finnish is.

Finnish tends to make large compound words out of several smaller ones.

For example: Rautatieasema, which means railroad station (Rauta: iron; Tie: Road; Asema: station)

For us,  think of footballstadium.  It could happen - football started out as foot ball, then after a halfway stop at foot-ball, they went all the way and made it into one word.

Back to foot ball - sorry, football:

“Pelinrakentaja” - the “maker of the play” - is the QB.   Finns often just say “KOO-BEE” (they have no “Q” in their alphabet)

And as you’ll soon see, Puolustus means defense.  Hyökkäys means offense.

One of the first sentences you’ll see is : Pelinrakantaja on hyökkäyksen johtaja.   “Johtaja” means leader, or manager. Literally, the sentence means “QB (they don’t have any articles - a, an, the) is of the offense the leader.”

There!  You’re on your way to learning Finnish!  Oh - almost forgot - now tyou have to pronounce it. 


*********** Ralph Dispigno is 87 years old, and he runs the nation’s oldest Italian restaurant, Ralph’s, on 9th Street in the heart of still-heavily Italian South Philadelphia. It was started in 1900 by Ralph’s grandfather, Francesco.  Francesco Dispigno named it for his son, Rafael, but in the great immigrant tradition of wanting to be American, he gave it the Americanized version of the name.

You don’t stay in business that long without serving a good product, and you don’t stay in business without great attention to the smallest detail.

After I read this quote from an interview with,  I sensed immediately that if Mr. Dispigno hadn’t grown up in the family business, he’d have been one hell of a head football coach…

“You have to watch me some night and see what goes on. You'll see what it takes. Lots of little things. You have to see the little things that you have to correct a lot of times. It's the little things, like the old saying, little things become big things. My father used to say, "I can walk through the dining room and see eight or 10 different things wrong." The waiters walk by, they don't see nothing. They don't see no mistakes, nothing wrong. I do the same thing, I see a lot of different things. I'll tell the waiter, "That's not right," or ... all those little things that you see. You see during the day, you see those things. That's not a knock on the wait staff, no. It's because I've done this all my life.”

*********** Could there be something pathologically wrong with Jim Harbaugh? Why else, when given a choice between being pleasant to someone or shoving a pie in their face,  would he instead turn it into a choice between whether to use  real whipped cream or Reddi-Wip?

Watch him, vintage Harbaugh, take it as  an affront that reporters, people with jobs of their own to do, might actually ask him questions whose answers their readers would like to know.

Golden Domers everywhere should rejoice.

Harbaugh may be a hell of a coach, but thanks to his arrogance and total lack of charm,  Michigan - the school of Bo Schembechler, a school whose football program has never had so much as a touch of scandal - could make a run at Notre Dame as the Team You Love to Hate.

*********** Uh-oh.  Spoke too soon.  Notre Dame has responded to Harbaugh’s challenge with the arrests of six players, three of them for possession of an unregistered gun, one of them a senior nailed for “allegedly” resisting arrest.  Sheesh. What’s a Notre Dame education for if a guy who’s spent at least three years there still hasn’t learned that one likely way to wind up on the wrong end of a police bullet is to resist arrest?

*********** Occasionally, when I was younger, I’d hear older men refer to a baseball player as an “Old Oriole.”  It meant he was tough. It meant he would do anything to win - within  (and sometimes without) the rules.  It meant he took no quarter and gave none.

The “Old Orioles,” were the Baltimore Orioles, who played in the major leagues from 1882 to 1899 until they were essentially dumped by big league baseball in a sort of downsizing.

The Old Orioles were rough and tough, vulgar and vile.  They fought with opponents and they fought with each other.

In a magazine interview years afterward, Old Oriole John “Muggsy” McGraw recalled, "On that old Baltimore club we used to keep a row of files hanging on the wall back of a bench just outside the visiting players’ dressing rooms, and as the visiting team came out to start its practice we’d be sitting there sharpening up our spikes."

I’m not in the habit of quoting Wikipedia, suspect as its sources often are, but this does sum it up rather well.

The original Orioles were one of the most storied teams in the history of the game. Managed by Ned Hanlon, they won NL pennants in 1894, 1895 and 1896, and sported some of the most colorful players in history including John McGraw, Wee Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings, Joe Kelley, Wilbert Robinson, and Dan Brouthers.

They were rough characters who practically invented "scientific" baseball, the form of baseball played before the home run became the norm in the 1920s. Like the style known today as "small ball", the "inside baseball" strategy of Orioles featured tight pitching, hit and run tactics, stolen bases, and precise bunting. One such play, where the batter deliberately strikes the pitched ball downward onto the infield surface with sufficient force such that the ball rebounds skyward, allowing the batter to reach first base safely before the opposing team can field the ball, remains known as a Baltimore Chop.

What made me think of the Old Orioles and of a time when Americans were a tougher breed was this article in my Sunday paper about the Baltimore Orioles. The New Orioles.  Definitely not the Old Orioles.

“The Baltimore Orioles have placed starting catcher Matt Wieters on paternity leave.

“Wieters left the team Saturday to join his wife, Maria, who is due to give birth to the couple’s second child.”

WTF?  Paternity leave?  For a big-league baseball player?

 For you young guys, you need to understand that to us older guys, the idea of an expectant father taking time away from his job while his wife has a baby is unthinkable.

I’m reminded of the old war story about the sailor who requested time off because his wife was going to have a baby.  The captain scoffed, and said, “Your presence was required at the laying of the keel.  Not at the launching.”

I'm shaking my head trying to imagine the razzing an Old Oriole would have gotten from his teammates when  he came back from “paternity leave.”  (If he'd have the nerve to come back.)

At the least, if Maria Wieters gives birth to a boy, they should name the kid Muggsy.

(In 1953, at the news that the St. Louis Browns were being moved to Baltimore - to become, once again, the Orioles - poet/humorist Ogden Nash, a Baltimorean, was inspired to write this poem, called “You Can’t Kill an Oriole”

Wee Willie Keeler
Runs through the town,
All along Charles Street,
In his nightgown.

Belling like a hound dog,
Gathering the pack:
Hey, Wilbert Robinson,
The Orioles are back!

Hey, Hughie Jennings!
Hey, John McGraw!
I got fire in my eye
And tobacco in my jaw!

Hughie, hold my halo.
I'm sick of being a saint:
Got to teach youngsters
To hit 'em where they ain't.

*********** Our President, always ready with a comment on any racially-charged police shooting, not only chose to continue playing golf on Fantasy Island while Louisiana coped with the flood, but then had the astounding gall to issue a 16-page document warning the people of Louisiana - as they struggle to rescue and assist one another without regard to race - not to “discriminate.”

If this had been a Republican President, he’d have been roasted on a spit by the liberal media (a redundancy).

Uh, not that people who’ve been chased out of their homes have their computers handy, but considering what they’ve been through while Mister Obama frets about whether to use a 9-iron or a wedge - who TF has the time to read that Washington crap?

And if he can’t break away from his golf (taunted about the “optics” of what he’s been doing, he now says he’s going to visit Louisiana on Tuesday - only a week late) he should at least tell those hundreds of people in Washington who “work” churning out 16-page memos cautioning rescuers and rescued not to discriminate to get their asses down to Louisiana and help real working people - blacks and whites - get their lives back in order.

Meanwhile, anyone who’s ever been caught in the traffic caused by the Presidential motorcade as The Man made his way to and from a fund raiser can only laugh at the Louisiana governor providing cover for the President by saying in effect, that the Big Man and his entourage would just get in the way.

*********** ESPN college football analyst Rod Gilmore has issued a statement announcing that he's been diagnosed with blood cancer:

"First, I feel great and my prognosis is good. “I have great support with an amazing medical team, an incredible wife and family, and amazing friends and colleagues.”

Gilmore, a former Stanford defensive back,  is expected to be in the broacast booth when  South Carolina plays at Vanderbilt to kickoff college football's opening weekend.

*********** With the season opener against defending Oregon class 6A champ Jesuit just two weeks off, Tualatin (Oregon) High coach Bill Zernickow left abruptly to take a job as elemntary/middle school vice principal in California.

The guy can coach.  Prior to coming to Tualatin, he was 87-37 at a California high school, and at Tualatin (too-OLL-uh-tin) he took over an 0-9 2014 team that lost by an average 25-point margin, and in his one year produced an 8-3 season.

If I know football coaches, there’s got to be more to this story than simply a highly successful football coach chucking it all in order to take a ho-hum administrative job.

***********  Naomi Schaeffer Riley writes in the New York Post  that while upperclass elites are in favor of legalized pot,  those people aren’t using it to the extent that the lower class is -  and
now that it’s being legalized, the increased use of pot by the poor and less responsible,  is making them even poorer and even less responsible.

For instance, people who have a household income of less than $20,000 a year are only 19 percent of the population but they’re 28 percent of marijuana users.

The proportion of users who smoke daily or near daily has increased from 1 in 9 in 1992 to 1 in 3 in 2013. Says Steven Davenport of  RAND,  “This dispels the idea that the typical user is someone on weekends who has a casual habit.”

“The typical user is much more likely to be someone at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, whose daily life is driven, at least in part, by the question of how and where to get more marijuana. Just consider the cost. Almost a third of users are spending a tenth of their income on marijuana. And 15 percent of users spend nearly a quarter of their income to purchase the drug. The poor have not only become the heaviest users, but their use is making them poorer.”

Interestingly, marijuana use today resembles tobacco use more than alcohol use: While cigarette smoking is almost nonexistent among the educated and well-off,  the poor and working class have continued to smoke, despite the exhorbitant  - and increasing - cost of cigarettes.

LINC DANNINGER SLO*********** THE PHOTO AT LEFT WAS SENT TO ME BY Sent me by Kurt Heinke, a longtime Black Lion coach from San Luis Obispo, California -

It's Link Danninger, 13-year-old his Black Lion Award winner from last year, wearing his Black Lion patch at a recent jamboree.

What about you?  Shouldn't your team be a Black Lion Award team?





(1)  Have your team’s head coach email me with his contact information.

(2) Head coach: Once you’re approved, inform your players that they’re a Black Lion team and one of them will be selected as the team’s Black Lion, based on his leadership, his courage, his unselfishness and his willingness to do anything for his team. Tell them that if they all try to win it, you’ll wind up having a great team.

(3) Head coach: at season’s end, select your award winner.  We strongly suggest that the coaches do it.  We strongly discourage having the players do it.

(4) Head coach: Email us your letter nominating your winner.  We do ask that you send us a letter being specific about why you chose him.  (HINT: Use some of the comments your coaches made when you decided on him.)

Be sure to include the mailing address where the award should be sent.

Be sure that you get an email back, informing you that we received your nomination

(5) Once your nomination is approved, we will send you the Black Lions patch (as shown on the player in the picture) and the certificate suitable for framing.  There will be space on it for you to sign.

(6) Present your award at your banquet or award ceremony.  Where possible, it is a great idea to have a service member - retired or active duty - on hand to present it.  If we can, we will try to find someone nearby who might be able to do it.


american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 19,  2016   “The history of a battle is not unlike the history of a ball. Some individuals may recollect all of the little events of which the great result is the battle won or lost, but no individual can recollect the exact order in which, or the exact moment at which, they occurred, which makes all the difference as to their value or importance.” The Duke of Wellington

*********** At North Beach High, we have two practice days behind us, and we’re looking good.  Thursday, we got a taste of “hot” weather (a relative term - it was 70 degrees in Ocean Shores, which we consider hot) and our preseason circuit workouts had our kids well prepared.  We worked hard for three hours and no one flinched.

A coach in Connecticut asked me how long it takes to install our offense and get ready to play a game.  I told him that although there’s only one player on our offense starting in the same position as last year, and only four returning starters at all, there isn’t much “installation” required.  I told him that if we had to, we could play a game Friday night (our third day of practice).

We might not be ready on defense yet, but our kids will pursue you and they’ll hit you.  Our kicking game won’t be as crisp as we’d like, either.

But on offense, we’ll be ready.  Our execution will still leave something to be desired, but we’ll be able to run a surprising number of plays, and run them surprisingly well.

The reason for this, as I’ve explained before, is that our kids don’t have to memorize assignments. Their assignments for every play are right on their play cards - each position has one.  The assignments are abbreviated so that they can fit on the cards, and the players do have to know what the abbreviations mean, but that’s not even close to having to memorize their assignments on, say, 40 plays (20 right and 20 left).

I want to coach.  If they know their assingments, I can teach them their techniques.   What I can't do is help a slow learner memorize his plays. I don’t want to waste my time running a memory course, and I don’t want to have to sit a better player just because his ability to memorize is not as good as that of a lesser player.

It’s a lot of work setting up my playcards (I use Excel) but when you realize that all the hard work in the world won’t help a good player with a bad memory remember his plays, it’s well worth the trouble.

*********** The name Wilcox is fairly prominent in football.  Dave Wilcox played at Oregon, then played 11 years with the 49ers, and he played well enough that  he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  His eldest son, Josh, played at Oregon and had a brief NFL career with the Saints. Younger son Justin also played at Oregon and has been a defensive coordinator at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, USC and, now,  Wisconsin.

But few people know of Dave’s older brother, John, who played at Oregon four years before him, and signed with the Eagles in 1960, drafted 17th only after his college coach, Len Casanova, recommended him to his old friend, Eagles’ coach Buck Shaw.  John played just that one year - played on the Eagles’ 1960 NFL Championship team - and then walked away.

Turned down a  contract worth $8500 for 1961 and $9500 for 1962, and became a high school teacher and coach. (I can assure you that he didn’t earn $8500 a year as a teacher.)  After years as a teacher, coach and AD at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, he retired to his apple orchard in Eastern Oregon.

As he told author Robert Gordon, in “The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles,”

“You know, I really can’t say why I didn’t return. I was just a 22-year-old kid and I don’t really know exactly why I didn’t come back. President Kennedy was making a big push to improve high school science programs. He was offering draft deferments for science teachers at the time, so I went back to Oregon,  teaching math and coaching football.  I know that had something to do with my decision.  Then, too, as much as I enjoyed my time in Philadelphia, I missed the West Coast and living in a small town (Vale, Oregon, about eight hours’ drive east of Portland, near the Idaho border).”

Now, here’s the great irony.  Dave Wilcox played 11 years with the 49ers and he’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he never played on a championship team.

John Wilcox played just one year in the NFL - and went home with a championship ring.

*********** Coach,
Can we still shoe shine with the new clip rule?


You can block below the knees in the free blocking zone - provided the contact takes place in the free blocking zone between two players who started out (1) on the line of scrimmage and (2) in the free blocking zone (4 yards on either side of center, 3 yards forward and back of the line of scrimmage).

What you CAN’T do any longer is CLIP in the free blocking zone - you can’t make contact with an opponent from the back.


Because the action takes place in such close quarters, there is always the chance that your player will block legally but an official doesn't see what actually takes place, and flags you.

There’s also the chance that an official may not know the wording of the new rule and may think that blocking low is also prohibited.

And there’s always the chance that your player may actually clip.

So for those reasons, and in anticipation of the day not being far off when shoeshining will also be outlawed along with clipping, I don’t teach it any more.

I’m not condemning the practice, you should understand.  It’s just caution on my part.

But, confirming - it is still legal. So, yes, you can still shoe shine.


*********** Sayonara, shoeshine block.    Hola, slide and turn.  Bon jour, Cutoff/Turnback

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 (or "cutoff/turnback")

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.

Another 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.

***********  Clark County, Washington, where I live, is just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.  Its population is about 50,000 people and it’s one of the fastest growing counties in our state, thanks in large part to a good quality of life and the fact that housing is more affordable here than in Portland.

For years, Clark County has had no Catholic high school, so Clark County parents who for various reasons wanted their kids to get a Catholic education have sent their kids to Portland - mostly to Central Catholic or Jesuit.  Both schools have excellent sports programs, and many Clark County kids - much to the chagrin of Clark County public high coaches - have gone there to play.

A few years ago, Seton Catholic opened its doors, in answer to parents’ desire to send their kids to a Catholic school closer to home.

NO chance of keeping those athletes from going to Jesuit or Central Catholic, though - Seton Catholic didn’t even start play football for a year or two after opening.  Instead, it offered - get ready for this - soccer.

When they did start football, they did a bad job of it, and they’ve won no more than a game in any season.

Now, just before the start of this year’s football practice, Seton Catholic cancelled its football season.  Nice timing.

Back in June the word was that they had cancelled a few of their games against tougher league opponents who, needless to say, were pissed because at that point it was difficult for them to find other games.

How did it happen?

In my opinion, they totally screwed things up right from the start.

Right out of the box, instead of starting a football team, they started playing that damn Communist sport.   Dumb, dumb, dumb. What the hell kind of boys are you going to attract when soccer is your featured sport?

Then, despite the fact that they are actually North Beach’s size, putting them in the smallest classification that plays 11-man football, they chose to play up - to play in the next larger classification - because that would mean less travel for all their other sports, boys and girls.

But it also meant that when they decided to start a football program, they would have to play in a higher classification than their enrollment called for. So in return for less travel for its other sports, Seton sacrificed its football program by throwing it up against tougher competition.  Put another way - football, the most vulnerable and most numbers-sensitive of all the sports, and the most visible to the public, wound up taking one for the team. 

I know that it isn’t unusual for well-established Catholic schools to “play up” and do very well, but Seton Catholic, trying to start a program from scratch, wasn’t in that position yet.  Not even close. 

There also were what I would call a few questionable decisions, including hiring an AD with no knowledge of high school football (nothing new there), and coaches’ thinking that first you decided on an offense (spread) and then hoped that there would be players to make it work. (Didn’t happen.)

The result has been disastrous.  I’ve seen them play over the past three seasons and seen absolutely no progress. We played them the past two seasons, and they were easily the worst team I’ve seen in my six years of coaching at the 2B level.

I’d like them to succeed.  Their principal was once my wife’s principal and he’s a good guy.

I don’t take any particular satisfaction in the recollection that back when they first announced they were going to play football I contacted their AD and never heard back.

*********** Hope Solo?  Or Ryan Lochte?  Ryan Lochte?  Or Hope Solo?

Solo, who called the Swedish women’s soccer team “cowards” because they employed a slowdown, defensive game against the favored Americans (a strategy that proved to be a winning one)?

Or Lochte, who may well turn out to represent to the world  the stereotypical ugly, entitled, spoiled, churlish American ?

My vote goes to Lochte, a 32-year-old man who makes the kind of living swimming - swimming, for God’s sake! - that most school teachers will never know.

What a f—king jerk. The world dumps on Brazil, host country of the Olympics, and Lochte - it appears - thinks it's cool to pile on.

For sure, if what seems to be the case with Lochte turns out to be true - that he and his buddies told a story about being robbed at gunpoint by either cops acting like robbers or robbers acting like cops, when in reality they were 30-year-olds acting  like a bunch of drunken frat boys, they trashed a service station rest room and then concocted the robbery story for some unknown reason (some say it had something to do with, um, the "professional female companionship" they’d partaken of earlier in the evening)  he’s done Lady Solo an enormous favor by surpassing her as the Ass Hat of the 2016 Olympics.

Meantime, Lochte has managed to escape from Brazil, the country he insulted, and fly back to the US, the country which he disgraced.

Back to the idiot sponsors who’ve enabled him to live the privileged life of a career Olympian.

Used to be when someone disgraced his country at the Olympics, they’d send the bad actors home.

Now, My fervent hope is that they’ll send Mister Millionaire in a Speedo back to Brazil.

*********** I’m sorry, but I laughed - and laughed, and laughed, and laughed - when I heard that the USA women’s soccer team had lost to Sweden.  Those poor babies.

It didn’t help things any that their goalie, Hope Solo, who if she were a man would be called a thug,  showed the world how gracious Americans can be in defeat by calling the Swedes “cowards.”

Maybe you remember how America's darlings refused to play a game in Hawaii,  disappointing thousands who'd bought tickets, because the field was - gasp! - "unplayable."   Omigod.

Maybe you remember that they sued FIFA because - gasp! - they had to play their games on - get ready for this - artificial turf!  "A nightmare," team captain Abby Wambach called it.  Oh, the humanity.

Maybe you remember the way they argued that they deserve to be paid the same as players on the USA men’s team.  After all, they said - they had been much more successful on the world's stage than the men, conveniently ignoring the fact that their pay is a function of the revenues earned by the Women’s World Cup, which is a fraction of what the Men’s World Cup earns.  Oh - and forgetting to mention that we’re one of the few nations that  take women’s sports seriously, so it’s not nearly as difficult for them to dominate world soccer as it is for the men.

For the men, with soccer no better than our fourth most popular sport (fifth if you include NASCAR), theirs is a constant struggle for recognition in their own country.

Nasty break, girls.  Better luck next time.  And until then -  shut up and play.

*********** I once heard legendary Iowa coach Hayden Fry put a really positive spin on mistakes.

He said, in practice, you want to expose mistakes -  so you can correct them.

He called it “Plowin’ up snakes and killin’ ‘em.”

*********** Can’t say passing guru Hal Mumme is a bad businessman.  Once, people would develop computer programs (back before they called them “apps"), then they'd sell the programs, and that was that. Once they sold all they could, the programs became like dry wells, no longer producing any revenue for their developers.

And then along came various developers who figured out that they could create longer-lasting revenue streams by “renting” the apps - selling annual subscriptions.

Got to hand it to them.  And  to Hal Mumme…

If you want to tap into his “Air Raid” scheme, it’s going to cost you $750.



I’m not complaining. If the guy’s product has value, then pay his price.  Just be prepared to pay it every year. 

What happens if you don’t pay it next year?  Dunno. Does your system go black?  Do the repo men come in the middle of the night and take your playbook?

Why not go the old-fashioned route and buy my system for - introductory price - $150.  And I guarantee it will never be reposssessed!

And it's a one time only fee! (Until I can find a way to charge a $750 annual membership fee.) 

american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 16,  2016   "The word 'racism' is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything - and demanding evidence makes you a 'racist.'" Dr. Thomas Sowell


Grrr. Had to sit through one of these on Monday.  It was either that or not coach.

My disdain for USA Football, a tentacle of the NFL octopus, knows no bounds, but I must give the presenter credit for making the “clinic” endurable.

I’ve been teaching my way of tackling since 1982.  There were two trigger points. First was when I saw an article in Scholastic Coach Magazine (Jeez, I miss that mag) by a coach in New York State who taught hitting up in the chest.  After looking at it on the field, I liked it, and decided to begin teaching it.

The second was at a clinic in Seattle, where I sat in on a presentation by Bud Wilkinson.  Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma teams of the 1950s and early 1960s were some of the greatest college teams of all time. Back in those days I was going with a girl from Oklahoma, and I actually took a job
digging ditches out in OKC the summer after my freshman year in college so I could be near her, and while I was out there I was blown away by the love of OU that I found in all places and at all levels of society.

Bud's presentation was about advice he’d give to youth coaches.  The topic didn’t  particularly interest me - I just wanted to hear the great Bud Wilkinson.  But what I heard thim say  changed the way I coached.

Essentially, he said that whatever we teach, we have to start out slowly,  only picking up the pace when the kids are really good.  Over and over again I’ve seen the wisdom of that - if you start out teaching something at full speed, you'll never be able to make small corrections. 

He also said that we have to deal with the kids’ fears - that most first-time players are scared to even be out there, and we need to keep that in mind.

And finally, he said that tackling should be taught the way you would teach a kid to swim.  You have to help kids overcome fear, and you have to progress very slowly, as they gain confidence.

It took lots of tweaks and adjustments until I knew I had developed a safe yet effective method of tackling that - key point - could be easily and quickly taught to kids of all ages.  I guarantee it - any player who has ever played for me can teach someone else how to tackle.

The big point for me was that it could be taught fairly quickly; there was not a lot of fancy-dancy footwork or steps to be taught, and just a few key coaching phrases could reinforce major points.

In 1999 I put together a video called “Safer and Surer Tackling” to show how I teach it, and with only a minor adjustment here and there, that’s still the way I teach it.

So we coaches from our staff looked on as the presenter showed the “Heads Up” tackling stuff, and shook our heads at the complexity of their teaching method and drills.  It’s fine if it’s just you and a couple of kids spending a half hour or so during the summer, but if you’re coaching an entire team, and you have one or at most two qualified assistants helping you, you’re going to be devoting a LOT of time just to the installation of the “Heads Up” tackling technique.

Look - I personally don’t give a sh— if no one buys another tackling video from me, but it really seems to me that they’ve tried to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

*********** “you can go grab a shortstop and teach him to play quarterback easier than you can make someone accurate.”

So says Washington State’s Mike Leach, arguing that if a guy isn’t accurate, there’s no point in recruiting him.
“People make this mistake all over the country, and everybody can think of one, but there will be a guy who is big, strong and athletic, and everyone gets tempted by speed and if someone has a super strong arm.”

“Then they say ‘Well all he has to do is work on his accuracy. Well ok. He won’t be accurate in high school. Then some college will take him, and then he won’t be accurate there, and then the NFL says ‘all he has to do is work on his accuracy,’ and they’ll take him there, and he won’t be accurate there and then he’ll be out of the league.”

“The thing that’s amazing to me, is that after all of high school he’s not accurate, and now all of a sudden you’re special and you’re going to make him accurate? And then after college he’s not accurate, and you’re special and you’re going to make him accurate? I just haven’t seen that happen. I’ve seen guys improve, but they don’t all of a sudden become accurate.”

*********** Charlotte (NC) Independence High fired their head coach last Friday,

(1) just a week before the team’s opening game…

(2) Just three months after he had heart transplant surgery…

(3) Less than a week after his father died.

Surely there’s a good reason why they’d do this to a guy - and to his team - at a horrible time like this, but if there is, the  school administrators (as usual)  aren’t saying what it is.

So in the absence of any explanation, they’ve left themselves wide open for people like me to accuse them of being heartless pricks.

***********   Morning coach,

Good News You Can Use as usual. Great with coffee.

I want to get your take on a parent/player issue.

On my younger team (13/14) we have 28 players. League rules necessitate a "fair play rule" where substitutes rotate in every other series. No problem with that. I like the rule as it forces coaches to coach every player as every player will be going in the game.

My problem is a parent (who I know well and has typically been very supportive). He is incensed that his son will be one of the rotating kids and not starting for the entire game.

The player is a fine young man, but right now he is short, squat, and slow. I have him rotating in at center and he is barely holding on there.

Dad called me last night (props to him for not hiding behind an email) and wanted to know why other kids were not rotating and that his son would "do what ever I said" and " he loves you and football, but may not come back next year if this continues."

I pushed back without being insulting, but here is my dilemma:

This dad needs to realize we have put his son in the best place to play without the team suffering. He is a good boy, but being short, slow, and weak, limits where we can play him. Mom and Dad are influential in the community and up until this point have been advocates for the program, but they are not afraid to make a stink.

Any advice on how to clearly communicate the fact that his son is not good right now, and we will continue to work with him, but there are no promises that this will change?

Welcome to the Dunning-Kruger Effect -

*********** Ever have a kid who is so good that you just look at him, in practice or games, and go, “Wow?”  Ever wonder why other kids playing the same position don’t see see the same thing you do - and don’t understand why they’re not the ones starting?

All this time, without us coaches knowing it, there’s been an explanation for it. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger Effect,  and it’s named for the two Cornell University psychologists who first researched it and wrote about it.

It describes people who are unskilled and unaware of it.

Seems to me we feed it with all the trophies-for-everybody, nobody-wins-because-we-don’t-want-anyone-to-lose, everybody-is-special, you-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be crap that we expose kids to from the time they’re little.

I’m hoping that Dunning and Kruger aren’t finished, and that their next work will be a study of the phenomenon of parents who spend tons of money on camps and personal coaches and travel teams because they’re too dumb to realize that their kids aren’t as good as they think they are.–Kruger_effect

I can’t tell whether “fair play” means “equal Play,” so If this is just about the “prestige" of “starting," Dad is sick.
These deals are always tough because parents really are blind to their own kids’ inadequacies.

This is a major reason why - in the future - you want to make clear at your parents’ meeting that there are two items that are not subjects of conferences between parents and coaches: the amount of playing time, and coaching strategy (especially as it relates to where a player is playing or how he is being employed).

But it’s too late for that this year, so…

I think you have to be perfectly frank with Dad and remind him that playing time is a scarce commodity that is awarded on the basis of merit, but to make sure that no one goes without, there are rules in place to make sure that everyone does get some playing time…

That the coaches attempt to put players at the position where they can make the greatest contribution to the team.  Fortunately, there are opportunities in football for players of a variety of size and skills.

That it’s your responsibility as a coach to see to it that the boys all understand that there’s only one criterion that determines who plays when and where, and when one player clearly is the better player at a position, the better player will earn more playing time.

That In the judgment of the coach(es), - - - - -  is not at this point the better player at his position.

That where there might be some disagreement with the coaches’ judgment,  it is possible, at the player’s request,  to set up an open competition, but experience generally shows that this does not have a good effect on the morale of the loser.  We think it’s best to accept the judgment of the coaches and work to improve…

That we understand that players mature and develop at different rates, and we want to make sure that they stay with the sport.  So we coach them up and encourage them and try to show ways that they can get better and play more.  In the case of ——— , he needs to get stronger and faster.  Fortunately, those are things that he can work on, on his own.  He should take this as a challenge.


There’s no question that you have to be frank.  Diplomatic, but frank.  

Argue for the benefits of being a part of a good group of young men who are learning important things as they work toward a common goal.  One of those things is that every player plays a part in a successful team effort.

 If Dad pulls his son, that’s too bad for the son.  Not necessarily for you.   Dad may be influential in the community, but when it comes to advocating for his own kid, who’s he going to influence?  I suspect that those he might try to influence already understand quite well what this is all about.

And in the meantime, two things:

(1) Get the parents’ bulletin updated in time for next year, if not sooner

(2) Make a special effort to recognize the backups.  This might mean, as some successful youth coaches I know have done, forming them into a unit of their own, giving them a small package of plays, and telling them that they can stay on the field until they score, turn the ball over, or run out of downs.

Good luck with this one.

*********** The Seahawks beat the Chiefs, 17-16, on a last-play touchdown, followed by a successful two-point conversion. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it was an exciting game.  Not unless you like SIX field goals and just two touchdowns.

The Cowboys-Rams game, on the other hand, was actually interesting.

Maybe it was because of the huge crowd in the LA Memorial Coliseum, out to watch a hometown NFL team for the first time since 1994.

Whatever - we got to see some very impressive quarterback performances.

Jared Goff DoofusFor the Cowboys, Dak Prescott looked great.  I feel bad because Kellen Moore broke his ankle, and I like Kellen Moore, but it’s tough business.

For the Rams, Sean Mannion was outstanding, leading the Rams to the winning TD.  Nelson Spruce, a rookie wide receiver from Colorado, was outstanding, not only catching the ball but getting tough yards after the catch.

Highly-touted rookie QB Jared Goff, while okay,  didn’t have the greatest of opening games.  And then he had to come out post-game looking like a doofus (LEFT).

*********** For years the Marines’ ranks have been between 7 and 8 percent female, lowest of all the services (the Air Force is highest, at 19 per cent). But now the Marines (or should I say “the White House) have set a goal of 10 per cent.    See, since Pentagon (White House) orders that they must open combat roles to women, somehow that means they now have a lot of open combat roles to be filled.

Only a liberal in the White House could have thought that somehow the Marines were missing out.

Now, in order to try to add women, they have begun a recruiting push for high school athletes.

One problem - even those who've signed up aren’t ready physically.

Some, we're told,  "can't do a pull-up or hang from a bar for long enough. And sometimes they need to get faster so they can finish the 1.5-mile run in 13.5 minutes."

All female recruits go on a "high-risk action plan" for at least five months that include vitamin supplements, weight management and an exercise regimen that includes weights, cross-fit training and a pull-up program.

Obviously, the Marines haven’t yet figured out the hidden meaning behind the memo from on high - the one telling them that they WILL meet that 10 per cent quota.

Hidden meaning:  don’t let those stupid “standards” you’ve been using get in the way.

*********** Have you noticed how the story about the NFL and USA Football using phony statistics to push “Heads Up Football” has disappeared?  That’s what a good PR Department does, and the NFL’s is the best there is.

*********** Turnabout is fair play.  With all the Australian Rules football players earning jobs as punters in the American game, it seems only fair that the Aussies might try to find some talent for their game among American athletes.

Mason Cox, a former Oklahoma State basketball player, has shown well playing for the Collingwood Magpies, and the Aussies are aggressively searching for other Yanks who might not be good enough to play in the NBA or NFL but might be well suited to the Australian game.

Basketball players -

Football players -

*********** Neill Armstrong died last week at the age of 90. Not to be con used with the astronaut of the same name, Mr. Armstrong played at  Oklahoma A & M (now Oklahoma State) was the Eagles’ first-round draft choice in 1947.  He played on the Eagles’ back-to-back NFL championship teams in 1948 and 1949.  I just point that out because that was when I first started following pro football, and as a kid in Philadelphia I thought it was just perfectly natural, being the center of the universe and all, that the Eagles would always win. Time, of course, has proved the fallacy of those childish beliefs, and now as I look at my photo of those old Eagles, I note how many of them are now gone.  Rest in peace, Neill Armstrong,

He went on after the Eagles to play a few more years in Canada, then embarked on a long coaching career in college, the CFL and NFL. He was a key member of Bud Grant’s Vikings staff that made four Super Bowl appearances between 1970 and 1977. He was head coach of the Chicago Bears from 1978 through 1981 and earned the hatred of Green Bay fans for a game in which the Bears were winning by a big score in the fourth quarter, yet he still had his quarterback throwing deep.  The final was 61-7 and Armstrong regretted not scoring more. 

There had to be something personal behind it.

From the Bears, he moved on to the Cowboys, helping them win Super Bowls in 1993, 1994 and 1996 before retiring.

Condolences to his wife of 70 years, Jane, who certainly saw her share of ups and downs in her husband’s long coaching career.

*********** Back when Pitt announced its plans to move games off campus, from old Pitt Stadium to Heinz Field, bad things were predicted.  Students wouldn’t go… loyal fans wouldn’t go… etc., etc.

Meantime, Pitt just announced a new all-time record in season-ticket sales:  53,775

(A rare visit by Penn State on September 10 may help explain it.)

american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 12,  2016   “The best way to control your future is to create it yourself.”  Peter Drucker

*********** Tom Smythe is one of the most respected coaches in the history of Oregon high school football.

He’s been successful at several  high schools in Oregon and, for good measure, one in Washington.  He’s won several state championships at the big-school level.

He’s been an assistant in the USFL, he’s been a college head coach at his alma mater - Portland’s Lewis and Clark College - and he’s coached overseas, in Austria and Finland.

Tommy Smythe really knows his sh—.

And the most amazing thing about him - the most refreshing thing - is that he’s never been an “outwork the other guy” type.

He said he learned very early in a college business class about the Point of Diminishing Return.  One of his slogans is “less is best.”

He never was an advocate of owning his players year-round.  I’ve heard him say things to the effect that no school’s trophy case has any 7-on-7 trophies in it.

He’s not coaching anymore, but his ideas are still fresh, and maybe more appropriate than ever.

HIs book “The Flex Slot - Football’s Fastbreak Offense” is a good read if you only read it to get a look at his philosophy.

Here’s an example:
Once while coaching in the USFL the offensive staff was assembled in the film room watching the same four plays over and over again. The time reached midnight and still we watched. Most had glazed over eyes and only stayed awake because heads would bang against the wall often enough to make much needed sleep impossible. Finally, I whispered to one of the other assistant coaches, "Why are we still here?" After a few moments to reflect he said, "Because Dick Vermiel did it this way". After pondering that answer for a while I couldn't resist responding to my colleague. "Does anybody realize that doing it ‘this way’ drove Dick Vermiel out of coaching?"
Check out this great interview of Tommy Smythe.  There’s a lot of background noise, but it’s classic Tommy Smythe, and it's worth listening to what he has to say…

*********** Remember the Good Old Days before the invention of the “Transgender,” when gays and lesbians (I forget what they called themselves back then) said all they wanted was to be accepted as equal members of society?

And then at some point they became “LGBT,” and the next thing you know they were  qualified to advise the Big 12 on expansion…

*********** The Dallas Cowboys’ request to honor the Dallas Police Department with a sticker on their helmets was turned down by the NFL.

Oh, no - we can't be seen as honoring police.

This is the same NFL that did nothing about Rams’ players putting on a “Hands Up Don’t Shoot!” act at a time when racial tensions were running high in St. Louis...

The same NFL that did nothing about a Browns’ player who sent out a graphic of a cop having his throat cut…

The same NFL that keeps feminists off its back by wearing 
Pink Kevlar for the entire month of  October...

Oh, wait.  I get it.

It’s also the same NFL that honors our military - for a fee.

*********** Oh my goodness - John Saunders has died.  Only 61.  He always gave off a sense of competence and decency.

*********** Army QB candidate Ahmad Bradshaw knows that when he graduates from West Point, he could be sent someplace very dangerous.

But maybe not a lot more dangerous than where he comes from - Chicago’s South Side.

*********** So now it appears that Centcom - our Army's very top leaders - have been "persuaded" to change the information provided by their own analysts, in order to back up the rosy claims of our progress against ISIS put out by Our President.

Add to that an FBI whose director declined to press the case against Hillary Clinton…

Plus a “Justice” Department that refuses to investigate the corrupt practices of the Clinton Family Foundation but expects us to trust it when it says it’s capable of evaluating and directing the operations of big city police departments…

Throw in judges whose decisions treat large groups of citizens as if they’re childlike imbeciles, unable to provide proper identification in order to vote…

And a President determined to plant Middle Eastern “refugees” throughout the breadth and width of the country…

And it’s hard to make the argument that there’s anyone at the top with the integrity to do the right thing for the American people.

Face it - We’re screwed.

*********** Greg Koenig, at Beloit, Kansas High, runs a top-notch program.  Consistently, his Beloit Trojans rank among the tops in their class.  Part of it, I’m proud to say, is the way his teams execute Greg’s double-wing offense, but a major part of it is Greg’s overall approach to coaching young men, so I was flattered to read this on Facebook -
At the end of conditioning this morning, we started a new tradition in our program. I borrowed it from North Beach High School in Ocean Shores, WA. They are coached by my friend, Todd Bridge, and my mentor, Hugh Wyatt. At the end of every practice session, each of their players shakes hands with every coach before leaving the practice field. It was an outstanding way to finish this morning's workout. I already love this new Trojan Tradition.

*********** I started to laugh when I heard it, but then I got pissed.

The story was about “refugees” in Sweden.  Seems that the Swedish government is having trouble finding housing for them.  And on top of that, for many of the new arrivals, the accommodations provided (free of charge) by their hosts are not up to their high standards.

So the Swedish government, known for its generosity with the Swedish taxpayers’ money, has a great solution.

It’s asking Swedes who own summer cottages,  which they use only three months of the year, to allow refugees to live in them the rest of the year.

What got me was that the radio story said that they were asking “wealthy” Swedes to do this.

That’s what made me laugh - and got me pissed.

First of all, I’ve spent a lot of time in Scandinavia, and I can tell you that there are not a whole lot of “wealthy” people. Not, at least, by American standards.

There aren’t many poor people, either, because of generous government programs.  But you just don’t see that many people living in huge mansions on five-acre lots, either.

High, high taxation, which enables the governments to provide all sorts of “free” benefits to their fellow countrymen (not to mention rolling out the welcome mat for the uninvited human wave that has begun sweeping in) makes sure of that.

But secondly, from my experience with Finns, you can’t assume a person’s wealthy by whether he (or she) owns a summer cottage.

Although Finland is mostly farms and forests and lakes, most Finns live in cities, and most of them live in apartments.

The idea of getting away from it all - getting out of the city and into the woods - is in the Finnish nature, and it’s the near-universal aspiration of every Finn to one day own a kesämökki - a summer cottage.  Preferably on a lake, and always with a sauna.

But owning one doesn’t mean a Finn is rich.  Finns are thrifty people. It means that he did without a lot of other things - toys, conveniences, luxuries - in order to finally buy that kesämökki.

The Finns are generous, trusting people.  But I can’t imagine them letting foreign invaders into their summer cottages.

On the other hand, there is a good reason why they’re unoccupied much of the year. Scandinavian winters are brutal - cold and dark.  And those cottages aren’t winterized.

Maybe the idea is that come spring, after a winter on the shore of a frozen lake, the “refugees” may decide that life in the desert wasn’t so bad after all.

Three Frederick Falcons*********** When I played semi-pro football in Frederick, Maryland, one of my teammates was a guy named Clarence “Motts” Thomas. He was a local Frederick guy who’d played college football at Morgan State, in Baltimore, where his roommate was a linebacker named Willie Lanier (the same).

(In the photo at left, taken in the Fall of 1968, Motts is on the left, I'm on the right, and teammate Gene Snowden is in the middle)

As we got to know each other, we tended to bond because unlike most of the other players, we were both college graduates.

My wife and I and Motts and his wife became good friends, and often drove to away games together.  (The “Motts,” he told me, was because as a little kid he loved Motts Apple Sauce.)

After a season together, he was called up to serve in the Army, and we never got to play together again, but we stayed in fairly close touch as our careers advanced.

His career advanced from coaching high school ball in suburban Washington, to coaching at Bowie State, a historically-black college between Baltimore and Washington, to succeeding his college coach, the great Earl Banks, as head coach at his alma mater.  I remember him telling me how difficult it was following a living legend, especially one who remained on the scene as the AD, but as an assistant coach at Morgan State he had had the honor of going against the one and only Eddie Robinson of Grambling in the Urban League Classic in Yankee Stadium.  (Those were still the days before SEC schools got smart and began recruiting black athletes; at that time, Grambling was churning out NFL prospects.)

After leaving Morgan, Motts got a job as an assistant at Williams College, a prestigious liberal arts college in Western Massachusetts, and it was largely on the basis of his experience there, working with that sort of kid, that brought him to the attention of the people at Pomona College and Pitzer College in Claremont, California, when they were looking for someone to be the head coach of their combined football program.  At that point, I was living on the West Coast, and when he asked me what I thought about making a cross-country move, I remember saying, “Go for it!”

He did that, and made a name for himself at Pomona-Pitzer. First, as a good football coach (to the extent that anybody can ever build a powerhouse at schools with Ivy-type admissions standards, and in a league that didn’t permit its coaches to leave campus to recruit).  But second, as a man beloved by the people on campus, and invested with the supervision of an “outreach” program designed not just to identify minority youngsters who might benefit from a quality education, but also to prepare those kids - and their families - for the rigors of the college experience.

As a football coach, with summers free because of the low-intensity nature of Pomona-Pitzer football, Motts took a job coaching football - American football - in Finland.  He did a great job, as a coach and as an ambassador, and as a sign of the high  regard in which he was held, in 1986 he was named head coach of the Finnish National team.  His recommendation was good enough to get me a job in Finland, too, and ironically, in 1989, we faced each other in the national championship game, his Giants against my Colts. They’d beaten us earlier in the season and came into the game unbeaten, but we won the big one, 3-0. We had the offense - we’d scored 296 points in nine games - and they had the defense - they’d given up only 33 points - but in this one, our defense won it for us.  My best running back was hurt and my quarterback, best in the league, had a sore arm, but in the fourth quarter we managed to block a punt in their territory and then kick the winning field goal.

me and motts 2006The last time I saw Motts (photo at left), he and his wife, Catherine, stopped by our house just before Christmas.  He was retired and they were living in Bandon, Oregon. ( Bandon, if you don’t know, is home of Bandon Dunes, consistently rated one of the world’s top golf courses, and Motts managed to wangle a job as course marshal, which got him free golf privileges!)

In 2008 and 2009 Motts came out of retirement to coach the Bandon High football team, but his comeback was cut short by a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Sadly, despite treatment, the cancer got him.  He died in February, 2011.  Getting "the call" from Catherine was one of those events that you never forget. I was in  Florida for a clinic in Orlando, and I was staying with my friend Tom Hinger and his wife, Jane.  I can picture exactly where I was sitting when I got the news.

How here’s the most amazing thing, something he told me the last time we saw each other:

He grew up in  what was still something of a southern town in its attitudes toward race. He was the youngest child of a very large family.  His father, who was fairly old when Motts was born, was also the youngest of a large family.  And his father’s father - Motts’ grandfather - was born a slave.

Motts Thomas, the head football coach and esteemed faculty member of a prestigious California college… Motts Thomas, the head coach of the Finnish National team… was the grandson of a slave.

Please don’t  try to tell me that you can’t make it in America.

This whole thing started when I came across an article in the LA Times recently.  It was written  at the time that another Clarence Thomas was confirmed as a justice of the Supreme Court.

"I've gotten a little bit of ribbing but it's all good-natured stuff," Motts told the Times.  "But as far as I'm concerned, I am the real Clarence Thomas."

He noted that few people actually called him Clarence.  "In some phone books, I'm not even listed as Clarence. People who know me always call me Motts. Only my mother calls me Clarence."

But he said that he and his players all enjoyed a good laugh when Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed.

"We had just had an inauguration for our new (school) president and I was wearing a robe," he said. "But we still had to practice. So after the ceremony, I ran onto to field with my robe on and screamed at my players, 'I got the job! I got the job!' "

*********** I spoke with Art “Ossie” Osmundson on the phone Tuesday.  Ossie (that’s how he spells it but it’s pronounced “Ozzie”) finally retired two years ago, but he taught - and coached football and baseball - at Ridgefield, Washington for 37 years.  He was head baseball coach for 33 years and head football coach for 16.  His 1995 football team went 13-0 and won the state championship, dominating opponents without even so much as a close game. (Running the Double Wing, I should add, and inspiring me to make my first video.)

I had the privilege of coaching with Ozzie for five years prior to that big season, though, and I can tell you there were some tough seasons along the way. That’s when Ozzie showed me what kind of coach he was.  The low point was the year the levy election failed - that would have been about 1991.  The superintendent called all the faculty in and told us that with the failure of the levy (which provided taxpayer funding for all the school items that the state didn’t pay for), it meant that there wasn’t any money for sports. No new equipment, no coaching stipends, no transportation to away games.

A couple of the coaches got up and walked out, as much as saying “screw that.”

But Ozzie and I looked at each other and nodded.  He was in and so was I.  No way we weren’t going to have a football team.

We got a couple of other volunteers to join us.

We didn’t need any equipment, fortunately, but transportation was a bit of an issue.

We managed to get the superintendent’s approval to carpool to away games, and the most part, it worked well.

But in our phone conversation, Ozzie reminded me of a late-season game at Ilwaco.

Ilwaco is on the coast (its teams are the Fishermen), about 2 hours’ drive from Ridgefield, most of it on dark, winding roads.

Somehow, a few cars full of kids got lost along the way, and there we sat, Ozzie and I and a handful of kids, in the Ilwaco locker room as game time approached.

I kept looking out into the parking lot for the latecomers, and Ozzie remembers me coming into the locker room and saying, “Hey Oz - we can play.  We got eleven!”

We played.  And finished the season.  And kept Ridgefield football alive. And Ozzie and the kids went on to reward the town with a state championship, the first football state title ever won by a team from our corner of the state.

And in 2002 they paid him back by letting him go because certain influential parents didn’t think he was throwing the ball enough to showcase their children.  He was only 49, and he stayed on as Ridgefield's baseball coach for another 12 years, but he never coached another down of football.

(Ridgefield went 8-2 last year -  and the head coach stepped down, saying that after four years he'd had enough of the parental interference. “I love coaching and I love coaching those boys,’’ he told a local newspaper.  “If it was just me, the boys and the coaches, life would be perfect. But, we just have people in this community who are relentless and that’s unfortunate.’’)

*********** University of Arizona center Zach Hemmila  died in his sleep Sunday night.  Tragic. What else can I say?

Somehow, there's someone out there who'll blame football.

***********  A friend wrote…  I thought you might find this report interesting in light of our recent discussion about declining participation in football.

On a positive note, we gained 2 new freshmen at our parents meeting last night.

Yes, I wrote, and after reading the article,  another positive is the increase in the growth of soccer.   Just keep bringing in those illegals from Latin America and young male "refugees" from the Middle East and it's sure to continue!

american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 9,  2016   “The great promise of socialism is something for nothing.” Dr. Thomas Sowell

***********  Michael Tanks, head coach at Southwest  DeKalb (the locals say “Dee-CABB”) High in suburban Atlanta and a former Florida State star center,  suffered a stroke and died unexpectedly just before the start of the season and his 49th birthday.  Rest in peace, Coach Tanks.

***********  It's Olympic time (yawn) and ifyou're like me, and you don't get excited over the gold medals  of a 31-year old jerk who's never done anything in his life but swim,  you'll enoy this  hilarious take on the Olympics, sent to me by John Rockwell, of Austin, Texas.

*********** The same humor-impaired numbskulls who accused Donald Trump of encouraging the Russians to hack our secret emails (simply because he pointed out the irony that the Russians had her emails and we didn’t) are still at it.

This time,  after Olympic basketball team coach Mike Krzyzewski responded to some joking by former Duke star Kyrie Irving with a joke of his own -  a friendly “F—k you!” -  a headline read:

Coach K Curses Out Kyrie Irving During Team USA Basketball Practice

Obviously, the writer has never played on a big boys’ team.

*********** Clairton Pennsylvania quarterback Lamont Wade had Michigan at the top of his list until they pressured him to attend their camp.  Kid sounds a little full of himself - maybe he’s bent out of shape because they wouldn’t bring one of their “satellite camps” to his town.

*********** From Open Wing newsletter #5 - Two Good questions -

Two quick questions.  First question where would you put your best guard?  Tight side, or open side and why?  

Second question, if you had to strip it all down and just rely on one pass play, besides bubble/smoke, what would it be?

Thanks coach, we open practice Monday.  I’m excited to be back in coaching!

(1) It would be the Tight Guard because of
1. Wedge
2. G
3. Counter to the Open side
4. Black/Brown to the Open side

My better tackle would be the OPEN tackle because I can stick a lesser tackle between the tight guard and tight end and he’ll be double-teaming a lot.

(2) If it came down to ONE SINGLE PASS PLAY at ANY TIME it would be 6-GREEN or 7-GOLD

Otherwise, though,  I would teach RED and BLUE protection and footwork because of all the things we can do with it, to any of our receivers.

Hope you get off to a great start.  VERY glad to hear you sound so excited.

*********** There’s still hope for Levi…

With no concern over whether I’m being a thorn in the side of Yale’s president Peter Salovey, I was a strong advocate of honoring Levi Jackson by naming one of Yale’s two new residential colleges for Levi Jackson, a New Haven youngster who became captain of Yale’s football team and went on to become a vice-president of Ford Motor Company.

President Salovey, to his credit, at least took the time to acknowledge my letters.

Sadly, though, Mr. Jackson didn’t make the cut.  One of the colleges was named for Benjamin Franklin - great person, great American, but without any connection whatsoever to Yale.

Another was named for a person named Pauli Murray.  She did receive a law degree from Yale, but truthfully, when one talks about alumni of a university, one normally talks about those who were bent and shaped by the university as undergraduates.   And despite whatever Ms. Murray may have accomplished in her lifetime, in no way did her accomplishments reflect on Yale one way or the other.  I’ve been reading the alumni monthly for more than 50 years, and I’d never heard of her.

But this is Yale, bastion of everything Politically Correct, and she sure did check a lot of the boxes - black, female, lesbian, feminist, liberal.

Levi Jackson, on the other hand, brought credit to Yale from the time he enrolled, first as the first black athlete to play football at Yale, then as the first black captain of an Ivy-League team.  Yale football was still big then, and his election was an occurrence of such note at the time that it merited a front-page story in the New York Times.

Following graduation, he went on to become the first black executive of Ford Motor Company, and was the driving force behind Ford’s minority dealership program.

To me, Levi jackson was the embodiment of what, back before Yale went coed,  used to be called a Yale man, someone who was expected to represent the university with pride and distinction, and leave the world a better place for his having been in it. 

There’s still hope for me, with the news that Yale will consider once again renaming Calhoun College, named for the South Carolina senator , a Yale graduate, who was a staunch advocate of slavery.

Who better to replace a fiery defender of slavery than Levi jackson, a black kid from New Haven who took his Yale education out into the world and made it better?

Levi Jackson lived the last words of our alma mater - “For God, for Country, and for Yale.”

Tom Walls Newsletter*********** Not so long ago, I mentioned Tom Walls, of Winnipeg, and the newsletter that he sends out to the players and parents in the organization he founded - the Sunrise Coyotes, of suburban Oakbank, Manitoba. Starting from scratch, he and his partner (his wife, Shandy) have seen  the club grow to its present size of  seven teams  and close to 200 players.

Recently, at my invitation, Coach Walls flew in to Seattle - then drove another three hours to Ocean Shores  - in order to observe first-hand our summer mini-camp.

Interestingly, one of the things that most impressed him was our practice of shaking hands:  before and after every practice, every player shakes hands with every  coach.  It's a manly trait that too few kids get to use nowadays, and on a team it's a wonderful way of building mutual trust. This way, it's unthinkable that a kid could go home angry or upset.

"Coach Tom" as he's known back home  wrote about his visit in highly flattering terms in his most recent newsletter.

*********** I’m looking at a way to easily send in formations (including flipping formations) using the wrist coach system. Sounds like you may have expanded on this already with your new dvd sets. I figure using each column, 1 through 5 or so, for a specific formation would do the trick. Obviously this would limit the formations, but it seems like a quick way to communicate formation and personnel. What do you think?

North Dakota


I put a play and the formation (and, where applicable, motion) I want to run it from into a square on the card.  (And each individual player's assignment.)

If I want to run the play from another formation, or with a motion other than the one on the card, I signal it or call it in.

Very simple for us to do and it works.

*********** There was just one running back in major college football last year who ran for 100 yards or more in every game - and he’s not even mentioned as a dark horse in the pre-season Heisman hype.

He’s Oregon’s Royce Freeman, and over the last two seasons he’s rushed for more yards (3,201) than any back in any Power 5 conference.

Maybe it’s because he plays in the Pacific Time Zone, and maybe it’s because he’s been outshone on the West Coast by Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, but Freeman, at 6 for, 230, is a horse.  A race horse.

*********** Amazing what the NFL thinks it can get away with. (Remind you of a certain presidential candidate?)

So someone screwed up royally and  the Pro Football Hall of Fame game wasn’t played. The Hall of Fame (which is technically not a part of the NFL), has announced that it will  stiff thousands of its most loyal fans, who took time off, spent money on gasoline, food, overpriced hotel rooms and highly overpriced tickets to watch the Hall of Fame game by  offering to refund their ticket money.  And nothing else.

Good business sense would dictate making it all good to such devoted fans.

But no.  Not the the NFL.

With billions of dollars in TV rights money spilling out of its pockets, it didn’t get where it is by being considerate of its paying customers.  It knows that they’ll show up with their money no matter how it treats them.

*********** Stephen A Smith tweeted: If @TonyDungy was white, would he be a Hall of Famer?

God, these people who look for discrimination under every rock are a pain in the ass.

I see an awful lot of black guys getting into the Hall of Fame.  Actually, I see an awful lot of black AND white guys getting into the Hall of Fame whose credentials I question.

(The biggest joke, of course,  is OWNERS getting into the Hall of Fame.  What? It isn’t enough to own a piece of property worth a billion dollars or more, but they have to give you a place in the Hall of Fame for being a good OWNER?)

I have the utmost respect for Tony Dungy as a man and as a coach, and I'd be delighted to see him in the Hall of Fame.

But in the meantime it would be better for all concerned if Mr. Smith would go back to commenting and writing on sports and stop trying to stir up  sh—.

*********** Not in Daisy's wildest dreams did they ever think that one day shooting a BB rifle would be an Olympic sport.

american flag FRIDAY,  AUGUST 5,  2016   “I had on occasion to be on the lookout for natural leaders.  Athletes take a certain amount of kidding, especially from those who think it’s always brain vs. brawn.  But, I noted how well ex-footballers seemed to have leadership qualifications and it wasn’t sentiment that made it seem so.”  Dwight D. Eisenhower

***********  Coach; Hope you're doing well. I enjoy reading your News section. You might remember a coach from the 1950s and 1960s named Phil Dickens who coached at Indiana and Wyoming. He ran an offense called the "Side Saddle T." What was the Side Saddle T? How was it aligned?
Thanks, Jim Stovar, Houston, Texas

wyoming side-saddle

That was back  in 2007, and I came across Coach Stovar's email  while working on the final  video of my 5-part Open Wing series.  To help make a point in the video, I’ve included some clips of the side-saddle.  This still shot (above) is from the 1954 Wyoming-Arizona game.  Wyoming is in dark jerseys, on offense.

Here’s what I wrote back then to Coach Stovar - with a little more added since...

Phil Dickens ran the "side-saddle T" at Wyoming in the mid-50s.  He did well there, which earned him the job at Indiana, where like so many others over the years, he did not do so well. I don't know whether he ran it at Indiana. (Wyoming has always been a real incubator of successful coaches: Dickens' predecessor there was Bowden Wyatt - no relation that I know of - who went on to Tennessee where he was Coach of the Year in 1956;  Bowden Wyatt’s successor was Bob Devaney, who would go on to build the Nebraska program into the powerhouse that it was until a couple of years ago when its current AD dismantled it (remember, this was 2007- HW). Others have included Pat Dye, Dennis Erickson and Joe Tiller.)
Tennessee play sheetDickens was a Tennessee guy, who learned his football as a single wing tailback under the legendary General Robert Neyland.  Coach Neyland's balanced-line single wing originally employed a quarterback close enough to the center to take an indirect "T-formation" snap, while offset slightly  to the strong side so that  the ball could also be "direct-snapped" back to the tailback or fullback.  (The diagram at left  is page one of an abbreviated playbook General Neyland  issued to all incoming Vols.  Note where the blocking back - the quarterback, who actually called the plays in those days - lined up.)
That was the offense that Dickens played in at Tennessee in the 1930s, and it's basically the offense that Phil Dickens was running at Wyoming under the name "Side-saddle," which entailed making more use of the quarterback than the General did.

At few years later, John McLaughry ran another version of it at Brown; I remember seeing Brown run it when I was in college.  Several years later, while in Providence, I spoke with Coach McLaughry, who told me that he was not a single-winger like Dickens, but he employed  the side-saddle because he felt that it better enabled his QB to make the toss-and-turn on the off-tackle power play, while still allowing him to run his wing-T attack.

Although Coach McLaughry, from film I’ve seen of his Brown teams, as well as scouting reports I’ve saved from my college days, did employ some direct-snap in his attack, he was basically a T-formation (under center) coach. 

Coach Dickens, on the other hand, was a single wing guy. From what I have seen,  he employed at least as much direct snap as under-center stuff, so it’s a misnomer to call what he was running a side-saddle “T.”
What the Wyoming and Brown offenses had in common was their hybrid nature - from the same formation, they could run single-wing or Wing-T plays.
As late as 1963, BYU was running a form of it, according to an article by their coach, Hal Mitchell, in which he appeared to give the impression that he thought he'd done  something innovative.
General Neyland, by the way, moved his QB away from the "side-saddle" position following the 1948 season.  According to Dr. Andy Kozar, a former Neyland player who compiled and edited the extensive journals of the General: "As teams adopted the T formation in droves, the quick buck (dive) lost its novelty, and Neyland abandoned the quarterback direct pass.  He cited the lack of clever personnel in handling the ball and, essentially, the loss of novelty."

As a young kid on the “pound teams,” (our school had 70, 80, 90, 105, 120 and 135-pound teams) I can remember seeing a few opponents running some sort of side-saddle, and  I can still see the side-saddle having some application in today's youth football, not only because it enables the QB to actually see the ball on the under-center snap, but because it does permit some crossover between wing-T and single wing.

brown side saddle(The page at left is from the 1959 Ivy League'pre-season press guide)

FROM A 1959 ISSUE OF BROWN ALUMNI MONTHLY, introducing new Brown coach John McLaughry…

ONE OF THE QUESTIONS most frequently asked of Brown's new football coach, John McLaughry, since his appointment in February has been:

"Just what is your Side-Saddle T formation?"

Being as good an artist as he is a coach, McLaughry drew the accompanying sketch to illustrate some aspects of his now-famous offense, the only one of its kind in the country.  The large drawing shows the relative position of the backfield, with special emphasis on the quarterback, who is facing the sideline. The two smaller diagrams illustrate the plays that would not be possible from the normal T-quarterback setup. Because of his placement, the side-saddle quarterback can make a handoff nearer to the point of attack than his original station. The play in diagram number two is a standard single-wing cutback by the tailback, in which the quarterback can be used as a key blocker.

How did the Side-Saddle T get its start? "Well," McLaughry explains, "we were using a conventional wing-T at Amherst in 1955, and we were faced with that old problem of tipping our hand on fourth and one situations. If we were going to run, we came out in the T. If we were going to punt, we came out in punt formation. I wanted to do something about it, so we moved our wingback to the deep spot and left the other two backs at their normal positions. Of course, we had to get the quarterback out of the way so we could make a direct snap if we wanted to and yet leave him in position to hand off if that was our strategy.

So, we set him in  this new position where his hands are placed exactly the same as they would be  in the T, but one foot is pivoted so he faces the sideline. We only used the formation several times that year, but, during the winter when we realized its possibilities, we developed a whole new offense around it."

In the three years he used the offense at Amherst, it averaged about 350 yards  per game. In 1957 the Lord Jeffs led the East in total offense with 391 yards per game.

McLaughry 's offense can be deceptive, but it isn't fancy. He doesn't use spreads or flankers to any great extent. "I think you win football games on fundamentals  and toughness. When you see us doing something fancy, it's just to please the  folks in the stands."

Basically, the Side-Saddle T would seem to be a happy combination of the best of  the single wing and the T. The tailback (Barry) stands almost directly behind the  center and will receive a direct pass from him about 20 per cent of the time. The  fullback (Choquette) stands further forward, behind the guard, but is not in a  position to receive the snap. The wingback (Carlin) stands outside the end and  is in a position to take a handoff, block, or go out for a pass.

The key man in the Side-Saddle T, of course, is the quarterback (Pannes). McLaughry listed three definite advantages which a Side-Saddle T quarterback has  working for him. "First of all," he said, "the quarterback can move up and down the line much faster than in the T, which requires a lateral movement. The T quarterback can only gain an average of six inches in his first step, while in the Side-Saddle T he can average four feet. The large sketch shows him taking but two steps to get out behind the end. Secondly, being half-turned, the quarterback can pitch out much quicker and then get ahead of the play faster as a blocker. Finally, he can also hand off much quicker on reserve spins to the fullback, for example, who will line up less than two yards from the ball."

The effects of the Side-Saddle T have already been felt in the Ivy League. The seven other Varsity coaches spent the spring bombarding the officials at Williams College for the films of the 1958 Amherst-Williams game. As Len Watters, Williams coach, said: "Had we charged the seven Ivy schools a rental fee for these films, we could darn near have balanced our athletic budget this spring."
*********** Every time the State Department trots out this “Admiral John Kirby” character, I think, “what a weasel.”

But appearances can be deceiving, because the guy is a retired admiral, a distinguished rank only a select few career naval officers ever achieve, so I figured he had to have done something right.

Was I wrong.  A Wikipedia check reveals that this guy spent just about this entire F-king navy career as a F-king PR guy!

Wow. Such a warrior.

Never went through the rigors of the Naval Academy.  Never been in harm's way. Never been shot at (or fired a shot in combat). Never had to sleep in a tent or eat an MRE. Never had to hump a 40-pound backpack on a 20-mile march. Never had to jump out of a plane or a helicopter.

Never had to do anything but churn out press releases. 

What he did exceptionally well, I suspect, was kiss the right tochuses.

Perfect preparation for his current job.

*********** A coach wrote me to say that he needed to do something more offensively  than run from one formation - said that for him, the “golden age of the Double Wing” was a thing of the past.

I wrote,

Nothing wrong with the Double Wing.  I love it.  Great offense.  But as you and I know, it’s often hard to sell it to some kids and their  parents, hard to sell it to administration and boosters.

It’s a lot like politics - you have two jobs.  The first job is to get elected;  the second is to do what you’ve been elected to do.

Problem is, you don’t get to do the second job until you’ve done the first one.

*********** Tom Jackson has announced he’ll retire from ESPN following this weekend’s Hall of Fame game.

I’ll miss him.  He was one of the first black former athletes to work on an ESPN studio  show, and while he was certainly a good player, he didn’t get his job because he’d made a big name for himself on the field; he defiitely didn’t get it because he acted like a jackass on the field or a criminal off the field.

Damn.  Time flies.  Tom Jackson is 65 years old.  Doesn’t seem that log ago he was playing linebacker for the Broncos.

Political Ad*********** In Arcadia, Iowa, a parade celebrating the local fire department’s 100th anniversary featured a “float” consisting of a Hillary Clinton  lookalike (actually a guy in a red pantsuit) in a cage, but close enough).  Parade watchers were handed water balloons and, well…

************ By now, except for those in foreign countries,  all of you coaches who ordered the 5-DVD Open Wing set  should have received DVD #4.  

After being able to work with our kids all June and July, we now have 2-1/2 weeks of state-enforced “dead time,” which I plan to use to finish up #5, which is about two weeks from shipping.

In the meantime, a good question from an early user:

On Belly (55-XO and 44 XO) - shown in DVD #4 -  is your X block unconditional or do you rule block it like Wing-T belly? Thanks in advance and best of luck this year.

A. All we do (so far) is X-block it. So, yes, it is unconditional.  We run 55/44 if the front is there. If not, we don’t run it.  Most fronts we see permit it.  We usually see a man in the “5” tech and another in either a “”3”, “2” or “1”, with a backer somewhere between the two down linemen.

Besides the “X” block, my two favorite plays that hit inside the open side edge player (DE) are the Criss-Cross…

and (if your QB can run) West Liz 65-C-OP - a QB keep, with the option to take it outside if for some reason it’s clogged. The Liz motion should affect the defense and either loosen the DE or widen the #3 man.  If it doesn’t we’d be crazy not to follow right up with “WEST LIZ BLUE WING BUBBLE” - Bubble to the motioning Wing, with Split End blocking #1, Slot Back blocking #2.  It’s an easy pass for the QB.

Still attacking the open side DE…

West Strong 65-C LEAD is a great play.

West Strong 5-C is pretty good because it hits quick, and with LIZ motion it looks even better.

In a recent mini-camp we took a look at “West 6 Black-O Shovel” (shovel-shuffle - who knows?) We show 6 Black-O  while bringing the WING underneath, as he does on a counter, but slightly slower.  We have the QB put on the brakes on his rollout and shovel the ball back to the Wing.  There should be a big hole between the open tackle’s down block and the Tight Guard’s “O” block.  (The tight guard should let the DE widen for contain.)  This also looks good from “West Strong.”

That ought to be enough to keep that DE back on his heels.  Enough to keep him from pass-rushing aggressively, or chasing our tackle on WEST 6-C.

(All these plays are equally good from EAST. In the interest of time and space, I just described them from West.)

Hope things are going well.

Send me any questions or observations you might have.

Ty Darlington*********** Campbell Trophy  winner Ty Darlington, of Oklahoma, is featured in the National Football Foundation’s latest mailing, shown with enlarged photos of the ring he received.  The Campbell Award, named for the late Bill Campbell, nicknamed "the Coach of Silicon Valley," who made the switch from coaching (head coach at Columbia) to  business and attained the very summit of high tech - as VP of marketing for Apple, then CEO of Claris Corporation, then of Intuit Corporation, then named a member of the board of directors of Apple by Steve Jobs. At the time of his death in 2014, he was chairman of the board of trustees of Columbia.  (Not too bad for an old football coach!)

The Campbell Trophy is presented annually to a senior college football player who is judged "absolute best in the country for his academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership."

Ty is the son of Rick Darlington, highly successful coach at Apopka, Florida High School.

***********   Since 2011, the National Football Foundation (NFF)  has partnered with Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating (CFO), to help generate awareness for the rule changes in college football through a series of regular columns distributed by the NFF.

Having officiated football for more than three decades, Redding started his career working high school football in Texas. He later officiated in the Southwest Conference from 1988-93, served as a referee in the Southeastern Conference for nearly a decade and worked three national championship games. He received his bachelor's degree from Georgia Tech and later obtained a masters and Ph. D. in physical chemistry from Vanderbilt. Redding was honored with the NFF's Outstanding Football Official Award in 2010.
Here are highlights of the  2016 rule changes as summarized by Rogers Redding:

Scrimmage Kick Formation (aka "See-ya, A-11!")

Punts and field goal attempts are classified as scrimmage kicks, because they are made as part of a play from scrimmage. The rules for scrimmage plays require the offense to have at least five linemen wearing jerseys numbered between 50 and 79. However, if a team is in a scrimmage kick formation, they may replace some of those players by linemen wearing numbers outside the 50-79 range; these typically are "speed players," backs who are faster than the larger linemen and can get downfield faster to cover the kick.  
Because some teams were beginning to "game" the rules by running or passing the ball from this formation (CAN YOU SAY "A-11"? HW) the rules committee felt that it needed to tighten the requirements. Under the new rules, a scrimmage kick formation must have a player at least 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage (the likely punter) OR a potential kicker and potential holder at least seven yards deep. Another important part of the rule is that "it must be obvious that a kick will be attempted."

Tripping the Ball Carrier
For a number of years it has been illegal for a player to stick out his foot or leg to trip an opponent, but it was legal to do this to the ball carrier. Because of leg injuries to runners over the past couple years, the committee now has made it illegal to trip any opponent, including the ball carrier.

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.

Use of Technology for Coaching
The rules committee was recommending that coaches be allowed to use video and computers in the press box and the locker rooms, but after receiving expressions of concern from a number of 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.

Sliding Ball Carrier: Defenseless Player
There are several situations where a player is considered "defenseless" for purposes of the targeting rule. Examples include a pass receiver who is concentrating on catching the ball and a kick-return man awaiting a punt. This year the committee added the ball carrier who has "obviously given himself up and is sliding feet-first."

Low Hits on the Passer

This rule that protects the passer is clarified that the tackler may not legally make forcible contact against the passer at the knee or below, even if he is making a wrap-up tackle.

american flag TUESDAY,  AUGUST 2,  2016   “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”  Milton Friedman

***********    In September, 2014, John McPhee wrote in the New Yorker magazine about one of his old classmates at Princeton, the last of the long line of single wing tailbacks to win the Heisman Trophy:

The Heisman winner was Dick Kazmaier, who went to Harvard Business School instead of the N.F.L. There were ten of us around a central living room, where a sign on a wall asked what it might have been like to be a college roommate of Red Grange. As I said in an introduction at an event some fifty years later, we knew what it was like to live with Dick. He had better things to do than play gin rummy. He drew a tight circle around his teammates, roommates, and other friends. Across the years, he often said that what mattered to him most at Princeton was, in his words, “what I was part of: I was like every other student.” He alluded to the Heisman Trophy and all that went with it as “an unusual external part of the picture.”

He was enduringly superstitious. When he went down the tunnel into Palmer Stadium for football games, he was always the last player. It had been so augured. Somewhere. He told George the quarterback never to let him touch the ball on Princeton’s first play. In the old single wing, the tailback and the fullback always lined up where either one could take the snap. Dick was the tailback, Russ McNeil the fullback. After other teams somehow became aware of Kazmaier’s superstition, Russ McNeil, on the first play, went down like General Custer. The number that Kazmaier wore—42—became his lucky number. His Massachusetts license plate was KA42. His e-mail address was (’52 being his class year). When he was in a restaurant, if the check came to x dollars and forty-two cents he was made happier than he could ever be by the sum contents of ten thousand fortune cookies. Seat No. 42 in any kind of theatre or arena was a good-luck seat. His company, Kazmaier Associates, on Elm Street, in Concord, Massachusetts, seemed to have a tentacle in every aspect of most known sports, from the international licensing of basketball broadcasts to the manufacture and sale of baseball uniforms and football helmets. Dick’s parking space at Kazmaier Associates was No. 42. There were thirty-six spaces in the parking lot.

*********** Nial Ferguson, British historian, wrote in the Sunday Times (of London) on November 15…

Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble.  As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.

It is doubtless true to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent. But it is also true that the majority hold views not easily reconciled with the principles of our liberal democracies, including our novel notions about sexual equality and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities.  And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities.

I do not know enough about the fifth century to be able to quote Romans who described each new act of barbarism as unprecedented, even when it had happened multiple times before; or who issued pious calls for solidarity after the fall of Rome, even when standing together meant falling together; or who issued threats of pitiless revenge, even when all they intended to do was to strike a melodramatic posture.

I do know that 21st-century Europe has itself to blame for the mess it is in now…

“Romans before the fall,” wrote historian Bryan Ward-Perkins, “were as certain as we are today that their world would continue forever substantially unchanged.  They were wrong.  We would be wise not to repeat their complacency.”

*********** This past weekend, we conducted a two-day, four-session mini-camp at North Beach High (Ocean Shores, Washington), and it was both exciting and scary.

Exciting because of the progress we’re making, despite the way graduation hit us; scary because while we can put a decent 11 on the field, we have only 17 bodies.

But they’re good bodies.  They’re good kids - “OKG’s” (Our Kinda Guys) as Washington coach Chris Peterson calls them - and they’re coachable and reliable and as much fun to work with as any kids I’ve ever been around.

I was reading a little bit of football history Monday morning and happened to be reading about Illinois’ legendary coach Bob Zuppke.

In 1921, his Fighting Illini upset Ohio State - in Columbus, yet - 7-0.

Before the game, he informed his team that his starters had better plan on being iron men:

“We will play only eleven men,” he told them. “Nobody but a dead man can come out of the game.”

Imagine the number the media would do on a coach who said that nowadays.

Zuppke was known to enjoy a drink.  Once, while taking a sip or two, he said to Howard Jones, great coach at Yale, then Iowa,  then  USC, “Howard, you’re a great coach, but you’d be a greater one if you'd take a drink once in a while.  You’d have more imagination.”

Replied Jones, “I never heard of a drink yet figuring out a play.”

“You haven’t?” Zuppke said.  “Well, I’ve just had two drinks and figured out three new plays.”

(The book I found that in is a treasure: Tim Cohane’s “Great College Football Coaches of the Twenties and Thirties.”)

***********  Hi Coach,

Just a quick note to thank you for the Open Wing DVD's. I thoroughly enjoyed them, as I have all of your material. I really appreciate the effort you put into these. They are jam packed with a myriad of possibilities coaches can implement.


Ed C., Florida

*********** Steve Spurrier was not universally liked by rival coaches. He was hated by opposing fans. He sneeringly insulted and demeaned opponents, and
had (has?) a well-earned  reputation for being a wiseass.  So it does seem strange that his new job title at the University of Florida  should contain the word “ambassador.”  

But anyhow, he’s just been named Ambassador and Consultant for the Florida Athletic Department.

The  job's probably just going to entail going around speaking to alumni and criticizing whoever the Gators' current head coach happens to be.

*********** I noticed that you go on first sound and the QB moves his hands to start motion.

Why? Have you found that this prevents defenders from "jumping the snap?" Do you ever go on another count? How long did it take until you had everyone firing off on "go"?

Yes, we start motion with the hands and snap it on “GO!”

I have snapped it on “GO” for at least 10 years.

We NEVER get procedure penalties.  Haven't had one in years.  It’s no fun starting out first-and-fifteen.  And it’s no fun when you had second and goal from the three and suddenly it’s from the eight. What’s it worth to go into a game knowing that you’ve already eliminated one way that can beat you?

We do practice going on “Second GO,” and we will actually do it occasionally in a game.  

Sometimes, we will quarterback sneak (when we go under center) “On the Goose” - the center snaps it when the QB flips his hands up against his thighs.  Everyone else moves on the snap.

It hasn’t ever been a problem for me anywhere I’ve gone, either as a coach or a guest coach.

The most important thing to me: it’s one less thing for our kids to remember.

*********** Donald J. Trump (why do they insist on including the “J”, as if there’s some other Donald Trump out there that we might confuse him with?)  reminds me of a football coach who’s up against a crummy team that he ought to be beating by ten touchdowns - but he continues to stifle his team’s drives by picking up unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after unsportsmanlike conduct penalty,  for insulting the opposing players, flipping off the crowd,  and arguing with the referees over trivial things that have nothing to do with the game.

So now here he is claiming that he got a letter from the NFL complaining about a presidential debate being scheduled at the same time as an NFL game, while the NFL denies that there was such a letter.

Whom to believe?

Donald Trump? The NFL? 

Neither one of them known for being completely respectful of the truth (how’s that for being tactful?).

Jeez - you’d think, in return for The Donald almost singlehandedly bringing down the USFL, that the NFL would be in his camp.

*********** Steve Eisenhaur, an All-American guard at Navy in the 1950s who went on to an outstanding career as a Marine officer - including flying 120 combat missions in Vietnam - died back in May.

*********** Bill McCartney, 1989 coach of the year at Colorado, is suffering from Alzheimer’s, his family has announced.

His has been an amazing coaching life.

He was a successful high school coach in suburban Detroit when he was hired by the great Bo Schembechler at Michigan.  He was the only high school coach Schembechler ever hired.

After eight years as an assistant under Schembechler, he was hired at Colorado, succeeding Chuck Fairbanks in June of 1982. (Talk about a late start.)

In 1982 the Buffs went 2-8-1; they climbed to 4-7 in 1983, but went in the dumps in 1984 with a 1-10 record.   That’s 7-25-1 in three years.

He might not have lasted in today’s win-immediate climate.
   But he was given a contract extension, and he repaid the CU people by going 7-5 in 1985 and, getting progressively better, until winning a share of the national title in 1990.

His time at Colorado had its soap-opera aspects: in early 1989, star quarterback Sal Aunese was diagnosed with stomach cancer.  He died in the middle of the 1989 season, and at about the same time as his death, it was revealed to the public that Coach McCartney’s 19-year-old daughter had given birth to Sal Aunese’s child, a baby boy.

To his credit, Coach McCartney and his family handled the situation with great aplomb.***

While at Colorado, he founded Promise Keepers, a Christian men’s organization that, in my opinion, showed great promise (no joke intended) as a means of bringing American men together to accept their responsibilities as husbands, fathers, and men.

In 1994, he resigned at Colorado.  He was just 54, but he never coached again.

In 1995, his name was mentioned as a possible successor when Bob Schembechler retired at Michigan, but the job went instead to Gary Moeller.

May God watch over Coach McCartney and his family as they go through what are sure to be some difficult times.

As they said in a statement,  "We are making this public to ask for your understanding and patience as we know he frequently runs into fans, friends and former players.  This is a frustrating and confusing disease, and if he appears disconnected or unknowing, please don't take it personally."

Great advice.  I mentioned earlier a book that my daughter-in-law, Michelle Wyatt, has had published in Australia about dealing with her Mum, Bev’s, 13-year bout with Alzheimer’s.  It’s called “Not Right in the Head,” a title  inspired by Michelle’s dad, Frank, who used the expression to describe some of the residents at the Alzheimer’s care-home where Bev was living.  (Well no kidding, was MIchelle’s reply.  That’s why they’re here.) Shamelessly plugging the book, I must say that it’s a marvelous insight into one family’s coping with a horrible disease that nearly all of us have had some exposure to.

*** The McCartneys handled the news that their daughter was carrying Sal Aunese’s baby with about as much dignity and Christian understanding as is humanly possible.

After hearing the news that not only was their daughter pregnant, not only was the father of her child refusing to have anything to do with her, but that he and his friends were encouraging her to have an abortion.  In response, Lyndi McCartney, Bill’s wife, wrote Sal one of the most beautiful, courageous letters I’ve ever read.

The late, great Jim Murray of the L.A. Times wrote this, in 2008…

“You’re not going to be happy with me,” Kristy McCartney told Aunese when she broke the news to him. She was right. Aunese was so unthrilled, he refused to have anything to do with her. His friends closed around, recommending Kristy have an abortion and not tell her parents.  Kristy, heartbroken, told her parents.

Kristy’s mother, Lyndi, sat down and penned this letter to Aunese:

“Hi Sal,

“I wanted to talk to you in person so I could give you a big hug. . . . I know you’re hurting, too, and I know it’s very scary and difficult to face. I want you to have confidence that the decisions you’ll be making . . . will be totally acceptable no matter what they are–with two exceptions. No quitting school and no quitting the team. These are vital to your future and personal well-being.

“Kristy is so deeply concerned for your future and doesn’t want to hamper your success in any way. We feel the same and I hope this letter will convey warm feelings and no judgments.

“Coach Mac and I think you are a terrific person, and it is not our desire to pressure you or punish you in any way. What you and Kristy are experiencing is life. Perhaps it’s not what either of you planned, but a moment of passion has created a miracle within Kristy, and I know that within Kristy’s heart that moment was filled with love. . . .

“I really need to express my feelings as Kristy’s mom. She is my treasure, my beautiful little girl, her Dad and I love her with every fiber of our being. We have prayed for a loving Christian mate for our children.

“It’s important that the mate she chooses has a lifelong, loving commitment, that she is his treasure and he is hers, that they live a life that gives love and warmth and joy, that they be connected in soul, heart and purpose. . . .

“I don’t see two people getting married if the love isn’t there, just because they created a baby.

“If you and Kristy don’t love each other, don’t get married. We don’t need an unhappy life for either of you. . . . If you or Kristy want our help, we’ll be there for you both. . . .

“Sal, if there’s anything I’d ask of you, as Kristy’s mom, it would be just to be her friend. You don’t have to marry her. You don’t have to love her. You don’t have to date her. You don’t have to be responsible for her or the baby. You and your friends are her closest friends, share this precious secret. Kristy needs you, just to be kind, caring friends. Remember you are loved.”

In a P.S., she added: “I have to say I’m deeply disappointed that you and (your friends) have advised Kristy to kill a defenseless baby. Thank God your parents did not do that to you for the world would be a sadder place without the four of you in it.”

St. Paul couldn’t have said it better.

Meantime, Sal Aunese’s baby?  The little boy was named Chase McCartney and raised by his mother.  Chase turned out to be a pretty decent Denver-area high school player, and he was recruited to LSU by Les Miles, who as a member of Bill McCartney’s staff was the guy who recruited Sal Aunese to Colorado.

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 29,  2016   “Political reformer: one who wants his chance at the trough.”  Malcolm Forbes


"Nice football program you have here… sure would be a shame if your coaches didn’t get USA Football certified and you didn’t have anybody to coach it.”

With that sort of mob tactic, the NFL and its front, USA Football, the self-styled “governing body for football in America,” have been spending millions forcing a program called Heads Up Football on coaches.

Their claim?  It’ll make the game safer for kids to play.  And the corollary - if you aren’t Heads Up Football trained, why, you’re a danger to the sport.  And Moms, ask your son’s coach if he’s “Heads Up Football” trained.  And if he’s not…

Now, Big Football has been exposed.

Thanks to Coach Jerry Lovell of Bellevue, Nebraska for alerting me to a story that broke Wednesday in the New York Times, appearing to confirm what I’ve suspected for a long time - that  “Heads Up Football” is an opportunistic scam that’s been perpetrated on coaches, players, parents and the public by the NFL and USA Football, fortified by false statistics claiming dramatic improvements in player safety where teams have been Heads-Up Football trained.

As part of the program, coaches have been forced by their leagues and their state associations to submit to “Heads Up Football” training sessions - on their own time - while Big Football and its faithful stooge have run ads trying to reassure  parents, scared to death already news of former NFL players suffering from CTE, and by the NFL’s tolerance of such unsafe practices by its own players as tackling head first and wearing helmets that clearly have not been properly fitted.

Now comes the revelation that the figures that USA Football and the NFL have been using to support their claims for the motive results of Heads Up Football training are phony.

We youth and high school coaches don’t have enough problems with concussion hysteria and declining turnouts, without the muckety-mucks of our game cynically making safety claims that just aren’t so.

Turns out, as Alan Schwartz writes in the New York Times, the NFL and its flunky  have been cooking the books…

As increasing numbers of parents keep their children from playing tackle football for safety reasons, the National Football League and other groups have sought to reassure them that the game is becoming less dangerous.

No initiative has received more backing and attention than Heads Up Football, a series of in-person and online courses for coaches to learn better safety procedures and proper tackling drills. The N.F.L. funds and heavily promotes the program. The league and U.S.A. Football, youth football’s governing body, which oversees the program, have sold Heads Up Football to thousands of leagues and parents as having been proved effective — telling them that an independent study showed the program reducing injuries by 76 percent and concussions by about 30 percent.

That study, published in July 2015, showed no such thing, a review by The New York Times has found. The research and interviews with people involved with it indicate, rather, that Heads Up Football showed no demonstrable effect on concussions during the study, and significantly less effect on injuries over all, than U.S.A. Football and the league have claimed in settings ranging from online materials to congressional testimony.

“Everybody who is involved in trying to improve the safety of youth sports, when parents such as myself are so desperate to have effective solutions, has the responsibility to make sure that any information that they are putting out to the public is accurate, is comprehensive, and is based on legitimate science,” said Elliot F. Kaye, the chairman of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, who has worked with U.S.A. Football and the N.F.L. on improving helmet safety. “It does not appear that this met that standard.”


The NFL chose to combat the issue of  declining numbers in youth and high school football by pushing Heads Up Football training on youth and high school football coaches: it gave USA Football  $45 million; it added its marketing and PR  muscle, with logos on the field, signs at stadiums, TV commercials, and newspaper articles praising the program; and it “lobbied” (if you want, you can substitute “bribed”) state legislatures and associations to require their states’ coaches to undergo Heads-Up Football training.

Schwartz continues…

The N.F.L. and its players’ union formed U.S.A. Football in 2002 to oversee the sport and help it grow among children ages 6 to 14. But participation has dropped precipitously in recent years, from 3 million in 2010 to about 2.2 million last fall — a decline generally attributed to concerns about injuries, particularly to the brain.

In 2013, in consultation with the N.F.L., U.S.A. Football started Heads Up Football, whose primary goals were to improve safety and reassure parents. The program requires one “player safety coach” per team to attend a clinic that focuses on concussion recognition and response, blocking and tackling techniques, proper hydration and other safety topics. A team’s other coaches must take online courses in those subjects as well.

In March 2014, the N.F.L. gave U.S.A. Football $45 million, in large part to get more youth leagues to adopt the program.


I’ve been pointing out for some time that USA Football,  while claiming to be our “governing body” or some such,  in reality is the NFL in disguise.  The NFL has gone to some lengths to promote the myth that USA Football is independent, and that Heads Up Football is its baby, but slips of the lip by NFL higher-ups, and the fact that USA Football is almost totally funded by the NFL say otherwise.

Schwartz writes,

While U.S.A. Football is said to operate independently from the N.F.L., the league is its primary source of operating funds, and some researchers consider the two almost indistinguishable.

“In my mind, U.S.A. Football and the N.F.L. are one,” said Dawn Comstock, a professor of epidemiology and the primary researcher into high school sports injuries at the Colorado School of Public Health. “If I’m talking with one about something involving youth football safety, my perception is I’m talking to both.”


But even knowing full well  that their figures are NOT correct, and that they are NOT making the game safer, they persist in their scam…

Writes Schwartz, “During a high school sports conference in Alabama last week, a coach presented a glowing slide show about the program to fellow coaches and athletic directors, unaware that many of the numbers and statements were not supported by the data.”


I am not pulling for the NFL or USA Football in this.  I am on the side of the game of football, which thrived for a long time before the NFL felt strong enough to arrogantly claim it for its own, and now I fear for its survival in the hands of such self-serving organizations as the NFL and USA Football.

Full disclosure: I confess to having a dog in this fight, so long as  USA Football continues to sell a “Double Wing Playbook” that in many places is a total ripoff of my work, the stuff I spent years developing and naming.  I mean, come on - “6-G?”  “Dollar-Bill Splits?”  My guess is that they simply commissioned someone to slap together the playbook and didn’t ask any questions about where it came from, knowing that even if it had been lifted intact, there really aren’t a lot of people who can afford the legal fees to fight the NFL.  Or "Football's National Governing Body."

Now, if you'll excuse me... I have to hurry because the Seahawks are coming to town to teach our kids how to tackle.*

* For all you liberals out there, that was sarcasm.


Jim Brown, possibly the greatest running back in the history of the NFL, was also one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time. And, while at Syracuse, he also lettered in basketball and track.  He was inducted into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame on July 27.  

***********  When I read that Under Armour had coughed up a pile of money to make Yale an Under Armour school, I fretted at first at the thought of what they might do to the uniforms.  Those clownish Maryland uniforms, inspired by the state flag (a very nice one, I think, as a former Marylander), came immediately to mind.

So when the new Yale football uniforms were unveiled last week, I could scarcely believe my eyes.  They look like real football uniforms!

***********   Representative Robert Pittenger of North Carolina wrote a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, noting a certain hypocrisy in the NBA’s  oh-so-righteous stand against North Carolina’s “Boys in the Bathroom” law, while at the same time cozying up to those noted advocates of human rights, the Chinese…

Dear Mr. Silver:
Last week, I met with constituents from China who outlined the Chinese government practice of forcefully harvesting vital organs as part of their oppression of religious minorities. Meanwhile, the NBA will start selling tickets for preseason games in China next week.

Is the NBA implying that China’s abhorrent violation of basic human rights is acceptable, but North Carolina saying men shouldn’t use the girl’s locker room is a bridge too far? What is the NBA’s true priority? The unmistakable hypocrisy is clear to me.

Please justify how you can be engaged with a country who [sic] has flagrantly violated human rights with forced abortions and selling vital human organs. There seems to be a gross lack of judgment and moral clarity.


Robert Pittenger
Member of Congress

***********  So…. Bernie was “authentic,” did I hear you say?

Maybe.  But  when I saw all his angered followers, who’d been  led along and then dumped,  one thought came to mind:  “Judas Goat.”

So named because of the trusted disciple who betrayed Christ, the Judas Goat was used in slaughterhouses to lead a flock of trusting sheep along a path to their slaughter;  at the very last minute, too late for the unsuspecting sheep to escape their fate, he’d veer off, saving himself.

There’s a football analogy here:  Bernie’s bailout on his supporters  reminded me of the super recruiter, who on the basis of a bunch of grandiose promises brings in a great class of recruits and then,  once they’ve all signed their letters of intent, skips off to a bigger and better job, leaving them to fend for themselves.

*********** About this time last year, Coach Rick Davis,  a long-time Massachusetts coach who’d moved to New Zealand was getting ready to come be a guest coach with us at Ocean Shores for a few weeks.  He flew in, rented a car, and came and stayed with us at our place.

Right now, he’s back in Massachusetts on vacation, and he just wrote me…

I think I need to buy a lottery ticket.....get this, the vehicle I rented last year when I was in OS...I have the same vehicle...not same make/model, same vehicle (Arizona license plate tipped me off and I checked it with an old photo). What are the odds?

*********** If the NFL doesn’t kill our game, $1500 helmets ought to about do it.

*********** I coached football in Finland for seven seasons.  I love the country and the Finnish people.  My only regret about coaching there is that if I’d gone to coach almost  anywhere else, I’d be fluent in the language by now.  But Finnish, considered one of the world’s most difficult languages, is devilishly tough to learn, and despite my best efforts to pick it up - my five years of Latin helped a lot, and I compiled a long list of vocabulary words - I would say that my language skills never advanced past those of , oh,  a five-year-old Finnish kid.   (But, in fairness, a five-year-old Finnish kid who knows all the swear words.)

Finns love their European sports, especially winter sports. They are especially passionate about ice hockey, and Finns are well represented in the NHL.

But American football does have a following there, and someone put together this rather interesting explanation of our game, in Finnish, of course, since it’s aimed at a Finnish audience.

*********** My son’s friend Nathan Chapman runs an organization in Melbourne, Australia called ProKick Australia, which identifies Australian Rules players as potential NFL punters, and coaches and prepares them for American colleges.  He estimates that he has sent some 60 punters to American colleges.

How good are these Aussies, who grow up playing a game based on being able to punt accurately and far?

The last three Raymond Guy Awards, given to the best college punter, have gone to Australians.

On top of that, they have good hands and they’re used to contact.

american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 26,  2016   "Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing."   P. T. Barnum

*********** For a number of years, I held a clinic in the Santa Clarita-Valencia-Stevenson Ranch area of Southern California, a beautiful area of hills and canyons about 20-30 miles north of LA.  It is a neat place, probably the one I’d choose to live in if I were to move to the Southland.

Its population continues to grow, but it's a large enough area that it doesn’t seem too crowded, and you’re never that far from wild country.  In fact, in the early days of movies, many westerns were shot there, and William S. Hart, the very first of the movie cowboys, owned a lot of property in the area.  A local high school is named for him.

There’s really only one problem with the area, but it is a big one - wildfires.  Wildfires, like the one that’s now roaring out of control around Santa Clarita, consuming dry brush and trees and everything else in its path .

My heart goes out to the people who’ve had to evacuate, who’ve had to pick up and leave the homes of their dreams and everything inside.  Say a prayer, if you will, that they’ll be able to return soon and resume their lives.

*********** After he retired from the movie business, early Hollywood cowboy actor William S. Hart wrote a series of books.

One of them, published in 1920, was entitled, “Injun and Whitey.”

Talk about politically incorrect.

I have a feeling that if one of today’s precious Yalies should ever come across a copy in one of the school’s libraries, it would set off a stampede for a safe space reminiscent of the running of the bulls in Pamplona.

***********  Donald Trump says “I’ll build a wall.”

Its purpose?  To keep foreigners from crossing our border and entering our country illegally.

But let’s face it - until we actually see that wall, it’s just so much B-S.

The Democrats, though, are not bullshi—ers.  They’re people of action.  They get things done.

They’ve already built their wall - a four-mile long, eight-foot high fence, actually.

Not on the border, however.

Around their convention site.  In Philadelphia.

To keep Americans out.

Oh - and not even loyal Democrats can get in without showing a government-issued photo ID. 

Hmmm. Hypocrisy, anyone?

*********** Keep reading my NEWS page! Stay ahead of the pseudo-intellectuals!

I heard Bill O’Reilly on Fox News discussing his series “Legends and Lies - the Patriots” and he mentioned an upcoming episode about Francis Marion, “The Swamp Fox.” 

He lamented, “People don’t even know who he was.”

Haha.  That’s for sure.  Not today’s history majors, anyhow, who “study” bogus subjects like the History of Male Domination or the History of White Privilege,  but otherwise don’t know sh— about their nation’s history. 

But I know a bunch of football coaches who do.  (If they read my News page.)

***********  Good Morning Coach Wyatt,
My name is Darrel Fiddermon, I coach a 12U team. Currently I serve as Head Coach Offensive and Defensive Line. I enjoy teaching the kids line play, even though I was a QB in high school. One of the things that concerns me is player retention. Last year we were fortunate to have a nice mixture of kids with at least 4 years’ experience to augment our first year players. As with all youth football kids grow older and you are confronted with the problem of recruiting new players every year. I guess my question would be how would you go about retaining the players that may not have been starters the previous year? Thanks for taking the time.
Darrel O. Fiddermon
Washington, D.C.

Hi Darrel,

Nice to hear from you.

You are right to be concerned about player retention.

Let’s put aside concentration on a single sport as an issue for you, because if they’re 11 or 12 years old and still playing football, it must mean that the soccer types didn’t get to them in time.

I have always believed that the most important measure of a youth - or middle school - coach is whether his kids turn out for football again next year.

The number one factor in those kids’ decision to stay with the game is whether they had a good experience.

I think that the challenge of player retention is a two-pronged one.  Of course the decision not to continue with the game is often the kid’s, but more and more, it is the parents’ decision.  At the very least, where once they would encourage their sons to play football - insist, even - they now will “leave it up to him.”

The time to work on retention is in-season.

It’s treating kids with respect and setting standards and enforcing them  - fairly and firmly -  without being hard-nosed.  This is a skill that can be learned.

It’s making sure that the kids treat each other with respect.  You have to communicate clearly to the kids that you like them and respect them for playing a man’s game. You have to be alert for the slightest sign of bullying or hazing and nip it in the bud.  Watch out for the way “starters” treat “non-starters.”

It’s never a bad idea to find ways for the “veterans” to befriend and teach things to the younger guys.

On our team (North Beach High, Ocean Shores, Washington), before we break at the end of practice, it’s a point of emphasis - has been for several years now - for our seniors to single out younger players who have done something during practice that impressed them.

It’s making sure that they learn and believe that they’re getting better at what you’re teaching them.  The key word is “teaching.”  I taught and coached for a long time before I realized that I needed to be more of a coach in the classroom and more of a teacher on the football field.  It is extremely important that the coach see himself as a teacher first.  If you can get someone on your staff - or someone to advise you - with experience teaching kids of the same age as your players, it could be extremely helpful.  

It’s making sure that they have fun.  It’s always a good idea to do something fun at the end of practice, so they go off the field with smiles on their faces.

It's teaching them the importance of working together for success as a team, of trusting other guys and earning their trust.

It’s making sure that every kid knows that if he follows the rules and takes part in practices he’s going to play.  You can’t fool a kid.  You can’t talk to him about the importance of teamwork when he doesn't really believe he's a part of the team.  The expectation of playing time - significant playing time - is a major factor in a team’s overall morale.

Many coaches are reluctant to do this because they feel that giving the younger kids playing time  somehow “cheats” the starters, who may become resentful of having to “give up” playing time.  It may takes a year or two to establish this as a part of your program, as simply “the way we do things around here,” but once you’ve done so, the older kids will all understand that it’s a team thing - that that’s the way many of them got to play when they were younger themselves, and that’s what makes their team special.

Today’s “me-first” society makes getting today’s kids to lose themselves in a team a bigger challenge that it once was.   There are two modern enemies of the team concept that weren’t such a problem years ago:  selfishness and sprawl.  Selfishness, because in an age when every individual is sacred and special, blah, blah, blah, kids aren’t taught the concept of being a part of something bigger than themselves, and being loyal to that cause or group.   Sprawl because in most large urban areas kids on a team often live far from each other and go to different schools, and only know each other from the hour or two they spend two or three times a week at practice and in games.

I think that a major factor in recruiting  parents is making them aware of the good things that you’re doing for their sons in a very crucial stage of their development.

To a certain extent, the issue is out of your hands.  “Player retention” is down at all levels of football, from high school on down to the youngest age groups, and it’s largely owing to the “Big C” (Concussion).

Football is under assault nowadays.  There have always been those who are resentful of football (and football players), and now those enemies of our game have been fortified by stories about professional football players whose brains may have been damaged by head injuries sustained while playing football.

The distinction that has yet to be made is that those professional football players for the most part had long careers, and they played at the highest level of the game, in which the number and force of collisions are far greater than anything the average high school or even college player will experience.

I think that it is irresponsible to equate the possible brain damage suffered by players who made careers of playing football with danger to youngsters, but there we are - the sky is falling, and parents, especially in households where the major decisions are made by mothers, are refusing to let their sons play football.  (Bear in mind that most of these same concerned parents will let their sons drive as soon as they’re legally able).

Obviously, then, you have to be able to confront that issue and allay their fears to the extent that you can.  You need to stress that you will see to it that all boys are properly equipped and conditioned, and that you will teach them safe techniques; that you won’t let a boy take part in contact  drills until you’re confident that he’s confident in his ability to perform; and that you’ll monitor all contact drills to make sure that they’re being performed properly.

And then, you have to move on, to emphasizing all the good that will ensue from his playing football - for you.

It’s essential that you teach the kids more than football - that you use football, and your example as the coach,  as the vehicle to teach them important life lessons.  And it’s important that the parents are aware that this is part of your mission.  You have to communicate with them constantly.    Share your mission with them. Make sure that you’re clear about your expectations for them and their sons, and they they’re clear about what you’ll do to help their sons develop.   Let them see how you’re working with their boys.  Encourage them to enlist your help if they’re having any issues with their sons.  What’s always great is when they tell you that they can see for themselves the effect that you - and football - are having on their son.

One final thought - It’s easy for kids to forget about football once the season’s over, so I think it’s important to stay in touch with your kids year-round. 

A coaching friend in Manitoba, Canada named Tom Walls started a youth football program from scratch a few years ago, and now his organization runs teams at several age levels.  A major factor in his success has been a newsletter that he emails to players and their parents at least once a month.

*********** The US was a hotbox on Saturday.

There was one state in the entire continental 48 that didn’t record a temperature as high as 90 degrees.

Drum roll, please… Washington.

In Camas, where we live, it was 72 degrees and sunny.  In Ocean Shores, where I coach, it was 66 degrees and sunny.

Our climate, between the Pacific Coast and the Cascade Range,  is not unlike that of Ireland’s.

Outsiders mostly know about our rainy winters, but we get our payback with warm (but seldom hot), dry, sunny summers.

Mystery Photo***********  Answering the question:    What position does the guy on the right play?

Josh Montgomery -  Berwick, Louisiana
Tim Brown - Athens, Alabama
Adam Wesoloski - Pulaski, Wisconsin

The  "guy" was the Cleveland Browns' great quarterback, Otto Graham.  The dapper coach was the legendary Paul Brown.

Coach Montgomery was skeptical when I wrote him that those Browns teams of the late 40s and early to mid 50s were possibly the best teams of all time.

No way, he said, that the football then could have been as good back then.

True, I agreed. The football wasn't better.  Not even close. But those Browns teams were head and shoulders above everyone else, in a  class all their own.

(Graham, Coach Montgomery pointed out, later wore #14.   And the Browns'  Hall of Fame Marion Motley 76fullback, Marion Motley, switched from wearing #76 to #36. )

Motley, shown at left,  played at 6-1, 240. He was a real handful as a fullback, but he sometimes doubled as a linebacker, where he was considered every bit as good.

*********** Denny Green died.  He was a football pioneer, just the second black man to become head coach of a major college football team.

He was a Pennsylvania guy - grew up in Harrisburg - and played his college ball at Iowa.  (It should be noted, too, that he graduated from Iowa. Cum laude - that means “with honors” - with a major in finance.

He played some ball in the CFL with the BC Lions, then embarked on a coaching career.

After a series of assistant coaching jobs, he was hired in 1981 as head coach at Northwestern.  He was only 32, and just the second black man to head a Division IA (FBS) team.  In 1982, he was Big Ten Coach of the Year.

In 1989, he took over as head coach at Stanford, and in his three years on The Farm, he beat Cal three times. In his final season, Stanford went 8-3, their best record in five years.

He spent ten years as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, and three years are head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

People got their laughs at his post-game conference when he said of the Bears, “They’re are who we thought they were,” which is all some people know about him.  That’s unfortunate, because he was well thought of among his peers.

Said Tony Dungy, who coached under him in Minnesota, “I’ve never been around a head coach who cared so much about the members of his staff, and wanted to put his staff in position to succeed the way he did.

“Denny was an excellent football coach. He took struggling college teams, Northwestern and Stanford, and made them so much better. He got the Vikings to two conference title games. He was terrific in raising the Arizona program. But to me his legacy is that of a coach who made other coaches better.”

*********** White privilege, Part Two - Orphan Trains

Remember my little story about the Breaker Boys?  How about this little tale from the history that they no longer teach in history classes...

My son-in-law’s grandfather, Bob Tiffany, spent much of his life in Abilene, Texas,  where he settled after World War II, but he grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota.

His father had arrived there by train.  A special train.

Orphan  TrainHe lived in New York, but when his immigrant  parents died and left him orphaned, he and his brother and sister were sent by train to Minnesota, where a family, eager for help on the farm, adopted them.

They were part of what came to be called the Orphan Train movement.

Between 1854 and 1929, more than 200,000 youngsters were shipped by train to various parts of the country.

Sometimes, they were pre-chosen, somewhat on the order of today’s Internet dating services.

Sometimes, the kids would arrive in a town and be put on a stage and looked over by prospective parents in a rather cold-hearted meatmarket fashion..

And sometimes, when adoptive parents could only afford to take on one child, siblings were separated.

Sometimes, the kids were simply seen as cheap labor, but as often as not, they found loving homes.  In almost all cases, they were better off than if they’d remained, homelesss and orphaned, fending for themselves on the streets of New York:

In 1850 roughly 15,000 children were homeless on the streets of New York City. They lived in alleys, under bridges and slept on sewage grates. Those old enough to work sold newspapers, shined shoes, picked rags or labored in dangerous factories and sweat shops. They were left to fend for themselves, to join gangs for protection, and grow up instantly in an environment of filth and violence. Families simply could not afford to support all the children they had. Written in trembling hand, a note pinned to a baby abandoned at an orphanage read, "Take care of Johnny, for God's sake. I cannot."

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 22,  2016     “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America—there's the United States of America." Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention Keynote Address, 2004

*********** Give Browns’ running back Isaiah Crowell a little credit. He obviously listened to advice.  After jeopardizing his pro football career by posting an absolutely vile illustration of a police officer having his throat cut, he at least attempted to make amends by attending the funeral of one of the Dallas police officers killed in the mass sniper attack.

Crowell had deleted the Facebook post shortly after publishing it, but, alas, too many people had already taken - and circulated - screenshots. 

Whether the guy is sincere is not the point.  The point is that at a time when cooler heads were needed, he did something terribly provocative,  and now his repentant actions may have helped calm things down -  at the very least, they’ve enabled him to stay in pro football, stay on the Browns, and concentrate on his job.

*********** The Vikings’ new $1.1 billion stadium finished and ready to go.  Six weeks ahead of schedule, if you can believe that.

It’s a beauty. It’s twice the size of the Metronome, which it replaced, and in deference to Minnesota winters, it has a roof -  but a transparent one, giving spectators the illusion that they are outdoors..

The Vikings pulled all kinds of levers to get their fans to pay for it - sure hope they were pleased with the $348 million from the state and the $150 million from the city. Now, they’re going to repay the taxpayers by opening up the stadium with - a f—king soccer game! Before the Vikings season even go to camp! I am not Sh--ing you.

The very first sports event to take place in glorious (it really is), new US Bank Stadium will be a soccer match between Chelsea FC and AC Milan. (I think I have the names right, but if not, t.s.)

Talk about jinxing yourself. This can’t bring good luck. You Vikings fans - yes, as your payment for bending over, you will get to host a Super Bowl in 2018.  But if your Vikings turn into the Chicago Cubs of the NFL, you'll know why.

***********Hello coach!  I trust all is well with you!

I know that you are focused on the "Open Wing" but I have a question concerning the "Spread Cat".
Would it be a sound practice to pull both the backside guard and tackle when running a power play, and expect the Q.B., after he hands off, to block/interrupt the chase defenders? I see, in the "Open Wing DVD" that both players pull when running "West - 6-C." although the Q.B. does not attempt to block.
Thanks, coach.  Your advice is always valued.
BTW - The Open Wing, as you already know, is super!
Hi Coach-

In “West 6-C,” the QB reads the chasing defensive end.

In Spread Cat, you could certainly try reading it, as we do on West 6-C, but I suspect that the numbers will not be in your favor -  they will have too many people left on the backside for you  to be successful. First, there would be a man on the outside shoulder of your pulling tackle who may or may not chase him - that’s the guy your QB would read.

But even if that guy chased, and your QB kept, there would also be an outside linebacker type who lined up on your running back - and assuming that he stays home when your back takes off, his assignment will be to watch your quarterback.  So I think that the numbers would not be in your favor.

But they are in your favor on the playside, so run the power (or, technically, “O”) even if you don’t pull your tackle.

Mystery Photo*********** You need any evidence that the media has a liberal bias?  The story of the murder of a cop in Kansas City, Kansas was buried on page 12 of the Oregonian, the major daily* in The Peoples’ Republic of Portland.  (It’s not really a “daily” anymore -  it’s only printed four days a week.)

*********** You wonder what’s wrong with America?  Start here: I heard a Cleveland police officer say that on the streets outside the Republican Convention there were 20 protestors - and 80 members of the news media.  A guy who planned to set an American flag on fire made sure to notify the media first.  And so, true to their code that when there isn’t any news it’s up to them to go out and make some, the slavish lackeys of the  left showed up, cameras at the ready.


Babe Parilli Card
*********** Called my old arena coach Babe Parilli, 86 and has a great memory still. Babe coached me in 1994 and 1996 in Anaheim and Las Vegas respectively. Where do I start when you mention a legend? He said he played in 3 bowl games, Cotton, rose, and sugar bowl If I remember correctly. Listen to this, how many men in America right now say they played for both Vince Lombardi and Bear Bryant? His memory was classic Babe. Says when he was Namaths back up, the year after the super bowl Babe says they should have won the next year also. The score was 3-0 with the ball near the goal line and Babe told Weeb Ewbank to go for it but Weeb played it safe and went for field goal. Babe was also the head coach In the World Football League and said they tried to compete with the NFL and that was their demise. I also heard Terry Bradshaw speak and he said his best qb coach was Babe Parilli. Babe also coached Craig Morton in the super bowl for the Broncos against the cowboys.

Babe is 86, lives in Denver, and just fought thru some chemo and he says he cant wait to get back on the golf course.

I bought his rookie card and mailed it to him and he signed it, Ill send you the pic.

Hugh, you said you coached in the WFL, Philadelphia?  I believe Babe coached the New York team


Pete Porcelli
Watervliet, New Yofk


He was definitely Sweet Kentucky Babe.

Kentucky hasn’t had many great years in football, but it sure did when the Bear was their coach and the Babe was their QB.

He was one of the very first of the great quarterbacks to come out of Western Pennsylvania (Johnny Lujack of Notre Dame may have been the first).

Very glad to hear he’s doing well.

He was the first coach of the New York Stars, and I remember meeting him at a press conference in the early days of the WFL.

He was accompanied by their “GM”,  a woman named Dusty Rhodes, who was not a bad looker.  No further comment.

A coaching friend named Mark Kaczmarek, from Davenport, Iowa, played center for the Stars under Parilli.

*********** My friend Doc Hinger is bursting with pride:

On Saturday night, August 5, ESPN “SportsCenter on the Road” will be in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania to spend three hours broadcasting, among other things, a Pittsburgh Steelers’ intrasquad  game.

For years, the Steelers have made Latrobe - and St. Vincent’s College there - their training camp headquarters, and much to the delight of Latrobe merchants, Steelers’ fans from all corners of the country descend on Latrobe for the two weeks or so of camp.

A full 14 of the Steelers’ practices are open to the public, and the annual Saturday night intra-squad game is always sold out.  Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for kids or seniors, and all money goes to Latrobe Area High School activities.  Imagine - an NFL team actually leaving money on the table!  Giving it away, even! And people wonder why the Steelers are as close as any NFL team can come to being a beloved member of the family.

The ESPN broadcast crew will be in the Latrobe area for several days in advance of the broadcast, filming local points of interest.  Latrobe takes pride in being the place where the banana split was invented.  Latrobe is the home of Mister Rodgers of TV Fame, and of Arnold Palmer, perhaps the most famous golfer ever to play the game (and the inspiration for the drink by the same name). I’m guessing we’ll see Latrobe Country Club, where Arnold Palmer’s dad, Deacon Palmer, was the pro and the greenskeeper.  And possibly even the old tractor, made famous in Pennzoil commercials in which Arnold starred.

*********** A kerfuffle has erupted over the fact that a “person” named Dana Zzyym has been denied a United States passport because of refusal to check one of the two boxes (male or female) denoting his gender.  See, he doesn't "indentify as either male or female.

The poor thing.  He’s trapped in the rigid choice between two genders, when, as all children in our Washington public schools are about to be taught, gender is a “social construct.”  And hey - other oh, so enlightened people have been quoted as calling gender “fluid,” depending, I suppose, on your mood at the time.

Anyhow,  thanks to this misfit and his lawsuit - and a sympathetic judge -  taxpayers are likely to have to fork over megamillions to overhaul our passport regulations.

Hmmm.  Maybe, before we worry about shipping illegal aliens back,  we could first find a place that will give Mr./Ms.  Zzyym a passport more to his/her liking.  And ship his/her sorry ass there.

*********** A year or so ago, Jarryd Hayne had the people Down Under all excited about his tryout with the 49ers.  Hayne, a rugby star, showed flashes of promise, but never quite panned out.

Now it turns out that his next stated goal - to represent his native Fiji in Olympic rugby - will also go unfulfilled, with the news that he’s been cut from the squad.

*********** I consider David Maraniss, biographer of Vince Lombardi ("When Pride Still Mattered") to be one of America's great writers.

I just got this from my daughter Vicky, whose daughter (my granddaughter, Annie) will be their fourth child to attend Vanderbilt:
Hey, guess what? The Vanderbilt freshman book (they all read it and then discuss it in groups) is Strong Inside by Andrew Maraniss, David's son and a Vandy grad! It's about Perry Wallace, a Vandy basketball player who was the first black player in the SEC.
I am so proud to be able to say I know David Maraniss. And I can only imagine how proud David is of Andrew!

*********** It’s seldom I agree with columnist Leonard Pitts, but I have to side with him when he notes with disgust that Pokemon Go players have wandered into the Holocaust Memorial and - almost unbelievable - Arlington National Cemetery,  and wonders if there’s any sense of propriety left in America. He apparently hasn’t heard the term “The Coarsening of America,” or he wouldn’t be wondering.

*********** In your quote of William N. Wallace, we find this gem: "After World War II all but emptied its campus..."

Please tell me it won't take another World War to empty the campuses of the leeches and parasites that infest the Halls of Higher Learning now.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 19,  2016     "Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." George Washington

*********** You try head-butting one of your kids - even if he IS wearing a helmet, and you aren’t - and see what happens to you.

But you aren’t Rush Propst.

Propst has been a big winner wherever he’s coached.  Nationallly-ranked Hoover, Alabama was one of of his stops. The guy’s won seven state titles, in Alabama and Georgia.  At Colquitt County, Georgia, he’s 30-0 over the last two seasons.

In fact, the incident occured during last year’s state Class 6A semi-final (which Colquitt County won, on its way to the state title).

For his head butt - which left him with a bloody wound on his forehead (and the kid probably thinking, "What the hell?")  - he was originally given a one-year suspension by The Georgia Professional Standards Commission, but on second thought, they decided that a reprimand ought to  be more than enough to straighten him out.

See the video!

*********** France is asking all citizens between 17 and 30 to consider becoming reservists.  A little late for France, I’d say, but there’s still a chance to save the U.S.

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

The "Bush Push" is legal now, correct? We can now teach our backs to push on the back of the fullback, yes?


It’s evidently no longer illegal but I’m not going to teach it.

*********** Hi Coach Wyatt -

I am a new coordinator of a 9-man football team in Melbourne, Australia. What adjustments would you make to the Double Wing Offence in adapting it to a 9-man format?
(The rules are the same as NCAA (IFAF adapted) - no more than 4 in the backfield at any given time)

Thanks for you time,

Coach Harry Jalland,
Melbourne, Australia

Hi Coach-

Nice to hear from you!

This is actually pretty simple and I’ve employed it with other 9-man coaches in the past.

You simply look at it as though you had been running from what I call “spread formation” (with two split ends) - and then you fire the split ends and play without them!

Take a look at this little clip of three plays - examples of a particular play that we’ve run from spread - and you will see that we could easily have run those plays without our split ends.

You’ll notice also that we’re running from my “Wildcat” direct-snap set, but if you wanted your QB under center the same reasoning would apply.

PS - My son, Ed, married an Australian and lives in Melbourne. He’s now an Australian citizen.

*********** Hey ESPN!  What the hell did you do with our CFL games?  Is it really possible that  NBA Summer League gets higher ratings?

*********** The NCAA and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) have been discussing the possibility of eliminating the kickoff from college football.

My spies tell me that outlawing blocking and tackling hasn’t been discussed. Not yet.


When there's no kickoff, will people still say, ”What time’s the kickoff?”

Will campaigns still have kickoff luncheons?

Will your grandkids someday ask you what an “opening kickoff” was?

Might there be some new, exotic way of opening a game, something like the “Scramble,” which the XFL used in place of a coin toss?

Maybe they should take a look at Australian Rules'  "ball up," a rough version of basketball's center jump.

Whatever they do, there's one hopeful note: maybe if  the kickoff  goes, the field goal can go with it.  (I can dream, can't I?)

*********** Marion “Swamp Fox” Campbell died last week at the age of 87.  He was a very good player - defensive lineman - a very good assistant coach, and a head coach who had the misfortune of stepping in as head coach of the Eagles during a time when they lacked talent. And, too, he had the added burden of succeeding Philadelphia favorite Dick Vermeil.

He was from Chester, South Carolina, and his full name - Francis Marion Campbell - was a tribute to Revolutionary War hero and fellow South Carolinian Francis Marion.

That Marion was an expert in guerrilla warfare, whose ability to surprise much larger British forces then escape into the swamps of South Carolina earned him the nickname “The Swamp Fox.”

And for most of his career, although few people in a country that scorns the study of history knew why, Marion Campbell the football player proudly went by the same nickname.

*********** In doing some research on Princeton’s legendary single-wing coach, Charlie Caldwell, I came across this nice article by the late New York Times sports reporter William N. Wallace,  a Yale man.

Charlie Caldwell of Princeton By William N. Wallace

I wish I had known Charlie Caldwell better. I could tell there was so much more in him than what I was getting, relative to humor, camaraderie and football sapience.

The barriers began with age, the separation of 22 years. He was, alas, only 55 when he died in 1957 of cancer and I then a green 33 years old. There was the wall between the nosy reporter and the wary coach protecting his secrets as well as his players. The third wall was subjective. He was Princeton and I was Yale. Never the twain shall trust.

I had seven good years around Charlie and he made me better, as he had 600 football players as head coach at Williams College (1928-1942, 76-37-6) and then at Princeton (1945-1956, 70-30-3).

In the 1920's and 30's the percent of high school kids who reached college was around 12. Those who aspired to the Eastern private colleges — the sobriquet Ivy League was far from invention - needed a little Greek and Latin, a little polish. Thus preparatory schools, like Caldwell's Mercersburg Academy in Central Pennsylvania, were a primary source of athletes and Charlie became one for Princeton.

He arrived there in 1921 and left in 1925 as a renowned graduate, one who went to the New York Yankees as a try-out pitcher and performed in three games before manager Miller Huggins told him to forget it.

Caldwell had played distinguished football as a fullback and center under head coach Bill Roper. He hung around as a Roper assistant for two years and then Williams College, in the gorgeous Berkshire corner of Massachusetts, hired him. He was there for 17 seasons and miffed when Princeton passed over him for Fritz Crisler in 1932 and for Tad Wieman in 1938.

After World War II all but emptied its campus, Williams put football on hold and Caldwell went down to Yale to help Howie Odell coach the Navy V-12's, the 4-F's and the 17-year-olds for two seasons. Then Princeton called at last and he was on that glorious campus in 1945. He knew what to do but it took awhile.

Between the mid-Octobers of 1949 and 1953 the Princeton teams, with the black jerseys and those orange rings down the sleeves, won 33 of 34 games and 24 of them consecutively. The losers were not pigeons - not Navy, nor Penn or Dartmouth. The Caldwell offense was that of the single-wing which he, and notably Red Sanders of Vanderbilt and UCLA, sustained when everyone else had gone to the T-formation. Stodgy, old-fashioned, slow, inhibiting for passing?

Allison Danzig, in his History of American Football (Prentice-Hall 1956), wrote: "With the beautifully drilled and perfectly balanced organization developed by Caldwell, it was a team (1951) that typified college football at its finest in the intelligence and high spirits of the personnel, in the speed, imagination and diversity of its running and passing operations, and in the virulence and alertness of its defensive depredations."

Danzig of the New York Times, a dean of college football writers, confirmed what I had come to suspect as a New York World-Telegram & Sun sportswriter fresh out of Yale, while writing up those Princeton teams and getting as close as I could.

A famous feature of the single-wing was its buck lateral series in which the wingback could come sweeping around the weak side having taken a lateral from the quarterback, who in turn had been given the ball by the diving fullback with the tailback faking to the strong side. Caldwell never ran out of swift 177-pound wingbacks who could run all day - like George Sella, Billy Kleinsasser, Dick Pivirotto.

Dick Kazmaier, the 170-pound tailback voted the Heisman Trophy in 1951, was the diamond discovered, shaped and buffed by Caldwell. Kazmaier could run off tackle as required. He could fake, ball handle, block and, best of all, throw a darn good pass while on the run after the defense had committed itself.

The quintessential Caldwell-Kazmaier-Princeton game came on a late October Saturday, 1951, in Palmer Stadium when the Tigers routed Cornell, an undefeated quality team, 53-15. Kazmaier ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns, completed 15 of 17 pass attempts, three for touchdowns and 236 yards, as Princeton's total offense exceeded 400 yards. This was no f ive-yards-cloud-of- dust single wing attack.

The Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, in conjunction with the American Football Coaches Association, named a coach-of- the-year annually with the peers doing the voting. There followed a big awards banquet at Mama Leone's Restaurant in New York. Scripps Howard was notably cheap but they spent on this one. Caldwell won the award after 1951.

Because my New York paper was the flagship of the chain, I thought perhaps Caldwell might now treat me better, maybe even occasionally call me by my first name. No chance. Charlie didn't operate that way.

I asked Caldwell one time to name his all- star team, the top players he had coached. He looked at me as though I was crazy. "Why would I want to do that," he said strongly. "What could I say to all of those who I left off?" That certainly made sense when I thought about it. I am certain he would have cited guard-tackle Mike Bowman, blocking back George Chandler, defensive tackle Hollie Donan, center Red Finney, tailback Royce Flippin, defensive lineman Brad Glass, linebacker Dave Hickok, end Frank McPhee and blocking back George Stevens.

Caldwell digressed one time about a game that changed his approach to football. He played in it, against visiting Notre Dame — the 1924 Four Horsemen team. He said, "I came out of that game feeling as fresh as when it started None of the usual aches, pains or bruises. And they beat the hell out of us." The score was only 12-0 but Caldwell perceived that Knute Rockne had conceived a different kind of football, one of speed and deception over the old bump-and-grind power game.

In season Caldwell could be grouchy and paranoid. He bawled out one of his captains, Homer Smith, in my presence when he found Smith engaged in a conversation with me, an innocent chat. But he did let a television crew set up and film his usual Sunday night squad meeting at Osborn Field House in which the game film of the previous day's encounter was critiqued by the coaches. It made for a program fascinating to the few who understood what was taking place.

Ahead of his time was Charlie Caldwell. And his time far too short.

*********** In digging up stuff about Charlie Caldwell, I came up with this link to some cool newsreel footage (the kind of sports shorts that they’d show just before - or between - features in movie theaters) of some 1950s Princeton games.  Included in there is the 1956 Yale-Princeton game, played in the Yale Bowl my freshman year.   That Yale team was really good.

*********** I could have told the guy:  don’t f—k with the Gypsy Jokers, but no…

For quite some time, the Gypsy Jokers have been the Northwest’s biggest and most notorious motorcycle gang.  I doubt that they’ll take offense at my saying that.  In fact, I would imagine they’d take great delight in being described that way.

Now, if you agree with me that it’s not smart to screw with a motorcycle gang, you could have predicted that when a guy named Robert Lee Huggins got the bright idea of burglarizing the Woodburn, Oregon home of the president of the local chapter of the Gypsy Jokers, and, in the process, tying the guy’s girlfriend to a chair at gunpoint, something bad was likely to happen to the guy.

It did.

A couple of weeks later, Mr. Huggins was kidnapped from his home in Southeast Portland, in an area sometimes known as Felony Flats, then zip-tied and driven north to a rural area near Woodland, Washington.

There, he was disposed of in a rather nasty way, according to reports that have come out as his murderers - sorry, "alleged" murderers - await trial.

Mr. Huggins’ body, when found by loggers, had “a fractured skull, a broken rub, a broken leg, a removed nipple (ouch), nails driven through his boots, slash wounds to his back and face, and many blows to his face.”

Surely there’s a message in there somewhere for anyone else contemplating f—king with the Gypsy Jokers.  Including ISIS.

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

I just received this nice email from a parent of one of my Black Lions...Jack is such a fantastic young man.
Duxbury has a boy I coached also playing lacrosse at West Point, so hope I can get him in touch with Jack.
It's nice to get these types of emails, but really, those boys give so much back to us.

Hope you and Connie are enjoying your summer.

Rick Davis
Plymouth, Massachusetts

I just wanted to show you the impact you have had on Jack in his young life. I have attached a picture of him going into the dorms at West Point for a lacrosse camp the next three days when I dropped him off today. At the present time he appears to really want to go to the school for many reasons which are easy to know and as he has been kind of been  a bit of a Rudy his whole life  - it's the chip on his shoulder he needs. He just turned 16 yesterday and at 5 81/2 and 170 hopefully as few more inches will come. But As you know the heart could not be bigger. He is a 4.0 in school benches 260 pounds, Squats 360 and can do 34 pull ups in 2 minutes and 98 pushups in 2 minutes as well. Just wanted to thank you for your inspiration to him and others the results are evident. Hope everything is going well for you - take care and thank you, Ken
I also told Jack remember - you are still a Black Lion !!!!!


*********** Mack Rhoades, the new-on-the-job AD whose failure to act when several of Missouri’s player threatened to strike put then-coach Gary Pinkel in the position of having to support them, has moved on to Baylor, which has more than enough problems of its own.

He leaves behind at Mizzou an athletic program in turmoil, including a new football coach whom he hired and who now has to fight the battles without an AD to back him up - not to mention the negatives of having to court a new AD who may have his own idea of who the head coach should be.

There are suspicions that Baylor hired Rhoades because when he was AD at Houston he hired Tom Hermann, who’s now a very hot coaching commodity and one that many Baylor people would love to have.

David Ridpath, writing in Forbes, argues that Rhoades would be a whole lot smarter instead to lock up Jim Grobe, whom Baylor recently hired to bring some decency and fresh air to Waco.

*********** Jeff Tedford has been hired by the Washington Huskies as a consultant.  He’s not on the NCAA-limited coaching staff, which means he’s not permitted to recruit or work with players.  Bright guy - he has an offensive background, and he worked with Huskies’ head coach Chris Peterson on Mike Bellotti’s staff at Oregon. Hmmm. Wonder how a guy with Jeff Tedford's extensive experience as a coordinator and a head coach can work in with the current Washington staff.

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 15,  2016     "I take real offense when people insist I am a bigot just to make themselves feel good." Jonah Goldberg

*********** Back at the time of 9-11 I heard people referring to what happened as a  “tragedy,” and I wrote, “Where is the rage?”

Nobody seemed pissed.

Now, I hear people in the media referring to the “tragedy” in France, and I get pissed.

That was no  tragedy.  That was an act of war.

A tragedy is an unfortunate event that causes great sadness. 

“Tragedy” is  floods and earthquakes and tsunamis and fires.  “Tragedy” is a child dying of cancer, a promising young person dying way before his or her time, a family being killed in an automobile accident.

Pearl Harbor was not a tragedy.

The will to fight requires anger, not sadness.

If we call what’s happening to us at the hands of  Islamic Terrorists “tragedy,” then we’ve lost our collective stones, and we might just as well roll over and let it keep happening.

*********** Mike Lude celebrated his 93rd birthday recently at an event on Bound Brook, New Jersey.  On hand to celebrate it with him were 35 of his former players from the University of Delaware, where Mike was Wing-T inventor Dave Nelson’s offensive line coach and his chief recruiter. 

Quite a thing when guys think so much of their old coach to honor him like this, especially when you consider that Mike left Delaware in 1962 to become head coach at Colorado State. 

He hadn’t coached any of those guys in 55 years!

*********** Tim Duncan announced his retirement recently, and pro basketball is really going to miss him.  You may not have noticed him in games, because wasn’t the flashy type, and he was never  one to draw attention to himself, but he  is going to be missed.

What a team player!  Not many people realize that for the past several years, he has played for far less money than a player of his stature could have commanded, in order for the Spurs to have more money under the salary cap to pay other players more.

In Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, Ben Cohen told how, when Duncan was a student - yes, a real student - at Wake Forest, majoring in psychology, he served as a research assistant to Mark Leary, a social psychologist, in writing his book, “Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors.”

Leary asked Duncan to write a chapter on the subject of egotism, and some of what he wrote helps to explain why he became one of basketball’s great team players.

“Egotistical behavior,” he wrote, “is behavior that conveys to others that the individual holds an exaggerated perception of himself. Few interactions are a annoying, exasperating and unpleasant as the with people whom we perceive are behaving egotistically.”

In summary, he wrote, “Simply put, we don’t like egotistical people.”

When the book was published, the publisher gave Leary four free copies, and after keeping one for himself, he gave one to each of his three assistants -  but not before Wake’s NCAA compliance department could get the NCAA to rule that it was okay for Duncan to receive the gift of a book for which he had written a chapter!

Leary, justifiably proud of his best-known student, told Cohen, “He’s probably the best-paid person to write any psychological chapter or article ever.”

*********** Not that I’m an Income-Inequality geek or anything like that, but if I were, the first place I’d go to demonstrate wouldn’t be Wall Street.  How many of the tools who’d vote for one of these “Down With the One Per Centers” even knows where/what the hell “Wall Street” is, anyhow?

No, I’d go after professional athletes.  Perhaps the reason no politician has is because so many highly-paid professional athletes are people “of color.”

I began thinking about this because it was baseball’s All-Star game time - a game that we used to think was at least as important as the Home Run Derby that precedes it -  and I read about “our” Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano.

Now, this is a guy who comes from the Dominican Republic, a poor, poor country, and I am not going to argue that he shouldn’t  make as much money as he can while he’s able to.

But as I said, if I were the sort to go after a privileged group, I’d start with guys like Robinson Cano, who claims to own “a couple of thousand” pairs of Air Jordans, in innumerable colors and shades and patterns.

This is sartorially important, according to Cano: “It’s good whenever I want to wear something with a shirt I don’t have to worry about if I have to get a sneaker to match this shirt.”

Yup.  That’s where I’d start.

D B Cooper Country

*********** I just heard a guy refer to D.B. Cooper as “the guy who pulled off one of the most daring skyjackings in history.”

“Pulled off,” my ass.

On a stormy November night in 1971, a guy (supposedly) named D. B. (or Dan) Cooper, having been paid a large sum of money after hijacking a plane, jumped out into the rainy darkness over Southwest Washington state. (He was smart enough to have hijacked a Boeing 727,  the only commercial airliner with a real exit, enabling him to parachute out safely.)

“Pulled off,” they say? Not a chance, I say.  Take a look at the map above. The white area to the left of "Gifford Pinchot National Forest" is snow-capped Mount St. Helens; the one underneath is snow-capped Mt. Adams.  Somehwere in the middle of that vast, roadless area is almost certainly  where D.B. Cooper wound up.

I happen to live just east of Vancouver, Washington,  within 100 miles or so of the place from  he exited the aircraft.  It is a several-thousand-square-mile area of rugged, heavily forested mountains, with not a single east-west or north-south road passing through.  

Inexperienced hikers get lost in there all the time - in the summer.  Late fall and early winter are out of the question.

Other than the occasional logging road, there’s no way out. 

Not that Cooper ever had a chance to make it out.

Back in 1980, nearly nine years after his escapade, some of the cash Cooper had been given washed up on a Columbia River beach, not far from where we live, suggesting that something happened to Cooper to separate him from the money.

For anyone who’s flown over the area, it’s not hard to believe he got hung up and never got out of the woods alive.

The tree cover is thick, and where  there aren’t giant trees to catch a parachutist, there are enormous clear-cuts (areas that have been logged over) that are now covered with sharp, thorny blackberry vines as thick as your arm,  growing in a hellish tangle.  It would be absolutely impossible for anyone who fell into the middle of one of those mountain blackberry patches to escape. 

The belief among many of the locals - with which I concur - is that while so entrapped, he involuntarily "entered the food chain" via predators and/or scavengers, and over the next several years the money, of no interest to the animals, eventually made its way through a series of streams  into the Columbia.

*********** Over the past four years, Commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $145 million -  $65 million more than Drew Brees, the highest-paid NFL player during that time. 

Goodell may have his detractors, but he has helped make his employers, the owners, wealthy beyond imagination.

Forbes magazine’s list of the  50 most valuable sports franchises includes 27 NFL teams.

Number one in the world:  the Dallas Cowboys. They’re valued at FOUR BILLION DOLLARS (!) putting them ahead of  Real Madrid ($3.65 billion), Barcelona ($3.55 billion), the New York Yankees ($3.4 billion) and Manchester United ($3.32 billion).

This was the first time since 2011 that a non-soccer team has topped the list.

The most astounding example of the league’s money-making power was the news that back in February, CBS and NBC contacted to pay a total of $900 million for the rights to broadcast ten games each over the next two years.  On THURSDAY nights.

Let the players and coaches  bitch all they like about short preparation time and short recovery time, blah, blah, blah, , but then show them the math:  that’s $14 million (!) per year (!)  per team (!) just for having to play on Thursday night once or twice over a two year period.

*********** Ever have a kid who is so good that you just look at him, in practice or games, and go, “Wow?”  Ever wonder why other kids playing the same position don’t see see the same thing you do - and don’t understand why they’re not the ones starting?

All this time, without us coaches knowing it, there’s been an explanation for it. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger Effect,  and it’s named for the two Cornell University psychologists who first researched it and wrote about it.

It describes people who are unskilled and unaware of it.

Seems to me we feed it with all the trophies-for-everybody, nobody-wins-because-we-don’t-want-anyone-to-lose, everybody-is-special, you-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be crap that we expose kids to from the time they’re little.

I’m hoping that Dunning and Kruger aren’t finished, and that their next work will be a study of the phenomenon of parents who spend tons of money on camps and personal coaches and travel teams because they’re too dumb to realize that their kids aren’t as good as they think they are.–Kruger_effect

*********** Disclosure: I am partial to Temple football. Temple is in Philadelphia and I, despite many years and miles of separation, am a native Philadelphian.  And while Philadelphians are hard on their teams, when outsiders oppose them, we are fiercely loyal.  We circle the wagons. Except when they play each other, we want Philly teams to be successful.  To be Big Time.

Nevertheless, I have to admit that ever since Temple announced plans to build an “on-campus” stadium, I’ve been skeptical.

First of all, while Temple football has been reasonably respectable over the past decade or so, its default condition over the years has been “struggling.”

I grew up maybe five miles from old Temple Stadium, and as kids, on Friday nights, partly because of the novelty of night football (I am old, remember), we’d ride the the “S” bus out to watch the “Als” (that’s “Owls” in Phillyspeak) play the likes of Albright one week and Syracuse the next.

Temple football was really good in the late 30s - Temple played in the very first Sugar Bowl game. Its coach - a fella named Warner.  Glenn Warner, aka Pop Warner. Two of the defensive stalwarts of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 1948 championship team, Mike Jarmoluk and Bucko Kilroy were Temple guys.  Also Philly guys, as were most Temple players in those years. 

But Temple football was on life support during the 50s,  at one point losing 21 in a row. It was a little better in the 60s, playing .500 ball (45-44-4 to be exact).

There was a 13-year spell from 1970 through 1982  when Wayne Hardin, who’d coached Heisman Trophy winners Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach at Navy, went 80-52-3, but he would be the last coach to leave North Broad Street with a winning record. 

When he left, Temple football declined. 

He was followed by 30-year-old Bruce Arians (the same one).  In six years (1983-1988), Arians went  22-44.

Jerry Berndt followed.  From 1989 through 1992, he went 11-33.

Ron Dickerson was 8—47 from 1993-97.

Bobby Wallace  was 19-65 from 1998-2005

During that time, Temple football hit rock bottom when the Big East kicked them out.

The current revival began in 2006 with the hiring of Al Golden.  He went 1-11 his first year, but in his last two years, 2009 and 2010, his Owls were 9-4 and 8-4, good enough for Miami to hire him away.

Steve Addazio went 9-4 in 2011 and 13-20 in two years, and he was off to Boston College.

The current coach, Matt Rhule, is 18-20 in his three years, but the 2015 Owls went 10-4, only the second 10-win season in school history - and beat Penn State.

But there is no guarantee that Temple, which has gone 48-40 over the past seven seasons, will continue to play the kind of football that enabled it last year to finally beat Penn State after years of futility (Temple is a state school, too).

The second factor, every bit as important as the quality of football, is Temple’s location.  Temple is, uh, an urban school.  Broad Street, Philadelphia’s main north-south drag, cuts right through the campus, but if you didn’t see the large “Temple” banners hanging from street lights, you wouldn’t know it.

Temple’s is a concrete campus, and it’s surrounded on all sides by, to be blunt, rough neighborhoods.   There is next to no on-campus housing, and the notion of living “off-campus” as students do at most colleges is too dangerous to contemplate.    Every day, tens of thousands of students descend on the campus - and then they go home.

If they want to get a college degree - Temple is well thought-of - they have to leave the safety of their homes and fight the traffic and the parking and crime-ridden surrounding area.  They have no choice.  But It’s hard to imagine them surviving a week there and then voluntarily returning on Saturday to watch a football game.

It’s impossible for me to imagine an average fan, a guy wanting to take his kids to a college football game, even considering it.

*********** The first weekend of Pokemon Go was an eye-opener for me.  I saw people going into the cemetery across the street.  I saw people parking in dangerous places.  And I saw a guy on a motorbike stop in the middle of a street, holding his phone out in front of him.

From what I read, nothing - not signs, not barking dogs, not heavy traffic - can deter these fools in search of virtual “creatures” whom they can “capture.”

Trust me - It’s only a matter of time before someone gets shot while trespassing on someone’s property at 2 in the morning.

And then, the President of the United States will appear on television and - using the word “I” innumerable times - lecture us on how it’s no longer safe for our children to play childrens’ games and that it’s all because of our gun culture.

And then we’ll find out that the guy who was shot was 30 years old and having an affair with the shooter’s wife.

american flag TUESDAY,  JULY 12,  2016     “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.”  H. L. Mencken


american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 8,  2016    “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.”  Voltaire

***********  From an exchange I had with a young coach who's contemplating making a move...

Coach, I don't know why this hasn't popped in my head sooner, but...
You've always said that a coach can coach your double wing system by himself if he has to.  Would you still feel that way about a coach implementing the Open Wing? If a coach had to singlehandedly implement your system, how far could he get into the Open Wing?

The Double Wing is easier because you have fewer positions to coach. BUT - with the open wing you have those twins who could just be two guys that you get out of your way. The big thing is that once you get those assignments on those cards, an awful lot of your teaching is taken care of.

Thanks, Coach.  I'm just kicking around different scenarios in my mind. Good assistants around here are getting harder and harder to find and keep, so I'm just planning for every scenario I can think of.

At the very least, you want a reliable guy who can run your scout teams while you coach the real team. Another advantage to open wing - far less work with the QB.

I think if I had to, I could scrounge up one decent assistant.  But, sadly, any more than that is wishful thinking.

If they're not good people and reliable they will just get in your way. They don't have to know inside football. They have to be good, reliable people that you can trust.

*********** I got on ESPN's case earlier when we couldn’t get CFL games, so I have to give the World Wide Leader its due now that every week brings CFL games on Thursdays and Fridays.

I still have trouble with the three downs and the multiple men in motion, but it’s football, and since I don’t know much about the players, that means that unlike the NFL, I don’t know whether they're  jerks or not.  And even if they are a&&holesds, they're not overpaid a&&holes.

The Canadian game is no worse than the NFL in its lack of serious running attacks, but it does seem more exciting, and I can’t help thinking that, even though they play with 12 men,  the reason is the much wider Canadian field.

I’ve been contending for years that at some point the NFL is going to run out of stupid rules tweaks in its efforts  to goose the offense,  and it will have to enlarge its field.  Or die.

Either way, I win.

*********** Watching the CFL, I watched a great feature on Chris Jones, GM and head coach of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.

Regina is the smallest city in the CFL, and its fans take great pride in that.  It’s something he’s familiar with.

He’s a native of South Pittsburg, Tennessee, and he lives there in the off-season.

His is an amazing story.

His parents divorced when he was a kid and he grew up in “the projects.”

His plan to play football in college was derailed when he got his girlfriend pregnant, but with the help and support of his high school coach - who put him to work - he managed to finish college at the age of 28, and went to work as a high school coach.

But, like so many of us, he wanted more, and after two successful years at the high school level, he hit the road to Tennessee Tech, to convince the head coach to take him on as a graduate assistant.  When he got there, the coach was busy, but he decided to wait him out.  Eight hours later, he got his interview, and convinced the coach to “hire” him.

He’s paid his dues.

After two years as a GA at Tennessee Tech, he spent a year as a GA at Alabama before finally landing a paid position at Tennessee Martin.

That led to a position as defensive coordinator at Tennessee Tech, which led to his getting a job in Canada with the Montreal Alouettes as defensive line coach, which led to a series of CFL defensive coordinator jobs, which led eventually to the head position in Edmonton.

Last year, his Eskimos won the Grey Cup (Canada’s Super Bowl, and, just as NHL hockey teams do with the Stanley Cup, members of the Grey Cup winning team get  to take the trophy for a short time home and show it off to the home folks.

So Coach Jones got to take the Grey Cup home to South Pittsburg, and it was pretty cool watching the folks in a small town in Tennessee admiring the trophy.

Now here’s the really cool part, amid all  the stories about the a&&holes who enjoy tearing our country apart - he is a white man.  His high school coach - the man who kept him headed toward his goal -  is a black man.

*********** When we can’t trust the FBI, who CAN we trust?

Comey (the head of the FBI) stated that he did not personally interview Clinton, and did not talk to all of the “five or six” who did interview Clinton.

He was then asked, “did she testify or talk to them under oath?” Comey answered, “No.” But added that “it’s still a crime to lie to us.”

When asked if there was a transcript of the interview, Comey stated that there wasn’t one because the interview wasn’t recorded, but there was an analysis of Clinton’s interview.

But  hey - take him at his word, chumps:  no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against our esteemed former Secretary of State.

Translation:  We are SO F—KED.

***********  If Hillary Clinton can skate, why can't Butch Goncharoff?  I mean, as many state titles as he's won, he may be too important to punish...

School district administrators have backtracked on their plan to terminate Bellevue (Washington) High football coach Butch Goncharoff.
In a letter to Goncharoff in May, the district had said it would seek to fire the coach for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from outside entities and then failing to be forthcoming about the payments when his supervisors asked about them. But now the district has placed Goncharoff on paid administrative leave that is “non-disciplinary,” Goncharoff attorney Bob Sulkin said.

Michigan-Army*********** I saw a photo from the 1940s of Army playing Michigan.  I knew it was Michigan, of course, because of the “wings” on the helmets, and the three “stripes,” which were actually maize-painted strips of leather that held other, blue-painted, leather panels together.

And I knew  it was Army, because Army was the only team at that time to be completely outfitted in the plastic suspension helmets that following the war would be worn by 90 per cent of major college teams and are the ancestors of today’s Riddell plastic helmets.

I also knew, from seeing the 41 on the front of his shirt, that the runner about to receive the handoff is all-time great Glenn Davis, the famed “Mister Outside” of Coach Earl Blaik’s T-formation attack.

But that guy on the far left - the Michigan defender.  He sure looks like a black guy. There weren’t many black guys playing college football team, but the Big Ten led the way in integrating the game,  and I did know of one black guy who played for Michigan in the 40s.

That would be Gene Derricotte.  I knew of him.  Saw him in a Michigan team photos from those days. Could it be Gene Derricotte, I wondered? 

Answer: No, that’s not Gene Derricotte.  I have no idea who it is.

But it sure  was interesting doing the research on Gene Derricotte.

Among other things, Gene Derricotte was a Tuskegee Airman…

*********** Hey, Hall of Fame.

Next time you even mention some self-centered creep like TO, who never did a thing for the game…

Get Charlie Conerly in there - before everyone who ever saw him play is dead.

The question isn’t so much whether or not the late Charlie Conerly should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That’s a no-brainer.

The question is: How have so many people screwed up for so long that he isn’t?

Conerly isn’t, you know. He’s in college football’s Hall of Fame. He’s in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Ole Miss Hall of Fame. But some how, for some reason, he has never been enshrined with the greatest legends of pro football at Canton, Ohio.

He was the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 1948. He was a three-time All Pro quarterback. He guided a team to the NFL championship game three times and was a winner once.

He was the league’s MVP once. He was both valiant and brilliant as the losing quarterback in the greatest NFL game of all-time, the one generally credited with bringing pro football to the forefront in American sport. Conerly had already been voted the game’s MVP before Johnny Unitas led that famed comeback and overtime Baltimore victory.

But Charlie was more than that. He had a remarkable aura about him that transcended sport. He was a World War II hero. Ruggedly handsome, he was the original Marlboro Man, and he was to New York football what Joe DiMaggio was to New York baseball.

Over the years, I have campaigned for Conerly — as I did with (Raymond) Guy. I have talked to some of the nation’s most respected sports writers, all of whom have served on the Hall of Fame selection committee at one time or another. Some are gone now.

“You mean Charlie Conerly isn’t already in the Hall of Fame,” said the late Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I would have assumed that he was. There’s no doubt he should be. There are lesser players who are.”

“You gotta be kidding me,” said Peter Finney of the Times Picayune in New Orleans. “How in the world could Chunkin’ Charlie Conerly have slipped the cracks?”

“Yes, I know he’s not in, and it’s a shame,” said Dave Anderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of the New York Times. “As I’ve written in the past, he’s the best quarterback who’s not in the Hall of Fame and he’s better than some who are.

“I remember the first year he was eligible he came up one or two votes short of being elected. It’s a shame.”

I ran into the late, great Jim Murray, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times columnist at the Super Bowl years ago and will never forget Murray’s consternation when he learned that Conerly wasn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “If Charlie’s not in the Hall of Fame, they might as well not have one,” Murray said.

When Conerly’s New York Giants teammate Frank Gifford was inducted, he said in his acceptance speech that he was embarrassed to be a member of the Hall of Fame when Charlie Conerly wasn’t.

The primary criteria for Hall of Fame induction is supposedly for the player to have been one of the elite players at his position during his era.
Conerly qualifies.

 My rule of thumb for a player’s Hall of Fame worthiness: Could the history of the NFL be written without his inclusion in the text? With Conerly, the answer is: No.

As Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News wrote at the time of Conerly’s death in 1996: “Charlie Conerly was the quarterback of the ’50s.”

Come on Seniors Committee, it’s time to make this right.

Rick Cleveland
Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

american flag FRIDAY,  JULY 1,  2016    “The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”  Will Rogers

************* We threw just four passes in our spring jamboree - completed two (one for a touchdown) and threw an interception.  For me, that was an okay outing for our new quarterback.

We’re on our third quarterback in the last four years, and we’re in the same situation as we were in two years ago - no quarterback in the system.

Just as we did two years ago, we selected the guy who we felt met all the qualifications - toughness, intelligence, reliability, character, coachability, athletic ability, and the ability to command the respect of the other players.  My thinking has always been that I can teach a kid how to throw, but I can’t teach him those other things.

With our last selection we were, to say the least, successful.  Our choice, Alex McAra, had never played quarterback before.  He couldn’t throw a football.  But he met all of my qualifications, and he put in the time necessary to become a passer.  In his two years as our QB, he led us to a 19-2 record. He didn’t get to throw much because (1) we had a very good running attack and (2) a lot of our games were out of control before halftime, and that meant no throwing the ball.  He didn’t have the flashy passing stats, so he didn’t make all-league, but in his two years as our quarterback, he threw for 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions.  He ran the offense flawlessly, and other than when we pulled our starters, he didn’t miss a play.

This year’s choice as our QB is rising junior Brenden Chaney. 

He’s probably not the quarterback you’d choose if you were going by the book.  He’s a hair under 5-5, and everyone knows that quarterbacks are supposed to be tall.  Or so the B-S announcers like to tell us.  That’s because, they tell us, quarterbacks have to be tall enough to see over the heads of their offensive linemen.  Right.  Obviously, they’ve never played quarterback, because I figure a pro QB would have to be, oh, 6-11 or so to be to able to see over the heads of offensive and defensive linemen who are 6-4, 6-5, 6-6.

But if Brenden were  on your team, and you knew him the way we know him, you wouldn’t rule him out so fast.

So when we decided that of all our players Brenden fit the bill - he played fullback and defensive end for us last year,  he’s a 4.0 student, he’s a wrestler and a pole vaulter, and his teammates really respect him - I asked him if he’d be interested in being our quarterback.

That’s the qualification that I hadn’t mentioned until now - a guy has to really want to be the leader. Not in title, but in actuality.  He’s going to have to ask people to do things that they don’t necessarily want to do, and he’s going to have to tell them not to do some things that they want to do, and he’s going to have to deal with the criticism that comes with the job.  I make sure that he understands that part of the job.

Brenden was eager to accept the challenge.

He did an exceptional job during our spring ball, and handled the offense far better than I’d hoped for during our spring jamboree.  He handled the ball well and ran well, and, although I didn’t expect him to throw at all, I did call three passes. (A fourth was a halfback pass.)  Above all, he maintained his composure throughout.

Now, with summer here, we’re working on his passing.  I spend two days a week in Ocean Shores (three hours from our home in Camas), and we work out for two hours at a time. Roughly 1/4 of the time is devoted to footwork, 1/2 to basic passing mechanics, and 1/4 to the setups and throws he’s going to have to make.

As we progress over the next week or so, we’ll cut that back to one hour, and then add an hour throwing to receivers.

Brenden’s a very quick learner and, more important, quick to put into play anything I tell him. A big thing for me is to “over correct” - when he, say, misses to the right on a pass, I expect the next one to be obviously to the left of that.  That way, he shows me that he’s heard me, and that he’s able to make the correction.  The fine tuning can come later.  Right now, I want him to show me that he’s physically and mentally able to correct.

By the way, he may not be tall, but he’s definitely not small.  He’s a solid 170 with broad shoulders and he’s extremely strong.

Just to give you an idea of how Brenden Chaney, a kid who’d never thrown a football before this spring other than to play catch, is progressing as a passer after just a couple of sessions.

I think you'll really like this one... I call it the Snow Angel Drill... freeze the action at any point and you'll see that Brenden is developing excellent form!  If I were to criticize, I would say that he is overstriding with his front foot.  The cure?  Widen the stance.

*********** Watched the Montreal-Ottawa game Thursday night, and watched a guy from Montreal, following a play,  slam right into an unsuspecting Ottawa coach,  knocking him down right in front of the Ottawa bench.  He then appeared to take on the entire Ottawa team, and then, after things settled down and he received a talking-to by his coach, he retired to the bench and gave the TV cameras the requisite pained “What’s everybody getting’ on me for?” look.

What an a&&hole.

The guy’s name is Duron Carter, and it turns out he’s Cris Carter’s kid.

Take a  look at Duron Carter’s resume - four different colleges, including two of the very best, and he was barely able to stay eligible long enough to play at  any of them - and you’ll see why he’s playing in Canada.  For now.

Cris Carter is a hall of famer. Duran Carter?  This is one apple that’s fallen far from the tree.

*********** Let’s see… Gays in the military, women serving in combat, a gay as Secretary of the Army, and now, to celebrate the Fourth of July, Trannies cleared for service.

Sleep well tonight, Americans.  Remember - Diversity (as the Libs like to say) is our strength.

*********** At Texas A & M, Johnny Manziel is the gift that keeps on giving. Kyle Allen, who transferred from A & M to Houston, said back in February that the chickens were coming home to roost in Aggieville.

“I think the culture was a big part of it, and I think that stems from Johnny’s era there — the way that they let Johnny and [others] act there,” Allen said. “They [could] do that and still win games because they had Johnny … and five offensive linemen playing in the NFL right now.

“A lot of people were riding off that, ‘I can do whatever the hell I want and win on Saturday.’ Everyone wasn’t in a straight line. Everyone was going this way, this way, this way. We had a ton of talent there. I think that, once you get all the right coaches there and get the vision right, you can do a lot of things.”

*********** A Florida man…

*********** Coach, do you have a call that moves the B Back to receiver?
Yes. We set him (or maybe a receiver  substituting for him) to one side or the other by calling “BULL” (B set to the left) or “BEAR” (B set to the right).  That would put us in an empty set.

Whoever it is, he occupies the first “open spot” on the side he’s set to.  If there’s no wingback on that side, he becomes a wingback (or a close-in slot).  But if there is a wingback, he moves wider and becomes a slot or a flanker.

If we want him to go in motion to either side, we say “GO BULL” or  “GO BEAR”

OS eagle

Seen on my Wednesday morning walk on the beach at Ocean Shores…

*********** If you ever wanted to stick it to a bunch of stuffed shirts, you couldn't do better than Britain’s Nigel Farage,  addressing the first meeting of the EU Parliament after the UK pulled out of the European Union.

“Isn’t it funny,” he started his speech,  “You know when I came here 17 years ago, and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me.  Well I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you?”

*********** A member of the EU suggests that with the withdrawal of the UK, English will no longer be one of its official languages.

Talk about stupid.

Much as I hate to use the word “global,” English is the global language.  Yeah, yeah, I know - there are billions of Chinese who don’t speak it.  But I never heard of an Italian and a German conversing with each other in Cantonese. 

Meanwhile, just travel abroad, and almost anywhere you go you’ll hear English spoken.  It may be heavily accented, and it may be lacking somewhat in its construction values, but it’s definitely English, and it’s the bridge that enables people who speak a wide variety of mother tongues  to converse with one another.

And, of course (this kills the French), English is the global language of air traffic.

What’s really stupid is the fact that the EU has 24 “official” languages, which means that everything official has to be translated into 24 different documents - a major source of inefficiency.

The EU talked a good game about unity, but without a common language, they had no chance.

The disintegration of the EU should make all Americans appreciate the enormous contribution that Noah Webster made to our becoming one nation - it wasn’t as much much the dictionary as it was the common language - American English - that we came to speak.

Now, pray to God that the forces of multiculturalism and diversity don’t take aim at our language.

*********** An interesting sidenote to the UK’s exit from the European Union is that it does seem to remove one possible obstacle to putting an NFL team in London.

Not that there aren't plenty of other potential problems,  but up to now, a major concern was that the NFL draft and the league’s limited version of free agency might not comply with the EU’s “free movement” laws.

american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 28,  2016    "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  John A


Everything is going great we are getting ready for a couple 7v7 in the next few weeks. The assignments on the wrist coaches is very helpful so we really can just lineup and go. We haven't started on the rushing part yet. But we are looking pretty good with the passing. Our head coach loves the formation names and how everything is together. The past few years the team would name everything and never had a system to go with it. They just added plays they saw that they liked but nothing went together. It was a mess when I got there but I think we've got it all straightened out. Thanks for all your help.

(I should add that tech support is always available.)

*********** NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says he’s fed up with people intentionally fouling guys who can’t shoot free throws. Says, “I now think that we need to make the change.  It’s just become ugly.”

He carefully avoided the obvious question: how does a guy play basketball long enough and well enough (in other aspects of the game) to make it to the NBA without learning how to shoot free throws?

Whatever his solution might be, can you see baseball making accommodations for guys who can’t hit the curve? Or pitchers who can’t get it across the plate?

The problem is caused by teams fouling when they want to get the ball back;  the obvious guy to foul is the worst free throw shooter.

And when he misses, chances are the fouling team will get possession.

The rule is a black mark on the sport: name another sport where a team so clearly benefits from breaking a rule.

An easy solution, my wife and I have maintained for years, is to charge the fouling team (and player) with a foul and give the fouled team the choice of shooting free throws or taking it out with a fresh shot clock.

*********** I'll bet some of the Euro-admirers on the left - the ones who think that everything America has ever done is evil and who are always throwing Europe in our faces when it comes to child care, health care, public transportation, gun control, and so forth - would dearly love to have the US take the UK's place.

*********** My daughter, Vicky, lives in Denver with her husband and those of her four kids who aren’t away working or at college.

Actually, in the past seven years, she hasn’t been home much herself - she's spent  two years in Victoria, British Columbia, and the last four in London.

Only one of their kids graduated from high school in the US.  Their eldest, my grandson, graduated from Denver’s Cherry Creek High School, but of their three daughters, one graduated  in Victoria, and two graduated from The American School of London.

She’s back in the US now, with mixed emotions.  She made many friends both in Canada and in London, and, quite unbeknownst to me - since she isn’t one to trumpet her activities - she’s been involved in tutoring kids there.

I am so proud of her that I’ve printed below a nice article that appeared in the newsletter of the organization that she worked for.

Vicky London

*********** Cincinnati finally got around to retiring Pete Rose’s number 14.  Not that they’d have given it to anyone else since he left, but they had to get permission from Major League Baseball to formally retire the number, since Rose, like the old enemies of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party, is officially a non-person.

Asked by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Trent Rosecrans why 14, he said he had no choice.  It was in his locker when he arrived in the clubhouse. 

He had worn 27 during spring training,  but, he explained,  “27 wasn’t a good number for a second baseman, so I got 14.”


*********** Seattle, once a brawny logging town, gets more and more like San Francisco every day…

Forgive me for lifting this article intact from a local newspaper, but it's most enjoyable as written, because it gets better as the facts become known...

An internal investigation is under way after an officer responding to a domestic violence call shot an armed man June 19.

The Seattle Times reported that Michael Uivary is in serious condition at a hospital and charged with second-degree assault.

Charging documents say Uivary has a history of mental health issues and suicide attempts.

The documents say Uivary told his husband that he’d taken an Ambient and Xanax pill every hour for six hours.

His husband took the pills away.

Quivery eventually woke up and confronted his husband, who called 911.

Officers arrived to find Uivary armed with two knives.

The Force Review Board will look at Seattle Police Department Officer Sarah Velling’s choice to fire a gun rather than her Taser.

Velling is on paid administrative leave.
***********  Johnny Football's lawyer accidentally sent a text to the Associate Press suggesting that Johnny's chances of copping a plea on his domestic violence charge  might be good so long as he didn't have to undergo a urinalysis.

"Heaven help us," he said, "If one of the conditions is that has has to pee in a bottle."

Now, that lawyer has resigned from Johnny's "legal team."

Either way, you know you're in deep sh-- when you've got a legal team.

*********** Admittedly, I rarely give more than a million dollars to Yale at any one time, but I have been fairly faithful in my contributions.

Not no more.  Not since the liberal pantywaists they've admitted, most of them on financial aid made possible by the university’s generosity, took over the campus as part of Hope and Change - hope of  changing Yale into something more to their liking.

So this was my response to Yale’s latest request for money.

“Take control of the mob, and then we’ll talk.”

This was the answer I got:

Dear Hugh,
Thank you for your email.  We appreciate your feedback.
Please know that we are grateful for your past generosity over the years. I hope the events on campus will not diminish your overall affection for Yale. You are a valued member of the University family.
Kind regards,
Sandra L. Livramento

I’d almost have preferred they told me to go f—k myself.  Then at least I’d know there was still someone there with a spine.

*********** News from Knoxville is that legendary coach Pat Head Summitt may be near death.

It’s doubly tragic to know that Coach Summitt has been in decline, suffering from Alzheimer’s, since having to step down as Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach in 2012.

*********** Native Americans and dealing with the  U.S. Government’s double standards 

ITEM: Daniel Chee Walley, 47, a member of the Navajo Nation from Chambers, Ariz., was sentenced this afternoon for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and Nicholas E. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.

Walley was arrested on Sept. 14, 2012, based on an indictment charging him with selling and bartering parts of a Swainson’s hawk tail on Jan. 31, 2009, in McKinley County, N.M., without obtaining permission from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. On Oct. 22, 2012, Walley pled guilty to the During this afternoon’s proceedings, Walley was sentenced to two months of home confinement followed by a year of probation. Walley also fined $150 to be paid to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund.

Swainson’s hawks and other migratory birds are protected under federal wildlife laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. These laws prohibit the possession, use, and sale of the feathers or other parts of federally protected birds, as well as the unauthorized killing of these birds, to help ensure that bird populations remain healthy and sustainable.

“We want people to understand that over 1000 birds are safeguarded under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Service is committed to ensuring their protection,” said Nicholas E. Chavez, the US Fish and Wildlife Services Southwest Region Special Agent in Charge.

ITEM: Last year we told you about the hare-brained “Operation Powwow” in which agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the Lipan Apache and then confiscated their feathers under federal laws designed to protect migratory birds. The Lipan Apache would never kill eagles since they consider the birds “a great gift from God our Creator,” according to their pastor, Robert Soto. But since the tribe was recognized by Texas but not by Washington—even though the feds did recognize tribe members as Native Americans—the government claimed they were using feathers without a permit.

Pastor Soto was able to get his feathers back thanks to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But his victory did not extend to the rest of the tribe. Now, thanks to the new settlement, he will be able to share these sacred objects with other worshippers and with “generations to follow,” he tells us. He will start by leading a Monday ceremony to spiritually cleanse the feathers. He reports that when the feds took them they dragged them on the ground, a great taboo among the faithful.

ITEM: May 15, 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency charged with protecting bald and golden eagles, is once again trying to make it easier for the wind industry to kill those birds.

Two weeks ago the agency opened public comment on “proposed improvements” to its eagle conservation program. It wants to extend the length of permits for accidental eagle kills from the current five years to 30 years. The changes would allow wind-energy producers to kill or injure as many as 4,200 bald eagles every year. That’s a lot. The agency estimates there are now about 72,434 bald eagles in the continental U.S.

Absolutely astonishing how cavalier the Greens, who worship at the altar of environmentallism, can be about the slaughter of tens of thousands of migratory birds by monstrous windmills, which wouldn't even exist without heavy govenrment subsidies and requirements that our power companies must purchase - at higher prices for consumers - the power they produce.

Pitt 1979

*********** Not long ago, I managed to get my hands on a huge supply  of old Army football programs, and as I went through them, I came on the program from the 1979 Army-Pitt game. 

As I looked at the two pages of Pitt  players’ photos, I said, “Holy sh—!  Talk about players!"

(A side note: there were a fair number of players on that Pitt team - very good ones at that - from the Deep South.  That was the work of Pitt head coach Jackie Sherrill, who had the southern background and the connections to land players of the quality of Ricky Jackson and Hugh Green.  In five years at Pitt, Sherrill's record was 50-9-1.)

And most of the 1979 squad was underclassmen  -  in 1980,  they were even better.

In fact, based on their talent, if not their record, the 1980 Pitt Panthers may well have been the best college football team of all time.

Their record was good enough - 11-1.  Their only loss was to Florida State, 36-22 on a hot, muggy Saturday night in Tallahassee, but that was enough to cost them the national championship, finishing second to undefeated Georgia.

But the talent! 12 seniors from that 1980 Pitt were drafted by the NFL and seven others signed NFL contracts as free agents.  Four guys on that team were NFL first-rounders.

All told, 14 1979-80 team members were drafted by NFL teams, and 16 of them wound up playing in the NFL.

Now, get this - of the 19 players signed off the 1980 Pitt team, EIGHT won starting positions on NFL teams as ROOKIES:
Hugh Green, linebacker, Buccaneers
Russ Grimm, left guard, Redskins
Ricky Jackson, linebacker, Saints
Mark May, left tackle, Redskins
Randy McMillan, fullback, Baltimore Colts
Bill Neill - nose tackle, Giants
David Trout - placekicker, Steelers
Carlton Williamson - strong safety, 49ers

























In September, 1981,  New York Times sports writer William N. Wallace was one of the first to realize what Pitt had.

He quoted Redskins’ Director of Player Personnel Bobby Beathard.

Beathard believes that no other college team has ever come close to producing eight pro starters in one season. ''And we have two, May and Grimm, one more than anyone else,'' he said.

american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 24,  2016    “Politicians are the same everywhere.  They promise to build bridges even when there’s no river.”  Nikita Khrushchev

*********** What a kick in the ass the British exit from the EU is for the great Barack Obama.

Although in bloodless fashion, the British people have repudiated tyrannical rule from afar just as American colonists did in 1776.  In both cases, it was called economic idiocy to do so. In both cases, the elite ruling classes advised against it.  And in both cases, a highly-motivated group of  ordinary people united to throw off the rule of a distant, central government and bring government closer to the people.

By voting to leave the EU, the Brits showed how much they respected and feared our Noble President, who on a recent visit had the effrontery to advise them not to leave, and then the gall to threaten them by saying that if they were to do so,  they’d go to the back  of the line (trying to sound British, he said “queue”) in any trade deals with the US.

Obviously aware of how much his “red line” threat against Syria meant, though, the Brits didn’t let Mister Smooth scare them. 

But uh-oh.  They shouldn’t feel safe. No, no. Not considering how we make cozy with the likes of Iran and Cuba, while demonizing longtime friends like Israel. In fact, being  longtime friends and allies, being people who share our culture and speak our language and uphold the the same democratic traditions, the Brits have become  logical enemies in Barack Obama’s eyes.

*********** Mark this recent NBA Final series down as the one that finally buried the once-accepted wisdom that without a New York, or Los Angeles, or Chicago team in the finals, TV ratings would tank.

This year’s Game 7 drew the highest ratings of any NBA game in almost 20 years - since 1998, and the heyday of MIchael Jordan’s Bulls

Only the NFL and the Olympics have drawn more viewers in this decade.

*********** I got a call the other day from Mike Pucko, in Worcester (that’s “WUSS-tah” or even “WISS-tah”), Massachusetts.

Mike is an outstanding coach - a double wing guy who’s built a record of 115-60 in 15 years of coaching high school ball in Central Mass, and now he’s taken a step toward a college head coaching job by accepting a position as linebacker coach at D-II Assumption College.

Mike was an outstanding high school running back in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and a three-year starter at linebacker at UConn, but after graduation he devoted his energies to building a business.

Out of football for a number of years, Mike found time away from the business to branch out into coaching, and in 1997 he was hired as defensive coordinator at Marlborough, Mass. High.  In 1999, he switched sides to become offensive coordinator at West Boylston High, where he began running the Double Wing, and where I first met him.

In 2001 Mike took over as head coach at West Boylston, and in four years there he went 26-18.

In 2005, Mike signed on at Worcester’s Holy Name Central Catholic, where they’d  just come off back-to-back  2-9 and 2-9 seasons.  The turnaround was immediate, and in his 11 years at Holy Name, Mike  went 89-42 and won three Super Bowls, the Massachusetts equivalent of a state title.

Mike’s always been active in working to get his kids placed in colleges, and he’s spent a lot of his own time and money taking them - as well as kids from other schools - on college visits.

Lately, he’s been out working at various college camps, and he told me how impressed he was by an organization out of Detroit called Rising Stars Recruiting that takes Detroit-area kids by the busload to numerous college camps.

The Rising Stars program is devoted to preparing the kids for the camps - and, obviously, for college - and it appears to be about more than football.  Mike said he was very impressed by the way their kids handled themselves, with a lot of “Yes sir” and “No sir,” and, in the case of a female trainer, “Yes Ma’am.”

I have no idea where they money is coming from, but I applaud them, and wish that some other group would do the same for potental doctors and engineers.

*********** Funny how we’ll spend millions in police overtime to enforce seat belt laws (“Click it or Ticket”) but we won’t go after drug users. Considering all the problems that drug use causes, not only here but in the nations where the drugs are grown, wouldn’t it make sense to try - just once - to attack the problem at the demand end?

*********** Hackers into the Democratic National Committee’s files found copies of Hillary Clinton’s speaking contracts. (You know, those $225,000 “speeches”)

$225,000 a speech?  As tough as it is to listen to that woman, I figured I could struggle through it for twenty minutes or so if they offered me $225,000.  And then I found out that they were paying her!

Now get this…

Besides the $225,000 fee…

Her Majesty requires a “chartered roundtrip private jet.”  Not just any jet, either - a “Gulfstream 450 or larger aircraft.” The Gulfstream seats 19 and can sleep six.

First class or business-class airfare for three of her aides. (What - you expected them to fly with Her Highness on the Gulfstream?)

For lodging, “a presidential suite” and  “three adjoining or contiguous rooms for her travel aides”

Up to two extra rooms for advance staff.

The Clinton travel party’s ground transportation, meals, and “phone charges/cell phones.”

A flat fee of $1000 for a stenographer to create “an immediate transcript of Secretary Clinton’s remarks.”

The contract includes this:   “We will be unable to share a copy of the transcript following the event.”

(Which is why we have yet to find out what she said for $225,000 a speech.) 

*********** ESPN announced it will give the University of Missouri  football team a special humanitarian award in July for the team’s strike, which led to the the school’s president being fired and a massive drop in enrollment.

Said ESPN in announcing the Award.

Racial tensions were becoming increasingly strained at the University of Missouri last fall. Frustrations gave rise to protests — one of the most notable coming when a student at the school began a hunger strike. Students were demanding action, and the Mizzou Tigers football team stepped in and announced that they would boycott their upcoming game unless changes were made. The players took a huge risk — their scholarships could have been revoked and their futures hung in the balance. But their actions indicated it was a risk worth taking to help bring action to this critical issue.

ESPN is also rumored to be working with the government of Norway  to award President Barack Obama a second Nobel Peace Prize.

*********** LSU’S Ben Simmons is likely to be the NBA’s top draft pick.  He’s an Australian, the son of an Australian woman and American dad who went to OZ to play basketball.

My son sent me an interesting story about Ben Simmons and Kevin Goorjian, his high school coach - for two years, anyhow - whom Ben invited to be with him and his family at the draft.

You think high school coaches aren’t important?

When Ben  showed up for “year 9” (freshman year) in high school, his school didn’t have a “year 9 team.”

But Goorjian wasn’t blind.  The kid was already 6-8, and he had basketball in his genes, so Goorjian went to the principal…

“The principal said that I could start a year nine program if I got 12 boys and 12 girls. I told myself that I’m gonna make this happen because of Ben,” Goorjian said.

“It was really special having him in year nine. He’s a once in a lifetime player. My whole family is in coaching and I knew in year nine that he was something special.

Ed added, “Kevin is Brian Goorjian’s brother. Brian (the most successful basketball coach in Australian basketball history),  is now working for Yao Ming’s team in Shanghai.”

*********** I’ve long deplored the way aspiring singing greats “perform” our national anthem to the point where I hate hearing it, and I’ve envied countries whose national anthems are virtually un-f—k-upable. Like Canada.

But then, before Thursday night’s CFL game in Toronto, I heard some poofter in a tee-shirt do the once-thought-impossible, sccrewing with "O Canada" while giving a great imitation of a guy fresh out of the hospital after being neutered.

american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 21,  2016   “There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.”  Ronald Reagan

*********** After losing two straight outstanding classes, our challenge at North Beach was to cobble together a team.  On offense, we wound up with a lineup that has just one returning starter playing  the same position he played last year.  On defense, every player is either brand-new to varsity ball or playing a brand-new position.

Finally, after three weeks of spring practice, we finally had some contact. Literally.  With only 17 kids on our spring roster - and only 11 with any significant playing experience, we couldn’t have scrimmaged if we’d wanted to.

But on Saturday took part in an eight-team Jamboree at Castle Rock, Washington, and it was funny watching our kids, used to running offense against air and simply playing alignment-and-assignment on defense,  adjust to the pace of actual football.

There was no doubt in our mind about our scheme or about our kids’ toughness, but we had so many question marks at so many positions that we figured that the sudden exposure to contact would be like turning up the pressure in an old fire hose and finding out where the leaks are.

What we found was that we have three positions where we are quite good, another four who are pretty good, two who will become pretty good with experience, and two who might not be able to get the job done.

One defense, we are pretty solid at seven spots. But we are suspect at four of them, and there we have to have some kids come through.

We faced two teams, both a class larger than us - the host team, Castle Rock, a long-time power coming off an atypical 3-6 season, and Kingsway Christian of Vancouver, transitioning into a full league schedule after a 5-2 season as an independent.  We played Castle Rock once and Kingsway twice.

They both would be good, solid programs at our level, so they were a great test for us.

We met the test.  We played far beyond my expectations.

On offense, we scored six touchdowns - five rushing and one passing.  On defense, we gave up six touchdowns, but we expected to have some problems in our secondary and four came on passes. And in one series, we held Castle Rock for four downs from inside our 7-yard line.

The format was 10 minutes’ running time on offense, 10 minutes on defense.

Knowing that we were not guaranteed a set number of plays, we determined to run as many plays as we could, without playing race-horse football or going at NASCAR speed, or whatever others call it.   We simply dispensed with huddling and lined up ready to play, waiting for the next play call. That’s how we practice, so it was nothing new to the kids.

We could have gone faster, but obviously we did have to point out - and correct - certain mistakes.  And when we did so, we did it on the fly.

In three games, a total of 30 minutes’ running time, we got off a total of 61 plays - 21, 20 and 20 per session.

Watching other teams, I counted seven series, in which the number of plays ranged from a low of 13 to a high of 17. The  average was 15.  Based on that average of 15 plays per “game,” we effectively got in an extra game.

We do have our challenges, but we have a chance to be decent. Unless someone gets hurt.

*********** On one occasion Saturday we winced when we saw a player from another team lead with his head to make a tackle and reflexively said something like “Ouch! Keep that head up!" - and one of their assistants, who overheard, informed us they teach Hawk tackling.   (For what that’s worth.  But I do think that Pete Carroll is on thin ice when he markets that stuff as safe tackling.)

Rugby is the inspiration for the vaunted Hawk tackling.  Supposedly, they’ve figured out a way to taco safely.  Don’t believe it, writes Rick Davis, who coaches in New Zealand, where rugby is king. Coach Davis writes, “Would like to have a nickel for every time I've said ‘head up’ or ‘keep your head up.’ etc. I really cringe watching rugby...heads down a lot of time for both tacklers and ball carriers.”

*********** Coach Mike Norlock, from Atascadero, California, was kind enough to send me this photo from The Wall, where he’s touching Don Holleder’s name.

Don Holleder was the inspiration for the Black Lion Award - if you aren't already  a Black Lion team, email and sign up!

Mike Norlock at Wall

*********** I watch what’s going on in our country and I'm reminded of Mark Steyn’s quote:

“If Obama were working for the other side, what would he be doing differently?”

****I once had a PE instructor who would repeatedly pronounce badminton “badmington.”  (With a “g” in there.)

It always sounded weird, and he never learned, and it made me wonder, “WTF is wrong with this guy?”

So when the President of the United States (and his toe-sucking Secretary of State, John Kerry), are just about the only people in the whole world who say “ISIL” for what even the sucker media call “ISIS,” I always find myself asking the same question.

**** Forget for the moment about the thousands streaming unchecked across our borders… Forget about releasing prisoners… Forget about giving felons the vote… Forget about the additional thousands of “refugees” from the Middle East about to arrive in a neighborhood near you…

And move on to other atrocities…

**** From The Obama Ministry of Truth and Justice…

Loretta Lynch, who runs the ironically-named Department of Justice, announced on Sunday that she would release a transcript of the Orlando murderer’s phone call to Orlando Police - an edited transcript.

It had been edited to remove references the killer made to ISIS and the ISIS leader to whom he pledged allegiance. 

"I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted]," the guy told the dispatcher.

“Omitted,” eh? 

Well, yeah.  We can’t have the American public hearing what the guy actually said.  Why,  the common people aren’t able to handle the truth, so it’s our job at the Ministry of Truth to see that they don’t get it.

And our own, trusted FBI, the same “G-Men” who youngsters of my generation grew up believing were on our side -  an impenetrable wall between us and everything evil -  has followed its orders from above to tell us what their truth is.

The deletions were necessary, said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ron Hopper.  “(The Killer) does not represent the religion of Islam, but a perverted view," he said.

(I honestly had no idea that courses in theology were required to advance in the FBI bureaucracy.)

His justification for concealing the evidence? ”Part of the redacting is meant to not give credence to individuals who have done terrorist attacks in the past. We're not gonna propagate their violent rhetoric."

“Part of the redacting?”  And what would be the reason for the rest of?

Oh, wait - guess enough people like me raised enough hell.  They’ve changed their mind and decided we can handle the truth after all.

Nothing to see here, folks.  Move along.

**** Our increasingly-Godless military.  George Washington would be very proud …

A veteran of 33 years’ service in the US Air Force was removed forcibly from a deceased veteran’s flag-folding ceremony after  for complied with the deceased’s request that the traditional flag-folding speech, which includes references to God, be recited, rather than the sanitized, no-God version now standard in the military.

**** The idiocy continues…

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to open the door for more “lateral entry” into the military's upper ranks, clearing the way for lifelong civilians with vital skills and strong résumés to enter the officer corps as high as the O-6 paygrade.

The idea is controversial, to say the very least. For many in the rank-and-file military, it seems absurd, a bewildering cultural change that threatens to upend many assumptions about military life and traditional career paths. But while it's not universally embraced, there is interest in Congress and among some of the military's uniformed leaders — even, they say, in exploring how the services could apply this concept to the enlisted force.

This is a key piece of Carter’s “Force of the Future” personnel reform. Unveiled June 9, it aims to help the military bring in more top talent, especially for high-tech career fields focused on cyber warfare and space. Advocates say it will help the military fill important manpower shortfalls with highly skilled professionals and, more broadly, create greater “permeability” between the active-duty military and the civilian sector.

At the same time, it suggests eroding the military’s tradition of growing its own leaders and cultivating a force with a distinct culture and tight social fabric, which many believe to be the heart of military effectiveness. Critics worry it will create a new subcaste of military service members who are fundamentally disconnected from the traditional career force.

If you didn’t feel like reading all that, let me summarize: Ashton Carter, our esteemed Secretary of Defense, proposes to take people right off the street, as it were, and make them officers in our armed forces. Just like that.  They could enter at ranks as high as Colonel in the Army, or Captain in the Navy, ranks that most officers spend 20 years to attain. Even then, not all of them make it.

Such a deal: No basic training, no Service Academy or ROTC training, no Army or Navy War College, no moving the family every couple of years and no months’-long deployments to war zones. And, of course, no 20+ years climbing up the ranks. 

Oh - and obviously, no understanding of or appreciation for the military culture, which, if you happen to be a conspiracy nut like me, sure sounds like an attempt at injecting an element of pacifism into the ranks of our armed forces.

Add that to the purges of warrior types from the Pentagon that have already taken place, the current reduction in force of our various services, and a stated mission to increase “diversity” (read “LGBT”) in the ranks and you can’t help thinking that someone - hmmm - wants to neuter our fighting forces.

Needless to say, the Marine Corps is the service most “skeptical” of Secretary Carter’s brainstorm.

**** And then, worst of all, absolutely terrifying to anyone who understands history and the foundations of our country (talk about the One Per Cent) …

You may remember that the police use of armored vehicles in Ferguson, Missouri led to an outcry against the sale by our military of surplus equipment and arms to police departments around the country.

There. Police nullified.

Now, before the last body has been buried, politicians on the left are hustling to leverage the Orlando killings into disarmament of the American public.

Should they succeed… Citizenry nullified.

And then comes the alarming information in Friday’s Wall Street Journal (June 17, 2016) that our government, from top to bottom -  from the Department of Education to the Smithsonian Institution to the Social Security Administration to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs - is armed to the teeth.

At the same time “The White House”and its allies attempt to undermine the Second Amendment, it is equipping agencies with no relation whatsoever to our national defense with  military-style equipment, including heavy weapons, hollow-point bullets, night-vision goggles  and body armor.

According to an article by former Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of, “The number of non-Defense Department federal officers authorized to make arrests and carry firearms (200,000) now exceeds the number of U.S. Marines (182,000).”

Maybe you’d better read that again. Not counting the actual military, there is a federal military force scattered around the federal bureaucracy that is larger in number than the Marine Corps.  (That’s pronounced “Core,” Barack.)

“During a nine-year period through 2014,” they write, “we found, 67 agencies unaffiliated with the Department of Defense spent $1.48 billion on guns and ammo.”

For example:

“The Internal Revenue Service, which has 2,316 special agents. spent nearly $11 million on guns, ammunition and military-style equipment.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs, which has 3,700 law-enforcement officers guarding and securing VA medical centers, spent $11.66 million. It spent more than $200,000 on night-vision equipment and, $2.3 million on body armor.” (As recently as 1995, the VA had NO officers with firearms authorization.)

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service spent $4.77 million on shotguns, .308 calibre rifles and liquid explosives, among other items of weaponry.

“The EPA,” the authors write, “has put more than $800 million since 2005 into its “‘Criminal Enforcement Division.’”

“The Food and Drug Administration employs 183 heavily-armed ‘special agents.’”

The report goes on to say, “Other paper-pushing federal agencies with firearm-and-arrest authority that have expanded their arsenals since 2006 have included the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Education Department, the Energy Department, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the National Institute of Standards and Technology.”

Now get this - two of the most liberal colleges in the country, whose faculty and students would surely vote 99-1 in favor of taking your guns from you, seem to see some value in assault rifles for themselves. Cal Berkeley has acquired 14 5.56 mm assault rifles,  the Yale University Police  20 of them,  from the Defense Department.

The authors conclude by saying, “Our data shows that the federal government has become a gun show that never adjourns.”

You do realize, don’t you, that it wouldn’t take any effort at all to mine the data and compile a list of every climate-denier,  or everyone who applied for a gun license, or everyone who wrote something on the Internet criticizing Our Leader?  They probably already have the lists, sorted by state, county and zip code. 

And if only 10 per cent of those 200,000 armed “non-military” federal officers were dispatched to round ‘em up - who would stand in their way?

At last - the answer to two questions the lefties love to ask - (1) Why do we even need the Second Amendment? and (2) Why would any civilian need an assault rifle?

Back to America as we knew it...

*********** I received a call Sunday from Coach Dwayne Pierce, an old friend (and a veteran of the Double-Wing wars with parents) from Washington, DC.

He and his brother, Sean, made a deal that whichever one of them got a head high school coaching job first could count of having his brother as an assistant, and Sean got the job - at Northwood High in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Dwayne’s on board, of course, and another Double Winger, Greg Hall, has joined the staff.  They won’t be running the Double Wing, though - Dwayne is the defensive coordinator.

The brothers Pierce have their work cut out for them - the Northwood Gladiators have won just seven games in the last four years, and their best season in the last 10 years was 5-5 in 2007.

Nevertheless, Dwayne was really enthusiastic, excited especially about the attitude of the kids at workouts, and about some really impressive leadership being shown.

*********** The shooting in Orlando was absolutely horrible. 

I was watching Fox News and there they were, interviewing a young woman who said that she and her cousin were at the club to celebrate the cousin’s 18th birthday. Sadly, the cousin died in the massacre.

Hmmm. 18th birthday, eh?  Now, wait a minute, said I…

As someone with graying hair and male pattern baldness who’s been carded unapologetically “because we card everybody,” it occurred to me, and no doubt to others, that whoever is responsible for enforcing the drinking laws in Orlando wasn’t exactly on top of their game.

Sadly, I rather doubt that that young woman was the only minor killed, and I also doubt that there’s a shortage of lawyers in Florida capable of making the point to a jury that if the owners of the club had been complying with the law, at least one more young person would be alive today.

Hello coach Wyatt.
I'm really enjoying the "Open Wing DVDs and looking forward to the final two.

Meanwhile!   A question if I may!

Since there is limited room on the wrist cards, what procedure do you use to get the "tags" to the Q.B. such as, follow, pull, keep and so forth? Additionally, how do you get formation information to the team? Is this all done by sending it into the huddle by messingers?


J.C. Brink
Stuart Florida


Glad you like the DVDs.

To answer your question -  the base formation and the assignment is on each individual player's card. I simply add the tags.  If, for example, the play is located at “20-2” and I want to use RIP motion, I would tell the quarterback “RIP 20-2”

If in addition I wanted him to keep, I’d call “RIP 20-2 KEEP."

THIS IS KEY: to the linemen, all that matters is "20-2."

And so forth.

One play we ran Saturday was "BRONCO RIP 40-2 DIRECT"

But again, for the linemen, all they needed to know was "40-2"

I call out the play to the QB. If I’m up in the press box, that’s the job of a coach on the sideline.  In our case, it’s the head coach.  As soon as the last play is over, the QB hustles to within range of the coach.

I do NOT believe in messengers.  I do NOT trust anyone but the quarterback to get a play, intact,  to the team.  Intelligence is a must for my quarterback, and if he can’t do it, we’re screwed.

I have him repeat the play call back to me or, if I’m in the press box, he repeats it to the coach he got it from.

He’ll call the play to the team at the line. Not everybody on the team needs to hear the tags.  Many of them (such as “RIP”) only need to be communicated to one person, and  in the case of special tags such as “Keep,” we obviously don't call that out.

It works well for us.  If we only did it in practice, it would be worth all my effort.

american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 17,  2016   "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."   Winston Churchill

*********** As we conclude our spring ball at North Beach, it’s apparent that we’re going to be a classic “Dirty Dozen” operation.  We have exactly 16 healthy kids in uniform;  twelve of them are what we consider varsity-calibre players.

On offense, we have only three returning starters, and only one of them is in the same position as he played last year.

On defense, we also have three returning starters.

But in both cases, we have a pretty good player at every position, and our practices have been exceptionally sharp.  Obviously it’s a pain in th arse practicing offense against four or five defenders, but we manage by telling the scout team coach where we’ll be running, so that at least we can have people at the point of attack.

When  we’re on defense, it’s not so easy.  We have to do a lot of half-line, which eats up a lot more time than 11-on-11 work.

But enough whining (if that’s the way it sounds).

On Saturday we’re playing a jamboree against one school that’s more than twice our size and another one that was 9-1 last season - and we’re excited.

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

How are you doing?

I was in a discussion with another coach the other day and we were talking about the new blocking rule adopted by the NFHS in January. I need a clarification. Are players allowed to cut block defenders in the free blocking zone? I was saying they could not and the other coach said you could, you just cannot clip in the free blocking zone. Would you be able to enlighten me on the new rule.  

Thank you

John Guebara
Newport, Vermont

The other coach is correct. But if you have your TE "cut" on Super Power it could look like a clip. And you'd better make sure the officials understand the new rule.

*********** Used to be you could freely use the word “pussy” on the football field, not  referring (1) to a cat or (2) to a part of the female anatomy, but (3) to a player who, very simply, lacked courage.

It’s not the wisest thing to openly accuse one of your players of cowardice in the first place, but obviously, it was the inescapable fact that outsiders confused definition (2) with definition (3) that made “pussy”   a Word That Shall Not Be Uttered on the football field.

It strikes me that if it’s absolutely essential to use such a word, all we have to do is change pronunciation a little bit.

Pronounce it “PYOOSE-ee.”  (“You tackle like a Pyoose!”)

If anyone questions you, inform them that it has nothing to do with a cat or a woman’s nether region - it’s short for “pusillanimous.”

Since they almost certainly won’t have ever heard the word before (and certainly not from a neanderthal football coach), let them know that it means “timid, cowardly, fearful, faint-hearted, spineless.”

Come to think of it, that very accurately describes a lot of today’s school administrators, wouldn’t you say?

*********** Funny how the same people who accuse Donald Trump of lumping every single member of a group together in his talk about restricting immigration or building a wall have no problem themselves with villainizing the “One Per Centers” and deploring something they call “White Privilege.”

*********** Urban Meyer has some great advice for kids and their parents who seem to be getting the idea that they can spend their way - on camps and personal instruction - to a college scholarship:

“I have parents ask all the time, ‘Should I send him to that camp?’ Sure, if you have 80 bucks to blow, go ahead,” Meyer said. “Here’s where you start: Go make your high school coach so proud of you that he’s going to tell the college coach, ‘Take him.’ How cool is that? It’s real simple. Don’t complicate things.

“For some reason, this recruiting thing is blowing up. ‘I have to go to this 7-on-7, do this, do this.’ I’ve got a better idea. Go become a great high school football player on your team. When (we) walk in that high school, guess what that high school coach says? ‘Take him.’ You know what we do at Ohio State when he says that? We usually take him. I don’t care what you do at those other camps. I want to hear your high school coach say, ‘Take him.’ If I have relationship with that high school coach like I do with these NFL coaches, guess what happens? We take him.

“Don’t worry about (all the camps). That’s all fun stuff, that’s great. But that’s not why Ohio State recruits you. I can speak for the majority of my friends that coach football. That means nothing. What means something is the recommendation of the high school football coach. Go become a captain. If you’re a captain of your high school team and you’re talented enough, you’ve got a great chance of being here. If you’re very talented and you’re not a captain, I’m going to find out why, because something’s not right.”

*********** Mark Steyn, filling in for Rush Limbaugh, has a great idea -

He noted that now that there’s been a shooting at a night club, we can certainly expect security barriers around night clubs.

And if the next shooting is at a pastry shop, there’ll be security barriers around pastry shops.

And then convenience stores, and sporting goods stores, and so on.

Instead, he asks,  why don’t we just have one big security barrier around our whole country?  We could call it a BORDER.

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

In reference to your post on the News You Can Use, you referenced play cards...are you referring to your wristband cards? If so, can you explain what you are doing now as opposed to what you use to do with the bands, please and thank you.  And anything you can share as far as examples go would be appreciated.

Thank You,

Mike Johnston
Elmira, New York

Hi Coach-

The big difference is that now, in addition to putting the play itself on the card, we actually put each player’s individual assignment on his card.  It’s a HUGE difference

The assignment-in-the-card system is a pain in the ass to set up initially, but it enables us to run far more plays - and run them better - than if we had to rely on kids to memorize.

And when a starter gets hurt, we don’t have to worry about whether his backup knows his assignments.  He may not be a very good player, but he’ll know his assignments  - because they’re right on his f-king card.

Thank You Coach, I appreciate you getting right back to me.  It looks very similar to the Tony Franklin Wristband System, would I be correct?  Only you have broken it down in to Simple Stupid for the HS system and as you say for the back up don't have memorize the assignment.  And you obviously like how this has worked for you and you are flip flopping.

I’m not familiar with the Tony Frankin system, but I’ve been doing this since 1996.  When we started running this Open Wing in 2013, I added the assignments.

It got me out of the memorization business, and it’s made all the difference.

I figured that kids may have to worry about memorizing things in the classroom, but I’m not going to let their inability to memorize plays hold us back on the football field.

That lets me spend my time teaching them how to do it instead of what to do.

*********** Hey Mom and Dad - if you don’t have the time to take the kiddies to “The Forest,” there’s always “The Park.”

On a day in May 2013, a 44-year-old homeless man stood in a Gresham, Oregon park, unzipped his pants, shoved his hand inside and arched his pelvis in the direction of a woman who was with her 7-year-old son.

The woman would later tell police that she turned her head away because she didn't want to see what she thought was about to happen: Thomas Bryan Wade exposing himself.

The little boy started crying. Mother and son hastily left the park and called police. Wade was convicted of second-degree disorderly conduct.

But this week, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the misdemeanor conviction, finding that Wade had committed no crime.

Even for Oregon, this one is off the charts.  And no, I’m not making it up.

Oregon has no such offense as “disturbing the peace,” and because the creep didn’t actually display his schlong, he couldn’t be charged with indecent exposure.

So Mom and Dad - on second thought, maybe you should go take your chances with the animals in The Forest.

*********** Coach Wyatt,
Just finished doing a quick review of the “Open Wing” DVD’s. Great job as always. The passing DVD for me is priceless. I especially enjoyed the introduction on disk one. It brought back memories of the early VCR days where you would go through a bit of a history/football lesson. Always found them enjoyable. You don’t get that with today’s coaching DVD’s.
Coach, now that you flip your line, do you use a special huddle so that the break doesn’t look like a Chinese fire drill? Never flipped the O-line before. I could see doing it with the opewing.
One more question if I may. When blocking C to the tight side and the TE has an inside shade (44 def.) do you still block that with an influence out rule or is the TE blocking down in the inside shade and the open guard kicking the next defender ouside the TE down block?
Once again, thanks for the DVD’s. Yes I think the guys will like them. This one sure does.
Jim Kuhn
West Seneca, New York

Hi Coach-

Very happy that you like the DVDs.  I hope that you get a lot of use out of them.

The first question just has never been an issue.  I don’t take any credit for it.  I just never made a big deal about it and somehow the kids have figured it out.

(Maybe the reason I didn’t give it much thought is that we never huddle in practice.)

As for the C block - in the interest of simplicity I haven’t given the TE that assignment, so we wing up double-teaming the inside shade and therefore the open guard always kicks out the first man past the TE’s block. It seems to work okay for us.

Thanks for writing and please feel free to continue to ask!

*********** The Bellevue, Washington School District is lawyering up and appealing  the punishment imposed by its conference for recruiting violations of the sort that would have shocked even the University of North Carolina during its dirtiest days.

The punishment includes a 4-year ban on post-season play, as well as one on out-of-state games, which in Bellevue’s case meant trips to some pretty exotic locales - a powerful inducement, one would have to assume,  to out-of-district kids to “transfer” to Bellevue.

*********** The late Bear Bryant was a great one for insisting that when Alabama won, the players deserved the credit, and when Bama lost, the blame lay with him.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, later to become President Eisenhower, set a great example of this for leaders everywhere.

Prior to the D-Day invasion of northern Europe, General Eisenhower, its leader and coordinator, prepared for every contingency, including the terrible possibility that the operation might be a failure.  He wrote out a statement to be released in that event, taking full responsibility:

"My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame attaches to the attempt it is mine alone."

When the operation did succeed, however, he gave the credit to others, saying to the Allied (US, British, Canadian) Expeditionary Forces:

“One week ago this morning there was established through your coordinated efforts our first foothold in northwestern Europe.  High as was my preinvasion confidence in your courage, skill and effectiveness… your accomplishments have exceeded my highest hopes. I truly congratulate you on upon an brilliantly successful beginning… Liberty-loving people everywhere would today like to join me in saying to you, ‘I am proud of you.’”

The National Football Foundation noted  that five new college football teams will take the field for the first time this season, increasing the number of schools among all NCAA divisions, the NAIA and independents playing  football to 774, an all-time high.

Since 1978 when the NCAA changed its method for tracking attendance figures, the number of schools playing NCAA football (FBS, FCS, DII and DII) has steadily increased from 484 in 1978 to a record high of 666 in 2015. Adding in the NAIA,  the number of colleges and universities now offering football has been increased to the all-time high 774.
In the past four seasons alone (2011-15), 36 football programs have been added at NCAA, NAIA or independent institutions.

All 774 schools will be represented on the three-story helmet wall, presented by Southwest Airlines, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 14,  2016   "Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."   Calvin Coolidge (Sure sounds like he was talking about GRIT)

*********** Thursday was the last day of school at North Beach, and while most of the kids headed off to do whatever they plan to do this summer, the football players and members of the girls’ basketball team headed to Brookdale Senior Living, an assisted care facility in Ocean Shores.

The mission - “Mail call” for the World War II veterans at the home.

The “Mail call” was the idea of North Beach head coach Todd Bridge, as part of his US history class’ study of World War II.  The idea, knowing how much soldiers and sailors looked forward to mail call and the possibility of news from home, was to prepare “mail” for them - posters with photos and words of appreciation for the veterans and what they’d done - and then, one by one, he’d call out their names as players delivered their “mail” to them.

Before we went, Coach Bridge prepped the players, explaining  to the team by simple arithmetic that none of the people they’d be meeting could be younger than 88 years old, but every one of them was young once, just like them, and everyone had to put life on hold to go fight a war.

Two of the veterans were ladies who had served as corpsmen (that’s pronounced “CORE-men, if you’re reading this, Mr. Obama).  One of them retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.

One of the men, Woody Howard, grew up on a Maine farm. He became a pilot, and when his P-38 was shot down over France, he was hidden for nearly two years by French Underground.

Another vet was brought up on a dairy farm in Carnation, Washington, and yes - he knew the old “Carnation Milk in a can” poem. (“No tits to pull, no hay to pitch - Just punch a hole in the son of a bitch.”)

A third vet was a Tacoma, Washington boy who wound up serving in the Navy for four years, on a destroyer.  He said that in his time at sea they got two Japanese subs.  Said that it was really shocking to drop the depth charges and then see things from a submarine come to the surface.  He seemed resigned about it - said “somebody had to do it.”

A fourth gentleman who isn’t a resident of the home but lives in Ocean Shores was also invited.    His name is Arnold Samuels and he was born in Germany.  A Jew,  he was brought here by his parents in July, 1937 - before the Nazis were able to round them up and ship them to a concentration camp.  Although not a citizen, he managed to enlist in the Army, and because he spoke German, he often wound up often going behind the German lines, armed with a forged German passport,  to acquire intelligence.  He was on the scene when American forces liberated the notorious Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, and after the German surrender, again because of his ability to speak German, he served in the CIC - the Counter Intelligence Corps - interrogating former Nazis.  His boss was another German Jew who would one day become Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. 

Read his amazing story:

I found it very  interesting that while for some of them their memories of certain events had become hazy, they all remembered their home towns.

I believe that the visit made quite an impression on our kids.  I know it made a great impression on the veterans.  It’s been said more than once that the most important thing for any fighting person to know is that if anything bad should happen to him, he won’t be left behind.  To that I might add, also that he won’t be forgotten.

Todd addressingmail delivery

LEFT: Coach Bridge at mail call; RIGHT: Vets check their mail

Brenden Chaney delivers mailBen presenting

LEFT: Brenden Chaney delivers the mail, and RIGHT so does Ben Poplin

*********** Yee-haw.  Football’s back!  The first CFL exhibition games are played this past weekend!  Saturday night, I was able to watch Saskatchewan vs BC.

Thanks to AppleTV, which enabled me to watch it on my TV. Otherwise,  I would have had to watch it on my laptop or my iPad.

Which got me wondering…  why do we have to jump through hoops to watch Canadian Football?

This can’t be the fault of the CFL, which I’m sure would love to expand its audience in the US.

And I imagine that ESPN itself or some other US network wouldn’t mind showing it, considering some of the dreck they’re forced to show this time of the year (no offense, rugby sevens).

So could this be part of an NFL scheme to  suppress the CFL?  Call me a conspiracy nut, but I say, YES!

*********** The National Safety Council announced that in 2014, accidental deaths were up 15.5% in ten years

The Top Eight Causes of Accidental Death in 2014

1. Poisoning (which includes drug overdoses) 42,032 up 78% since 2005 

2. Motor Vehicles 35,398 down 22%

3. Falls  31,959  up 63% (likely to increase as Americans’ average age increases)

4. Choking 4,816

5. Drowning 3,406

6. “Fire, flames, smoke”  2,701

7. Suffocation  1,764

And in eighth place, at 1.4 per cent of poisoning deaths… 1.7 per cent of Motor Vehicle deaths… 1.8 per cent of Deaths by Falls… Are you ready for this?

8. Firearm accidents  586 down 26% from 2013

Now, unless I’m incapable of reading this correctly, I find myself asking why doctors are asking people if they have guns at home when they should be asking themselves why they're writing so many prescriptions for  pain killers.

*********** At the very top of the list of reasons why college basketball coaches like to recruit Australian kids is the fact that in the Australian sports culture, being a good teammate is very important - way, way more important than individual glory.  From an interview with Golden State’s Andrew Bogut…

Q. Do you wonder how your resume would look had you stayed in Milwaukee?

“Yeah.  I probably wouldn’t have a championship.”

Q. Your individual resume might look a bit different.

“Who gives a shit?  I really don’t care. I mean. I’d rather have some rings, be part of a winning culture.  Like I said, in Milwaukee, averaging 15, 16 and 10, individual accolades, and be, you know, drinking a beer at the end of April watching the playoffs?  Or would I rather be averaging half that production, but be part of a winning culture and a winning group, and getting a championship ring?   I’m fine with that.  A lot of players say they’re fine with that, but they’re not.  A lot of players are, ‘I want to win, but I want to win on my terms.’  I really don’t care at this point in my career.  I mean, I’ve had those individual successes. I was All-NBA one year and all that kind of stuff. But that wasn’t really enjoyable, because I was home in the summer.”

*********** Elisabel Enriquez, Guatemala's vice-consul in Mexico, said migrant smugglers now rent trucks and shuttle migrants from southern Mexico all the way to the U.S. border nearly 2,000 miles  away, for up to $8,000 per person.

If they had that kind of money, couldn’t they have lived pretty well in Guatemala?

*********** Morning Coach,

I have a couple of coaching questions I would like to get your feedback on.

This spring I have been coaching two teams, a six man team made up of 13-16 year old girls and a twelve man team made up of 15-17 year olds.

The 6 man team has been running the DW and the 12 man team has been running a power I.

The 6 man team is doing very well. We are 5-1 and practices are lively, focused and well attended. The 12 man team is doing poorly. We had a scrimmage two weeks ago, and had very few plays that went for positive yards. Practices are challenging with low attendance and lack of enthusiasm.

The 6 man team was successful last year (I coached them), while the 12 man team lost every game and only scored twice (I did not coach them).

Here are my questions:

The six man team is heading into the last game of the season against an undefeated and un-scored upon opponent. Last year, I was heading into a similar scenario and you advised that the kids should be treated honestly and  told that the opponent we are facing is a very good football team and that we are not in that place yet, but we will be much better after the game than we were before the game. Although we are 5-1, we are still a very young and small team. A coach commented that we are winning through "smoke and mirrors." He meant it as a compliment to the DW. How would you suggest I approach talking about the next game with the team? We've done well and I am proud of them, but I don't want to set them up for a huge disappointment, just prior to the playoffs.

The 12 man team is where my head is. We have our second scrimmage tomorrow and today my two starting slot backs and the back up tailback told me they can't make it. Attendance at practices hangs in the low 20s on a 32 man roster. Spring is a difficult time to get good attendance at practice, but this week I had to teach our basic play three times because of the turnstile of players at practice. In addition, our fundamentals are very poor. Linemen who stand up, backs who swing the ball, and a QB who throws the ball up when he is under pressure. I am trying to figure out what to do for the fall season. I am tempted to revisit the DW or the Wing T as an equalizer to other teams who are physically better. However, if I was to run something very basic- I formation- it would be easier to move kids in and out of positions and would lend itself to being able to spend more time on coaching the basics. I would also not have to reteach anything to assistant coaches.  How would you approach this? Oh, and when the 12 man team starts again, I will be coaching Tommy's 12 year old team.

Hope all is well.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hi Tom,

Sounds like you’ve been pretty busy.

It’s impossible to say whether the success of the 6-“man” team is due to its running the Double Wing, because there are no doubt other factors involved, but it’s certainly a contributor.

I think that honesty is still the right approach, mainly because it always is.  Kids are pretty good at being through a phony and pretty good at recognizing when they’ve been conned.  I think that if they have a chance you should tell them that in football, skillful, mistake-free play will often make the difference.  There’s a good chance that they might be somewhat nervous and apprehensive, and you want to assure them that they are definitely good enough, but they’ll have to play the way they’ve shown they’re capable of playing.  In other words, be realistic without damaging their confidence.

My advice with the 12-man team is to go Double Wing.  It’s something you know and can coach and it gives you a better chance than the I formation.  I formation is, indeed, “basic,” but it does depend on good personnel.  There is little misdirection.  For the most part, everyone knows who’s getting the ball, which is fine if you’ve got the blocking upfront (because they have to sustain their blocks until the ball gets to the line of scrimmage), a stud fullback who play after play is going one-on-one with the other team’s best defenders, and a super tailback.  If you lack even one of those three, I-formation is probably not the way to go.

Go Double-Wing and develop a nice quick-passing game with your 12th man - not unlike what I’m doing with the open wing.  The main thing is that your linemen will be able to use leverage and mechanical advantage with the blocking rules.

If one of your wingbacks is far superior to the other, consider flipping them.

After what I did last year, I wouldn’t rule out flipping the entire team.

And I would definitely suggest using my playcard system (with each player’s assignment on his individual card).

It really takes coaching - practice and games - to another level.

Among other things, you can hand a kid a wrist coach with the appropriate card in it, and even if he’s never played the position before, you can put him in the game and if he understands what the instructions mean, he can do a decent job of faking his way.  Moving players in and out of positions can’t get any easier than that!

Tell Tommy I said “HI!”

*********** Our scrimmage went well yesterday, despite the challenges of attendance. I held a meeting with the players and their parents afterwards and explained that although life is busy and things do come up,  we cannot build a team on who we hope will be at practice. I emphasized the need  for communication and that players are expected to control what they can control (homework, work schedules) in order to attend practice.

Half of the parents nodded along and the other half looked at their shoes and shuffled uncomfortably.

I think I am at the point in my coaching where, where like my play calling, I would rather have a few that I can count on than a bunch that might work.

Have a great Sunday.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

The meeting was called for.

If football is to provide life lessons to kids, those lessons should include what I call our three R’s - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience.

You hit on two of them - respect for their teammates, and responsibility to take care of their obligations and be there when needed.

Brace yourself - people will test you, and then, when you stand up to them, they will enlist others in support.

You’re “at the point?”  I passed it long ago, and I can tell you that that’s the reason why I’m still coaching.  As it is, I could go until they bury me so long as I’m working  with  good kids who subscribe to the 3 R’s.

But I’d have been out of coaching long ago if I’d had to put up with  a**holes, no matter how talented.

I won’t deny that it has often meant watching lots of potential starters disappear after learning that we had expectations that they didn’t care to live up to.

There are lots of kids who want to play football.  There aren’t nearly so many who are willing or able to do the things necessary to be a good team member.

I’d suggest that you strive to convey to parents the benefits- other than fun - that will accrue from their kids’  being a part of your organization; that the sacrifice, if that’s what they call it, is well worth it in the growth and development of their kids.

If you hadn’t guessed, I’m all for you.

Carry on!

*********** Very, very sorry to see Gordie Howe pass.  What a man. He played professional hockey until he was 52.  He was physically able to actually play professional hockey with his two sons.

He was skillful - one of the game’s top scorers - and he was tough - very tough.  No one willingly went after Gordie Howe. Anyone who did came out second-best. In his rookie year he got into it with Montreal great Maurice Richard, no slouch himself, and knocked him cold with one punch.

He played most of his career with the Detroit Red Wings, and his heyday was their heyday. 

You could say that it was Detroit’s heyday as well. 

Its population in the 1950 census was nearly 2 million, the highest it would ever be.  It was the nations fifth-largest city. It would’ve been fourth,  but fast-growing Los Angeles had just skipped past.

The automobile industry was humming, meeting the pent-up demand of the war years.

Life was good in the Motor City.

The Lions were really good.  Back in those days before the Super Bowl, they won NFL championships in 1952, 1953 and 1957.  They lost in the title game in 1954.

The Red Wings made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 1948 and 1949, and they finally won it, for the first time since 1937 in 1950. Howe suffered a life-threatening head injury in the playoffs, but made a full recovery.

The Red Wings won  the Cup again in 1952, and then won it back-to-back in 1954 and 1955.  

They made it to the finals in 1965, but lost to the Montreal Canadiens, the first of six straight cup wins by the Canadiens.

Canadian teams - Montreal 15 times and Toronto three times - won 15 of the next 24 Stanley Cups.

The Red Wings wouldn’t win it again until 1997.

The Lions? They haven’t won the league title since 1957.

And Detroit itself? By the the year 2000, its population had dropped below 1 million - the first time this had happened to any American city.  It also marked Detroit’s last appearance on the list of our ten most populous cities.

An interesting side note: after winning the cup in 1950, Red Wings’ captain Ted (“Terrible Ted”) Lindsay skated around the ice triumphantly, holding the cup overhead, starting one of the great traditions of professional sport.

*********** Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor is accused of raping an “exotic dancer” at a Philadelphia joint called - I am not making this up - the Cheerleaders Gentlemen’s Club, after practice Thursday.

Now, even if he were ugly, you’d think that in Philly a guy who played for the Eagles  would have no trouble finding an obliging woman to entertain him for free.

But,  if there are no groupies handy, you’d figure  a guy who was a first-round pick in the NFL draft could afford to pay for what he wanted.  As much as he wanted.

So-o-o-o-o something here sounds a little fishy.  Makes you go “hmmm.”  No, I am not blaming the victim, so piss off, feminists. (If by some chance you’ve stumbled onto this page.)  But I’ve heard (total hearsay, you understand) that exotic dancers have been known to do things for money besides dancing, and I suspect that whatever took place started out as an agreed-upon business arrangement and then suddenly turned into “rape” after a disagreement over the price or the terms of payment.

However…  on the chance that the guy is guilty, I note that on the Eagles’ website it says that one of Agholor’s favorite books is “All the Places You Will Go,” by Doctor Seuss.

Ironic.  I’ll bet he never thought that one of those places might turn out to be Graterford, Pennsylvania.*

* Graterford is home of Eastern State Pen. (Not to be confussed with Penn State.)

*********** The Forest Service, concerned that visitors to our forests and parks are not sufficiently “diverse,” has launched a campaign in conjunction with the Ad Council that urges listeners, especially those in our inner cities,  to “Discover the Forest!”

One of the radio ads the geniuses came up with features a dad telling about the first time he took his kid to “the forest.”  And then we hear the kid saying, “It’s HUGE! You can’t even see the TOP of that thing!”

I have to laugh when I hear it.  We’re supposed to believe that the kid was so excited by the sight of some big tree that he forgot that there aren’t any rollercoasters out there. Worse yet, wait till he discovers there’s no cell phone service.  We’re really supposed to believe that your average little kid won’t whine that there’s “nothing to do!”

I also laugh because the only time ever I hear it is on the Aberdeen, Washington radio station.  You might say that Aberdeen is in the sticks. Possibly the radio spot’s also running in the big cities,  but it’s not like people in Aberdeen really need to be told to “Discover the Forest”  - go 30 minutes in any direction from downtown, then walk another 30 minutes off the road and you’ll discover the forest, all right.  You’ll be in woods so deep that if you should happen to lose your bearings, you might never come out.

But anyhow, let’s go to the forest.  Yellowstone, to be precise.

It wasn’t exactly in the forest, but the recent death of a 23 year-old guy from Portland does make you wonder if maybe those “Discover the Forest” radio spots ought to have some warning notices at the end, like the pharmaceutical commercials. (“Warning: Ignoring warning signs can cause serious injury or even death.” But of course, they wouldn’t pay attention this warning, either)

This particular guy met his untimely end when he left the trail (despite warning signs) and fell into a hot spring.  Died, did I say?  We’ll just have to presume so, because according to news reports, there was no evidence he ever lived. There were “no significant human remains” left behind.  All that was found were some “personal possessions.”  Otherwise, in water 199 degrees Fahrenheit, and “highly acidic,” we can only imagine where (or what) he is.

But the Forest Service’s advertising campaign is evidently working, at Yellowstone at least: tourists, many of them “never exposed to wilderness on such a large scale” (sound like city folks to you?) are showing up in larger and larger numbers, to “Discover the Forest.”  And along with them has come a sharp increase in “visitor misbehavior.”

Said a Yellowstone official: “This is not a resort. This is not a zoo.  This is not a farm or ranch.  This is a place that will kill you, and people are not used to that.”

But no worries, city folks.  Come and discover the forest.

***********  There is Portland, a very pretty city but a total leftist looney-tune paradise.  And there is Eugene, home to a nasty band of anarchists.  But then there's the rest of Oregon, a vast expanse that's home to a lot of loggers and farmers and fisherman and cowboys.

It was a thief's misfortune to choose to commit his crime in the southern Oregon town of Eagle Point, where a cowboy lassoed him.  Literally.

I think they should make crook-roping an event on the pro rodeo tour.

american flag
FRIDAY,  JUNE 10,  2016   "It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."   Franklin D. Roosevelt


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.   

Earlier, I said, "The first three DVDs will be ready to ship by June  6..."

Amazingly, they were, indeed, ready to ship by June 6, and out they went.    Sure hope the guys like them!

So discs 1, 2 and 3 are ready to go.  I'm now shooting for the week of July 4 to ship discs number 4 and 5.

*********** My friend Ralph Balducci’s son, Alex Balducci, wasn’t drafted,  but as a free agent signee with the 49ers, he may turn out to be the steal of the draft…

New 49ers’ coach Chip Kelly once recruited Alex to play at Oregon.  At the time, the Ducks weren’t sure whether top play him on offense or defense.

Alex wound up playing at nose guard, between two highly rated defensive ends, Arik Amstead and DeForest Buckner.

Armsted and Buckner were both high draft choices of the 49ers, and now Alex has joined them.

But he won’t be playing defense - Kelly, noting his athletic ability, has decided to move him to center.

Best of all, for my wife and me - we arrived home from Ocean Shores to find an invitation to Alex's graduation - he did it in four years!


Charlie Conerly, a soft-spoken Mississippian who quarterbacked the Giants during their glory years, was later hired to be the original Marlboro Man - rugged and handsome. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know his widow, Mrs. Perian Conerly, and she said that in those days when NFL players weren’t exactly overpaid,  getting residuals for the commercials was “like finding money in the street.”  She also said that in his later years, after the effects of smoking became widely known, Mr. Conerly expressed regret at having taking part in a campaign to sell cigarettes.








*********** Bellevue, Washington High’s football program has been barred by its league from post-season play for the next four years.

In addition…

"For the 2016 through 2019 seasons (four years), the Bellevue HS Football Program may not receive any donations (including but not limited to money, services, equipment, products etc.) from any outside public or private entity. Bellevue HS Football will be limited to the funds provided to them by their district approved budgetary process. In the spring of 2018, the Bellevue Athletic Director may appeal to the KingCo League for these sanctions to be dropped. If the League determines that BHS has put in to place standards, procedures, and safe-guards for accepting funds from outside entities, including booster clubs, the League may reinstate the acceptance of these funds," the conference said.  The conference also said the school's entire athletic department will be on probation for four school years: 2016-2017 through 2019-2020.

So Bellevue’s now-former coach Butch Goncharoff, who for several years, knowingly or unknowingly, has been the beneficiary of the kind of recruiting that at the college level once got SMU the death penalty,  claims that the four-year postseason ban imposed against Bellevue by its conference is “punishing the kids.”

In the Middle East, they call that using human shields.

In sports, whenever a school or a coach find themselves facing punishment for some recruiting wrongdoing, they cry, “don’t punish the kids!”

Well, yeah, Butch, it is punishing the kids.  But that’s because horsewhipping coaches and boosters isn’t legal.

But okay, then, Butch.  Since you’re always thinking about the kids  (at least the ones from other districts who are big and talented and can run fast) -  how about we say that for the next four years, any Bellevue kid who doesn’t want to be “punished”  for what you (allegedly) did is free to transfer to the high school of his choice?

*********** Did the drug make her scream so loud?

Maria Sharapova, one of the very best women’s tennis players in the world, has been banned from competition for two years for use of an illegal performance-enhancing drug, Meldonium.

It may just be a coincidence, but Ms. Sharapova is Russian.

Dr. Tom Bassindale, a British expert on forensic science, told the BBC that Meldonium  is “advertised as giving a mental focus, removing external stress so you feel sharper. There is a slight central nervous system effect, like with stimulants such as caffeine, which gives you a sharper edge.

"But it will aid recovery quicker from a hard effort, whether that's playing multiple games of tennis or a cyclist coming back the next day for another stage. There is also an endurance effect."

I say let her back on the condition she stops sounding like she’s in labor every time she hits a shot.

*********** A tip for all you college guys…

No means no.  So does saying nothing at all, indicating that she might be drunk and passed out, and legally incapable of giving consent. (We’ll save for another time the discussion about whether women should be drinking themselves defenseless.) And if she says Yes, she still may be drunk and about to pass out and forget (or regret) saying Yes.

So it seems to me you need to get that consent in writing. That means carrying around a blank consent form.  Or better yet, maybe you’ll be the guy who designs the app for the smartphone that’ll scan the thumbprint of your intended love mate. 

In either case, make sure it’s properly witnessed.

There.  Now that your ardor has subsided…

On to the case of  Brock Turner, the creep swimmer at Stanford who, a jury found, “had carnal knowledge” of a woman after she’d passed out at a frat party.

I have no idea what took place or how, but it does appear that this guy is a flawed young fellow, who seems to want us to believe the Devil Made Him Do It.

Either that, or it was the Stanford “party culture” and all those drunken swim team members that he fell in with.

In a letter he penned to Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky,  Turner wrote that he was shattered by “the party culture and risk-taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school.”

Shattered, I say!  Shattered!

Turner said he came from a small town in Ohio and never experienced partying that involved alcohol. But when he started attending Stanford, Turner wrote, he began drinking to relieve the stress of school and competitive swimming.

Yeah.  Because being a good enough swimmer to wind up at Stanford, he’d never before encountered the stress of competitive swimming.

“The swim team set no limits on partying or drinking and I saw the guys take full advantage of these circumstances, while I was shown to do the same,” he wrote.

Imagine - treating people like young adults.  Expecting them to act appropriately!  (I'll bet that if they’d had a curfew or a no-drinking rule,  this weasel would have been the first to challenge it.)

“I witnessed countless times the guys that I looked up to go to parties, meet girls and take the girl that they had just met back with them.”  

Just wondering - were any of those girls comatose?

Describing himself as an “inexperienced drinker and party-goer,” Turner said he looked up to members of his swim team. On Jan. 17, 2015, the night of the sexual assault, Turner said he drank five beers, two “swigs” of Fireball whiskey and bounced from one party to another.

Come on - it was his first rape.   And any time he's ever  made a bad decision in the past, he's always gotten a second chance.

*********** Many a coach has been “non-retained” because he/she worked in an affluent community with influential parents who provide the alcohol and the party site, then defend their kids - kids who’ve never been told “No” - no matter what they’ve done, even if it means calling for the coach’s head.

Sounds as if Oakwood, Ohio, the Dayton suburb which spawned Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer, could be such a place.

Kate Geiselman, a writer and professor of English at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, lives in Oakwood.  She writes, in the Washington Post…

There is an Oakwood in every city; there’s a Brock Turner in every Oakwood: the “nice,” clean-cut, “happy-go-lucky,” hyper-achieving kid who’s never been told “no.” There’s nothing he can’t have, do, or be, because he is special. Fortunately, most kids like this will march into their predictably bright futures without victimizing anyone along the way. Many will do good in the world.

But it’s not hard to draw a straight line from this little ‘burb (or a hundred like it) to that dumpster at Stanford. What does being told “no” mean to that kid? If the world is his for the taking, isn’t an unconscious woman’s body? When he gets caught, why wouldn’t his first impulse be to run, make excuses — blame the Fireball, or the girl or the campus drinking culture? That is entitlement. That is unchecked privilege.

It’s  times like this that I’m grateful to coach where I do, in a place where a very small minority of our kids even has two parents at home.

*********** I know it’s a free country (or at least, it used to be) and I know there’s nothing illegal about it, but there’s something very sleazy about getting in line with all the other admirers to get tickets to Ali’s memorial service - and then trying to sell them online.

Serve the bastards right if something should  “go bad” (as in “drug deal gone bad”) when the actual transfer of the tickets takes place.

*********** Denver Bronco cornerback Aqib Talib told Dallas police he was at a park with a crowd of people - at 3:40 in the morning - when he was shot in the leg.

Police suspect he was at a club (I’m betting it was a “Gentlemen’s Club”) when he was shot.

Now comes word that he told police, “Everything was a blur, and I was too intoxicated to remember what happened.”

Lotsa unanswered questions.

Where was he, really?

Did he actually shoot himself?

Would that mean he was illegally in possession of a firearm?  (Not a good idea in Texas.)

Did he shoot anyone else?

How could you NOT remember being shot?

When was the last time you chilled with your buddies in a park at 3:40 AM?

*********** “Gentlemen’s Clubs” sound somewhat like Christian Churches, in the sense that they believe that one day a real gentleman will appear in the flesh

*********** Marshall Hahn died recently at the age of 89.

Mr. Hahn earned a bachelor’s in physics from the University of Kentucky at he age of 18 and, after serving two years in the Navy, he earned his Ph.D. in physics from MIT at the age age 23. At only 35, he became president of what was then called Virginia Polytechnic Institute, making him the youngest president of any state college or university.

One of the first things he did was to drop the school’s mandatory military requirement.

One of the next things he did was to make the school co-ed.

And perhaps his most significant accomplishment was to convince the Virginia General Assembly - the state legislature - that Virginia Polytechnic Institute, commonly known as VPI, should be a state university, and in 1970 it was given the jawbreaking title of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

From that point, the VPI all but vanished, replaced by “Virginia Tech.”

When he became VPI’s president, its enrollment was slightly  more than 6,000. When he left in 1974, it was  Virginia Tech and it had 17,400 students.

He had a backbone.  When students occupied a school building in 1970, he called in state troopers to throw them out, and take them off to jail.

But he actually had two highly successful careers - after leaving Virginia Tech, he  went to work for Georgia Pacific Corporation, and retired at its CEO in 1993.

Michelle's book***********  My daughter-in-law, MIchelle, is a very talented woman.  My son Ed met her when they were both working in L.A. for Fox Sports World, and not long after they married, they moved to Melbourne, where she grew up.

She’s a television producer who’s produced a number of shows, including the Australian version of the Emmies and a late-night show called Rove Live, starring an Australian comedian named Rove McManus.  She’s also produced the pre-game specials shown on the JumboTrons at Aussie Rules games.

Several years ago, not long after I’d bought my first iMac, she and Ed were visiting, and she asked me, “Mind if I use your computer, Dad?”

She needed to create a brief pilot of a show she was pitching to one of the networks Down Under.  She had the video already shot, and needed to put it all together.

I didn’t need to show her  much - Macs are notoriously easy for anyone who’s used a computer, and after the heavyweight editing systems that she was used to working with, iMovie was a piece of cake.

She figured it all out as she went, discovered things about my own computer and its software that I never knew, and within an hour or two she’d created a very professional-looking half-hour show featuring a teenager - her nephew, as it turned out - preparing different meals for his family.

I was, to say the least, impressed.

Now, MIchelle’s officially an author.

The book’s entitled “Not Right in the Head,” and it’s a story of her 13-year experience of coping with her mother (her Mum, in Australia) Bev’s Alzheimer’s.

Bev was a lovely, delightful woman, and her husband, MIchelle’s Dad, Frank, doted on her.  They were a great couple, and Alzheimer’s took her away from him.

Alzheimer’s, as anyone who’s had experience with it knows, is especially tragic because the “survivors” often suffer even more than the patient.

Bev’s family cared for Bev as her condition declined, and often what kept them going was their ability to laugh at things.  Not howling laughter, you understand, but an appreciation of the fact that humor can sometimes help you get through
the toughest of times.

In its first week of publication, “Not Right in the Head” jumped to the #1 spot on the Australian Best-Seller’s list.

The  publisher calls it “A light-hearted, heart-warming account of how one family faced Alzheimer's and how the almost comical events within the secure walls of the nursing home made them realise that humour was the only way through.”

I've just begun to read the book.  It’s not yet on sale at Amazon, and my wife just finished reading our copy.  (She says it’s a very good read and a very fast read.)

I have no doubt that it’s excellent.  It seems to me that it would be especially interesting to anyone battling the disease in their own family.

(The cover’s somewhat poignant. Check the iron placed - mistakenly - in the fridge.)

Here’s the publisher’s description:

Michelle Wyatt's mum always joked with the family that if she ever developed Alzheimer's like her own mother-Michelle's grandmother-they should put her in a home and throw away the key. When she did ultimately succumb to the disease, the choice to put her in a nursing home became the only option. During the next six years, Michelle, a well-known television producer, visited her mum often while her dad kept a daily vigil in the nursing home.

What Michelle and her family discovered throughout these challenging times was that allowing themselves to see the funny side of the weird and wonderful things they witnessed while visiting her mum made a difficult journey just that little bit easier.

This memoir is a light-hearted but moving account of Michelle's experience with her mum's dementia-giving us an insight in how to cope compassionately, effectively and lastingly with a disease that affects almost 400,000 people in Australia alone.

*********** Seattle University - a Jesuit institution, mind you - is currently under siege from a group of “students” making demands - demands, mind you - that include hiring “queer professors.”

This is just the first part of the list…

Our current curriculum does not reflect the kind of education we expected nor want. The current Humanities curriculum is Eurocentric and Classical in nature, damaging, stifling, and fails to align with content taught elsewhere in the University. As such, we demand:
1    A non-Eurocentric interdisciplinary curriculum, which
    1    Decentralizes Whiteness and has a critical focus on the evolution of systems of oppression such as racism, capitalism, colonialism, etc., highlighting the art, histories, theologies, political philosophies, and socio-cultural transformation of Western and non-Western societies.

    2    Is taught by prepared staff from marginalized backgrounds, especially professors of color and queer professors.

    3    Collaborates with other departments and programs, such as Women and Gender Studies, Sociology, Social Work, Political Science, and Psychology, in redeveloping curriculum.

    4    Radically reinterprets what it means to educate teachers and leaders for a just and humane world by centering dialogue about racism, gentrification, sexism, colonialism, imperialism, global white supremacy, and other ethical questions about systems of power, setting a standard for students before doing service, learning, or studying in other communities or countries.

    5    Prepares students to work for social change in nonprofit, for profit, governmental and grassroots settings. To do this, students would be informed of anti-racist, decolonizing, sustainable, and ethical practices.

    6    Has clear and transparent objectives, mutually agreed upon and approved by students, staff, and faculty, and grounded in decolonizing and anti-racist pedagogy.
*********** Add to your list:

"The other 99"

Tim Brown
Athens, Alabama

ALSO:       Mass incarceration
            That said

*********** Aaron Rodgers had better not have a bad game or two because there’s a chance he could lose a bit of his support with his recent announcement that he’s dropped dairy products from his diet.  That means cheese,  guys.  Packer or not, he's in Wisconsin, home of the Cheeseheads.

He says he’s on "more of a vegan diet with some red meat at times and some chicken."

To avoid further alienating the locals, I would advise him to make sure that that "red meat" includes some brats.


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TUESDAY,  JUNE 7,  2016   “You can’t move up the ladder if you don’t get on the ladder.” Dr. Thomas Sowell


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.   

Earlier, I said, "The first three DVDs will be ready to ship by June  6..."

Amazingly, they were, indeed, ready to ship by June 6, and out they went.    Sure hope the guys like them!

I'm still shooting for July 1 to ship discs number 4 and 5.


















*********** Monday was the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, the day of the Allied invasion of Europe - a day on which young American men (sorry, I won't do the obligatory PC "men and women") performed incredible feats of bravery.  Think about those young guys - many of whom never came home - the next time you read about some college puke calling for a "safe space."

(For a good understanding  of D-Day read Cornelius Ryan's "The Longest Day," a best-selling novel on which a movie was based. It's not a historian's type of history book - it's a history book that the reader can understand and enjoy.)

*********** The latest Sports Illustrated contains a great article by Jon Wertheim about what he calls the worst team in the history of professional sports.  That’s saying something, but it’s hard to argue against the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics (the A’s).  They were 36-117.  They committed 314 errors. (Their shortstop alone had 78.) Two of their pitchers combined had a 2-36 record. Eight of their pitchers recorded losses but not a single win.  In an eight-team league, they finished 40 games back - of the seventh place team.

They’d played in the World Series a recently as 1914 - they lost it, but they’d won the Series in 1910, 1911 and 1913.

But then the team’s manager/general manager (and part owner), Connie Mack, sold off all his stars.  (And many of his lesser players, as well.)

Author Wertheim says that probably makes him the very first of the pro sports guys to do the tear-down-and-rebuild of a decent team.

Mr. Mack (everybody called him that) did the same thing again in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the A’s were arguably the best team in baseball. They won the World Series in 1931, and finished second and then third in 1932 and 1933, but from then until 1954, when they were sold and moved to Kansas City, they never finished higher than fourth in the American League.

Mr. Mack managed the A’s from 1901 through 1950 - 50 years.  And unlike every other manager in the history of baseball, he never managed in a baseball uniform.

He was born in 1862 - during the Civil War - and died in 1956.  When I first started following sports, around 1946 or 1947, he was in his 80’s.  He had already been known as the Grand Old Man of Baseball for quite some time.  He was tall and quite slender, with bushy, white eyebrows and thinning white hair parted in the middle.

Although by that time there were many Philadelphia fans who thought he was way too old for the job, there were many more who dreaded the day that he’d turn the job over to his sons, Earl and Roy, who my Dad and most of his friends considered to be total  imbeciles.

And despite those who thought the game had passed him by, and those who mocked him as a cheapskate, there was never any doubt about his character.  He was kind and gentle to his players.  He lived a life beyond reproach, and he encouraged his players to do the same.  (It being baseball, he couldn’t do much more than encourage them, and more than one of his great stars - men such as Rube Waddell and Jimmy Foxx - were known for liking strong drink.)

He was perhaps one of the first of professional sports manager/coaches to post a Code of Conduct:

    •    I will always play the game to the best of my ability.
    •    I will always play to win, but if I lose, I will not look for an excuse to detract from my opponent's victory.
    •    I will never take an unfair advantage in order to win.
    •    I will always abide by the rules of the game—on the diamond as well as in my daily life.
    •    I will always conduct myself as a true sportsman—on and off the playing field.
    •    I will always strive for the good of the entire team rather than for my own glory.
    •    I will never gloat in victory or pity myself in defeat.
    •    I will do my utmost to keep myself clean—physically, mentally, and morally.
    •    I will always judge a teammate or an opponent as an individual and never on the basis of race or religion.

An example of his ability to deal with the most difficult of players was an exchange he once had with first baseman Ferris Fain.

Fain had a reputation as a hothead. One of his teammates, shortstop Eddie Joost, recalled that Fain ”had a lifestyle of his own and would do exactly what he wanted to do. There were many things the players didn't like about him. Occasionally he'd overdrink and wouldn't be attentive on the field."

The story goes that after Fain threw into the stands behind third base twice in the same week while trying to nail runners going from second to third on bunts, Mr. Mack suggested, “Perhaps you should just pick up the ball and hold it.”

Insulted, Fain replied, “What the hell - why don’t I just stick it up my ass?”

“Ferris,” said Mr. Mack, ever the gentleman,  “You have to admit - it would be safer there.”

miami oh board

*********** Among current NFL coaches, John Harbaugh is in a class by himself,  as a Miami of Ohio graduate who played there and then went on to coaching success.  That puts him  right up there on the message board with other Miami graduates who won league or national titles: Earl Blaik, Weeb Embank, Paul Brown, Paul Dietzel, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, Johnny Pont and Carmen Cozza. 

Others who’ve played or coached at Miami and gone on to bigger and better things.

Bill Arnsparger - 1 year asst - NY Giants, LSU
Woody Hayes - head coach before going to Ohio State
Sid Gillman - head coach 1944-1947 - Cincinnati, Chargers
Bill Mallory - Head coach 1969-1973 - Indiana, Colorado
Jim Tressel - Asst 1979-1980 - Youngstown State, Ohio State
Dick Crum - Head Coach 1974-1977 - North Carolina
Bill Narduzzi - 2 years LB coach - 10 years Youngstown State
Randy Walker - 9 years as HC at Miami, then Northwestern
Gary Moeller - asst 67-68 - got his start there
Larry Smith - asst 2 years - Tulane, Arizona, USC, Missouri
Dick Tomey - GA - Hawaii, Arizona, San Jose State
Sean Payton - OC 1995-95 - New Orleans Saints
Terry Hoeppner - HC 94-99, Indiana
Ron Zook - played at Miami - Florida, Illinois
Joe Novak - asst - 11 years, Northern Illinois

*********** In discussing cities that live in the shadow of even larger cities, I whiffed on Oakland, home of the Black Panthers and the Hell’s Angels. Man - you talk about diversity!

But Oakland's also the producer of some of the greatest athletes of all time - Bill Russell and Frank Robinson, for starters.

*********** Sorry if this offends you because you’re really into Rugby Sevens (Seven-man teams, two Seven-minute halves), but I would really have a hard time coming up with a dumber way to use a nice grass field.

Based on the crowd at Saturday’s “Penn Mutual College Championship” (it’s not an NCAA sport), I’d have to say that there really aren’t that many who disagree.

College athletic directors probably love the idea of a sport that doesn’t require a lot  of equipment or scholarships.  But there’s that one problem.  A BIG problem - lack of fan interest.

Look - there’s only one college sport where a crowd of 15,000 is considered small - football.  And rugby sevens is to football as slo-pitch softball is to hardball.

Full-team rugby (rugby union) is a great sport, but it’s just never been popular in American and isn’t likely ever to be.

Why not go with a pared-down version of football? Why not try 8-man football on a regulation-size field?  I think that football fans who’ve never seen an 8-man game would find it enough like the 11-man game. In fact, because of the action and higher scoring, some might actually prefer it.

The main thing is that it contains just about everything that Americans like about the larger version of their favorite sport.  

Nevertheless, assuming that this summer’s Olympic games go on, rugby sevens is going to be an olympic sport. Which means it’s inevitable that following the Olympics, some fool promoter is going to try to cash in on its new, temporary popularity by trying to find some fool millionaires interested in investing in a pro league.  Good luck, guys. I assume you saw the crowd on hand for the college championships. And a friendly tip: if you want Americans to follow the game, get your announcers to stop using precious soccer terms like “nil.” 
*********** It's graduation time once again, and as always, our local newspaper lists all the schools in our county and includes the number of graduates and, where appropriate, the valedictorians and salutatorians.  I say "where approrpriate" because some schools finally reached the critical mass of valedictorians - trophies for everybody - and said, "the hell with it," and simply list the top 5 per cent of their graduating class.

Either way, if our county of some 500,000 people is any indication, I can state  that we've got  a BIG problem in this country.   It's our boys.  They've given up.    Whatever it is they're doing,  it's not related to what we  call academic success.

Get this: at schools that still have valedictorians and salutatorians, the score was 22 females to 4 males.

At schools that recognized their top five percent, it was 124 females to 52 males.

No surprise that enrollment at many colleges is approaching 60-40 female-to-male.

No surprise that we're becoming a matriarchal society.

What's next - affirmative action for lazy suburban slugs who spent their high school years playing video games?

***********  If  the Warriors and Sharks both win championships this month, Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban will profit - he owns the trademark for the "City of Champions" slogan printed on tee-shirts that are  sold whenever a city  can claim two or more  championships in one of four major team sports.

He paid $40,000 for the trademark several years ago, probably optimistically thinking that one day, the Cowboys would be good again.

Yes, yes, I know - Oakland and San Jose aren’t exactly the same city. But, see, they’re in the same “market.”  That’s the way the Mark Cubans of the world think.

Come on, Mark, gimme a break - they aren’t even close to being the same “city.” They have their own daily newspapers and their own international airports. And other than the weather and their proximity to San Francisco, they have zero in common. 

Interestingly, they’re just about the same distance from each other as Baltimore and Washington,  which few people would ever consider to be the same “city.”

Complain if you will about Mark Cuban’s  laying claim to “City of Champions,” a common combination of common words.

But where you might see greedy opportunism on Cuban’s part, I see a chance to perform a public service and make a buck or two at the same time.

So I’ve applied for trademarks for common cliches and  phrases…

At the end of the day
The 1 per cent
Going forward
Social justice
Institutional racism
gender equity
gender reassignment
gender fluidity
That said
So (at the start of an answer)
Diversity is our strength
We're a nation of immigrants
It's for the children
Life's lottery
White privilege
Change the world
Make a difference
Save the planet
The right side of history
It's the right thing to do
Safe space

I figure that if I have to listen to that pretentious nonsense, I might as well get paid for it.

And if they don’t want to pay me, they’ll have to shut up or see me in court. Or find something else to say to make their point (whatever it is).

Oh - I almost forgot the one that’s going to make me a rich man.

I’ve trademarked, “uhhh.”

That way,  every time Our President goes off his Teleprompter…

*********** Muhammad Ali was a hell of a boxer and an amazing figure, and it was terribly sad to see him in decline over such a long period.  May he rest in peace.

Several years ago, I visited the training camp in Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, where he trained for his major fights with Frazier and Foreman.

*********** I was never the world's greatest Ali fan.

 I have to confess that he got off on the wrong foot with me, simply because I was a Philly guy.

I was pulling for Sonny Liston.  He was a big, fearsome-looking  man who hit with the force of a mule's kick, and appeared to be on his way to  years as the heavyweight champion.  And he was from Phillly.  Well, sort of.  He was a St. Louis guy, but he was owned and managed by a guy named Jack Nilon, a concessionaire from Chester, Pa. Liston was a total criminal, and it's quite possible that he was really owned by someone in the Philadelphia mob, but when he fought, they announced that he was from "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania" - and that was good enough for me.

How stupid is that?

I listened to his first fight with Cassius Clay  and sat in disbelief as he sat on his stool and failed to answer the bell.

And I sat in the Baltimore Civic Center nad watched the rematch - the one in Maine - on closed circuit TV.  Following a phantom punch, Liston flopped on the canvas like a dying fish as Ali did his victory dance. A guy in front me turned to me and said, "He ain't hit him yet!"

So certain was I (still am) of Liston's going in the tank that you'll have to excuse me if I was skeptical for a long time of Ali's true fighting ability.

And then there were his fights with Joe Frazier.

Smokin' Joe was a Georgian originally, but he trained at a gym on North Broad Street. In Philly.

That made him a Philly guy.  Sorry, Ali.

*********** John Kundla, now almost 100, is living in an assisted living facility in Minneapolis.  You probably don’t know him, but at one time, he was the best coach in professional basketball.

He was the coach of the Minneapolis Lakers, the kings of pro basketball (such as it was) in the 1940s and 1950s.

I don’t recall that they used the word “dynasty” back then, but those Lakers, with their dominant big man, George Mikan, surely were one - the NBA’s first.

Those were different times for pro basketball.  Unless your city had a team, pro basketball never made the front sports page.

There was a definite lack of stability. First there was the NBL, then the BAA, then, finally, the NBA. Syracuse and Rochester had teams.  But through it all, the Lakers dominated.

Now, Coach Kundla watches NBA basketball and marvels at how good today’s players are. He watchs on an old, analog TV. Whenever he can, since he can’t afford cable (are you listening, Commissioner Silver?)

I read a great comment about him:

I helped to care for him as an intern at the U of MN hospital and asked him, "So you were the head coach of the Lakers?" He sighed and said, "Head coach? How many coaches do you think we had? I was the head coach, the assistant coach, the towel boy, and the trainer."

*********** ON THE SUBJECT OF GRIT...

I coached in Finland for seven seasons, from 1987 through 1993, and I made sure to learn all I could about that marvelous nation and its wonderful people.  Finns have fought hard to build - and keep - their nation, and they wouldn't have been able to succeed without grit.

Back in 1940, when tiny Finland was at war with its powerful neighbor, Russia, and was giving the Russkies all they wanted,  Time Magazine write about  a uniquely Finnish characteristic...

The Finns have something they call Sisu. It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win. The Finns translate Sisu as "the Finnish spirit" but it is a much more gutful word than that. Last week the Finns gave the world a good example of Sisu by carrying the war into Russian territory on one front while on another they withstood merciless attacks by a reinforced Russian Army. In the wilderness that forms most of the Russo-Finnish frontier between Lake Laatokka and the Arctic Ocean, the Finns definitely gained the upper hand.

american flag
FRIDAY,  JUNE 3,  2016   "I never have found a crowd at the front line.”  General Doc Bahnsen, most decorated member of the West Point Class of 1956, and this year’s recipient of West Point’s Distinguished Graduate Award, discussing the scarcity of real leaders


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. 













***********  Coach Wyatt,

I do not know what your thoughts will be on this but with your strong support of Memorial Day I thought of you as I read it.

I hope you and your family are well.

Mark Hundley
Dublin, Ohio


I appreciate your thinking of me.

I have a very difficult time realizing that these same people who do these ugly things are the beneficiaries, just like me, of a country that might not even exist if it wren’t for the men (and their families) who made such enormous sacrifices for us.

What those a**holes in California, Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama who defiled our Memorial Day by objecting to crosses and defacing memorials and graves, obviously don’t realize is that the people we honor were young guys who had no say in why they were fighting, and for the most part would much rather have been doing almost anything other than fighting a merciless enemy in a steaming jungle or a frozen forest.

***********   Wrote Emily Esfahani Smith in the May 3 Wall Street Journal
Most people would think of John Irving as a gifted wordsmith. He is the author of best-selling novels celebrated for their Dickensian plots, including “The Cider House Rules” and “The World According to Garp.” But Mr. Irving has severe dyslexia, was a C-minus English student in high school and scored 475 out of 800 on the SAT verbal test. How, then, did he have such a remarkably successful career as a writer?

Angela Duckworth argues that the answer is “grit,” which she defines as a combination of passion and perseverance in the pursuit of a long-term goal. The author, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has spent the past decade studying why some people have extraordinary success and others do not. “Grit” is a fascinating tour of the psychological research on success and also tells the stories of many gritty exemplars, from New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, who submitted some 2,000 drawings to the magazine before one was accepted, to actor Will Smith, who explains his success as follows: “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is: I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. . . . If we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.”

One of her first studies was of West Point cadets. Every year, West Point enrolls more than 1,000 students, but 20% of cadets drop out before graduation. Many quit in their first two months, during an intense training program known as Beast Barracks, or Beast. The most important factor in West Point admissions is the Whole Candidate Score, a composite measure of test scores, high-school rank, leadership potential and physical fitness. But Ms. Duckworth found that this score, which is essentially a measure of innate ability, did not predict who dropped out during Beast. She created her own “Grit Scale,” scored using cadets’ responses to statements like “I finish whatever I begin” or “New ideas and projects sometimes distract me from previous ones.” Those who scored highest on the Grit Scale were the most likely to make it to the end of Beast.

Here's an interesting fact:  there's no positive correlation between ability and grit. A study of Ivy League undergraduates showed that the smarter the students were, as measured by SAT scores, the less gritty they were.

Ms. Duckworth noted the importance of adults making sure their kids complete anything they commit to.  She told about NFL quarterback Steve Young, after a discouraging first semester on the Brigham Young football team, wanted to come home. His father said, “You can quit. . . . But you can’t come home because I’m not going to live with a quitter.”

*********** Mike Foristiere is an old friend.  He’s the head coach at Wahluke High School in Mattawa, Washington and his son, Randy has just finished his Plebe year at West Point as is now heavily involved in Air Assault Combat Training. (I think that means rappelling out of helicopters.)  I sent Mike the article on Grit saying that there was no question in my mind that Randy had it.

Mike wrote back,

Hugh, I went and googled the article and found the full version. The article itself is not rocket science. But how she researched it and found those that make it are not the smartest, but those who are driven to succeed. I have known a lot of people with Grit and I was influenced by a lot of them to do the things others say can’t be done.

I have found my theme for this year’s team.

They say we are young and won’t be successful. I feel I have a lot kids with grit or the ingredients it takes to have it. I saw how she referenced Beast Barracks at West Point. Knowing my son endured it, and then endured the year as a plebe, and still wants to come back for more... you are right, Randy has grit. I hope he always has it. Thank you for passing this along. I am going to forward this article to Randy to read. I know my 2 other sons possess this but I believe my wife has this the most in the family.

Take care


(Mike’s wife, Cielo, is quite a woman. Among other things, she is a cancer survivor.)

*********** After three days of spring ball at North Beach… whew.  We have only 100 boys in our school, and just 24 showed up for our first day.  By the end of Thursday’s practice, we were down to 20 kids eligible to play.

We are graduating a very good group of seniors,  kids who won more games than any class in school history - 19 games in their last two seasons.  There were nine of them, and every one  was a key player.  Bottom line - we’re having to replace 16 of 22 starting positions.  The middle three of our offensive line.  Ninety-three per cent of our rushing yardage. One hundred per cent of our passing and 95 per cent of our receiving yardage.

We do have some good kids returning, but  finding the best way to employ them is a bit of a challenge.

Fortunately, as always, our no-compromise “Three-R” (Respect-Responsibility-Resilience) approach to conduct and citizenship does make working with these kids very enjoyable.  (As usual, in the belief that most kids will act the way we want them to provided we let them know - in advance -  how we expect them to act, we spent the better part of the first practice session going over our rules and expectations.  It’s probably no surprise to most of you that we get a lot of kids who’ve never had to obey orders from anyone.) 

And as always, the gulf between the returnees and those kids new to our program (or to the game of football) is astonishing.  At the same time, it’s gratifying to see how the kids who’ve spent a year or two in the program know how to act.  Also how to block and tackle.  The older ones know the fundamentals well enough that they’re a big help to the newbies.

Another benefit of having kids go through the same program for four years, with our constantly stressing the Three R’s,  is that we always have some graduating seniors on hand, eager and able to help us during spring ball as volunteer coaches.

We had one young incoming freshman who on the basis of his first day out for football seemed a very good bet not to make it to the second day.  He’s a good-sized kid but quite a bit overweight.  He’s very soft and not very athletic, and it was clear that even our minimal amount of physical work (in cool, 60-degree weather, no less) was getting to him.  He struggled with even the simplest of requirements - I’m guessing it will take him at least a season to get into a decent three-point stance.

And he puked a couple of times.

To top it all off, he had an attitude.  He did not take correction well.  Someone who knew him said he had anger issues.

Chalking it up to the fact that he likely had never had to do anything remotely demanding in his life, we managed to get him through the first practice, and urged him to stick with it and come back the second day.  (None of the coaches thought he would.)

Damned if he didn’t come back Wednesday for another go.

He still struggled, but he kept going.  At one point, I asked him to do something and he said, “I can’t!” which gave me an opportunity to let him (and the rest of those listening) know, very gently, that those were two words that we never used together on our football team.

At the end of practice, when we gathered to listen to the head coach, I pointed out to him that after just having said “I can’t!” he found out that he could!  I told him that without any experience at what we were doing, he really had no idea what he could - or couldn’t - do, and he was just going to have to trust us when we said he could.

When we shook hands as he left for home (we coaches insist on shaking every kid’s hand when he enters the locker room and when he leaves after practice), I asked him how it went, and he said, “A LOT better than yesterday.”

And damned if he didn’t show up for practice on Thursday.  And damned if he didn’t make it all the way through.

He may be a player some day, and he may not.   But if football can teach him that he’s capable of doing hard things that he’s never had to do before, he’ll have acquired an ability to stick to jobs that have to be done, no matter how hard they might seem.  That’s more important than being a football player.

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

I trust all is well with you.

One quick question:  When you flip the line from right to left do they take their numbers with them so that the left side would then be the "even" numbered side?


J.C. Brink
Stuart, Florida


That’s a very good question.

No, they do not, and as much as anything, that may be for my convenience in not having to make the changeover in my mind.  I’ve been thinking “even right, odd left” for too long for me to be able to make the change now.  At my stage of the game, I wouldn’t want to have to learn to drive on the left side of the road.

Besides, it really doesn’t matter what I call the play. The play number is of little concern to my players anyhow because they know it by its location on their placard.

To explain:

If I want to call, say, West 6-C, I don’t call it “West 6-C.”  Instead, I’ll call out the address on their playcards where they’ll find West 6-C.  Let’s say that that address is “22.” When they go to “22" on their card, they’ll see  (1) which side (West) to line up on; (2) the name of the play (6-C) and (3) most important of all - their assignment.  (Each position has its own placard with its assignments on it.)

For three years now, I’ve been putting our players' assignments on their play cards.  It’s a lot of work to set up, but it eliminates a lot of dumbass mistakes, and it sure beats being limited in what you want to do by your players’ ability to remember assignments.  I am coaching a football team, not running a memorization class.

*********** Portland Public Schools found lead in the water in the drinking fountains at two elementary schools, so now they’re providing all the district’s kids with bottled water for the rest of the school year.  Nothing like being safe.

***********   Coach, I have a question I am hoping you could help me with.  Like I told you before, this is my 1st year as a HC, and I have a question on staffing.  It looks like there will be 8 paid coaches and maybe 1-2 volunteers for 3 teams (120 kids).  I am trying to figure out how to break down the coaching staff so we can cover the three teams.  Here is one way I was thinking.  To, have the Varsity coaches coach both JV and Varsity, and have a separate set of coaches for the C-Team.  I would like the ability to float and monitor everything.

Varsity/JV Coaches

Offense - QB/OC- WR/RB - OL-

Defense - DL/DC - LB - DB


I think that plan is very doable.  I don’t know a thing about your staff or their strengths, but I’m assuming that you have confidence in their abilities.

And you do have the bodies to cover most of the positions, provided that you can fill the OL spot.

I notice that you yourself are not coordinating either side of the ball, which is ideal if you have competent coordinators in place that leaves you free to “float” and observe and consult.

I would see it divided into 2 periods with the team and staff divided: varsity offense - JV Defense time, then JV offense-Varsity defense time - to spend as they wish.

That would be followed by a third period - a varsity vs JV period.  During that time, JVs would serve the varsity O or D as you decide.
It’s during that last period that you could take a look at any JV players who might look promising.

The important thing about this arrangement is that it’s great for the future of your program - your JV kids get really good coaching, and your varsity staff gets to know all the players well.

I spent two years working on a staff like this at Evergreen High, in Vancouver, Washington, under an outstanding coach named Jon Eagle,  and it worked quite well.  

In my experience,  option #2 - dividing your staff in three and coaching Varsity, JV and C-Team separately - would prove to be a waste of staff because those C-Team kids are usually still undeveloped in terms of skills and work habits and attitudes.  They have needs that you just shouldn’t be dealing with at the varsity (or even JV) coach level.

Also, in my opinion, by dividing the time into three one-hour periods, offense, defense and special teams, an hour is way too much time to devote to special teams.  I know, I know, the TV guys all say that it’s 1/3 of the game, but it’s not. Only if you want it to be.  If you wanted to, you could easily spend 1-1/2 hours every day on special teams. But time is precious. You can control the amount of time you spend on the kicking game by focusing on not losing the game in the kicking area. You can spend a lot of time working on fancy returns or blocking kids, but  if you never return a kick or block a kick, you won’t lose a game because of that.  What you absolutely have to do is (1) cover kicks - and you can even hedge your bets here by squib kicking on kickoffs; (2) get punts away and cover them; (3) field onside kicks; (4) make a field goal in overtime (in our case, we seldom kick PATs - 90 per cent of the time we go for 2).

Thanks for having the confidence in me to ask. Feel free to bounce things off me.  

One thing you will learn as head coach is that while you will be surrounded by people,  you will often feel lonely.

*********** Earlier this spring, I wrote about Cornell’s baseball players screwing around during the national anthem, and KC Smith, of Walpole, Massachusetts, (a Harvard guy, by the way), sent me this, with a suggestion to forward it to Cornell’s AD…

Virginia Tech head men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams starts every year teaching his players a lesson on respecting the national anthem and veterans who have served, and sacrificed, for our great county

They were all relatively subtle things like looking down at their shoes, swaying back and forth, or tugging at their shorts or jersey, but Williams didn’t like the message that body language conveyed, so he brought in a group of veterans to help him hammer home his message.

With the veterans standing next to the bench on the sidelines, Williams had his guys stand facing the veterans as he delivered his powerful message starting with, “We didn’t earn those chairs. How tall you are and how fast you run, or how well you shoot didn’t earn those chairs.”

“We draw up the play, we recruit real hard, but I didn’t earn the chair.”

“These guys,’ Williams said while pointing to the veterans, “when they were your age, they interrupted their life. They paused their education. They changed their career, and they gave their life for those chairs.”

I sent it along with a nice note to the athletic director at Cornell, and, to his great credit, he responded promptly and courteously.

*********** I once heard a restaurant expert on the radio talking about a location in Seattle where a restaurant had just closed. It was the fourth or fifth failed attempt at that location in maybe ten years, most by people with a record of success elsewhere.  The guy said that all he could figure was that there were some places where you just couldn’t be successful.

The point is that, yes, although Baylor and Kansas State are the outliers, there are places where you are almost certainly doomed to fail.  (As a big Army fan, I’m hoping that Jeff Monken can prove that West Point is not one of them.)

*********** Word is out that the Bellevue, Washington school district has recommended to its school board that Bellevue High coach Butch Goncharoff be fired. Goncharoff is the guy who’s won a lot of titles over the years (Bellevue is the team that ended DeLaSalle’s historic winning streak) and he’s been well compensated by the school’s football booster club, to the tune of some $60,000 a year.

He’s been cleared of any wrongdoing in the sick setup that enabled Bellevue Booster to move kids in from other school districts (arranging to pay the rent for a number of them), and to arrange for those who struggled academically to attend a private school in the Bellevue district.  Since the private school didn’t have a football team, those kids could play for Bellevue.  Bellevue is a relatively affluent community, and how Coach Goncharoff could be unaware that certain kids of modest means were moving into his district and paying the tuition at a private school and then - voila! - turning out to be very good football players is a mystery to me.

Anyhow, there’s been some speculation as to whether another high school would touch a guy with his reputation.

Some poster on a forum suggested that maybe he’d find a job coaching at a college, to which another poster replied, “You mean like Gerry Faust?”

(Gerry Faust, for those who aren’t familiar, was a highly successful coach at Cincinnati’s Moeller Catholic High School, and based on his record there, and on the very good players he had produced, Notre Dame took a chance on him and hired him.  It didn’t work out well.)

There followed one of the great posts of all time:

"The difference between Goncharoff and Gerry Faust is that we know Goncharoff is a highly skilled recruiter."

*********** Who’s the Big 12 going to take in - assuming it decides to  expand?

The Big 12 has made no secret of the fact that it’s talked about expansion, although Texas recently threw cold water on the idea when it suggested maybe the conference should stay with the status quo.

Not to say that Texas is the tail wagging the Big 12 dog, but where money in college football is concerned, Texas is a man among men.  Texas is as big as a big dog can get:  with its own TV network, it brings in far more money than any of its conference rivals.

But should the Big 12 pursue expansion, Pat Forde of did a great job of listing the pluses and minuses of eight schools certain to be considered:

Academic Ranking: T-66th
Football Ranking: 39th
Stadium Size: 63,470
Basketball Ranking: 41st
TV Market: 33rd (Salt Lake City)
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 1,185 miles
Selling Points: National brand with a strong football heritage, solid academic reputation and not much in the way of off-field baggage. Brings in a new TV market and provides its own national TV reach via BYUtv. Would have company in the religious affiliation wing of the league with Baylor and TCU.
Problems: Mormon refusal to play on Sundays can create scheduling issues in multiple sports. BYU would face a manageable exit fee from the West Coast Conference, where it competes in everything but football. Previous conferences have found BYU to be a difficult, high-maintenance partner. Inclusion would make the Big 12 a three-time-zone league, which only adds scheduling and travel complications. Football coach Bronco Mendenhall’s surprise departure for Virginia could destabilize the program. Is the league markedly improved with BYU, or just bigger?


Academic Ranking: T-168th
Football Ranking: 168th
Stadium Size: 44,206
Basketball Ranking: 181st
TV Market: 19th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 1,100 miles
Selling Points: Would open up the Florida frontier, in terms of TV market, exposure and recruiting. Huge school (enrollment is more than 60,000) that will have a huge alumni base in coming decades to tap for funding. Despite disastrous 2015 football season, program has established itself quickly on the FBS level and won the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. Hiring of Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost was widely viewed as a coup that will return the product to competitiveness in short order.
Problems: Coming off an 0-12 football season and a 12-18 basketball season does not put UCF in a position of maximum desirability. Neither does the academic profile, for those who care about such things. UCF’s ability to "deliver" the Orlando market is questionable, given its second-tier status in the state behind Florida, Florida State and Miami. Is the league markedly improved with UCF, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-140th
Football Ranking: 75th
Stadium Size: 40,000
Basketball Ranking: 35th
TV Market: 34th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 948 miles
Selling Points: Would provide lonely West Virginia with a potential travel partner on the Eastern frontier, which could uncomplicate some scheduling issues. Established football-basketball programs in a major market that actually cares about the local college teams more than many metro areas. School president is all-in and has been pushing hard for the Big 12 upgrade.
Problems: Does the league really need more teams on the Eastern frontier, or was the Morgantown Mistake enough? Rising football coaches haven’t stayed in the past (Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly, Butch Jones). Current football program could be built on shifting sands, with declining returns in Year 3 under Tommy Tuberville. Academics are underwhelming. Cincy TV market dominated by the Bengals and Reds, with heavy competition from Ohio State and lesser intrusions from Kentucky and Xavier. Is the league markedly improved with Cincinnati, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-127th
Football Ranking: 93rd
Stadium Size: 32,500
Basketball Ranking: 141st
TV Market: 18th (Denver)
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 844 miles
Selling Points: Ascendant school that now has the largest enrollment in the state (32,236), surpassing Colorado in 2015-16 for the first time. Building a new, 41,200-seat on-campus stadium that is scheduled to open in 2017. Bullish administration that is significantly ramping up funding and fundraising for both academics and athletics.
Problems: Like BYU, addition of CSU would make the Big 12 a three-time-zone league. Impact in Denver TV market is debatable, given the presence of four pro sports and all-encompassing focus on the Broncos. Would have to prove it’s a destination school for rising coaching talent, and not a steppingstone. Another academically unspectacular school. Is the league markedly improved with Colorado State, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-57th
Football Ranking: 91st
Stadium Size: 40,642
Basketball Ranking: 25th
TV Market: 30th (Hartford)
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 1,708 miles
Selling Points: Highest academic ranking of the eight schools listed here. If the Big 12 wants a toehold in the greater New York area – something the Big Ten and ACC both have sought – UConn presents the best available option. Basketball power, in both men’s and (especially) women’s hoops. Made a play for ACC membership, so they know the realignment readiness drill. Football coach Bob Diaco appears to have that program up off the deck after disastrous Paul Pasqualoni tenure. Residing in ESPN’s backyard is not a bad thing.
Problems: Might as well be on the moon. Provides no fit, further exacerbates the league’s travel issues, doesn’t open up enticing recruiting turf, and any inference of a New York impact is a stretch. Good luck convincing Texas that it should embrace playing a November football game in the Northeast. Is the league markedly improved with UConn, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-187th
Football Ranking: 21st
Stadium Size: 40,000
Basketball Ranking: 69th
TV Market: 10th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 254 miles
Selling Points: There are no travel or geography issues here. Athletic program is robust – especially in football, where the Cougars are poised for a second straight huge season after keeping coach Tom Herman in the fold. Houston is selling a huge TV market, and college football ratings indicate that the city is not already as locked-in on Big 12 football as you might think – thus there is room to improve market share by adding the hometown team at something near its historic peak. Big-shot Texas booster Red McCombs is onboard.
Problems: That academic ranking – ouch. Even in a league rife with academic lightweights, Houston would bring down the average. There is fear of oversaturation with Texas schools. Herman is a major plus – but does anyone believe he’s at Houston for the long haul? Or even past December? McCombs may be onboard, but Texas AD Mike Perrin doesn’t appear to be – and his input probably counts more. Is the league markedly improved with Houston, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: Not in the Top 200
Football Ranking: 48th
Stadium Size: 59,308
Basketball Ranking: 75th
TV Market: 48th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 472 miles
Selling Points: FedEx CEO Fred Smith is unapologetically trying to buy the Tigers into the league, offering to sponsor a Big 12 championship football game. In terms of geography, there are far worse options. Not a bad area to get into for recruiting purposes. City wholly backs the Tigers, unlike many metro areas. Big basketball following.
Problems: Worst academic profile of the lot – which is saying something. Adding the No. 48 TV market won’t move the media-rights needle. Best football coach Memphis has had in decades – maybe ever – left after four seasons for Virginia Tech. (And if it hadn’t been Tech, he would have gone somewhere else.) Basketball following is irrelevant. Is the league markedly improved with Memphis, or just bigger?

Academic Ranking: T-156th
Football Ranking: 57th
Stadium Size: 65,890
Basketball Ranking: 222nd
TV Market: 13th
Distance from Campus to Big 12 HQ: 1,108 miles
Selling Points: Like UCF, this would open up the Florida Frontier and get into a big TV market. Like UCF, there is a huge enrollment (more than 40,000) that could become a huge fan base under the right conditions. May have the right football coach in Willie Taggart to capitalize on latent potential and build something special.
Problems: Florida is a long way from anywhere else in the league. Three-time-zone issues. Few people in Tampa are tuning in to watch USF games. The Bulls are creeping back to respectability in football, but have never been great and for a time recently were awful. Is the league markedly improved with South Florida, or just bigger?

*********** Baylor couldn't have hired a better man to clean its Augean Stables (look it up) than Jim Grobe, who's taken the job on an interim basis.

He won  at Wake Forest.  Say that again - slowly.

And he did it with an insistence on recruiting people of good character, passing up highly talented a**holes.  (Are you listening, Baylor?)  As you might expect when a guy wins at the smallest school in all the Power Five conferences,
he drew offers  from a host of other,  biggerschools. But, showing a loyalty seldom seen in today's coaches, he turned the others down in order to stay at Wake. 

Alas, he spoiled the people at Wake - got them to thinking that they were entitled to win EVERY year.  And when he couldn't deliver the goods every year, they fired him.  Good call, Wake.

In this case, given that he'll probably inherit Art Briles' staff, including Briles' son (?), it's not likely to be a walk in the park for Jim Grobe at Baylor, but God knows he'll do it the right way.

(Full disclosure - my grandson is a freshman at Wake and he loves the place.  Therefore, so do I.  But they should never have fired Jim Grobe.)

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TUESDAY,  MAY 31,  2016  “There are no great men, just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstances to meet.” Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey



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. 










    IN, OUT












*********** The photo below was sent me by Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana. The title: “Last Day of School in Louisiana.”

Crawfish Boil

(If you didn’t know, those are boiled ("bawled") crawfish - definitely not “crayfish” in Looziana. Talk about good -  they are  hot and spicy! I am not the world’s biggest PBR fan -  I’ve already given Coach Montgomery some sh- about that -  but when you peelin’ and eatin’ crawfish, you gonna need sumthin’ cold! )

*********** A coaching friend who played some pro ball several years ago wrote me…

A few years back you wrote a piece on Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith getting substantial payouts because they played pro football games in California. So being me and having a hip replacement both acl's done and shoulder and wrist ailments. and knowing I played professional Arena football, I called  a lawyer in California and got the ball rolling and got in before they stopped allowing settlements. 2 trips out to see lawyers and doctors and I got a pretty substantial workers comp settlement.

The thing that bothers me the most, is that I have had former teammates who I played with in California, never even mention this to me. If it wasn’t for you making it known to me 3 years ago, i would have been none the wiser.

Where do I send the check?
A beer will suffice, I told him.

*********** Florida is considering a radical revamping of its current football playoff system…

*********** I have made it pretty clear in the past that Donald Trump is not my idea of the best that America has to offer.  However…

On my recent trip back East I spoke to a surprising number of people - educated, successful people - who confided that they were supporting Mr. Trump.  And I look at the people at Trump rallies, and I don’t see the jobless, toothless losers that the New York repeatedly describes.

And day by day…

When I see the knuckleheads waving their Mexican flags and throwing stuff at the police outside the Trump rallies…

It becomes clearer and clearer that as the video of those “protests” gets seen by more and more of the vast, uninformed American public, this election is over.

And then, after Donald Trump is elected, if the rioters insist on continuing their “protests”…

It’s Game On.   Let The Revolution begin.

And it will become even clearer why Americans who are sick of that sh— voted for Trump, rather than the mealymouth weakies we’ve been offered in the past.

*********** Stan Naccarato died last week.  He embodied the spirit of Tacoma, Washington.

Tacoma’s fate is to be located less than an hour (depending on traffic) from Seattle, a larger, more glamorous, more famous city.  In that sense, it’s not unlike Philadelphia and Baltimore, two large cities I’ve lived in that also have to exist in the shadows of larger, more glamorous, more famous cities. 

Call it the Philly effect.  Philly is the largest city in the world less than 100 miles away from an even larger city.  But size isn’t everything: there’s the glitz factor, too.  While Philadelphians will go to New York for a weekend,  I suspect you’d spend a lot of time in a search for New Yorkers who’ve even been to Philadelphia.

Baltimore is a less than an hour away from Washington, the nation’s capital and one of the most important cities in the world.  At one time, millions would have to pass through Baltimore going between Washington and New York, but now, they don’t even have to do that. Now, they go around Baltimore on a beltway, or under Baltimore, through tunnels.  Few Washingtonians have ever been to Baltimore other than to see a baseball game: for years, they had to get their major league baseball fix by  going to Baltimore to watch the Orioles.  Even then, it was a quick in-and-out trip on freeways - no need to spend any time at all in the city.  But now that Washington has its own team,  Baltimore might as well have ceased to exist as far as Washingtonians are concerned.  (And last summer’s riots haven’t made Baltimore any more attractive.)

Tacoma shares a lot of the characteristics of Baltimore and Philadelphia, as my son, Ed, noted.

He lived in Tacoma for three years.  He taught at Bellarmine Prep, a Catholic High School many of whose students were the children and grandchildren of Eastern and Southern European immigrants - especially Italians - who through hard work made good lives for their families in their adopted country. (Please don’t mention that in California, where it’s considered racist to suggest  that others might still be able to do the same thing in this horrible country.)

As anyone who remembers last year’s US Open at Chambers Bay, near Tacoma, will attest, Tacoma has been blessed with a whole lot more natural beauty than Philadelphia and Baltimore, but otherwise, the three cities have a lot in common.  They're port cities. They're working-class towns whose  whose once-busy factories and mills no longer provide solid wages for working-class families. Their  residents remain proud, almost defensive, of their towns.  As Ed described Tacoma, “More ethnic European heritage than other West Coast cities, hard-working, a bit rundown, full of spirit, good athletes…”

I don’t know enough about Fort Worth, but I suspect that there might be some Philly effect there, too.

***********  A new California law that goes into effect January 1, 2017 prohibits schools from using the nickname “Redskins.”

Turns out that all that bluff and bluster by fearless California legislatures affects exactly FOUR schools.

Two of them, Tulare and Chowchilla, are still debating what to do.

One school, Calaveras,  has decided to go without a nickname entirely.  Sounds crazy, but by doing this - simply dropping the offensive-to-some nickname -  they’ll be able to keep all the native images and signs in the school building and on their uniforms.

The fourth school, Gustine, is a lesson in irony.  Gustine is going to become “Reds.” For a second time.  That was their nickname many years ago, until aversion to Communism caused a change, in 1936, to - “Redskins.”

*********** At this past weekend's  Washington state Class 2B track meet at Eastern Washington U in Cheney, Washington, the North Beach Hyaks took two firsts, a second, a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth place. 

In two events. 

By four of last year’s five offensive linemen.

In the shot put, they finished 1-2-4-5.  Tim Poplin took first, with Jonny Law, last year’s winner, second.  Seth Bridge finished fourth and Alex Horn took fifth.

In the discus, Seth Bridge kept first place in the family for the second year in a row by replicating  his older brother, Caleb’s, 2015 win.  Alex Horn took sixth.

The North Beach throwers, it should be noted, were coached by head football coach Todd Bridge.

(Sadly, only one of those four linemen will be back next fall.)


PHOTO AT LEFT:  PLACING IN THE SHOT PUT (L TO R) Seth Bridge, Jonny Law, Tim Poplin, Alex Horn
PHOTO AT RIGHT: PLACING IN THE DISCUS: Seth Bridge in center of photo, Alex Horn at left

*********** The Black Lion Award came full circle last Monday morning in Rochester, New York, where Aquinas Institute, Don Holleder’s high school, made its presentation.   The event was coordinated by Jay Polston, an Aquinas graduate who serves as associate director in its alumni office and saw the importance of tieing in the Black Lion Award and its inspiration, Aquinas’ own Don Holleder, with the school’s long, proud football tradition.

With a number of dignitaries on hand, including Aquinas alumni in the armed forces, the Aquinas’ Black Lion Award was presented to Jamir Jones.

The letter below, written by Jamir’s coach, Chris Battaglia, expresses as well as I ever could what being a Black Lion Award winner is all about.  The parallel to Don Holleder's own career at West Point is astonishing.

Dear Black Lion Committee,
As the head football coach of Don Holleder’s alma mater Aquinas Institute, I often use his legacy of being an unselfish leader as example to my team. I try to enrich them with the stories of his courage and sacrifice that make him such a great hero. I hope that my players will use his example of self-sacrifice as a guide on how to be a better person, student, and teammate.

Jamir Jones has shown those characteristics throughout his career as a high school football player on our team. After his sophomore year Jamir was rated as one of the top tight ends/ defensive Ends/ linebackers in the country. He worked very hard to push himself and teammates to get better and prepare for the season. By the end of the summer of his sophomore year he already had 2 small scholarship offers as a defensive End. With a great junior year at defensive end we believed big time offers would be on their way after his junior season.

As the season began, Jamir was starting both ways at tight end and defensive end, his primary position. On the 1st play of our 2nd game our starting quarterback Jake Zembiec broke his wrist. Our team was in a panic mode and needed someone to play quarterback. We knew we were in trouble because the team we were playing was the number 2 team in the state Canisus - we were the number 1 team in the state. We decided to put Jamir in at quarterback even though he hadn’t played it and just try to get through the game. Jamir did a nice job but we lost the game.

On the ride home and the meetings that night we decided to keep Jamir at quarterback, but also came to the decision that he can’t play defensive end, his position he was being looked at for scholarships, because he needed to be all in at quarterback. The concern was how we were going to tell Jamir that we were taking him out of a position he loved and he had a chance to get his college education paid for, to play a position where he may sacrifice that huge opportunity for our team’s success. I decided I would call him the next day to discuss it with his family and him.

That conversation never was needed.  The next morning I was shocked to wake to a text on my phone. It read “I will do whatever the team needs me to do and if that means play quarterback I am all in - Jamir" I was astonished that a young man would sacrifice his chances of a scholarship to help his team win. He was not only going to change position but showed so much courage to play a position like quarterback.
Jamir showed great leadership and selflessness that year. He led our team to an 8 and 2 record and we were the top team in our area. He showed great courage and confidence throughout the year and carried our team on his shoulders. His belief that the team came before his personal successes was an example not only to our team, coaches, and players parents, but to the whole Aquinas community. Don Holleder would be definitely proud of Jamir and the whole Aquinas Football program.

Chris Battaglia
Head Football Coach
Aquinas Institute
Rochester, New York

After four years of playing for the “Little Irish” of Aquinas, Jamir Jones, 6-4, 220, will be playing for the “Big  Irish,” at Notre Dame.  His older brother, Jarron, 6-5, 315, is coming off knee surgery and is expected to start on the defensive line for the Irish.

Video of the presentation :


*********** Are my 14s allowed to participate in Black Lion Program ?

Alberto Correa
New Britain, Connecticut

Coach, We welcome youth, middle school and high school varsity and JV programs. The US Military Academy (Army) and Kansas State are the only colleges approved to present the Black Lion Award.

To all coaches:

There is no cost to participate in the Black Lion Award program.

E-mail me at to register your team.

(And be sure to read the FAQ's to get an idea of what's required of you, the coach)

*********** If ever an athletic director deserves to be fired, it's Georgia's Greg McGarity.  He's either amoral, or totally tone-deaf, but it's people like him who are responsible for the increading ugliness of college sports.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia Bulldogs athletic director Greg McGarity has apologized to the athletic association's board of directors following the disclosure that rapper Ludacris was paid $65,000 to perform at the school's spring football game and was also provided liquor and a box of condoms.

He says he's sorry.  Right. Who isn't sorry, afterwards? But I betcha he was yukking it up and slapping hands when the contract  was signed.

I can't imagine Mark Richt being a party to this, which probably is why he was let go.

(Actually, when I first read it,  I thought they'd been caught offering that to a high school running back.)

*********** I feel sorry for Baylor and - sort of - for Art Briles.  Sorry for Baylor because in recent years, it's undergone an incredible transformation  into a very desirable school for college-bound high school seniors.

And football has had a lot to do with the transformation, as Baylor made the climb from perennial bottom feeder to  national power.

Unfortunately, Baylor's done it with the kind of player likely to be lured to Waco by what got Ludacris to Georgia.

Briles, obviously, had a hand in bringing undesirables to Baylor, and now he's paid for his malfeasance with his job.

Briles has a record of winning wherever he's been, so he can surely coach.  Even, I suppose, when all he has to work with is good citizens, but now, we'll never know.

I don't know a lot about the guy, but he did give the public  impression that he considers himself a good bit superior to the rest of college football coaches, and furthermore, that he's above the law.  Oh - and that he doesn't give a sh-- what you or anyone else thinks. (Think Jim Harbaugh with  a drawl.)

Nevertheless, I sort of feel sorry for him because now, as skilled as he is, he's radioactive. 

*********** A coaching friend wrote with pride of his son’s college graduation, but added…

We couldn't help but chuckle at the services that were held...there was a Communion/Worship Service on Friday evening, the Baccalaureate Service Sunday morning, and then the Graduation Sunday evening. At all of these services, there were some hymns sung. Every single gender reference had been changed in the words of the songs. For example, "Be Thou My Vision" in one verse originally says "Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son"...changed to "I Thy true child". It was really silly, but is another sign of the "correct" atmosphere we find ourselves in. Some lady sitting behind us on Friday night was gushing over how "safe" she felt with the words changed...

“Faith of Our Fathers," eh? Don't you mean  "Faith of Our Single Moms?"  "Faith of our Parents or Legal Guardians?"

“Safe?” I wonder how she’d feel in the Middle East where Christians are being beheaded and don’t have the luxury of worrying about the wording of hymns.

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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

"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 an 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

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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 seaso