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

american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 18,  2019   “If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.” Sylvia Plath

dynamics 3 cover

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

THE  NEW DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK IS BEING SHIPPED!

This book represents the knowledge and experience I've accumulated in my more than 25 years of running and teaching the Double Wing.  (Those who've already ordered it and have been waiting can tell you how long it's taken me to put it together.)  My intent is to show how I build the offense with "blocks" - teaching the linemen just 8 "Building Blocks." Each building block enables your backs to run dozens of plays.

It's the most detailed "how-to" book on the Double Wing ever published.

It's 250 pages long,  with more than 150 plays, and more than 150 photos of drills and plays.

CONTENTS

I also include and explain my wristcard-based play-calling system -  it streamlines teaching and makes memorization obsolete, eliminating as much as it's humanly possible the need for kids to memorize plays.  For those coaches who might want to adopt my system, the playcards are already in the book, prepared and ready to go.  It would take you hours if you had to prepare them yourself, but all you have to do is copy them, print them on  card stock and cut them to size.  (In my opinion, this alone is worth the price!)

$39.95


TO ORDER - http://www.coachwyatt.com/DYNAMICS3.html

Q. Since I have been running your system for so long now, is there much value added with this one or is this for people just beginning? EJ, Pennsylvania

A. This is certainly designed to help the first-timer get up and running, but it's also a major upgrade for the hard-core Double Wing coach.

*********** Q. Hey coach, Does your new doublewing playbook have any plays from shotgun or any pistol or is it all from under center? CC, California

A: Coach, Except for a series from punt formation, this one is all under center.


REACTIONS TO THE NEW DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK…

***********  Coach,  Thank you so much for putting together this updated playbook.  Mine came on Saturday and i have been studying it non stop!  I appreciate all the hard work, it's well written and as always well done with great illustrations.  Thanks again coach.  MB - Illinois

*********** Received the dvd today and as usual you did not disappoint.  DC - Maryland

*********** Got here today.  THANKS Coach.  Just in time for my vacation next week !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Not sure I can wait, though.  JI - New York

*********** I've had a great time going through your new playbook and I am only 20 or so pages in.  The graphics and tables are great!  My hopes are that someday I can have the opportunity to implement your system.  It really is my dream offense.  MH - North Dakota


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

I reviewed my book and DVD's. They are outstanding! TJ - New Mexico

*********** received the fruit of your labor this week & examining the evolution...interesting to note, some of the changes have already been intuitively incorporated...I’m sure, I’m not the 1st to tell you that, but there sure are plenty we haven’t thought of...like finding that $5 bill you didn’t expect in your pocket! MK - Iowa

*********** Coach, I received the book a week and a half ago and have read it twice. It is a amazing, I couldn't put it down. Very detailed and informative. A perfect book for a newbie to the Double Wing, but also plenty of information for the veterans as well. The pictures to show the various drills and skills are worth the price of the book alone, then you add the wrist card and I feel I owe you more money. Another excellent job. I cannot wait for the season to get here. There are going to be some very upset youth coaches here in Northern Vermont, they are thinking they have my team figured out. Again Coach thank you for the time you took putting this wonderful Double Wing playbook together. JG - Vermont

*********** I’ve spent an entire day delving into the deliciousness of all things doublewing. This is without question the GOLD STANDARD for materials. No one else out there has put together anything even close (I would guess since I don’t listen to anyone but you). The bar is extremely high now. I thought the original was amazing....and it was, but this one blows it away. Much appreciated. BK - Iowa

***********  Coach Wyatt - Thank you for the updates...it has really produced new excitement in our coaching staff.  I have been a disciple of the Wyatt Way since my Grand Forks, ND Red River to Larimore, ND days & now at ------- MN.  We are looking forward to trying some of the new wrinkles to make our offense better.  We’ve been using the tumble snap under center & in the gun for years (since 2008 I believe) & it works great with minimal teaching.  ALL of our linemen learn to snap.  Thank you coach for all that you do.   “It takes a set!”  PP - Minnesota

*********** The Dynamics 3.0 book is incredible. I've spent the past few nights reading it page for page. Had a coaches meeting yesterday morning and my assistants loved it. I'd like to get them each a copy of the book.  CS - Colorado

*********** I received the open wing and playbook.  The videos are golden... I love them.  But this new  playbook is really a goldmine of information and coaching points.  It is great. Thank you for your hard work. CE - Oklahoma

*********** I must say  the playbook is OUTSTANDING , I can't put it down. DP - Washington, DC

*********** Hi coach I love your book. I've been studying it carefully and like some of the changes and I am still contemplating some of the other changes. I'm very excited about the product I love it. You did a great job.  RP - Minnesota

*********** Just finished first read through.....excellent!!  Love all the little coaching points and “where it will/might go wrong....so watch for this” pointers.   Thank you for all the work you’ve put into this.  MN - UK

*********** I am really enjoying the DW 3.0 book.  Great detail work. JB - Illinois

*********** it is Awesome! You did a great job!  SM - North Carolina

*********** I can’t put down the book. Very nice job, the photos the diagrams / illustrations are amazing. I love the adjustment from true pull to shuffle for the backside guard and tackle and moving from shoeshine blocking. JC - California

*********** I really am enjoying the DW 3.0. Spent the better part of 2 1/2 days writing out by hand the play cards...and they have been very well received (and these guys are learning to be engineers)...can’t make it any more simple. RH - New York



BLACK LION GREG AND DALLAS

IT'S NOT TOO LATE -

TO PRESENT THE BLACK LION AWARD TO A PLAYER ON YOUR TEAM -  COACH GREG KOENIG (ON THE RIGHT IN THE PHOTO) HAS PRESENTED IT TO PLAYERS AT THREE DIFFERENT SCHOOLS IN COLORADO AND KANSAS SINCE 2001 - AND NOW HE'S AT HIS FOURTH SCHOOL - WHERE HE STILL PRESENTS IT!  IT'S THE ONLY AWARD HE GIVES!  IT'S ABSOLUTELY FREE - YOUR PLAYER RECEIVES A CERTIFICATE AND AN OFFICIAL BLACK LION PATCH.    NOW'S THE TIME TO SIGN YOUR TEAM UP AND  - EMAIL ME THE NAME OF THE TEAM AND THE HEAD COACH'S CONTACT INFO:



DO NOT SEND ME A NOMINATION - NOT YET - FIRST FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO WRITE     blacklionaward@mac.com


***********
*********** Seen this bumper sticker yet? Honk if you’re thinking about running for the Democratic nomination in 2020.

*********** A reader observed that Tom Brady’s success has given him a certain advantage:  he’s had a first round bye 13 times in his NFL career -  that’s 13 fewer games taking hits, mentally preparing for opponents, etc…

I reminded him about all those extra games beyond the first round that Brady did play in - while most other QBs were sitting at home resting their bodies.

*********** Picture yourself taking your football team on a field trip.  Maybe you’re taking them on a visit to a college.

You’ve been on the road a couple of hours and, being kids, the players are getting hungry.

Up ahead, we see a bunch of restaurants at the next interchange.  Let’s pull off and see what they have…

Look! Over there -   Pierre’s Fine Cuisine.  Knives and forks and white tablecloths and real waiters…

And there’s Sylvia’s Salad Bar.  An all-you-can-eat salad bar and other healthy foods…

But wait -  there’s a cluster of fast-food places: McDonald’s… Burger King… Wendy’s… Chick-fil-A.

Let’s leave it up to the kids…

Hey guys… how many for Pierre’s? (“Coach, what’s ‘coo-sign?’”)

Hmm. Thought so.

How about Sylvia’s?

Didn’t think so.

So, fast food it is.  And after the bus comes to a stop,  it’s all you can do to get out the door without being trampled by players in their mad rush to the front of the line at one or another of the fast-food places.

You know where this is going, right?   President Trump treating the Clemson football team to fast food and pizza at the White House.

Other than the fact that a certain former first lady  - you know, the one who tried to force less filling, low calorie lunches on school kids - might object, what’s the big deal?

Oh yeah, there was some witch on CNN who thought it was “misogynist” of the President to suggest that as an alternative, the First Lady and Second Lady might have made salads. But who gives a big rat’s ass what that harpy thinks?

In addition to giving the players food they really liked - and an experience they’ll talk about the rest of their lives - I think it the whole thing was absolutely hilarious.   Great theatre!

It was also totally in character for Mr. Trump, who, like him or not, is real - unlike Elizabeth Warren who has to fake it by saying “I’m gonna get me a beer,” or Barack Obama by eating a hot dog. Or sipping a beer.  Or throwing a baseball.
Obama eating hot dog

*********** Proctor and Gamble, with its new Gillette anti-bullying/anti-sexual harassment ad, can go screw itself.  I’ve been a Gillette user for years, but I’ll grow a beard or I’ll pluck out my whiskers with clamshells - one by one, like the Indians did - before I’ll buy another one of their products.

The Gillette people call it “having a conversation,” when what they’re really doing is giving us another lecture, and I am  f—king sick of being lectured to by one company or another.

I’m sick of all these losers throwing around “white privilege” and “toxic masculinity.”

Yeah, “White privilege” - as if that exempts you from getting a job, studying, paying your bills, obeying the law, paying taxes.  As if that gets you a discount on sneakers and smartphones and season tickets. 

And then there’s “Toxic Masculinity” - as if it’s one word:  as if being masculine means being toxic.

I got news, girls (and soyboys) - the problem in our society isn’t “toxic” masculinity - it’s not enough masculinity.  You damn feminists have done everything possible to emasculate boys in our schools,  and you’ve chased men out of the family to the point where nearly 50 per cent of all children are now born out of wedlock. 

You realize, don’t you, that that means that a large percentage of our boys are being raised solely by women?  That there are no responsible men in their lives? We football coaches see all too well what that means. 

It means, first of all, that without a man’s influence, fewer boys play our man’s game.  And it means that without a man’s influence, many of those who do choose to play have difficulty accepting rules and structure and authority because it’s the first time they’ve been exposed to it.  And it means that many coaches find themselves acting as surrogate fathers to their players.

We coaches, white or black, accept our responsibilities to our young men, white or black. Unless it’s the military, I don’t know of a less prejudiced group of people than football coaches.

We try to instill in them a sense of brotherhood - a belief that they can trust their teammates to be there for them even when times are tough. 

Have you ever seen two teams fighting with each other after a game?  It’s not a pretty sight, and it’s something to be avoided at all costs.

But as bad as it is, as deplorable,  at its root it’s brothers, black and white,  sticking up for each other.

*********** Maybe you don’t remember the  coach who offered an eighth-grader a scholarship to USC, but it was a fellow named Lane Kiffin.

Now, to do him one better,  Jim Harbaugh, the Lane Kiffin of the Big Ten, has made an offer to a seventh-grader.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/bigten/2019/01/15/jim-harbaugh-7th-grade-isaiah-marshall-michigan-wolverines/2586948002/


*********** Jason Clarke, a longtime friend from Maryland, wrote to me asking if I had any video of the “serpentine” huddle break made famous by UCLA coach Red Sanders.  The Bruins’ default places in their huddle corresponded to where they would line up in single wing right (”Strong Right.”)

When the formation flipped, the entire UCLA team did, too (except the center, of course) and to avoid the collisions that could result from all those bodies trying to  get past each other to the opposite side, UCLA’s linemen wound out of the huddle in a snakelike, or  “serpentine” path.

I told Coach Clarke that while it would take me a while to locate the video, I could do him one better - I could send him a page from a UCLA playbook.  In the belief that there’s someone out there who might be interested (someone who flip-flops his line), here it is…
UCLA serpentine



***********
Gil LeBreton, DFW Pressbox, writes...

“Alabama fatigue,” they called it before the championship game, and they were right. Forty-eight of the 50 states (I’m guessing Hawaii was pulling for the Tide) were tired of Saban and his team bullying the rest of college football.

Thus, Clemson’s 44-16  butt-kicking of the schoolyard bully was like a Hollywood script. The Karate Kid in helmets. 

*********** Pete Porcelli wrote, after seeing the photo of Gary Wichard…

I played at CW Post.  Wichard later became an agent

That Hofstra turf was brutal  - so pissed they dropped football -  some  nerd becomes president and there we have it.

My good friend Joe Gardi coached at Hofstra for 16 years and took them to the playoffs six times - once on D-III and five times in D-IAA.

He left in 2005. Four years later Hofstra dropped football.


https://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/sports/football/07gardi.html

*********** CTE is getting all the attention, but something just as deadly and probably even more widespread threatens the lives of retired pro football players.

It’s obesity - and all the attendant health problems that can result.

In the past few decades, the N.F.L.’s emphasis on the passing game and quarterback protection has led teams to stock their offensive and defensive lines with ever-larger men, many of them weighing well over 300 pounds. But their great girth, which coaches encouraged and which helped turn some players into multimillion-dollar commodities, leaves many of them prone to obesity problems.

In retirement, these huge men are often unable to lose the weight they needed to do their jobs. Without the structure of a team and the guidance of coaches for the first time in decades, many of them lose the motivation to stay in shape, or cannot even try, as damage to their feet, knees, backs and shoulders limits their ability to exercise.

This is a big reason that former linemen, compared with other football players and the general population, have higher rates of hypertension, obesity and sleep apnea, which can lead to chronic fatigue, poor diet and even death. Blocking for a $25-million-a-year quarterback, it turns out, can put linemen in the high-risk category for many of the ailments health experts readily encourage people to avoid.
One good thing? They’re blaming it on the increased emphasis on passing.

One bad thing?  If you’re a coach, brace yourself - it might be YOUR fault!

Many linemen say they were encouraged by their high school and college coaches to gain weight to win scholarships and to be drafted by the N.F.L., where a lot of players were required to become even bigger. In some cases, players were converted from tight ends to down linemen, and needed extra weight to play the new position. Coaches often leave it up to the players to decide how to gain weight.

Oooo.  BAD coaches!  BAD!  (Anybody see an opportunity to make some money here?  If so, what are you doing coaching?  Why aren’t you a trial lawyer, getting ready to sue all those evil coaches?)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/sports/football/the-nfls-obesity-scourge.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-0&action=click&contentCollection=Pro%20Football&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

*********** It’s titled, “To My Alabama Family,” and it’s by Jalen Hurts

I have graduated from the University of Alabama with my bachelor’s degree in public relations — and I couldn’t be prouder. This accomplishment means so much to me.

But the education that I received at Alabama goes beyond a degree. Coach Saban taught me the values and principles of business, as well as what it takes to be a great leader. My teammates taught me the importance of togetherness, brotherhood, and love. And this past season……. it taught me a lifetime’s worth of lessons about how to deal with adversity.

Now, I’m an alumnus of the University of Alabama.

Now I’m Bama for LIFE — and that right there will never change!

But now it’s also time for me to start a new chapter in my story.

I’ve decided to take my talents to the University of Oklahoma, where I will continue my development as both a quarterback and as a student.

I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I’m excited for the journey ahead.

(Good luck to Jalen Hurts. And whoever wrote that “taking my talents” line for LeBron James - damn you.  Now we’ve got to hear that stupid line every time a kid transfers. Anybody want my talents?  Take ‘em.)

https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/jalen-hurts-thank-you-alabama

*********** NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT - Former collegiate and professional standout Archie Manning (Ole Miss) is the 2018 recipient of the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Distinguished American award.  Manning will be honored at the organization’s National Awards Dinner on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019.

“The Manning name is synonymous with football and greatness,” said Walter Camp Football Foundation president Michael Madera. “Archie Manning is everything good about football, from his exploits on the playing field and his tireless work off the field promoting it.”

A native of Drew, Mississippi, Manning attended Ole Miss where he was the starting quarterback for three seasons.  He was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1970.  He was the first Ole Miss player to have his number (18) retired.  Manning was also an outstanding baseball player, having been drafted four times by major league teams.

Manning was the second overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft and played 10 seasons for the New Orleans Saints.  He earned two Pro Bowl selections and was the NFC Player of the Year in 1978.  He concluded his professional career with the Houston Oilers (1982-83) and Minnesota Vikings (1983-84).    He passed for 23,911 yards and 125 touchdowns in his NFL career.

Following his playing career, Manning has created a reputation as a leading humanitarian, assisting with a variety of causes, including cystic fibrosis, Special Olympics, Boy Scouts, and Salvation Army.

Manning was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1989, and in 1993, he was named to the organization’s board of directors.  In 2007, he accepted the role as chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame which is currently still holds.

A current resident of New Orleans, Manning and his wife, Olivia have three sons, including Peyton (a 1998 Walter Camp All-American quarterback at Tennessee) and Eli (a two-time Second Team All-America quarterback at Ole Miss).   In 2006, the National Father’s Day Council named Archie ‘Father of the Year,” and in honor of the Manning’s college football accomplishments, the Sugar Bowl has created the Manning Award which goes to the nation’s top college quarterback.

Walter Camp, “The Father of American football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation – a New Haven-based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967.  The organization’s mission is to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team and honoring deserving individuals.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE LIST OF RECIPIENTS!
Lee Corso – Florida State University (2017)
Mike Ditka – University of Pittsburgh (2016)
Tim Shriver – Yale University (2015)
Verne Lundquist – Texas Lutheran (2014)
Joe Theismann – University of Notre Dame (2013)
Tom Osborne – Hastings College (2012)
Floyd Little – Syracuse University (2011)
Chuck Bednarik – University of Pennsylvania (2010)
Robin Roberts – Southeastern Louisiana University (2009)
Len Dawson – Purdue University (2008)
Frank Broyles – Georgia Institute of Technology (2007)
Dick Vermeil – San Jose State University (2006)
Arthur Blank – Babson College (2005)
Pat Summerall – University of Arkansas (2004)
Bill Walsh – San Jose State University (2003)
Regis Philbin – University of Notre Dame (2002)
New York City Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Service Personnel and Port Authority Policy (2001)
Gene Upshaw, Texas A&I University (2000)
Glenn “Bo” Schembechler – Miami (Ohio) University (1999)
Steve Young – Brigham Young University (1998)
Steve Largent – University of Tulsa (1997)
Dick Ebersol – Yale University (1996)
Keith Jackson – Washington State University (1995)
Paul Tagliabue – Georgetown University (1994)
The Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh – C.S.C (1993)
Carm Cozza – Miami University, Yale University (1992)
Susan Saint James – (1991)
Alexander Kroll – Rutgers University (1991)
Texas E. (Tex) Schramm – University of Texas (1990)
Richard W. Kazmaier – Princeton University (1989)
Burt Reynolds – Florida State University (1989)
Y.A. Tittle – Louisiana State University (1988)
Sid Luckman – Columbia University (1988)
Weeb Ewbank – Miami University (1987)
Tom Landry – University of Texas (1986)
Bob Hope – (1985)
Major General William “Bill” Carpenter – U.S.M.A. (1984)
Tom Harmon – University of Michigan (1983)
Edward “Eddie” Robinson – Grambling State University (1982)
Harold “Red” Grange – University of Illinois (1981)
Hon. Alexander M. Haig, Jr. – U.S.M.A. (1980)
George S. Halas – University of Illinois (1980)
David A. “Sonny” Werblin – Rutgers University (1979)
James Crowley – University of Notre Dame (1978)
Donald Miller – University of Notre Dame (1978)


https://waltercamp.org/events/awards-dinner/awards/distinguished-american/


***********  On the air Tuesday, CNN legal analyst Areva Martin accused conservative radio talk show host David Webb of “white privilege.”

They were debating  whether experience was more important than race in determining someone’s fitness for a particular job.

Webb: “I’ve chosen to cross different parts of the media world, done the work so that I’m qualified to be in each one. I never considered my color the issue, I considered my qualifications the issue.”

Martin:  “That’s a whole, another long conversation about white privilege, the things that you have the privilege of doing, that people of color don’t have the privilege of.”

Webb:  “How do I have the privilege of white privilege?”

Martin: “David, by virtue of being a white male you have white privilege.”

Webb: “Areva, I hate to break it to you, but you should’ve been better prepped. I’m black”

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/cnn-legal-analyst-areva-martin-accuses-david-webb-of-white-privilege-before-learning-hes-black

Balduccis and me

*********** This photo has not been Photoshopped, and I have not shrunken. But I am a midget next to my friend Ralph Balducci and “Little Alex” who as a tyke used to play on the floor with our toy trucks. Ralph is a big guy, a former college offensive lineman, but Alex is even bigger: 6-5, 315. My wife and I often joke about “Little Alex,” because when he was a little guy he’d come over to our place with Ralph and he’d play on the floor with all the toy trucks and cars we kept around for our grandsons. In truth, though,  Alex has never been “little.”  Alex started for the Oregon Ducks for 3 years at nose guard and, now in the NFL, he’s been moved to offense - guard and center. He’s spent a year with the 49ers and a year with the Redskins and he’s now a free agent and talking to several teams.

*********** Inter-service rivalry knows no bounds…

One of the great spectacles at the Army game is the pre-game  “March-On” as the midshipmen and cadets enter the stadium, line up by campanies, give a mass cheer, then march to their seats.

Shown below,  before this past season’s Army-Navy game, the Brigade of Midshipmen and the Corps of Cadets.

On the Left, the Navy… On the Right, the Army…

Notice any difference?  If you think Army guys didn’t notice the difference in the precision of the lineups - and gleefully point it out to their rivals from Navy - think again.

army-navy march on

*********** I read a great article in The Athletic recently about student equipment managers.  I’d include a link but it’s a subcription site, and I don’t want guys getting pissed at me for sending them to sites with firewalls, so I’ll paraphrase.

The article dealt with the Iowa team and managers, and I found it interesting that after they’ve earned the coaches’ trust, the managers responsibilities extend to assisting on the field in practices and games…

Laundry and loading lockers comprise just a small part of a student manager’s chores. Most are assigned to specific position groups and help with portions of practice. During the games, they remain embedded in those groups with tasks that could alter game outcomes.

Theilen has spent the last five seasons with the linebackers. He scouts opposing teams early in the week to know the numbers of key personnel. If there’s fog or bad weather or poor lighting and graduate assistant Marty Hopkins can’t see the field from the press box, then Theilen helps identify players and personnel groupings.

“I’m on a headset with Coach (Phil) Parker, Coach (Seth) Wallace and all the defensive guys,” Theilen said. “I have colored cards with numbers on it. If there’s one tight end and one running back in the game, 11 personnel, I’ll hold the sign up. I started that in 2015; that was a great season to do that. I was like, ‘Holy crap, this is awesome.’ You really get to hear what’s going through the coach’s minds when they lay it out. What they’re thinking, the process. ‘If it’s this personnel, we’re going to run this play.’ You’ve got to be focused.”

*********** It always amazes me that there are so many coaches who blithely break training rules. It’s not that I’m surprised at their lack of ethics, but I am surprised that, In these days of litigation on steroids,  it’s never occured to them that if anything should go wrong  (say, someone gets hurt), things could get very costly. Right, Coach Taggart?

https://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/01/10/oregon-willie-taggart-being-sued-by-ex-duck-for-11-5-million/

*********** DUKE WRESTLING’S FINESILVER BROTHERS… Two sets of twins - from the same family - on the same wrestling team.  And, happily, they wrestle in four different weight classes…

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/02/02/finesilver-brothers-wrestling-cherry-creek-duke/


*********** I sure would like to go for a spin in my Wayback Machine back to 1965 and punch Ted Kennedy in the nose, but since it's in the shop  I guess I’ll have to settle for pissing on his grave…

"First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same ... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset ... Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia ... In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think."      Edward Kennedy (D-MA.) 1965 on the Hart-Celler Immigration Bill

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

Didn't watch any of the playoff games.  For the very reasons you pointed out (and others), as to why I have stopped watching the NFL.  I "may" be coerced into watching the AFC championship game though, and will be cheering loudly for the Pats.

I wonder if it dawned on anyone that the more "protective" they make football helmets the more "fearless" players become?  And in this day and age of speedy giants with incredible strength, and modern training techniques, is it little wonder that physics becomes more prevalent in the game than it used to be?

Will be looking into Rob's book.  The 4-2-5 defense was my defense of choice when our opponents started throwing the ball around the yard.

The Brits may have the Budweiser League, but the Irish can boast both beer and whiskey in their league!  Call it the Guinness Jameson League.  I bet they have some raucous after game parties!

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Imagine - six brothers, all good enough to play football for Oklahoma!

Before there were the Selmons,  Oklahoma had Kurt Burris and his five brothers. He came from Muskogee,  the second-oldest of six brothers, all of whom played football for the Sooners.    Four of them lettered.  Two  were All-Americans and a third was All-Big Seven.

With Oklahoma in the middle of a 47-game win streak, he was a consensus All-American  center and linebacker in 1954.

He was named Player of the Year by the Helms Foundation and was named Lineman of the Year by the Philadelphia Sports Writers.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Although drafted by the Browns in the first round, like many Oklahoma players of that time he headed for Canada, where he played five seasons in Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Calgary.

Kurt Burris  came closer than any interior lineman ever has to winning the Heisman Trophy, with  838 votes to Alan Ameche’s 1038.  (Yes, Larry Kelley and Leon Hart won the Heisman, but they were ends.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING KURT BURRIS

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO


*********** JUST IN CASE YOU MIGHT WONDER HOW KURT BURRIS, A CENTER, COULD FINISH SECOND IN THE HEISMAN VOTING…

Forty-seven years before Oregon placed a huge image of quarterback Joey Harrington on Times Square, 36 years before Brigham Young mailed cardboard ties to entice votes for quarterback Ty Detmer and 13 years before Notre Dame changed the pronunciation of Joe Theismann’s name to rhyme with a certain college football trophy, no less a straight-laced custodian of the game than Bud Wilkinson got in on the Heisman Trophy campaigning.

Late in the 1954 season, according to OU historian and then-sports information director Harold Keith, Wilkinson pointed out that Burris was “probably more deserving of the Heisman than any other man in the nation in any position.” Keith wrote in his book, Forty-Seven Straight, that “we both knew that the sports press had always ignored interior linemen and that Burris, a center, was as interior as one could get. But we decided to try anyhow and strike a blow not only for Burris but for all deserving interior linemen of the future.”

So Keith and Wilkinson hatched a plan. They wrote a short, personal letter to every sports editor in the nation — approximately 3,500 were listed in Editor and Publisher Yearbook — making the case for Burris. They called in a colleague from OU’s Department of Office Administration, who commissioned 100 students to help type the letters. Most were Burris fans, the letters were whipped out in a day or two and Keith got them mailed off first-class from the old post office on Gray Street.

The campaign worked. Oh, Wisconsin’s Alan Ameche won the Heisman. That was a Midwest era. From 1947 through 1956, seven Heisman winners were from the Big Ten or Notre Dame.

But Burris finished a strong second, with 838 points in the voting to Ameche’s 1,058. Sixty-one years later, the Burris campaign remains the closest a lineman has come to winning the Heisman.

https://newsok.com/article/5437160/why-late-ou-football-great-kurt-burris-was-the-boss

*********** BROTHER BOB BURRIS REMINISCES…

https://newsok.com/article/3514402/collected-wisdom-of-former-oklahoma-football-player-bob-burris

*********** THERE WERE SOME AWFULLY GOOD “B’s” FROM MUSKOGEE ON THE OU ROSTER AT THAT TIME.  IN ADDITION TO THE BURRISES, THERE WERE ALL-AMERICAN GUARD BO BOLINGER AND ALL-AMERICAN END MAX BOYDSTON.

BO BOLINGER  -   http://www.soonersports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=31000&ATCLID=208798482

MAX BOYDSTON -   http://www.soonersports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=31000&ATCLID=208798447

THE MUSKOGEE BOYS - https://newsok.com/article/3773790/ou-football-remembering-the-muskogee-boys

*********** QUIZ - Once… Twice… Three times a Cowboy…

He was an Oklahoma State Cowboy… A Dallas Cowboy… and a rodeo cowboy.

At Oklahoma State, he was the leading rusher in the Big 8 as a junior, and in his senior season, he helped the Cowboys to their first win in 20 years  over archrival Oklahoma. He was named All-Big 8.  He played in the East-West Shrine Game, the Senior Bowl, and the College All-Star game (against the Green Bay Packers).

Drafted in the fifth round in 1966 by the Dallas Cowboys, he made the team primarily as a special teams guy and a backup to starting fullback Don Perkins.  When Perkins retired, he took over as the fullback, and although a solid runner and a very dependable receiver, his main role was as a blocker for tailbacks Duane Thomas and Calvin Hill.  In his nine seasons in the NFL, he missed only seven games, and when he retired,  his 3,886 yards rushing left him the team’s third leading career rusher, and his 1,794 yards receiving left him their fourth leading receiver.

As a real cowboy, he grew up in Lewisville, Texas and started in rodeo when as a boy.  He participated in college rodeo at Oklahoma State, and made it to the College National Finals in steer wrestling in 1975.  Drafted in 1966 by both the Cowboys and the Chiefs of the AFL, he chose Dallas after they upped the $15,000 bonus they offered  by throwing in a two-horse trailer. He continued his (real) cowboying with the Cowboys - until Coach Tom Landry found out that on nights before home games he was sneaking out and steer wrestling at a nearby rodeo, then getting back to the team hotel in time for curfew. Landry put a stop to that, but our guy continued bulldogging in the off-season. Ultimately, it was a rodeo injury that forced him to retire as a football player.  He was inducted just this past year into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

While being filmed for a TV show about pro football players with unusual off-season occupations, he was shown driving his pickup truck to a rodeo, and someone from U.S. Tobacco, manufacturer of “smokeless tobacco” products,  happened to notice a spittoon and some Skoal cans on his dashboard. (“All the cowboys used the cardboard on Skoal cans to write down phone numbers and dates,” he recalled in “The Game Before the Money.”)

That led to an $18,000 offer from U.S. Tobacco to do a Skoal commercial, and, despite the Dallas Cowboys’ objections,  he went ahead, pointing out that that was more money than the $15,000 he’d made for playing in the Super Bowl.  He became better known as the star of the commercial than as a Dallas Cowboy,   and if you were a pro football fan in those days, you will surely remember seeing him saddling a horse, and hearing him  say, in his great Texas accent, “Just a pinch between my cheek and gum gives me real tobacco pleasure…”




american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 15,  2019   “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” Thomas Sowell

*********** Briefly summarizing this past weekend’s first three NFL games: “It isn’t over until it’s over.  The first half, that is.”

HALFTIME:  CHIEFS 24, COLTS 7

HALFTIME: RAMS 20, COWBOYS 7

HALFTIME: PATRIOTS 35, CHARGERS 7

Summary of the fourth game: Karma is a bitch.

SAINTS 20, EAGLES 14

Last week,  the Eagles won when the Bears missed a last second field goal, and Eagles’ receiver (and former Bear) Alshon Jeffery stood on the field and taunted the Chicago fans.

Sunday, with the Eagles on the Saints’ 27 yard line with 2:01 left, the same Alshon Jeffery let Nick Foles’ second-down pass go right through his hands - and into the hands of a Saints’ defender.  If he makes the catch, maybe the Eagles score.  And win.  Maybe not.  But this way, it was Game Over.

Poor, poor Alshon. He felt really bad about it.  Teammates took pains to go over to him and tell him, “there, there - it’s okay.”

Well, fellas,  as the late, great George Welsh would say: “It’s NOT okay.”

He’s a f—king professional!  His contract’s four-year  extension through 2021 is for $52 million - with $27 million guaranteed!  He isn't being paid that kind of money to catch “most” of the passes thrown to him.

For that money, he’s expected to perform.

Surgeons are expected to operate on the correct leg, and airline pilots are expected to land at the correct airport.

“One play don’t define me,” said the eloquent Mr. Jeffery.

To which I would respond, “Oh yes it do.”

Exhibit  A: Roy Riegels… Bill Buckner… Jim Marshall… Doug Flutie (one really, really good play)

*********** The NFL just can’t seem to escape its image as a haven for misbehaving misfits.

The Colts were down, 24-7 to the Chiefs, so by that point it would be understandable if you were at the mall or shoveling snow or trimming your toenails and you missed Denico Autry’s clown act.

He did a dance, see.  Well, of course he did - he’d just sacked Patrick Mahomes.  On fourth down.  So of course he danced.

If he’d been female and working at a “gentleman’s club, his dance might have earned him generous tips.  Maybe it would have rained $100 bills.   But he’s 6-5, 270, and he was on the football field, standing right next to an official, when he began to  gyrate, thrusting his pelvis back and forth in a dance that Key and Peele* would have been proud of.

Brilliant, Denico.
Sheer genius. First down, Kansas City. 

*   https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=181&v=RGJb2iLvOKE

*********** Haw, Haw.  There was Belichick,  going forward by going back - back to the old, outmoded I-formation, fullback and all, and using one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time to simply  hand the ball to the tailback. 

And whaddaya know?  It helped the Patriots start Sunday's game with a touchdown drive that went 86 yards in 14 plays - and ate up seven minutes.

Announcers who’ve never played the game call that sort of drive “making a statement.”

Most of those who have played the game - or coached it - tend to express our admiration in somewhat more vulgar terms.

Sony Michel carried 24 times for 129 yards and three TDs. Most of that yardage - and all of three TDs - came out of the I formation, and most of it came in the first half, as the Pats piled up a 35-7 lead.

What made it all work, besides the stones of a head coach who isn’t afraid to look old-fashioned, was a fullback.  A real, honest-to-God fullback,  a position now missing from many NFL rosters as more and more teams employ what amount to 7-on-7 offenses with pads.  You know, the kind of teams that line up on fourth-and-one - and throw the ball.

The Patriots, despite the presence of Tom Brady, were not one of those teams Sunday. No, as one of the dwindling number of NFL teams that have a fullback, they used theirs as a blocker.  On fourth and one. On first and 10.  On second and three.  And so on.

He wears Number 46 and his name is James Develin.  He’s 6-3, 255 and he’s 30 years old.  He’s paid his dues to earn his spot on the Patriots’ roster, playing on teams with names like Oklahoma City Yard Dawgs and Florida Tuskers before making it to the NFL.

Oh - and although he’s plenty tough, he’s got a lot going for him beside football.  He’s an Ivy-Leaguer, a graduate of Brown where he majored on engineering.

*********** My son, Ed, sent me this one.  He says that Arlo White, a British soccer announcer who has called the “action” for the Seattle Sounders and now works for NBC, is a “great guy” and a “big American football fan.”
sean payton Leicester


(Leicester, for you Yanks, is pronounced “Lester.”)

“Everards” is a Leicester-based brewery, a team sponsor.

Note the Budweiser patches on the jersey.  I was coaching in Finland at the time and we envied English teams because they played in the “Budweiser League.”

*********** Apart from the fact that ACC and SEC teams play only eight conference games while the other Power 5 conferences play nine - virtually guaranteeing all ACC and SEC teams one more win (and one less loss) than their counterparts in the Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-12, there’s this, as John Walter in The Athletic adds…

Alabama’s non-conference road games over the last 15 years:

2004-2005-2006-2007-2008- 2009 - NONE

2010 - at Duke
2011 - at Penn State

2012-2013-2014-2015-2016-2017-2018 - NONE

He goes on, “A constant and somewhat annoying question that ESPN’s anchors posed over the previous fortnight was, “Is Alabama’s and Clemson’s dominance good for college football?” The more pertinent question, which was never posed, is, “Is it good for college football that one of its premier teams is so staunchly unwilling to play home-and-home contests against worthy nonconference foes?” As a point of reference, Bear Bryant took his dominant 1970s Alabama squads to Lincoln, South Bend and USC (twice). Miami, in becoming The U, trekked to Ann Arbor, Norman and South Bend in the 1980s.”

*********** THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES STRIKES THE NFL: The NFL, in its rush to make its game safer, has taken away one of its most exciting, come-from-behind-late-in-the-game  plays: the onside kick.

As a result of its effort to cut down on kick returns by requiring more return-team players to line up close to their restraining line, and at the same time to cut down on high-speed collisions by preventing kicking-team players from getting a running start, onside kicks this past season had a puny eight per cent success rate.

And that’s for all onside kicks, including those of the surprise variety, which have a much higher success rate than the last-minute variety, when the receiving team is prepared.

*********** A friend who sold for Riddell told me to compare the brain inside a helmet to an egg, and then to imagine giving the egg a good hard shake.  Nothing will happens to the shell (the skull) but inside (the brain), it’s a mess.

All the helmet can be expected to do - which it does - is protect the shell.  But it really can’t be expected to keep the contents from getting scrambled.

Yet while helmets are being expected to do something they can’t do, the helmet manufacturers, in their quest for more bucks, suggest that they can.   For a price, that is. 

Helmets really don’t have that much to do with preventing concussions, and I think the manufacturers are making a big mistake - and screwing us in the process - by implying that they can actually make that big a difference. 

Meanwhile, what they’re doing is driving the price of their innovative, space-age helmets up to - and over - the $1,000 mark, and creating in the public’s mind the belief that we can protect our kids if we’ll just spend the money.  And if we don’t, why, we’re heartless.  We don’t care about their kids’ safety.

Once that belief becomes widespread,  it’s GAME OVER for high school football.  (And for helmet manufacturers as well.)

*********** A 16-team playoff would mean a 16-game season for two of the teams.

Coaches who’ve been through such a season - at college levels below FBS - are justifiably proud of their accomplishment, but they don’t seem to recommend it.

https://theathletic.com/748646/2019/01/04/college-football-playoff-expansion-16-games-fcs-division-ii-teams-impact/

*********** BILL CURRY WROTE ABOUT HIS TIME WITH THE BALTIMORE COLTS, AND THE WISDOM OF JOHNNY UNITAS:

It was very hot, and the Shula practices were incredibly demanding. I was exhausted and discouraged when I looked over at the battered old quarterback walking down the hill with me. When I asked how he was doing, this was his answer. I knew I had been challenged, and I have never forgotten his message.

“Billy, remember, you’re a long time dead. You  better enjoy this day and this football practice.  You never know how many you'll get!”

*********** Since we seem to find so many of our current examples of leadership in the field of sports, Sam Walker,  a Wall Street Journal editor, started out 11 years to study the greatest sports teams in history, looking for what it was that they had in common.

He looked at the usual factors - talent, great stars, money, culture, management, coaching -  but found that what they had in common that made them stand out from others was team captains.

The result was his new book, “The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership.”

Asked,  “What is it that makes a great captain?,”

Walker answered, “Well, you know, it's not what you think. You know, we - I think if we were asked to construct a captain in a laboratory, we would pick a superstar. We'd pick someone who is charismatic, a celebrity. But what I discovered was that the great captains of these teams were not obvious people. They were rarely stars. They did the grunt work. They also had other surprising characteristics, like they embraced dissent and conflict inside their teams.

“It can be really problematic when they thought something wasn't going well, and they were really relentless. And they hated giving speeches. They had a different style of communication that was much more low-key and individual. And they had incredible emotional control. I mean, to an extreme,

“So what's happened is that the superstar and the coach tend to be this sort of two poles of power on a team. And the captain's role is really fascinating. It was always a middle manager. It was an intermediary between the players and the coaches. It wasn't necessarily the best player. So a lot of teams simply give the captaincy to the best player, but that's not the model that's been successful over the years.”

As an example, he held up Bill Russell, the Boston Celtics’ great.

“You know,” he told an interviewer, “ the moment he showed up his rookie season, they won their first title. And they won their last of that streak the year before he retired. And after that, they fell off. They'd never won a championship before he showed up, and it took them a long time to get back there after he left. And this happened over and over. Every team I looked at, there was a real clear cutoff that was readily apparent.”

*********** With all the wasted time between plays, the NFL game is hard to watch, but for me there are two things that really kill it:

1. Offensive holding.   It’s obvously not discouraged by coaches, so it goes on all the time.  Announcers who are in the NFL’s back pocket repeatedly praise “blocks” that anyone with the slightest knowledge of the game can recognize as holding. 

It’s a huge advantage for the offense - until it isn’t.  That’s when the holder finally gets nailed - and it seems to happen after someone has made a great play.  How many times a game do we see that damned yellow “FLAG” graphic on the TV at the end of a big play?

Is any other sport plagued the way football is by exciting plays being nullified?   How many times is a three-point shot disallowed?  When was the last time a home run was called back?  

2. Pass interference and inconsistent enforcement of the rules.   Every official seems to see it differently,  somewhat like a baseball umpire’s strike zone. 
Defensive backs seem to be getting away with murder.   What is and what isn’t pass interference?  It’s time for the league, the officials and the announcers to let us all in on what constitutes pass interference.

Gary Wichard

*********** I was browsing (is that what it’s called?) on Facebook and I came across this photo and I recognized it immediately.

I commented:  “That has to be Gary Wichard. Coached against him in 1972 when he played for the Long Island Chiefs.” (Pictured here, Gary Wichard was a highly-publicized QB at C.W. Post, on Long Island.)

Bill Cherry, now a coach on Long Island, played with Wichard (that’s Bill, #85, at tight end) and asked “What team did you coach?”

“Hagerstown Bears, Hagerstown, Maryland,” I replied.  “We went up there to play them thinking we'd be playing on Hofstra's then-new Astroturf field but instead wound up playing them (if you can believe this) in the infield of the Freeport Motor Speedway. Not only a dirt field, but auto parts scattered all over, lights that were trained on the track and not the field, and end zones whose corners ran up onto the banked track. In the minor leagues, you see it all.

Wichard had a receiver named Bruce Cerone who was really good.

Added Bill: “Yes, they played at Freeport Stadium. It was a Stock Car Track with a dirt infield... I played against Freeport HS there... Yes, Bruce Cerrone was a great receiver, I played 8 man touch with him... Great hands, played a year or two with a pro team…”

*********** A few years ago, I worked with Rob Everett, a young coach from Virginia who was the lead tester for the Go Army Edge app.  At the time, Rob was defensive coordinator at Westfield High in Chantilly, Virginia.
Westfield is very good.  Playing in Virginia’s largest classification, in the last 8 years, they’ve lost only 11 games.  Their worst record in that time was 11-3 in 2013.  They’ve had four one-loss seasons and one 15-0 perfect season.

Rob impressed me as a very bright guy with a love of the game, a lot of football knowledge and a thirst for more. He sure was a whiz with the Go Army Edge app, and a tremendous help to me.  I was impressed with the way he used it with his team.

In 2016, Rob moved on to D-III Bridgewater College as its DC, and this past November he was hired by the Memphis Express in a new league called The Alliance.  The league’s management consists of people with decent knowledge of the workings of professional sport - Bill Polian, whose pro football management credentials are solid, and Charlie Ebersol, media executive and son of former TV giant Dick Ebersol (who as head of NBC Sports started Sunday Night Football, and had a hand in the creation of the XFL).

Memphis’ head coach is Mike Singletary.  Other well-known football guys involved in the new league as coaches or executives are Brad Childress, Steve Spurrier, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu.

The Express open (or should that be  “opens?”) at Birmingham on February 10.

I’m not going to demean the new league in any way. I wish nothing but the best for the players and coaches, and I know that they’re going into this with high hopes.  But having once been part of a startup league with  ambitions of establishing itself as a rival to the NFL,  I know what a formidable opponent the NFL is, and I have a pretty good idea what’s in store for them.

https://aaf.com/jeff-fisher-the-alliance-is-way-ahead-in-terms-of-preparation/

https://aaf.com/leadership/

https://aaf.com/memphis-express/schedule/


*********** Rob Everett has come out with a book entitled, self-explanatorily, “Coaching the 4-2-5 Defense.”

With some roots myself in the old Wide-Tackle 6,  the forefather of the 4-2-5, I had to see what was in it.

I know Rob and I know that he knows what he’s talking about, and that he’s a good teacher, so  I bought a copy, not only to help Rob out, but also because I wanted to be able to review it without “owing” Rob a good review in return.

So here’s my review:

It’s good.  It’s very thorough and detailed and - a really good point - Rob uses generic terminology wherever possible, making it easier for a coach to adapt Rob’s stuff to his own terminology.  I recommend it.


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

When I think of Boys Town I can't help but think of our friend Brad Knight at Clarinda in Iowa.  I haven't heard any news of him for awhile, but from what I do recall his presence at Clarinda may have been much like that of Father Flanagan.

If your peek at the future of what high school graduating football players may be turns out that way God help us all.

Speaking of that...it will be a damn shame to know that kids like Devin Ellison are becoming the exception to the rule rather than the norm.

Sorry, but I can't get into the idea of yellow cards and red cards being used in the game of American tackle football.

Me thinks Maryland may be the landing spot for Jalen Hurts.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Brad Knight was head coach at Clarinda Academy, an alternative to reform school or similar incarceration offered to boys from other parts of the country. He had some very hard cases, but through the vehicle of football he taught those kids things about those three R’s that I live by - respect, responsibility, resilience - that they’d never been exposed to before.  By the end of their stay, usually a year long, they’d be eating out of his hand. Butthen, sadly, their stay over, they’d go back to the same environment they’d come from.  And more than one of his former players wound up dead on the streets.

*********** Employing a stall, a Florida high school basketball team played the defending state champion - a team accused, rightly or wrongly, of recruiting players from out of its district - and pulled off a 20-16 win.

The favorites, who had been beating opponents by an average of 30 points per game, evidently had no answer to the stall.  For sure, they must have just sat in a zone as the opponents held the ball, because the score was 3-0 at the half.  The winners broke the game wide open in the fourth quarter by making 11 of 14 free throws.

Seems to me that a team as talented as the favorites should have been able to play pressure defense and get the ball, but maybe the coach never uttered the word defense to his players for fear they’d transfer to yet another school.

Needless to say, the yahoos who think that high school teams exist for the fans’ amusement were incensed. 

To them, doing what it takes to win is not an option.  See, underdog or not, it’s your obligation to help put on a show, even if that means getting your brains beaten in.

And that’s why, football coaches,  even if you win the state championship, if you do it by running between the tackles, there will be people calling for your head.

(But you and I know that if the only way Belichick could win a Super Bowl was by running nothing but quarterback sneaks all season, he’d do it, and to hell with the public.)

https://sports.yahoo.com/high-school-basketball-team-uses-174914578.html

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: John Pont grew up in Canton, Ohio where his father, a Spanish immigrant, worked in a steel mill.

At  Miami  (Ohio) he played under two different head coaches - first Woody Hayes and then Ara Parseghian.   When he left, he was the leading rusher in school history.

After service in the Navy and a couple of years playing in Canada,  he  joined Parseghian's staff at Miami  and succeeded him as  head coach when Parseghian moved on to Northwestern.  He was 29.  In seven years as Miami’s head coach, he went 43-22-2.

In 1962 he was hired at Yale.  In two years there, he went  6-3 1 and 6-2-1, but then the Big Ten called.  Indiana.

As Indiana’s head coach he took the Hoosiers to the only Rose Bowl appearance in school history and earned national Coach of the Year honors.

After eight seasons at Indiana, he spent five tough years at Northwestern before retiring  to serve as athletic director there. 

He went into business after that, but in 1984 he got back into coaching - as a high school coach at Hamilton, Ohio. He coached there for six years, and in 1989 left to start the football program at the College of Mount Saint Joseph near Cincinnati, where he coached for three years before retiring.

John Pont left quite a legacy at both Miami at Yale. When he left Miami to go to Yale, he was succeeded there by his Miami teammate, Bo Schembechler; and when he left Yale for Indiana, he was succeeded by another Miami teammate - his college roommate, Carm Cozza, who would go on to become Yale’s winningest coach and one of the greatest coaches in the history of the Ivy League.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN PONT

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

*********** QUIZ:  Imagine - six brothers, all good enough to play football for Oklahoma!

Before there were the Selmons,  Oklahoma had this guy and his five brothers. He came from Muskogee,  the second-oldest of six brothers, all of whom played football for the Sooners.    Four of them lettered.  Two  were All-Americans and a third was All-Big Seven.

With Oklahoma  in the middle of a 47-game win streak, he was a consensus All-American  center and linebacker in 1954.

He was named Player of the Year by the Helms Foundation and was named Lineman of the Year by the Philadelphia Sports Writers.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Although drafted by the Browns in the first round, like many Oklahoma players of that era he headed for Canada, where he played five seasons in Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Calgary.

He came closer than any interior lineman ever has to winning the Heisman Trophy, with  838 votes to Alan Ameche’s 1038.  (Yes, Larry Kelley and Leon Hart won the Heisman, but they were ends.) 



american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 11,  2019   "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution."  Bertrand Russell

*********** OBSERVATIONS ON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME…

Obviously, the result was totally unexpected.  I certainly thought that Clemson could win, but if there was going to be a beat down,  I thought, it would have been Alabama doing it.

Clemson was the better prepared team, in every aspect of the game.

Position by position, Clemson may also have been the more talented team.

Clemson appeared to play with more intensity. 

Alabama’s going lax in the second half against Oklahoma the week before may have carried over.

Tua was not the same quarterback he was a year ago.  He seemed merely competent, but not confident. And he did appear to be lacking in mobility, no doubt because of his injured ankle.

When Alabama tried its fake field goal, the coaches with whom I was texting back and forth during the game were unanimous in reponse - WTF?  Apart from the fact that the defense appeared set up in anticipation of something fishy (Bama’s not noted for its field goal proficiency), to us it was totally out of character for Saban to resort to trickery.  We fully expected things to follow the usual Bama come-from-behind script: bring in someone from the usual stable of great running backs and then, as if to say, “Now you went and got us pissed off,” run it down your throat - with a bit of passing thrown in, of course. 

As well as Clemson’s defensive line played, how much better could they have been if Dexter Lawrence had played?

Clemson had the best freshman QB and the best freshman WR in the country.

Alabama and its players showed class in the way they dealt with the sort of defeat that none of them had experinced at Alabama and, I suspect, few of them had experienced even in high school.  I didn’t see any loss of poise or composure even though they found themselves playing in a cruel, unfamiliar atmosphere on a national stage.  (Not to say what might have happened if Mekhi Brown, the guy who took a swing at a Georgia player last year and then went after a coach, hadn’t transferred.)

Nick Saban faced the music in the post-game press conference and handled things with aplomb.

***********  Not that they’d agree, but in real-life terms, it was good for Alabama’s players to go through an ass-kicking like that. 

Emily Dickinson, who lived long before there was such a thing as a Crimson Tide, put it in universal terms
Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed
You can’t learn the things that football teaches you until you’ve known the sting of defeat.  Real defeat.

And you can’t fully understand football’s great lesson until you pick yourself up and resolve not to let it happen again.

And if it does happen again?

Lather, rinse, repeat.

You’re not beaten until you quit.

Is there anyone who doubts that Alabama will come back resolved not to let that happen again?

What Ms. Dickinson was telling the young Alabamians was that now that they’ve tasted defeat, victory will really be sweet.

Next game?

Friday, August 21, 2019.  Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.  The Chik-fil-a Kickoff Game.

Alabama versus Duke. 

Oh, dear.

*********** One of the places my wife and I like to support is Boys Town.

Boys Town, Nebraska (it really is a town) is now a suburb of Omaha, but 1917 it was considered far out of town.  It’s where a Catholic priest, Father Edward Flanagan, founded a home for boys left homeless for any number of reasons.   Some were orphans, some were abandoned by poor parents, some were runaways, some were delinquents.  In his stated belief that “there’s no such thing as a bad boy,” Father Flanagan ran a home where boys between the age of 10 and 16 could get an education and learn a trade and go out into the world better men.

Boys Town was made famous by a 1938 movie “Boys Town” starring famed actor Spencer Tracy as Father Flanagan, and Mickey Rooney as one of the boys.

Tracy won the Oscar for best actor in that role, and he devoted his entire acceptance speech to Father Flanagan, concluding by saying, “If you have seen him through me, then I thank you.”

In the Christmas edition of Boys Town Journal, a newsletter sent out to supporters, there’s a story about a Boys Town graduate named Joe Renteria, who turned 100 in July, 2017 (which by coincidence was the 100th anniversary of Boys Town’s founding).

Mr. Renteria told about arriving at Boys Town in 1933 as a runaway, after having lived in a number of orphanages.   “I was at loose ends,” he said, “always going from one place to another.”

A self-described “rebellious child,” he said that Father Flanagan and Boys Town provided him with the stability he craved. And once he found it, he said, he never wanted to lose it.

He told a story which he said left a lasting impact on him.

“Father Flanagan took me aside and said, ‘I’m not going to order you or tell you what to do, but since you’re one of the older boys, it would be very encouraging to the younger boys if you attended church.’”

Although not Catholic himself, he said he began to attend church at least once a month.

As he grew, he found spirituality, and he said that the way Father Flanagan had asked him that day “made all the difference.” 

Think about that, coaches.  More than one person has said that leadership - coaching -  is the art of getting people to do things that they don’t want to do. 

Father Flanagan would have been a hellofa - pardon, Father - heck of a coach.

*********** I had a peek at the future of our game last Saturday, and it made me realize that old age isn’t necessarily bad - not if it means I might not be around when that future arrives. 

What I saw - briefly - was two high school All-Star Games, featuring highly rated college prospects.

Actually, what I saw was a bunch of peacocks, wearing garish, multi-colored outfits, no two of them the same on either team.

By far the more garish and repulsive of the two games was the UnderArmor-sponsored game.    It featured a team called the Flash against another called the Ballaholics.  (None of the usual dull “East-West” All-Star crap for them.)  

It really did appear that the kids were in charge, a case of - metaphor alert (since it’s possible that an occasional dolt stumbles on my page) - inmates running the asylum.

They strutted and swaggered and flashed suspicious-looking signs and taunted and, just like the big boys in the NFL, after big plays they mugged for simulated group photos in the end zone.

underarmour taunt
"Look at me!" - Sportsmanship on display at the Underarmor All Star Game



Hey - the kids just want to have fun.   And they definitely want to stand out from everybody else. Uniform?  That’s for old-timers?  These kids want to wear gloves, shoes, wrist bands, and stockings - all in a variety of flashy colors.

Of course they do.  They’re children.  Children also want to have soda pop and M & Ms for breakfast.  Anyone who’s been a father understands that.  And doesn’t allow it.  As the adults in the room, as coaches and fathers, we get it - we understand that it’s our job to provide kids with proper direction. To teach them what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

But not these coaches.  Did I say “adults in the room?”  Did I say “coaches?” One of the Underarmor coaches was Deion Sanders. Yeah, he’s a coach. And I’m a neurosurgeon.

The other game, the All-American Bowl (or somesuch) , used to be sponsored by the Army, for reasons I’ve never quite been able to understand - talk about government waste.  But no more. They got smart and realized that very few kids who play in these games will ever serve in the Army, and very few potential recruits care enough about the games to watch them on TV.

But, some insurance company having been sold on the idea that sponsoring this thing will somehow be seen by the public as helping our young people, the game goes on.

The worst - or best - part of the whole deal was the announcements.  Or, in LeBron’s terms, The Decisions.

During breaks in the action, they’d take us to a set where one of the players, with assorted relatives and well-wishers in the background looking on, stood in front of a table on which sat several baseball caps, representing the colleges to which he’d narrowed down his choice.

After a few words by the announcer, there came the time we’d all been waiting for (drum roll, please).  The player reached for the cap of the lucky school, and - here’s where it got really good - like every other player before and after him, began his announcement by saying, “For the next three or four years…”

Haw, haw, I thought.  Wait till you get to Alabama, and Coach Saban tells you you’ve got to redshirt.


*********** Sure enough, ESPNEWS went ahead and dropped the four-college-coaches format of its “Film Room” and subbed in the Monday Night Football crew (NFL guys) on what it retitled “Monday Night Film Room.”

I was expecting the worst.

To be sure, it was panned afterward.  Big time.  Whitten showed on the opening kickoff that he didn’t know about the colleges’  fair catch rule.  McFarland spouted cliches.  They talked over each other.

But, as prepared as I was to hate the act, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected.

Yes,  I enjoyed it less than hearing college coaches discuss the game.  But I did enjoy it a lot more than  I would have, listening to those same guys in their customary format - Whitten and Tessitore in the booth, McFarland in some goofy-ass contraption down on the sidelines that mainly serves to block the views of the poor schlubs who thought sitting down low would let them see the action up close.
BOOGERS SIDELINE SEAT
BOOGER'S SIDELINE PERCH (HE'S ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MONITOR)

Sure, Whitten made some mistakes, but he seemed more relaxed and natural and he made some good comments.  Booger, I thought, came across as more thoughtful and not just coming off the top.  Tessitore, who isn’t the problem on normal Monday nights anyhow, was competent as usual. 

Yes, they talked over each other.  But it wasn’t like a table full of women at happy hour in your local pub.

Yes, they got off-topic, but not the way sports talk radio guys can go off for 20 minutes on the best hamburger in town.

Yes, they said some stupid things - who doesn’t, when they’re sitting and watching a football game? - but overall, I’d say there were more smart than stupid observations.

The one unforgiveable thing for me was the excessive references to the NFL and the pro game.  Poor fellows: they really must  think that college football people revere the pro game as much as they do. (There was a fourth member of the crew, one Todd McShay, indentified as an “NFL Draft Analyst.” He was okay, but when I watch a college game, do I really want an “NFL Draft Analyst”  on hand to tell me which round this guy or that guy is likely to go in?)

And if I could, I’d have strangled whoever it was who, thinking about Clemson’s freshman QB, Trevor Lawrence, said it was a damn shame the NFL can’t change the draft rule so they could draft freshmen.

To their credit, though,  they did say some insightful things, and they never shouted excitedly, as if they were human versions of the electronic stadium signs that order the chumps in the stands to “MAKE NOISE.” 

What I liked most about the college coaches, though,  was (1) the fact that they never - not once - talked about the NFL in any context, and (2)  their ability to tell us not just what happened - as any number of NFL color guys could do - but what’s about to happen: no sooner would the ball be snapped then one of them would say, matter-of-factly, “there it is.”  And sure enough, a split second later, there would be a receiver, wide open up the middle, just as he had anticipated.

In sum, although I’d much prefer to listen to real college coaches, I’d  still rather watch a game done this way - even by Whitten, McFarland and Tessitore - than listen to the endless chatter of two (or, God help us, three) guys in the press box.

*********** ESPN2 ran “Sideline Pass” with the sideline guys giving us their commentary. Not bad.  But then, one of them, Rod Gilmore is more than just a sideline guy.  He is a college football guy - played DB at Stanford - who is an analyst up in the box during the regular season.  He is good.

*********** Can somebody PLEASE explain to me how Georgia can get handled by Texas in the Sugar Bowl and then, a week later, be ranked ahead of Texas in the final poll?

*********** While many question the thinking behind the Arizona Cardinals’ hiring of Kliff Kingsbury (“He didn’t have a winning record at Texas Tech, for Pete’s sake!”) Gil LeBreton, in pressbox DFW (a subscription site), offers another perspective, and a very interesting one at that:

Arizona was dead-last in the league last season in just about every major offensive category – passing yards, rushing yards, first downs, etc. In the first nine games that rookie quarterback Josh Rosen played, the Cardinals scored in the 20s only once.

They need to fix that. And who better to do that than college football’s best young quarterback whisperer?
Here lies Kingsbury’s problem, though: Does he want to fix the Arizona offense with drop-back passer Rosen?
Or does he go extremely rogue and choose Plan B?

Back in October, Kingsbury was asked about Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

“I don’t have enough good things to say about him,” said the man who taught Mayfield and Mahomes. “He’s phenomenal.

“I’d take him with the first pick of the draft if I could.”

And whaddya know? As of Tuesday, Kingsbury has the first pick in the NFL Draft.

*********** For this, you sit on your ass in front of the TV for 3-1/2 hours. This graphic appeared  in  the Wall Street Journal in 2010 (note Brett Favre in the Vikings’ uniform) but it’s every bit as true now as it was then.  It shows  how little of a televised NFL “game” - the part of the telecast that isn’t given over to commercials -  is action. 
NFL game minnutes
  

*********** Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington, sent me this clip which he called “The Clash of the Soyboys,” two guys repeatedly giving each other the finger.  Where/when guys my age grew up, there would never have been a second flip-off.  The first one would have been followed right up with a punch in the nose. But then, we were brought up by, and taught school by, and coached by, World War II Vets.

https://twitter.com/apiecebyguy/status/1069947397982351360/video/1

*********** Here we go again.  USA Football, self-proclaimed “national governing body for amateur American football in the United States,”   continues to “improve” tackling, with the very latest ultimate tackling technique, 2019 version:

https://footballdevelopment.com/advanced-tackling

*********** A coach who runs open wing and does a nice job of it wrote me looking for a good way to run power to the open side.

I wrote,  “the best way to attack where you want to attack is the simplest: 5-XO Follow, with or without motion.” (“Follow” means that we run 5-X-O as usual, except that instead of handing off to the B-Back, the QB keeps, and follows the B-Back, who becomes the lead blocker.)

Not completely convinced, he replied, “My QB is a good passer, great leader and average runner.”

Me:  “This offense is designed for an athletic QB who runs as well as passes.  If your QB isn’t a runner you are running this offense at maybe 30 per cent effectiveness.”

Coach: “I think we are at a place where he will need to help with the run game.  Any coaching points for the average running QB in the open wing?”

Me:  “Yes. Protect the ball. Eyes up.  Protect the ball. Follow your B Back. Protect the ball. Know which is the most likely way to cut. Protect the ball. When tackled, don’t overdo it trying for extra yardage.  Protect the ball. “

*********** I was talking with longtime coaching friend Kevin Latham, of Decatur, Georgia, and we got talking about Georgia Tech and Kevin's nephew, Devin Ellison.

Devin, a highly recruited running back from Bartram Trail High in Jacksonville, had offers from Boise State, Syracuse, Kentucky, Purdue and Wake Forest.  And Columbia and Yale (he has a 4.1 GPA).

But he chose Georgia Tech - much to Uncle Kevin’s excitement - and although head coach Paul Johnson “retired” recently, Devin’s commitment has never wavered.

His position coach, Chad Parker, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Devin’s main interest was more the Tech education  than who the coach was.

“He was like, coach, it doesn’t matter who’s there,” Parker said. “I didn’t go to Tech for the coaching staff. I went for the education. Football’s a bonus.

https://www.ajc.com/sports/college/georgia-tech-commit-devin-ellison-good-with-geoff-collins/RfFQDv6fcYPRhjUSeAA9OP/

*********** At the AFCA convention this week, college coaches have asked for a revision of the targeting rule.

The coaches want a two-tier system, somewhat on the order of the 5-yard facemask/15-yard facemask business.

With Targeting 1,  a player making an otherwise  safe tackle who happens to collide with the helmet of an offensive player who lowered his head at the last moment -  would call for a 15-yard penalty and the offender could remain in the game

Targeting 2 would be the type of hit that the rule was intended to eliminate - but hasn’t.  This would remain the same as now, with removal for the rest of the game and, in the event the foul occurs the second half, for the first half of the next game as well.

According to Zach Barnett, of footballscoop, we fans are “tired of seeing targeting misdemeanors treated like felonies.”

Not this fan.  Actually,  I’m on record as saying that when a player is ejected, a coach should be, too - starting with the head coach, and if “Targeting 2” were to include that proviso, I’d be all for the two-tier system.


http://footballscoop.com/news/afca-lays-2019-legislative-agenda-starting-fixing-targeting-rule/

*********** TRIGGER WARNING!!! I know this isn’t football, and it’s barely even guy stuff, but…

As the great humorist Dave Barry would say, I’m not making this up.

I was reading an article about guys in England who’ve decided to bypass dealing with the demands and needs of real, live women and instead take up with sex dolls. 

They’re getting sophisticated, I guess.  The dolls, that is, not the guys.  Apparently they can be customized in any number of ways. (I didn’t check.)

They cost in the neighborhood of 6000 pounds - about $7600.  A lot, yes, but not when you realize that for $7600 Jeff Bezos could have taken up with a doll and saved himself $70 billion.

Here’s the part I didn’t understand.  A muff - a beaver - will run you an extra $100.

*********** It’s official: Jalen Hurts is transferring.  Where to?

To Penn State, now that Trace McSorley’s gone?

To Ohio State?   Dwayne Haskins is off to the pros… Tate Martell would have been the next man up, but he’s transferring out…  Justin Fields is transferring in from Georgia, but he has to wait out a year. So…

To Maryland, where former Bama OC MIke Locksley is the new head coach?

To Oklahoma?  They may be losing Kyler Murray, but they’re bringing in Spencer Rattler, a kid from Phoenix considered to be the top QB recruit in the country.

TCU?  All they lack is a QB.  And Hurts is a Texas kid.

UCLA?  It’s the West Coast.  It’s LA.  And it's Chip Kelly…

Here’s the wildest one of all - Auburn.   Auburn needs a quarterback.  He wouldn’t do that. Would he?

The betting line:  https://247sports.com/Article/Jalen-Hurts-transfer-Alabama-Auburn-Tennessee-Florida-127600267/

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

Happy New Year!

Do you think that Paul Johnson is finished? I could see him heading west to a school that has long struggled in football such as New Mexico State, UNLV, or maybe "down" (actually return) to FCS.

Tyler Trent's grandparents live in this town, although I don't know them. He was quite a young man who made a big difference with many, many people during his short life. Purdue is famous for its notable graduates, especially astronauts, engineers and scientists. It may not attract the best football talent, but it consistently attracts many outstanding young people. Tyler Trent will not be forgotten soon.

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

Hi Jim,

Happy New Year to you, too!

I do think that Paul Johnson is finished.  It’s not that he couldn’t win at GT.  He still has it, I believe.

It’s not a matter of winning.  It’s also a matter of selling tickets.  This is even more acute a problem at non-Power 5 schools, because they don’t get near the TV money that the Power 5 schools do, so they depend heavily on gate revenue.

The problem is that to AD’s, he’s selling last year’s calendar.  Nobody wants to bring in his offense because  they don’t believe they can sell it to their fans, whether it wins or not.

As a grandfather of kids at Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, I have a lot of respect for Purdue, like them a great academic institution that has to overachieve just to keep up.


*********** Commenting on the poll that showed that 40 per cent of women under 30 would like to leave the US, preferably for Canada, I wrote,   "To help things along, I would be in favor of paying them some sort of severance, and  providing foreign aid to Canada.  (Should would we let Canadian men know what they’re getting? Nah.  That might kill the deal.)”

Coach Wyatt, if Canada finds out that they're likely to be inundated by that 40%, they'd be wise to just build a wall.

Dave Potter
Cary, North Carolina

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

We returned to school yesterday (faculty/staff in-service), and had a number of people ask me  who I thought would win the college football national championship.  I told them Clemson would win.  Why?  Because I felt Georgia exposed Alabama in the SEC title game (regardless if Georgia handed Bama the game in the end).  And...I felt Clemson's coaching staff had likely taken some serious notes, and that Clemson had a better team than Georgia, and that Clemson's athletes matched up well (if not better) with Alabama's athletes.  I thought it would be a thriller with Clemson pulling it out in the end.  Boy...was I wrong!

My wife asked me from the kitchen who was singing the anthem.  I told her Kelsey Grammer.  Oops...

The defensive gameplan devised by Clemson DC Brent Venables was masterful.

I see your point regarding FCS schools losing those FBS "guarantee" games.  However if I'm an AD at one of those schools, and I chose to "play up" to help the budget, I would be asking some of those Group of Five schools before I'm asking the big-time Power Five guys.  I might get away with scheduling a lower tier Group of Five team, but I would stay away from the likes of Clemson, Alabama, etc.  Best for them to stay away from an FCS opponent.

Speaking of FCS schools...North Dakota State is in a class by itself.  They're as good (if not better) than a number of Mountain West teams.

Joe Gutilla
Auston, Texas

Joe - A major reason why they play the Clemsons and Alabamas - and not the Group of Five schools - is that’s where the money is.  There are Group of Five schools that are so hard-up for money themselves that they have to sell wins just like FCS schools.

*********** John Walters, in The Athletic, wonders if the fact that ESPN owns the ACC network (which starts next season) might have something to do with this…

As lovable and adorable as Clemson and head coach Dabo Swinney may be, the Tigers were the one team with three players who tested positive for a prohibited drug that is not about to be mistakenly used as a pizza topping. Did anyone utter the term “ostarine” during Monday’s coverage (we don’t recall hearing it) or wonder how not one but three Clemson players came to test positive for it? And sure, someone might have offered that “everyone does it,” but as an excuse that went out the window during nursery school. Even if steroid use is widespread in college football, Clemson, your national champion, saw an All-America defensive linemen and two teammates get nabbed for it. This isn’t a ruptured Achilles; this is cheating.


*********** Creeping NFLism. What happens when they put the pro touch on a college football game…

Beer sign at Levi's Stadium



*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Roy Riegels was an All-American center, and in his senior year he was captain of his University of California football team. 

But he’s best known for what happened to him in the Rose Bowl game following his junior season.   (We’re talking about the days, long before there was a Super Bowl, when the Rose Bowl was by far football’s biggest game.)  In the second quarter, playing defense as what was then called “roving center” (the forerunner of today’s Middle Linebacker position) he picked up a Georgia Tech fumble on the Tech 30 and, after being knocked off course, set out for the goal line - his own goal line, 70 yards away.

He made it all of 69 yards before being tackled from behind by a teammate - on his own one-yard line.

The Cal coach, choosing to play it safe, called for a punt on first down, but it was blocked by Tech, resulting in a safety.

Unfortunately for him and for Cal, the Bears, lost, 8-7, the safety providing the margin of victory for Georgia Tech, which finished undefeated at 10-0 and won the national championship.

Humiliated by his mistake, he at first refused to return to play in the second half, but after being persuaded by his coach to do so, he played, and played well.  His teammates honored him by electing him captain, and he played so well his senior year that he was named All-American.

But the Rose Bowl was THE Big Game of the year, broadcast coast-to-coast on the radio, and his blunder made headlines all over the country and earned him a derogatory nickname - "Wrong-Way Riegels" -  that haunted him for years.

He showed such grace in dealing with his setback that the way in which he dealt with it  has been used often as an illustration of resilience by motivational speakers.

After Alabama’s Tommy Lewis made headlines for leaving the sideline to tackle Rice’s Dicky Moegle as he was on his way to what was awarded by penalty as a 95-yard touchdown run in the 1954 Cotton Bowl, he was asked what advice he’d give young Mr. Lewis.

“Laugh with them - that’s all you’ve got to do,” he said. “He’ll hear about it for a long time.  But what the heck difference does it make?  It’s just a football game.”

Fifty years after that Rose Bowl game, he accepted an invitation by Georgia Tech football alums to come to Atlanta, where they awarded Roy Riegels an honorary “GT” monogram.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ROY RIEGELS

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-08-09/sports/sp-257_1_rose-bowl-history


*********** Greg Koenig writes, “It's pretty cool that there is video of the Rose Bowl that long ago.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEVR7fCxJ_U


*********** QUIZ: He grew up in Canton, Ohio where his father, a Spanish immigrant, worked in a steel mill.

At  Miami  (Ohio) he played under two different head coaches - first Woody Hayes and then Ara Parseghian.   When he left, he was the leading rusher in school history.

After service in the Navy and a couple of years playing in Canada,  he  joined Parseghian's staff at Miami  and succeeded him as  head coach when Parseghian moved on to Northwestern.  He was 29.  In seven years as Miami’s head coach, he went 43-22-2.

In 1962 he was hired at Yale.  In two years there, he went  6-3 1 and 6-2-1, but then the Big Ten called.  Indiana.

As Indiana’s head coach he took the Hoosiers to the only Rose Bowl appearance in school history and earned national Coach of the Year honors.

After eight seasons at Indiana, he spent five tough years at Northwestern before retiring  to serve as athletic director there. 

He went into business after that, but in 1984 he got back into coaching - as a high school coach at Hamilton, Ohio. He coached there for six years, and in 1989 left to start the football program at the College of Mount Saint Joseph near Cincinnati, where he coached for three years before retiring.

He left quite a legacy at both Miami at Yale. When he left Miami to go to Yale, he was succeeded there by his Miami teammate, Bo Schembechler; and when he left Yale for Indiana, he was succeeded by another Miami teammate - his college roommate, Carm Cozza, who would go on to become Yale’s winningest coach and one of the greatest coaches in the history of the Ivy League.



american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 8,  2019   “He is a fool who will descend into a well on another man’s rope.” Louis L’Amour

*********** The Alabama-Clemson game?  I really don’t give a rat’s ass who wins.  I’m watching simply because it’s college football.  But what can I say?  If there were any NFL-version "football fans"  who were tuning in to college ball for the first time, they have to begin to realize how badly the NFL's been BSing them all these years about how great their "football" is.

*********** The national anthem was despicable.  It almost made me want to kneel in protest.  Of the performance, not the police.

If I were an Iranian general and I heard that flit singing the national anthem - BEFORE A FOOTBALL GAME! - I’d laugh, and turn to the other generals in the room and say, “We can take these pussies.”

*********** If you want to see where playoff expansion will take us, take a look at the way the FCS playoff has expanded:

1978: 4 teams
1981: 8 teams
1982: 12 teams
1986: 16 teams
2008: 20 teams
2013: 24 teams

Where will it take us?  Where has it taken FCS? Well, more people did get participation trophies.

But North Dakota State still won 6 of the last 7 titles.

Those of you who don’t like the Alabama-Clemson duopoly - do you really think expanding the playoff field will lessen the likelihood of its happening again next year?

*********** Army’s Jeff Monken was named 2018 Winner of the George Munger Coach of the Year Award.    It’s presented by the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia, whose Maxwell Award to the nation’s outstanding college player was once considered by many the equal of the Heisman Trophy.

https://www.maxwellfootballclub.org/2018-george-munger-collegiate-coach-of-the-year-award-semifinalists-announced/

It’s quite an honor, and richly deserved.  It’s also gratifying to those of us who’ve followed Army football through the dark years.  But in all fairness, there are quite a few “Coach of the Year” awards given out every year, and there’s really nothing in the world to prevent you from giving out one of your own to a coach of your choice.  In fact, I already awarded mine to Dino Babers for (1) winning 10 games, and (2) not submitting to that Gatorade bath horsesh—.

AFAC COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFCA_Coach_of_the_Year_Award

BOBBY DODD AWARD
https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/sec-football/two-sec-coaches-named-finalists-for-2018-dodd-trophy/

LIBERTY MUTUAL 2006-2013
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Mutual_Coach_of_the_Year_Award

HOME DEPOT
https://www.onefootdown.com/2018/12/5/18127888/notre-dame-football-brian-kelly-named-home-depot-coach-of-the-year-fighting-irish-espn-three

SPORTING NEWS
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sporting_News_College_Football_Coach_of_the_Year


***********  George Welsh died last week in Charlottesville, Virginia.  He was 85.

I had great admiration for him as a Navy quarterback who led the Middies to a shocking upset win in the Sugar Bowl over a powerful Ole Miss team.

And I had even greater admiration for him as a coach, both at Navy and at Virginia.
 
He was a native of Coaldale, Pennsylvania. He played for Navy from 1952 to 1955, and was a first-team All-America quarterback in 1955. He finished third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy that season. After graduating from the USNA and fulfilling his military obligation, he served as an assistant under Rip Engle and Joe Paterno at Penn State from 1963 to 1972.
 
He was married to his wife, Alexandra, for 52 years before she passed away in 2015, and  they had four children.

John Feinstein in the Washington Post pays as fine a tribute to George Welsh - the man and the coach - as I’ve ever read.  Telling about the job he did at two places that hadn’t exactly had too much winning, he writes, “George Welsh as a Hall of Fame coach - and even that doesn’t cover how good he was.”


https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/george-welsh-was-a-hall-of-fame-coach-and-even-that-doesnt-cover-how-good-he-was/2019/01/04/1579ed4c-105a-11e9-831f-3aa2c2be4cbd_story.html

*********** Paying tribute to George Welsh, someone wrote in to the Washington Post : My favorite comment Welsh made was on his call-in radio show, when a man said, "Maybe it would be good if you just put your arm around a player when he makes a mistake sometimes, and tell him it's okay." Welsh said, "It's NOT okay!"

************ “No Service Academy has ever been successful without running the option."

I heard someone say that on TV, and I sat up straight. 

I beg to differ.  They evidently didn’t know about George Welsh.
 
I realize we're going back a few years, but from 1973 through 1981 George Welsh was successful at Navy with the Wing-T, a run-oriented offense that mixes power, misdirection and option and accomplishes everything you'd like the option to do.  True, wing-T teams do sometimes dabble in running an option, but it’s not what anyone would call an option offense.
 
The Wing-T has remained successful for more than 60 years because its principles are sound: it allows linemen to block "with advantage," (i.e., angles and double-teams), it "pulls" blockers to the point of attack to outnumber the defense, it employs deception to delay the defense's recognition as long as possible; and, because it’s “series football,” it puts defenders in positions of conflict - what they do to stop a particular play makes them vulnerable to others in the same series that look just like it.
 
It’s based in sound military principles, combining the best of the philosphies of three famous military strategists: John Singleton Mosby (a line is only as strong as it weakest point, and since the enemy can't possibly be stronger than us at every point,  we have to be quick enough and flexible enough to be able attack him where he's weakest); Basil Liddell Hart (don't let your initial movements reveal your intentions) ; Nathan Bedford Forrest (Git there the fustest with the mostest).
 
It’s a team offense, and it’s synergistic: its whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
 
Like the triple option, it’s difficult for opponents to prepare for because, just like the triple option, it’s unique - it’s different from anything else opponents see, and because opponents’ scout teams  can seldom give their defenses a quality "look" in practice.
 
Like the triple option, I think it helps a college’s recruiting chances.  It doesn’t require a pro prospect at quarterback,  it needs only one wide receiver,  it calls for three good backs (rather than one super back), and it can employ somewhat smaller linemen so long as they’re agile and they can run. There are a plenty of high school players who  aren't even being looked at by most FBS schools because they don't fit into the systems currently used - but could play in a Wing-T system. A Wing-T team would have its pick of the best of those kids.
 
As a bonus, it would make a college Wing-T program a mecca for hundreds and hundreds of high school wing-T coaches, in much the same way that Army and Navy  are for triple-option coaches.
 
It’s dismissed as a "high school offense." (In fact, as more and more high schools employ spread offenses, it’s even becoming rarer at that level.)  But that’s not because of its effectiveness.  It’s because like the triple option,  it’s not in the best interests of a coach's career plans to be typecast as a “wing-T coach.” In a profession wracked with paranoia about job security, coaches not only want to keep the job they already have, but almost as important, they want to be in position to get the next job. College coaches stay with the offenses they run because they know one thing’s certain:  at some point they’re going to move on or get fired.  And  the best way to get that next job is to be associated with an offense that everybody else knows and recognizes (and approves of).

*********** These NFL guys are so clueless.  There was Joe Buck, saying “These (Wild-Card weekend and next week’s round) are the best two weekends in football.”

Right, Joe.

Typical NFL attitude -  we ARE football, and OUR football is the greatest there is, and if you don’t believe that, don’t touch your set, because there’s something wrong with YOU.

Looking back,  we might not have thought this was such a crummy bowl season if we’d known what the NFL Wild Card games were going to look like. 

1. Colts-Chargers.  This was never a game. The Colts actually looked like a sharp NFL team. They rushed 35 times for 200 yards and piled up 26 first downs, building a 21-0 halftime lead. DeShaun Watson, meanwhile, was way off the mark on crucial throws. He threw 49 times and completed 29 passes, but for only 235 yards - and a puny average of 4.2 yards per attempt.

2. Seahawks-Cowboys.  Got to give the Cowboys credit. The Seahawks “rushed” 24 times for a total of 73 yards. On the other hand, Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 137 yards and with some running by Dak Prescott, the Cowboys rushed 34 times for 164 yards. It was your typical boring NFL first half: the score was 10-6 (three field goals and one touchdown). The Seahawks’offense wasn’t exactly scintillating: rush on first down, rush on second down, here’s hoping on third down.  Seahawks’ kicker Sebastian Janikowski pulled a hammy or some damn thing, and - this is hard to believe in a time on 53-man rosters - they had absolutely no one else who could even kick an extra point.  Not even the punter (whose passport I’d like to see just to make sure he’s Australian, after he pussed out faking tackles on two Dallas punt returns) who doesn’t really have anything else to do during practice except punt.  And when they needed an onside kick, why there he was, drop-kicking one thirty yards deep.

3. Chargers-Ravens.  God, what an awful game.  Six field goals and three touchdowns. Chargers led, 12-0 at the half, and it was 12-3 after three quarters.  Yes, yes, I know - Lamar Jackson got the Ravens there and all that, but he was horrible. Horrible.  I don’t think I saw a single college QB in all the bowl games play so poorly.  And there, as Ravens' fans booed lustily,  was Joe Flacco, one of the highest-paid QBs in the NFL, standing on the sidelines. Wouldn’t you love to know what he was thinking?  Wouldn't you love to have  had a direct  line to John Harbaugh? Might  you have used the phrase WTF at some point in your conversation?

4. Eagles-Bears. Another case of the first-half blahs: 6-3 at the half.  Hell, it was only 10-6 after three.  Talk about fireworks!  It did get a little better in the fourth quarter, and although I’m never disappointed when a kicker misses, I did feel bad for Bears’ fans, because I’ve been around them and I know their passon is every bit as great as that of Eagles’ fans.

*********** Go. Please go.

A Gallup poll shows that a record number of Americans want to leave the US.

And here’s one of the most encouraging things I’ve heard in recent years: 40 per cent of women under 30 said they’d move if they could.

You know the kind of females we’re talking about, right?   Surprise!  They’re largely motivated by their hatred of Donald Trump.

Canada is the destination most favored.

To help things along, I would be in favor of paying them some sort of severance, and  of providing foreign aid to Canada.  (Should would we let Canadian men know what they’re getting? Nah.  That might kill the deal.)

But just like all those actors and entertainers who’ve promised over the years that they’d leave if this Republican or that were elected, they’ll never go.

But it's a first step. Next time someone asks you what Trump has accomplished, tell them about this.


https://news.gallup.com/poll/245789/record-numbers-americans-leave.aspx

*********** It’s the NFL's  “We Ready” playoff promo and it makes me gnash my teeth.  I can just see myself walking into a locker room before a game and there the kids are, dressed and ready, jumping up and down like a bunch of jackasses and chanting:

We-e Ready
We-e Ready
We Ready
For Y’all.

I admit I live in a different universe, because coaches I've  known and admired - and coaches I still know and admire - have always done what they could to teach kids that boastfulness is unseemly in a man - not to mention that it can lead to some very humiliating moments.

And now, the NFL promotes this sh--.

Just last week, I featured a biblical quote:

"One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.” Ahab, King of Israel - 1 Kings 20:11

This wisdom is no less true in these days of unwarranted braggadocio than it was in the days of the old testament.

(Allowing for fact that there will be kids you'll coach who won’t get it, substitute “pads” for “armour.”)

Bill Curry, longtime coach and before that pro football center with the Packers and the Colts (Baltimore) told of what it used to be like in the Colts’ locker room before games:  first, the defensive captain would stand up and deliver a fiery speech.  Then, the offensive captain, Johnny Unitas, would simply say, “Talk’s cheap.  Let’s go play.”

*********** Most people in the US who’ve heard of Johns (yes, that “S” belongs there) Hopkins think “hospital.” Or “medical school.”

Perhaps if it weren’t for its world-renowned medical school and the hospital associated with it,  Johns Hopkins University, a small but elite private college in Baltimore, would be better known.

As a one-time Baltimorean, I can attest to its reputation for strong academics.  And good lacrosse teams.  Baltimore, with good reason, considers itself the cradle of the sport of lacrosse, and in the days when lacrosse was a relatively regional sport, the Hopkins Blue Jays won national title after national title.  Hopkins last won an NCAA title in 2007, but even now, as the sport grows in popularity and spreads geographically,  it remains competitive with the national powers - the Dukes, the Marylands, the Virginias, the Syracuses.

Football?  Well…

When I lived in Maryland, from the early 1960s through the mid-1970s, Hopkins was, let’s say,  not very good. Over a forty-year span, from the 1950s through the 1980s, they didn’t have a winning decade. They finished the 80s with a 36-56-1 record - .392.

Oh, well.  There was always lacrosse in the spring.

And then, in early 1990,  Hopkins hired Jim Margraff as their head coach.  He was an alumnus - he’d played quarterback there - and then he’d become a high school coach.  After two years he moved on to college coaching, and made a number of stops at FCS schools before coming to Hopkins.  He was 29 when he took the job.

Right from the start, good things happened. In his first season,  the Blue Jays went 5-4-1.

Over the next 28 years at Hopkins, he had a lot of good years.  He had only four losing seasons - all of them 4-6 - and in the last ten years the Blue Jays caught fire, winning 10 or more games eight times.

This past season, their eighth straight D-III playoff appearance, they went 12-2, losing to Mount Union in the D-III semifinals, 28-20.

The highlight of the playoff run was a 58-27 second round victory over Frostburg State in which  Hopkins scored 29 points in the third quarter.

His wife Alice told Long Island Newsday, “Just a couple weeks ago, he said ‘when I die I’ll see three things — my wedding day, my children being born, and the third quarter of the Frostburg game.”

Last Wednesday, to the shock of everyone who knew him,  Jim Margraff died of a heart attack.  He was 58.
He had just been named the 2018 national Coach of the Year by D3football.com.

He was obviously a good coach.  But you can’t fool D-III kids, who don’t have to play football in order to keep their scholarships.  By all accounts, he was also a great man.

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/jeff-seidel/2019/01/04/john-margraff-johns-hopkins-football/2477857002/

https://www.newsday.com/sports/college/college-football/jim-margraff-johns-hopkins-football-coach-dies-at-58-1.25531124


*********** Although I did get a bit tired of hearing Georgia boosters complain about how their (two-loss) team deserved to be in the Playoff, I won’t be persuaded to say that Texas’ great Orange Bowl win was anything other than Texas’ great overall play and not a letdown on Georgia’s part.  I’m inclined to give the Longhorns all the credit, but Tim Worley, a former Georgia great, isn’t buying.

Will Hawthorne of Columbia, South Carolina sent me this, calling it “a good read.”  He was right.  Agree or not, Worley makes some good points.

https://ugawire.com/2019/01/02/uga-football-legend-pens-frustration-with-teams-sugar-bowl-performance-leadership/


*********** I suppose Bevo or Ralphie will be next.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2019) - To celebrate its legacy in the sport, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will induct the Goodyear Blimp as an honorary member of the College Football Hall of Fame. The blimp will be the first non-player or coach to be inducted.

Or  will the Good Hands net be next?

*********** Why are the coaches gone, but not the GMs?

“See a pattern?” asks Jarrett Bell of USA Today:

Cardinals:  Head Coach Steve Wilks goes, GM Steve Keim stays.
Broncos: Head Coach Vance Joseph goes,  GM John Elway stays.
Jets: Todd Bowles goes,  GM Mike Maccagnan stays.
Buccaneers: Dirk Koetter goes, Jason Licht stays.

Writes Bell, “As fired coaches head into 2019 as symbols of failed opportunities — and please, let’s not forget about the tremendous ripple effect that includes assistant coaches and their families — it is more than merely striking that so many general manager and other power brokers with highbrow titles will keep collecting their paychecks while their fall guys search for new work.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/columnist/bell/2019/01/01/nfl-coach-firings-steve-wilks-vance-joseph-todd-bowles/2455288002/


*********** One reason Alabama has done so well is that the players WANT to play for Alabama.  No Lawrence Phillips types, please.

“The biggest mistake coaches make is taking borderline cases and trying to save them. I’m not talking about grades now, I’m talking about character. I want to know before a boy enrolls about his home life, and what his parents want him to be.”

Bear Bryant

It works in both directions.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

***********  West Virginia went through the motions in its bowl game against Syracuse on the 28th.  But then, it was playing without its star quarterback, Will Grier.  And who knows - maybe without its head coach, Dana Holgorsen.

Holgorsen is now signed, sealed and delivered to Houston as its new head coach.  Who knew how long he knew?

Until December 30, Houston had a coach - Major Applewhite.  Actually, he was probably a dead man walking after his team’s 70-point beat-down by Army on December 22, but he wasn’t actually fired until the 30th.

Holgorsen’s hiring was announced on January 2.

Why not sooner?  Well, if he’d signed before the 30th, it wouldn’t have looked right, taking the job when they still had a coach.  And if he left West Virginia before New Year’s day, he’d owe WVU $2.5 million in buyout money. 

But once that ball fell in Times Square, he’d “only” owe them $1 million.

So, like the cheater whose wife dies then waits a bit before going ahead and marrying his long-time mistress, Holgorsen also waited an appropriate amount of time - one entire day - after the first before making it official.

Not that the Houston people couldn’t have come up with the extra $1.5 million: they’re going to be paying him $4 million a year, by far the biggest salary of any Group of 5 coach.

It appears that one Tilman Fertitta had a large hand in the whole deal.  Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets and CEO of Landry’s, one of the country’s largest restaurant chains, happens to be the chairman of the University of Houston’s Board of Regents (trustees), and he’s said to be friendly with Holgorsen.  To say the least, he has the money to make things happen.  He is worth several billion, he has donated $20 million to the school in exchange for the naming rights to what was once the Hofheinz Center
- where Hakeem Olajuwan and Clyde Drexler once played - and is now the Fertittta Center.

Back in 2016, when Tom Herman appeared about to leave Houston for Texas, Fertitta said he’d do “whatever it takes” to keep him in Houston;  and he told a Houston TV station, “He’s not going to leave because of money.”

What does it say  when the head of a university’s board of regents personally elevates football to such a level of importance… when he basically hires the football coach who then, in essence, reports directly to him?

It says that we haven’t made much progress from that day in the 1950s when Dr. George Cross, President of the University of Oklahoma, asked by a state legislator why the university needed so much money, replied, only half-jokingly, “I would like to build a university of which the football team could be proud.”

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/25682806/the-billionaire-bold-move-houston-dana-holgorsen-hire

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

Have to admit I was surprised by UT's performance vs. Georgia.  I knew the Horns had talent on the offensive side of the ball, but I was skeptical that they could stop the Bulldog running game up front on D.  Texas just signed a great recruiting class, so they could be a viable contender for the National Championship starting next year and into the immediate future.

Obviously that same Georgia defense that put the clamps on Kentucky sensation Benny Snell did not show up for the Texas game.  Other than that one game vs. Georgia I would have to agree with you that Benny Snell is the real deal.

I watched very little of the Rose Bowl.  When the talking heads started their worship service for Urban Meyer I found other things to do.

UCF...welcome to Power Five football.

Is the TV insurance commercial you refer to the one about the adolescent girl who pitches to her dad take her to her friend's house while the dad is working in the yard?  And the dad ends up building her a swimming pool?   Well...after working in private schools for as long as I have, and a few of them with an abundance of entitled kids, I was reminded immediately of what I look forward to when this break is over.

I couldn't help but shed a tear when I heard the news about Tyler Trent.  It wasn't the first time either.

My two cents:

I think the NCAA did a disservice to their football playing members by requiring schools with DI basketball programs to declare their entire athletic departments to be DI if they wanted to field a DI basketball program.  By doing so they unwittingly created that "Group of Five" in football when FCS football schools decided they wanted a bigger slice of the pie.  Now...those schools face an uncertain future in football due in part to the playoff fiasco that has been created.

Eliminate the Power 5 conference teams from scheduling FCS schools.  That would eliminate strength of schedule issues in helping to determine a National Champion.  Schools cannot schedule more than 11 regular season games.  Each conference must have a championship game.  And teams must have at least 8 wins to qualify for a bowl game.  That would help eliminate all the worthless bowls of mediocre teams that pop-up each year (let the corporate suits fight over the few bowls remaining if they want to attach their names to them).  I think if they did this we would see an eventual championship matchup between the two best teams in the country EVERY YEAR that is determined on the field during the season. AND other deserving teams being rewarded with a post-season bowl opportunity.  This would also help eliminate the "everybody gets a trophy" mentality that is ruining this game.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

D-1 Basketball schools do have to play D-1 football, but they can play in FCS.  One prominent example is Villanova.  An unintended consequence of not letting Power 5 teams schedule FCS would be bankrupting  FCS athletic departments, who depend on those big guarantees.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:   Today, January 4, is Johnny Lujack's birthday.  He is 94.  He was born in 1925 in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, and he's the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner.

He was president of his high school class and class valedictorian.  In both high school and college he won letters in four sports - football, basketball, baseball and track.  He was the youngest of four brothers, and for 14 straight years there was at least one of them playing football for the Connellsville Cokers. (Coke, produced by cooking  coal,  is used in the production of steel.)

He received an appointment to West Point, but he chose Notre Dame instead, much to the consternation of many local people and of the congressman who had announced the appointment at his high school graduation.

At Notre Dame, with freshmen ineligible, he first came to the attention of the varsity coaches with his hard htting on defense. And then,  with the start of the season,  he was the marked man on the scout team, imitating the opposing team’s tailback when the Irish were preparing for a single wing team, and its quarterback when preparing for a T-formation team.

In his sophomore year, with World War II going on, he took over as starting quarterback after starter Angelo Bertelli was called up by the Marines six games into the season and, running Frank Leahy’s newly-installed T formation to near-perfection, he led the Irish to the 1943 national championship.

Then,  after two years’ wartime service in the Navy, he returned to quarterback the Irish to two more national championships, in 1946 and 1947.  During that time Notre Dame didn’t lose a game.

But it did tie one - a famous 0-0 tie with Army, also unbeaten.  Playing both ways,  it was his open field tackle on Army’s All-American fullback, Doc Blanchard that preserved the tie - and the national title that followed.

He was a two-time unanimous All-American and was the second Notre Dame player ever to win the Heisman Trophy.

He was as popular and well-known as a college football player could get.

He was a first-round pick of the Chicago Bears, and played four years with them.

In his rookie year, 1948, he and a young Texan named Bobby Layne backed up starting quarterback Sid Luckman, but he played defensive back and had eight interceptions.
 
Unhappy with having to pay big money ($20,000 each) to two backup quarterbacks, Bears’ owner-coach George Halas sold Layne for $50,000 and two draft choices, and then he drafted a young quarterback from Kentucky named George Blanda.

In 1949 he took over as the Bears’ starting quarterback, and in the final game of the season, playing against the Bears’ crosstown rivals, the Chicago Cardinals, he set NFL records with six touchdown passes and 468 yards passing. For good measure, he kicked all seven extra points in the Bears’ 52-21 win.  For the season, he led the NFL in yards passing, completions, and touchdown passes.

He was one of the best all-around players in the league, and one of the last true two-way players, but it cost him. He injured his shoulder playing defense. Shoulder surgery was not done as it is now, and in 1950, although still hampered by the injured shoulder,  he threw for 1731 yards and his 11 rushing touchdowns set an NFL record for quarterbacks. He set a Bears’ record for points scored - 109  - with 11 touchdowns, three field goals and 34 extra points, and was named All-Pro.

In 1951, now bothered by two bad shoulders, he managed to lead the team in points scored, passing yards, touchdowns passing and touchdowns rushing.  He retired at the end of the season, and despite the Bears’ officially claiming that it was because of his injury, the reality appears to be that he fulfilled his four-year contract and was unwilling to play any more for Halas.  Unable to go elsewhere to play in those days before free agency, he accepted Frank Leahy’s offer to coach with him at Notre Dame.  In 1953, part of his assignment was working with a promising freshman quarterback from Lousville named Paul Hornung.

When Leahy retired following the 1953 season his name was mentioned as a possible successor, and there are those who maintain that Leahy wanted him to be the next Notre Dame coach.

Instead, new Notre Dame president Father Theodore Hesburgh favored another former Irish player, Terry Brennan.  Brennan was 25 years old with one year of college coaching experience with the Notre Dame freshmen.

Brennan  did all right overall - 32-18. But after starting out 9-1 and 8-2, he went 15-15 over his last three seasons, and after five years he was let go.

(He was succeeded by Joe Kuharich, who lasted four years and left with a 17-23 record to conclude the lowest period in Irish football history.)

Our man, meanwhile, left football and embarked on a long, successful business career, and also did TV analysis on college football broadcasts for a number of years.  

Over the years, he has donated money to endow a scholarship at Notre Dame,  and to help build a field house at Connellsville High School.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Polish-American sports Hall of Fame.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHNNY LUJACK

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA


*********** Mark Kaczmarek, who lives - and taught and coached - in Davenport Iowa, where Johnny Lujack lived, writes:
 
Easy one for the Quad Cities & anyone who has purchased a car in the QCA...Johnny Lujack...Was able to meet Mr. Lujack a number of times & taught 3 of his grandchildren at Assumption H.S....His grandson Grant Pohlmann was a 3-year starter for the Knights in the 90s before going on to play at Drake.  He had an affinity for me as a fellow Pole, especially when I said "Jak sie masz" when I 1st met him...This was WAY TOO a familiar form of How ya doin', but I got away with it.

*********** (Sent by Greg Koenig) Check This Out: The Johnny Lujack Story - a look at him then and now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOwja8TSd0Q

*********** QUIZ:  He was an All-American center, and in his senior year he was captain of his University of California football team. 

But he’s best known for what happened to him in the Rose Bowl game following his junior season.   (We’re talking about the days, long before there was a Super Bowl, when the Rose Bowl was by far football’s biggest game.)  In the second quarter, playing defense as what was then called “roving center” (the forerunner of today’s Middle Linebacker position) he picked up a Georgia Tech fumble on the Tech 30 and, after being knocked off course, set out for the goal line - his own goal line, 70 yards away.

He made it all of 69 yards before being tackled from behind by a teammate - on his own one-yard line.

The Cal coach, choosing to play it safe, called for a punt on first down, but it was blocked by Tech, resulting in a safety.

Unfortunately for him and for Cal, the Bears, lost, 8-7, the safety providing the margin of victory for Georgia Tech, which finished undefeated at 10-0 and won the national championship.

Humiliated by his mistake, he at first refused to return to play in the second half, but after being persuaded by his coach to do so, he played, and played well.  His teammates honored him by electing him captain, and he played so well his senior year that he was named All-American.

But the Rose Bowl was THE Big Game of the year, broadcast coast-to-coast on the radio, and his blunder made headlines all over the country and earned him a derogatory nickname that haunted him for years.

He showed such grace in dealing with his setback that the way in which he dealt with it  has been used often as an illustration of resilience by motivational speakers.

Years later, after Alabama’s Tommy Lewis made headlines for leaving the sideline to tackle Rice’s Dicky Moegle as he was on his way to what was awarded by penalty as a 95-yard touchdown run in the 1954 Cotton Bowl, he was asked what advice he’d give young Mr. Lewis.

“Laugh with them - that’s all you’ve got to do,” he said. “He’ll hear about it for a long time.  But what the heck difference does it make?  It’s just a football game.”

Fifty years after that Rose Bowl game, he accepted an invitation by Georgia Tech football alums to come to Atlanta, where they awarded him an honorary “GT” monogram.



american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 4,  2019   "Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen."  George Savile

EXTRA!!!

With Alabama and Clemson playing each other for the fourth straight year (yawn), the only college football I had to look forward to  was Eastern Washngton against North Dakota State (Saturday - at 9 AM Pacific!!) and Alabama-Clemson IV on Coaches Film Room.  If you missed it, it's a collection of college coaches  sitting at a table and watching the game - the same one we're watching - and commenting.  It is spontaneous, it is real, and it is insightful.  Sometimes, it's hilarous.

Now, no doubt someone at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut saw this and thought that sort of format would be a great way to  expose new viewers to their regular Monday Night NFL crew - who they're already paying, anyhow.  So instead of college football coaches, we're going to get - Booger and Whitten.

Several problems with the idea:

The Monday night crew is Pro guys.   The suits in Bristol think that football is football, but to many of us, there is the NFL and there is the rest of us. There are those of us who love high school and college football passionately and deeply resent the dismissive attitude of of the NFL and its announcers toward the anything that;'s not NFL.  They're ignorant of our football and, what's worse,  they seem to delight in that ignorance. So they're going to throw a bunch of college coaches overboard and give us Jason Whitten and Booger McFarland, who know only pro football,  and know it only as ex-players?

Their argument is specious.  They say that they couldn't get coaches on short notice. (How long has this game been scheduled?) They say that with the game being played in California whie at the same time the AFCA (Coaches) convention is taking place in San Antonio, the  logistics made it impossible to get coaches. (Bull. There's no need for the coaches to leave San Antonio. The whole deal could be done from a studio in San Antonio. They'd be watching the game anyhow, so why not do it with a bunch of other coaches, and pick up a nice check for doing it?  Besides, while the convention's going on, there's a moratorium on recruting - but are you telling me it's not recruiting when a coach is seen on TV by recruits all over the country?

Hmmm.  Is it possible that underyling this all is a complaint to the NCAA about unfair recruting advantage?

BAD ENOUGH THAT ESPN HAS REPLACED "COACHES FILM ROOM "WITH WHITTEN AND BOOGER - BUT THEY DID IT LATE AT NIGHT, AFTER MY DEADLINE.  BASTARDS.


*********** In Scandinavia, it’s been called “Going into the tunnel” - entering the long, hard winter, with its dark, dreary days.

Begging their pardon, but they don’t know what a tunnel is - unless they’ve also come to the end of a college football season.

Talk about long and hard. Talk about dark and dreary.

Unless you count playoffs - pro, almost-pro, and FCS - it’s all over.  It’s not as if we’re going into that tunnel with a host of great bowl memories, either.  And please don’t try to make me feel better by mentioning the XFL.

Meanwhile, here in the Northwest, the local forecast calls for seven straight days of rain.

Not whining, you understand.  Not about the weather, anyhow. 

*********** Texas’ win over Georgia was possibly the most impressive performance of the bowl season.  Look out, Big 12.  With all their resources (such as the Longhorn Network) they are going to be hard to dislodge once they get to the top.  It’s the way we West Coasters feel about USC making it back.

*********** A Wall Street Journal article may have found a major reason why Alabama is the great program that it is: a smaller percentage of its seniors leave early than from any other program.  What that means, of course, is that Alabama not only recruits well and coaches well - but it gets an extra year of play out of those well-recruited, well-coached players.  And in that extra year, they’re almost certainly at their very best.

Reading that, I couldn’t help wondering how much of the early leaving and bowl bailing we’re seeing is attributable to recruiting substandard people in the first place and then providing them with poor leadership.

*********** I really liked watching Kentucky’s Benny Snell.  Heck of a player and really good in the post-game interview.

*********** UCF built up a lot of popular support over the last year or so, largely because America loves an underdog, and then  in one afternoon squandered it all against LSU. My warm and fuzzy feelngs for them went right out the window after the first dirty hit on the LSU quarterback, and I soon found myself pulling for the Tigers to whip their asses.

*********** People from other parts of the country will be excused if they don’t know that it’s the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars, and not the other way around, and it can get confusing at times like Tuesday when it was Washington, not Washington State, that “Couged it”  in the Rose Bowl.

It was a massive step back for the Pac-12 to watch the way Ohio State mistreated its champion, and I had to laugh reading the local newspaper accounts of Washington’s 28-23 loss. Looking at the score, you’d think it was close, wouldn’t you? That’s the spin our papers put on it, focused on the 20-0 fourth quarter in which Washington staged a nice comeback, instead of the 28-3 first three quarters during which Ohio State nearly ran them out of the Rose Bowl. 

Please.  It sure appeared to me that Ohio State took their foot off the pedal. 

I had grown sick up to here with all the pregame media stories trying to morph Urban Meyer into a sympathetic character riding off into the sunset, and the Huskies’ early ineptness especially annoyed me because by halftime it was obvious I wasn’t going to see him ride off a loser.

*********** Anybody else notice how many times the TV cameras missed the snap in the Rose Bowl game because the director was busy showing us replays/graphics/crowd shots?

*********** Those of us who think that bowl bailers may be revealing something about their character will find Randy Shannon in agreement.

Shannon, former Miami head coach and currently DC at UCF, believes that they might one day find reasons not to suit up when they’re in the pros.

One day, he told ESPN, “ the NFL is going to have to make a decision. If you draft a young man that leaves early and now you're not a playoff team, that young man [is] going to say, 'I'm not going to play.' Same situation. Right, wrong or indifferent."

He said he’s reminded of Jimmy Johnson, his coach when he played at Miami.  He remembers Johnson saying that players who make mistakes off the field will make the same mistakes on the field.

Another Johnson saying that Shannon remembers: "What you see is what you're going to get. So don't cover up your eyes and say, 'I can change him.'"

Shannon said that applies to recruiting: ”You see things in recruiting and you say, 'Oh, I can change him. Oh, I can change him.'

"If the guy's been doing that for 18 years, there's nothing you can change about him."

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/25634322/randy-shannon-ucf-knights-says-players-skip-bowl-games-likely-tank-nfl


MD wide tackle six

*********** I took these screen shots from a video I have of the 1983 Maryland-West Virginia game.

Maryland (in red) is shown playing the wide-tackle six that Jerry Claiborne brought with him from Virginia Tech in 1972.  Maryland at this time was was coached by Bobby Ross, who had coached linebackers under Coach Claiborne.  Maryland’s QB was Boomer Esiason. 

West Virginia was coached by Don Nehlen; its QB was Jeff Hostetler, who would become Coach Nehlen’s son-in-law.

The two teams were both good.  Maryland finished 8-4, West Virginia 9-3.  West Virginia won this game, 31-21.

The wide-tackle six is a bend-but-don’t-break defense. It's heavy on the technique.  Played well, it may give up yardage - grudgingly - but done well, it won’t give up the big play. Along the same lines as a grind-it-out, ball-control offense, it requires patience and persistence.  And an emphasis on consistency.  In today’s instant gratification society, few guys could run this without panicking.

***********  Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune nailed it.

Ohio State's Urban Meyer is teaching leadership and character? Seriously?

What’s that look on your face?

Just because it seemed like Meyer, at last check, still had a few things to learn on this subject?

Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business apparently believes the world needs more MBAs thinking and acting like football coaches in general and Meyer specifically.

It explained in a statement Thursday: “Urban Meyer brings extensive leadership experience and a unique perspective to students seeking to engage with top leaders.”

“Unique perspective” is a great way to put it so long as “unique” is emphasized over “perspective.”

1. When at least 25 workers under you are arrested or charged during your six years in a previous job, this is an example of:
A. Character.
B. Leadership.
C. Who cares? The Florida Gators won two national titles in their six seasons under Meyer.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-urban-meyer-ohio-state-leadership-20181221-story.html


*********** PETA is making noise about the pre-game intro-of mascots-gone-wrong between UGA, the Georgia bulldog, and Bevo, the Texas Longhorn.

I advise them to stop worrying about that dog.  He was smart enough to get out of the way. 

And there’s definitely no need to worry about Bevo.

I’d say what’s needed is some kind of society to advocate for Dumbasses, because the way that bigass steer was swinging those horns, it’s a miracle none of the fools getting in close for photos didn’t get thrown up into the cheap seats.

https://www.foxnews.com/sports/peta-calls-on-texas-georgia-to-end-live-mascot-use-after-sugar-bowl-incident

*********** Some day I’ll learn what happened to Ross Bowers.

In the words of the Cal student newspaper, “Bowers’ career at Cal has been unusual.”

It’s also over.  Prior to Cal’s loss to TCU, Bowers, who started all 12 games in 2017 as Cal’s quarterback, announced that he planned to transfer.

He was dumped after one half of this past year’s opener, and never played another down.

The TCU loss, if you watched, was all the evidence you needed that Cal did not replace him with anything better.

I’m prejudiced.  Ross Bowers, now a former Cal quarterback, is from Bothell, Washington, where he led his high school team to a state title.   His dad, a college coach, is a native of Hagerstown, Maryland,  where I first coached, and he once admitted that as a kid growing up he used to go watch my team’s games.

The kid waited his turn at Cal, and last season he started all 12 games, completing 272 of 461 passing attempts (3039 yards) for 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.  He is one of seven quarterbacks in Cal football history to pass for more than 3000 yards.  He led Cal to a 37-3 upset win over Washington State, then ranked 8th in the nation.

Kind of sad to think of a kid transferring from one of the top academic colleges in the country, but I can’t say I blame him.

It’s not as if it was a clear knockout, either.   Cal’s offense has sucked all season, and quarterback play has been a major part of the problem.

Someday, I’ll find out.

*********** Does Northwestern Mutual really think it’s a good idea to portray young girls as spoiled little brats?

*********** Does anybody else think that Mayhem has jumped the shark and it’s time to retire his ass?

*********** Steelers’ camp (in Latrobe, PA) ought to be fun next summer if Antonio Brown is still on the squad. 

The Steelers so f—ked up and management waited so long that it’s too late to can Brown’s Great Enabler - aka Mike Tomlin - because with eight other teams looking for coaches, it’s not a time to be in the market.

https://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2019/1/2/18164161/steelers-news-ryan-clark-paints-ugly-picture-of-antonio-brown-as-a-teammate-mike-tomlin-trade-rumors

*********** The news that Tyler Trent died was not unexpected, but that doesn’t make it any less sad.

He was 20, and he’d been seriously ill for some time.

What made him part of a national story was his love for Purdue, and the way the Purdue team responded to him and his devotion to them.

Those of you who watched the Purdue-Ohio State game saw him and know how much the upset win by his beloved Boilermakers meant to him.


*********** Sad that so many college football players are jerks…

From the National Football Foundation…

  Clemson defensive end Christian Wilkins, who early last month claimed the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation, will become the first recipient of the coveted award to appear in a College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, which this year will feature No. 1 Alabama (14-0) against the No. 2 Tigers (14-0) at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Jan. 7.

The milestone creates a unique confluence of events as the recipient of the Campbell Trophy has been recognized on the field between the first and second quarters of the national title game since the 2013 season. Previous recipients have all appeared on the field with NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell for a special presentation during the game.

"Understanding the symbolism of the Campbell Trophy, the leaders of the CFP have been fabulous partners in creating a tradition to showcase the winner each year," said Hatchell. "Obviously, we now have a few new details to iron out since Christian will be playing in the game, but we could not be more thrilled to shine a light on him and all he represents during the events surrounding the national championship. Christian is destined for great things in life."

The New York Times  profiled Wilkins before the semifinal game, highlighting the possibility that the three-time All-American defensive end could play Jan. 7 in the title game as well as be honored as the Campbell Trophy recipient.

"I hope I can come out and get honored in my uniform. That would be pretty cool. Maybe we'll find a bow tie or a big blazer to throw over me," Wilkins joked with New York Times reporter Marc Tracy.
 
As Clemson now prepares to face Alabama in Santa Clara, current plans call for a video tribute, which will not require Wilkins' participation, in the traditional slot between the first and second quarters. Coach Dabo Swinney, who will have his team focused on the game at that moment, has a deep appreciation for the award.

"I was so excited when he first got the call that he was a finalist," said Swinney in an interview after Wilkins won the award in New York City. "We do a video of the day, and that was the video of the day [click to watch]. I wanted the team to know. I wanted everybody to know. This is a big deal. I don't do it for any other award... They're all great, but they're all football awards....
 
"But to me, this is the epitome for what we want our program to be about, and that is truly valuing the journey over the result or whatever, the destination, and valuing education and how that empowers you for the rest of your life, and valuing all the things that you are there to tap into from career development to social development, life skills, networking, relationships and Christian is the epitome of that."
 
Wilkins became the first scholarship player in Clemson football history to finish school in two and a half years, earning a bachelor's degree in communication studies with a 3.33 GPA. Last month, he added a master's degree in athletic leadership to his list of classroom accomplishments, receiving two degrees in just three and a half years. His academic accolades, along with being a three-time First Team All-American (unanimous in 2018) and his multiple contributions as a leader in the community, made him the 29th recipient of the trophy, which he accepted Dec 4 at NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City [click to watch his acceptance speech].

"My name's going to be on the accomplishment, but awards like this you don't win on your own," Wilkins said during his acceptance speech. "It takes a lot of people just pushing you in the right direction and guiding you...I definitely want to thank my family because the odds were against me my whole life. I'm from a broken home with a single mother. This wasn't supposed to be me up here. It was my mom and other siblings who drove home the value of an education and doing what's right."

"Football is such a great game," Wilkins continued. "It really brings a lot of people together, no matter your upbringing, no matter your circumstance. No matter what you've been through in life, it brings everyone together. We're all guys from all different walks of life and different backgrounds, but through the game of football we were able to be seen as equals. Where we come from, that doesn't matter. We're all here tonight to be honored and be up for the same award."

Wilkins has led the Tigers to the CFP playoffs the past four years, including a thrilling 35-31 victory over Alabama in the title game following the 2016 season. A projected top ten NFL Draft pick this spring, Wilkins had the chance to turn pro last year, but he opted to return for his final year of eligibility with the Tigers despite many people believing he would leave.
 
"First of all, he loves the experience, he just loves college and his teammates," said Swinney in commenting on Wilkins' surprise return. "He's one of those guys who is a deep thinker. He's a big perspective guy. He said 'Coach I am going to play pro football for a long time. I won't get a chance to play college anymore, and that's how he thinks, with a sense of perspective. He's not in a hurry with life. He just truly enjoys his life...
 
"It's so hard to do what's he has done, first of all, but then he has done it with this amazing flare. You know, he makes it look so easy, and he makes it look like so much fun because it truly is him. He's just one of the easiest people to be around on a day-to-day basis, and he challenges his teammates. He truly sets the standard."

*********** My friend Mike Foristiere, who coaches in Topeka, Kansas told me about a conversation he had over Christmas with his son, Randy. He told Randy what he wanted his assistant coaches to learn about their jobs this winter, and Randy said, “Dad, have them teach you the way they’re going to teach it, so it meets your expectations.”

Wrote Mike, “Weird that this comes from a 22-year-old who shouldn’t know these things.  But then again…”

Yeah, “then again.”  What Mike didn’t have to tell me was that this particular 22-year-old is a first classman (senior) at West Point, a place that knows a few things about leadership and training the people under you.

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

Just read that ticket prices for the CFP Championship game are now being drastically reduced.  What idiot came up with the bright idea of playing the Championship game in the San Francisco Bay Area in the first place??  First of all I'm not sure that there are a ton of Alabama or Clemson Alums that live out that way.  Bay Area football fans...well...if it's not the 49ers playing for a Super Bowl...well...they are Bay Area football fans...won't be many there.  Outdoor stadium.  Holds only 70,000.  Getting to San Jose is a challenge.  Hotel rooms are astronomical.  Getting to Levi's stadium for a 5:00 PST start will be a nightmare.  While the start time, and day, may not matter much to Alabama or Clemson fans how many college football fans in the eastern and central time zones will be staying up late on Monday night to watch another Alabama-Clemson game??  Once at the stadium the cost of parking, food and beverages is ridiculous.  And aside from all of that...they are predicting rain on game day!

There are only four feasible venues for that game.  Phoenix.  Dallas.  New Orleans.  Atlanta.

Especially so if schools from the South or Midwest will likely always play in that particular game.

We are witnessing the demise of football as we have known it.

Watching the ND game it became painfully obvious to me how far the Irish need to go in order to compete at the same level of Clemson and Alabama.  It has everything to do with depth.  While ND can attract some of this country's brightest and best student-athletes to play football, there are only so many of them to go around.  Stanford, Northwestern, Duke, and others of that same ilk are now competing and taking the same type of athlete.  It's fair to say that Notre Dame competes with Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Georgia (to name a few) for a few of the same guys those schools recruit, but overall ND isn't able to even consider recruiting most of the same guys they recruit.  ND will continue making a valiant effort to win a Nat'l Championship, but I truly believe that the Irish glory days of playing for numerous National Championships are behind them.  Top 10 finishes every year would be nothing to sneeze at.

The hidden setback of that Clemson beatdown of Notre Dame is the likelihood that no matter how good the Irish are next year I'm afraid the powers that be will now hesitate to consider the Irish to be one of the top 4 teams in the country.

I think Clemson will beat Alabama.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

Right on all counts.  A friend just told me about his niece in South Carolina who has four tickets on the Clemson side that she can’t give away.

The suits and the TV people and the NFL stadium owners are out to ruin our game.

How can we wrest it back from their greedy hands?


*********** Hello Coach

Hope you had a great Christmas.

Your take on expanding the FBS playoffs is as blunt as it is true (and funny).  I was thinking the same thing as I watched Bama and Clemson maul their opponents with better players, what is the point of more?  I suppose the only argument that matters to the higher-ups is more dollars from ESPN.  Yuck.

The FCS playoffs are very bloated with extra teams that need/should not be there.  I think less than a decade ago they expanded the field from 16 to 24 teams, apparently the NCAA made some rule requiring tournaments to have a minimum number of "at large" participants, hence the reason for expanding.  Obviously they made sure this didn't apply to the big boys in the P5.

The quiz answer is Century Milstead.  Quite a name!  I was curious if he was of Scandinavian ancestry since "stead" is part of his surname, although Norwegian surnames are usually spelled "sted".  I didn't find anything of Century's ethnic background, however his resting place is in Valhalla, New York!  Probably a coincidence.

Take Care,

Mat Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota

Coach,

Happy New Year.

Hope that NDSU doesn’t blow out EWU!

Bloat?  I’ve seen in happen in basketball.

I’m old enough to remember the days when only conference champions qualified for the NCAA basketball tournament. I believe that was 16 teams. It often meant that a conference’s regular-season champion stayed home while its post-season tournament winner went to the tournament (when it was two different teams). People whined - sometimes rightly - and they kept expanding the tournament. Now, it’s 68 teams (or maybe more?) and people still whine.

You would think that this year’s semifinal fiasco would cause people to back off talk about going to 8 teams, but the talk continues. Do you suppose that money has anything to do with it?


*********** What if the playoffs were like Speed Dating?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5q8l4YFS4Mk&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR34mI4yz-hGH8gZJAz-sjev4OHTh2cIm-nnIXP18ZoehsC96MhniF0YCU8

*********** BASED ON THEIR BOWL PERFORMANCES

(1) TOP TWO
Alabama, Clemson

FROM THE REST OF THE FIELD, PLEASE FIND ME SIX TEAMS THAT WOULD HAVE FILLED OUT ANY 8-TEAM PLAYOFF WITH ANY CHANCE AT ALL OF BEATING ALABAMA OR CLEMSON

(2) NEXT FOUR - CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR (IN THIS ORDER)

Texas
Ohio State
Georgia
Oklahoma

(3) GOOD TEAMS THAT HAD GOOD BOWL WINS, BUT OTHERWISE…

Appalachian State
Army
Auburn
Baylor
BYU
Cincinnati
Duke
FIU
Florida
Fresno State
Georgia Southern
Iowa
Kentucky
Louisiana Tech
LSU
Marshall
Minnesota
Northwestern
Ohio
Oklahoma State
Syracuse
Texas A & M
Troy
Tulane
Utah State
Virginia
Wake Forest
Washington State
Wisconsin


(4) DECENT TEAMS THAT MADE A GAME OF IT BUT STILL LOST…

Buffalo
Eastern Michigan
Iowa State
Memphis
Mississippi State
Missouri
Penn State
Toledo
UCF
Utah
Vanderbilt
Virginia Tech
Washington

(5) MEH - HARD TO TELL THE WINNERS FROM THE LOSERS

Arkansas State
Cal
Michigan State
Nevada
Oregon
Pitt
Stanford
TCU
UAB

(6) SPECIAL MENTION

Boise State
Boston College

(7) TEAMS THAT MAYBE SHOULD HAVE ASKED THEIR PLAYERS TO VOTE  ON WHETHER TO PLAY

Arizona State
Georgia Tech
Hawaii
Houston
Louisiana
Miami
Michigan
Middle Tennessee
NC State
North Texas
Northern Illinois
Notre Dame
Purdue
San Diego State
South Carolina
South Florida
Temple
USF
West Virginia
Western Michigan


***********  QUIZ ANSWER:  Century Milstead was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now a part of Pittsburgh, on January 1, 1901,  and became an All-America lineman at Yale.

He was very big for the time - 6-4 and at least 220.

He first played at Wabash, and according to one story, when Wabash played a game at West Point he came to the attention of Army coach Charlie Daly, who mentioned him to Yale coach Tad Jones.  Another version has Yale scouts, looking at Army, reporting back on the giant lineman from Wabash.

However it came about, it appears that the Ivies did a bit of recruiting back then, because after a brief stay at Syracuse he wound up transferring to Yale.

With a year off to get his grades up, during which time he terrorized the Yale varsity in scrimmages, he stepped into the starting lineup in 1923.  That Yale team would go  undefeated, with wins over the likes of Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Army, in addition to the usual Ivy rivals, and he was named All-American.

Following graduation, he joined the New York Giants, playing on their very first team in 1925.    He was on the field December 6, 1925 when Red Grange (who had only recently turned pro following the end of his college season at Illinois) and the Chicago Bears made a stop in New York to play the Giants on a barnstorming tour.  The chance to see the great Grange in the flesh drew 73,000 people to the Polo Grounds, saving Giants’ owner Tim Mara’s financial bacon.

Following the season, he jumped to the Philadelphia Quakers in the new American Football League, formed by Grange’s agent.  The Quakers won the AFL championship in what would be the league’s only season of existence, and he then moved back to the Giants where he played two more seasons before embarking on a career in business.

He served as a major in the Army in World War II.

In 1977 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

His unusual first name was given him because he was born on the first day of the new century - January 1, 1901.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CENTURY MILSTEAD

BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MAT HEDGER - LANGDON, NORTH DAKOTA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA



*********** QUIZ:   Today, January 4, is his birthday.  He is 94.  He was born in 1925 in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, and he's the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner.

He was president of his high school class and class valedictorian.  In both high school and college he won letters in four sports - football, basketball, baseball and track.  He was the youngest of four brothers, and for 14 straight years there was at least one of them playing football for the Connellsville Cokers. (Coke, produced by cooking  coal,  is used in the production of steel.)

He received an appointment to West Point, but he chose Notre Dame instead, much to the consternation of many local people and of the congressman who had announced the appointment at his high school graduation.

At Notre Dame, with freshmen ineligible, he first came to the attention of the varsity coaches with his hard htting on defense. And then,  with the start of the season,  he was the marked man on the scout team, imitating the opposing team’s tailback when the Irish were preparing for a single wing team, and its quarterback when preparing for a T-formation team.

In his sophomore year, with World War II going on, he took over as starting quarterback after starter Angelo Bertelli was called up by the Marines six games into the season and, running Frank Leahy’s newly-installed T formation to near-perfection, he led the Irish to the 1943 national championship.

Then,  after two years’ wartime service in the Navy, he returned to quarterback the Irish to two more national championships, in 1946 and 1947.  During that time Notre Dame didn’t lose a game.

But it did tie one - a famous 0-0 tie with Army, also unbeaten.  Playing both ways,  it was his open field tackle on Army’s All-American fullback, Doc Blanchard that preserved the tie - and the national title that followed.

He was a two-time unanimous All-American and was the second Notre Dame player ever to win the Heisman Trophy.

He was as popular and well-known as a college football player could get.

He was a first-round pick of the Chicago Bears, and played four years with them.

In his rookie year, 1948, he and a young Texan named Bobby Layne backed up starting quarterback Sid Luckman, but he played defensive back and had eight interceptions.
 
Unhappy with having to pay big money ($20,000 each) to two backup quarterbacks, Bears’ owner-coach George Halas sold Layne for $50,000 and two draft choices, and then he drafted a young quarterback from Kentucky named George Blanda.

In 1949 he took over as the Bears’ starting quarterback, and in the final game of the season, playing against the Bears’ crosstown rivals, the Chicago Cardinals, he set NFL records with six touchdown passes and 468 yards passing. For good measure, he kicked all seven extra points in the Bears’ 52-21 win.  For the season, he led the NFL in yards passing, completions, and touchdown passes.

He was one of the best all-around players in the league, and one of the last true two-way players, but it cost him. He injured his shoulder playing defense. Shoulder surgery was not done as it is now, and in 1950, although still hampered by the injured shoulder,  he threw for 1731 yards and his 11 rushing touchdowns set an NFL record for quarterbacks. He set a Bears’ record for points scored - 109  - with 11 touchdowns, three field goals and 34 extra points, and was named All-Pro.

In 1951, now bothered by two bad shoulders, he managed to lead the team in points scored, passing yards, touchdowns passing and touchdowns rushing.  He retired at the end of the season, and despite the Bears’ officially claiming that it was because of his injury, the reality appears to be that he fulfilled his four-year contract and was unwilling to play any more for Halas.  Unable to go elsewhere to play in those days before free agency, he accepted Frank Leahy’s offer to coach with him at Notre Dame.  In 1953, part of his assignment was working with a promising freshman quarterback from Lousville named Paul Hornung.

When Leahy retired following the 1953 season his name was mentioned as a possible successor, and there are those who maintain that Leahy wanted him to be the next Notre Dame coach.

Instead, new Notre Dame president Father Theodore Hesburgh favored another former Irish player, Terry Brennan.  Brennan was 25 years old with one year of college coaching experience with the Notre Dame freshmen.

Brennan  did all right overall - 32-18. But after starting out 9-1 and 8-2, he went 15-15 over his last three seasons, and after five years he was let go.

(He was succeeded by Joe Kuharich, who lasted four years and left with a 17-23 record to conclude the lowest period in Irish football history.)

Our man, meanwhile, left football and embarked on a long, successful business career, and also did TV analysis on college football broadcasts for a number of years.  

Over the years, he has donated money to endow a scholarship at Notre Dame,  and to help build a field house at Connellsville High School.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Polish-American sports Hall of Fame.


american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 1,  2019   "One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.” Ahab, King of Israel - 1 Kings 20:11

*********** It’s fashionable to pile on Notre Dame after the way Clemson mauled them Saturday. Some people are calling the Irish imposters.  Some are saying they were “exposed.” 

Not me.  I’m no Notre Dame lover - my credentials in that area are solid -  but  I say they were simply beaten by a much better team. 

But then, so, too, was Oklahoma, which only by the grace of God and a mid-game snooze by Alabama escaped a beating of epic dimensions.  Yet I don’t hear anybody belittling the Sooners, overmatched as they were.  No, I actually heard someone say that they “got started late.”

Bullsh—.  Let’s be frank:  Notre Dame didn’t belong in the playoff, and neither did Oklahoma. Sorry, Ohio State and Georgia fans,  neither did anybody  except Alabama and Clemson.

If anything was exposed, it was the whole concept of a four-team “playoff,” when it ought to be clear to anybody who follows college football that Alabama and Clemson are in a class by themselves. 

An 8-team playoff? Are you serious?  You really want to see Clemson play Michigan? That’s what the first round would look like.  Anybody who’s seen what happens to North Dakota State’s opponents in the early rounds of the FCS playoffs understands what would happen if #1 (Alabama) were to meet #8 (UCF - sorry, folks) and #2 (Clemson) were to play #7 (Michigan).

As it was set up, Notre Dame belonged in a four-team playoff. ND was undefeated, and ND played a 2018 schedule that in most years would be called a killer. Six of its opponents - half of its schedule - could fairly be called football elite: FSU, Michigan, Northwestern, Stanford, USC and Virginia Tech. Years ago, when they were scheduled, the Irish had no idea that all six of them would have off years in 2018.

Another four of the Irish opponents are not exactly weaklings: Pitt, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.

The final two are Navy and Ball State. Navy, while it will never have Notre Dame’s talent, nevertheless always gives the Irish a game.  Ball State is a MAC school, an FBS team.  I don’t believe that Notre Dame has ever played an FCS opponent.

While we’re on the subject of schedules, let’s take a peek behind the curtain at the scam that the SEC and the ACC perpetrate.

First of all, they play just eight conference opponents.  The Big 10, Big 12 and Pac 12 all play nine.  What this means, if it hasn’t occured to anyone, is that if the teams in the ACC and SEC were to play nine conference games, for half of them it would mean one more loss!

Instead, they fill their non-conference schedules with fluff: How about Mercer, Louisville and Arkansas State at the start, then, a week before the biggest game of the season - The Citadel?  That was Alabama, guys.  Nobody hears how soft their schedule is.

No. But out here in the Northwest we kept hearing that Washington State, while still unbeaten, was not in the playoff discussion because of its “weak out of conference schedule”: Wyoming, San Jose State, Eastern Washington. Hmm. I don’t see any Citadels there. No Mercers, either.  Just two FBS schools and a team that’s headed for the FCS championship game.

No Citadels on the Notre Dame schedule, either.  No Mercers.

So come on, SEC.  Drop one of those non-conference games. Drop The Citadel, Bama.   Or you could drop the one “tough” non-conference game  - Louisville  - from your schedule.  (But then, you wouldn’t be any better than Washington State, would you?)

Enough of the talk about once-beaten Ohio State or twice-beaten Georgia being more worthy than unbeaten Notre Dame.  Could anyone accept a team that lost the way the Buckeyes did to a middle-of-the-road Purdue, or a Georgia team that lost to LSU by 20 points, as its national champion? (Don’t forget that Georgia already had its chance to beat Alabama.)

I say get off Notre Dame’s case.  They did what they had to do to qualify for the playoff.

Problem is, it should have been a two-team playoff.

*********** (SCENE: The ESPN talking heads, typical pressbox dolts, are promoting the upcoming Syracuse-WVU game. One of them reads from his script that the “Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy” will be awarded to the winning team)

Dolt #1: “100 bucks if you know who Ben Schwartzwalder was.”

Dolt #2: “Never heard of him.”

Me: “You dumb sh—.  Ben Schwartzwalder coached at Syracuse. He coached a Heisman Trophy winner - first black player to win it - and a National Champion.  He coached  Jim Brown, Floyd Little, Larry Czonka, Jim Nance and Ernie Davis.  He was president of the American Football Coaches Association, and he’s in the College Football Hall of Fame.

“Before all that, as a captain in the 82nd Airborne, he was promoted to major and awarded the Silver Star for his bravery in combat during and after D-Day. 

“That Ben Schwartzwalder.  Most of the guys who read my page know that.

“Five minutes from now, nobody will know who you were, either.”

*********** If you were watching the Sun Bowl game between Stanford and Pitt and they asked the viewers what Hall of Fame coach was head coach at both Stanford and Pitt - I’ll bet a lot of you would have answered, correctly, Pop Warner.

*********** Whew.  28-7 after one period, 56-7 at the half.

As I watched the almost unbelievable lacing Auburn was delivering to Purdue, I went back to that Saturday in late October when Purdue shocked the nation - and the Ohio State Buckeyes - 49-20.

Who could have foreseen, in the excitement of that only-in-college-football kind of upset, that it would result in moving Notre Dame into the “Playoff,” ahead of Ohio State?

*********** What do you tell your team when it’s down, 56-7, at the half?

Dos Equis has the answer:

“FOUR-POINT-TWO PER CENT ALCOHOL BY VOL-YOOOOM!”

*********** Ivan Maisel:

A long time ago in a press box far, far away, I asked ex-coach, ex-ESPN voice Mike Gottfried why he picked a team to win. His complete analysis: “They have better players.” I kept thinking about him re Clemson vs. ND.

*********** The Camping World Bowl: Syracuse 34, West Virginia 18.

West Virginia’s Will Grier didn’t play; Syracuse’s Eric Dungey, did.

Grier decided to forego the bowl and get on with enhancing his NFL draft status.

Dungey, who’d been through a lot in his four years at Syracuse, including a potentially career-ending back injury against Notre Dame, never gave not playing a thought.

Dungey went through it all, from being rejected by the Northwest colleges who seemingly knew him best, to suffering a concussion as a freshman after being left in during a blowout loss, to failing to finish his sophomore and junior seasons because of injury, to being blamed for Syracuse’s failures during coach Dino Babers’ first two seasons. 

And now, after the Orange won its 10th game by beating West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl, he’s being mentioned as perhaps the greatest quarterback in Syracuse history.

The amazing thing to me still is that all the Northwest schools passed on him.

Washington, I can understand.  Oregon, too. Leach has his own ideas about QBs.  But Oregon State? 

Simple.  Dungey’s senior year was 2014, which also happened to be Mike Riley’s last year at OSU, before he took off for Nebraska.  It was pretty clear to an awful lot of people that Riley, after a nice run at Oregon State, lost interest in recruiting toward the end.

https://www.syracuse.com/orangefootball/2018/12/syracuse-football-qb-eric-dungey-has-teary-end-to-career-with-mvp-final-wow-play-video.html

http://dailyorange.com/2018/12/graham-eric-dungey-important-quarterback-syracuse-history/

*********** Eric Dungey's older brother, Matt is a soldier - an infantryman at that.

Nice article on the family…

https://www.syracuse.com/orangefootball/index.ssf/2016/08/eric_dungey_on_his_brother_matt_hes_the_real_hero_of_the_family.html

*********** Finally! A coach who didn’t submit to that stupid f—king cliche, the postgame Gatorade bath!

I hereby nominate that coach, Dino Babers of Syracuse, for Coach of the Year!

Please don’t try to tell me that the icy shower is a surprise to all those other big-time coaches who play along with the now-trite display. 

Look - anyone who knows anything about college football knows that a head coach runs his program - every aspect of it - with an iron hand.   That includes the equipment guys, the ones in charge of the Gatorade on the sidelines.  There’s not a one of them that would defy a head coach who told him to make sure those g-d  buckets were emptied with five minutes left to play.  (They’d just have to make sure to fill a few squeeze bottles so that no one will keel over from dehydration.)

*********** I think of all the seniors from Boston College and Boise State who because of thunderstorm activity never got to play in what would have been the final game of their college careers.   And then I think of the guys who bail on the bowl games “to get ready for the NFL draft.”

I’m disappointed in all the coaches who express support for them, for fear of discouraging any future recruits who might have the same thing in mind in two or three years.

I can halfway understand the thinking of the bowl bailers, but I can’t even imagine a quarterback - the key to his team’s offense - deserting his teammates before their last game.

I’m talking about West Virginia’s Will Grier.  With him, the Mountaineers were at one point a potential playoff contender; without him, they lost their bowl game in ignominious fashion (34-18) to Syracuse.

No big deal, wrote SB Nation. “It’s not that Grier owes WVU anything…”

I disagree. 

Actually, I think he did owe West Virginia something. Yes, he did a nice job at West Virginia, and the Mountaineers benefitted from having him.  But he does owe them something.  They provided him with the system, the coaching, the stage on which to show his abilities to best advantage.  What’s it worth to a quarterback’s value in the draft to have played in Dana Holgerson’s scheme at West Virginia, in a Power 5 Conference?

He also owed something to himself - to finish a job he’d started.  To complete the mission.

Oh - and he certainly owed it to the teammates who helped make his performances possible.

He can go lift, and throw, and run agilities until the cows come home, but he can’t change what he’s just shown NFL teams about the kind of teammate he is.  Teams work hard to try to learn what’s inside a kid’s heart and head, and he’s gone and saved them a lot of time and effort. I’d expect  at least some of them to think twice before drafting a guy who’s shown that he’ll desert his own teammates, many of them seniors playing their final game.

*********** Miami head coach Mark Richt shocked a lot of people Sunday by announcing his retirement, stepping down after three seasons.  Before Miami, he’d been head coach at Georgia for 15 years.

Miami was  26–13 in his three seasons.  The Hurricanes were 10–3 in 2017, but they finished 7–6 this past season, after being blown out by Wisconson, 35-3 in the Pinstripe Bowl.

At Georgia, his record was 171-64.

Among active college coaches who’d coached 200 or more games, only Nick Saban and Brian Kelly had higher winning percentages than Richt.

The real shocker, though - for those of us who’d hoped there might still be some integrity left in college football - is that he’ll be replaced by Manny Diaz,  the Hurricanes’ former DC who’d left to take another job just weeks before Richt’s retirement. 

He was already on the job as the head coach at Temple, but what the hell.  Miami’s his home, right? It’s his dream job, right?  And, hey - only the players are tied to the colleges they commit to. Not the coaches. They don't have to sit out a year when they "transfer."  Coaches can always buy their way out.

I can’t help thinking back to how affronted the Miami people were when Butch Davis, after promising his players that he wasn’t going anywhere, bolted to the Cleveland Browns.

Personally, I was hoping they’d hire Lane Kiffin, and then he could finish off his own career - and the Miami program - in one stroke.

***********  You’d never know Temple just had a good season.

The season was barely over when they lost their coach to Georgia Tech. And then they got blown out by Duke in whatever-the-hell bowl game it was.

They did got a new coach, though - Manny Diaz, who’d been the defensive coordinator at Miami. 

But now, with the  resignation of Mark Richt at Miami, Diaz has been hired to replace him,  thus earning Temple the unenviable distinction of being one of the few teams in college football history to be jilted twice in the space of a month.

*********** Major Applewhite got handed the Black Spot on Sunday. (Nothing racist about that, in case there are any grievance-hunting nitwits reading this : for those who haven’t read “Treasure Island,” it’s a way that pirates would inform someone that they were on to something out of line that he’d done; it was simply a piece of paper, cut in the shape of a circle, black on one side, with the word “deposed” printed on the other.)

Anyhow, he got it.

This past year’s Cougars started out 7-1, but they lost four of their last five, including a 70-14 bowl game slaughter by Army, during which it appeared to me that a large number of Cougars, many of whom Applewhite inherited from his predecessor, lay down on the job.

After two seasons as head coach at Houston he was 15-11.

Applewhite will get a $1.95 million buyout - not bad, at least by a high school coach’s standards - and I do think he’ll find work.  He’s a damn good offensive cordinator.

*********** The Bengals, Broncos, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Dolphins, Jets and Packers are all looking for coaches.  That’s eight teams - 25 per cent of the NFL - looking for coaches, with Pittsburgh yet to take action.

There simply aren't enough qualified NFL assistants or ex-head coaches floating around to fill all the openings, so expect raids on the college coaching ranks with the pros throwing money - big money - around to try to generate excitement among their fans or mollify them.

It could prove to be very disruptive to the college game, if college coaches succomb to the lure of the moolah and go worship the false idol that is the NFL .

Kids who just committed to colleges will  get stiffed by those coaches, slicksters who lured them there by promising their parents they'd be around to make sure their sons graduated.

In Green Bay, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald had been suggested as a possible successor to Mike McCarthy. One likely reason - Packers’ president Mark Murphy was the AD at Northwestern who hired him as the Wildcats’ head coach, back in 2006.  Damn.  As tough as it is for an elite private school to be competitive with the powers of the Big Ten, you could understand why Fitzgerald might be tempted, but he told a national TV audience Monday night, "I'm a Wildcat for life!"

I like that. What can the NFL offer him that he doesn't already have? And to seal the deal,  I’ll bet he's never had a quarterback at Northwestern that  changed his plays. (Rodgers and his meddling is going to put the Green Bay job down toward the bottom of the list.)

Brian Brohm of Purdue and Matt Campbell of Iowa State are also being mentioned as NFL possibilities. Both good guys, both with unfinished business where they are.

Me,  I’m not the one being offered the money, but I hate to see kids get shafted by coaches who’ll sell out for the big bucks,  and I hate to see good college coaches disappear into the Black Hole of NFL Coaching.

(Having said that, I'll bet there are Michigan people who join me in saying that the NFL is welcome to Jim Harbaugh and his 0-4 record aginst Ohio State, 1-3 record against Michigan State, 1-3 record in bowl games and 1-9 record against top 10 opponents.)

*********** Brrrr. Whose bright idea was it to hold a bowl game in Annapolis, Maryland on December 31?   Actually,  it wasn't much better  at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, but at least the rain there was  warmer.

*********** Minnesota has hired Maine head coach Joe Harasymiak as an assistant - he had been head coach at Maine since 2016, and he took the Black Bears to the FCS semifinals this year.

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

I've only watched a few of the bowl games.  Like the few people who have actually attended them.  Frankly, it won't surprise me at all if the number of bowls decreases in the the next few years (especially if the CFP is expanded), and to qualify for those bowls that remain teams will have to be sporting at least a 7-5 record.  

Which means my Golden Gophers would have been left out with this year's 6-6 record.

Speaking of Gophers...I truly half expected that performance.  Half of me expected the Gophs to continue playing well (over the past three games they have shown tremendous improvement on both sides of the ball), and half of me wondered if GT's players would tank it.  Which made me feel terrible for Coach Johnson.  He did not deserve to go out that way.  I also believe that Minnesota will have a heckuva team next year, and that the Big 10 West Division race will be very interesting.

There were more fans at the Texas high school 6A and 5A championship games than any of those bowls.  And both games were exciting to watch on top of it all.

In one of those bowl games on TV yesterday did I actually see a RB "slide" to avoid a tackle??

At least the BC AD has offered BC fans attending that bowl game some perks for having the game cancelled on them.  Not sure if Temple's fans did or not.

Would what BYU has been showing us be loosely called Super "O"?

I know you don't care much for the Irish, but if Notre Dame can pull off an upset of Clemson I will have hit the trifecta this year.  My alma mater Fresno State beat Arizona State in their bowl game; Minnesota beat Georgia Tech in their bowl game; and...???

Have a great weekend, and a Happy New Year!!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** A coach writes,

Coach,

My wife gave me a book about QBs and their dads. In the Harbaugh chapter the senior Harbaugh talks about coaching.

"This game has been around since 1868. All the motivational tricks have been done. Tell your team the truth. That should be motivation enough."

You gave me similar advice about five years ago.

*********** TCU had  a sideline interference call against them on an interception return against Cal , and the Frogs had to start their overtime series on the 40.  The penalty was against the Sports Information Director, who stepped onto the field and into the path of an official.

*********** Going into New Year’s Day and the Rose Bowl, the Pac-12 is 3-3 in bowl games. I am not at all optimistic about Washington's chances against Ohio State . Overall, with the exception of Utah's demonstration of how to piss a football game away (not to take away from Northwestern's incredible effort),  they’ve mostly played physical, some would say stodgy, football. 
So far, only Washington State has scored more than two touchdowns. On Monday, two Pac-12 teams (Stanford and Oregon) won defensive battles, against Pitt and Michigan State, respectively.  Question: with Stanford's win over Pitt, which played in the ACC championship game, could Stanford claim a piece of the ACC title?  Oh, wait - you say they'd have to beat Clemson?  Never mind...

*********** As Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson kept on a zone read and headed for the sideline, he was hit - good and  clean - as he went out of bounds.  He was slow getting up and appeared shaken, and as he was checked for a possible concussion, the play-by-play guy, Gus Johnson, sounded as if he had a crush on the kid.  "I'm sick to my stomach," he said, and then began to tell us about all the plans that the kid had, all the dreams that would be shattered if he were seriously injured, and he ended with, "Please, please be okay..."

WTF?  The appropriate word is FULSOME: excessive, extravagant, overdone, even disgustingly so

*********** In the post-game, Northwestern coach Ryan Fitzgerald dismissed reports that he might be headed to the pros: "I'm a Wildcat for life."

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: David Overstreet came out of Big Sandy, Texas and played his college football at Oklahoma.

He was one of the great runners who enabled the Sooners’ wishbone to dominate college football.

In his senior season, he helped OU to a 10-2 record, Number 3 national ranking and a Big Eight championship, and with all the great runners they had, he led the Sooners in rushing with 678 yards and six touchdowns on 96 carries.

His best game was against Colorado, an 82-42 OU win in an epic clash of wishbones, when he ran for 258 yards on 18 carries. He had runs of 84 and 53 yards.

He was drafted first by the Dolphins in the 1981 draft, the 13th pick overall, but when Montreal offered him more money he signed to play in the CFL.

In his rookie season, he rushed for 982 yards - and caught 48 passes for 356 yards - and was named Rookie of the Year. But in his second season his production fell off and he gained only 190 yards on 39 carries; in 1983 he was back with Miami.

With the Dolphins he gained 392 yards on 85 carries, and appeared on his way to a great career.

But in June of 1984, driving his Mercedes at a high rate of speed, he lost control of the car. It crashed into a service station and the pumps exploded, killing him.

David Overstreet was just 25.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DAVID OVERSTREET

BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA


***********  Greg Koenig writes, Here are the highlights from the OU - CU game that you referenced. Look at the athletes on that field. Amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A56YUTh4cbg


***********  SPECIAL NEW YEAR'S  QUIZ:  He was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, now a part of Pittsburgh, on January 1, 1901. He became an All-America lineman at Yale and he was an original New York GIant.

He was very big for the time - 6-4 and at least 220.

He first played at Wabash, but according to one story, when Wabash played a game at West Point he came to the attention of Army coach Charlie Daly, who mentioned him to Yale coach Tad Jones.  Another version has Yale scouts, looking at Army, reporting back on the giant lineman from Wabash.

However it came about, it appears that the Ivies did a bit of poaching back then, because after a brief stay at Syracuse he wound up transferring to Yale. Three other talented transfers arrived at about the same time.

With a year off to get his grades up, during which time he terrorized the Yale varsity in scrimmages, he stepped into the starting lineup in 1923.  That Yale team would go  undefeated, with wins over the likes of Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Army, in addition to the usual Ivy rivals, and he was named All-American.

Following graduation, he joined the New York Giants, and played on their very first team in 1925.    He was on the field December 6, 1925 when Red Grange (who had only recently turned pro following the end of his college season at Illinois) and the Chicago Bears made a stop in New York to play the Giants on a barnstorming tour.  The chance to see the great Grange in the flesh drew 73,000 people to the Polo Grounds, saving Giants’ owner Tim Mara’s financial bacon.

Following the season, he jumped to the Philadelphia Quakers in the new American Football League, formed by Grange’s agent.  The Quakers won the AFL championship in what would be the league’s only season of existence, and he then moved back to the Giants where he played two more seasons before embarking on a career in business.

He served as a major in the Army in World War II.

In 1977 he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

His unusual first name was given him because he was born on the first day of the new century - January 1, 1901.


american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 28,  2018  "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment."   Barry LePatner, author

*********** If the bowl games ever die, December 26, 2018 will go down as the day the public first noticed that they were sick…

*** First, there was the Serv-Pro First Responder Bowl, the first bowl game ever cancelled (other than some minor contest in Hawaii that couldn’t be played because those pesky Japanese had to go and bomb Pearl Harbor).

But in what seemed a fitting end to a season in which it seemed that every weekend we had game after game delayed (for a minimum of a half hour) because lightning had been detected somewhere in the universe, the Serv-Pro FIrst Responders Bowl was cancelled because of lightning.

Sorry, Boston College and Boise State fans.  No game today.

I remember as a kid going to a Phillies’ (or A’s) game and being informed that the game was called on account of rain.  Damn shame.  But we kept our ticket stubs - “rain checks” as they were known - knowing that there’d be another game, sometime, when we could use them.

But I can’t say that I have any experience with flat-out calling a game off.  No postponement.  No rain check.  No game today.  No game ever.

Changing the game to another time wasn’t feasible, we were told.  Well, no, because that would mean ESPN couldn’t fit it in.  Not without having to  go up against another ESPN Bowl.  And it’s ESPN’s call, because no matter what sponsor’s name is on the bowl, with the exception of the so-called majors,  chances are ESPN owns it.  And from now through New Year’s Day - except for Sunday, which belongs to the NFL - ESPN has every possible time slot booked, one ESPN-owned game after another, all day, from early morning in the West to late at night in the East.

I suspect a plot:  Serv-Pro’s motto: “Like it never happened.”

*** The next game was supposed to be the one in which Georgia Tech players would send retiring coach Paul Johnson off in style.  The final curtain call of his once-invincible triple option.

Instead, it proved turned out to be
the death of the Triple Option as a major college offense.

It was
a start-to-finish 34-10 ass kicking by Minnesota.  On offense, the Gophers pounded the Yellow Jackets with a redshirt freshman running back from Maryland named Mohamed Ibrahim, who rushed 31 times for 224 yards and two TDs. On defense, they absolutely smothered Tech, outgaining the Yellow Jackets by 101 yards (392-293) while running the exact same number of plays (57).

Rather than leaving people sad that they’d seen the last of triple-option football at  a Power 5 school, the Georgia Tech offensive performance left most of us wondering if someone had stolen their playbook.

Triple option did I say? Actually, it was a one-man show, and the one man - QB TaQuon Marshall - wasn’t up to the job.  Of Georgia Tech’s 57 plays, he accounted for 31 of them -  22 carries for 75 yards (3.4 yards per carry), and 9 pass attempts (4 completed for 76 yards). 

What Army did to Houston (and Oklahoma) and  what earned Paul Johnson his reputation as the master of the triple option was not evident in the Georgia Tech offense.  The line didn’t fire out and the fullback seldom got the ball.  Neither, though, did a pitch man.  On play after play, Marshall would give a perfunctory fake to the fullback - who in most cases would have gained yardage had he been given the ball - and keep the ball and run off tackle.  Sorry, but 3.4 yards per carry by your QB tells me he’s making some bad decisions.

The sign of surrender came early, when Tech started to throw.  Talk about ugly. Unable to protect their QB - not that he would have stayed in the pocket anyhow - Tech looked like a high school JV team that had just been handed some pass plays to run against the varsity.

Tech’s lone touchdown, ironically, came on a 20-yard run by the pitch back on the end of one of Tech’s few true triple option plays.  Hey, whattaya know - it works!

The announcer noted that just because Paul Johnson was retiring from Georgia Tech didn’t ncessarily mean he was done coaching.  Sadly, I think after this performance, we are not likely to see him run his offense ever again.  It’s tough enough to run it well and win games and still have people complain that it’s boring,  but no one wants to see an offense that looks the way Georgia Tech’s did against Minnesota.

*** Cal and TCU put on a game for the ages - the Dark Ages.

It should have ended in a 7-7 tie, befitting an offensive ineptness seldom seen in today’s college football, and almost never in a bowl game.

All but one of TCU’s passes were thrown by a senior who had never until then thrown a pass in a varsity game.  He threw 20 and completed 7 - for 27 yards. (That’s not a misprint.) And he threw four interceptions.

Cal split the “passing” duties between a freshman who’d started several games this season - he completed 12 of 19 for 93 yards and 3 interceptions - and their own senior-who’d-never-before-thrown-a-pass-in-a-college-game, who threw 14 of them, completed 5 for 71 yards, and threw “only” two interceptions.

Where Cal “dominated” the passing stats, TCU controlled the ground, outrushing the Bears 267 yards to 100.

With the score tied 7-7,  TCU missed a potential game-winning field goal (after mysteriously switching kickers when Cal called a timeout) and the game ended tied.  it would have seemed fitting to call the game then. 

A 7-7  tie would have been the perfect ending to the Worst Day of Football in College Football Bowl History.

But no, we hadn’t seen enough bad football.  We had to go into overtime, a better way than waterboarding to make captured Al Qaeda talk.

But then...

Without overtime, TCU would never have been able to take home whatever the trophy for the winner of something called the Cheez-it Bowl looks like.

Without overtime, the two teams would have had to settle for a paltry eight interceptions between them (another tie - four apiece); overtime, though  gave Cal a chance for immortality by throwing  a record-setting ninth.

Maybe they could have given everybody their money back, just as if the game had been cancelled because of lightning. Or something. Just pretend it never happened. That way, perhaps its memory would fade sooner.

And so to bed, praying that December 27th would bring us better bowls.

(IT DID - IF YOU LIKE DUKE, AS I DO. I  HAVE SO MUCH RESPECT FOR DAVID CUTCLIFFE.  I LIKE TEMPLE, TOO, BUT DUKE IS FAMILY.  AND EVEN IF IT HADN’T BEEN DUKE, I’DE HAVE HAD A HELL OF A TIME ROOTING FOR TEMPLE IN THOSE GODAWFUL GRAY UNIFORMS.

AND AS I TYPE, WISCONSIN IS LOOKING LIKE THE TEAM THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THIS YEAR.)


*********** NOTED PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH COLLEGE FOOTBALL who died during 2018
(COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION)

Pervis Atkins
New Mexico State University
Nov. 24, 1935 - Dec. 22, 2017
 
Hal Bedsole
USC
Dec. 21, 1941 - Dec. 22, 2017
 
Dick Bestwick
Head Football Coach - University of Virginia
Athletics Director - University of South Carolina
Aug. 18, 1930 - Jan. 4, 2018
 
Billy Brewer
Head Football Coach - Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi
Oct. 8, 1934 - May 12, 2018
 
Earle Bruce
Head Football Coach - Tampa, Iowa State, Ohio State, Northern Iowa, Colorado State
March 8, 1931 - April 20, 2018
 
Billy Cannon
LSU
Aug. 2, 1937 - May 20, 2018

Carm Cozza
Head Football Coach, Athletics Director - Yale
June 1, 1930 - Jan. 4, 2018

Jim Dickey
Head Football Coach - Kansas State
March 22, 1934 - Feb. 18, 2018
 
Dick Enberg
Sports Broadcaster
Jan. 9, 1935 - Dec. 21, 2017
 
Bill Fralic
Pitt
Oct. 31, 1962 - Dec. 13, 2018
 
John Gagliardi
Head Football Coach - Carroll (MT), Saint John's (MN)
Nov. 1, 1926 - Oct. 7, 2018
 
Jim Houston
Ohio State
Nov. 3, 1937 - Sept. 11, 2018
 
Keith Jackson
Sports Broadcaster
Oct. 18, 1928 - Jan. 12, 2018
 
Ron Johnson
Michigan
Oct. 17, 1947 - Nov. 10, 2018
 
Billy Kinard
Head Football Coach - Mississippi, Gardner-Webb
Dec. 16, 1933 - June 30, 2018
 
Chuck Klausing
Head Football Coach - Indiana (PA), Carnegie Mellon (PA)
April 19, 1925 - Feb. 15, 2018

Bill Mallory
Head Football Coach - Miami (OH), Colorado, Northern Illinois, Indiana
May 30, 1935 - May 25, 2018
 
Greg Marx
Notre Dame
July 18, 1950 - Oct. 5, 2018
 
Tommy McDonald
Oklahoma
July 26, 1934 - Sept. 24, 2018
 
Dick Modzelewski
Maryland
Feb. 16, 1931 - Oct. 19, 2018
 
Burt Reynolds
Florida State
Feb. 11, 1936 - Sept. 6, 2018
 
Gabe Rivera
Texas Tech
April 7, 1961 - July 16, 2018
 
Darryl Rogers
Head Football Coach - Fresno State, San Jose State, Michigan State, Arizona State
Athletics Director Southern Connecticut
May 28, 1935 - July 11, 2018
 
Rod Rust
Head Football Coach - North Texas
Aug. 2, 1928 - Oct. 23, 2018
 
Clyde Scott
University of Arkansas, Navy
Aug. 29, 1924 - Jan. 30, 2018

 Mike Slive
Commissioner - SEC, Conference USA, Great Midwest Conference
Athletics Director - Cornell
July 26, 1940 - May 16, 2018
 
Jim Stillwagon
Ohio State
Feb. 11, 1949 - Feb. 3, 2018
 
George Taliaferro
Indiana
Jan. 8, 1927 - Oct. 8, 2018

Jim Taylor
LSU
Sept.  20, 1935 - Oct. 13, 2018
 
Paul Zimmerman
Sports Writer
Oct. 23, 1932 - Nov. 1, 2018

*********** Never a head coach but well known in Western college football circles as a great assistant, Rowland “Red” Smith  died this past year.  He was 95 and he coached into his 90s, finally hanging ‘em up in 2014 as an assistant coach at Tacoma, Washington’s Bellarmine Prep.   While an assistant at Oregon State, in 1971 he co-authored “Power T Football” along with head coach Dee Andros.  (It’s really as good a book as there is for anyone interested in the sort of power-type football that Dee Andros’ Beavers were famous for.)

https://www.sacbee.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/hometown-report/article212738159.html

*********** University of Houston President Renu Khator is in a spot.   Two years ago, she raised eyebrows when she told a group of supporters that “winning is defined at the University of Houston as 10 and 2. We’ll fire coaches at 8 and 4.”

Hmmm.  Houston just finished 8-5.  And what a “5” that was - four losses in the last five games, capped off by a 70-14 drubbing by Army.

Houston Head coach Major Applewhite has to look carefully to find any support.  First, he fired his defensive coordinator before the bowl game, and then offensive coordinator, Kendall Briles - just one year into a three-year contract that made him the highest-paid assistant outside the Power 5 conferences -  bolted for Florida State.  (Although the news stories stated that Briles resigned after the Army game, it wasn’t at all clear to anyone watching the hapless Houston offense that he wasn’t already on his way to Tallahassee.)

Either way, Briles and Willie Taggart, a guy who knows a thing or two himself about breaking a contract after one year, deserve each other.

**********  ''I'm proud of the way our kids fought,” said Houston coach Major Applewhite following his team’s 70-14 defeat by Army.

Now, I like Major Applewhite.  I like the way he played QB at Texas when the deck was stacked against him in favor of golden boy Chris Simms, Phil Simms’ son.  I’ve never been much of a Longhorns’ fan, but  I admired the way Major Applewhite seemed to step up whenever  the Longhorns’ offense needed  help.

And as a coach, finishing his second year at Houston,  I assume that most of those “kids” who got hammered by Army were recruited by his predecessor, Tom Herman, who’s now the head coach at Texas.

But I have to call him on that quote.

Those “kids” did NOT fight, and as a result they got smashed - embarrassed in front of a nationwide audience - by an Army team that does know something about the word “fight.”

Just two weeks earlier, Army had to scrap all the way to the finish to win its previous game, even though it was clearly the better team.  That’s because it was playing against Navy, another service academy, a team that had lost to Houston earlier in the season.  Navy would never quit.

No service team will EVER quit.  It goes with the mentality of the institutions, an old-fashioned mentality that chooses its people carefully, drills them rigorously on and off the field, and emphasizes character - and completing the mission.  That means fighting to the finish - and never, ever quitting, no matter how hopeless things may seem.   It means  fighting even there’s no hope of winning, and the only reason to keep fighting is because … this is us.  This is what we do.

Houston, on the other hand, gets… kids.  American kids.  Modern-day American kids.  Kids who don’t really know what tough is, don’t know what it’s like to have to keep fighting when all seems lost.  Kids who, the coaches love to tell us, have faced “adversity” all season long, but whose real character is seldom tested.

Oh, they’re fighters - when things are going well.  If they get up on you, they’ll kick your ass.  They’ll laugh in your face.  If the score’s tied, they’ll fight.  If they get down, most of them will fight.  Up to a point.

But how far behind do they have to be - how tough do things have to get - before their chracter is tested -  before they’ll fold?

For all but the service teams and a few elite other teams who recruit talented athletes who are also men of character, there comes a point where teams seem to say, “Screw this.”

For Houston, that point was at halftime against Army, when they were down, 42-7.

Coach Applewhite, there was nothing in that performance to be proud of, and you only embarrass yourself  by saying that.

Now, save your job - go out and recruit better kids, kids of character, and weed out the ones who don't have enough character to keep fighting,  even when things seem hopeless.
 
*********** I have no way of finding out whether it’s true, but I’m told that against Houston, Army ran just 5 different plays from only 3 different formations

*********** Saturday’s dismantling of Houston by Army’s physicality on both sides of the ball will serve as proof that college football has gone the way of pro football and crossed the line from sports to entertainment.

If that had happened 30 years ago, Army’s switchboard (something they used to have before cell phones) would be jammed with calls from coaches all over the country wanting to learn more about what Army’s doing.  All they wanted to do was win, and this could help them win.

Now, they take a look at it on YouTube, realize that they couldn’t run an offense like that and recruit wide receivers -  and go back to getting ready for the upcoming 7-on-7 schedule.

*********** Buffalo’s quarterback, Tyree Jackson, may be 6-7 with a gun for an arm, and he may have been voted the MAC MVP, but after watching him against Army and then against Troy, I now know why he’s at Buffalo, and not, say, Alabama.

I strongly suspect it’s his football IQ.

Buffalo’s down 35-32 in the fourth quarter, but there’s plenty of time.

Jackson takes the snap and rolls left to escape pressure (he’s a right hander). As he approaches the sideline, still unable to find a receiver, he’s carrying the ball in one hand, and he’s carrying it low.  Rather than run out of bounds, rather than throw the ball away, he seems to slow down, which gives pursuing defenders a chance to knock the ball loose. Troy recovers and  on the next play scores on a nice Criss-Cross.  Final score: Troy 42, Buffalo 32.

THE QUARTERBACK’S FIRST JOB IS TO PROTECT THE BALL!

*********** Effort of the Year Award has to go to Cal’s Number 71, Jake Curhan, a 6-6, 315-pound sophomore offensive lineman.  In the first overtime period of the Cheez it Bowl, TCU intercepted a Cal pass - the ninth interception of the game - and the interceptor raced for the Cal goal. A touchdown would mean a TCU victory.  But amazingly, Curhan raced after the guy and caught him from behind before he could score.  In the long run it didn’t matter, because on its possession TCU kicked a field goal to win, but Curhan’s heroic effort could have made the difference, and sure told me what kind of a team man he is.

************* I’ve said for some time that there’s been something missing in all the talk about expanding the playoffs.

Yes, polls show that everybody wants a true playoff…  Major college football’s the only sport that doesn’t have one…  Now, even conference commissoners who were once opposed are coming around to the idea of eight teams…. Blah, blah, blah.

But before we get all excited about this great new way to make more money…

Never - not once - have I heard anyone suggest that first we ask the players what they want.

Do they really want to have to play another game? Or two? Or three?

Years ago, following the final game of the season, the coach of the winning team would gather his players in the locker room and announce to them that they’d just received  an invitation to play in a bowl.  And  then, believe it or not, he’d leave it up to the players to decide whether they wanted to go and play in the bowl. (They didn’t always vote affirmatively.) Sometimes, in the days before conference tie-ins, a team might receive invitations to two different bowls, and they'd let the players make the choice.

Those days are long gone, of course.  No self-respecting coach or AD would let mere players make such a big decision.

Not now.  But now, when more than ever players ought to have some say in what they’re getting into, there’s little chance they will.

We’re talking serious games, guys, not bowls.   We’re not talking about a trip to Disneyland, or roast beef eating contests or snowmobiling.

We’re talking about big business. It’s not just an extension of what they’ve been doing for the previous 13 grueling weeks, either.  If anything, it’s going to get tougher.

What a great way to spend Christmas!

Washington running back Miles Gaskin was asked to contrast this year’s Huskies’ trip to the Rose Bowl with their playing in the semifinal game in 2016. 

This year, while they’re in Southern California, they’ll go to a couple of theme parks and enjoy a meal at a Beverly Hills steak house, among other things.

That's fun.

That's not the way it was two years ago. That was all business.  Gaskin struggled to remember anything fun that they did.

“We didn’t go to Disneyland,” he said.  “I didn’t go on no roller coasters, either, so it’s definitely different.  It’s definitely a lot more fun.”

If the Power 5 people are really serious about expanding the playoffs, it’s likely going to mean crossing the line to professionalism -  paying the people who are going to help them make all that extra money. But before they do anything,  I’d say it’s time to ask the players what they want to do.

I’m betting they’d like to have a nice trip and a lot of fun, as their reward for a good season.

That’s the way the bowls were originally sold to the players.  Back when they used to ask them if they wanted to go.


*********** Now that the Seahawks are rid of the likes of Michael Bennett, renowned author of the New York Times bestseller “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable,” I admit to watching them occasionally.

They’ve still got Janikowski, of course, and he’s a bit of a sh—head, but that’s what makes this a story.

Janikowski was roughed the other night against Kansas City, and wound up hurt, but we were told by the announcers not to worry because the Seahawks had  a backup - the punter, MIchael Dickson.

He’s not a field-goal kicker as you probably know them. He don’t need no stinkin’ holder. He’s a drop-kicker.   He’s one of those Aussies who’ve been brought up play Australian Rules -punting the ball and dropkicking it with both legs.

The TV guys showed him drop-kicking a 55-yard field goal during pre-game, and then, on an actual kickoff, he drop-kicked it to the KC 4 yard line.

If the NFL were to make drop-kicking mandatory it might bring some excitement to the deadly boredom that the field goal has inflicted on the game.

It would certainly mean more work for some young Aussies.

https://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/nfl/seattle-seahawks/article223610665.html

*********** I wonder if Charlie Strong ever thinks about what would have happened if he’d stayed at Louisville…

He was 37-15 in his four seasons there.  After starting out with back-to-back 7-6 and 7-6 records, in his last two seasons there he was 11-2 and 12-1.  And he took the Cardinals to four straight bowl games.

Then he left for Texas.  That's understandable. By any measurement, Texas is in another league from Louisville - from most schools, actually - and on top of that there might have been some self-induced pressure to become the first black head coach at one of football’s storied programs.

But things didn’t work out for him at Austin, and after getting let go after three seasons, he was snatched right up by South Florida after its coach, Willie Taggart, left for Oregon.

His first year at USF went well - a 10-2 finish, with only a four-point loss to Houston and a seven-point loss to unbeaten UCF - but this past year, the Bulls finished a disappointing 7-6, after a bowl game loss to Marshall.

Worse yet, after starting out 7-0, they lost their last six in a row.

No doubt part of the reason for the loss to Marshall was their playing the bowl game without 11 players whom Coach Strong had suspended (for “violation of team rules”), and following the game he announced there would be a house-cleaning: “”I’m telling you right now, “ he said, “We're going to clean up this whole program.  A lot of guys will be leaving. We need a good washing."

The “washing” was later said to include the 11 suspended players and as many as four assistants.

It should be noted that Coach Strong went through a similar purge on arriving at Texas.

Makes you wonder if he ever thinks about Louisville.   Yes, yes, I know he pocketed some serious bucks from that Texas buyout, but what price job satisfaction?

https://www.yardbarker.com/college_football/articles/report_charlie_strong_expected_to_dismiss_11_players_up_to_four_assistant_coaches/s1_12680_28066439

*********** BYU ran Super Power again (or at least their version of it), this time against Western Michigan.    I suppose we should take it as a compliment that they’ve been making it look almost unstoppable.  But actually I’m a bit miffed that they’re getting away with doing such a crappy job of running it,  and they’re getting so much credit for their “creativity.”

Not that they’ve seen much in the way of opposition:  I’m absolutely amazed at the way the novelty of even a crude version of a Double Wing has baffled opponents.

Assuming that this past week’s opponent, Western Michigan,  saw BYU run it earlier against Utah (as so many of us did), shame on them. Shame on them for so casually dismissing the Double Wing by thinking that all they had to do was simply stay low and bear crawl through the inside gaps.  (I’m sure there are several hundred youth coaches out there who could have told them, “That’s already been tried.”)


Look - they’ve shown just one play so far - what we call 66 Super-O - but this is how they do it…

1. They start the running man in that stupid motion (which so far, in 2 games, has only meant they're going to toss the ball to him)

2. They block down across the front (which means they can’t double team at the point of attack)

3. They pull just the backside guard (which means that the runner loses the benefit of the backside tackle as an “escort”)

4. Their backside tight end releases (which means that without his cutoff block, they are vulnerable to a backside rush)

5. Their playside wingback blocks a man on him or to his outside (which wastes his block on a man who won’t be a factor in the defense). Oh, and he wears an ineligible number, which sort of eliminates him as a receiving threat.

6. Their QB is expected to toss and turn and block (which means that after two of three plays like the one against Western Michigan, in which the EMOL drills him, he’ll be carted off the field.)

Now, if I’m getting ready to play BYU, I’m going to proceed on the premise that that’s all they’ve got - that this is a one-trick pony, and they haven’t  put in the time it takes to run any complementary play, such as  a wedge, a counter, a play action pass, a bootleg, a sweep. 

I'm going to sell out to stop this one play.  I’m going to assume that this is all they’ve got,  and that we’re good enough to stop it without having to put too much extra time or effort into it.

*********** (Please feel free to discount this, based on my telling you that I do have my skeptical - some would call it cynical - side.)

If I were an agent and I were, um,  “giving advice” to a certain defensive lineman from Clemson who was considered a sure first-round NFL draft choice, I’d “advise” him against jeopardizing a lucrative pro career by playing in one more college game, much less two of them.

But at the same time I wouldn’t want him to be stigmatized as one of those prima donnas who blow off their teams’ bowl games to save themselves for the NFL.

So I’d tell him to head for the nearest health food store and pick up a bottle of some sort of “diet supplement” and start taking it. (Why are these healthy, obviously well-fed guys taking that sh— anyhow?  Oh, well.)

And then I’d conspire to get my prospective client tested - maybe anonymously tipping off the NCAA folks that he’d been known to be using PEDs.

Assuming they take the bait, he’d be tested and he’d test positive.

No playoff games for him.  Tsk, tsk.  Damn shame.  He didn’t think there’s be any harm in taking it, blah, blah, blah.

And if somehow his team, playing without him, should lose?   Why, wouldn’t that just increase his value to the NFL?

Just sayin.’


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Eddie Crowder was born in Arkansas City, Kansas,  but he played his high school ball in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

As a quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners from 1950-1952, he was a backup his sophomore season when Oklahoma won its first national championship,  and the starter his junior and senior years.   Playing both ways - he also played safety on defense - he was named All-Big Seven both seasons, and was the All-American QB in 1952.

Drafted second by the New York Giants, he went to Canada instead and played one year with the Edmonton Eskimos before being called to serve in the US Army.

While in the Army, he served a year as an assistant to Earl “Red” Blaik at West Point, then was hired by his college coach, Bud Wilkinson, to coach the running backs at Oklahoma.

After seven seasons at Norman, he was hired in January, 1963 as head coach at Colorado.

Colorado was in trouble.  The Buffs had fired Sonny Grandelius a year earlier, when following a seventh-place finish seventh nationally and a berth in the Orange Bowl,   allegations surfaced that he had a slush fund that was being used to pay recruits.  NCAA sanctions followed and at least 20 players left the program for various reasons.  Alumni director Bud Davis was hired as interim coach for the 1962 season, and as might have been expected with an inexperienced coach working with a depleted roster,  the Buffs finished 2-8. The wins were over an 0-10 Kansas State team (by a 6-0 score) and Air Force.

Crowder  also went 2-8 in his first two seasons, but things turned around in his third season, when the Buffaloes finished 6-2-2.

In all, in his 11 years as head coach at Colorado, his teams went   67-49-2.  Five of his teams were nationally ranked, and at a time when bowl games were far fewer than today, five went to bowls.

His best team was his 1971 team, which finished 10-2 and was ranked third nationally - behind fellow Big Eight Conference members Nebraska (number one) and Oklahoma.  Although they lost to both conference rivals, they beat #9 LSU in Baton Rouge, and they beat #6 Ohio State in Columbus.

Since 1965 he had been doing double duty as Colorado Athletics Director, and in 1974 he retired from coaching to devote full time to that job.

As AD,  Eddie Crowder hired the next three Colorado head football coaches: Bill Mallory, Chuck Fairbanks and Bill McCartney.

Mallory carried on the winning ways, posting a .623 winning percentage in five years. Fairbanks, who had been highly successful at Oklahoma before moving on to the NFL, was hired away from the Patriots thanks largely to the influence (and dollars) of wealthy alumni. He laid an egg, going 7-26 in three years. But in McCartney, he pulled a rabbit out of his hat.  McCartney would go on to become the winningest coach in school history, posting a 93-55-5 record (.624) and winning Colorado’s only national title in 1990.

Two out of three ain’t bad!

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING EDDIE CROWDER

KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO


*********** QUIZ: He came out of Big Sandy, Texas and played his college football at Oklahoma.

He was one of the great runners who enabled the Sooners’ wishbone to dominate college football.

In his senior season, he helped OU to a 10-2 record, Number 3 national ranking and a Big Eight championship, and with all the great runners they had, he led the Sooners in rushing with 678 yards and six touchdowns on 96 carries.

His best game was against Colorado, an 82-42 OU win in an epic clash of wishbone offenses, when he ran for 258 yards on 18 carries. He had runs of 84 and 53 yards.

He was drafted first by the Dolphins in the 1981 draft, the 13th pick overall, but when Montreal offered him more money he signed to play in the CFL.

In his rookie season, he rushed for 982 yards - and caught 48 passes for 356 yards - and was named Rookie of the Year. But in his second season his production fell off and he gained only 190 yards on 39 carries; in 1983 he was back with Miami.

With the Dolphins he gained 392 yards on 85 carries, and appeared on his way to a great career.

But  in June of 1984, driving his Mercedes at a high rate of speed, he lost control of the car. It crashed into a service station and the gas pumps exploded, killing him.

He was 25.


american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 25,  2018  "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6 (King James Version)

*********** MY ANNUAL CHRISTMAS WISH FOR FOOTBALL COACHES EVERYWHERE (First printed in 2000, and  every Christmas since, with annual revisions as needed):

May you have.... Players' Parents who recognize that you are the football expert; who stand back and let you coach their kids; who know their kids' limitations and don't expect them to start unless in your opinion they're better than the other kids; who don't sit in the stands and openly criticize their kids' teammates; who don't think it's your job to get their kid an athletic scholarship; who schedule their vacations so their kids won't miss any practices; who know that your rules apply to everybody, and are not designed just to pick on their kid...

... A community that can recognize a year when even Vince Lombardi himself would have trouble getting those kids to line up straight... Opponents who are fun to play against; who love and respect the game and its rules as much as you do, and refuse to let their kids act like jerks... Students who want to be in your class and want to learn; who laugh at your jokes and turn their work in on time... who listen carefully, hear everything you say and understand all instructions the first time...Officials who will address you and your kids respectfully; who know and respect the rulebook; who will have as little effect on the game as possible; who will let you step a yard onto the playing field without snarling at you... Newspaper reporters who understand the game, always quote you accurately, and know when not to quote you at all...

A school district that provides you with a budget sufficient to run a competitive program... A superintendent (or principal)  who schedules teachers' workdays so that coaches don't have to miss any practices... An athletic director who has been a coach himself (or herself!) and knows what you need to be successful and knows that one of those things is not another head coach in the AD's office; who can say "No" to the bigger schools that want you on their schedules; who understands deep down that despite Title IX, all sports are not equal... Assistants who love the game as much as you do, buy completely into your philosophy, put in the time in the off-season, and are eager to learn everything they can about what you are doing. And if they disagree with you, will tell you - and nobody else...  A booster club that puts its money back into the sports that earn it, and doesn't demand a voice in your team's operation... A principal who believes that when there is a teachers' position open, the applicant who is qualified to be an assistant coach deserves extra consideration; who doesn't come in to evaluate you on game day; who makes weight-training classes available to football players first, before opening them up to the general student body; who knows that during the season you are very busy, and heads off parent complaints so that you don't have to waste your time dealing with them; who can tell you in the morning in five minutes what took place in yesterday afternoon's two-hour-long faculty meeting that you missed because you had practice... A faculty that will notify you as soon as a player starts screwing off or causing problems in class, and will trust you to handle it without having to notify the administration... A baseball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't have them involved in tournaments that are still going on into late August... 
A basketball coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't discourage them from lifting, and doesn't hold "open gym" every night after football practice...A wrestling coach who encourages kids to play football and doesn't ask your promising 215-pound sophomore guard to wrestle at 178...

A class schedule that gives you and at least your top assistant the same prep period... Doctors that don't automatically tell kids with little aches and pains to stay out of football for two weeks, even when there's nothing seriously wrong with them... Cheerleaders who occasionally turn their backs to the crowd and actually watch the game; who understand the game - and like it... A couple of transfers - move-ins to your district - who play just the positions where you need help... A country that appreciates the good that football - and football coaches - can do for its young men... A chance, like the one I've had, to get to know coaches and friends of football all over the country and find out what great people they are... The wisdom to "Make the Big Time Where You Are" - to stop worrying about the next job and appreciate the one you have ... Children of your own who love, respect and try to bring honor to their family in everything they do... A wife (like mine), who understands how much football means to you... Motivated, disciplined, coachable players who love the game of football and love being around other guys who do, too - players like the ones I've been blessed with. A nation at peace - a peace that exists thanks to a strong and dedicated military that defends us while we sleep.

For all assistants - A head coach whose values and philosophy you can support

They're the things I've been blessed with  - may you be blessed with them, too.

And one special wish for those coaching brothers who find themselves "between positions" at this time of year - May your Christmas joy not be dimmed by the fact that you are temporarily without a team, and instead brightened by the belief that your next job is just around the corner. (And if my experience is any indicator, it will be a far better one than the last one, anyhow!)

Merry Christmas!

(AND THANK YOU, JEFF MONKEN AND THE ARMY FOOTBALL TEAM,  FOR THAT  WISHED-FOR, BUT COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED WHACKING OF HOUSTON. 

AND 70 POINTS!  JUST WHAT I WANTED!  
HOW DID YOU KNOW

AND THANK YOU, TOO, FOR PROVIDING PROOF THAT THERE'S STILL ROOM IN FOOTBALL FOR US DINOSAURS WHO  BELIEVE  OFFENSIVE FOOTBALL SHOULD BE  PHYSICAL, TOO.)


*********** I just had to include few words on the great Army season from New York Times bestselling author John Feinstein
, who has been a fan and follower of Army football since he FIRST began researching  his book, “A Civil War.” Dealing with the inside workings of the  Army and Navy teams during the 1995 season and concluding with the Army-Navy game, "A Civil War" is a classic.)

As Joe Beckerle and I were wrapping up our final halftime hit of the season Saturday on the Army Radio Network, I said to Joe, "Think back to the opening night of the season. What would you have said to me after that game if I'd have told you Army was going to finish 11 and 2?"

Joe laughed. "I'd have said, 'there's always hope.'"

Most people wouldn't have been so kind. They would probably have suggested I look at the tape of the Duke game—a 34-14 thrashing—and re-think my position. Sixteen weeks later, that insane hope became emphatic reality.

It wasn't just that Army won a bowl game for a third-straight season or set an all-time record with its 11th victory of the season; it did so in a manner so thorough and so dominating it had to leave people around the country shaking their heads in amazement. Army didn't beat an FCS team 70-14, it beat the University of Houston—a team ranked in the top 25 earlier this season; a team with a number of players who will play in the NFL; a team considered a College Football Playoff contender in the recent past—70-14. That's not a typo. That was the final score. And it easily could have been worse.

Granted, Houston's starting quarterback D'Eriq King tore a meniscus in his knee five weeks ago and star nose tackle Ed Oliver decided not to play in the Armed Forces Bowl in order to prepare for—and stay healthy for—the NFL draft.

After King's injury, Houston coach Major Applewhite, clearly thinking long term, decided to start freshman Clayton Tune over graduate transfer Quinten Dormady, who promptly threw a tantrum and transferred to Central Michigan where he will AGAIN be a graduate transfer next season since he only appeared in two games for the Cougars this season.

You go figure out NCAA rules. I have better things to do.

Let's talk about Saturday's game, which basically ended on the last play of the first quarter when quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. dodged-and-darted through the Houston defense for a 77-yard touchdown that made it 14-0. There may be Houston defenders still grasping at air after that play. To say the rout was on is putting it mildly. By halftime it was 42-7.

That score took me back to 1995 when I was researching, 'A Civil War.' Army went to Boston College and, fired up by a comment from then-BC quarterback Matt Hasselbeck who said something about the Eagles, 'not taking the game for granted,' proceeded to lead 42-0 at halftime.

In the Navy press box that afternoon, longtime Navy SID Tom Bates saw the score and actually CALLED the BC press box thinking it was a mistake. "I didn't think Army would be behind 42-0," he said. "But I thought that was more likely than them being AHEAD 42-0."

Only it wasn't.

And Saturday was almost exactly the same: Army ahead 42-7 at the break. After the Black Knights extended the lead to 49-7, Army Coach Jeff Monken—who has now led his team to 29 wins in the last three seasons—began substituting liberally.

Hopkins came out midway through the third quarter having rushed for 170 yards on ELEVEN carries (do the math) and having gone 3-of-3 passing for 70 yards. That meant he rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards for the season—the first cadet to do so.

In all, Army had 592 yards in total offense—507 yards on the ground. Ten different ball carriers picked up yardage. Three distinguished seniors all went out on high notes: Darnell Woolfolk rushed 11 times for 71 yards; Jordan Asberry had 63 yards on five carries—and two catches for 22 more and a touchdown—and Andy Davidson picked up 59 yards on seven carries.

A few words here about Hopkins. During the summer, the biggest question for this team was Hopkins' ability to replace the incomparable Ahmad Bradshaw, who had one of the great seasons in Army history a year ago when he rushed for 1,865 yards and led the Black Knights to a 10-3 record.

Hopkins had already shown he was a better passer than Bradshaw when he saved the day against Temple, leading Army to a late tying touchdown, which set up a miraculous overtime win.

But could he keep the Army offense humming—especially with an offensive line that had to replace four of five starters?

The answer against Duke was no: the entire offense was shaky, fumbling four times in the first half, unable to run the ball with any consistency against Duke's defense. The only bright spot—and this was a stretch—was that it was clear that, given time to throw, Hopkins had a strong, accurate arm.

Liberty came to Michie Stadium a week later, having beaten Old Dominion (a team that would later beat Virginia Tech) 52-10 in its opener. Nothing felt certain at that stage.

The Black Knights won that game, 38-14. Then they beat an unbeaten Hawaii team with a late defensive stand.

But the game in which this team came into its own was its last loss of the season: the 28-21 overtime loss at Oklahoma, a team that is in the College Football Playoff. The closeness of the game was no fluke: Army dominated time of possession and had a chance to win the game late in regulation before the offense bogged down about 15 yards from field goal range.

The Black Knights didn't lose again. There were close calls—especially the double overtime victory over Miami of Ohio, in which former sprint football player John Abercrombie, who had taken over the place-kicking duties, was a major hero—but each week Army found a way to win.

That's what good teams do. When Hopkins couldn't play against Miami after taking a hard hit a week earlier against San Jose State, Cam Thomas stepped in and rushed for 137 yards. Abercrombie made a game-tying field goal in the first overtime and the defense got a stop on a two-point conversion try in the second overtime.

A few weeks later, trailing 17-14, Air Force drove to the Army 38 with plenty of time left to tie or win the game before Cole Christiansen made two huge tackles-for-loss to stop the Falcons cold. Monken then went for it on 4th-and-1 from midfield, Hopkins ran behind center Bryce Holland and picked it up and Army was on its way to a second-straight Commander in Chief's Trophy.

"If we can't pick up three feet we don't deserve to win," Monken said of his decision to gamble.

That sentence sums up this Army team well: To a man, the Black Knights believed they would do whatever it takes to win, week after week. And they did.

The Navy game was—of course—a battle to the finish, but Army was clearly the better team and deserved the 17-10 win.

And then, finally, came Houston.

There will, of course, be excuses made on Houston's behalf: no Oliver, a freshman quarterback. That doesn't explain 10 (TEN!) sacks or Army's complete dominance right from the start. The Black Knights were also missing a couple of key players—that's part of football.

The difference? Army's players NEVER make excuses. They go out and play and play hard—no matter who is in the game or who is NOT in the game.

The entire team shook off the Duke loss and got better all season. Hopkins, who is back next year (hallelujah!) was a star. The offensive line, led by Holland, was superb week after week. When the run game sputtered, Hopkins made plays with his arm.

The defense was remarkable. No team scored more than 14 points in the last FIVE games of the season. There's no doubt losing defensive coordinator Jay Bateman to North Carolina will be felt, but John Loose stepped in Saturday and there was nothing resembling a hiccup on the defensive side of the ball.

James Nachtigal went out in a blaze of glory with SIXTEEN tackles—11 solo—and 3.5 of the 10 sacks. He was backed up by Christiansen who had six solo tackles and Kenneth Brinson, who had 1.5 sacks. Nachtigal's strip sack of Tune early in the quarter led to Cam Jones's 23-yard scoop-and-score that made it 21-0.

Nachtigal and Brinson are part of a senior class that played a key role in turning Army around, going 29-10 their last three seasons after being part of a 2-10 team as plebes. Holland will also graduate, but he leaves behind a remarkable legacy and an offensive line that should continue to open holes next season for Hopkins; three returning fullbacks and an offense that should be strong once again.

For now though, everyone should bask in a remarkable season, one in which Army went 11-1 after that opening loss, the only defeat coming at the hands of the No. 4 team in the country—in overtime, on the road.

I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: Last summer, at the Army Football Club golf outing, one ex-player after another came up to Monken to congratulate him on the 2017 season; on bringing back the CIC—which was on prominent display during the dinner—and on beating Navy for a second-straight year.

Monken smiled, accepted congratulations and said repeatedly, "Well, we didn't win them all, but we'll keep on trying."

They didn't win them all this fall, but they came pretty darn close. The 2019 opener against Rice is 250 days away.

It is fair to say that everyone who cares about Army football can't wait for that evening.

https://goarmywestpoint.com/news/2018/12/23/football-feinstein-findings-leaving-a-legacy.aspx
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

SEE YOU FRIDAY!


FRIDAY,  DECEMBER 21,  2018  “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character.  But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” General H. Norman Schwartzkopf

*********** To Progressives:
 
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, to be practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion - or secular practice - of your choice, with no disrespect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others (or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all).  I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated  2019,  the generally accepted calendar year, not to slight in any way the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to our society have helped make America the country that it is. (Not to imply that America, in view of its racist foundings and its imperialist history,  is particularly great, or that it is in any way greater than any other country - nor is it the only “America” in the Western Hemisphere.) 

By accepting these greetings you signify that you are accepting of the terms. These greetings are subject to clarification or revocation. They are freely transferable with no alteration to the original greetings.  They imply no promise by the grantor to actually implement or guarantee the granting of any of the wishes for the wishee or his/her/its designee, and they are void where prohibited by law. These wishes are warranted only to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of any subsequent holiday greeting - whichever comes first - and the warranty is limited to replacement of these wishes or issuance of any new wishes at the sole discretion of the grantor.
 
To Everybody Else:
 
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

(From the Internet)

************  GO ARMY - BEAT HOUSTON!

ARMY FOOTBALL TRUCK


*********** In case you’ve wondered about how colleges get their football equipment to the sites of away games… in almost all cases, they load the stuff on tractor-trailers and it’s driven there.

Maybe you’ve seen one of the trucks on the road - some of them are pretty cool looking.

Utah State’s equipment truck driver  - nicknamed “Night Rider” - was legendary.

And now, he's retired.



http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/25529990/utah-state-night-runner-steve-wiley-made-last-ride

*********** There were a bunch of people out on the field for the coin toss prior to the Pac-12 title game but we never did find out who they were.  They weren’t reporters, and if they were political dignitaries you can be sure they’d have been introduced.

They leaves money as the only explanation.  They were probably connected in some way with sponsors.

And that left me thinking about all the money conferences and colleges could be leaving on the table.

Why not, I thought,  sell the right to be out at midfield for the coin toss? (For a little extra we’ll introduce you; for a little more, you can shake hands with the captains.

What the hell - why not sell the right to toss the coin?

We’re on a roll now - why not sell the coin itself?  First, we sell advertising space on both sides of the coin: “The Golden Arches will be heads… the Ford oval will be tails…”

And then we’ll sell the replica coins: “Hi. I’m William DeVane…”

*********** Stephen Curry has announced that he doesn’t believe we landed on the moon. 

Everybody has a little skeptic in him, I guess.  Me, I’m just hoping someday to see Barack Obama’s college transcript.


*********** Greg Koenig, in Cimarron, Kansas sent me this one…

Coach Chad Frigon, of Liberty, Missouri, HIgh School wrote in Preps KC:

Last spring I was in a pre-practice running backs meeting at the University of Arkansas with Arkansas Running Back’s coach, Tim Horton. As he lost me in the many checks and blitz pick up responsibilities of the running backs, my eyes wondered to a large poster on his wall that described members of any team as being either Corrupt, Compliant, or Compelled. I talked to Coach Horton after the meeting and have since used this concept to help us in our football program at Liberty High School.
 
Every football team has players that will fall into each of these categories. It is our job as coaches and teammates to help players become compelled to do what is right, and identify what problems may be holding a certain team member back.
 
Corrupt athletes on a team are the players that cause problems for themselves, teammates, and coaches through their actions. Corruptive players think of themselves first and not the team. These players are resistant to change and what it takes to succeed. A natural action for a corruptive player is to try to bring other players down with them to help justify their actions.
 
Compliant players do what is expected of them so they won’t get in trouble. They blend in trying not to get noticed. These players don’t improve much and don’t improve their teammates. When a compliant player shows up on time or goes hard in a work-out, it is to avoid punishment and consequences, not because they know that it is what they need to do in order for themselves and the team to be successful.
 
Compelled players do what is right because they know deep down inside, it is the right thing to do for themselves and also the team. They go above and beyond what is asked of them and improve and help their teammates.  Compelled players readily accept coaching and see it as a tool to improve. Compelled players are driven by the success of the entire program both on and off the field.
 
http://prepskc.com/columns.php?id=1040


Hmmm.  Compelled… Compliant… Corrupt.

I like that.  It’s a reasonable, logical way of categorizing - without stigmatizing - the kids we have to work with.

Our worry is never the compelled guy, the self-motivated guy at the top of the ladder.  You can never have too many of those guys.  But for most of us,  who can’t recruit our players, they’re in short supply.

Fortunately, so too are the “corrupt” guys.  But even one of them is usually too many.  They’re the ones we refer to as “cancers.”

Most kids, it seems, are in the “compliant” category, and that’s okay, so long as you have good team leadership.  I think that those kids basically want to please, and that’s fine if that means following good leaders.  But some of those kids, especially the younger ones, can be quite fragile.  They’re only a few rungs up the ladder from the cancers, and they’re the first ones that the corrupt guy can pull down with him.

My aim has always been to identify and then  weed out the “corrupt” element before formal practice starts.  There are ways of doing this, such as making clear well in advance what life in our program is going to be like - what standards we have and what values we hold, and - most important - how strong we are and what lengths we’ll go to to uphold those values and standards.  As often as not, they find me not to their liking.

I’ve found that if you have a strong team infrastucture, reinforced by a dependable core of senior leaders who can trust you to support them, you may be able to absorb one corrupt player.  I have seen it happen that one guy can adapt - for at least the duration of the season - to the demands of the team.  Under other conditions, though, without feeling pressure to conform, he’d just be his usual a$$hole self.

I don’t kid myself, though.  In the course of a football season, I’m not going to bring about any significant change in a kid who’s hard wired to be a jerk.  When the season’s over, he’ll put his jerk hat right back on again.

As for trying to take on more than one of them -  I’m not sure that any team can survive having more than one on board, because if there’s one thing those guys thrive on, it’s company.  BIrds of a feather flock together.  As few as two, I’ve found, can be a critical mass.


*********** I saw a question on a coach’s Facebook page that ought to be of interest to any of you young enough to still be in the job market:

QUESTION:  When you’re applying for a job, do you have your references call before the interview - or after?

That’s easy.  My experience, and that of any number of other coaches I’ve talked with, has been that your first goal has to be getting the interview. Period.

I’m reminded of something I used to hear Don Horn say.   Don was our QB in Portland, and a damn good one at that. He’d understudied Bart Starr at Green Bay for four years, and had eight years’ experience in the NFL when we signed him. (In today’s NFL, he’d have had a job and we’d never have had him: then, there were 26 teams in the NFL; now, there are 32.  Then NFL teams had 43 players on their rosters.  Period.  Now, they have 46 active, 7 inactive (53, in reality) plus 10 members of a “practice squad.” To save you the math, that’s 578 more jobs in today’s NFL - not including practice squads - and I feel quite sure that a player of Don Horn’s ability would hold one of them.)

Don spent his rookie year playing for Vince Lombardi, and he loved to tell us that The Great One more than once told his teams, “Just get me into the post-season, and I’ll take it from there.”  (Lombardi knew what he was talking about: he lost the first post-season game he ever coached in, the 1960 championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but never lost another one.  In all, he was 9-1, including 3 pre-Super Bowl NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls.)

Very simply put, do whatever it takes to get that interview.  If you know Bill Belichick, ask him to call for you.

And then, if that gets you the interview, it’s all up to you.

Yes, there are “show” interviews - shams conducted merely as cover for the fact that the whole process is wired and they already know who they’re going to hire.  But most interviews are on the up-and-up.   And we  coaches, imbued as we are with self-confidence,  ought to be of a mind that if we can just get in front of the people who’ll make the decision, we can get the job.

Getting the interview is key.  If you don’t get the interview, it means they’re going to hire someone else, and there’s nothing even Bill Belichick can do for you now.

***********  I was recently referred to an article by some part-time coach  who had the answer to what ails our sport.  The reason football participation is down, he posited, is bad coaching.

He wasn’t talking about sadistic coaches, who thrill at the sight of little kids beating each other up in hamburger drills; he wasn’t talking about egomaniacs, who use kids to glorify themselves and their images.  No, he was talking about strategy, as if little kids get caught up in the nuances of formations and RPOs.

Give me a break.  It’s apparent this guy thinks he’s the first person ever to address a problem we’ve been dicussing for, oh, ten or twenty years.

It’s as if we were sitting at a table and this guy grabbed a chair, sat down, and said, “Hey - I know why football participation is down!” 

And as we look at each other, as if to ask, “Who’s Sherlock Holmes?” He tells us it’s because coaches run the wrong offense… or call the wrong play… or have overly-wide splits.

Sure, bad coaching may be a contributing factor, but come on - football participation is down everywhere, and not just at places with bad coaches.

In actuality, there are many, many reasons why participation in football is down, and God knows concussion hysteria is one, but if I had to distill it down to just one, I would choose this:  the game of football is an anachronism, a relic of a time that’s passed - an earlier, more rugged time when a man had to prove himself.  

It was a time when manhood and traits associated with it, such as bravery, were prized; when hard work was necessary for a man to survive and succeed,  when good things had to be put off until they were paid for, when authority - and seniority - was respected, when attention spans were longer, when most kids had fathers at home - and fathers expected their sons to grow into men by doing manly things.

Now, this is not to say that there aren’t a lot of people posing as football coaches who have no business being around kids, but I don’t think the problem with football participation is kids dropping out once they discover they don’t agree with the coach’s play-calling.  The greater problem is all those American kids - couch potatoes, mommy’s boys, screen nerds up in their bedrooms playing video games - who have never gone, and never will go,  near a football field.

Mark Twain once said, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” and one might say the same about football: yes, we’ve been seeing declines in participation at the youth and high school levels, but there are still more boys participating in high school football than in the next two sports combined.

*********** So while many Americans denounce football and deplore its potential dangers, this is the price we pay for keeping our children “safe”:

A study released by the Citadel in collaboration with the US Army Public Health Center and the American Heart Association found that 27% of Americans 17- to 24-years old were too overweight to qualify for military service.

The report also showed that of those accepted for military service, 47% of males and 59% of females failed the Army’s entry-level physical fitness test while entering basic training.

*********** A kid was shot and killed in Vancouver, Washington last week, and the murder was attributed to a “drug deal gone bad.”

Seems that in the exchange of product, one of the participants grabbed the marijuana and dashed off, perhaps unaware that he was expected to pay something in return.

I honestly don’t know who shot whom, but I was left puzzled.

Marijuana?

For more than a year, our state’s had legal marijuana stores, complete with cute names (“HIgh Five Cannabis,” “Main Street Marijuana,” “New Vansterdam”) and salespersons called “budtenders,” and when we were voting on the idea (I voted against it, but they only let me vote once because I couldn’t prove I was dead) I swear that one of the main reasons was to cut down on crime by legalizing what was once illegal.

Oh, wait - you mean that with state taxes on the pot, and having to pay rent and having to pay budtenders minimum wage, the stores can’t match the prices of the street dudes?

*********** Hats off to UAB for bringing football back.  I guess.

I have reservations because  two of their players were ejected - rightly - for dirty hits on the Northern Illinois quarterback, and then, to make matters uglier, one of them was applauded as he walked off the field past a lineup of approving teammates. He was
treated as a celebrity, as if he’d won the Heisman.

They were not questionable hits. They were ugly, they were dirty, and they were flagrant. The current rules and the penalties, once thought to be draconian, have been in effect - for how long now? - and they don’t seem to be working. 

As if our game doesn’t have enough problems, we continue to see this sh—.

Time to bring it to a dead stop.  Time  to entertain the recent proposal on here of Coach Joe Gutilla:  send off the head coach (and the position coach) along with the perp.  Next the DC, then the OC, etc. 

Time for these guys to start coaching.

They’ve proved they can recruit the guys who commit these fouls. Now let’s see if they can coach them.

*********** Rick Darlington is an outstanding high school football coach.  He’s coached at Valdosta, Georgia, one of the most demanding places in the US to be a high school coach, and he’s won three state championships in Florida’s highest classification at Apopka. In 17 years there, his record there is 167-47.

He’s a good man, too - met him several years ago at the Single Wing Symposium in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Now, he’s moving on. To Enterprise, Alabama.

Yes, he’ll be making more money - $115,000 a year - but there’s more to the move than money.

Writes Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel, it’s the state’s open-enrollment rules and the chaotic transfers that they've spawned:

The open-enrollment rules passed by the state legislature two years ago have opened the door for a flash flood of high school athletes transferring from one school or to another without regard to commitment or community or to what school district they actually live in.

“I feel the legislature, when they made that rule, ruined high school athletics,” Darlington said on our Open Mike radio show. “At Apopka, we’ve always built things on pride and loyalty and integrity and being a good man and sitting in the front of your class and wearing a tie on Tuesdays and saying, ‘Yes sir.’ These are things we believe are part of building men.

“Those things have sort of become punchlines when you have other schools where kids can go and act a whole different way. If kids don’t like the way I think they should act, they can just go somewhere else. It tears at what I believe is the fabric of high school sports; where you play for your team and your town and the people you grew up with; where you try to do great things and make your hometown proud of you.

“That’s what we had at Apopka,’” he added. “The kids grew up together, they won state championships together and the faculty and the town loved ’em. It’s getting harder and harder to keep kids home if they don’t like the way things are being done or if another school looks shinier and provides them with the flavor of the month.”

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/open-mike/os-sp-apopka-rick-darlington-enterprise-alabama-20181208-story.html

*********** Bailey Goss was dead and gone by the time I joined the team at the National Brewing Company, in Baltimore, but around Baltimore he was still legendary.

He’d arrived in Baltimore from Reading, Pennsylvania, where he’d worked in radio, and with his good looks and good voice he was a natural for the new medium of television.  And that made him a natural for National Brewing, which was quick to realize the commercial potential of sports on TV.

He was hired by the brewery to call games on all kinds of sports - baseball, football, bowling (duck pins were the big favorite in the Baltimore up until the 60s), wrestling, golf - working often with the legendary Chuck Thompson, longtime voice of the Orioles and an immortal as the guy who called the overtime period in the famous Colts-Giants “sudden death” championship game. 

He also co-hosted a weekly show called “Corralin’ the Colts,” and, another of his job’s requirements, did PR work for the brewery.

That meant getting out and about - getting out among the people.  The ones who drank our beer.

He was good at that, too, making appearances all over town, and, one would presume, consuming his share of the company’s products.

He died at the age of 49, killed in a late-night automobile accident.  I have no idea whether alcohol had anything to do with it - it wasn’t something that I ever heard discussed around the company.  (Not exactly what you’d call good PR.)

In doing a little research on him, I learned of his roots in Pennsylvania and his German ancestry, and came across his version of “A Night Before Christmas,” in Pennsylvania Dutch (German) dialect.

(His name on the record label is misspelled.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHM-YztFs8I


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - FROM HIS HALL OF FAME CITATION

Jerry Claiborne was famous for three things. He was a winner. He took over washed-up programs and gave them new life. And he taught his players to be good students. He was a head coach 28 years with this record: 179-122-8. The College Football Association in 1988 gave his school, Kentucky, an award for leading the nation in number of football players graduated on time. He coached four Academic All-Americas and 87 all-conference academics.

His teams were in 11 bowl games. He coached Virginia Tech 1961-1970 with a 69-31-2 record.  Then Maryland called. The school had won just nine games in five years. He had a winner his second year. Beginning in 1973 his teams made it to six consecutive bowl games. The Sporting News in 1974 named him the nation's Coach of the Year. His 1976 team went 11-1 and ranked eighth in the Associated Press poll. For ten years at Maryland his record was 77-37-3.

In 1982, his alma-mater, Kentucky called. The school had endured four straight losing seasons. He took Kentucky to bowl games his second and third years. He retired after the 1989 season.

Sports Illustrated said in 1976 his great virtues were "organization, motivation, and hard work.” He said, "Coaching is one of the few professions where you can change people and help them to be good citizens and parents."

Jerry Claiborne was born August 2, 1928 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He played halfback for Bear Bryant at Kentucky in 1946 and 1948-49. He was a Bryant assistant at Texas A&M and Alabama before launching a carrer as a successful head coach. In June of 1999, the Lexington, Kentucky chapter of the National Football Foundation was named after him. He died September 24, 2000.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JERRY CLAIBORNE

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

*********** Jerry Claiborne was a good man - a Christian gentleman who didn’t drink or cuss.  But don’t be fooled.  He wasn’t soft.  Not by any means.  From my experience with people who knew him - one guy who played for me in Hagerstown, Maryland and had played for Coach Claiborne at Virginia Tech and another whom I worked with in Philadelphia who had assisted him at Maryland - he was one tough son of a gun.  He ran a tough program; he expected his players to be hard-nosed and his assistant coaches to be tough sons of guns.  How could he have assisted Bear Bryant for six years and not been hard-nosed to begin with?  How could he not have acquired some of the Bear’s legendary toughness?  One former Tech player, Ron Hawkins, was a player-coach for me, and he remains, 45 years later, the hardest hitter I’ve ever coached. (Not that my coaching had a damn thing to do with it.)

Coach Claiborne was legendary throughout the coaching fraternity for his thoroughness in preparation - and for the hours that preparation required of him and his assistants.  There they would be, I was told, itching to break out of a late-night staff meeting and get home to their wives, as Coach Claiborne continued to play “What if?”, coming up with one contingency after another that they might encounter in the upcoming game.  What if they do this?  What do we do? And what if they do that?  Then what?

Once those meetings broke up, they said it looked like a Le Mans start as the coaches sprinted aross the parking lot to get in their cars and race home.

*********** Those were different times… Check out the guest coaches
jerry Claiborne Camp

*********** Q. Why is Coach Claiborne’s favored defense called the “Wide Tackle” Six?

Well, duh.  Because the tackles line up wider than they would do in a “regular” six.

Return with me to the years before, during and after World War II when offenses were fairly standard - usually a single wing or some form of the then new-fangled T formation - and so were defenses, one of the most common of which was a “6-2-2-1” (six linemen, two linebackers, two “halfbacks” and one safety).

Players played both ways, and for simplicity’s sake, their offensive positions dictated their defensive positions: in Frank Leahy’s words, the six-man front “necessitates moving only one man out of the line.  Only this man must play a comparatively different position.”   That meant that a guard on offense was a guard on defense, a tackle on offense was a  tackle on defense, and so forth.  That "one man" that moved “out of the line” when they went on defense was the center - he and the fullback became the linebackers.

In today’s terms, of course, what coaches formerly called defensive guards we now call tackles, and what they called tackles we now call ends.  And their ends are now our outside linebackers.

Note in the diagrams below, Frank Leahy’s defense, drawn in 1951. It reflected the fact that they were still playing two-way football, and so the inside linebackers were designated as “F” (for Fullback) and “C” (for Center).   By 1985, though, football was a two-platoon game, and in Kentucky’s scheme, the inside Backers are both designated by “B’s.” Possibly because it was too hard for him to change something he’d been doing for his entire career, Coach Claiborne still continued to use “G’s” for “defensive guards.”

regular and wide tackle sixes


A year or so before he died I spoke with Coach Claiborne on the phone and asked him where he got the defense from.  His answer: “Coach Bryant.”   (He’d played under him at Kentucky and assisted him at Texas A & M and Alabama.) Coach Claiborne was one of the last of the big-college coaches to use it.  The last, I believe, was Bobby Ross, who assisted Coach Claiborne at Maryland before taking the head coaching job at The Citadel, then spent five years as an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs before succeeding Coach Claiborne at Maryland in 1982.  I still have video somewhere of a Maryland-West Virginia game (Boomer Esiason was the Maryland QB) and damned if Coach Ross wasn’t running a wide-tackle six front.  

In principle, the wide-tackle six lives on as the forerunner of today’s 4-2-5.  I’ve run a wide-tackle as part of my defensive package since the mid-1980’s and I’ve found it to be an extremely versatile defense that's especially good against run and shoot, veer and (as the resident wishbone specialist, Charlie Wilson notes) almost a requirement against a wishbone. I find that an I-formation with a good blast play complemented by a  counter dive can be a pain in the ass.

I won’t kid you - it takes work to teach the inside linemen (I call them “tackles”).  The tackles’ jobs are counter-intuitive, because they don’t penetrate - they strike a blow, they make sure nothing runs between them (“this is the key to the defense,” according to Coach Claiborne), and they make plays along the line of scrimmage:

“When the flow goes, it’s lateral pursuit. They cross the face of the offensive man and come right down the line of scrimmage.”

The only times they penetrate are on a sprint-out or a drop-back pass:

“If the flow is pass, one man has “whip his man and go.” The other man has draw.  They call draw responsibility before every snap, no matter what.  If it’s sprint-out, we want to get into the backfield with the backside tackle. The frontside tackle has lateral pursuit and works upfield.”

Coach Claiborne said, and I concur: “The toughest thing we have to teach incoming freshmen is to stay on the line of scrimmage.”

And he added (I can’t say I have any experience in this regard) “and that’s one of the toughest things our players have to unlearn when they go on to play pro ball.”

Below is Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd’s wide-tackle six drawn up against an unbalanced single wing. (From “Bobby Dodd on Football” 1954). Although it’s drawn against an unbalanced line,  for most of his career his primary single wing opponent was his alma mater, Tennessee - the Vols ran General Neyland’s balanced-line single wing.

Bobby Dodd Defense



*********** Coach Claiborne on the Wide Tackle Six - http://www.coachwyatt.com/widetacklesixclaiborne.pdf


*********** QUIZ - Born in Arkansas City, Kansas, he played his high school ball in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

As a quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners from 1950-1952, he was a backup his sophomore season when Oklahoma won its first national championship,  and the starter his junior and senior years.   Playing both ways - he also played safety on defense - he was named All-Big Seven both seasons, and was the All-American QB in 1952.

Drafted second by the New York Giants, he went to Canada instead and played one year with the Edmonton Eskimos before being called to serve in the US Army.

While in the Army, he served a year as an assistant to Earl “Red” Blaik at West Point, then was hired by his college coach, Bud Wilkinson, to coach the running backs at Oklahoma.

After seven seasons at Norman, he was hired in January, 1963 as head coach at Colorado.
 
Colorado was in trouble.  The Buffs had fired Sonny Grandelius a year earlier when, following a seventh-place finish  nationally and a berth in the Orange Bowl,  allegations surfaced that he had a slush fund that was being used to pay recruits.  NCAA sanctions followed and at least 20 players left the program for various reasons.  Alumni director Bud Davis was hired as interim coach for the 1962 season, and as might have been expected with an inexperienced coach working with a depleted roster,  the Buffs finished 2-8. The wins were over an 0-10 Kansas State team (by a 6-0 score) and Air Force.

Our man also went 2-8 in his first two seasons, but things turned around in his third season, when the Buffaloes finished 6-2-2.

In all, in his 11 years as head coach at Colorado, his teams went   67-49-2.  Five of his teams were nationally ranked, and at a time when bowl games were far fewer than today, five went to bowls.

His best team was his 1971 team, which finished 10-2 and was ranked third nationally - behind fellow Big Eight Conference members Nebraska (number one) and Oklahoma.  Although they lost to both conference rivals, they beat #9 LSU in Baton Rouge, and they beat #6 Ohio State in Columbus.

Since 1965 he had been doing double duty as Colorado Athletics Director, and in 1974 he devoted full time to that job. As AD, he hired the next three Colorado head football coaches: Bill Mallory, Chuck Fairbanks and Bill McCartney.

Mallory carried on the winning ways, posting a .623 winning percentage in five years. Fairbanks, who had been highly successful at Oklahoma before moving on to the NFL, was hired away from the Patriots thanks largely to the influence (and dollars) of wealthy alumni. He laid an egg, going 7-26 in three years. But in McCartney, he pulled a rabbit out of his hat.  McCartney would go on to become the winningest coach in school history, posting a 93-55-5 record (.624) and winning Colorado’s only national title in 1990.

Two out of three ain’t bad:


american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 18,  2018  “If you can't change the people - change the people." Astute leadership advice of uncertain origin

*********** Clemson’s Christian Wilkins, from Springfield, Massachusetts is one hell of a football player.  He’s 6-4, 315, and he can run.  He may or may not be the best defensive lineman in the country, but down close to the goal line, he is without a doubt the toughest ball carrier in America - which is how Clemson uses him when they really need the yardage. 

He’s also quite a man off the field.  He is this year’s winner of the Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation. In my opinion, the Campbell Trophy is the highest honor that can be conferred on a college football player.

*** From the NFF:

Clemson University defensive lineman Christian Wilkins has been named the 29th recipient of The William V. Campbell Trophy at the 61st National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York City tonight.

"Christian Wilkins' exceptional accomplishments on and off the field rank him among the best student-athletes in the history of our sport, making him the ideal Campbell Trophy recipient," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "He truly embodies the scholar-athlete ideal and we are proud to have him as a member of this elite fraternity. He stands as the perfect example for the next generation to emulate."

The Campbell Trophy ranks as one of college football's most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The award, which is prominently displayed at its official home inside the New York Athletic Club, comes with a 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.
 
A total of $241,000 was awarded tonight to Wilkins and the 12 other members of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, who comprised the list of Campbell Trophy finalists. Each member of the class claimed an $18,000 scholarship for their postgraduate educations. Fidelity Investments is a proud partner of the Campbell Trophy and the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.

"Christian and his fellow members of the 2018 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class represent more than just their standout athletic ability seen on the field," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning, whose sons, Peyton (Campbell Trophy winner) and Eli, were NFF National Scholar-Athletes in 1997 and 2003, respectively. "Their academic achievements and their contributions as leaders in the community send a powerful message about the young men who play our sport. They have taken full advantage of the educational opportunities created by college football, and they have created a compelling legacy for others to follow."
 
Wilkins personifies the scholar-athlete ideal, having already earned his degree while twice claiming First Team All-America honors and guiding Clemson to a national championship.
 
After graduating in December 2017 with a 3.33 GPA in communication studies, Wilkins became the first scholarship player in Clemson football history to finish school in two and a half years. He will graduate this December with a master's in athletic leadership. In addition to being a three-time All-ACC Academic Team member, Wilkins has twice received First Team Academic All-District honors. He was named the ACC's 2018 Jim Tatum Award recipient as the top senior student-athlete among the conference's football players.
 
A two-year team captain, Wilkins has guided Clemson to the No. 2 ranking, a perfect 13-0 record, the 2018 ACC title and a trip to the College Football Playoff Semifinal. A finalist for the 2018 Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy, he has amassed 45 tackles on the season, including 13.5 tackles for loss. The 2018 First Team All-ACC defensive lineman is also a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and has five sacks, one forced fumble, and two fumble recovery to his name this year. Wilkins was the runner-up for both the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year for 2018.

Wilkins leads a Clemson unit that tops the ACC and is tied for second in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 13.7 points per game. Clemson's rushing defense is also atop the ACC, limiting opposing teams to 93 yards per game on the ground, which is the third best average in the nation. The Tigers rank second in the ACC and fourth in the nation in total defense, limiting offenses to 276.8 yards per game.

On Oct. 27, Wilkins recorded the first rushing touchdown of his career on a one-yard run against Florida State. He would add another rushing touchdown in the regular season finale against in-state rival South Carolina. Following a 27-7 win at Boston College on Nov. 10, Wilkins was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week after playing a key role as the Tigers secured their fourth straight ACC Atlantic Division title. He posted five tackles in the game, including one for loss, as part of a defensive line that limited Boston College to only nine rushing yards. On Nov. 17, he broke the school record for career starts by a defensive tackle.
 
A three-year letterman, Wilkins made an immediate impact at Clemson, earning 2015 First Team Freshman All-America honors. A three-time All-ACC selection, he earned first-team honors in 2018 and 2017 while claiming second team laurels in 2016. A finalist for the 2016 Nagurski Trophy, Wilkins was named the 2017 Willis Award recipient as the National Defensive Lineman of the Year by the Columbus (Ohio) Touchdown Club. Wilkins guided the Tigers to the 2016 College Football Playoff (CFP) national title, two CFP National Championship game appearances and now four consecutive trips to the CFP Semifinals. In addition to winning four consecutive ACC titles, Wilkins helped Clemson finish with No. 2 (2015), No.1 (2016) and No. 4 (2017) rankings.
 
Making a difference off the field, Wilkins became a certified substitute teacher during the 2018 offseason, indicating that he wanted to provide inspiration and guidance to K-12 students. An avid volunteer, Wilkins has worked with Habitat for Humanity, the Clemson Miracle Fundraiser, Colleges Against Cancer Relay for Life and the "Kicks, Cleats, Kids" initiative. He has also taken part in the Taylor Elementary Visionary Leaders program.

*********** Kansas State has a coach, and he’s a good one.

He’s Chris Klieman, and for the past seven years he’s been the coach at North Dakota State, which in case you’re a fool who only follows the NFL and you somehow stumbled onto this anti-NFL site, is one of the best programs in college football.

All of college football.  NDSU is easily the cream of FCS (formerly D-1A) football, winning seven of the last eight national championships and now getting ready to play Eastern Washington on January 5 for its eighth title in nine years.  In their last six games against FBS teams, such as Minnesota, Iowa and - yes - Kansas State, the Bison (BYE-zinn)  are 6-0, It’s not at all unreasonable to think that they’re good enough to play .500 ball in an FBS (formerly D-1) conference.

To find out what the people in North Dakota think of Klieman,  Kellis Robinett of the Wichita Eagle took a trip to Fargo to see for himself:

A funny thing happened when Klieman told his team he was leaving for K-State last week.

His players gave him a standing ovation.

Most of the time, when a football coach leaves for a new job there is venom involved. Players are disappointed and fans are angry. There are usually boos. Not here.

When Klieman walked off the field for the final time following his team’s 44-21 demolition of South Dakota State in the FCS playoffs on Friday, “thank you Klieman” chants broke out all across the Fargodome. Some fans even brought signs.

“There isn’t anybody around here who is mad at him for leaving,” NDSU fan Martin Rud said. “He has earned it. All these seniors are his kids. They love him. The coaches all work good together. You guys are getting a good coach.”

“He’s a good coach, a good mentor and just a good all-around person,” Fargo local Kent Ness added. “He has done so much for North Dakota State. We are just happy he gets to move on to bigger and brighter things.”

Coach Klieman’s assignment isn’t an easy one.  There are K-State people who - if you can believe this - are actually disappointed in his hire because they expected a “bigger name.” Yeah.  Like Urban Meyer was going to move to Manhattan, Kansas.  Nothing against the Little Apple, which is really a nice town, but come on - the only reason Kansas State is even considered to be a major college job is because Bill Snyder made it into one. 

The K-State people have already thanked Coach Snyder, I’m sure, for all those good years.  But they should also thank him for establishing K-State as a place that can now attract a quality coach like Chris Klieman.

Right now, he’s running a balancing act between taking over at K-State and getting the Bison ready for their FCS championship game date against Eastern Washington, on January 5.

Of course, I’ll be rooting for the home state guys from Eastern, but it sure is hard not to pull for a guy like Coach Klieman, who sounds to me like the perfect hire for Kansas State. 

https://www.kansas.com/sports/college/big-12/kansas-state/article223049765.html

https://www.kansas.com/sports/college/big-12/kansas-state/article223155125.html


Earlier, there were rumors that the  K-State job was first offered to North Texas’ Seth Littrell (who knows?) but then he announced he was withdawing from the process (who knows why?)

John Henry, in pressboxDFW, suggests that whatever the reason, not getting (or taking) the K-State job was a good career move for Littrell.

There are only so many programs such as Georgia and Florida for the Kirby Smarts and Urban Meyers of the world.

For every one of those, there is Paul Rhoads, a hot-shot coordinator at Auburn who stepped into a trap at Iowa State, or Turner Gill or Charlie Weis at Kansas.

Good luck, Les Miles.

Many of these are dead ends.

Chad Morris at Arkansas has his work cut out for him. What (Matt) Campbell and Mark Stoops have done at Iowa State and Kentucky is nothing short of extraordinary, but can they sustain it?

While no one really knows why Littrell didn’t take the Kansas State job, he’s probably better off staying and waiting, if indeed his future is somewhere else.

It’s difficult for a coach to turn down the money a Power 5 conference school can offer, but many times the offer is from a place it’s difficult – impossible? — to achieve success. Had he left, Littrell would have at least doubled the $1.2 million annual base salary he earns at North Texas. A buyout clause, somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million and $2 million, would have triggered.

The only guy who has cracked the code at Kansas State was Snyder who, once upon a time, was one of those young up-and-comers as an assistant to Hayden Fry at North Texas and then Iowa.

Snyder had unprecedented success in Manhattan, winning 210 games in 27 years split into two tenures.

Before Snyder, Stan Parrish went 2-30 from 1986-89. Jim Dickey – father of former North Texas coach Darrell Dickey – went 24-54 from 1978-85. Ellis Rainsberger won six games between 1975-77.

To find any modicum of success, one has to scroll all the way up to 1928-33, the era of Bo McMillin. McMillin, once a QB for the Centre Praying Colonels, went 29-21.

That’s Knute Rockne-type stuff at Kansas State.

During Snyder’s first tenure at Kansas State, 1989-2005, he transformed the Wildcats into a national player.

People stood mouth wide open in wonder watching as if seeing Marilyn Monroe naked. Snyder won nine or more games 10 times. The Wildcats won 11 games six times.

How the hell he did it, he might take to his grave.

Ron Prince took over in 2006-08 and more than met the standards of Manhattan mediocrity.

Snyder was rehired in 2009 and made a return with everything except the “hosannas.”

And he did it again.

Kansas State won 10 and 11 games in 2011 and 2012, including a Fiesta Bowl appearance. The Wildcats went 5-7 this year, but the previous two years won 17 games.

Not exactly insignificant, and neither is walking in the footsteps of Bill Snyder, whose shadow is as large as the Christ the Redeemer art deco in Rio.

Littrell either didn’t get the job as Snyder’s successor or didn’t take it.

In other words, he was either lucky or played his cards right.

*********** Utah State blew North Texas off the field.  Hmmm. How would that have played in Manhattan, Kansas if K-State had already hired Seth Littrell, the North Texas coach? 

Utah State had already lost their coach, Matt Wells, to Texas Tech, but it didn’t seem to affect their bowl performance.

The Aggies, incidentally, have already replaced Wells with Gary Anderson, who prededed him at Utah State and was so successful  in his first go-round there that he wound up with the head coaching job at Wisconsin.

*********** I was pissed when the South Dakota State QB ran against North Dakota State, got the yardage he wanted, and then, at the last second, slid. 

I was pissed because the announcers started whining about the hit that was put on him.  Yes, he was hit, but not when he was on the ground.  That tackler aimed and  hit him the way he would have if the QB had still been running the ball, instead of suddenly ducking.

It pisses me off the way the game is twisted to accomodate quarterbacks.  It’s a travesty on our game in the first place to allow a player to pose as an actual runner, then suddenly throw up the flag of surrender.

If the QB’s going to run anywhere but out of bounds,  he’s a football player - and he should expect to get hit.

And it’s asking too much of a tackler to expect him to walk on eggs as he approaches a running quarterback.

I’ve said before that a QB’s yardage should be reduced by 5 yards from the spot where the slide started.  I’d like to amend that to read that no run ending in a hook slide shall result in yardage gained - that in the event the run should go beyond the line of scrimmage, the ball will be brought back to the original line of scrimmage.

*********** You could tell that Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit were out of practice calling games because they talked so much.

*********** I have to admit that I didn’t expect Eastern Michigan to play as well as they did - we’re talking about a great job of coaching, guys - but neither did I expect, when Eastern went ahead on a fourth-down pass with 3 minutes left, that Georgia Southern would move the ball upfield to kick the winning field goal.  I mean, of all the teams in FBS, only Army throws it less than Georgia Southern.  But there the Eagles were, facing a fourth-and-long of their own and out of field goal range, and I’ll be damned if Eastern Michigan didn’t drop eight and rush three.  And Southern QB Shai Werts, his receivers covered, ran for the necessary yardage.

*********** North Carolina A & T had a close call, beating Alcorn State when the Braves’ attempt at  a two-point conversion failed.

My friend, Kevin Latham, was  at the game with his daughter, who’s thinking seriously of going to A & T.  She wants to be the drum major in the band.

If you didn’t know, bands, at HBCU colleges, are BIG.

And lemme tell you - if you haven’t seen one of their bands, you have missed out on a spectacle.  They are GOOD!

I watched them Saturday and wondered what TF is wrong with the NFL that they keep shoving these creepy Super Bowl halftime shows down our throats,  when they could be entertaining viewers and doing a lot of good for a large portion of their audience by booking an HBCU band - or two?

They could make it competitive, with bands  competing thorughout the season at halftime of their football games.

Or they could tie it to the performance of their football teams.

Or they could hook up with a sponsor, and base it on some sort of nationwide vote.

*********** In the span of less than a week the Maine Black Bears had to fly back to Orono, Maine (actually, to Bangor) from Ogden, Utah (actually, Salt Lake City) after upsetting Weber State, then turn around five or six days later and fly to Spokane, Washington to play Eastern Washington.  That kind of travel is tough on anyone, and Eastern is one of the premier programs in FCS, and it didn’t end well for the Black Bears. But their story was a good one, and it was quite an achievement for them  to make it all the way to the semi-finals. 

*********** Fresno State beat Arizona State (Pac-12 is now 0-1) to win 12 games for the first time in school history.  It was nice redemption for Fresno QB Marcus McMaryion, who was basically told he was no longer needed at Oregon State, and, in case any further proof was needed, it proved that Jeff Tedford is a damn good coach.  I still think that Herm Edwards did a good job at Arizona State, finishing 7-6, his first winning season since 2004 when he was head coach of the Jets.

*********** Ferris State (of Michigan) and Valdosta State (of Georgia) put on quite a battle in the D-II title game, with Valdosta winning, 49-47.  The two teams between them combined for 945 yards of total offense. Ferris State made 26 first downs, Valdosta State 27.

*********** Mary Hardin-Baylor won its second NCAA D-III title Saturday, beating Mount Union, 24-16, and denying the Purple Raiders what would have been their 14th national title.

*********** How in the hell did all the FBS schools in the Midwest miss out on North Dakota State QB Easton Stick, an Omaha kid?

*********** The people at USA Today are sick, sick, sick.

Why else would they work so hard dredging up some old tweets that Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray sent to friends six or seven years ago, when he was 15 years old, then wait until he was awarded the Heisman Trophy to spring on us a story about his “homophobic tweets.” (He called his friends “queers.” Ever done that? Thought so, you homophobe.)

*********** Gil LeBreton has a French surname, not surprising when you realize that he’s a native of Louisiana, where some 250 years ago French-speaking immigrants from Acadia, in what’s now the Maritime Provinces of Canada, settled.  They called themselves Acadians - say it fast and I bet it’ll come out sounding like “Cajuns.”

Gil and I got to know each other back in the WFL days, when I was the PR guy for the Portland Thunder, and he filled the same role in Birmingham.  We did have some good times together when our teams played.

Gil went on to an outstanding career as a sports reporter and columnist for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, and now he’s a co-founder of the sports Web site dfwpressbox.

He wrote recently about a trip to France, about visiting  a town in Brittany with “a whole page-and-a-half in the local phone directory of LeBretons.”

And, as any American who spends any time in a foreign country soon learns, he noted that things that we Americans live and die by are of absolutely no interest in other places.

What we did discover during our afternoon-long visit was that news of the Dallas Cowboys’ resuscitation has not yet reached the banks of the Loire. American “football” remains a novelty act in France, home of soccer’s reigning World Cup champions.

I picked up the country’s daily sports paper, L’Equipe, and soccer stories regularly filled the tabloid’s first 23 pages.

Page 24? Team handball’s women’s world championships.

There were three pages of rugby news. A few pages of cycling and skiing. And though this will come as a blow to Jerry Jones’ self-esteem, no mention whatsoever of him or the NFL.

“What I do like,” said Jean-Hubert LeBreton, “is the NBA.

“We love basketball. We follow the NBA. Tony Parker. LeBron James.”

And Jean-Hubert’s favorite NBA team?

Ugh.

“The Lakers.”

Oddly, though soccer in a myriad of languages is now readily available on American TV, NBA games are hard to find on the French télé. When I was there, there was a Raptors-76ers game on one night – at 2 a.m.

“It’s complicated,” Jean-Hubert said of being an NBA fan in France.

On most nights, a prime-time surfing of televised French TV offerings showed no less than six soccer matches, some skiing and the always popular biathlon.

Don’t tsk-tsk, though. Just imagine what a French tourist thinks when he turns on an American TV and sees Stephen A. Smith.

*********** After years of moving around from one construction job to another, Ed Lynch and his wife, Dollie, settled in Vancouver, Washington in 1957.  Ed retired in 1985 as President of Kiewit Pacific, the West Coast operation of one of the world’s largest construction companies, and embarked on a second career as a philanthropist.  Dollie, to whom he’d been married for 62 years,  died in 2010.  In the years after Ed’s retirement, it’s estimated that the Lynches donated well in excess of $100 million to various causes in and around their adopted hometown.

When Ed died, the home he and Dottie had lived in for 50 years was put on the market, with the proceeds to go to local charities.

In 2002, they had donated a 9.5 acre piece of land adjacent to their home, to be used as a city park.

In return they asked only that it be named Ed and Dollie Lynch Park, and the recipients agreed.

Uh-oh.

As you might have surmised, certain people objected to the use of the word, “Lynch.”

“I’m sorry that people have that last name,” said one objector, “but that last name should not be associated with a public space.”

Said another, the word is “Exclusionary, offensive and downright frightening for members of our community.”

How sad that members of our community are so grievance-driven that they’re incapable of distinguishing between two wonderful, community-minded people named Lynch and a word, attributed to a Virginian of the late 1700s, that connotes taking the law into one’s hands, and since the Civil War has referred more specifically to whites - usually Southern whites - executing blacks - usually black men - without trial.

Compromises have been proposed, including naming the property “Dollie’s Park.”

So far, though, the family is hanging tough, but my guess is that the city will cave.

Oh well,  no matter what they wind up calling the park, I fear that it will wind up being just another tent city for Vancouver’s homeless.

The “controversy”: https://www.opb.org/news/article/lynch-park-vancouver-washington-debate/

Ed Lynch’s obituary: https://www.columbian.com/news/2015/may/10/clark-county-businessman-philanthropist-ed-lynch-d/

The Lynch home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tdcs299TDM


*********** My brush with the Bush family took place in early 1961, in a Howard Johnson’s rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. (Remember Howard Johnson’s, those restaurants that looked from the outside like Mount Vernon?  They were famous for fried ipswich clams, grilled frankforts - what they called the humble hot dog - and their 28 flavors of ice cream.)

Less than a year out of college, I was working in Baltimore, living in the Dundalk  (MD) YMCA during the week, and driving “home” on weekends to Abington, Pennsylvania where my wife and our infant son were staying with her parents until we could find a place in Baltimore.

In those days, the fastest way by far to make the trip was to take US Route 40 all the way across the Delaware Memorial Bridge, then take the NJ Turnpike north to where I’d cross back over the Delaware via the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, then thread my way through Northeast Philly (known locally as just “the Northeast”) to Abington.

On this particular trip, I’d stopped in at the Howard Johnson’s just north of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and as I stood in line, I saw a person standing nearby who was either Senator Prescott Bush, of Connecticut, or his double.  I knew what Senator Bush looked like - I’d just spent four years in college in Connecticut, and besides, his son, Bucky, was a classmate of mine.

(Bucky’s older brother was the recently-deceased George H. W. Bush.)

I didn’t know the Senator, and he certainly didn’t know me, but what the hell - For God, For Country and For Yale - I went over and introduced myself as a classmate of his son, Bucky.

Well, damned if it wasn’t Senator Bush - and he couldn’t have been more cordial.  We had a nice chat and then we went our separate ways.

Think of it a minute - what would be the chances, today, of running into a United States Senator - a Super Star of Government - standing in line with a bunch of proles at a chain restaurant?

*********** Two football coaches who defined the word “hero” by their actions in response to school shooting were honored by the National Football Foundation.

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame presented its prestigious Gold Medal to two former football players Aaron Feis (posthumously) and Jason Seaman in recognition of their exceptional heroism in the face of extreme adversity. The late Aaron Feis, who was represented by his wife Melissa, and Jason Seaman both placed their lives in the line of fire this year to protect the lives of young students during two recent school shootings. The presentation took place during the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City.
 
"Both these men played football and both subsequently choose to give back as football coaches in their respective communities," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "And when confronted with extreme personal peril, both men ran toward danger rather than away from it, exhibiting amazing concern for others at astonishing risk to themselves. Both Aaron and Jason took the gridiron's lessons of self-sacrifice and instinctively put them into action under the most trying of circumstances, and we are extremely proud to add their names to the esteemed list of past NFF Gold Medal recipients."
 
The highest and most prestigious award presented by the National Football Foundation, the Gold Medal recognizes outstanding Americans who have demonstrated integrity and honesty and reflected the basic values of those who have excelled in amateur sport, particularly football. First presented to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the First NFF Annual Awards Dinner in 1958, the Gold Medal boasts an impressive list of past recipients, including seven presidents, four generals, three admirals, one Supreme Court Justice, 29 corporate CEOs and chairmen, actor John Wayne and baseball immortal Jackie Robinson. Feis and Seaman become the 64th and 65th recipients of the NFF Gold Medal. (See below for the full list of past recipients.)
 
The awards were presented by NFF Vice Chairman and TV personality Jack Ford and NFF Board Member Roger Staubach, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee from Navy who received the Gold Medal in 2007. This year's Gold Medals honor Feis, a football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who died shielding students during the shooting in February, and Seaman, a science teacher and middle school football coach at Noblesville West Middle School in Noblesville, Indiana, who tackled a shooter who entered his classroom in May, preventing any casualties.
 
The presentation received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd of more than 1,600 people, which included numerous sports legends, athletics administrators and many of our nation's top business leaders.
 
"[Aaron Feis and Jason Seaman] certainly did not wake up in the morning to become heroes, but they certainty fit the definition as outlined by famed scholar Joseph Campbell as someone who is willing to give his or her life to something bigger than oneself," Ford said when introducing Feis and Seaman. "It's a definition that defines every successful football team, and Aaron and Jason more than deserve to be recognized for their selfless acts this year as football players and coaches who took the lessons of the gridiron and turned them into reality in the most trying of situations."

*********** Retired Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. is the 2019 recipient of the NCAA’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award. The award, which is given annually to an individual who exemplifies the ideals of college sports, is named after the former president whose concern for the conduct of college athletics led to the formation of the NCAA in 1906.

General Caslen is a treasure, and in my opinion one of the main reasons for Army’s recent football success was the fact that he was West Point’s Superintendent at a time when he was needed most.

The position of Superintendent at the US Military Academy is a very prestigious one. It’s been held by men such as Robert E. Lee, O.O. Howard (founder of the university in Washington, DC that bears his name), Douglas MacArthur, Maxwell Taylor and William Westmoreland.

The position calls for a Lieutenant General (three star), which often means an extra star for the person appointed to it.

It’s an “out-the-gate” position - the person accepting it will retire at the end of his term.

Unlike most college presidents, the Supe stays in the position for a relatively short term, about  four years.  I surmise that part of the reason for this is that there’s a long waiting list of two-star generals who would love to hold such a prestigious position (and pick up a third star) before retiring.

Because the term is short, and there is a learning period, the Superintendency in reality is something of a lame duck position, with little real influence over the daily affairs of the Academy. The academic affairs are the responsibility of the dean, matters of discipline are taken care of by the commandant,  there is a civilian faculty which, being tenured, is as powerful as those at any private, liberal arts college.  And then there’s the real power, the Board of Visitors.

The Board of Visitors consists of 15 members, nine of them from Congress and six of them presidential appointees, and its job is to  "inquire into the morale and discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods, and other matters relating to the academy that the board decides to consider.”

It’s that phrase “other matters” that gives it such great powers.

But it’s not as if the Supe doesn’t carry a lot of weight, and a good Supe can make a difference.  Among other things, he can influence the overall morale of the entire Corps of Cadets:  during the dark years of bad football,  there was a succession of superintendents who appeared to me not to give a shit about the 14 straight losses to Navy.  Navy was just better, and nobody seemed to care.

Compounding the Supe's job, I should add, is something most outsiders might find hard to believe: there’s a powerful anti-football constituency at West Point (remember that I mentioned a tenured civilian faculty?),that dates back to the 1950s and the days of Coach Blaik, whose power and prestige - and that of Army football - many people resented.

But then Bob Caslen arrived. He had played at Army as an undersized center, and he had coached there briefly, in what amounts to a GA position at an outside school.  He cared about football and he let everyone know it.  He wanted to win, and he wanted everyone else to want to win.  

Whatever he did, wherever he went, he lifted the morale of the people around him.

He was the Supe, in 2014, when Jeff Monken was hired, and  given that there’s not much that he could - or would - do to ease off on West Point academics or discipline or time demands for football players, he did do a myriad of things to enable Coach Monken to put a winning team on the field.

To give you some idea of the lengths he’d go to to inspire the Corps, check out this “spirit video” before an Army-Navy game...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=21&v=DldKtludvL8

http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/news/2019-theodore-roosevelt-award-lt-gen-robert-l-caslen-jr#.XBZSD5wqL5c.twitter

***********  Hugh,

Are you sure you weren't "watching" the Army-Navy game on your phone, and "checking" the basketball game??  Sounds like it was great trip though, and a wonderful "gift" to leave with!

When Army scored so quickly to start the game I said to myself, "uh-oh."  Typically Army will go on one of those 15 play 80 yard drives that chews up 7-8 minutes of the clock before scoring.  Navy gave a great account of themselves, and in traditional Army-Navy fashion the game turned into a thriller.

You left a Portland MLB team mascot name off the list...the Portland Progressives.

A Hall of Fame should be a place for those individuals (or teams) who have accomplished the extraordinary, and not the expected.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Congratulations to Fresno State alum Joe Gutilla on the Bulldogs’ great season and Las Vegas Bowl win over Arizona State!



*********** QUIZ ANSWER: For a very brief time,  Dickie Post was one of the best runners in pro football; he was almost certainly one of the most exciting.

He came out of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma and played his college football at the University of Houston.

He was a first-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers, and for three seasons there he was one of the league’s top runners.

He became a fan favorite because of his dashing, darting style. He could cut on a dime and he had breakway speed,  and he was named AFL Rookie of the Year in 1967.  He became a favorite of NFL Films, which produced some nice features highlghting his running style.

He played four years for the Chargers, and divided a fifth and final season between the Broncos and Oilers. In his first three years with the Chargers,  he gained 663, 758 and 873 yards respectively, and became something of a sensation.

But at 5-9 and 190, he was undersized as an every-play running back, and injuries took their toll.  In his final two years combined, he ran for just over 300 yards.

In a 2004 interview, he reflected on his brief but exciting career:

I played five years all together and I only had three good years.  That’s all I had, three good years.  Then after that my knees were…  I had five operations in five years.  I was worn out.  I was absolutely worn out.  They finally traded me and that was all good.  But hell, that’s all I knew was football.  Then you have got to step away from it.   But that’s just been a little part of my life.  In some ways I can’t believe that was me that did that 30 years ago.  But it was my whole life.  It was just my entire, whole damn life.  I went to college just to play football.  I went through class and everything, but hell that’s all I was there for,  just to play football.  So I made it as good as I probably could have.  It’s sort of an exciting story, but it’s just sort of a flash in the pan.  That’s about it.  But for a little kid like me from Oklahoma, to lead the league in rushing and to be mentioned in the same article as Gale Sayers…  I always thought Sayers was…  I just loved to watch him.  He says he could watch the whole damn field.  He had peripheral vision.  I am not in a class like him, but at least I got a little taste of it.  For a little kid from where I come from,  just to rub shoulders with those guys.  I think I went to one all-star game.  I was elected to three of them, but I had operations and sh—.  But I got play in one of them, so hey, it wasn’t a bad trip.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DICKIE POST

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** Great Dickie Post video from Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1-ULYk-Cr0

*********** QUIZ - FROM HIS HALL OF FAME CITATION

He was famous for three things. He was a winner. He took over washed-up programs and gave them new life. And he taught his players to be good students. He was a head coach 28 years with this record: 179-122-8. The College Football Association in 1988 gave his school, Kentucky, an award for leading the nation in number of football players graduated on time. He coached four Academic All-Americas and 87 all-conference academics.

His teams were in 11 bowl games. He coached Virginia Tech 1961-1970 with a 69-31-2 record.  Then Maryland called. The school had won just nine games in five years. He had a winner his second year. Beginning in 1973 his teams made it to six consecutive bowl games. The Sporting News in 1974 named him the nation's Coach of the Year. His 1976 team went 11-1 and ranked eighth in the Associated Press poll. For ten years at Maryland his record was 77-37-3.

In 1982, his alma-mater, Kentucky called. The school had endured four straight losing seasons. He took Kentucky to bowl games his second and third years. He retired after the 1989 season.

Sports Illustrated said in 1976 his great virtues were "organization, motivation, and hard work.: He said, "Coaching is one of the few professions where you can change people and help them to be good citizens and parents."

He was born August 2, 1928 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. He played halfback for Bear Bryant at Kentucky in 1946 and 1948-49. He was a Bryant assistant at Kentucky, Texas A7M and Alabama before launching a carrer as a successful head coach. In June of 1999, the Lexington, Kentucky chapter of the National Football Foundation was named after him. He died September 24, 2000.



american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 14,  2018  “Do.  Or do not.  There is no 'try.'" Master Yoda

*********** I mentioned attending a Duke basketball game last Saturday night.  Very big deal for me.  It was an amazing early Christmas present for my wife and me from our daughter and son-in-law.

It’s really cool to be in “Cameron” (Cameron Indoor Stadium) to catch the whole deal -  the banners high up in the rafters commemorating the many Duke championship teams and All-Americans who’ve played there… the pep band playing “The Blue and White” … the student section taking up the entire lower section of the stands opposite us… the deafening roar as the Duke team runs out onto the floor… and, in the flesh and blood, the winningest coach in the history of college basketball, Coach K himself - Mike Krzyzewski.

At the same time, though, Army-Navy, one of the football games I live for every year, was taking place.  Talk about conflict.

So there I was, in awe of the whole Duke basketball spectacle, yet at the same time surreptitiously looking down at my phone from time to time to catch the Army-Navy game. Thanks to the miracle of our Dish subscription, I was able to look at the basketball game, look down at Army-Navy on my phone, look back up at the basketball game, look back down at Army-Navy, etc.  I felt like a bit of a cheater -  like I was finally with the woman I’d dreamed of being with (back when I was young and single, you understand) but at the same time looking over her shoulder at a gorgeous woman who just walked in the room.

Yale, Duke’s opponent, is not bad - for an Ivy team - and for the first 10 minutes or so, they played Duke even-up. (My friend Doc Hinger, ever the wise guy, said that was probably because Coach K - a West Point grad - was watching the Army-Navy game on his phone, too.)

By the second half of the basketball game, the Army-Navy game was over and I could concentrate totally on the basketball game.  And boy, is this Duke team loaded. What a shame that their talented freshmen will be in the NBA next season.

RJ Barrett, a kid from Canada by way of some basketball school in Florida, is said to be the most talented freshman in the country, which nowadays, with all the one-and-done guys, really means the most talented college player in the country.

And then there’s Zion Williamson.  I’ve already written about what a physical freak he is.  He is big, with a barrel chest and shoulders at least a yard wide, and he can run.  You can’t be a football coach and watch a guy who’s 6-7, 285 - who runs the floor like a guy 6-2, 200 - and not think “tight end.” On the other hand, as much as I love football, I can’t imagine a guy like that giving up a chance to one day be one of the greatest ever to play the game of basketball in exchange for the chance to play pro football and maybe touch the ball 10 times a game.

*********** While my wife and I were back in North Carolina visiting our daughter and son-in-law, a grand-niece whom I’d never met showed up at a party Sunday at their house.

Her name’s Erin.  She’s in the Army - although she’s soon to get out.  She’s a captain, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and she stopped in at  the party on her way back from Washington, DC.

It was an amazing thing to finally meet my late brother’s oldest granddaughter.  He died in late December of 1992 and never knew her.

She grew up in South Florida, became quite a junior tennis player, earned an appointment to West Point, and played on the tennis team there.

She’s in special ops. She has jumped out of helicopters.  She’s been deployed to Afghanistan. She absolutely oozes poise, confidence and leadership.  She really has her sh— together.  

At the party, I looked on in amazement at the way educated, accomplished women (Democrats all, I would venture a guess) gathered around her, impressed and fascinated, listening to her talk about West Point and the Army, and asking her questions about them.  She was like Wonder Woman.  (Could this be the sort of public relations the Army needs more of?)

I have to admit I’ve never been a big fan of women at West Point, but I know I’m on the losing side there, and I must say that if she’s at all representative of the kind of officer a West Point woman can become, I’m willing to admit that I’ve been wrong.

Oh - Erin is a football fan.  Her two favorite teams are the Dolphins and - because her mother told her how much my brother loved them - the Eagles.

It was quite an emotional thing for my wife and me, to think of how proud of her my brother would have been. With both my brother and his wife now gone, we offered to “adopt” her as surrogate grandparents, and she accepted our offer.

*********** The Army-Navy game was a battle. A defensive battle. It may have been a bore to the Madden types, or to those expecting a Big-12 shootout.  It was a real fight, the sort of game that the public seldom sees nowadays, attuned as it is to watching the ball being thrown all over the place, and linemen pushing and pulling without ever using their shoulder pads. To me, it was tense and dramatic, but I do allow for the fact that I was emotionally invested in the outcome.

When Army scored right off the bat in four or five plays, I just knew that it was going to be a tough game. Many of you have probably coached such games, where your team scores quickly - and then things bog down.  Who knows why? Maybe your players get the idea that a quick score means that it was an easy score, and they don’t have to work too hard, but something seems to happen to your team.  And sure enough, after that one score, Army’s defense wound up spending most of the game defending the slim lead that that quick score gave them.

I admire Navy, clearly the less-talented team, for their ferocity and tenacity.  Right to the end, they were fighters.

I questioned some of the thinking of the Navy coaching staff, particularly their going for it on 4th-and-long when there was still time remaining and their defense had held Army in check the entire second half.

I had to wonder about the wisdom of Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo’s abandoning his hard-nosed triple-option offense in favor of running stuff that his players simply didn’t have the talent to execute.  Call me Mister Suspicious but there’s a part of me that suspects  he might have been out to show any AD out there who happened to be watching that he wasn’t some one-dimensional triple-option guy.  No, sir.   He could run a lot of different stuff. Even if his kids couldn’t.

*********** In case you doubt the sharpness of the Vegas guys: Army won by 7;  the Vegas line moved from 7 to 6-1/2 on Friday.

*********** It was only  matter of time before Army lost Jay Bateman. Bateman, the Black Knights’ DC for the past five seasons, is off to North Carolina, to join new coach Mack Brown’s staff.

It’s a big loss - he was no only the  DC but also the LB coach, and a great recruiter in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Fortunately, I think that the improvement in the overall program and the exposure Bateman received as a result have made Army DC an attractive job for any potential replacements, and I trust coach Monken to make a good hire.  Army football will survive,  just as it did during the time of the legendary Colonel Earl Blaik,  who saw no fewer than 20  of his assistants go on to become head coaches thmselves:
Paul Amen - Wake Forest
George Blackburn - Virginia
Chief Boston - New Hampshire
Eddie Crowder - Colorado
Paul Dietzel - LSU, Army, South Carolina
Bobby Dobbs - Tulsa, Calgary (CFL)
Sid Gillman - Cincinnati, LA Rams, LA/San Diego Chargers
Jack Green - Vanderbilt
Andy Gustafson - Miami
Dale Hall - Army
Tom Harp - Cornell, Duke
Herman HIckman - Yale
Eddie Hirschberg - Carnegie Tech
Stu Holcomb - Purdue
Frank Lauterbur - Toledo, Iowa
Vince Lombardi - Green Bay
John Sauer - The Citadel
Dick Voris - Virginia
Murray Warmath - Mississippi State, Minnesota
Bob Woodruff - Baylor, Florida
Bill Yeoman - Houston

*********** Damn.  The Black Lions’ hoodie - the one Army coach Jeff Monken was wearing Saturday on ESPN College Game Day  - is already sold out for Christmas.  Oh well.  I’ll wait.  But I’m getting one - even if I have to put black duct tape over that damn Nike swoosh.

Black Lions Hoodie

https://www.wpaoggiftshop.com/shop/black-lions-therma-hoodie-5074


*********** Give the Black Lion Award! to a deserving player

It’s that time of year again -  time to submit your nominee for the Black Lion Award, and I find that in many cases coaches aren’t entirely sure what they need to do.  It’s not that difficult.  (1) Register your team and go over our FAQ’s; (2) Select a nominee who meets our criteria; (3) Submit your letter nominating him; (4) Make the presentation; (5) OPTIONAL - Send us a photo of your nominee and his parents or the nominee and his coach - or his parents and his coach

To give you an idea of the kind of player we’re looking for, and the sort of letter we require, here are a few excellent examples:

Dear Coach Wyatt,

It is my honor and pleasure to nominate Ricky Todd for the prestigious Black Lion Award.  As a coach and graduate of Aquinas Institute in Rochester, NY, Major Don Holleder’s Alma Mater, I am aware of the many wonderful things he accomplished in his short life.  Ricky has exemplified many of the traits throughout his high school career that Major Holleder had throughout his athletic career.

Ricky has played Football at Aquinas for the last 6 years.  Through each of those years Ricky has been an extremely valuable member of his football team as he climbed through the program.  His value was not only for his ability on the field, but also the leadership ability and the hard work and dedication he brought with him to the “office” every day.  His work ethic and leadership by example was the reason the Coaching Staff selected Ricky as one of our team Captains.  Ricky embraced the role and took charge.  He led his teammates everyday by example.  Over the years Ricky played as a Tight End, Right Tackle, and Left Tackle.  He was an asset in all 3 positions through his time in the program.

Ricky’s selection as captain was instrumental to our team’s State Championship run and the overall success of the season.  His leadership both verbally and by example were important for getting the younger players on the track to success.   Ricky embraced the program philosophy, the expectations of our captains, and worked hard to convince his teammates that the philosophy in place would allow us to have a successful season.  He always worked hard and pushed others to work hard.  The fact that he held his teammates accountable was important for our success.  His ability to adapt to change and accept challenges is what makes him a special person.  His drive to succeed not only on the field, but in the class room makes Ricky our nomination for this year’s Black Lion Award.
    
Ricky’s entire High School career was about sacrifice for the team.  He gave 100% in every workout, practice, and game.  His physical toughness while battling through injuries, not missing practices or games, helped lead us to a championship.  He is a more than deserving candidate based on what he has done in the past.  I know that Ricky will continue to give his best effort and his leadership will rub off onto his future teammates.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Derek Annechino
Head Football Coach
Aquinas Institute
Rochester, New York

*****

Dear Coach Wyatt,

My name is Harry Flaherty and I am the head football coach at The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey – the alma mater of West Point legend Dennis Michie. I would like to nominate Quinn Kieselowsky for the Black Lion Award in 2018. Quinn was a postgraduate defensive back for us this season, and in less than one year, he has clearly demonstrated the aggressive leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and unselfish concern for his teammates that this award represents.

Quinn’s path to a postgrad year at Lawrenceville revealed almost as much about him as the actual season he played for us. Quinn was a starting quarterback at Hudson Catholic High School, but missed his entire senior year due to a torn ACL and accompanying knee surgery. Since Quinn felt his work was unfinished, his coach reached out to me about a postgraduate year, and eventually Quinn was admitted to Lawrenceville in the spring. I could sense early on that Quinn had a special mindset. Early on in the process, I explained to him we would likely need to use him as a defensive back, as we had a returning starter at quarterback.

Quinn enthusiastically agreed to make this switch, and spent the offseason not only rehabbing his knee, but working intentionally on learning the safety position and training himself to be ready to play in the secondary. By the time we reached training camp, Quinn was still not at one hundred percent strength or flexibility, but it was clear he had prepared himself to compete as best he could. From the start of training camp, he put in extra prehab and rehab work to ensure he would be at full strength and speed by the start of the regular season. He went the extra mile to prepare.

Once Lawrenceville football practice began, it became clear that Quinn was a courageous competitor and a natural leader. It can often be awkward for postgrads to come in as brand new team members and try to assume leadership roles. However, for Quinn this transition was seamless, as his work ethic and passion made him an obvious team leader – even if he had only been with us for a few weeks. Unprompted, he sat in the front row of every team meeting and must have filled two notebooks full of notes from those meetings by the season’s end. Clichés aside, he was the first one out to practice every day and the last to leave, to the point I would have to ask him to leave the practice field. Quinn filled many roles for us and was ready to help the team wherever he could. He played strong safety, free safety, and cornerback on defense. He was the league’s best kicker and the league’s best punter, and also served as our emergency quarterback.
He knew our system inside and out, and was able to provide vocal, on-field leadership during practices and games. He played with relentless focus, effort, and courage, inspiring his teammates and earning the trust of his coaches.

Yet it was Quinn’s leadership off the field that left the biggest impression at Lawrenceville. I have never seen a young man so committed to doing things “the right way” as Quinn. Unsolicited, Quinn decided to assume the role of locker room and bus clean-up. He would wait after every practice and after every bust trip to make sure nothing was left behind. He wanted to be certain we were leaving places better than we found them. Additionally, Quinn would take it upon himself to work with younger players after practice if he noticed they were struggling with a technique or if he felt they were discouraged. I could name several other examples, but in the interest of page space, I will say, generally, that Quinn has raised the bar for what it means to be a leader within our football program here at Lawrenceville. This type of commitment and selflessness is what will make Quinn an outstanding leader in life. Quinn represents all the qualities of the Black Lions, and would be an ideal representative of the award. Please accept my nomination.

Sincerely,

Harry Flaherty
Head Coach
The Lawrenceville School
Lawrenceville, New Jersey

*****

Coach Wyatt -

The 8th grade Timberline Blazers football team would like to nominate Kaleb McNeely for the Black Lion Award.

Kaleb played the following positions for us throughout our championship season this year: Quarterback, Fullback, Tight End, Defensive End, Mike Linebacker and Safety. Kaleb's primary position was quarterback and defensive end. Kaleb was not our first choice for QB as we had another player. Kaleb would fit the position better but was needed to play RB for us. This has been the case for the past several seasons. In the past it was clear Kaleb would rather play a different position but this season not only did he embrace his role he took it upon himself to be a leader of the team. Not once did he complain, get frustrated (even when there were many opportunities to do so) or have a bad day.

Kaleb's offensive stats don't jump off the page. He ran the ball only a couple of times a game but his knowledge of the offense, who should be where and what their assignments were was like having a coach on the field. He was routinely assisting others, while playing a position that in our offense sacrifices personal glory for team success. His leadership and sacrificing for the team on the offensive side of the ball made it so we could place players in other positions that would help us succeed as a team. I know Kaleb wanted to run the ball more or play a position that had him scoring more but not once did he ever voice this.

On defense Kaleb shined. Again, we placed him at defensive end because we needed him there. He tried out for linebacker early in the season and would have played great there, but other areas of our defense would have suffered. From the defensive end position Kaleb was an absolute stud. He was a top 3 tackler on the team, led the team in sacks and forced fumbles. He also blocked numerous extra points. In our semi-final game he blocked 2 extra points and we won by 1 point. In our championship game he blocked 1 extra point and pushed his teammate, who was faster than him, into the path of another extra point. We won that game by 2 points. When players on our team had to come out on defense the player we usually moved was Kaleb, even if he had not practiced in that position. We knew he would play hard and that his leadership on the field was such a huge factor in our success that we did not want to take him off.

Kaleb was the first player to celebrate with his teammate for scoring and with his teammates on defense for making big plays. Our team would not have had the success it did without Kaleb sacrificing personal glory for his team. He did this with a smile, thanking all the coaches after each practice.

There is not one certain thing that stands out about Kaleb, but it is what he did over the entire season. Leading his teammates by example and in words, playing positions that suited the team so they could succeed.

Thank you for your consideration of Kaleb as a Black Lion Award recipient.

Josh Vivet
Head Coach
Timberline Blazers
Lacey, Washington



To Register your team and learn more about  the procedure:  blacklionaward@mac.com


***********   Tsk, tsk. So sad.

Pro athletes - especially those who live in high-tax states like New York and California -  will be hit hard by the new tax laws that no longer allow you to deduct state and local taxes on your federal tax return.

(You may not realize that no matter where he/she may live, any time a professional athlete plays in, say, New York, his earnings for that game are taxed.)
 
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-pro-athletes-may-lose-a-fortune-because-of-the-new-tax-law-2018-12-06


*********** A lot of good, well-meaning people have been hard at work, trying to bring a major league baseball team to Portland.

Barnum was right!

CUT TO MLB HEADQUARTERS: “Hey! We've got a place that still thinks major league baseball’s cool! Quick - send somebody there to get something signed! Uh… where the hell is Portland, anyhow?”.

Portland sports columnist John Canzano wrote a little about the whole Portland baseball deal recently, and suggested some of the usual names for a potential team - Pioneers, Loggers, etc.

And then someone commented:

It is time to put away the old names like Pioneers, Loggers, Mavericks and Steelhead.  The Perception for many in this country is that Portland is a logging town that likes to riot. Time to change the perception, folks, and go 21st century.

Well. If I may make several suggestions that ought to fill that bill:

Anarchists
Antifa
Demonstrators
Dopers
Greenies
Hipsters
Homeless
Lefties
Leftists
Marchers
Occupiers
Pabst Drinkers
Panhandlers
Riot
Rioters
Slackers
Stoners
Street Sleepers
Tattoo People
Tent Dwellers
Treehuggers
Underemployed
Ultralibs
Users

*********** Sure sounds as if Turner Gill, whom I’ve considered to be a class act all the way, really did retire.  No, really.  Said that the demands of coaching kept him from taking care of his wife, who was diagnosed  with a heart condition back in 2016.  He was doing a great job at Liberty, as it moved to FBS, and now, shockingly, the school that Reverend Jerry Falwell founded has decided to replace him with Hugh Freeze, a man who until he proves otherwise is several rungs below coach Gill on the character ladder.

https://www.omaha.com/huskers/football/in-retiring-from-coaching-turner-gill-did-one-of-the/article_b2773033-5a85-5d49-847c-87e5037845f4.html


*********** These are the six highest-paid QBs in the NFL…

Kirk Cousins
Aaron Rodgers
Matt Ryan
Derek Carr
Jimmy Garopolo
Matthew Stafford

And only one of them - Kirk Cousins -  still has a chance of taking his team to the playoffs this season…

On the other end of the pay scale,  Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky all have their teams in first place - and they’re still on their rookie contracts.

Could this possibly mean that in the future we’ll see QB’s go on the open market as soon as their rookie contracts are up, as more and more teams turn  to rookie QBs to keep expenses down?

https://sportsnaut.com/2018/12/alarming-stat-shows-how-much-teams-with-big-money-qbs-have-struggled/


***********  It’s not often that a coach gets to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame - shortly after he’s just been hired at a new school.

Most coaches who earn induction into the College Football Hall of Fame are already retired.  And those few who are inducted while still coaching are at a school where they’ve been coaching for years.

But then there’s  Mack Brown, who was just inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, in recognition of a 30-year career at four different schools (App State, Tulane, North Carolina and Texas). During his career, he led his teams to 22 bowl games, and won a national title at Texas. 

He retired from coaching following the 2013 season, but just a few weeks ago, although he’d already been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame and was awaiting induction, he was back in coaching again, at North Carolina. 

I guess that rather than go out and find the next Mack Brown, the folks at Carolina decided they might just as well hire the real Mack Brown.


*********** Nationwide, the rubes have come to their senses.  No more trying to tell them that a new stadium - paid for with their taxes - will  improve their lives and make everyone in town wealthier (“pumping money into the economy,” as they used to say).  They ain’t buyin’.

Nope.  They know better now.  All over the country, the idea of getting local or state taxpayers to pay for new stadiums for billionaire team owners is dead as the dodo.

So what to do, if you’re Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, and you “need” a new stadium?  (After all, the “old” one that your team plays in is now 20 years old, for God’s sake!)

Why, crony capitalism, of course - get the American taxpayers to pay for it!

The Washington Post reported last week that Snyder is getting help from Washington officials, congressional Republicans and the Trump administration as he tries to clear a major roadblock to building a new 60,000-seat stadium at the site of RFK Stadium.  Nearly three years after the Redskins unveiled designs for their next football stadium, the team has been working with local and federal officials to insert a stadium provision into the massive spending bill that the Republican-controlled Congress is rushing to complete this month, The Post reported.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/nfl/bs-md-hogan-redskins-20181211-story.html


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

I have an even better idea for those guys who get thumbed for "targeting".  The HC AND the position coach will get the same treatment as the player.  Bet you'll see less targeting in the future if that happens.

Let's see...Georgia Tech will be able to recruit the same type of kid that Clemson and Georgia recruit.  Those folks calling the shots at GT must be having too many "shots" if they think that will ever happen.  And if it does happen don't be surprised in the future to see GT on some type of NCAA probation, and...a revolving door for coaches.

Speaking of the NAIA...one of my boys I coached here in my first year was offered a football scholarship to Benedictine University in Kansas and accepted.  Saturday he will be on the field for Benedictine in the NAIA championship game against Morningside.

Thanks for the baseball story regarding H.W.  I knew he was a big baseball fan (pro baseball in Texas immediately comes to mind), but I had no idea how all of it came about.  Quite a story!

Go ARMY!  Beat NAVY!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** This summer, the Baseball Hall of Fame will “enshrine” a guy named Harold Baines. Good baseball player, but not a great one.  And here’s the joke: he spent most of his career as a designated hitter.  My argument isn’t whether he’s good enough or whether he should at least have played in the field.  My argument is that if fans ask, “Harold who?” (and they will) he isn’t FAMOUS and he doesn’t belong in the Hall of FAME!

This is something that’s seriously wrong with all the various Halls of Fame:  they’re admitting too many guys who never achieved fame.

While experts debate whether a guy was great or merely good, or whether his stats justify his admission, they’re missing the point:  is/was the guy sufficiently famous ?

Did people pay money to watch him, specifically?  Did kids imitate him on the playgrounds - or the playing fields?

You know the type:  Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant… Johnny Unitas, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Jerry Rice, Joe Greene… Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Yogi Berra, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio…

You get the idea.  There was something special about these guys.  They weren’t just great - they were famous.

Lest we get confused about the likes of Terrell Owens, who was certainly well-known, it’s important to distinguish between “fame” and “notoriety.”

Fame: the condition of being known or talked about by many people, especially on account of notable achievements.

Notoriety: the state of being famous or well known for some bad quality or deed.

This, by the way, is a problem that the Pro Football Hall of Fame will never overcome. In the interest of fairness, they’re admitting offensive linemen. Yes, people say they’re very good, and maybe they are, but how would we know?  It’s impossible for the average Joe to  substantiate their worthiness.  In fact, the average Joe hasn’t even heard of a lot of the guys who are being admitted.  Why?  Because, damn it, they’re NOT FAMOUS!

With running backs and receivers -  even some defensive guys - we have a pretty good idea whether they’re something special.  Nevertheless every year, the Pro Football HOF admits  guys that I never gave a second thought to. Guys I can barely remember, despite following the sport reasonably closely.  If they’re not special enough for us to recognize that they’re special, they’re not famous.

I’m not saying that they don’t deserve recognition - they most certainly do -  but since they weren’t famous, how can they possibly be in a Hall of Fame?

This isn’t, after all, the Hall of Good.  Or even the Hall of Great.  It’s called the Hall of Fame. That would seem to  indicate that “Fame” ought to be a major criterion for membership, and if you aren’t  - or weren't - really “famous,” you don’t belong.

My Solomonic solution: Change the name of the damn thing to Hall of Great Pro Football Players. Or Hall of Greats.  And then we could doubly honor offensive linemen by calling it the HOG.


*********** QUIZ:  Gino Cappelletti came out of tiny (population 1,000) Keewatin, in northern Minnesota.

As a single wing tailback at the University of Minnesota, he backed up All-American Paul Giel until his senior year.  As a starter his senior year, the Gophers went 7-2, but despite the fact that he was also an excellent placekicker, he went undrafted by the NFL.

After graduation, he played three years in Canada, with one year off for service in the US Army.

After being cut up North, he spent the 1959 season out of football, but on hearing of the start of the American Football League, he contacted Lou Saban, newly-named coach of the Boston Patriots, and landed a tryout.

He made the team, to say the least.  Ten years later, when the AFL merged with the NFL, he was one of only 20 players to have played in every year of the AFL’s existence;  and he was one of only three players to have played in every single one of his team’s games.

He was extremely versatile.

A good receiver, with his and QB Babe Parilli’s Italian last names, their frequent connections on passes led sportswriters to refer to them as the “Grand Opera Twins.”

He also ran back punts and kickoffs, and put in time as a defensive back. (In one game he intercepted three of Oakland QB Tom Flores’ passes.)

But it was as a placekicker than he really stood out. Between the touchdowns he scored as a receiver and the points he scored as a kicker, he led the league in scoring five times, and he will remain forever in the record books as the AFL’s all-time leading scorer (1130 points on 42 TDs, 176 Field Goals and 342 PATs).

He was a 5-time AFL All-Star and in 1964 he was named the league’s MVP.

He is a member of the Patriots’ Hall of Fame.

An ardent golfer, he once credited the great Arnold Palmer with a tip that made him one of the game’s great kickers:

“I read an article in which Palmer discussed his concentration - head down, eyes on the ball and follow-through.  That seemed to apply to my business as well as his,” he said.

“I had been kicking within 1.3 seconds after the ball was snapped but a stopwatch proved I could kick safely in 1.4 if I wanted to concentrate longer.   So now I black out everything.  When Babe Parilli is holding the ball, I look at it so hard I could count the stitches in the seams.  I don’t even hear the thud of my foot on the leather, but the ball really flies.”

(Gino Cappelletti is no relation to John Cappelletti, the Heisman Trophy winner from Penn State.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GINO CAPPELLETTI

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA


*********** QUIZ: (HOPE THIS ISNT TOO TOUGH) For a very brief time,  he was one of the best runners in pro football; he was almost certainly one of the most exciting.

He came out of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma and played his college football at the University of Houston.

He was a first-round draft choice of the San Diego Chargers, and for three seasons there he was one of the league’s top runners.

He became a fan favorite because of his dashing, darting style. He could cut on a dime and he had breakway speed,  and he was named AFL Rookie of the Year in 1967.  He became a favorite of NFL Films, which produced some nice features highlighting his running style.

He played four years for the Chargers, and divided a fifth and final season between the Broncos and Oilers. In his first three years with the Chargers,  he gained 663, 758 and 873 yards respectively, and became something of a sensation.  But at 5-9 and 190, he was undersized as an every-play running back, and injuries took their toll.  In his final two years combined, he ran for just over 300 yards.

In a 2004 interview, he reflected on his brief but exciting career:

I played five years altogether and I only had three good years.  That’s all I had, three good years.  Then after that my knees were…  I had five operations in five years.  I was worn out.  I was absolutely worn out.  They finally traded me and that was all good.  But hell, that’s all I knew was football.  Then you have got to step away from it.   But that’s just been a little part of my life.  In some ways I can’t believe that was me that did that 30 years ago.  But it was my whole life.  It was just my entire, whole damn life.  I went to college just to play football.  I went through class and everything, but hell that’s all I was there for,  just to play football.  So I made it as good as I probably could have.  It’s sort of an exciting story, but it’s just sort of a flash in the pan.  That’s about it.  But for a little kid like me from Oklahoma, to lead the league in rushing and to be mentioned in the same article as Gale Sayers…  I always thought Sayers was…  I just loved to watch him.  He says he could watch the whole damn field.  He had peripheral vision.  I am not in a class like him, but at least I got a little taste of it.  For a little kid from where I come from,  just to rub shoulders with those guys.  I think I went to one all-star game.  I was elected to three of them, but I had operations and sh—.  But I got play in one of them, so hey, it wasn’t a bad trip.



american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 11,  2018  “If we want people to get good scores on the SAT, I have a suggestion: stop complaining about how unfair the test is and do your homework.”   David S. Kahn, Author of numerous college-prep test books


*********** I’m starting to write this as I sit on a plane on the tarmac  at San Jose airport.  It’s 9:10 PM Pacific Monday night, and for the last 12 hours - since 10 AM Eastern - we’ve been either in airports or on planes, trying to get home from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

We had an awfully nice weekend visiting our daughter and son-in-law In Durham, and we received an early Christmas present when they took us to a Duke basketball game - my first ever.  It takes a lot to thrill me at my age, but I must confess that I was thrilled to be there and partake of one of the great experiences in all of sports.

The snow started early Sunday, and I felt totally impotent.  While back at home sat three four-wheel drive vehicles (sorry, greenies), there I was trying to get around in some damn rental Nissan. The snow was wet and heavy - slushy - and the  roads really were nasty, but we managed to get from the hotel to my daughter’s place,  they were hosting their annual Christmas party to benefit local charities.  A few other people managed to make it, too - God bless them - but the official count of 40 was a good bit lower than usual.

I wish we could have stayed around to help them finish off the ham, smoked turkey and pork BBQ left over, but we had to leave on Monday, and when we went to bed Sunday night it looked as if most of the snow had melted, and the rest would be gone by morning.

We woke up Monday and finding the driving a lot better, went out to find something to eat.  As we sat in a Hardee’s eating our sausage biscuits, we noticed that it was starting to snow again.  Very lightly. Nothing to worry about.   And then it began increasing in intensity.  And then it began laying on the streets.  And then driving started to become dicy again.

This was like a damn aftershock. 

I got the first text from Southwest Airlines at about 8 AM, telling us our flight had been delayed.  We were schdeuled to fly to St. Louis, where we’d change planes, and even with the delay, we still had plenty of time to make our connections.

Allowing ourselves plenty of time, we headed to the airport.  After finding the going a bit nasty on the side roads, it was quite a relief to get onto the Interstate -  it would take us the rest  of the way to the airport.  But talk about a booby trap - it was worse than the side roads.  It hadn’t yet been plowed, and it was slick as axle grease.  We had a near spin-out but fortunately we were only going 35.  We drove past a truck that had slid into a ditch - a highway-salting truck  at that- and finally saw the sign I’d been waiting to see: “RENTAL CAR RETURN."

With the car returned unscathed, we rode the bus to the terminal, eager to find out what was going on (we’d since received a couple more “we’re sorry” texts from Southwest that began to make us doubt whether we’d make our connecting flight in St. Louis). We headed for the Southwest counter, but we didn’t get any closer than 100 yards away, where the line started.

When we finally got to the counter, we were informed that we weren’t going to make our connections.  The best they could do, the woman at the counter told us, was to get us on a flight out of there at 5:30 the next day.  Tuesday.

I've flown enough to know that there's always a way - a way they don't always tell you about, so I asked her if there might not be some way, assuming we could get to St. Louis, that we could still get back to Portland on Monday night. She tapped on the computer keyboard a few times, then  sort of whistled, arched her eyebrows, and said, “There is a way, but it’s going to be a bit of an adventure.”

“How do you mean, 'Adventure?'” I asked.

“Well, there’s a flight out of St. Louis at 5 that stops in Phoenix and San Jose.  It’ll get you into Portland around midnight.”

“Book it,” I said, without taking the time to calculate that that would amount to more than 8-1/2 hours to do what normally would take less than half that. But what the hell.

We went and sat in the airport, and waited for our flight to St. Louis.  And waited.  And waited some more.  The problem was that they couldn’t get planes into RDU Airport.  From time to time, I’d receive a “we’re very sorry” text.

Finally they announced that there was a plane on the way, and it would take off at 3:30.  With an estimated flight time of 1:45, that would get us to St. Louis with plenty of time to make our connection.  And then, when they announced that we’d go at 3:00, I was really excited.

Finally, at maybe 3:15, we boarded the plane. And then sat.  And sat.  And sat.  God knows why, but still we sat.  And all this time I kept looking at my watch, wondering whether we’d be spending the night in the St. Louis airport after missing our flight.

Finally, we took off at 4:00 Eastern. - 3:00 Central, St. Louis time - with the captain informing us that he’d have us “on the ground” in St. Louis by 4:45.

On the ground, mind you. Not at the gate.  Not out of the plane.

We landed and deplaned, then hustled to the gate where our connecting flight was boarding the very last of its passengers, and then we boarded - the last two people on the damn plane.  Believe it or not, there were still two seats together, way in the back, of course, with room in the overhead bins.  Our lucky day.

Amazingly, considering all the travel I’ve done over the past 20 years, this is the fist time I’ve had to deal with a snow delay.

We’re now about an hour from Portland and I feel surprisingly good. There must be something wrong with me because the whole deal hasn’t been nearly as stressful as I would have expected.

And that’s my way of saying that I haven’t written a damn thing other than this all weekend, but I do have a lot to write when I get home, and I’ll see you Friday!

HW


american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 7,  2018  “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." President Franklin D. Roosevelt


*********** I mourn the death of President Bush.  He was the embodiment of the “Yale Man,” an archaic term that once meant something to those who attended a school whose byword was “For God, For Country and For Yale.”  He was an athlete, he was a warrior, he was a wonderful family man, he was a man who served others, with never the hint of a scandal.  He didn’t take himself too seriously, and he came from a time that fewer and fewer of us are alive to remember: a time when a man didn’t brag - when manliness was still a supreme virtue, and it was universally agreed that it was unmanly to boast or bring attention to yourself.

*********** One of the things about the Army-Navy game that the public doesn’t always get to see is the good-natured ribbing that takes place between the two opposing sides in the days leading up to the contest.  Some of the videos and memes are pretty well done.  One little sampling…
Go Play Navy


*********** The Top 25 Power Rankings show what most of us suspect - the SEC is pretty good. Of the teams on the list:
SEC: 8
ACC: 3
BIG 10: 3
BIG 12: 3
PAC-12: 3
Mountain West: 2
AAC: 1
INDEPENDENTS (Notre Dame, Army): 2

*********** Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport Iowa, writes…

Your talking about NAIA recruiting reminded me of my college O line coach Brodie Westen talking about us...remember that chart called the evolution of man, well Coach Westen talked about the "De-evolution" of Linemen....Edge rushers...if they can't do it, move them to a 3 tech...3 tech doesn't work out make them a 1...after that it goes to offense, 1st to C/G & if it doesn't work that last stop is T...In his words, "If offensive T doesn't work out, then it's the Glue Factory!"

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

Go Army!  Beat Navy!

My Bulldogs did it!  I stayed up and watched every agonizing minute.  Arizona State and Fresno State will be a good matchup in the Las Vegas Bowl.  Will be watching that one as well.

Minnesota will have its hands full with Georgia Tech.  Tech will be doing everything it can to send Coach Johnson out a winner.

Notre Dame.  If they can play with any consistency they will give Clemson a battle.  Especially if Clemson plays the way they did against Pitt.  Otherwise...it was a great season for ND.  If the ND Club of Austin comes up with a reasonably priced package to attend the game we will be going.  Dallas is only 3 hours away.  Otherwise...pub time!

My brother's buddy was at the PAC-12 championship game.  My brother told me his buddy said they were lucky to have 30,000 there.  PAC-12 needs to do a Mike McCarthy with Larry Scott.

At one time the story was Jalen Hurts and his dad weren't happy with Nick Saban, and that the dad was threatening to pull his son out of the school.  Not sure how it was settled but the Tide football team is happy with the result!

If I was in charge at Kansas State I would have offered Jim Leavitt the job yesterday.  Leavitt is a damn good coach.

If I became a head coach again (not that I have any intention to) one of my first hires would be a locker room assistant whose main job would be to police the locker room from the time the players get in, to the time the last player leaves.  I would have to in order to keep my job.

P.S.  Just heard the news about Urban Meyer.  Not surprised.  This time around his health is TRULY the issue he's calling it quits.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


***********  A great suggestion written in to the Wall Street Journal by one Joseph Henderson, of  The Woodlands, Texas.

I will not believe that the NCAA and the NFL have a brain between them until they send the head coach to the locker room with the player who commits any dirty hit this is the only way to get coaches to become teachers of the rules and to address head injuries with each successive penalty of this nature assistant coaches should join them in the locker room until the equipment manager and the team doctor are calling the plays.

AMEN, MR. HENDERSON.  Coaching is the solution.  So long as coaches take a boys-will-be-boys approach to the continued assault-that-passes-as-football, the ugliness will continue.  Watch how fast the dirty play stops once some big-name coach gets escorted off the field along with the player. Oh- and has to miss the first half of the next game.

Just as the player is punished by depriving him of playing time, the coach is punished by depriving him of his power - and power is his oxygen.

*********** Reassuring… An eight-year Johns Hopkins University study has found that the third highest cause of deaths in the United States - behind heart disease and cancer - is medical errors.

*********** An interesting fact from Chris Vannini in The Athletic:   About 1/3 of all FBS head coaches either played or assisted at the school before becoming its head coach.

*********** With Louisville’s having hired Appalachian State’s Scott Satterfield, App State’s next coach will be only their third since 1989.  The App State job could be a good one: the Mountaineers, who just won the Sun Belt championship,  return 10 starters on offense and seven on defense.

*********** Bear in mind that Colorado has had one winning season since 2005.

Now, then… read the Colorado AD’s comments as he talks about hiring a coach: “I want to win Pac-12 championships.  I want to win national championships. I’m committed to that.  This is one of the great jobs in all of sports.  There’s not a better job in American than here in Colorado.”

Now… tell me this guy, who has no prior experience as a player or a coach, isn’t delusional.

PS. He’s so on top of things that he’s had to hire a search firm to help him find a coach.

*********** In talking with my friend Mike Lude,  who once served as AD at Auburn, the subject of Georgia Tech came up.  One very important point, in considering the job that Paul Johnson did, and the task facing his successor: whoever takes that job had better realize that there are two things out of his control - annual games against Clemson and Georgia.

Built into the GT schedule every year are games against Clemson, its “designated rival” within the ACC,  and Georgia, for obvious reasons.

To give you an idea how that affects a coach’s job, consider:

Overall, Paul Johnson’s record in 11 years at GT was 82-59 - a winning percentage of .582.

But what if he didn’t have those two monster must-plays on his schedule?

HIs combined record against Clemson and Georgia was 8-15; against UGA it was 3-8.

That means that if GT had been able to drop both Clemson and Georgia off the schedule, his record would have been 74-44 - a winning percentage of .627,  the best of any coach at Georgia Tech since the great Bobby Dodd retired in 1966.

But assuming that Clemson is forced on GT by the ACC, just  dropping Georgia off the schedule would have resulted in Tech’s going 79-51 - a winning percentage of .608.

But of course you wouldn’t just drop Georgia.  Like every other Power 5 conference school you’d replace it with someone you could beat.  And assuming GT had gone 10-1 against those gimme games,   PJ’s record would have been 89-52, a winning percentage of .631.

With a record like that, GT fans would have learned  to love the ‘bone.

*********** Was anyone else watching Monday Night Football when the three guys on the announcing team delivered their five-minute lecture on domestic violence? 

They’re not enough of a drag on the game as it is, but they had to go on and on, talking over the game, to tell us what we already knw (it’s bad.)

It was probably the bright idea of the producer, and it was probably scripted, but I felt like I was one of the 99 rule-abiding members of a team who have to sit and listen to the coach rant about what we shouldn’t do when there’s just one a&&hole on the team who broke the rules - and guess who recruited him?

*********** In case you might think that cricket isn’t a very demanding sport, watch this exhibition of a “batsman” hitting against the “bowler.”  The bowler is trying to hit the “wicket,” the three upright sticks in the ground.  Normally, there are two short pegs (“bails”)  that bridge the sticks (“stumps”) which the bowler hopes to knock off their perches.  The batsman acts as a sort of goalie by trying to prevent the ball from knocking off the bails.  At the same time, he may decide after hitting the ball to run to another wicket, on the other side of the bowler.  If he can make it there before the one of the fielders can throw the ball back to the bowler, it’s a “run.”  If he can make it there and back, it’s two runs.  Sorry, that’s the extent of my knowdlege of cricket, and I may have a thing or two wrong.  But if you understand what I’ve written, you know at least as much about cricket as 99 per cent of Americans.

https://twitter.com/cricketcomau/status/1069875373666516993

*********** A guy I once worked with is in deep sh— with the law over a number of things, and it’s upsetting to me, but I did have to chuckle a little when I read that one of the things he did was violate an order not to drink alcohol.  Yup.  Even with a court order not to drink, he told the judge he was at a wedding and had a couple. (And then he drove, and got pulled over.  And although he blew only .07,  the mere fact of his drinking was a violation.)

I’ve never understood what a court really thinks it’s accomplishing by “ordering” someone who it deems to have a drinking problem not to touch alcohol. Isn’t this pretty much setting him up?  Assuming he really does have a problem, isn’t there a strong likelihood that he’ll offend?

If only it were that easy:  Stop theft by ordering thieves not to steal.  Stop rape. End drug abuse. 


*********** Attention applicants for the now-open Green Bay head coaching position…

Friction between Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and ousted head coach Mike McCarthy escalated throughout the 2018 season in part due to Rodgers's tendency to regularly change McCarthy's playcalls at the line of scrimmage, according to reports from Sports Illustrated's Kalyn Kahler and Albert Breer.

From the fan reaction I’ve read, Mr. Rodgers is not going to come out on the good end of this.  I’ve even read conspiracy theorists’ suggestions that Rodgers’ poor performance against Arizona - resulting in the loss that proved to be the tipping point against McCarthy - smelled of taking a dive.

At the very least, it sounds as if the next Packer head coach will have to meet the approval of a certain diva quarterback.  And then share the play-calling with him.

https://sports.yahoo.com/aaron-rodgers-regularly-changed-mike-195505172.html

Colin Cowherd has an interesting take on the reason for the unusual power and influence Rodgers wields…  the Packers don’t have an owner!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSqCXqU6OgY

*********** Writes Mike Bianchi, in the Orlando Sentinel…

How sad is it that there is no sadness?

When Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer announced he was retiring Tuesday, the college football world reacted not with warm goodbyes and glowing tributes but with cynical comments and skeptical columns.

There were no heavy hearts; only cocked eyebrows.

Usually, when one of the greatest coaches of all time announces his retirement ostensibly for health reasons, there are cheers and tears and crying-in-our-beers. But on the day Urban Meyer supposedly retired, the first thought that crossed everybody’s mind was, “Yeah, right.”

*********** George Bush’s Baseball Legacy

by John Henry - PressboxDFW

George Bush’s most excellent excursion into history began in 1948 with a trip in a Studebaker to Texas, though, he wasn’t making it to chase his true dreams, which he left behind in Connecticut.
“The truth?” he wrote in his autobiography, Looking Forward, answering a hypothetical question of why he moved his young family to Texas. “I wish I could have answered, ‘A fat contract to play professional baseball.’”

Bush, being honored on Wednesday with a state funeral in Washington, D.C., became a man of consequence as the 41st president, but as a collegian he was better known as “Poppy” Bush, a student of the “dismal science” – economics – and baseball and soccer player.

On the diamond he was adorned in a uniform with the No. 2, a first baseman for Yale from 1946-48.

He bat left and threw right.

As a senior and team captain, he famously met Babe Ruth at home plate before a game in New Haven. The encounter was captured for posterity through a still photo published in the Yale Banner yearbook.

According to the researchers at the Society for American Baseball Research, Bush hit .224 with a home run in 76 games for the Elis, the only Yalie to start every game. He had a fielding percentage of .983.

He was, his coach Ethan Allen dubbed him, “good field-no hit,” something the president liked to repeat over the course of the years.

A 1947 game pit Yale with Bush and Fordham with Vin Scully, another good field-no hit. Both went 0 for 3 that day.

He also played in two College World Series.

The Yale years are only part of the story of one man’s romance with the American pastime.

Baseball molded him. And he cherished it as an institution with as much the same reverence as the sacred bond he shared with his wife.

“You never forget your first love,” he wrote in the 1990 World Series program. “For me, that was and is Barbara, but a close second is baseball.”

He came of age with Ruth, Foxx and was a teen when Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial broke in.

Babe Ruth and President BushThe picture of a dying Ruth handing Bush the final manuscript of his autobiography The Babe Ruth Story as a donation to the Yale library was impactful.

Bush called it a “thrill.” The Bambino “radiated greatness,” Bush recalled, despite speaking in a voice that was more of a “croak” than normal.

It was Lou Gehrig, however, who was his childhood hero. Of his baseball idol, Bush later wrote, recalled in Curt Smith’s The Presidents and the Pastime, Gehrig was “steadier, less flamboyant and more dependable than the Babe, steadily achieving excellence.”

That could have been a description of himself, Smith, a Bush speechwriter, noted.

As president, Bush would often summon baseball reporters, a dozen or so at a time, to catch up on what was going on across the league.

For half-an-hour or more, the president would just talk baseball, Smith wrote.

“I’d rather watch baseball than anything else,” Smith recalled Bush saying. “There are some things I’m sure I’m behind on, but I love sitting there, thinking what would I do next – would I walk this guy or tell a fellow to steal?”

A highlight of his presidency was unquestionably hosting 5,000 Little Leaguers to mark the 50th anniversary of the organization.

A week later, he was in Poland, newly freed from the bondage of a Soviet satellite, christening Little League Baseball in the Land of Walesa.

There, he gushed about Carl Yastrzemski and Stan Musial, both the off-spring of Polish immigrants.

Bush also was a presidential baseball pioneer.

William Howard Taft was the first sitting president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, but it was 41 who took the custom to the pitcher’s mound. With his Yale first baseman’s glove affixed to his right hand, the president fired a ball to Orioles catcher Mickey Tettleton on Opening Day 1989.

YouTube has a clip. Bush appeared overjoyed, bounding off the mound to shake Tettleton’s hand and then that of Orioles manager Frank Robinson before hurrying off – in Bush fashion – and probably on Secret Service script.

Bush performed the same duty for the Texas Rangers on Opening Day 1991, the president hosted by his son George W. Bush, then the managing general partner of the Rangers and himself with baseball DNA. Our link to Bush family baseball concerns, of course, is significant. The ownership group under George W. literally saved baseball in Arlington.

Gerald Ford was the first president to toss an Opening Day pitch in Arlington in 1976, a political decision considering Texas was very much in play in 1976. Bush 41 and 43 returned in 2010 to throw out the first pitch before Game 4 of the 2010 World Series.

Bush’s throw on Opening Day 1991 bounced to recipient Geno Petralli. The president was mortified, an inexcusable transgression for a baseball player.
And a “player” he still was to some degree.

In his first term as Ronald Reagan’s vice president in 1984, Bush, then 60, played one inning at first base in an old-timer’s game in Denver.

Bush popped out facing Warren Spahn, but was given a “mulligan,” facing Milt Pappas next. The first pitch was a swinging strike, the second a ball. On the third pitch, Bush stroked a grounder up the middle for a base hit.

He recorded a putout of Brooks Robinson on a grounder to third baseman Ron Santo. The next hitter, Tony Oliva, drove a hard grounder down the first-base line, which the vice president stabbed and tossed to the pitcher for the out.

Said Pappas at the time: “He made a terrific play.”

The chance to play with the former big-leaguers was his Walter Mitty moment, he said later.

The GM of the then minor-league Denver Bears watched in amazement, telling reporters afterward that he “couldn’t believe that any politician could look that comfortable out there and have that kind of athletic ability. It was obvious that he had played before.”

Another chance to do something like was out of the question during his presidential term.

Ted Williams was also on Bush’s agenda as president.

Williams initially declined an offer to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He didn’t want to wear a tuxedo. Officials told him a tie would work. So, to Washington he went in 1991.

Williams’ contributions to American culture and freedom were irreproachable, but Bush no doubt likely also wanted to do something nice for him.

Without the Splendid Splinter there might not have been a Bush presidency.

During the primary season in 1988, Bush had lost to Bob Dole in Iowa and was trailing at the next stop, New Hampshire. A loss would have in all probability necessitated his withdrawal.

Bush and Williams had first met in WWII flight training at Horace Williams Airport in North Carolina. They remained steadfast friends.

Unannounced and unexpected, and sensing the urgency, Williams flew himself from Florida to help campaign, knowing his standing as Teddy Ballgame would be an asset in the northeast.

“Everything’s going to be fine now,” Williams assured Bush, according to Smith.

Bush won easily on his way to the nomination.

The Kid was the difference.

Bush also wanted to commemorate Williams’ and Joe DiMaggio’s 1941 seasons by presenting each a “President’s Award.” That was the year Williams hit .406 and DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games.

Smith was directed to write the speeches.

His first question: “When was the last time this so-called President’s Award had been handed out?” The answer was never. There was no such thing. (It has since never been presented again.)

But never before to that point had America had such a baseball fan as president.

https://www.pressboxdfw.com/the-bush-legacy-includes-baseball-romance/

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - John Dottley got the nickname “Kayo” from his father, who trained fighters.

This is from a Web site…

Dottley ran a 9.7 second 100-yard dash in 1946. Two college coaches attended his high school graduation — Bear Bryant and Johnny Vaught. Both were desperate to sign Dottley. His father wanted him to sign with Bryant; his mother, Vaught. Kayo did what his mother said.

In 1948 at Ole Miss, Dottley rushed for 1000 yards. But he and Vaught had a scare the following summer. Dottley's name came up for the draft. Vaught wasn’t going to hear of his top running back going off to Korea. So the legendary coach let Dottley borrow his car so he could go sign up for the National Guard in his hometown — and stay in the U.S. for the following season. Once at the National Guard recruiting center, the officer in charge of physical fitness tests asked Dottley to do a deep knee bend. He bent down, winced with pain and let out a yelp (he’d injured his knee in practice).

When Dottley returned to Oxford, Vaught asked, “Did you get signed up?”

“No,” Dottley told him, “they said I was unfit for service.”

The following fall, Dottley rushed for 1,312 yards — still a single-season Ole Miss record.

As a rookie running back in the NFL, Kayo led the Chicago Bears in rushing. It’s a little-known fact that he was the first rookie ever asked to play in the Pro Bowl.

Dottley  might very well be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but for a freak accident on a windy Chicago night. As Dottley was waiting for his car outside a Chicago hotel, a drunken valet ran a car up on the curb and pinned Kayo’s legs between two cars.

George Halas, certain Dottley’s career was over, wrote that he was the finest running back he had ever coached.

Credit: http://lemuriablog.com/kayo-dottley-the-greatest-player-youve-probably-forgotten/

(My addition:  John “Kayo” Dottley died this past November 17, at the age of 90.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN “KAYO” DOTTLEY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig…

https://olemisssports.com/news/2018/11/18/ole-miss-football-legend-kayo-dottley-90-passes-away.aspx


*********** QUIZ:  He came out of tiny (population 1,000) Keewatin, in northern Minnesota.

As a single wing tailback at the University of Minnesota, he backed up All-American Paul Giel until his senior year.  As a starter his senior year, the Gophers went 7-2, but despite the fact that he was also an excellent placekicker, he went undrafted by the NFL.

After graduation, he played three years in Canada, with one year off for service in the US Army.

After being cut up North, he spent the 1959 season out of football, but on hearing of the start of the American Football League, he contacted Lou Saban, newly-named coach of the Boston Patriots, and landed a tryout.

He made the team, to say the least.  Ten years later, when the AFL merged with the NFL, he was one of only 20 players to have played in every year of the AFL’s existence;  and he was one of only three players to have played in every single one of his team’s games.

He was extremely versatile.

A good receiver, with his and QB Babe Parilli’s Italian last names, their frequent connections on passes led sportswriters to refer to them as the “Grand Opera Twins.”

He also ran back punts and kickoffs, and put in time as a defensive back. (In one game he intercepted three of Oakland QB Tom Flores’ passes.)

But it was as a placekicker than he really stood out. Between the touchdowns he scored as a receiver and the points he scored as a kicker, he led the league in scoring five times, and he will remain forever in the record books as the AFL’s all-time leading scorer (1130 points on 42 TDs, 176 Field Goals and 342 PATs).

He was a 5-time AFL All-Star and in 1964 he was named the league’s MVP.

He is a member of the Patriots’ Hall of Fame.

An ardent golfer, he once credited the great Arnold Palmer with a tip that made him one of the game’s great kickers:

“I read an article in which Palmer discussed his concentration - head down, eyes on the ball and follow-through.  That seemed to apply to my business as well as his,” he said.

“I had been kicking within 1.3 seconds after the ball was snapped but a stopwatch proved I could kick safely in 1.4 if I wanted to concentrate longer.   So now I black out everything.  When Babe Parilli is holding the ball, I look at it so hard I could count the stitches in the seams.  I don’t even hear the thud of my foot on the leather, but the ball really flies.”

(He is no relation to the Heisman Trophy winner from Penn State by the same name.)



american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 4,  2018  “One should never protest against anything unless it's going to have an effect. None of those marches do. One should either be silent or go straight to the top.” Robert Graves

*********** Nike revealed the Army uniform for this Saturday’s Army-Navy game, and I have to say that for a company that has Colin Kaepernick on its payroll, it’s done a great job.

army uniform

Army’s colors are black, gold and gray, but the Army uniform for this year’s Army-Navy game will contain some red - the red of the Big Red One.

first division

On the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, it honors the First Infantry Division - aka “The Big Red One” - the first US Army Division sent “Over There.” 

It also recognizes a part of the Big Red One, the 28th Infantry Regiment, and its role in demonstrating to the Allies that American soldiers, under the command of American officers, were combat ready.  It was in the town of Cantigny, in France, where American forces first fought, and where the fierce fighting of the 28th earned it the famed nickname, the Black Lions of Cantigny.
black Lions Story

The Big Red One is headquartered at Fort Riley, Kansas. In 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Pat Frank, then Battalion Commander  of the Black Lions, forged a relationship with the Kansas State program that continues today.

Fort Riley



https://www.bigredone.football/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2018%20Army%20Navy%20Uniform%20Release&utm_content=Uniform%20-%20Main%20CTA


http://footballscoop.com/news/video-armys-big-red-one-alternate-unis-navy-game-ton-details/


*********** But what has he done lately?

Mike McCarthy, one of only eight active NFL coaches who have won a Super Bowl, is no longer an "active coach." He was summarily dismissed Sunday following Green Bay’s upset loss to Arizona.

The firing, abrupt as it was,  appears on the surface not to have been done with the sort of class you’d expect from one of the NFL’s oldest franchises, in dealing with a coach who’s served it well for nearly 13 years, who took it to the playoffs nine times, posted a 125-77-2 overall record, and won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2010 season.

But between what was about to be his second straight losing season, and rumors that his   relationship with Green Bay resident quarterback/god Aaron Rodgers were less than cordial, it appeared that he was going to receive the black spot once the season ended anyhow.

This not only gives the Packers a head start on finding a replacement, but McCarthy is also free now to talk with another team about a job. He’s only 55, a proven coach, and he ought to be very attractive to any team serious about getting better. And let’s face it - Rodgers or no Rodgers, the Packers aren’t all that talented, something that no amount of coaching could change.

*********** Louisville is reportedly getting ready to hire Matt Canada, who shepherded the Maryland program through what can mildly be described as a difficult season - which aptly qualifies him to step in and clean up the mess Bobby Petrino left behind.  As f—ked up as the University of Maryland is, it doesn’t surprise me at all that they didn’t make it official and name Canada - a guy who proved he could coach Maryland kids - their head coach before someone else grabbed him.

*********** The so-called Pac 12 championship game was an embarrassment to West Coast football, an exclamation mark on Oregon sportswriter John Canazano’s four-part indictment of the disastrous reign of conference commissioner Larry Scott.

When previous conference championships were played on-campus at one of the participating schools, they drew crowds of 60,000 in Eugene and 70,000 in Tempe.  But what the hell, I can hear Scott saying - let’s play the game in a more prestigious place. How about Levi’s Stadium, where the 49ers (gosh!) play?

Sure, why not?  The SEC plays its championship game in Atlanta, and look at the crowds they draw!  Same for the Big Ten, playing its big game in Indianapolis!

Right there, the commissioner, who flies around in his private jet, revealed how out of touch he is with the people who ultimately pay his salary - the fans.

Driving time to the SEC game in Atlanta: From Alabama, 3 hours; from Georgia, 1-1/2 hours.

Driving time to the Big Ten game in Indianapolis: From Northwestern, 3 hours; from Ohio State, 1-1/2 hours

That means that with both games being held on Saturday, fans of the participating schools could easily have got up game day morning and driven to the games.

Not so with the vast distances of the far-flung Pac-12.  Unless Cal or Stanford happened to be the participants, Levi’s Stadium is a monster of a trip for the conference schools. Even the two “closest”  schools, USC and UCLA, are at least a five-hour drive away.  In this year’s case,  (If they could get the day off from work, the game being on Friday evening), Utah people faced a drive of  11 hours from Salt Lake City, while  Washington fans  were looking at a 13-hour drive from Seattle.

And that’s before factoring in the traffic hell that is the Bay Area.   Forget that Levi’s Stadium isn’t the easiest place to get to at any time - let’s double-down on the traffic issue and hold the kickoff at 5 PM.  Yes, on a Friday.  That’s when the TV people want to do it.  That’s 8 PM back East.  Got to get that big TV audience in the East, so we can’t kick off any later. The local audience - the people that won’t fight Friday rush-hour  traffic to go to the game?  Screw ‘em. Hey - if we can discourage enough local people from coming, we won’t have to open up the upper deck.

Yes, the fans could fly there.  And rent a car and book a room and all that - but the supposed reason the two teams were playing was for a spot in the Rose Bowl.  Now, unless you have the sort of budget - and work schedule -  that lets you make two bowl-type trips within a month of each other, you’ve got a choice:  would you rather blow the budget on a trip to Santa Clara, or would you prefer to save it for the Rose Bowl trip, on the chance that your team might  (or might not) make it?

The crowd was an “announced” 34,000.  That’s about half the stadium’s capacity, but it looked like even less than that.

The result, thanks to the suits who run the conference, was a bush-league look for the Pac-12 that does its players, coaches and fans a disservice.

After reading John Canzano’s exposure ot the Lord High Commissioner,  I’m left suspecting that the main reason for the whole deal was that the commissioner could drive to the game. Actually, his driver could drive him to the game. (I wouldn’t want to have been the guy driving him home from the game, considering the boos that rained down on him as he tried to present the championship trophy.)

*********** The Pac-12 championship game, a 10-3 Washington win over Utah,  was not what I’d call exciting.  Yes, this is what you can wind up with when you pit the two best defenses in your conferences against each other - the one touchdown was a defensive score - but unless you were passionately involved with one of the teams, it was, I have to say,  relatively boring.

Not, that is, until the last play of the game, when a Utah pass into the end zone fell incomplete - and what appeared to me (and several thousand Utah fans) to be pass interference went ignored.

Now, come on:  if there’s doubt, you should call it.  In my mind it’s far worse to let the defense get away with breaking a rule than to call a ticky-tacky foul that might not really have been pass interference.

Suppose they had called pass interference - Utah gets one more play.

Suppose Utah scores - do they go for two, as has become fashionable, or do they send the game into overtime?

Do you see where this is going?  The next day, you may actually have had people talking about the exciting finish of your conference title game, instead of saying that they got tired of waiting for a touchdown and finally decided to go to sleep.

But wake up, all you guys back East.  Remember 2011, regular season,  LSU against Alabama?  Both teams went in undefeated. Final score?  LSU 9, Alabama 6.  Not a damn touchdown scored.

But see, we were told back then , that was  because it was the SEC!  It's so POWERFUL!  It's defenses are so STRONG!

And so, fully aware how easily the American public is duped, the BCS people force-fed us a rematch in the national title game, and Alabama won, 21-0.  Don't tell me about snoozers, SEC guys.

*********** And while we’re on the subject of snoozers, did they still have to pay the offensive players from Jacksonville and Indianapolis after their 6-0 thriller Sunday?

*********** One of the few nice things about giving Notre Dame their own key to the playoffs is that we’ll once again have a REAL honest-to-God Rose Bowl, the Big Ten champion against the Pac-12 champion.

*********** BIG GAME was held Saturday, after being postponed because of poor air quality. Stanford beat Cal and has now won NINE STRAIGHT in the series which began in 1892.

*********** I’m still baffled by the fact that five college athletic directors and - perhaps - their presidents could have agreed to an arrangement that allows Notre Dame to coast into the “playoffs” without having to go through the equivalent of a conference championship game.  In my opinion, I don’t believe Notre Dame would have beaten a single one of the Power 5 conference champions and I’ll throw in UCF, the American Athletic champion as well.  Not sure about Fresno State, App State or Buffalo. 

I say, to hell with this “put the best teams” in there BS.  To hell with this nanny-state business of letting a group of humans decide for us which are the best teams to put in the playoffs.

We were told that we would be given a “true national champion,” determined on the field, and yet we have a bunch of experts and non-experts, people with and without conflicts, who make the subjective decision as to who will actually go out on that field.

Is there a state in the Union where the high school people would tolerate a group of school ADs and principals and celebrities deciding who qualified for their playoffs?

I’m ready for a six-team playoff - all five Power Five champions, plus a sixth spot for the highest-rated Group of Five conference champion.  Or maybe Notre Dame.

*********** With Georgia leading mighty Alabama in the SEC championship game and the excitement building, I doubt that you could have found a script writer in Hollywood good enough to have devised a way to turn the powerful Crimson Tide into a sentimental favorite among those without an Alabama affiliation.

But then Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama’s Heisman-hopeful QB,  had to leave the game with an ankle injury. 

In most places, that would have been enough to bring tears to the eyes of fans, but not at Alabama.

They had Jalen Hurts.

The Alabama quarterback job was once his.

He was SEC Player of the Year in 2016, and in last year’s playoff semifinal, he was the offensive MVP as Bama beat Clemson, 24-6.

But in the final game, with the Tide struggling against Georgia, he was benched at halftime. That’s when Tua came in and led the Tide to an overtime victory and the national title.  Tua became the biggest story of the bowl season, while Jalen Hurts became the subject of speculation as to whether he’d even remain at Alabama after the indignity he’d suffered.

He stayed. Maybe it’s because he’s a coach’s son.  But he never got his starting job back, because Tua continued to play like the best quarterback in the country.  But ever the team man, Jalen Hurts did what he had to do to help his team;  making mostly fourth-quarter appearnces in mop up time, he never showed a sign of being disgruntled.

And then, unexpectedly as it so often does, his chance came.  With Tua out of the game, and Alabama trailing 28-21, it was in his hands.

Unless you were truly a Georgia fan, how could you not want the man who had been through what Jalen Hurts had been through  to save the day for the Crimson Tide?

In an amazing twist on last year’s national championship game, Jalen Hurts, now the guy coming off the bench,  pulled Bama’s chestnuts out of the fire,  throwing for the tieing score and running for the go-ahead score.  Bama’s defense did its job and the Tide went on to win, 35-28.

If he were on my team, Jalen Hurts would be my Black Lion.

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/allen-west/allen-west-alabamas-jalen-hurts-not-colin-kaepernick-qb-we-should-celebrate

*********** The Bill Snyder era is over at Kansas State.  I am saddened, and worried.  I’m saddened because while Coach Snyder was on the sidelines, we were witness to what Barry Switzer called (I paraphrase)  “the greatest job of coaching in the history of college football.”  He did what no man before him had ever been able to do -  take a football program that was as close to hopeless as there ever was, and turn it into a consistent winner.  He did it in a state with a small population that required him to go out of state for much of his talent, and he did it without a hint of scandal.

I'm worried because now comes one of the most crucial hires any athletic department ever made.   Make the wrong hire - something it did over before Bill Snyder arrived -  and, frankly, Kansas State’s future as a viable member of a Power 5 conference could be jeopardized.

I have no idea who his successor might be.  Jim Leavitt, currently the DC at Oregon, was a successful head coach at South Florida and before that coached under Bill Snyder.  He’s made no secret of the fact that he’d be interested in succeeding Coach Snyder, to the point of insisting on a low buyout at Oregon should he be offered the KSU job.  Another KSU guy who’s a potential candidate is Brent Venables, DC at Clemson. Great credentials, other than the fact that he hasn’t been a head coach.

I have also heard that there is interest in Seth Littrell, now head coach at North Texas.  North Texas has not been an easy place to win and he’s won.  And he’s only been a head coach for two years.  But as an Army fan, I’ve seen his team play a few times, and I’ve been impressed.

https://www.bringonthecats.com/2018/12/3/18123916/kansas-state-wildcats-football-coaching-search-bill-snyder-seth-littrell-north-texas-mean-green


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

Thank you for sharing the 2016 story about Army football.  What a great read.

Also, having had a rough season, now that I'm a few weeks away from it I find myself a better coach for sure.  Perspective.  Identifying issues.  Planning.  In the moment it was rough, but in the long-term it will be a blessing.  And next time I will have the perspective necessary to handle things.  You certainly are right that our education as coaches doesn't end.

I hope your Thanksgiving was warm and full of turkey.


It may have been a rough season as you went through it, but I know you’re an experienced enough coach to have found a dozen lessons that you might not have learned from a 13-0 season!

Long-term, as you say, it’s a blessing.  And we’re not really coaches until we start to think long-term.

I had a great Thanksgiving, with a lot to be thankful for, and I hope you did, too.

Have a great Christmas.


*********** Iowa State needed another game and FCS Drake (located in nearby Des Moines) was willing, so on fairly short notice, a game between the two was scheduled for this past Saturday.

Iowa State gave Drake a nice payday and a chance to play in front of a big crowd, and  as expected, they won,  27-24.

That’s not a misprint.  The Cyclones barely outgained the Bulldogs, 298-281.

A friend who coaches in Drake’s conference wrote me, “Our conference is much better than most realize... Drake is the most physical team in it and has the best defense... Not all that surprised.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/drake-bulldogs-at-iowa-state/game-center/sp-id-10401000002101413


***********
Tim Brown, of Florence, Alabama writes...

I asked a NAIA head coach about recruiting.

He said first he looks for defensive linemen because if they didn't work out there they could be moved to the offense.
If the player he recruited as an offensive lineman didn't work out all he had left was a fat videographer.  

*********** Hi Hugh,
I have been watching the division 6 Mass. Super Bowl between Stoneham and Old Rochester, Rochester was undefeated and Stoneham had lost one game. Stoneham ran a classic DW,  the old fashion kind, with Qb leading on SP and only  one  formation. They won the game, 26-20, on a 66 SP that went for 46 yards. One thing they did do different was a QB wedge with the B Back pushing the QB. It was very good and they picked some nice yards on it. Their coach Bob Almada (sp) has coached their 25 years and won his first Super Bowl.

Fun game to watch and Stoneham ran a very nice 88/99 Reach Sweep. They also had some success running our old Red-Red completing it for a couple of big plays.

It sure brought back memories it was classic and with four minutes to go Stoneham recovered a fumble and ran out the clock (66-77 Sp). It was almost enough to push me back into coaching LOL 😂

Anyway thought you would be interested.

Hope you folks are having a great holiday season and our love to you and Connie.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

Hi Jack-

Thanks for the note!

Glad you got to watch that.  My congratulations to Coach Almada and Stoneham.

Funny you mentioned the QB Wedge with the B-Back pushing - I’ve been hammering away at this for weeks now, now that the rules allow assisting the runner!

Watching that kind of stuff gets the blood going again, doesn’t it?


*********** Not saying that Pitt ever had a chance against Clemson, but why help an opponent that doesn’t need help?

Down 21-10, they held Clemson and took over on their own 20, with 1:03 left in the half.

Time to get the hell out of there, right

Wrong.  They threw.  Threw an interception that Clemson returned to the Pitt 10.

Clemson scored on the next play.

28-10 sounds a whole lot worse to me than 21-10.

*********** Fresno State finally found out the formula for beating Boise on the blue turf: make it snow.

Sick of losing to a team with blue uniforms playing on a blue field, Fresno State brought snow, and with their white uniforms on a white field, they turned the tables on the Broncos, winning in OT

*********** Some people insist on calling it “hazing”  but it’s really sodomy -  the sort of thing one associates with prisons, not with high school sports.

Nevertheless, it happens far too often in our schools, and now four “teens” in Damascus, Maryland face trial for their rape of a teammate.  With a broomstick.

(Sorry for the failure to give a trigger alert.)

About 45 minutes northwest of Washington, DC, Damascus was a rural area when I lived near there, some 50 years ago, but as the city and its suburbs have sprawled, it’s transitioned to an affluent Washington suburb, with a median home price of $380,000.

It has, by all accounts, a very good football program.

Since the current coach took over in 2010, Damascus has gone 107-9.  His “worst” season was in 2011, when he went 9-3.  The Damascus Hornets were undefeated state champions in 2015-16-17. They also had undefeated regular seasons in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018.

Evidently the players involved were on the JV team, and according to the Washington Post, suspects and victims both have told authorities that this was part of a “known hazing practice.”  According to a police report, when one victim asked attackers to stop, he was told it was a “tradition.”  When one victim asked three attackers to stop, police said in the charging papers, the assailants replied that it was a “tradition.”

“Hazing?”  “Tradition?”

 “Hazing?”  That’s way too mild a term to describe sexual assault.  “Tradition?”  that implies that it’s been going on for some time.

Get ready, school board.  You’re going to have to explain how  this could have happened to kids, entrusted to your care, if they were properly supervised.

(Which is why, I might add, I would never take a team, even kids a knew and trusted, to an overnight team camp.)


https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/indictments-handed-up-in-high-school-locker-room-rape-case-in-damascus-md/2018/11/30/703f3fda-f498-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html?utm_term=.a1c3a665df6a

*********** I’m a big fan of Tom T. Hall ("A Week in a County Jail") , and it irks me no end to hear his “I Like Beer” serving as the background music while beautiful people sip their post-workout Michelob Ultras.

*********** Don’t know much about geography…

Back in June, a guy named Gavin Clarkson lost a primary election to become a congrressman in New Mexico.  A few weeks ago, he lost out on a chance to become New Mexico’s Secretary of State.

And on November 20, while in Washington, DC to marry his fiancee, who lives in the District, he was refused a marriage license by a court clerk who insisted on seeing his “New Mexico passport.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2018/11/30/couple-was-refused-dc-marriage-license-when-clerk-asked-new-mexico-passport/?utm_term=.0b84d709ca88

*********** A local high school girls’ basketball score from this past weekend: 68-8.  They’re both decent-sized schools, Washington Class 4A.  The losing school has at least 1500 kids in the top three grades.

With Title IX and all that, the girls’ basketball coach is paid exactly the same as the boys’ coach.  For what?


*********** Saturday my wife and I took in some of the Washington state championships - held one right after the other in the comfort of the Tacoma Dome.

It meant getting up early. We left our place in Ocean Shores at 6:45 so we could get to Tacoma in plenty of time to catch the first game, which started at 10 AM.

It was the Class 1A championship game, between Colville and Newport, and it was a major reason why we came.

I wanted to meet Bill Carpenter and see him win a state title.  Bill, the son of a friend, is the DC at Colville, and we’d never met.

(Colville, in the Northeast corner of the state, is about as far from our home in Camas, in the southwest corner, as you can get, so it’s not every day I get the chance.)

Colville is always pretty good, but over on the eastern side of the mountains, there’s one roadblock that stands in the way of anybody who has hopes of winning a state title.  It’s Royal High, in Royal City, in the central part of the state. Royal came into this year’s playofs as three-time defending 1A champion.

Last week, in the state semi-finals, Colville had to slay the dragon. But they were up to it, winning  31-28 and ending Royal’s 53-game win streak.

Saturday, they faced Newport, a team from their own league, and to this observer there was no doubt which was the better team.

Colville’s kids looked stronger physically, and they probably were - they lift every morning at 5:30, before school starts.

They had a nice looking quarterback, a 6-2, 195 senior named John Knight whom Montana has expressed interest in.  He was also the free safety in Colville’s 4-2-5, but as QB he really shone: he completed seven of 12 passes for 226 yards and two TDs, and he carried six times for 26 yards and two TDs.  Colville,  running a bit of Double-Wing - mostly Super Power - from two or three formations, ran 32 times for 206 yards.

Newport was kept almost totally under control by Bill Carpenter’s defense. They passed for only 94 yards and ran for only 82. But then, they had so few first downs that they ran only 43 plays from scrimmage.

They did manage to score once, after Colville had opened up a 20-0 lead and they ran back the kickoff deep into Colville territory and then quickly scored.  But Colville, thanks to a beautiful 29-yard touchdown pass just before halftime, led 27-7 at the half.

Final score: Colville 48, Newport 7.

Colville shut out Newport in the second half, and scored three more times to invoke a running clock - how many times do you see that in a state championship game?

(After all the hubbub of the trophy presentation and the team photo - below -  the Colville team formed a circle and - omigod - seemed to be praying!  Shhhhh.)

colville team

***********  Rick Steele, who many years ago played for me and then assisted me, won his second consecutive Washington Class 2A state title Saturday when his Hockinson Hawks (regional accent: in most of the West, “Hawk” sounds like “Hock”) beat the Lynden Lions, 42-37.

For the most part, Hockinson has been a passing team - a very good passing team - the past two years, but on Saturday they were down, 17-7 at the half, and when Lynden scored first in the second half to take a 24-7 lead, Rick took extreme action.  He moved Sawyer Racanelli, one of the state’s top receivers, into the backfield and presto - just like that - Hockinson became a running team.  And a damned good running team at that.

Racanelli had accounted for Hockinson’s only first-half touchdown by throwing  (back to the quarterback,) and he wound up with five receptions for 55 yards.  But in the second half, taking a direct snap and running - mostly off-tackle - he mostly ran.  And he ran for six touchdowns, a new state playoff record.

Afterward, Rick said that the run package wasn’t designed for this particular purpose.  Instead, two weeks earlier, he realized after Hockinson almost blew a 35-7 lead in the quarterfinal game that they had to be better at  using the clock.  And that meant running the ball.

“So we really worked on that heavy formation," he said, " and told the kids, ‘hey, we’ve got to gain three yards a pop. And if we do that, get first downs, we’ll never give that ball up.’ Tonight it came in real handy.  They just couldn’t stop us.”

Sounds like a running coach to me.

A guy after my own heart.

*********** It wasn’t until 1995 that a team from our part of the state - Southwest Washington - won a state title.  The next one didn’t come until 2004.  We were an athletic backwater.

But things have swung.  There’s scarcely a year that we don’t have one state champion, and this year we had two - Hockinson and Union - with another team making it to the semifinals.

This year, the best team in the state - all classes - was probably Union High, from Vancouver.  (It’s on the Vancouver-Camas line, and the Camas kids deride it as “West Camas,” but it’s been a power since it opened.)

Leading Lake Stevens 24-20 at the half, the Union Titans, behind a native Hawaiian QB named Lincoln Victor and a native Samoan named Jojo Siofele, scored 38 straight second half points to win the Class 4A title, 62-20.  Victor was 19 of 24 for 327 yards and five touchdowns; Siofele caught 10 passes for 179 yards and rushed for 113 yards, most of it coming on an 80-yard sprint from scrimmage.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - A native of Canton, Ohio, Dan Dierdorff played his college ball at Michigan.  His junior season was Bo Schembechler’s first as the Wolverines’ head coach, and as an offensive lineman, he was named to several All-American teams.

In his senior year, Michigan went 9-1, and he was a consensus All-American.  Depending on the formation, he played “strong tackle,” and Schembechler said he was “as good as any tackle in the country.”

He was drafted in the second round - number 43 overall - by the St. Louis Cardinals, and he spent his entire 13 year career with the club.

During much of that time, he was considered the best offensive lineman in the NFL. He was a 6-time Pro Bowl selection. He was named first team All-Pro five times . In 1975 won the Forest Gregg Award, given to the NFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year. For three straight years - 1976-77-78 - he was named NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year.  For two entire seasons - 1976 and 1977 - he did not allow a single sack.

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

After retirement as a player, he embarked on another career as a broadcaster.  For 12 seasons he was on the broadcast team on Monday Night Football (back when it was a very big deal), and then spent 15 years as a game and studio analyst on NFL games.

Dan Dierdorff currently works as a color analyst on radio broadcasts of Michigan  games.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DAN DIERDORFF

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** QUIZ - He got the nickname “Kayo” from his father, who trained fighters.

This is from a Web site  Kayo's last name has been deleted…

Kayo ran a 9.7 second 100-yard dash in 1946. Two college coaches attended his high school graduation — Bear Bryant and Johnny Vaught. Both were desperate to sign Kayo. His father wanted him to sign with Bryant; his mother, Vaught. Kayo did what his mother said.

In 1948 at Ole Miss, Kayo rushed for 1000 yards. But he and Vaught had a scare the following summer. Kayo’s name came up for the draft. Vaught wasn’t going to hear of his top running back going off to Korea. So the legendary coach let Kayo borrow his car so he could go sign up for the National Guard in his hometown — and stay in the U.S. for the following season. Once at the National Guard recruiting center, the officer in charge of physical fitness tests asked  to do a deep knee bend. He bent down, winced with pain and let out a yelp (he’d injured his knee in practice).

When Kayo returned to Oxford, Vaught asked, “Did you get signed up?”

“No,” Kayo told him, “they said I was unfit for service.”

The following fall, Kayo rushed for 1,312 yards — still a single-season Ole Miss record.

As a rookie running back in the NFL, Kayo led the Chicago Bears in rushing. It’s a little-known fact that he was the first rookie ever asked to play in the Pro Bowl.

Kayo  might very well be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but for a freak accident on a windy Chicago night. As Kayo was waiting for his car outside a Chicago hotel, a drunken valet ran a car up on the curb and pinned Kayo’s legs between two cars.

George Halas, certain Kayo’s career was over, wrote that he was the finest running back he had ever coached.

(My addition:  Kayo died this past November 17, at the age of 90.)


american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 30,  2018  "You do not memorize football -- you work with it and it soaks in.”  Homer Smith

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

With Paul Johnson stepping away at Georgia Tech does that mean the option era at GT is over?

Some seem to think that Jeff Monken would be a good candidate.  Frankly, I don't think Coach Monken would even entertain the thought.  He has a great thing going at West Point, and I think the Army would put together a really lucrative offer to have him stay.  What you say?

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

In my opinion, we’ve all seen the last of an under-center option attack at the top levels of college football.  Paul Johnson was successful, but it would have taken more spectacular success than he achieved to turn other coaches on to his offense so that it grew tentacles.  And even then, it probably wouldn’t have been enough to satisfy fans and boosters who expect to see passing or recruits who expect to be a part of something more trendy.

There is no chance that we’ll see Jeff Monken or anyone else ever again run the ‘bone at GT, and very little chance that we’ll ever see it again at the Power 5 level.  A friend, a former Coca-Cola executive with friends close to the Tech scene, tells me that no matter what else you might read, PJ’s “retirement" was about his “boring offense.”

If winning isn’t enough, there’s no answer to that.

It can’t be about Tech “wanting to do better.”

The Tech people can talk all they like about that, but the reality is that Johnson did as well as anyone could have been expected to do. Since the glory days of Bobby Dodd’s teams in the 1950s, Tech has played just a bit over .500 football.

Paul Johnson leaves as the fourth winningest coach in GT history, behind three legends of the past - Dodd, Bill Alexander, and John Heisman.  Of all the coaches that Tech has had since Coach Dodd retired in 1966 (with a .713 win-loss percentage), PJ's percentage of  .585 is second only to that of George O’Leary, who leveraged his success into the Notre Dame job.  (That’s another story.)

Even Bobby Ross, who won a national championship there, posted an overall win-loss percentage of only .543. Bill Curry, a GT legend as a player, could finish no better than .423.

Georgia Tech, like a number of other schools (Army, Notre Dame, Minnesota, for example) is living in a glorious past that will never return.  Just as Army will never again be the team that it was in World War II and the years immediately afterward, just as Notre Dame will never again get its pick of the best Catholic kids in America,  Georgia Tech will never again be THE football team in the South’s biggest city, as it was in Coach Dodd’s day.

Georgia Tech people are saying that they want more than just a winning team that goes to a bowl game every year - they want  ACC championships, and an occasional spot in the playoff.  Well, guess what?  So do other people in the ACC: the people at Clemson, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech (to note only the ones best positioned to compete for those spots).

The big winners in all this are Army and Navy.  They have coaches they are happy with, and there is next to no chance that those coaches will ever leave for greener pastures, because nobody else wants their offense. (Monken would put a winner on the field at GT, but the fans would really hate watching - he throws even less than Johnson.)

Sorry to sound a trifle down, but I think the grand experiment is over.  Now, I look for the guys on the rules committee to finish the job.  I keep hearing the concussion guys talking about reducing repetitive blows to linemen’s heads by eliminating the three-point stance.  That ought  to about do it.


*********** "I was saddened when Coach Johnson informed me that he was going to step down as our head coach," Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury said.

Yeah, sad.  But happy as hell to get the deep-pocket alumni off my ass.  Now I can go out and hire a guy who’ll run an exciting, wide-open offense the same as everybody else in the ACC and Big 12.  At least then when we finish a hair over  (or under) .500 they can’t blame it on the offense.

*********** It’s almost two years old, but Jeff Monken’s explanation of his plan for turning Army from a 3-9 team into a (now) 9-2 team is still good reading…

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/12/13/13924292/army-vs-navy-football-game-2016-streak-jeff-monken


*********** Back in 2001, when my friend Greg Koenig was coaching at Las Animas, Colorado, it was a big deal - a VERY big deal - when his kids upset Limon.  Limon is in eastern Colorado, on the plains about midway between Denver and the Kansas line.  Limon has only 135 kids in its school,  below the 150-student cutoff to play 11-man football, but it has been given special dispensation to play 11-man.  It has 32 kids on the football team - roughly half the boys in the school.  It just won another state title - its 18th.  Limon holds state records with 18  titles, six consecutive titles, 50 consecutive wins and 13 unbeaten seasons.

Greg sent me a great article about this little town and its remarkable football tradition:

http://stoutroadsportspage.com/learning-from-limon/?fbclid=IwAR3F1EOGcrhdRy7ZmsLpldhRIonAjl6uBgImZpQay2CdHlrlnUUcQMGpkuY


************* I was doing a little research and got to reading more about Frank Girardi. For 36 years - from 1972 through 2007 - he was head coach at D-III Lycoming College, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

He retired with a record of 257-97-5.  HIs teams made 11 D-III playoiff appearances, and made it to the final game twice.

Very impressive.  But that’s not why I’m writing.  There’s a great story about him that every football coach will understand and relate to.

On the morning of his first game as head coach at Lycoming, his house caught on fire.

As his wife and kids had to evacuate the house, still in their pajamas, he had to leave.  He had a team waiting for him.  They had a game to play.

He would later recall that Lycoming lost that first game, to Albright, 39-0.  "That was the start of my college coaching career,” he said.  “Our house burned down and we were beaten 39-0. I think the 39-0 hurt me more."


*********** Watching Dan Mullen break up an interview to go  put a stop to the clowns on his team trying to plant a Florida flag in the Florida State logo got me to thinking about the need for us to express ourselves in terms that others could understand.

Maybe, to put our feelings about the national anthem protests in proper perspective, we should have just told the NFL kneelers, “Guys, to you  it may be protesting, but to us it's  like dancing on our logo.”


*********** The Headline: ACC suspends NC State, North Carolina players after huge brawl

The Story:  When NC State scored against North Carolina to win in OT,  a Carolina player started lashing out in apparent frustration. And when an NC State player took offense, it was game on.  But truthfully, with the exception of a handful of players - a couple of UNC hotheads who acted like jackasses, and a couple of NC State guys who didn’t take to their antics - it didn’t look to me at all like a “huge brawl.”  Actually, considering the heat of the moment, what impressed me was the number of guys on both teams who stood around and did NOT join in the “huge brawl.”

Typical media sensationalism. (“Film at eleven.”)

*********** I wrote to a coach I know - a very good coach - who had a rough season, and said I tell guys who've known nothing but success that while I wish them no ill, I do sort of wish they could have one tough season so their education as a coach will be complete!

*********** An Iowa “football mom” whose son had graduated decided she wanted to do more than just sit in the stands as watch - so she offered to keep stats…

Being down on the sidelines, she writes, is “indescribable… I see and hear everything. I see how much the coaches are invested in these boys and in this program. We have an absolute great bunch of coaches who know their football. I hear them strategize. I hear them say “atta boy.” It gives me great pride to be a part of this program.”

http://www.nwestiowa.com/independent/football-mom-on-what-it-means-to-be-a-falcon/article_bb487298-ec51-11e8-8a73-57134f33dec9.html

***********  It’s a source of considerable resentment among Army football people that in the recruiting wars, competing coaches have subtly - and sometimes not so subtly - suggested that if a young high school football player were to choose to go to West Point, it would be just a matter of time before his life was in danger, in some godforsaken place on the other side of the globe.

People may not be aware of how West Point cadets wind up in the branch of the Army that they do, but it’s the result of a competitive process.  Certain branches are more highly prized than others, and acceptance into them is determined by class rank.  You might not think so, but the most desired branches of the service are “combat arms” - infantry, armor and artillery - and the number one branch in terms of desirability is the “Queen of Battle” - the infantry.  The infantry means “boots on the ground,” and no decoration in the Army is more respected that the Combat Infantryman Badge - look for it atop all the other decorations on the left breast of a soldier. It can only be awarded to one serving in infantry, as a Ranger or in Special Forces.
CIB

It means that the wearer of the badge has “seen the elephant” - he has been “personally present and under fire” during “active ground combat.”

Navy football recruiters wouldn’t get far with the “we’re safer than the Army” approach because  a number of its players choose infantry duty after graduation, too. Of the 34 seniors on this year’s team, 16 will serve in the Marine Corps.  One of them will train to become a Marine pilot, but the others have selected Marine Corps Ground.

At least four of the future Marines are starters - quarterback Zach Abey, starting fullback Anthony Gargiulo and starting inside linebackers Hudson Sullivan and Taylor Heflin.

How they came to choose the Marines is an interesting story, in the Annapolis Capital Gazette…

the key factor in encouraging Navy football players to pursue a Marine Corps career is exposure. To that end, Green and Walsh have annually taken rising senior football players with an interest to Marine Corps Base Quantico for a week-long training exercise.

Abey said a large contingent of Navy football players were divided into squads and actually played some war games. It was meant to give the prospective Marines an understanding of The Basic School, the six-month training that is conducted at Quantico.

“We spend some time in the field, shoot the rifles and do the whole deal of staying overnight in the woods. We had different squads and game-planned attacks and actually shot blank rounds at each other,” Abey said. “It was really cool, a really fun training. We had all the Marine Corps equipment and got a taste of what will be doing during TBS.”

That introductory training session is known as Camp Leatherneck and is purposefully designed to be difficult. Gargiulo said it rained almost nonstop during the week the football players participated and he joked about cooking food in a bag and eating dried crackers.

“Actually, being out in the woods wasn’t the bad part. It was all the long-distance running and not having a nice Italian meal ready for you after a long day in the field,” Gargiulo said with a chuckle.

Abey had a feeling he wanted to serve in the Marine Corps upon arrival at the Naval Academy and that was only reinforced by talking to numerous former teammates that had already taken that route.

“It’s something I wanted to do coming in here. Just seeing so many members of The Brotherhood choose Marine Corps really influenced me,” Abey said. “Seeing the summer trainings at Quantico, I thought it was really equivalent to Navy football.”

Sullivan initially thought about joining the aviation community, but gradually changed his mind after hearing about the Marine Corps from inside linebacker predecessors such as Cody Petersen and Winn Howard. The northern Virginia native, who did not grow up too far from Quantico, also learned a lot from the summer training session.

“When we were down there they told us about the close resemblance between the Marine Corps and football and it makes a lot of sense,” Sullivan said. “Everything we learned on the football field can be implemented into the Marine Corps.”

https://www.capitalgazette.com/sports/navy_sports/ac-cs-navy-football-marines-20181122-story.html

*********** Coach - As much as I miss coaching, and have strongly considered getting back into it, after reading and hearing about the state of the game I sometimes ask myself if I truly want to coach football again.  Will it ever be worth it...like it used to be??

It is very different.  The things that I saw on the horizon when I started writing and corresponding with coaches 20+ years ago are now right here.

You can still find some good places to coach but now you have to be much more selective about where you decide to do it.

I think the biggest reason is the fact that the Me Generation had  kids, and those kids are now in high school. The word “No” is not in their vocabulary, kids or parents.  Combine that with the increase in the amount of influence even one aggrieved person can have, and with the cowardice of  today’s school and political leaders, who have no qualms about sacrificing a coach if that’s what it takes to get a parent off their ass, and I would venture a guess that in 90 per cent of cases where parents stir up things about a coach - rightly or wrongly - the coach is gone within a year.

In a sense, it mirrors what’s happening in our country.  

It used to be that most places in our country were pleasant and safe.  And even then, many of the places that weren’t particularly pleasant were still safe.  There were bad places, but everybody knew where they were and all you had to do was be smart enough to stay away from them.

But the bad guys (at great risk of being politically incorrect, I include the precious “homeless” in that category) seem more and more to have the upper hand, so that now there are so many more places where you just don’t go.  I once considered downtown Portland to be about the most hospitable of any city I’d ever seen; now, you can go there and trip over bums or step in their sh—.

There are still nice places, but you have to be careful, and to some degree I think that it’s a reflection of their politics. I also think that applies to the way coaches are treated and  the way their schools are run.  

My advice is to look as far from a big city as possible - in a rural area or a smaller city.  Even in a red state, the bigger metro areas are blue, and  the outlying once-rural areas are starting to fill up with members of the Me Generation and their kids.    


*********** Greg Koenig, after more than 10 years in Kansas a K-State fan,  sent me a link to the best article I’ve ever read on what Bill Snyder has meant to Kansas State football, and how the future without him could mean a return to the bleak days before he arrived.

Unfortunately, in all the things I read, there never seems to be even the  slightest  suggestion of a solution.

The author sums up the dilemma facing those charged with replacing Coach Snyder - something which ultimately must happen -  and although a winning Wildcat program must remain uppermost in their prorities, it must happen with grace and dignity and respect for Coach Snyder’s accomplishments:

He’s not a volunteer, entitled to stay as long as he wants. He is compensated handsomely, and he himself surely expects better results than he has been able to achieve in recent years. But neither is he some dispensable rabble to be discarded without a moment’s regret.

Maybe a compromise would be to let Coach Snyder choose his successor (not his son Sean, as Coach Snyder would prefer), with a significant place for Sean on the new staff.

For sure, this presents a wonderful opportunity for the school administration to demonstrate to young, impressionable students how to handle difficult situations with class.

The last thing they can afford to do is to send Bill Snyder off, a bitter man.   A fandom that prides itself on being “family” can’t send dad off into exile.

https://www.bringonthecats.com/2018/11/29/18116530/family-conflict-head-and-heart-collide-over-kansas-state-football-future-bill-snyder?fbclid=IwAR1nA4lp9MoHajK_oHGkyt54SbDiBIYazq1d-xFzlgX9gacgLEv7E_L5zHA

*********** Let’s see, now:  On the offensive side, USC fired the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach (fired him back in October) - and the QB coach left “to pursue other opportunities” (what coach does that on his own?)… On the other side of the ball, they fired the defensive line coach and the defensive backs’ coach.

So tell me again, Lynn Swann,  why you kept a head coach who now has to go out - in the middle of prime recruiting time - and hire half a staff, which then has to go out and tell recruits why they should believe that a coach who just had to fire half his staff will still be there this time next year.

Writes Pete Thamel, yahoo sports…

As the Pac-12 has slipped away from college football’s mainstream, desperately attempting to keep up with the coaching contracts and conference television cash, its flagship school is a mess… The athletic director’s first major decision has backfired spectacularly, as Swann bid against himself this winter to keep Helton and extended him through 2023, showing no feel for the market nor particular care for USC’s budget. Had Swann bothered to do a few simple Google searches, he could have found out that no other Power 5 job was sniffing at Helton.

*********** “The Pac-12 has slipped away from college football’s mainstream.” Ouch.  Those were the words of yahoo.com’s Pete Thamel.

Closer to home, the Portland Oregonian’s John Canzano, whom I consider to be a bit of a pit bull when he gets after something, is after Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.  Big time.  And it’s about time. 

In the first of a four-part series that I personally hope will lead to a housecleaning at the Conference’s San Francisco headquarters, Canzano notes that Lord Larry, a former Harvard tennis player whose previous job as head of the Women’s Tennis Association scarcely qualified him for the Pac-12 commissionership, has built himself quite an empire, mostly at the expense of member schools.

The bastard is paid $4.8 million a year, more than the combined pay of Big Ten Commissoner Jim Delany ($2.3 million) and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey ($1.9 million).  He makes more than any football coach in the conference; contrast that with Sanke, who makes less than any of the SEC’s football coaches, and  Delaney, who makes less than all but two of the Big Ten’s football coaches.

Did I mention that Lord Larry prefers to travel by private jet? The Pac-12 spent $3.1 million on conference travel in the last fiscal year.  By comparison, the SEC spent $788,000 and the Big Ten $542,000.

I mentioned the headquarters.  The Pac-12 chose downtown San Francisco, one of the most expensive places in the United States, and for that they pay $6.9 million a year in rent. (You might want to repeat that.  Slowly.)  Suburban Chicago is good enough for the Big Ten, which pays $1.36 million in rent, and the SEC has gone decidedly low-rent, paying $318,000 rent at its Birmingham headquarters.

What do the league members get as the fruit of Scott's  labors?  Well, each Pac-12 member school received $31 million in revenues in the last fiscal year. But compare that with $41 million for each SEC member (that’s TEN MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR MORE - EVERY F—KING YEAR!) and $37 million for each Big Ten member. 

And that’s not all, folks - while the Pac-12 screws around trying to make money with its own TV network, the Big Ten and ESPN announced a new six-year deal that will mean $50 million a year for each member.  Think about that a minute - every year, every Pac-12 school will start out NINETEEN MILLION DOLLARS behind every Big Ten school!  (Money does have its advantages when you’re building and sustaining a major college football program.)

Instead of serving the conference members, writes Canzano, “the Pac-12 offices have treated itself like the 13th and most important member.”

I can’t wait for the next installment.  So far, this stuff is Pulitzer Prize material.


https://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2018/11/pac-12-larry-scott-leftout-part1.html

*********** Tom Walls, who lives and coaches in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is a native of New York State by way of Delaware, and he sent me this nice article about a Delaware senior named Vinnie Papale.  Vinnie Papale is the son of Vince Papale, on whose pro football career the movie “Invincible” was based.  Loosely, I should add.  The movie story line is that Vince Papale, who after being signed as a free agent by the Eagles became a fan favorite for his balls-out play, was a down-on-his-luck bartender whose football experience prior to the Eagles consisted of playing rough touch with his drinking buddies.

Not so.  Although he didn’t play college ball - he was a decathlete at St. Joseph’s - he was talked into playing semi-pro ball outside Philly.  That’s where I saw him, and when the World Football League got under way I arranged for him to attend a tryout.  His speed, route-running and hands blew our coach away, and I signed him on the spot.

He played two seasons in the WFL for the Philadelphia Bell, and it was on the strength of that experience - and his fierce determination to succeed - that the Eagles took a look at him.  And signed him.

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/sports/college/ud/2018/11/21/delaware-football-papale-overcomes-daunting-injuries/2054232002/

********** Why don’t crappy teams try to run the ball? Simple.  Running the ball requires good linemen, and if there’s one thing that crappy teams don’t have, it’s good linemen.

The reason for that is simple: there are more lean, fast, receiver/defensive back type guys than there are big, strong lineman-type guys, and by the time the big schools have signed all the players they want, there are often some good receivers and defensive backs left unsigned, but there just aren’t enough good lineman left for the also-rans.

*********** A Boston area high school team fought for - and won - the right to play their Thanksgiving Day game on, of all days, Thanksgiving!

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/11/20/braintree-milton-thanksgiving-football-game-outcry/

*********** Washington Huskies’ Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Lake may have an axe to grind with Mike Leach - I don’t know why else he’d say what he said afterward - but he’s not your ordinary, cliche-filled coach. 

Asked if he was surprised that Leach didn’t do anything unexpected in the Apple Cup, he said,“It does surprise me. But knowing what I read about the head football coach here, he does things a little different way, so hopefully he remains here a long time. That would be awesome.”

He went on to say that Leach’s game plan appeared to be “exactly the same” as in previous years.

“It makes it real easy for us,” he said. “Next year, maybe he’ll throw a little curveball. But it makes it very easy when you know what you’re going to get, so it’s awesome.”

“I mean, we know what type of offense we’re playing. They do the same thing, year in and year out. This is five years in a row now, and so it makes it real easy to game-plan."

First of all, I think that if this guy does know what he says he does, he’s dumber than sh— for letting it be known.  When someone breaks the enemy’s code, do they let the enemy know?

But second of all, all you coaches out there should check yourselves - if you heard an opponent boasting like that, would you just be pissed, or would you still be pissed, but think about it a bit and say, “Hey - maybe he’s got a point.” 

See, it could be that by woofing like this,  Lake is actually doing Leach a favor.  He’s telling him something that Leach’s own assistants may not know or, if they do,  may be afraid to tell him. (I admit that I don’t know Mike Leach at all and have no idea whether that could be true.)

Not many guys at the top like to be told unpleasant things.  Their underlings hear them go on about not appreciating “negativity,” and they quickly figure out that  the best way to keep their jobs is to shield the boss from things that might upset him.

It’s a major explanation for  the incompetence we see at the highest levels of our major institutions.

I thought about this a week or so ago when I read in the Wall Street Journal the obituary of a guy who early in his career had grown frustrated working for Reynolds and Company, a large financial services firm.  He wrote a letter of resignation, and when the boss called him in and asked him to explain why he was resigning, he replied that it was a “lousy” company - and went on to tell the boss why.

To show what a rare leader the boss was, he said, “Hmm. Maybe I should make you my personal assistant.”

The guy accepted the  boss’ offer, and when he retired, he was CEO of the firm, Dean Witter Reynolds.


***********  QUIZ  ANSWER - Twice a castoff - sent packing by two different losing NFL teams -  Billy Kilmer was 32 before he finally found the right place and the right coach - and wound up twice being named an All-Pro quarterback.

At UCLA, he was the last of their famous  single-wing tailbacks.  He was the classic triple threat:  in his senior year at UCLA, he passed for more than 1,000 yards, ran for more than 800 yards and eight touchdowns, and did all the Bruins’ punting.

In the NFL, he was the last single wing tailback to make the switch to quarterback (which until fairly recently meant going under center to take the snap).

He was an All-American in 1960, finishing fifth in the Heisman balloting, and in the College All-Star Game the following summer he was named MVP.

He was a first-round draft choice of the 49ers, and in his rookie year (along with John Brodie and Bobby Waters) was one of the three quarterbacks  used in rotation by coach Red Hickey in his direct-snap formation which he called the “shotgun.”

ASIDE: from Red Hickey’s obituary in the New York Times:

The 49ers, with a 4-4 record, were practicing at Georgetown University for their game against the two-time defending champion Baltimore Colts on Nov. 27, 1960, when Hickey called a meeting.
"I asked my players if any of them thought we could beat Baltimore with our regular offense, and not one hand went up," Hickey told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2001.
Hoping to cope with a Colts rush led by linemen Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti and Big Daddy Lipscomb, Hickey scrapped the T formation.
He had his quarterback stand about 5 yards behind the line instead of taking the snap while under center, and he spread his backs to the sides. That alignment, drawing on the double wing and short punt formations previously used in college football, gave the offense an extra second or two to develop a play. The quarterback could run, hand off to a crisscrossing back or throw.
The 49ers upset the Colts, 30-22.
In the locker room, Hickey told reporters that his offense was simply "spread right and spread left."
But moments later, as he related it to The Chronicle in 2001, he came up with something more sprightly. "Well, I'm an old country boy, and I used to go hunting with a shotgun," he said. "How about we call it the shotgun?"
The shotgun excited the 49ers to the point where they traded quarterback Y.A. Tittle - not a very good runner - after the season, but by mid-season 1961 NFL defenses had driven the 49ers back to the “T” (under center) formation, and  Kilmer, who still hadn’t made the transition from single wing tailback to T-formation quarterback, was used mostly as a running back.

He missed one season after being seriously injured in an off-season automobile accident, and spent most of the rest of his time with the 49ers on the bench, until 1967 when he was put on the expansion list and taken by the brand-new New Orleans Saints.

Over four seasons he was the Saint’s starting QB much of the time,  but those Saints really sucked, and when it became apparent that the they were planning to draft sensational Ole Miss QB Archie Manning, he asked to be traded.

That’s when he was acquired by the Redskins’ George Allen, and his pro career really began.  He was 32.

Acquired to be the backup for Sonny Jurgenson, he wound up the Redskins’ starter when Jurgenson was injured in an exhibition game, and he did so well that even when Jurgenson returned, Washington fans were split into two camps, each supporting one of the two quarterbacks.

And even though he appeared to become Allen’s favorite because he was less of a gunslinger type than Jurgenson, there was no such rivalry between the two quarterbacks.  Perhaps it was because they both were known to enjoy a drink now and then.  (Kilmer’s preference for strong drink led his  teammates to nickname him “Whiskey.”)

In 1972 he took the Redskins to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins.

After Allen was fired following the 1977 season,  Allen’s successor, Jack Pardee, replaced him with Joe Theismann, and he ended his career that season as Theismann’s backup.

In 16 years in the NFL, he was twice named All-Pro.  In all, he completed 1585 passes for 20,495 yards and 146 interceptions.  And - the old tailback in him - he rushed for 1509 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Also - from his early days in the League, he caught 27 passes for 288 yards and a TD, and punted 16 times for 598 yards.

Billy Kilmer is ranked among the top 70 Redskins of all time.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILLY KILMER

JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA


*********** This great article on Billy Kilmer is courtesy of Charlie Wilson, Crystal River, Florida…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1979/05/16/redskins-release-kilmer/1fc2e6d4-d699-420a-8c97-0ba32dd93993/?utm_term=.04ea155ab71d

*********** QUIZ - A native of Canton, Ohio, he played his college ball at Michigan.  His junior season was Bo Schembechler’s first as the Wolverines’ head coach, and as an offensive lineman, he was named to several All-American teams.

In his senior year, Michigan went 9-1, and he was a consensus All-American.  Depending on the formation, he played on either side as the  “strong tackle,” and Schembechler praised him a being  “as good as any tackle in the country.”

He was drafted in the second round - number 43 overall - by the St. Louis Cardinals, and he spent his entire 13 year career with the club.

During much of that time, he was considered the best offensive lineman in the NFL. He was a 6-time Pro Bowl selection. He was named first team All-Pro five times . In 1975 won the Forest Gregg Award, given to the NFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year. For three straight years - 1976-77-78 - he was named NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year.  For two entire seasons - 1976 and 1977 - he did not allow a single sack.

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

After retirement as a player, he embarked on another career as a broadcaster.  For 12 seasons he was on the broadcast team on Monday Night Football (back when it was a very big deal), and then spent 15 years as a game and studio analyst on NFL games.

He currently works as a color analyst on radio broadcasts of Michigan  games.


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 27,  2018  “Politically Correct is nothing more than FASCISM pretending to be manners.” George Carlin

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL - THE LAST REALLY BIG WEEKEND

Not that I would bet on games - especially rivalry games - but if I were a betting guy, here’s how I would have made out…

THURSDAY - Mississippi State at Ole Miss.  (State by 12-1/2) I like them both and I rarely root, but I can usually count on a very good game. (NO BET)

FRIDAY -

Texas at Kansas - (Texas by 15-1/2) Jayhawks scored 40 against Oklahoma last week, and lost by 15.  What might they do now that Les Miles is their coach? Texas will win but I’ll take KU and the points. (Texas 24, Kansas 17 - WIN)

Nebraska at Iowa - (Iowa by 9-1/2) I’ll take Nebraska and the points, but Iowa will win the game. (Iowa 31, Nebraska 28 - WIN)

Houston at Memphis - (Memphis by 7) This is for the right to play UCF in the American Athletic title game.  I like Houston with the points. (Memphis 52, Houston 31 - LOSE)

Virginia at Virginia Tech - (UVa by 4-1/2) I’ll not only take VT and the points, but I think the Hokies will win anyhow. (VT 34, UVA 31 - WIN)

Oregon at Oregon State - (Oregon by 18)   On the basis of talent the 18 point spread makes sense, but I’ve seen the Ducks look really soft, and I’ve seen the Beavers play really tough.   And this is called the Civil War for good reason - it’s a fierce rivalry.  I’ll take the Beavers and the points. (Oregon 55, Oregon State 15 - LOSE)

Oklahoma at West Virginia - (Oklahoma by 3) I’ll take the Mountaineers and the points.  As I’ve said before, I’m a trifle suspicious that dark forces may be at play here, but still -  if the Sooners can’t keep Kansas from scoring 40, how are they going to keep West Virginia under 80? (Oklahoma 59, WVU 56 - PUSH)

Washington at Washington State - (Wazzu by 2-1/2) There’s often snow in the Palouse at Apple Cup time, but not this year. I should know better,  knowing how UW dominates this series - Washington State’s longest winning streak is two (!) - and having had enough experience with “Cougin’ it,” but here I go,  letting myself get sucked in again… I think that WSU is better than the 2-1/2 point spread, so I’ll take them - and give the Huskies the points.  (UW 28, WSU 15 - LOSE)

SATURDAY

Michigan at Ohio State - (Michigan by 4) I’ll watch, just in the hope that there’s some way both of those a$$hole coaches can lose.  (NO BET)

Georgia Tech at Georgia - (Georgia by 17) There’s always the chance that GT can play keep away but I’d take Georgia and give the 17. (Georgia 45, GT 21 - WIN)

Florida at Florida State - (Gators by 6-1/2) FSU has been playing a bit better lately but I think the Gators will beat the spread.  I’d give the points. (Florida 41, FSU 14 - WIN)

Syracuse at Boston College - (BC by 6-1/2)  I know that Syracuse laid an egg against ND last week, and I know that BC played Clemson tough for a while, but still.  I would take Syracuse and the points. (Syracuse 42, BC 21 - WIN)

Purdue at Indiana - (Purdue by 4) Tough call.   As if it weren’t a big instate rivalry, the two teams, both 5-6, are fighting for bowl elgibility.  It’s hard to believe that just 3 or 4 weeks ago Purdue was contending for a spot in the Big Ten title game.  I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Boilermakers to break their two game losing streak and win convincingly.  If they don’t I can see their coach leaving for Louisville, a place where it’s a whole lot easier to build a winning team. (Purdue 28, Indiana 21 - WIN)

Navy at Tulane  - (Tulane by 7).  Seven of Navy’s opponents are already bowl eligible, and Navy has gone 1-6 against them.  A loss to the Green Wave would make Tulane bowl eligible and make that record 1-7.  I see Tulane winning but the Mids covering. (Tulane 29, Navy 28 - WIN)

NC State at North Carolina - (State by 7)  Are you serious?  That’s all?  Seven points?  Somebody must know something, because State is 7-3 and UNC is 2-8.  Yes, the Heels did break a six-game losing streak last week.  By overwhelming Western Carolina.  Whoopee-doo.  If form holds, State wins big. (NC State 34- UNC 28 OT - LOSE)

Wake Forest at Duke - (Duke by 11-1/2) Wake needs the win to be bowl eligible.   Duke’s going to win but I’d take Wake and the points. (WTF? Wake 59, Duke 7 - WIN)

Stanford at UCLA - (Stanford by 7)  Stanford had last Saturday off after the Big Game (against Cal) was postponed; UCLA beat USC behind Joshua Kelley’s 289 yards rushing.  Take the points.  I’m calling a UCLA upset here.  (Stanford 49, UCLA 42 - PUSH)

Auburn at Alabama - (Bama by 24) 24 Points?  Really?  I know Alabama is really, really good.  But this is Alabama-Auburn.  This is special, and any Alabama kid - on either roster - has dreamed about playing in this game from the time he was old enough to say “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle.”   I’ll take Auburn and the points. (Alabama 52, Auburn 21 - LOSE)

Maryland at Penn State - (Penn State by 13) Maryland is 5-6 and needs the win, but I think that Maryland’s season ended last week on the Ohio State  three-yard-line when they went for two - and threw incomplete.  In the immortal words of the late Beano Cook, “Penn State will beat Maryland… because Penn State ALWAYS beats Maryland.  And I think they’ll beat them by more than 13.  (Penn State 38, Maryland 3 - WIN)

Pitt at Miami - (Miami by 4-1/2)  This has to be a mistake.  If I were a handicapper, I’d give Miami the 4-1/2 points - and still take Pitt.  (Miami 24, Pitt 3 - LOSE)  And Pitt is going to be playing Clemson in what they call “conference championship game?” The scalpers will be paying people on the streets of Charlotte to take tickets off their hands.

Arizona State at Arizona - (ASU by 2)  The Territorial Cup game is a tossup.  I’ll take Arizona State, because I think Eno Benjamin is one of the best runners in the country. (ASU 42, Arizona 41 - LOSE)

Minnesota at Wisconsin - (Wisconsin by 11) This is Athens against Sparta.  Minnesotans call the ‘Sconnies barbarians.  Wisconsinites call Minnesotans wussies.  This is for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.  Minnesota hasn’t won since 2003 and I think the Badgers will keep the streak going.  I’ll take the Badgers and give the 11 points. (Minnesota 37, Wisconsin 15 - LOSE)

Tennessee at Vanderbilt - (Vandy by 3-1/2)  Until Tennessee gets back to where it once was, I’ll take Vandy and give the 3-1/2. (Vandy 38, Tennessee 13 - WIN)

South Carolina at Clemson - (Clemson by 26) Clemson will win, but should they be 26-point favorites over a  6-4 SEC team?  I suspect so. (Clemson 56, SC 35 - LOSE)

Kentucky at Louisville - (Kentucky by 16-1/2) This is not so well-known as many other rivalries, but it is no less heated.  In this case, Kentucky is good enough to beat Louisville by more than the 16-1/2. (Kentucky 56, Lousville 10 - WIN)

Kansas State at Iowa State - (Iowa State by 13) As a K-State fan, I fear that the Cyclones will beat them badly. NO BET

Colorado at California - (Cal by 12-1/2) Colorado is a dead team walking. Cal will make it seven losses in a row, but their offense isn’t that good, so I’d take Colorado and the points.  (Cal 33, Colorado 21 - WIN)

LSU at Texas A & M - (A & M by 3)  Geaux Tigers!  Glad to take the points. (A & M 74, LSU 72 - WIN).  I’d rather have lost the bet and seen LSU win.

Notre Dame at USC - (ND by 11) It may be on the Coast and it may be at night,  but this is a good Notre Dame team and a poor - by USC standards - Trojan team, and as much as it hurts to do so, I’ll take ND and give the 11 points. (ND 24, USC 17 - LOSE)

Oklahoma State at TCU - ( OSU by 5)  They have identical 3-5 Big 12 records, but the Cowboys have looked very tough the last couple of weeks. I’d take Oklahoma State and give the points.  (TCU 31, Oklahoma State 24 - LOSE)

BYU at Utah - (Utes by 11-1/2) Utah, headed for the Pac-12 final as the South representative,  is one of the comference’s top three teams.  BYU, while bowl eligible, is a shadow of the great teams of Lavell Edwards.  Or Bronco Mendenhall, even.   I’ll take the Utes and give the points.  (Utah 35, BYU 27 - LOSE)

Utah State at Boise State - (Boise State by 2-1/2) Winner goes to the Mountain West championship game against Fresno State.  It’s tough to pick against Boise State on that damned blue turf,  but the Aggies are really good.  They haven’t lost since their opening game, a 37-31 loss at Michigan State, and  I’ll take them and the points. (Boise State 33, Utah State 24 - LOSE)

I won only slightly more than I lost, so don't follow me around Vegas.

*********** Many of you have contacted me about BYU, down on the Utah one-yard line, coming out in double-tight, double-wing, zero line splits, and running Super Power.  The runner walked in.

*********** In the Oregon Class 5A championship game,  Number 7-ranked Thurston High, of Springfield, beat Number 1-ranked Wilsonville, 30-27.

The margin of victory was more than just a field goal - it was a field goal made, and a field goal blocked, and a field goal made, and a field goal blocked.

Wilsonville, down by a field goal, had driven to the Thurston 25 with one second left, and lined up for the tieing field goal.

But it was blocked, and the Thurston kids rushed the field to celebrate the win. 

Unfortunately, the ball was not yet dead when they went onto the field, and the penalty against Thurston (for illegal participation) gave Wilsonville another try, from five yards closer.

This time, the kick was good,  and Wilsonville kids celebrated as they prepared for overtime.

But no….  Turns out the play was dead before the snap - Thurston was offside.

This time - the third time -  from five yards closer, the kick was blocked.  This time, the ball was dead, and Thurston celebrated its win and its first state title in football.

https://www.registerguard.com/sports/20181124/thurston-captures-class-5a-football-title-on-late-field-goal-two-blocked-kicks

*********** If you watched the Memphis-Houston game, you had to be as puzzled as me about why Houston star DL Ed Oliver was standing on the sideline, crying.  For sure, without him in the game, Memphis went through Houston’s defense like, as the old-timers used to say, “a dose of salts.”

*********** Looking at all the wide receivers and defensive backs wearing what look like dorky bicycle shorts, it  appears that the powers that be have decided to give college teams ANOTHER year to comply with the pants-over-the-knees rule, passed before the 2017 season,  with enforcement to be deferred for a year to let teams replace their noncompliant uniforms.  Either that, or they’ve just said ‘to hell with it.”  So why did they pass a rule if they had no intention of enforcing it?  Isn’t it just like so many aspects of our society,  where people who flout the rules make chumps out of those who respect them?

*********** I was really proud of the sportsmanship displayed by the Washington State band, which learned - on the shortest of notices - to play the visiting Washington Huskies’ fight song before Friday night’s game.

The song would normally have been played by the Washington band, but after one of the buses carrying the band slid off the Interstate as it crossed a snow-covered mountain pass Thursday evening, the rest of the band returned to Seattle and missed the game.

Couple of questions:

1. Why, since they’d come that far already - at least halfway - didn’t they simply continue?

2. More to the point - why did they have to send the band on the road the night before, for a game that started at 5:30 the next evening?

*********** The legacy of Frank Beamer: Virginia Tech scored on a blocked punt.

*********** The “Tebow” - the jump pass into a guy in the end zone - is cool and all that, and it often works, but not always.  When Oregon State, behind 14-0,  made it to the Oregon 1 and put in the QB who usually runs, everyone expected him to run off-tackle.  Everyone except an Oregon lineman, who tipped the ball, which was then intercepted.

*********** Nothing unusual about the play on which UCF QB McKenzie Milton was hurt, but the injury to his knee was so severe that there was concern that he might lose his leg, and at the least, his football career may be over.

*********** It’s never easy breaking a long jinx.  A sloppy zone read created a fumbled exchange that ended Virginia’s chance to tie the game in OT, and gave Virginia Tech its 15th straight win in the rivalry.

*********** Considering how quick they are to stop play to review even questionable targeting calls, it’s hard to believe that Oklahoma’s #20 could have gotten away with his hit on WVU’s Marcus Simms.

*********** NFL fans may have raved over all the scoring in the Rams-Chiefs game, but many real football fans (college variety) are having trouble with games such as Oklahoma-West Virginia.  Many Big 12 games look like 7-on-7 with linemen and pads.

*********** Washington State’s vaunted Air Raid got the Cougars within a game of the Pac-12 championship, and then they ran into their traditional, end-of-the-season nemeses, the Washington Huskies.  And, in customary fashion, they Couged it. 

It was almost pathetic, watching WSU QB Gardner Minshew gazing through the giant snowflakes,  trying to spot a receiver.  (But wait - don’t the Air Raid gurus tells us that there’s always a man open?)  Not once did I see him throw to his first receiver.  Instead, he kept looking, and more often than not, he had to throw short, with the result that while he completed his usual high percentage - 26 of 35 - it only got him 152 yards, for a puny 4.2 yards per attempt.

Washington beat the Cougars with the one means of attack that snow (or rain or ice or wind) can’t stop - running the damn ball.  On a field that grew increasingly slushy as the game went on, they rushed for 258 yards, a lot of that yardage on old-fashioned power plays from old-fashioned I formation.

Washington’s Miles Gaskin, playing his final regular season game as a Husky,  rushed for 170 yards and three TDs, making him the first running back in Pac-12 history to rush for more than 1,000 yards all four seasons.

*********** Explain, please…  Texas beats Kansas by one touchdown - 24-17 - but the Horns are in the Big 12 title game.

*********** Ohio State ate Michigan alive.  I don’t like Harbaugh, but I’ve met the Michigan DC, Don Brown, and I like him - but sheesh, it looked as if Michigan had never even bothered to scout the Buckeyes.

If these were the old days and I had been scouting for Michigan, I’d have told them two things - (1) OSU QB Dwayne Haskins is really accurate, and (2) WATCH FOR THE CROSSING ROUTES.

I also would have advised spending extra time on the kicking game.

*********** It was near the end of the first half and Georgia Tech, down 21-7, faced a 4th-and-six at midfield.  Knowing what you know about Georgia Tech’s offense and what it’s geared to do, you’d probably have punted.  Not Paul Johnson, though. He had his QB drop back - not exactly a Tech strong point - and when he got flushed from the pocket, Tech failed to get the necessary yardage.

Uh-oh.  Georgia ball -  and in one play they go the distance.  Just like that, it’s 28-7.  Game over.

*********** Urban Meyer got the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Saturday that he should have gotten last week against Maryland. 

*********** It was Senior Day at Ohio State, and you might have thought that  Meyer would have let some of those backup seniors into the game once it was clear even to you and me that the game was over, but no…

Maybe it was carryover from the Woody Hayes days, when Woody was once asked why, with such a big lead, he’d gone for two after scoring a late touchdown against Michigan.  Said Woody, “Because I couldn’t go for three.”

*********** The fact that a lot of unqualified a&&holes have already voted for the Heisman probably rules out Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.  Which is why - sorry, ESPN, I know you need something to air on the Saturday night after the Army-Navy game, but tough tiddy - they shouldn’t send out Heisman ballots until after the national title game.

*********** It was game time when I realized that, jerk though he may be, I had nothing against Urban Meyer as a coach.

But Harbaugh?  I can’t imagine coaching against the sort of guy who would hold “satellite camps,” tryouts basically, far from his campus… who would hold spring practice on the grounds of IMG Academy.

That’s when it became clear to me that I wanted Ohio State to teach that guy some humility.  Lotsa luck.

*********** Considering how much Harbaugh knows about quarterbacking - and he does - how come he hasn’t been able to develop one of his own at Michigan?

*********** Still on Harbaugh - who else could go 0-4 against Ohio State and keep his job?

*********** Listening to  Harbaugh's post-game nonsense  about taking responsibility, about needing to get better,  and blah, blah, blah, I was reminded of British general Edward Braddock, victim of a disastrous French and Indian ambush in 1755 that drove the British (and American) forces out of the land west of the Alleghenies.

The legend is that as he lay dying, his troops almost wiped out, Braddock’s last words were, “Next time we shall know better how to deal with them.”

*********** I think Gene Chizik does a pretty good job on the SEC Network.

*********** Just think - Pitt lost in ugly fashion to Miami, and yet - the Panthers will face Clemson in the ACC Title Game.  That's the best they got. Fortunately, the game’s in Charlotte,  and Clemson isn’t that far away, so those fanatics in orange will snatch up all the tickets. Otherwise,  scalpers would be standing outside the stadium offering you money to take tickets off their hands.

*********** To his great credit, Florida coach Dan Mullen broke away from his post-game on-the-field interview to stop some of this players who had started to plant a UF flag in the Florida State logo at midfield.

*********** Granted, I wanted LSU to win. But watching the way the officials handled things in the LSU-Texas A & M game, I had the sense that they had come straight from tallying the votes  in Broward County, and now, in College Station, they were going to keep doing their level best to get the outcome they wanted, no matter how long it took. The game was exciting and all that, but the OT should never have happened - A & M should never have been able, after review of a call that the officials originally missed,  to replay a down on which LSU had ostensibly clinched the win with an interception. As pissed as I was, I can only imagine how the folks in Baton Rouge were handling things.

*********** Clemson’s 6-4, 315 pound Christian Wilkins, the modern-day Bronko Nagurski,  lined up at tailback in the I formation and powered it in for a score.  And then, briefly, he struck a Heisman pose.  Kinda funny, right?  Oh, no - he got slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  Give. Me. A. Break.

*********** Minnesota beat Wisconsin - and took back Paul Bunyan’s axe - for the first time since 2003.

*********** Vanderbilt has now won three straight over Tennessee.  How lopsided is this rivalry? Vols lead the series, 75-33-5.  How lopsided is this rivalry? There was a 22-year stretch, from 1983-2004, when Vanderbilt could not beat the Vols. How lopsided is this rivalry? This is the first time since 1926 that Vanderbilt has won three in a row.

*********** Talk all you want about PC and the way our speech is being suppressed, but any football coach who’s ever criticized the high priests of our game - the officials -  can tell you what real speech suppression is.

*********** A Gay played football Saturday night, and in Utah of all places.  Okay, okay.  It was Matt Gay, kicker for the Utah Utes.

*********** After BYU built a big lead over Utah, the Utes stormed back to take the lead for the first time in the game with 3:02 remaining and then punched in one more to win their 8th straight in the series.

***********  BYU,  once known as the passingest team in the country, shocked a lot of us by coming out it a double tight, double wing, zero split formation down on the goal line, and running Super Power.  Not a bad job of execution - we anal types can always find something that could be done better - and the running back walked in untouched.

Check out the video...

https://www.facebook.com/hugh.wyatt.7

*********** POWER FIVE JOBS THAT ARE OPEN:

TEXAS TECH

Texas Tech is not an easy place to win at, and nobody knows that better than Kliff Kingsbury, who played there as well as coached there. His overall record is 35-40, and he had three losing seasons in a row, missing out on bowl eligibility Saturday with a loss to Baylor. His best season in his six years at Tech was 7-6 in 2016.   And now he's gone.

 He’s walking away with a $4.2 million payout and evidence that he can help another program:  the guy can coach quarterbacks.  He’s developed Case Keenum, Patrick Mahomes, Johnny Manziel and - before he transferred - Baker Mayfield.

(Mike Leach, for what it's worth, posted ten straight winning seasons, including eight  seasons with eight or more wins.)

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/25373953/kliff-kingsbury-fired-texas-tech-losing-season

NORTH CAROLINA

What happened to Larry Fedora? The Tar Heels won 11 games in 2015 and made it to the ACC championship game. His final record was 45-43, but just two years ago, going into the 2017 season, it was 40-26.  That worked out to .606, the best winning percentage at UNC since Dick Crum left in 1987. You ready for this?  UNC is said to be ready to take another turn on the dance floor with… Mack Brown.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/mack-brown-reportedly-agrees-to-return-as-north-carolina-coach-to-replace-larry-fedora/

POWER FIVE JOBS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OPEN:

ILLINOIS

Lovie Smith is 9-27 after three years.  Did I say 9 wins?  Well, yes - but only four of them were against Big Ten teams, and of the four, two were against Rutgers.  That’s the extent of his work as a college coach. Compare that with what a couple of other recent hires in the Big Ten West - PJ Fleck (30-22 at Western Michigan, 11-13 at Minnesota) and Scott Frost (19-7 at UCF, 4—8 at Nebraska) - have done. Compare what he’s done in his three years as a college coach with the accomplishments of the remaining three coaches in the division - Paul Chryst (now 41-12 at Wisconsin), Kirk Ferentz (151-101 at Iowa) and Pat Fitzgerald (91-19 at Northwestern) - and he’s clearly out of his league. Yes, he has taken an NFL team to the Super Bowl, but that was 12 years ago. Today’s recruits were 6 years old when that happened.  Here’s a good one for you - Illinois couldn’t afford his buyout - so they gave him two more years???

https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-illinois-lovie-smith-contract-extension-20181125-story.html

USC

Clay Helton’s Trojans finished 5-7, after pissing away the Notre Dame game with turnover after turnover.  With two NFL teams in town now, and both of them looking strong, USC can’t please the fickle sports fans in the Southland with anything less than a Pac-12 contender.  Lynn Swann, whom I have liked for a long time, sounded foolish when he defended Helton by saying, “We acknowledge and understand our deficiencies in areas that include culture, discipline, schemes, personnel and staff. We agree that changes need to be made, and they will.”  Wait.  Did he get his speeches mixed up, and mistakenly give the one explaining why he fired the coach?

https://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-usc-helton-swann-plaschke-20181125-story.html


*********** WTF??? Wake Forest 59, Duke 7 - How do you explain it? Five of the seven teams Duke beat are bowl-eligible. Two of them, Army and Northwestern, are in the AP Top 25.  And if Virginia Tech beats Marshall next week to get its sixth win, all five of Duke’s losses will be to bowl-eligible teams.

Wake Forest is not bad, and at times has played exceptionally well. Wake was certainly capable of beating Duke. But 59-7?

Something has to be  wrong.

“All we can all do is take an accountability assessment,” Duke Coach David Cutcliffe said. “When you lose a game like that after playing as well as we’ve played, I think we all have to recognize the personal responsibility. I certainly take mine as being the biggest part. But everybody in this program needs to take that same approach.”

https://www.heraldsun.com/sports/article221904625.html#storylink=cpy

*********** The NFHS has been offering streaming telecasts of high school playoff games from around the country.  For a fee.

I bit.  Do you spell “cheesy” with an “s” or a “z?”

The games I’ve seen, in Washington, have been the very definition of the word:

1. One camera, with one zoom setting.

2. There are no graphics although one broadcast did showed the scoreboard as a small picture-in-picture.

3. There is, of course, no replay

4. The “talent” - the announcers - are  hopelessly amateurish (understandable when you realize that with all the college games available on TV, even marginally-talented amateurs have found work).  They display no emotion whatsoever, which is probably okay, because they don’t seem to know the game and even when they appear to represent one of the participating schools, they still know next to nothing about the teams, their coaches, their records, or their players.

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

Hope you and Connie had an enjoyable and blessed Thanksgiving Day!

Can't speak for Oregon 8 man football having never seen a game, but I can tell you that the 6 man game in Texas is something else.  If football fans love offense they will LOVE Texas 6 man football.  There's a good documentary on TV about some of the small towns down here that play that particular version of the game. Also... the 9 man game in Minnesota is every bit as exciting as the 11 man game, and equally important to those who play it and support it.

Years ago I watched a college game where one of the teams (can't remember which one) right before the half faked a knee and threw the ball to a wide open receiver for a long TD.  That TD increased their lead in the game by... 5 scores instead of 4.  Really a bush league move.

I know it's an intense rivalry but the fight that erupted in the Mississippi State-Ole Miss game was a shame to see.

Doesn't matter who they play again in the Big 12 championship... After that Kansas performance Texas will get smoked by either OU or WVU next time around.

Nebraska will be the most improved team in the Big 10 next year.

Memphis is way better than most people think.  They'll give UCF all they can handle.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Oregon has some butt ugly uniforms.

Enjoy the games!

QUIZ:  He was an all-conference linebacker for Ithaca College.  Coached for 40 years (high school, Division I, II, III); spent the last 20 years as the head coach of a D III school in PA turning a struggling program into a perennial conference champ; recording 140-74 record he led his teams to 6 NCAA tournaments; considered one of the best coaches in Division III; recently passed away at age 65.

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Willie Galimore came out of Florida A & M, where he played running back for the legendary Jake Gaither.

NFL teams didn’t pay much attention  to black colleges back then, and the story goes that after a Chicago Bears’ assistant named Phil Handler heard about him from a jockey at Hialeah Race Track, the Bears decided to use a late-round draft choice to get him.

He played seven seasons in the NFL and although he was considered to be one of the most dangerous runners in the game,  he never gained 1,000 yards in a season and he never made All-Pro.

But his name is mentioned along with Red Grange, George McAfee, Gale Sayers and Walter Payton as the greatest of all Bear running backs.

He was only 29 when he was  killed in an automobile accident, along with teammate Bo Farrington, while trying to get back to training camp before curfew.

That was 1964. The Bears were defending NFL champions and were expected to challenge once again, but they finished a disappointing 5-9, and didn’t win another championship  until 1985.

In the long history of the Chicago Bears, only four numbers have been retired by the team.  His is one of them.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WILLIE GALLIMORE

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
DEAN BOURAZERIS - NEW HYDE PARK, NEW YORK
JIM FRANKLIN - FLORA, INDIANA

NOTABLE QUOTES:
“People forget how good Willie Galimore was.  Had he lived and stayed healthy, there’s no telling how good he could have become.”  Mike Ditka

“The Bears could have had Galimore and Sayers in the same backfield.  They would  have been unstoppable… Once Galimore got out beyond the line of scrimmage, the linebackers and secondary were helpless.  Nothing they could do.  Here he comes and there he goes.”  Bill Gleason, Chicago Tribune

*********** Greg Koenig supplied me with these Willie Galimore clips, along with the observation, “it appears that he had some ball security issues.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAiE0P7521U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUQ-33RtDWI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oPX8RO6rik

*********** #28 Willie Gallimore...whether it was a VW or not, my Dad made it his mission to NEVER allow his son to buy a VW...always warning me of that car being a "Deathtrap!"

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

Retired Jerseys for the Chicago Bears:

#3 Bronko Nagurski
#5 George McAfee
#7 George Halas
#28 Willie Galimore

Mike Framke
Green Bay, Wisconsin

***********  QUIZ - Twice a castoff, sent packing by two different losing NFL teams, he was 32 before he finally found the right place and the right coach - and wound up twice being named an All-Pro quarterback.

At UCLA, he was the last of their famous  single-wing tailbacks.  He was the classic triple threat:  in his senior year at UCLA, he passed for more than 1,000 yards, ran for more than 800 yards and eight touchdowns, and did all the Bruins’ punting.

In the NFL, he was the last single wing tailback to make the switch to quarterback (which until fairly recently meant going under center to take the snap).

He was an All-American in 1960, finishing fifth in the Heisman balloting, and in the College All-Star Game the following summer he was named MVP.

He was a first-round draft choice of the 49ers, and in his rookie year (along with John Brodie and Bobby Waters) was one of the three quarterbacks  used in rotation by coach Red Hickey in his direct-snap formation which he called the “shotgun.”

ASIDE: from Red Hickey's  obituary in the New York Times:

The 49ers, with a 4-4 record, were practicing at Georgetown University for their game against the two-time defending champion Baltimore Colts on Nov. 27, 1960, when Hickey called a meeting.

"I asked my players if any of them thought we could beat Baltimore with our regular offense, and not one hand went up," Hickey told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2001.

Hoping to cope with a Colts rush led by linemen Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti and Big Daddy Lipscomb, Hickey scrapped the T formation. He had his quarterback stand about 5 yards behind the line instead of taking the snap while under center, and he spread his backs to the sides. That alignment, drawing on the double wing and short punt formations previously used in college football, gave the offense an extra second or two to develop a play. The quarterback could run, hand off to a crisscrossing back or throw.

The 49ers upset the Colts, 30-22.

In the locker room, Hickey told reporters that his offense was simply "spread right and spread left."

But moments later, as he related it to The Chronicle in 2001, he came up with something more sprightly. "Well, I'm an old country boy, and I used to go hunting with a shotgun," he said. "How about we call it the shotgun?"

The shotgun excited the 49ers to the point where they traded quarterback Y.A. Tittle - not a very good runner - after the season, but by mid-season 1961 NFL defenses had driven the 49ers back to the “T” (under center) formation, and  our guy, who still hadn’t made the transition from single wing tailback to T-formation quarterback, was used mostly as a running back.

He missed one season after being seriously injured in an off-season automobile accident, and spent most of the rest of his time with the 49ers on the bench, until 1967 when he was put on the expansion list and taken by the brand-new New Orleans Saints.

Over four seasons he was the Saint’s starting QB much of the time,  but those Saints really sucked, and when it became apparent that the they were planning to draft sensational Ole Miss QB Archie Manning, he asked to be traded.

That’s when he was acquired by the Redskins’ George Allen, and his pro career really began.  He was 32.

Acquired to be the backup for Sonny Jurgenson, he wound up the Redskins’ starter when Jurgenson was injured in an exhibition game, and he did so well that even when Jurgenson returned, Washington fans were split into two camps, each supporting one of the two quarterbacks.

And even though he appeared to become Allen’s favorite because he was less of a gunslinger type than Jurgenson, there was no such rivalry between the two quarterbacks.  Perhaps it was because they both were known to enjoy a drink now and then.  (His preference for strong drink led his  teammates to nickname him “Whiskey.”)

In 1972 he took the Redskins to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins.

After Allen was fired following the 1977 season,  Allen’s successor, Jack Pardee, replaced him with Joe Theismann, and he ended his career that season as Theismann’s backup.

In 16 years in the NFL, he was twice named All-Pro.  In all, he completed 1585 passes for 20,495 yards and 146 interceptions.  And - the old tailback in him - he rushed for 1509 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Also - from his early days in the League, he caught 27 passes for 288 yards and a TD, and punted 16 times for 598 yards.

He is ranked among the top 70 Redskins of all time.

THINK YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS? Fame and recognition await you if you do!  Maybe money, even. Send your answer to: coachwyatt@aol.com (be sure to include your name and town)



american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 23,  2018  “This is not a business for rational people.”  Mike Leach

*********** How many of you ran into somebody on Tuesday morning who wanted to talk about that exciting NFL game the night before - the Rams’ 54-51 win over the Chiefs?

It really was a heck of a football game.  It’s been called the greatest game ever - by the sort of people who never watch college football.  If they did, they’d know that every Saturday brings a half dozen or so games every bit as good.

What made it the topic of so many conversations?

1. They scored so many points (sorry, aficionados of defensive football - the public wants to see scoring).

2. The lead changed hands several times - the public likes suspense

3. They scored a lot of touchdowns. Between them, the two teams scored 11 touchdowns, as opposed to seven field goals - the public does not buy the idea that field goals are legitimate scores.  Or very exciting.

What made it possible?

Simple.  Two good teams were playing.

Unfortunately, from the NFL’s standpoint, only a fourth of its teams - eight - are what you’d call “good”:
Bears, Chargers, Chiefs, Patriots, Rams, Saints, Steelers, Texans

When two of those teams play each other, there’s a good chance that you’ll see a good game.

You can argue that the Vikings or Redskins or Panthers belong in there, but at this point in the season I don’t think a 6-4 record qualifies a team as “good.”   I’d call them “not very good,”  and consign them to the mass of 24 other teams ranging from “not very good” to downright “bad.”

Sadly, for NFL fans, the formula is simple

Two good teams = a good game

One good team vs one not very good team = a bad game

Two not very good teams = a bad game

Unfortunately for the NFL and its fans, there are a not of “not very good” teams.


*********** Bet you didn’t know this (I didn’t):  With the hiring of Les Miles,  Kansas  becomes the only D-1 school to have both a football coach and a men’s basketball coach who have won  national titles.  Now go win yourself a couple of bets.

*********** THIS IS NOT MY REVIEW. BUT ON THE BASIS OF IT, I ORDERED THE BOOK

 Jeff Riley’s thought-provoking new book, Big Time: The People, The Places, & The Game of Oregon 8-Man Football, provides an intimate journey into the culture of a gritty, impassioned brand of high school football that is played in the small towns of Oregon that are painted into the backdrop of some of the most spectacular landscapes in America: snow-tipped peaks, fog-shrouded forests, and rocky canyons so deep, they reach into your very soul.

The high-scoring, wide-open affairs are played by 16-year-old kids who toss hay bales by day and footballs by night. They are coached by former rodeo clowns named Stub, weather-beaten cattle ranchers, and former standouts crippled by logging accidents — men who doff their caps as the autumn sun drops behind 9,000-foot peaks, look down their line of scrappy players with hands on hearts, and have a moment. “The sun sets behind those mountains on game night, and I mean, wow,” says Joseph coach Toby Koehn, whose field is dwarfed by the 9,839-foot majesty of Sacajawea Peak. “I don’t know where else anybody would want to be in the world at that moment.”

Their fans are mostly a smattering of parents, cousins, and girlfriends. They line the fields in 4×4 pickup trucks and swing their feet below lowered tailgates. They are the working class of Oregon and their sons are the working class of Oregon high school football.

Big Time takes you through the 2017 season: the triumphs of the nation’s winningest 8-man football coach, the grit of the running back who rushes for 300 yards in the state championship game with a broken bone in his foot, the redemption of the quarterback returning from a stint in a youth correctional facility, and the soul of a game that connects them all.

“I’ve heard the comments from the 11-man people, things like ‘Oh, do you guys play with a smaller ball?’ As if our game is less than 11-man,” says Jack Henderson, whose teams have won more Oregon 8-man state championships than any school in the sport’s 47-year history. “Eight-man is more of a game, if you ask me. Besides, it’s like what I tell my kids: The big time is wherever you’re at.”
(Not to take anything away from Coach Henderson, but he really ought to give credit for that line to a great coach named Frosty Westering.)

*********** There’s seconds left and a team lines up in take-a-knee formation.  The ball’s snapped and while every man on the offensive line stays passive, some clown on defense who didn’t get the memo plays as hard as ever, charging into the backfield and smacking somebody. Often, it’s the quarterback.  And somebody on the offense takes umbrage, and it's on...

How many times have we seen something like that come close to starting a brawl?

So there we were at the Colorado State-Air Force game.  CSU had just scored to pull within 17-13 with :26 left in the half.

Following the kickoff, Air Force, on their own 25, lined up in take-a-knee formation.

At the snap, as befits a team that’s saying, “That’s it. Let’s take it in,” every player on the Air Force line - all seven of them, since it’s a tight formation - casually stood up.

And rather than rush hard and cause something that might lead to an incident, the Colorado State linemen did the same: they also stand up as if to accept the offer of a truce.

Meanwhile, though, behind the screen of his linemen, the AF QB didn’t take a knee. Instead, he slipped the ball to one of the up-backs. At about the same time, the AF linemen, who had been feigning nonchalance, suddenly ran to their left, leading the runner on a sweep.   CSU, caught unawares, managed to bring the runner down, but not before he’d gained 23 yards.  Suddenly, Air Force was on the CSU 42, within striking range of the goal, with 16 seconds left.

Cool, huh?

Cool, my ass.  It was unethical and unsportsmanlike.  It took unfair  advantage of an unwritten agreement that’s intended to avoid the sort of ugliness that can lead to injuries and fights. 

Fortunately for all,  the half ended without Air Force benefitting from its cleverness, so we’re unlikely to see the play in SportsCenter, where the blabbermouths would undoubtedly praise it as “trickeration.”

As fate would have it, the game ended with Air Force taking a knee.  No, really. This time they really meant it.

This time, though, the Colorado State linemen charged.  Hard. One of them, unfortunately,   took a late shot at an Air Force player, and was ejected.

Too bad.  It should have been the Air Force coach who got the thumb.

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL - THE LAST REALLY BIG WEEKEND

Not that I would bet on games - especially rivalry games - but if I were a betting guy, I’ll show you how I’d roll…

THURSDAY - Mississippi State at Ole Miss.  (State by 12-1/2) I like them both and I rarely root, but I can usually count on a very good game.

FRIDAY -

Texas at Kansas - (Texas by 15-1/2) Jayhawks scored 40 against Oklahoma last week, and lost by 15.  What might they do now that Les Miles is their coach? Texas will win but I’ll take KU and the points.

Nebraska at Iowa - (Iowa by 9-1/2) I’ll take Nebraska and the points, but Iowa will win the game.

Houston at Memphis - (Memphis by 7) This is for the right to play UCF in the American Athletic title game.  I like Houston with the points.

Virginia at Virginia Tech - (UVa by 4-1/2) I’ll not only take VT and the points, but I think the Hokies will win anyhow.

Oregon at Oregon State - (Oregon by 18)   On the basis of talent the 18 point spread makes sense, but I’ve seen the Ducks look really soft, and I’ve seen the Beavers play really tough.   And this is called the Civil War for good reason - it’s a fierce rivalry.  I’ll take the Beavers and the points.

Oklahoma at West Virginia - (Oklahoma by 3) I’ll take the Mountaineers and the points.  As I’ve said before, I’m a trifle suspicious that dark forces may be at play here, but still -  if the Sooners can’t keep Kansas from scoring 40, how are they going to keep West Virginia under 80?

Washington at Washington State - (Wazzu by 2-1/2) There’s often snow in the Palouse at Apple Cup time, but not this year. I should know better,  knowing how UW dominates this series - Washington State’s longest winning streak is two (!) - and having had enough experience with “Cougin’ it,” but here I go,  letting myself get sucked in again… I think that WSU is better than the 2-1/2 point spread, so I’ll take them - and give the Huskies the points. 

SATURDAY

Michigan at Ohio State - (Michigan by 4) I’ll watch, just in the hope that there’s some way both of those a$$hole coaches can lose. 

Georgia Tech at Georgia - (Georgia by 17) There’s always the chance that GT can play keep away but I’d take Georgia and give the 17.

Florida at Florida State - (Gators by 6-1/2) FSU has been playing a bit better lately but I think the Gators will beat the spread.  I’d give the points.

Syracuse at Boston College - (BC by 6-1/2)  I know that Syracuse laid an egg against ND last week, and I know that BC played Clemson tough for a while, but still.  I would take Syracuse and the points.

Purdue at Indiana - (Purdue by 4) Tough call.   As if it weren’t a big instate rivalry, the two teams, both 5-6, are fighting for bowl elgibility.  It’s hard to believe that just 3 or 4 weeks ago Purdue was contending for a spot in the Big Ten title game.  I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Boilermakers to break their two game losing streak and win convincingly.  If they don’t I can see their coach leaving for Louisville, a place where it’s a whole lot easier to build a winning team.

Navy at Tulane  - (Tulane by 7).  Seven of Navy’s opponents are already bowl eligible, and Navy has gone 1-6 against them.  A loss to the Green Wave would make Tulane bowl eligible and make that record 1-7.  I see Tulane winning but the Mids covering.

NC State at North Carolina - (State by 7)  Are you serious?  That’s all?  Seven points?  Somebody must know something, because State is 7-3 and UNC is 2-8.  Yes, the Heels did break a six-game losing streak last week.  By overwhelming Western Carolina.  Whoopee-doo.  If form holds, State wins big.

Wake Forest at Duke - (Duke by 11-1/2) Wake needs the win to be bowl eligible.   Duke’s going to win but I’d take Wake and the points.

Stanford at UCLA - (Stanford by 7)  Stanford had last Saturday off after the Big Game (against Cal) was postponed; UCLA beat USC behind Joshua Kelley’s 289 yards rushing.  Take the points.  I’m calling a UCLA upset here. 

Auburn at Alabama - (Bama by 24) 24 Points?  Really?  I know Alabama is really, really good.  But this is Alabama-Auburn.  This is special, and any Alabama kid - on either roster - has dreamed about playing in this game from the time he was old enough to say “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle.”   I’ll take Auburn and the points.

Maryland at Penn State - (Penn State by 13) Maryland is 5-6 and needs the win, but I think that Maryland’s season ended last week on the Ohio State  three-yard-line when they went for two - and threw incomplete.  In the immortal words of the late Beano Cook, “Penn State will beat Maryland… because Penn State ALWAYS beats Maryland.  And I think they’ll beat them by more than 13. 

Pitt at Miami - (Miami by 4-1/2)  This has to be a mistake.  If I were a handicapper, I’d give Miami the 4-1/2 points - and still take Pitt.

Arizona State at Arizona - (ASU by 2)  The Territorial Cup game is a tossup.  I’ll take Arizona State, because I think Eno Benjamin is one of the best runners in the country.

Minnesota at Wisconsin - (Wisconsin by 11) This is Athens against Sparta.  Minnesotans call the ‘Sconnies barbarians.  Wisconsinites call Minnesotans wussies.  This is for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.  Minnesota hasn’t won since 2003 and I think the Badgers will keep the streak going.  I’ll take the Badgers and give the 11 points.

Tennessee at Vanderbilt - (Vandy by 3-1/2)  Until Tennessee gets back to where it once was, I’ll take Vandy and give the 3-1/2.

South Carolina at Clemson - (Clemson by 26) Clemson will win, but should they be 26-point favorites over a  6-4 SEC team?  I suspect so.

Kentucky at Louisville - (Kentucky by 16-1/2) This is not so well-known as many other rivalries, but it is no less heated.  In this case, Kentucky is good enough to beat Louisville by more than the 16-1/2)

Kansas State at Iowa State - (Iowa State by 13) As a K-State fan, I fear that the Cyclones will beat them badly.

Colorado at California - (Cal by 12-1/2) Colorado is a dead team walking. Cal will make it seven losses in a row, but their offense isn’t that good, so I’d take Colorado and the points.

LSU at Texas A & M - (A & M by 3)  Geaux Tigers!  Glad to take the points.

Notre Dame at USC - (ND by 11) It may be on the Coast and it may be at night,  but this is a good Notre Dame team and a poor - by USC standards - Trojan team, and as much as it hurts to do so, I’ll take ND and give the 11 points.

Oklahoma State at TCU - ( OSU by 5)  They have identical 3-5 Big 12 records, but the Cowboys have looked very tough the last couple of weeks. I’d take Oklahoma State and give the points.

BYU at Utah - (Utes by 11-1/2) Utah, headed for the Pac-12 final as the South representative,  is one of the comference’s top three teams.  BYU, while bowl eligible, is a shadow of the great teams of Lavell Edwards.  Or Bronco Mendenhall, even.   I’ll take the Utes and give the points.

Utah State at Boise State - (Boise State by 2-1/2) Winner goes to the Mountain West championship game against Fresno State.  It’s tough to pick against Boise State on that damned blue turf,  but the Aggies are really good.  They haven’t lost since their opening game, a 37-31 loss at Michigan State, and  I’ll take them and the points.

***********  Hugh,

I was right about Minnesota-Northwestern.  I was right about Notre Dame-Syracuse.  I was right about Fresno State-San Diego State.

This week:

Minnesota will fail to make it to a bowl game but P.J. Fleck will continue to row the boat.  Notre Dame will play an inspired USC team in LA, but the Irish will pull away and finish the regular season undefeated.  Fresno State will beat San Jose State, and if Utah State doesn't let the blue rug get to them the Aggies will face the Bulldogs in Logan next week for the MWC title.  

Texas will win the Big 12...because...
West Virginia will upset Oklahoma and throw the CFP into turmoil...because...
Ohio State will pull another one out of their ass and squeak by Michigan.
Alabama will get pushed by rival Auburn and will hang on for the win.
Pitt will literally run by Miami and play for the ACC championship.
Clemson will get pushed by rival South Carolina early, but the Tigers will pull away for the win and face the Pitt Panthers for the title (who'd a thunk?).
Georgia Tech's option will keep Tech in the game, but Georgia will pull out the win.

Should be a fun weekend of college football.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving holiday!!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I GAVE MY QUIZ GUY A LONG HOLIDAY - BACK ON TUESDAY


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 20,  2018 “A coach will make his players see what they can be, rather than what they are.”  Ara Parseghian

*********** Happy Thanksgiving.

As the country we were given often seems to hang by a thread, take time to be thankful to God for it, and for the people who settled it, founded it, built it and defended it.

What a damn shame that in their effort to paint America as a racist country, our schools are failing us, depriving our kids of their history, and of the joy which comes with loving one's country.

Yes, we are - to a certain extent - a nation of immigrants (or the children thereof).

It’s hard to imagine the hardships so many of them endured, on the way here, on their arrival here, and in their adjustment to their new lives, but what sustained so many of them was a deep faith in God, and they didn’t fail to thank Him for His blessings.

There are those of us who happen to believe that that's what's made us special.

It’s nice to want to come here, as so many people now do, for jobs and economic opportunity, but in the process,  God seems to have been left out of the picture.

At my college graduation, (back when Yale paid a reasonable respect to its founding as a Godly college), this most meaningful of hymns, honoring our pilgrim forebears, was sung…

O God, beneath Thy guiding hand
Our exiled fathers crossed the sea,
And when they trod the wintry strand,
With prayer and psalm they worshiped Thee.

Laws, freedom, truth, and faith in God
Came with those exiles o'er the waves,
And where their pilgrim feet have trod,
The God they trusted guards their graves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJk1mhOBzos

*********** Several years ago, my wife and I paid a visit to the church in Leyden, Holland where the original Pilgrims worshipped.  It was absolutely awe-inspring to think of them, and of the  ocean voyage that awaited them.

Since 1961, the Wall Street Journal has printed the following…

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

This editorial has appeared annually since 1961.

*********** Good morning Coach -

Hope that you and yours have a great Thanksgiving (one of the things that I am thankful for is your "News")........

All the best!!

Joe Bremer
West Seneca, New York




*********** For several years until his death, I would talk long-distance with my head coach, Ed Lawless who lived outside Philadelphia.

Whenever I could, I would get Ed talking about the post-war years when he played single-wing blocking back at Penn under the great George Munger.  Penn (not to be confused with Penn State) was very, very good back then. In Ed's senior year, 1947, only a 7-7 tie with Army (also very, very good back then) kept the Quakers from going unbeaten and untied.

In one of our conversations, he happened to mention a Penn teammate named Bob Mostertz.  Bob Mostertz, Ed said, was missing all the fingers on his left hand - he’d lost them in some industrial accident when he was a kid. ("Industrial accident?" I thought. ”Wait - when he was a kid?"  Those were, indeed different times.)

When I asked what position he played,  Ed said, "Center."

Right, I thought.  In the single wing.

Single wing centers in George Munger’s system (the same one Ed would later have us run in high school)  had to make four or five different types of snaps, both right formation and left,  depending on whether it was going to the tailback or the fullback,  and what the back’s initial step was going to be. Ed said he never saw Bob Mostertz make a bad snap, including deep snaps on punts.

Rather than make a big story about it, as ESPN would do today, there was very little mention of Bob Mostertz’ “handicap.”

Note the old Penn publicity picture - and where the photo was cropped.

Bob Mostertz

*********** Pretty bad when I have to depend on a guy from Australia to cover the NFL for me, but my son, Ed, writes…

I know you’re not a big NFL guy but here are three quick thoughts:
 
1 Frank Reich is doing a damned good job of coaching in Indianapolis
2 Mark Helfrich has the Bears’ offense doing some good things
3 The NFL continues to show little care for its players. Bears game flexed to Sunday night and then they have to play the early Thanksgiving game on Thursday

My response:
1. I like the guy.
2. I like the guy.
3. "At the NFL, player safety is always uppermost in our thinking."
 


*********** That damned The Ohio State. They barely escape against Maryland, and they fall just ONE PLACE in the rankings.

But let West Virginia get beaten in the final moments by a much better team than Maryland (Oklahoma State) and the Mountaineers drop FOUR PLACES.

*********** Speaking of the Mountaineers, it’s a good thing that our sports are on the up-and-up, just like our elections,  so that, despite all that’s at stake, we can depend on a fair outcome, free of any taint.

Otherwise, when you realize that a West Virginia win over Oklahoma  this Saturday would mean that both the Sooners and the Mountaineers would have two lossses, knocking both of  them - and the Big 12 - out of contention for a playoff spot (and all the money that means) you’d suspect that there might be an awful lot of people with an awful lot at stake who’d um, “prefer” an Oklahoma win.  Just sayin.’

Thank the Lord for honest people.

*********** Two years ago, Mike MacIntyre was Coach of the Year.  His Colorado Buffaloes were 10-4 and ranked 15th in the country after losing to Washington in the Pac-12 title game.

On Sunday, after the Buffs were blown out by Utah, their sixth straight loss, Mike MacIntyre was fired. I feel bad because I like the guy.

Too bad, Les Miles.   I think this would have been a better job for you  than Kansas, but then, Colorado isn’t that great a job either.  In my opinion, I think they’d have been much better off if they’d stayed in the Big 12.  Nebraska, too.  Also Missouri. 

*********** Army’s entire upper deck was empty because they couldn’t get the snow cleared by game time.

*********** Seeing that the score was Maryland 14, Ohio State 3 was enough for me  to move it onto the big screen.  What a great move! Actually, it was worth watching just to witness the  anguish, the suffering, of poor Urban Meyer.  When the Buckeyes  were stuffed on a 4th and one, he threw his head set.  When there was a question about a Maryland touchdown, he was on the field, on the 12 yard line.  You try that and see what happens.  What a schmuck.

meyer on field

*********** Is there no escaping it?  In both the Army-Colgate and the Yale-Harvard games, the bumper music - as they went to commercials - was rap.

*********** I saw a Citadel-Alabama halftime score that I swear read 10-10, but I didn’t bother to check it out. What was the point?

*********** When was the last time you saw a home run in baseball disallowed?  How about a three-point shot in basketball?

Have trouble remembering?

Well, I bet you don’t have to think hard to remember  the last time you saw a touchdown called back because of offensive holding. It might have been five minutes ago.

It’s a plague on our game, and there are two reasons for it: first of all, the rules change several years ago that allowed the use of hands to block,  and the reduction of the penalty for holding from 15 to 10 yards. 

Actually, there’s a third reason: lazy coaching.

Undeterred by a mere 10-yard penalty in exchange for the right to hold, and  the tremendous advantage that goes with it, coaches shamelessly teach their players to hold.  At the very least, they don’t discourage it, much less coach against it.

Bring back the 15-yard holding call.  And enforce it.  Make the coaches earn their millions.

*********** Colgate did a nice job against Army’s offense.  They had a 6-2, 205 pound safety named Alec Wisniewski who is a real hitter, and interestingly enough, he was a teammate, at Maine-Endwell High, in Endwell, New York, of Army’s 5-9, 225 pound fullback, Darnell Woolfolk.    On Saturday, Wisniewski was all over the field making tackles, and Woolfok scored three touchdowns in Army’s 28-14 win.

With two players like those two, it’s no wonder that Maine-Endwell won three state championships while they were there.

Woolfolk and Wisniewski

*********** Well, duh.  Small print on an ad: “Drinking plenty of fluids may reduce your chance of dehydration.”

*********** Did Notre Dame really have to go along with the clown show and wear those goony-ass pin stripe pants?

*********** It was the 50th anniversary of the famed “Harvard Defeats Yale, 29-29” game, but this time Harvard left no doubt.

In a game played in Fenway Park, Harvard outscored Yale 17-3 in the fourth quarter and won going away, 45-27.

*********** Oh, dear.  A Harvard runner had a touchdown called back because of an “inappropriate hand gesture.”  He couldn’t wait until he scored to seem to give the nearest Yale defender the finger.  Oh, no.  He had to do it before he scored and since the penalty for that  is enforced from the spot of the foul, Einstein lost his touchdown.

*********** Few people know more about the passing game than Duke’s David Cutcliffe, who ever since their days together at Tennessee was Peyton Manning’s personal QB coach, and was Eli’s head coach at Ole Miss.

But sometimes, even a man as learned in the passing game as Coach Cut can find a use  for a double tight, full house formation.

In this case, it was so the backs could give the  QB an extra push on his sneak. (He/they made the yardage.)

Duke Full House

*********** I’m glad that Kansas finally decided to hire Les Miles. I was getting a bit weary reading that Kansas, a school that desperately needed a coach, was “moving toward hiring” a guy who’s well qualified and looking for work.

*********** Whoever coaches the Maryland secondary either isn’t a very good coach or  doesn’t have much to work with.  Nothing against Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins, but it appeared that any time he needed a long completion all he had to do was throw the ball upfield.

*********** There it was again - another insane decision by a coach to go for a two-point conversion, rather than go on in  overtime.  Maryland interim head coach Matt Canada coached his ass off and watched his kids play their asses off, but when it came down to crunch time, he as good as admitted that he didn’t have faith in his players to win in overtime.

“I wasn’t trying to be aggressive,” he said afterwards.  “I was just trying to win.”

Um, coach - how can you preach to your kids about fighting to the end, never giving in, blah, blah, blah -  then pretty much admit that you don't think they have enough fight left in them to win?

Do you suppose there’s a coaches’ union that we don't know about  that’s insisting its members be paid time-and-a-half or they won't work overtime?

No matter.  Stupid decision.  But I do think that Canada has earned the right to coach that team.

*********** Lane Kiffin has shown that he can put a good team on the field.  But he won’t be able to skip out on Florida Atlantic this year, not when they’re not even bowl elgible yet.

He’d be much easier to sell to fans if he were just a little bit humble.  You don’t suppose this year’s record  is teaching him that, do you?  Naaa.

*********** Lee Corso said that Bill Snyder has earned the right to stay at Kansas State as long as he wants to.

Agreed. But the real question all along has been: has he earned the right to designate his successor?

*********** Couldn’t listen to FSU-BC because Beth was doing the play-by-play.

*********** Chip Kelly has shown that he’s not all flash and dash.  He can line up and run at you, too, and that’s what he did as UCLA’s Joshua Kelley (with the extra “e”) gained 289 yards on 40 carries and the Bruins beat USC.   Said Kelly (without the extra “e”) afterwards, “I wish he’d carried it 100 times.”

*********** I still think that on any hook slide they should deduct 5 yards from the starting point of the slide.

*********** Purdue blew one in OT to Wisconsin, making it 13 straight losses to the Badgers.

*********** A Michigan kid got hurt on a kickoff and had to be carted off.  It was a questionable, but not clearly illegal,  hit - the injured player was leading interference and an Indiana defender took him on aggressively.

Well.  Cue the analyst, Joel Klatt, to get up on his soap box and pontificate.  The entire time the medics administered to the injured player.  To save you having to listen to everything he said: “They ought to just outlaw the kickoff.”

*********** I like Vandy and I like Ole Miss, but I have to go with Vandy because of grandkids who went there (and one who's still there). I was happy when Vandy won in OT, but I have to admit I don’t understand at all why an Ole Miss touchdown catch was disallowed.  Vandy and Ole Miss are now both 5-6, with Vandy needing to beat Tennessee next week and Ole Miss needing to beat Mississippi State.The latter seems like a tall order, but it is the Egg Bowl.

*********** UCF belongs in the Top 10.   That’s as far as I’ll go.

*********** After a whole day of waiting, Wazzu came on. 

Poor Arizona.  It was 55-14 at halftime.  WSU had 407 yards of total offense.

What do you say when they interview you at halftime and you’re winning like that?

If you’re Mike Leach?  “So far, so good.”

*********** If you want to recruit receivers… tell them you’ll throw them the ball.  And then do it.  In every game so far, Washington State has had at least nine guys catch at least one pass.

*********** Last week, before the Yale-Princeton game, several hundred former Yale football players and coaches and their families gathered outside the Yale Bowl in a large indoor track facility known as the Coxe Cage to pay tribute to the greatest football coach in Yale history, the late Carmen Cozza, who passed away this past January.

I didn’t have the privilege of playing for Coach Cozza, but my friend Lou Orlando  did.  He played center for Coach Cozza, and I often tell him that if I had played for him, my love for the man would have been more than enough to make me still love Yale, despite the disgust I feel at its left-wing turn.

I met Coach Cozza just twice.  The first time was back in the days when alumni could help recruit, and after working fairly closely with Seb LaSpina, the Yale assistant coach who worked the Maryland area,  I accompanied a recruit and his dad on their official visit to New Haven.  We had lunch with Coach Cozza, and I was very impressed - awed, almost - by his total professionalism.  This, I sensed, was exactly the sort of coach I would have loved to play for.

(The recruit didn’t go to Yale.  He wound up going to Harvard.  Nonetheless, there came the time, a few years later, when I, then coaching a minor league team, applied for a head coaching job at a small college, and I asked Coach Cozza if he could write me a letter of recommendation.  He not only could, he did - and what a letter he wrote.  I still have a copy.  I didn’t get the job, but I got an interview, and only, I’m sure, because of Coach Cozza.)

Lou Orlando was kind enough to send me this link to the video of the tribute to Coach Cozza.

http://www.yalebulldogs.com/sports/m-footbl/2018-19/videos/20181113-b8wgte8g

You may not want to take the time to go through the entire video - it goes on for an hour and a half, with numerous former players coming forward to pay tribute to their coach.

One player’s tribute - the one that had the greatest impact on me - comes at :30 on the video, and it’s worth watching.  It was the one delivered by perhaps the greatest player he coached, Calvin Hill, who went on from Yale to a great NFL career with the Cowboys, and whose son, Grant, went on to even greater fame than his father as a basketball player.  Calvin Hill tells of his first meeting with Coach Cozza.  The coach  handed him a book entitled, “The Yale Football Story,” and inscribed it, saying, “I hope you will come here and help us write a new chapter.”

Calvin Hill  noted that no one on any Ivy team is on an athletic scholarship - that he could have dropped out of football and still received the same amount of financial aid -  which meant that everyone was playing because they loved the game of football.

And he reflected on why, when Yale and the rest of the Ivies opted to move down to Division I-AA (now euphemistically called “FCS”), most of the players felt that Coach Cozza, despite opportunities to go to bigger programs, wouldn’t leave Yale: “He enjoyed coaching a program that operated in a manner that was consistent with the academic purpose of the university.”

He lauded Coach Cozza for his values: integrity, fair play, and respect for teammates, rules and opponents.

Calvin Hill was followed by Jack Ford, well-known TV personality and former Yale monster back, who not surprisingly delivers a very professional tribute to Coach Cozza.  He told of having a knee replacement, at age 60 - and learning from one of his nurses that “someone who says he was your coach at Yale” had called to see how he was doing.

And at 43:14 Jack Ford introduced a photo album spanning Coach Cozza’s years before, during and after Yale.  It ends with the playing of the alma mater, “Bright College Years,” which, I’m not ashamed to admit, always brings tears to my eyes.

At 55:30, Brian Dowling talked about coming to Yale as a highly-recruited kid from Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High.  He mentioned that early in his sophomore season, his dad died.  And who showed up at the funeral, in Cleveland, in the middle of football season, but coach Cozza.  (For what it’s worth, Brian Dowling was the “B.D” who played quarterback in  fellow Yalie Gary Trudeau’s “Doonesbury.”)

Following Dowling at 1:04.40 was Steve Skrovan, who went on to become a standup comedian, then a comedy writer best known as a co-writer for “Everybody Loves Raymond.”  He was just a bit crude, but he was funny nonetheless.  And, he asked, “how lucky are we,” at a time when there are few coaches in any sport who aren’t touched with some kind of scandal, “to have played for a man like Carm Cozza?”

At 1:10.10 Gary Fencik came on.  He was defensive captain of the Chicago Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl team, and he was as hard a hitter as there was on a team notorious for its hard hitting. In contrast to so many of the semi-literate mumblers on today’s NFL rosters,  it made me proud to see how well-spoken he was.

*********** Coach, Needless to say Purdue fans are quite nervous about Jeff Brohm. Here's some food for thought. If my numbers are correct, Lou-a-vul (the proper pronunciation of the largest city in Kentucky) owes Bobby Petrino $14.3M for a buyout. Surely that will be negotiated downwards, but Petrino will be paid a LOT of money to "just go away." Brohm's buyout is currently at $4.4M and will go down to $3.3M after December 5, 2018. Remember also that Louisville told its Number One booster John "Papa John" Schnatter to go away as well. Then UofL has to negotiate a contract with Brohm to coach the team.  They are also dealing with the fallout from Rick Patino.  Louisville was built with tobacco money. Now you can't smoke on campus. I truly wonder where all of this money will come from.  And, by the way, Jeff Brohm likes it here. A lot. Purdue is a perfect fit for him. That all said, he's probably gone, unless he can talk his younger brother Brian to take the team.

I met Bill Bergey at the old Downtown Cincinnati Shillito's Department Store. He was signing books. Bill was very friendly to a skinny high school kid who did not buy a book from him. When Paul Brown traded Bergey to the Iggles and he made All-Pro, my dad said, "Bergey was All -Pro here, but now he plays for an East Coast team." I saw him absolutely destroy the rookie Terry Bradshaw, knocking him out of the game.  Great player, maybe the best linebacker to ever play for the Bengals.

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Bill Bergey grew up in far Western New York,  in the small town of South Dayton (2010 population: 620).  He had to go across the state to persuade a college coach from a school halfway across the country to give him a chance.  By the time he was 33, he was the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

A football and basketball star at little Pine Valley Central High School, he seemed to be on his way to earning all-star honors as a fullback and linebacker when he took ill and missed most of his senior season.

Going to New York to a coaches’ convention, he managed to persuade a college coach who’d never seen him play to give him a scholarship.

The coach was Bennie Ellender and the college was Arkansas State.  As a freshman he played fullback and nose guard, but  at the start of his sophomore year he was switched to middle linebacker.  For the next three seasons, he led the team in tackling, and in 1968 he was named first team AP All-American (college division).  And he was named by vote of fans the greatest player in Arkansas State history.

He was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals, up to then the highest pick ever to come out of Arkansas State. He quickly earned the starting spot at middle linebacker and wound up being named Sporting News Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He soon became recognized as one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL, and with the announcement of the startup of the World Football League, he was offered money by the Florida Blazers to sign a “future” contract with them,  meaning that he would play for them as soon as he had played out  his contract - plus the so-called “option year” - with the Bengals.

Cincinnati owner-coach Paul Brown,  not one to put up with that sort of business, traded him to the Eagles for two first-round draft choices and a second-round pick.

When the Florida Blazers - and then the WFL itself - folded, he kept their money, and remained with the Eagles for the rest of his career.

In all, he played 12 seasons in the NFL - five with the Bengals and seven with the Eagles.

For five straight seasons in Philadelphia, from 1974 through 1978, he was either first- or second-team All-Pro.

He was named to the Pro Bowl five times and he was three times named the Eagles’ Most Valuable Player by his  teammates. 

When he signed a four-year contract for a (total) of $1 million, he became the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

Bill Bergey was a major factor in the Eagles’ making the playoffs in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and he retired following the 1980 season and the Eagles’ Super Bowl loss to the Raiders.  At the time, his 27 career interceptions were the most of any active linebacker. And he held the team single-season team record of 233 tackles.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL BERGEY
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JIM FRANKLIN - FLORA, INDIANA
JOE BREMER -  WEST SENECA, NEW YORK
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA


*********** Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana, noted that Bennie Ellender, who took a chance on Bill Bergey without seeing him play, was a Louisiana guy.  True dat, and his next job after Arkansas State was at Tulane.

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9yXTQkPZzw

*********** QUIZ - He came out of Florida A & M, where he played running back for the legendary Jake Gaither.

NFL teams didn’t pay much attention  to black colleges back then, and the story goes that after a Chicago Bears’ assistant named Phil Handler heard about him from a jockey at Hialeah Race Track, the Bears decided to use a late-round draft choice to get him.

He played seven seasons in the NFL and although he was considered to be one of the most dangerous runners in the game,  he never gained 1,000 yards in a season and he never made All-Pro.

But his name is mentioned along with Red Grange, George McAfee, Gale Sayers and Walter Payton as the greatest of all Bear running backs.

He was only 29 when he was  killed in an automobile accident, along with teammate Bo Farrington, while trying to get back to training camp before curfew.

That was 1964. The Bears were defending NFL champions and were expected to challenge once again, but they finished a disappointing 5-9, and didn’t win another championship  until 1985.

In the long history of the Chicago Bears, only four numbers have been retired by the team.  His is one of them.

THINK YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS? Fame and recognition await you if you do!  Maybe money, even. Send your answer to: coachwyatt@aol.com (be sure to include your name and town)


american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 16,  2018 -  "Chance favors the prepared mind."  Louis Pasteur

***********  COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES I WON’T BOTHER WATCHING UNLESS THE CRAWLER INDICATES AN UPSET…

*** It’s fitting that the week following Armistice Day, the SEC would lay down its arms - to do the next closest thing to ending conflict by scheduling opponents who can't give them a fight.

The Citadel at Alabama
Idaho at Florida
MIddle Tennessee at Kentucky
UMass at Georgia
Liberty at Auburn
Rice at LSU (42-1/2)
Chattanooga at South Carolina

*** In the Big Ten, they don’t even have to go out of conference to schedule softies

Ohio State at Maryland
Penn State at Rutgers

*** Remember when these were BIG games?

Miami at Virginia Tech
USC at UCLA

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES I’LL DEFINITELY WATCH (TO SOME DEGREE)

*** Colgate at Army.  Army is looking to go undefeated at home for the second straight season
. This, to me, is a scary game.  The Raiders - no, not the “Red” Raiders - are good.    They’re 9-0, and ranked number six in the FCS standings. After defeating Holy Cross 33-17 in their opener, in the eight game since they’ve given up only one touchdown and two field goals - a total of only 12 points - and they’ve shut out five of their opponents. They’ve outscored opponents in the first half of games, 190-9.  Their defense has allowed only 1.87 yards per rush, lowest in all of FBS or FCS. On the other hand, they haven’t seen a triple option offense, and certainly not one like Army’s, which averages 307.2 yards per game, and 4.57 yards per rush.

*** Northwestern at Minnesota.  The Wildcats are favored by 1.  They’re barely bowl eligible but they’ve locked up their spot in the conference title game: their six wins have all been conference wins.  To become bowl-eligible, Minnesota (5-5) needs to win this one, or to win next week against Wisconsin.  Neither will be easy.

*** South Florida at Temple.  Go Owls.

*** Michigan State at Nebraska. The Spartans are a 1-1/2 point favorite.  I like them, but if they play the dumbsh— way they played last week against Ohio State, the Huskers are good enough to beat them.

*** Pitt at Wake Forest. Panthers are favored by 7.  I like Pitt but Wake is family, so go Deacs - but I don’t expect a repeat of last week’s upset of NC State.

*** NC State at Louisville. Pack is favored by only 17.  Maybe Louisville will play harder now that Petrino is gone, but it’s only been a week and they didn’t suddenly get discipline in that time, so I look for a blowout.  Go Pack.

*** Syracuse at Notre Dame (actually, in Yankee Stadium, a horrible place to play - and watch - a football game).  The Irish are 10 point favorites.   My heart is with the Orange, but I’m afraid that ND will win big.  The weather may be freezing, and the field may be sloppy, and it doesn’t seem to make sense to bet against a team that comes from Syracuse, one of America’s wintriest places, but the Orange has played six of its games indoors (and won them all).

*** West Virginia at Oklahoma State.  West Virginia is a 5-point favorite, but OSU is really tough. The Cowboys blew their chance to beat OU last week - in Norman! - when coach Mullet decided to say “Aaaa, the hell with it!” and went for two at the end of regulation.

*** Boston College at Florida State. The Eagles are only favored by 1-1/2.  After the way they played Clemson, can that be possible? 

*** Wisconsin at Purdue.  This is for the #2 spot in the Big Ten West.  The Boilermakers got hammered last week, but amazingly, they’re 4-1/2 point favorites.  It’s been a disappointing year for the Badgers, but they’re still plenty tough. Is Jeff Brohm headed to Lousville?

*** Virginia at Georgia Tech.  Tech by 6?  That's all?  I think they’ll kill the Cavs.

*** Utah at Colorado.  Utah is possibly the best team in the Pac-12 South.  Colorado is struggling.  I like their coach, Mike MacIntyre, and I like their QB, Steven Montez, and I’d like to see them right the ship.

*** Oregon State at Washington.  Huskies are 33-point favorites.  I’ll only be watching as my preparation for next week’s Oregon-Oregon State and Washington-Washington State games.

*** Duke at Clemson.  Clemson’s favored by 28.  Yikes.  I’m hopeful, but I’m not expecting much. Clemson isn’t going to stumble at this point.

*** UAB at Texas A & M.  Aggies are 17-point favorites, but UAB is 9-1, and I'd love to see them hand it to Jimbo.

*** Stanford at Cal.  Stanford is a 2-point favorite. They still call it the Big Game, as they have for more than 100 years, and they play for The Axe (quite a few stories about that trophy).  Stanford has now won eight straight, but after a horrendous start, Cal has become one of the real up-and-coming teams in the Pac-12.  Justin Wilcox inherited a pass-only team (Jared Goff was the QB)  that scarcely bothered to play defense and turned it into possibly the most hard-nosed team in the conference.

*** Cincinnati at UCF.  This is BIG.  UCF has made noise all season about playoff-worthiness, but they still have to beat Cincinnati to finish first in the AAC East.  And if they don’t?  We’re talking three-way tie: UCF, Cincinnati and Temple (Cinci’s only loss). I have no idea how that would be resolved.

*** Iowa State at Texas.  Of course I’m pulling for the Cyclones.  Can they beat the Longhorns?  Can Matt Campbell really be that good a coach? Can Iowa State keep him?

*** Arizona at Washington State.  Wazzu is favored by 10. Scary, but at least the game’s in The Palouse.  Kevin Sumlin has got Arizona on track,  with an outside shot at the Pac-12 South spot in the conference championship.

*** Arizona State at Oregon.  The Sun Devils have the inside track to the Pac-12 title game. All they have to do is beat the Ducks and then, next week, Arizona.  Oregon is rapidly becoming a shadow of its former self. The Ducks are 3-1/2 point favorites, but I like ASU’s chances.

*** San Diego State at Fresno State. Fresno State is favored by 12-1/2.  I think the Bulldogs will cover.


*********** Needless to say, there are still a few college games left that can upset the Playoff apple cart - Syracuse-Notre Dame, USC-Notre Dame, Michigan-Ohio State, Oklahoma-West Virginia (twice!), Georgia-Alabama for example - and one that could upset the Apple Cup - Washington-Washington State - but taking all that into account, Stewart Mandel went ahead anyhow and put together these very interesting bowl projections for The Athletic…

https://theathletic.com/650368/2018/11/13/college-football-bowl-projections/

New Year’s Six bowls

Dec. 29 | Cotton | Arlington, Texas
Alabama (CFP No. 1) vs. Michigan (CFP No. 4)
Dec. 29 | Orange | Miami
Clemson (CFP No. 2) vs. Notre Dame (CFP No. 3)
Dec. 29 | Peach | Atlanta
West Virginia  (at-large) vs. Penn State (at-large)
Jan. 1 | Fiesta | Glendale, Ariz.
LSU (at-large) vs. UCF (at-large)
Jan. 1 | Rose | Pasadena, Calif.
Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. Washington State (Pac-12)
Jan. 1 | Sugar | New Orleans
Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Georgia (SEC)

Remaining bowls

Dec. 15 | New Mexico | Albuquerque
Boise State (MWC) vs. North Texas (C-USA)
Dec. 15 | Cure | Orlando
Tulane (American) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
Dec. 15 | Las Vegas | Las Vegas
Utah State (MWC) vs. Arizona State  (Pac-12 No. 6)
Dec. 15 | Camellia | Montgomery, Ala.
Appalachian State (Sun Belt) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC)
Dec. 15 | New Orleans | New Orleans
Troy (Sun Belt) vs. UAB (C-USA)
Dec. 18 | Boca Raton | Boca Raton
Memphis (American) vs. Florida International (C-USA/MAC)
Dec. 19 | Frisco | Frisco, Texas
SMU (American) vs. Ohio (MAC/at-large)
Dec. 20 | Gasparilla | Tampa
South Florida (American) vs. Florida Atlantic (ACC/C-USA)
Dec. 21 | Bahamas | Nassau
Toledo (MAC) vs. Marshall (C-USA)
Dec. 21 | Idaho Potato | Boise
Fresno State (MWC) vs. Eastern Michigan (MAC)
Dec. 22 | Birmingham | Birmingham, Ala.
Cincinnati (American) vs. Tennessee (SEC No. 9)
Dec. 22 | Armed Forces | Fort Worth, Texas
Cal* (Big 12 No. 7) vs. Houston (American)
Dec. 22 | Dollar General | Mobile, Ala.
Buffalo (MAC) vs. Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)
Dec. 22 | Hawaii | Honolulu
Louisiana Tech (C-USA) vs. Hawaii (MWC)
Dec. 26 | First Responder | Dallas
BYU* (B1G Nos. 8-9) vs. Middle Tennessee (ACC/C-USA)
Dec. 26 | Quick Lane | Detroit
Western Michigan* (B1G Nos. 8-9) vs. Miami (ACC No. 9)
Dec. 26 | Cheez-It | Phoenix
Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 6) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 No. 7)
Dec. 27 | Independence | Shreveport, La.
Georgia Tech (ACC No. 8) vs. Army* (SEC No. 10)
Dec. 27 | Pinstripe | New York
Virginia (ACC Nos. 4-6) vs. Purdue (B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 27 | Texas | Houston
Texas A&M (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 4)
Dec. 28 | Music City | Nashville
Mississippi State (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Boston College (ACC/B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 28 | Camping World | Orlando
Syracuse (ACC No. 2) vs. Iowa State (Big 12 No. 3)
Dec. 28 | Arizona | Tucson
San Diego State (MWC) vs. Louisiana Monroe (Sun Belt)
Dec. 28 | Alamo | San Antonio
Texas (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Washington (Pac-12 No. 2)
Dec. 29 | Belk | Charlotte
Auburn (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. N.C. State (ACC Nos. 4-6)
Dec. 31 | Military | Annapolis, Md.
Duke (ACC No. 7) vs. Temple (American)
Dec. 31 | Sun | El Paso, Texas
Pittsburgh (ACC Nos. 4-6) vs. USC (Pac-12 No. 5)
Dec. 31 | Redbox | Santa Clara, Calif.
Oregon (Pac-12 No. 4) vs. Maryland (B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 31 | Liberty | Memphis
Missouri (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Baylor (Big 12 No. 5)
Dec. 31 | Holiday | San Diego
Utah (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Iowa (B1G Nos. 3-4)
Dec. 31 | Gator | Jacksonville
South Carolina (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Wisconsin (ACC/B1G Nos. 5-7)
Jan. 1 | Outback | Tampa
Michigan State (B1G Nos. 3-4) vs. Kentucky (SEC Nos. 3-8)
Jan. 1 | Citrus | Orlando
Florida (SEC No. 2) vs. Northwestern (B1G No. 2)


Two quick takeaways…

1. Unlike other years (2015 and 2016) when they needed teams, and they had to resort to comparing graduation rates in order to bestow bowl-eligibility on teams with fewer than the required six wins, this year it appears that there will be more eligible teams than there are bowl slots.

2. If I’m Jeff Monken of Army or Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech, I’ll be damned if I want to have to face my own offense, and I’d make sure my AD knew that.  However, If the Independence Bowl really does go ahead and match Army and Georgia Tech,  two teams that between them might not attempt a dozen passes, that sucker will be over in two-and-a-half hours. You’ll be able to fly in that day, watch the game, and catch the last flight out of Shreveport that night .

*********** Is that MAC unpredictable, or what?  Buffalo brought a 9-1 record into Wednesday night’s game at Ohio (6-4), and was never in the game, going back home on the sore end of a 52-17 ass kicking. 

*********** I’m no Urban Meyer fan, as you may have discerned from reading some of my stuff, but the latest charge of racism against him - actually, against disgraced former Meyer assistant Zack Smith - sure sounds as if it’s baseless, leading to a reasonable suspicion that some of the other stuff written about Smith, Meyer and Ohio State might also be trumped up.  Next:  Julie Swetnick claims she was gang raped in the Ohio State locker room.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2805899-urban-meyer-says-ohio-state-considering-legal-action-over-trevon-grimes-report

*********** Hi Coach - Quick question. High school and/or NCAA rules.  If you slip an extra tackle in at TE (like single wing teams often do) can he remain uncovered as long as he doesn’t go downfield on a pass? Does he have to report eligible?

(Two questions, actually):

Yes to Question Number One. The rules only specify that five players on the line must have ineligible numbers. It doesn’t say where on the line they have to line up. But of the players on the line, only the ones on the two ends are eligible - and then only if they wear eligible numbers.

No to Question Number Two. There is no need for any lineman to “report” as eligible or ineligible because without an eligible number no player can ever be eligible, reporting or not. Similarly a back who wears an ineligible number can play in the backfield - he can fake, block, carry the ball - but he can never be eligible for a forward pass. (I can’t believe that the pros have never junked that stupid, anachronistic tackle-eligible crap that dates back to before 1952 when a quarterback - Otto Graham, specifically - could wear number 60.)


*********** You don’t suppose, do you, that the pros might have suddenly discovered what we practicioners of a “Pop Warner Offense” have long known - that tight splits have their uses?  Oh - and it appears that somebody told them that getting the linemen back off the ball improves their chances of forming a wedge.

eagles splits

Sunday night. Eagles vs. Cowboys. Fourth and short. Yes, they wedged - and got the needed yardage.

Yes, yes, I know - the Eagles’ formation is illegal. They don’t have seven men on the line.    Here, as deep as #61 is (he’s deeper than the QB, which puts him clearly in the backfield),  there’s no way the Eagles can have seven men on the line, as required by the rules.  (There are 10 men on the screen, so even if the split end, who’s out of the picture, is on the line, that still only makes six.)

How's this for  officiating inconsistency: while  the slightest twitch by an offensive lineman is sure to get his team a false start penalty,  the rule stating quite clearly  that the offense must have seven men on the line of scrimmage is routinely ignored. 

49ers splits

Monday night.  49ers vs. Giants.  Fourth and short. Yes, they wedged - and got the needed yardage.

Here’s why the wedge would always work in the NFL:  Yes, you can persuade your youth, or middle school, or high school defensive linemen to take one for the team - try to defeat the wedge by submarining.  But I defy anybody to try to get NFL players to risk their careers by diving into a pile of legs.

*********** I realize that TV is turning college basketball into a pain the ass right now, intruding on what should be the most exciting time of college football with its meaningless scores and meaningless games at the very beginning of a meaningless regular season.

But before it’s all over and the basketball season and the Final Four have come and gone, and this year’s one-and-done phenoms are off to NBA anonymity…

You have got to see this kid Zion Williamson, from Duke.

Actually, he’s not really from Duke.  They’re just borrowing him for the season.

He’s actually from Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he went to a small private high school, and this time next year he’ll be playing for whoever wins the NBA draft lottery - there’s that little doubt about his being the number one draft choice.

He is that good.  And he is a physical freak.

The kid is 6-7 and 285 pounds.  That’s 285.  No, he’s not a football player, although an LSU assistant said he offered the kid a scholarship recalling, "I thought, hell, why not, he's probably the best damn tight end to ever live.”

Even by basketball standards, he is  unusually  big and strong, but somehow, he can jump with the best of them - he has registered a vertical leap of 45 inches. Think about that a minute.

Want more?

Naturally, he can dunk it.  But -  he can take off from the free throw line and dunk it.

*********** After my comments about Bobby Petrino’s getting his comeuppance for running up scores, I came across this, in Paul Dietzel’s memoirs, “Call Me Coach.”

He told how, early in his career at West Point, Army had had three starters injured against Notre Dame, with a powerful Pitt team coming in to West Point.

The next week we played Pittsburgh, which was ranked number three in the nation. The game was played at West Point.  I realized that the Pitt game would be followed by Navy.  There was no way that I was going to let those three players get re-injured and then be unable to play against Navy.  So I held them out and Pitt proceeded as they normally did to steamroll us. Five or six of Pitt’s players including Paul Martha got into the pros the next year.  Their coach was John Michelosen.  They just lined up and ran right over us.  To give you some idea,  at the end of the first quarter they were ahead 28-0. The score was the same when the game ended,  28-0. Pitt could have scored 100 points,  but after the first quarter they backed off.

After the game I walked across the field to Coach Michelosen and said, “Johnny, you know you could've beaten us by a hundred points.  I'll tell you,  I really appreciate your not humiliating us.”

He said,  “Paul, if you coach long enough, sooner or later you're going to be on the other side of the field.  I've been on that side of the field,  too.  It doesn't do you a bit of good to pour it on after you’ve already won the game.”

I said,  “Johnny, I don't know how long I'm going to coach, but I'll tell you one thing: I will never forget this. It was very generous.”

I appreciated it very much.  Johnny Michelisen was a first-class coach, and a very fine guy.

*********** Do you, like me, see that large print on TV that asks, “DIRTY CPAP MAKING YOU SICK?” and say, “Well, yeah,” thinking that you read “DIRTY CRAP?”

*********** In the past month, I’ve observed, dumbfounded,  four instances in which a college coach, faced with sending a game into overtime (or into another overtime period) by kicking an extra point has chosen instead to do or die - to go for two points. 

Only one of those four teams was successful.

The other three teams passed up relatively sure chances to extend their game - and their chances of winning - and went home losers.

To be blunt, I don’t understand their thinking - if that’s what you want to call it. 

Ask yourself: during the course of the game, faced with a fourth-and-three anywhere else on the field, was there even one of those coaches who would have gone for it?

Naaa.  Of course not.  Didn’t the “analytics” say “no?”     After all, what were the chances that they’d make a fourth-and-three?

In their own territory?  Why, conventional wisdom says to punt.  “Don’t give your opponents a short field.”

Near the opponents’ goal?  Why, everyone knows you kick a field goal.  “Don’t come away without points,” goes the cliche.

Then how is it that, with the game - and the team’s entire week of work - on the line, those three yards suddenly become more makeable? 

Here, thanks to knucklehead coaching decisions, are the three losers:

Western Michigan - lost to Ball State, 42-41 (2nd OT)

Oklahoma State - lost to Oklahoma, 48-47

Miami (Ohio) - lost Army, 31-30 (2nd OT)

No doubt reflecting the  “conventional wisdom” that says you’re supposed to go for two when you’re on the road,  all three teams were road teams. 

Some “wisdom.”  With one roll of the dice, they pissed away great efforts by their players and their staffs - efforts that it’s reasonable to believe would have carried over into the next overtime period.

Here, of the four game-end gamblers that I observed, was the lone winner:

West Virginia - beat Texas, 42-41

(WVU actually had to do it twice.  The first time, unbeknownst to them, Texas had called a phantom time out; the second time was the charm.)

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

Beautiful picture of Mt. Hood.  My wife and I are looking forward to taking a trip to the Oregon/Washington coast this summer to soak up some of that scenery.

With Fresno's loss to Boise it appears they need to beat SDSU to "escape" the "reward" of going back to Boise for a bowl game.  Instead, if they beat SDSU it is likely their reward will be a trip to Arizona instead.  I'm sure they will be playing their arses off.

Notre Dame and Syracuse will be playing in the ugly uniform game of the day on Saturday in an iconic baseball stadium.  If you can get by the uniforms it should be a good game to watch...on TV.

Can the Golden Gophers do it again??  Not likely.  Unless Northwestern is still hungover from last week.

Would the "Mad Hatter" Les Miles be a fit at Kansas??

Love the picture of LSU's "Chinese Bandits".  Not only the name, but do you think that pic would fly these days??

Chances are if you mentioned Burke's comment to the geniuses today they would likely ask..."Who?"

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** My friend Greg Koenig and I are Kansas State fans, and at the moment we’re agonizing over the impending end of the Bill Snyder era.

Greg said he heard this on talk radio:

“We used to say KState’s recruiting is in neutral; now it’s in park.”

“The players we talk to are literally not hearing anything back from KSU recruiters. It’s like they’ve gone into bunker mode. Other teams are texting and calling constantly, with 6 weeks to go before signing day.”

The worst thing about this is that it takes only one year of bad recruiting, one bad hire, to blow what it took years to build.

And then it takes years to build it back again.

I cite Nebraska as one example.  Tennessee as another. Washington as a third.  Texas as a fourth.  UCLA as a fifth.  Maybe even USC.

Oregon could be headed in that direction.

And these are all schools with more going for them - money, markets, fan base, national name recognition -  than K-State.


*********** By John Henry in Press Box DFW…

Whoever gave the thumbs up to Shakira concerts on back-to-back October dates at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca and another last week for what sounds like a music festival hosted by Telehit, or some such, obviously didn’t talk to Jerry Jones first.

Jerry could do Paul McCartney on Thursday, George Strait on Friday and reincarnate the Texxas Jam in his own image on Saturday, and the Cowboys would still be ready to kick off at noon on Sunday.

To Jerry, that sounds like a dare.

Instead, the Rams and Chiefs are moving to Los Angeles. Nothing in Mexico has been this messed up since trying to install an Austrian archduke as emperor.

It was quite the dropped pass.

According to the NFL, the game between the Raiders and Texans in Mexico generated $45-million impact on the local economy. In other words, to me, it was money likely stolen by the government and/or cartels.

It’s a good thing that 2026 World Cup bid has come through.

*********** A “WAR STORY” passed along by a West Point classmate of the late Ed Bagdonas, former Army football player who competed as a hammer thrower in the 1960 Olympics…

Long ago when we were learning the trade, war stories – with and without wars – went a long way towards making the intolerable tolerable.
 
One of my favorites took place at the Ranger Training Camp at Fort Benning. Rangers wore fatigues sans insignia of any kind that made equals of all ranks. The Ranger Cadre wore all their badges and stripes with bulging biceps to impress their charges. Deeds alone spoke for the untermenschen, Ranger trainees subjected to endless physical training, harassment and degrading barbs meant to drive out the faint-hearted..
 
One afternoon found us seated in stands before a steep rock face. The subject was Use of the Grappling Hook. The Ranger instructor regaled us on its importance, demonstrating its use slowly swinging the hook in a circular motion about the forearm and  wrist before releasing the hook in a heave that took it well up the rock face. The instructor then seated it with a tug permitting him to climb the rock face.
 
The instructors dared the Ranger trainees to attempt the feat, which was impressive. After no small amount of abuse directed at the miserable state of trainees in general, the instructor bragged that the feat was beyond our strength. He paused for effect and called for a volunteer from the ranks of the trainees. There appeared to be no takers. Why would a sensible trainee volunteer for such a challenge that was sure to prove physically demanding and likely to fail?
 
Following a long pause a Ranger Trainee stood and came down from the bleachers. His name was Ed. In his modest way,  Ed took the grappling hook and the attached rope into his hands and slowly coiled the long rope. Then, ignoring the example of the instructor, Ed grasped the rope near the hook. He spun around and around in the style of an Olympic hammer thrower and launched the hook into low earth orbit at Mach 2. The Hook sailed high above the rock face, disappearing from view and taking the entire rope with it.  It was gone. It was rumored to have landed somewhere in Alabama. We cheered Ed Bagdonas with a loud roar that lifted the spirits of the Ranger Trainees.
 
The instructors were dumbfounded. Their training aid had disappeared. Their class, which was scheduled to last for several hours of trainee humiliation and practice with the grappling hook, was abruptly terminated by Ed’s awesome throw. We were formed up and marched back to the Barracks. Training for the rest of the afternoon was cancelled. It was a proud moment, when a Ranger Trainee stood tall and taught a lesson in humility to our trainers.


*********** It’s always terribly sad, and one more reminder of my own mortality,  to learn that one of my former players has died. I’m no youngster, and a lot of the guys I coached, some of them back in the early 1970s, are now elderly themselves. (Sorry, guys.)   But since I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than 40 years,  I haven’t seen most of my “East Coast”  players in all that time, so in my mind’s eye they’ll always be young guys. I’ve never seen them any other way.

The sad news of the passing of one of “my guys” came to me on Wednesday via longtime Double Winger Russ Meyers, from Annapolis, Maryland:

Coach Wyatt,

It's been a while since I have emailed you and I have sad news for you.  Roy Brown recently passed away.  He played for you with the Hagerstown Bears.  Roy was a good friend of mine and he was a great guy.  I have attached the link to a story from our local paper. His memorial service is today.

https://www.capitalgazette.com/sports/ac-cs-roy-brown-dies-20181106-story.html

That was, indeed, sad news.

Roy Brown was a year or two out of college (Western Maryland) when he played tight end for me in Hagerstown, in the early 70s. He made a great contribution to our club, as a player and as a teammate.

He was the sort of player who didn’t need much coaching from me. He was quite intelligent and figured out his assignments very quickly, and was a good enough football player that he’d just go and get the job done. It didn’t hurt that he was 6-4, 230 and a good athlete.  When the Chicago Bears called about him, I had no problems recommending him. 

He was quiet, but he was deep,  always thinking, and when he did have something to say it was astute, and often humorous.

We lost touch, and although I knew he’d become a coach, I had no idea just how good a coach he’d become -  as head coach at Annapolis High from 1989 through 2002, he won 104 games and lost 47.  His 2000 team made it to the state final game.  He went out on top - his 2002 team went 9-2, losing in the state quarterfinals to the eventual state champions. 

I’m very proud to have known Roy, and although our lives were connected for only a short time, he made a great impression on me as a man.

I’m terribly sad not only to hear of Roy’s death, but to learn that those who knew him best saw him suffer from Alzheimers.

May God rest his soul.


Valley kids

***********  The season came to an end. We got to the semi finals, one game from the valley championship.

Down here in youth football that is a big step.

We ended 7 and 2.
Years prior, in order:
2017 - 1-8
2016 - 2-7
2015 - 0-8

We turned it around. We ended up with a scoring average of 31 points per game which was the league’s best.

Next year I am moving up to 12-14 year olds. And we will install the double wing. Down here we do not have middle school fooball. This would be equivalent to 8th grade ball.

Thank you Coach Wyatt for all the help. We were a success story offensively.

As a final note, anyone that says football does not impact a young man’s life needs to look at the pictures. Defeat hurts and it should. It shows a person cares. And here is where we learn how to take defeat and disappointment and rise back up and go get it the next time.

John Coelho
Turlock, California

Congratulations on a great season! The photo of the two kids consoling each other is beautiful. It is America as it ought to be.  If only every person in America - black, white, Hispanic, Asian - could experience what it’s like to play football with each other, to work together as a team toward a common goal, to win together and lose together, we’d be a lot closer to having the kind of nation our founders wanted us to have!


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:   In the long history of the NFL, just one player from an Ivy-League school - Chuck Bednarik of Penn - has been drafted Number One overall.  (In fairness, although they always played Princeton and Cornell, the Penn of Chuck Bednarik’s time was a cut or so above the rest of the Ivies.   Army,  then a real national power, and Navy were regulars on the schedule.  So was Penn State, though not yet the power that it is today.  Notre Dame was often on the schedule.  As a kid, I saw them play Georgia, with a guy named Zeke Bratkowski at QB.)


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHUCK BEDNARIK
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA

*********** chuck bednarik.....no doubt could still have an impact if he played today.....side bar.....i just finished a two year ordeal getting a finger fixed while from a vicious game of p.e. kickball....going thru several rounds of therapy the conversation turned to worst busted fingers the therapists had seen.....i suggested they google "chuck bednarik's hands"....needless to say that even people who make a living with with injuries were taken aback with the pics of his giant crooked mitts!

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

*********** A COLLECTION OF PHOTOS OF CHUCK BEDNARIK - https://www.si.com/nfl/photo/2015/03/21/classic-photos-chuck-bednarik#20

*********** QUIZ - He grew up in far Western New York,  in the small town of South Dayton (2010 population: 620).  He had to go across the state, to persuade a college coach from a school halfway across the country, to give him a chance.  By the time he was 33, he was the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

A football and basketball star at little Pine Valley Central High School, he seemed to be on his way to earning all-star honors as a fullback and linebacker when he took ill and missed most of his senior season.

Going to New York to a coaches’ convention, he managed to persuade a college coach who’d never seen him play to give him a scholarship.

The coach was Bennie Ellender and the college was Arkansas State.  As a freshman he played fullback and nose guard, but  at the start of his sophomore year he was switched to middle linebacker.  For the next three seasons, he led the team in tackling, and in 1968 he was named first team AP All-American (college division).  And he was named by vote of fans the greatest player in Arkansas State history.

He was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals, up to then the highest pick ever to come out of Arkansas State. He quickly earned the starting spot at middle linebacker and wound up being named Sporting News Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He soon became recognized as one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL, and with the announcement of the startup of the World Football League, he was offered money by the Florida Blazers to sign a “future” contract with them,  meaning that he would play for them as soon as he had played out  his contract - plus the so-called “option year” - with the Bengals.

Cincinnati owner-coach Paul Brown,  not one to put up with that sort of business, traded him to the Eagles for two first-round draft choices and a second-round pick.

When the Florida Blazers - and then the WFL itself - folded, he kept their money, and remained with the Eagles for the rest of his career.

In all, he played 12 seasons in the NFL - five with the Bengals and seven with the Eagles.

For five straight seasons in Philadelphia, from 1974 through 1978, he was either first- or second-team All-Pro.

He was named to the Pro Bowl five times and he was three times named the Eagles’ Most Valuable Player by his  teammates. 

When he signed a four-year contract for a (total) of $1 million, he became the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

He was a major factor in the Eagles’ making the playoffs in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and he retired following the 1980 season and the Eagles’ Super Bowl loss to the Raiders.  At the time, his 27 career interceptions were the most of any active linebacker. And he held the team single-season team record of 233 tackles.


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 13,  2018 -  "Hold on to the Constitution, because if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” Daniel Webster

*********** WHY WE LIVE IN THE NORTHWEST… It was a beautiful day Sunday, clear and cool, and from our deck we could see Mount Hood - some 40 miles , as the crow flies, to the east - with the season’s first coating of snow. (If you look closely, straight down from Mt. Hood's summit you can see the cross atop  the steeple of the Catholic Church just down the hill from us.)

mt hood

*********** SO HOW DID THE GENIUS PROGNOSTICATOR DO THIS PAST WEEKEND?

WIN: Boise State by 2-1/2 over
Fresno State

WIN: West Virginia will beat TCU plus 11-1/2. 

LOSS: Michigan State plus 3-1/2 over Ohio State. 

WIN: Penn State over Wisconsin plus 9

LOSS: Kansas State over Kansas plus 10

PUSH: Army over Lafayette - this one shouldn’t have been scheduled, and the oddsmakers won’t even touch it.

WIN: Indiana by one point over Maryland

WIN: Oklahoma State and 20-1/2 over Oklahoma

WIN: Washington State over Colorado plus 6.

LOSS: Baylor and 14-1/2 over Iowa State.

WIN: Pitt over Virginia Tech plus 3-1/2. 

LOSS: Purdue over Minnesota plus 11.

LOSS: Oregon plus 3 over Utah.

WIN: Georgia over Auburn plus 14. 

WIN: Georgia Tech over Miami plus 3. 

LOSS: Houston over Temple plus 4-1/2. 

WIN: Notre Dame over Florida State plus 16-1/2.

LOSS: Texas Tech plus 1-1/2 over Texas.

PUSH: Boston College plus 20 over Clemson.

WIN: Stanford over Oregon State plus 14. 

WIN: Cal plus 5 over USC. 

WON 12, LOST 7 - Okay, but I'm not ready to fly to Vegas just yet.

*********** OBSERVATIONS…

*** I played two years of minor league (semi pro) ball and coached it for three years.  I’ve seen some rough play.  But I’ve never seen a team - at any level - as undisciplined as Louisville’s was against Syracuse Friday night.   We weren’t midway through the second quarter and they already had nine penalties.

*** In the past, Syracuse’s field has looked ragged and its uniforms have sucked.  Friday night, everything looked really good.

*** Two years ago, Louisville put 62 points on Syracuse; last year it was 56.  Now I know why Syracuse coach Dino Babers had ihis starting QB in there right to the end.

*** Two of the QBs in Friday night’s games should/could have been playing for one of the Northwest's Pac-12 teams.  Marcus McMaryon of Fresno State was basically told by Oregon State a year ago that he wasn’t in the picture.  The Beavers lived to regret it.  Syracuse’s Eric Dungy is from Lake Oswego, Oregon, but none of the local schools offered him.  He isn’t a Mike Leach kind of passer, but he throws well and he is a beast of a runner and I like him more than Oregon State’s QB and at least as much as Oregon’s and Washington’s. 

*** Boise State missed a TD by a split pubic hair.  It was that close. And then the officials spotted the ball on the one-yard line.

*** Passing teams need to get themselves a get-us-just-one-first-down offense. I’ve seen a  number of passing teams who just can’t run down the clock when they need to. Just as every team needs a 2-minute offense for when it’s behind, it also needs one for when it’s ahead.

*** I don’t understand why officials don’t bring out the chains and measure as often as they used to.

*** Kansas and Kansas State put on a hell of a game. Kansas gave it everything it had but it wasn’t enough, and K-State wound up beating the Jayhawks for the 10th straight time.

*** IUPUI is ahead, said the crawler… HEY! WAIT A MINUTE!  THAT’S BASKETBALL, DAMMIT!  WOULD YOU GUYS MIND STAYING OFF OUR SCREENS UNTIL FOOTBALL SEASON’S OVER?

*** If you didn’t see the Ohio State-Michigan State game, it wasn’t a blowout.  MSU found new and innovative ways of handing the game away.  In one, on their own one yard line, a man in jet motion was hit by the snap.  The ball was recovered in the end zone by the Buckeyes.  Backed up like that, Job One is to get TF off your own goal line.  Nothing tricky, nothing fancy, no eye candy.  (Hard to believe that I’m sitting here telling that to an offensive coordinator who’s being paid half a million bucks to know that.)

*** Maryland, down 34-32, was driving with a minute to play when their QB fumbled.  Game Over.

*** Colorado’s Laviska Shenault was out for four weeks with a foot injury and Colorado really missed him.   A real difference-maker,  the kid had the potential to be the best receiver in the Pac-12.  He came back against Washington State and, sadly for the Buffs,  had no impact at all, dropping a couple of passes he should have had.

*** Pitt looked great in their unifoms from the national championship days, and ran all over Virginia Tech. The Panthers rushed for 492 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown run by 6-2, 220 pound Qadree Ollison.  Pitt has had some pretty decent runners over the years, including Tony Dorsett, James Conner, Curtis Martin and LeSean McCoy, but this was the longest run in school history.  Amazingly, after the big guy had run the length of the field, he had enough left to do a flip into the end zone.  (Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Sure looked to me like he started his flip on the one yard line, which means Pitt should have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, with the touchdown erased and the penalty marched off from the point of the foul - the one.)

*** Washington State did not start out sharp, but still they were beating Colorado.  Observed Brock Huard, “Washington State is not Number Eight just because of their offense.”

*** Why do announcers feel the need to tell us how much time is left on the play clock?  Who gives a sh—?

*** A Colorado tackler made a great first-down stop, then stood over the Washington State runner and taunted. FIrst down, Washington State. Noted announcer Brock Huard, “And that’s why you’ve lost four in a row.”  To his credit, Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre gave the guy the thumb.

*** Holy sh—! Minnesota is beating Purdue, 34-7.

*** Oklahoma State keeping pace with OU.  Their favorite play when they need a score or a first down seems to be I Right, off-tackle right. (66-O).

*** At the start of the 4th quarter, with Washington State ahead 24,7, the entire broadcast crew at the WSU-Colorado game - Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Allison Williams - came on camera wearing mustaches, a la Gardner Minshew.

*** Tennessee beat Kentucky, because… Tennessee ALWAYS beats Kentucky.  At least in Knoxville.  Yes, it was an upset, according to the oddsmakers, but this was Tennessee’s 17th straight win over UK in Neyland Stadium.

*** I apologize to Temple for doubting the Owls.  Congratulations on beating Houston, and doing it convincingly.  In Houston.

*** Can shut out USC in the second half. Ahead 15-14 and facing a 4th and one with 2:00 to go, the Bears went for it and got six yards. Cal’s win was its first in the series since 2003.  USC had won 14 in a row.


********** $14 million is a lot of money by anybody’s standards, but Louisville figured - rightly -  that it was worth it to buy out Bobby Petrino. God knows how they’ll get the money and still have enough left over to pay a new coach - a member of the Lousville board said just a week or so ago that the university “is not in a position to buy him out” - but there you are.

Gone from Louisville is Petrino, whom I have disliked ever since the first time he was at Louisville, many years ago, when he secretly interviewed for the Auburn job, unbeknownst to Tommy Tuberville, who at the time was still employed as Auburn’s coach.

Characteristically, Petrino lied about the interview, but finally fessed up.  Auburn was greatly embarrassed and some trustees resigned as a result of their skulduggery. Tuberville, meanwhile, turned things around, beat Alabama, and earned himself a contract extension.

The reason Petrino coveted the Auburn job was that he’d worked there as an assistant to Tuberville (how’s that for loyalty?).  Did I mention that he took that assistant job at Auburn without even telling his former boss at Jacksonville, Tom Coughlin,  that he was leaving? It’s said that Coughlin never spoke to him again.  But what the hell.  Bobby was an offensive genius.

He eventually left Louisville for the Atlanta Falcons’ head coaching job, but lasted less than a season before leaving - “abruptly” puts it mildly - for the head job at Arkansas.

Lying seemed to come easily to him.  He lost his job at Arkansas when he got into a motorcycle accident, and then lied about the fact that he had a rider when he crashed - a young woman whom he’d gotten a job in the Arkansas athletic department. (A young woman with whom he appeared to be romantically attached.)

After all that, though, Louisville had him back a second time.  First he spent a season as head coach at Western Kentucky - evidently the Louisville folks felt that that was sufficient penance or rehab, or what have you, for what he’d done at Arkansas.

Can’t say he didn’t use the Louisville job this time to try to patch things up with his family after the screwing around he did at Arkansas.  Until he got fired on Sunday, he had no fewer than three family members - son, Nick, and sons-in-law, L.D. Scott and Ryan Bears -  on his staff.  As employees of Petrino, Inc. - er, Lousville - they earned a combined  $650,000.

I’d call his firing karma, except with karma, you don’t walk off with Louisville owing you $14 million.

https://sports.yahoo.com/forde-yard-dash-went-wrong-bobby-petrino-louisville-011829476.html


*********** I read an article in which the World Health Organization said that 892 million people worldwide “practice open defecation.”

“Practice?”  Strange word to use.  They make it sound like a religion.

I'd hate to attend one of their services.

*********** With Paradise, California almost completely destroyed by fire, it was awfully gracious of Red Bluff  High (2-8) to offer Paradise High (8-2) a forfeit win in their playoff game last weekend.  Under the rules, it was impossible, because for obvious reasons, Paradise was unable to show up, and instead it had to forfeit.

*********** I WROTE THIS LAST DECEMBER 5  AND I’VE EDITED IT TO BRING IT UP TO DATE…

If I were Commissioner of the Big Ten … I’d be on the phone to my counterpart in the Pac-12.  ASAP.

We’d exchange a few pleasantries, and then I’d get down to business: how the hell do we get out of this Playoff bulls— and get back to the good old days when our conference champions played in the Rose Bowl?

Say what they may, those other three conferences (and Notre Dame),  but without the Big Ten and the Pac-12, their “Playoff” is a joke.   I n most years, their “champion” wouldn’t have as much legitimacy as the ones that the polls used to give us.

Meantime, we’d have real power: we’d have a foothold in four of the top five TV markets - New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. We’d have  six of the top ten markets, and 16 of the top 25.  That’s eyeballs on the TV sets, guys.

You can talk all you like about Alabama and Auburn and Clemson and blah, blah, blah but the fact is that TV calls the shots now, and  those are all small-market teams.  It’s been said more than once that the TV people don’t care about fans in the seats: they only care about eyeballs on the screen. 

We’ll merge our conferences into one giant conference, with Pac-12 and Big Ten divisions.  There’d be no need to play anybody on the outside.  

With 26 teams currently - 12 in the Pac-12, 14 in the Big Ten (I know, I know) - we’d shoot for 32 teams, 16 in each division, with an NFL-type playoff.  The winner of our championship game would play, of course, in the Rose Bowl - on New Year’s Day.


We could invite a few other schools to join us.  Texas and Oklahoma come immediately to mind. Maybe Houston.  That would bring in the Dallas-Fort Worth (#5) and Houston (#10) TV markets.

Maybe Central Florida and South Florida. That brings in Tampa-St. Pete (#13) and Orlando (#19). Maybe BYU, too, simply because it's a national brand.

I’d actually give Notre Dame a call. Give them a one-time-only, take-it-or-leave-it invitation. Let’s see them stay independent with a schedule that doesn’t include any of our teams.  Let’s see how NBC, their network partner, likes that.

We wouldn’t be so arrogant as to call our champion a “national champion,” but there’s no way that without us, the winner of that “other” playoff can legitimately call itself the “National Champion,” either.  Naturally,  we’d entertain propositions to have our champion meet theirs, in a “real” national championship game.

The details still have to be worked out, but I’ll leave that up to my people.  That’s why I pay them the big bucks.

ACTUALLY…

ESPN would never have put up the money it did to buy the broadcast rights to  the “College Football Playoff” if there were the slightest chance that this could happen.  There’s a reason why they have lawyers.  My real anger is directed at the Big Ten and - even more so - Pac-12 leadership, guys in suits who got snookered into allowing the possibility of one other conference having two of the teams in the four-team Playoff, into giving Notre Dame a place at the table comparable to that of an entire conference, and into giving up control of the Rose Bowl, once America’s premier football game and now just another bowl game.  Maybe secession from “The Playoff” could be arranged by giving ESPN a good deal on the rights to “our” championship game as well as the new, “real” national championship.

*********** Big 12 plays its way out of College Football Playoff -  by
JIMMY BURCH - sptspage.com

A golden playoff opportunity, as well as a huge payday for the conference, slips through the hands of Big 12 officials during a split of back-to-back games played by the league’s two best teams within eight days to settle the conference championship. West Virginia knocks off Oklahoma, 41-37, on Nov. 23 in Morgantown, W.V. , to cap the regular-season schedule for both schools in what should have been a winner-take-all battle for an undisputed league title. But because Big 12 officials created a conference championship game to boost conference revenues by $3 million per school and provide a nebulous “13th datapoint” for deliberations by members of the CFP selection committee, the teams are forced into a Dec. 1 rematch at the Big 12 championship game in AT&T Stadium. Oklahoma achieves payback, 51-28, in front of a partisan crowd in Arlington and ends the season with an 11-2 record and the official Big 12 title. West Virginia, also a two-loss team, joins Oklahoma the next day in being left out of the CFP’s four-team playoff bracket. CFP officials, who have yet to award a playoff berth to a two-loss team in five seasons of playoff history, acknowledge that a one-loss champ from the Big 12 “clearly would have earned” a spot in the bracket but that team did not emerge because of the forced rematch in the championship game.

chinese bandits

*********** Nowadays, when you can’t even wear a sombrero on Hallowe’en without being accused of the newly-invited crime of cultural appropriation, it may be hard for some to believe that there was once a  time when a bunch of college players  could proudly pose as “Chinese Bandits.”

Back when  the colleges’ limited substitution rules did away with platoon football, LSU coach Paul Dietzel, a very inventive sort, came up with three distinct teams, each capable of playing two ways.  Sort of. The first was made up of his 11 best two-way players.  He called it the “White team.” (Uh-oh. That wouldn’t fly today, but it was called that simply because its players always wore white jerseys in practice). The second was a mostly-offensive  unit which he called the “Go Team.” (He originally called it the “Gold” team but as he wrote in his memoir, “The press quickly shortened the name.”)  The third was a mostly-defensive unit, and he conferred on its members a name inspired by a once-popular comic strip named “Terry and the Pirates,” in which Chinese Bandits were described as the “meanest, most vicious people in the world.”  

A couple of big-game goal-line stands - combined with their unique name - got the Chinese Bandits national recognition  that not even Paul Dietzel, promoter that he was, could have foreseen. 

***********   "Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation," wrote Edmund Burke.

If so, we are sunk.

In the Foreword of "Football Through the Years," (1940) the author, Dean Hill,  writes that one of the things that occupied the minds of our young men then was football. That and the value of hard work, a belief that a man had to prove himself a man, and a love of country. 

"Football, ” Hill wrote,  “symbolizes team play, discipline and self sacrifice. If our country is to continue to be the America we love, I say let every American be a football player at heart, if not on the gridiron."

The year 1940, of course, was just before we  had to fight - and win - a world war.  

What occupies the minds of today’s young men?

Not, in most of them, the value of hard work.  Certainly not having “to prove himself a man,”  and,  considering the emphasis in our schools, not a love of country.

Instead?  Video games,  rap, drugs, porn, brash show-offishness,  disrespect for rules and for authority. And soccer.

*********** If what I read on its Web site is an indication of its attitude toward our game,  it should be no surprise that Natrona County High, in Casper, Wyoming, is a traditional football power. 

Every Day Is A Great Day To Be A Mustang!

From the earliest games in the 1890's with homemade uniforms to today's sophisticated game with nine uniform combinations...one constant has remained. NCHS has special young men who play smart, play hard and love one another like brothers. Our older players have made our Freshmen football program the best in the country by mentoring and spreading greatness. We have two Freshmen squads (black and orange) along with our Sophomore, Junior Varsity and Varsity schedules that provide the most comprehensive 7-12 football program in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain Region. NCHS has won more football games than any other school in Wyoming but more importantly we have realized the "miracle of team" more than any other school in Wyoming. This "miracle" not only makes for successful teams but more importantly it makes for successful lives, families and communities. Our foundation is love, hardwork, trust, service, academic excellence and character development. We focus on the only two things that any of us can control and that is our Attitude and our Effort. We don't cut players, we simply buy more equipment. If you enjoy working hard and being a part of something bigger than yourself then come play football with the Mustangs. GO MUSTANGS!

This year, the Mustangs went 11-1, and won the state 4A (largest class) championship.  They were also state champions in 2012.  In the last 10 years they’ve had only one losing season, and they’ve had five seasons with 10 or more wins.

*********** What do you suppose happens when two forms of self-expression collide: when one of these guys with a  “JR” or a “III” after the name on the back of his jersey has hair so long it covers the name?

Are the two forms of  exhibitionism self-cancelling?

Is he dishonoring his forebears?

*********** Such is the level of basketball interest and play in the Land Down Under that you can look at almost any college’s roster these days and you’re likely to find an Aussie on it. 

Australia has its own profesional league, the National Basketball League (NBL), and  my son, Ed, has just accepted the position of Marketing, Media & Communications Manager of its newest franchise, its ninth team, in Southeast Melbourne.

The new team, as yet unnamed,  will begin play next season, and gives Melbourne, a city of 4.8 million people,  its second NBL entry.

The other teams in the NBL are Melbourne United, Adelaide 36ers, Brisbane Bullets, Cairns Taipans, Illawarra (Sydney area) Hawks, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats and Sydney Kings.

*********** After the discourtesy the Philadelphia Eagles showed the President in refusing his invitation to the White House, it didn’t bother me  that much to see them lose to the Cowboys Sunday night.

It definitely pleased me to see Dak Prescott get the fans and the media guys off his back, if only temporarily, with a winning performance.

But it especially pleased me to see the way Cowboys’ rookie Middle Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch played.

The announcers were going nuts over the way he made tackles from sideline to sideline, 13 in all, and the way, near the end of the game, he broke through two lead blockers to make a shoestring tackle on a 3rd down play that saved the Cowboys’ win.

I’ve written about him before.  He played at Boise State, but he’s from tiny Riggins, Idaho (population 410).  At Salmon River High School (“The Savages”), he played 8-man football (his class had only 13 kids in it - 11 boys and 2 girls).

A kid from the Mountain West who makes it as a middle linebacker - are we looking at a reincarnation of Brian Urlacher?

(Just in case you might play 8-man football and somebody might try to suggest that it’s not “real football,” tell them watch #55 of the Cowboys.)

(Nice video here) https://www.star-telegram.com/sports/nfl/dallas-cowboys/article221549770.html


*Cole Shaffer's kids
********* Well, we gave it hell, but we fell just short. We lost 21-12. Boys played their hearts out. We came out and over-coached it a bit. We came out blitzing heavy on defense and gave up an easy TD on an off-tackle run. We realized the error of our ways, settled back into our base defense and played tough defense.  Offensively they were huge up front and we just wore down. We ran 5-X, 4-X regular and lead to some early success. But late into 3rd and 4th quarter we just didn't block well enough to move the ball. We did run polecat on a two point conversion. Boys executed it perfectly. They left 6 guys over the center so we threw it to the guy lined up behind the wall. They tackled us at the goal line. Ref ruled he didn't get in, but on the video he crossed. Oh well, the kids were so stoked to have run the play. Which brings me to the greatest thing about 8 year olds. They came off the field sobbing and heads down. I gave them my coach talk about how proud I was of them and how hard they played and that didn't want to see a head hanging. Then I took them over for the trophy ceremony, they got a big old runner-up trophy and you could not have guessed they just lost the championship. They were on cloud 9 with their huge trophy, which even matched our uniform colors, as one kid so astutely pointed out.

Cole Shaffer
Boulder, Colorado

************ QUIZ: Army has a black place kicker named John Abercrombie, a junior from Phoenix.  He’s pretty good - best they’ve had in quite a while.  Interestingly, he spent his first year at West Point playing on the sprint football team (178-pound max).

For some reason, there haven’t been many black place kickers in the NFL.  Gene Mingo was the first.

(PS: Do not be misled by someone who played in the AFL and NFL  but never kicked in the NFL, or someone who played another position and kicked only occasionally. This guy was an honest-to-God kicker. He was a handy guy who could help out at other positions - at a time of 40-man rosters, there was no such thing as a kicking specialist - but wherever he went  he was on the roster because he was his teams' full-time place kicker.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GENE MINGO
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA

READ ABOUT GENE MINGO - HIS IS AN AMAZING STORY

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

http://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2018/01/19/gene-mingo-football-broncos

*********** QUIZ:   In the long history of the NFL, just one player from an Ivy-League school has been drafted Number One overall. NAME HIM.



american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 9,  2018 -  "There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped." G. K. Chesterton

*********** Happy Veterans’ Day.  (Make every day Veterans’ Day.)

At 11 AM on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns were silent.  An armistice - an end to fighting - had been agreed on.  The World War - the War to End All Wars - the bloodiest war mankind had ever known came to an end. 

Well, yes. The shooting was over.

But in many ways, the world has never recovered.

France lost 1.5 million or more of its young men - practically an entire generation wiped out.  How can a nation lose the flower of its young manhood without losing its strength as a nation?

Russia lost more than 3 million men - many in the war, and even more in the bloody revolution that ensued.

The United Kingdom lost a million men.

The United States lost “only” 120,000 men. But then, we were engaged only for the last year and a half or so, after much of the damage had been done to both sides.

Australia, as far from the fighting as a country could be,  lost more than 60,000 men - 1.2 per cent of its population.  Maybe not a lot of people in the global scheme of things, but to the US, that would mean almost 5 million people,  the equivalent of the population of Oklahoma. (For a great movie about Australia’s role in the War, you can’t beat “Gallipoli,” starring a young Mel Gibson.)

And the enemy? The Central Powers - Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (think Turkey) lost anyhere from 7 million to more than 8 million.

Who would not welcome an end to the carnage and suffering and loss?

That’s why nations worldwide celebrate the day.  In the US, it was once Armistice Day, the day on which we celebrated the end of The War.  Unfortunately, it might not have served its intended purpose, because just we Americans have been involved in  another World War and several other bloody conflicts that weren' t called wars but sure looked like them.

In the US, Armistice Day  was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.  Okay. I can’t think of many more important things for Americans to do than to honor men and women who have served us, in time of war or peace.  We also should honor the families who sacrificed so that their children and spouses could serve.

But I can’t help wishing that we had set aside another, separate day to do so - so we could have retained Armistice Day and its original meaning, and used it to impress on the Americans that have never known war just how horrible it can be for everyone  - especially veterans and their families.

*********** Say a prayer if you will for Bob Novogratz, former Army All-American who just a few days after attending the 60th reunion of the 1958 Army team on Saturday, suffered a broken hip in a fall Wednesday and underwent surgery Thursday at NYU Medical Center in New York.  Bob is a great American and his story is a great American story.

*********** And also remember in your prayers General Jim Shelton, who passed away recently.  Jim played football at Delaware under Dave Nelson and Mike Lude, and loved to tell of the time Delaware scrimmaged Army and Don Holleder ran over him.  Jim was quite involved in getting the idea of the Black Lion Award approved by assorted people in the Army, and as honorary colonel* of the 28th Infantry Regiment, the Black Lions, his signature was on hundreds of Black Lion Award certificates.  (*Although he had attained the rank of Brigadier General, in the Army a regiment is commanded by a colonel.)

*********** From John Walters in The Athletic:

The top three schools in the polls before Saturday were located in Alabama, South Carolina and Louisiana. The bottom four states in terms of education, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings, are Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana and New Mexico. The reasonable deduction is that either New Mexico or New Mexico State should be much better in football.


*********** “Hate Messages” Show up on University of Manitoba Campus
"HATE" SIGN

The University of Manitoba is in an uproar over  the poster at left and similar  “hate messages” found around campus, which the school’s president says are part of "a co-ordinated international effort by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

From students came such reactions as "element of fear”… “it’s sickening” … “racist actions.”

Fools, yes. 

But after all, this is Canada, which has never had such a thing as freedom of speech. (Remember when we did?)

But jeez.

Will they stop me at the border when they find my posters that say  ‘IT’S OKAY TO BE MALE?”  “STRAIGHT?”  “CHRISTIAN?”

In Canada is it okay for Kermit the Frog to be green?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/hate-messages-university-manitoba-campus-1.4889084

*********** Paul Dietzel was quite a coach, a national champion at LSU,  and as a young assistant he worked under the best of them - at Cincinnati under Sid Gillman, at West Point under Earl Blaik, and at Kentucky, under Bear Bryant.

In his book, “Call Me Coach,” he tells a story about the Bear - one that all ambitious young assistant coaches should commit to memory…

“Coach Bryant was a real stickler for loyalty. At a Kentucky statewide coaches’ meeting, he asked a high school assistant coach what offense they were running at his school.  This fellow told him they were still running the ‘same old offense,’ and even though he wanted to modernize the offense, the head coach was old-fashioned and would not change.  Coach Bryant was quite disturbed, to say the least, that an assistant coach would speak this way in public about his head coach.  The Bear told the man that he was going to get him fired, and indeed he did.”

*********** I saw the name “WAGUESPACK” on the back of an Air Force player and it interested me.  I’d never seen the name before.

Turns out that AFA linebacker Kade Waguespack is from Gonzalez, Louisiana - roughly midway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge - and evidently the surname is not unknown down there.

I read on…

The only problem in coming to Colorado Springs for Waguespack has been the food. He’s from the “Jambalaya Capital of the World,” and he hasn’t found anything that comes close to meeting his standards here.

He gets by on a recipe that can be made in a slow cooker with smoked sausage from home and white beans. Aside from that, he said his parents generally bring frozen food when they visit, then his mom spends time at his sponsor family’s house cooking Cajun meals that she’ll leave in the freezer.

“That’s kind of how I survive,” he said.

https://gazette.com/sports/louisiana-native-kade-waguespack-adds-spice-to-air-force-s/article_ea11f0de-b945-11e8-81d7-4f31d73a8faa.html

  *********** Jonathan Bales, writing for Rotoworld last week, said, “Small quarterbacks like Russell Wilson are often dismissed by draft analysts, but there is some evidence to suggest that size of a quarterback’s hands is more important.”

Bigger hands help quarterbacks handle the ball and perhaps also help them throw it. Mr. Bales recorded the hand measurements for every quarterback drafted since 2008 and also found data for some older quarterbacks. The average N.F.L. hand size for a quarterback is now 9.6 inches, he said. “Some of the top ‘short’ quarterbacks (6-2 or shorter) of the past decade have ridiculously large hands — Drew Brees (10.25 inches), Russell Wilson (10.25 inches), Brett Favre (10.38 inches),” he wrote. (The average length of a male hand is 7.44 inches.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/upshot/big-hands-small-colleges-and-the-nfl-draft.html?emc=edit_th_20140509&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=23696377&_r=0&referrer=

*********** Quick Open Wing question……when you use Red and Blue protection I made a note that the RB blocks back-side.  However, its a 6 man half-slide protection so against a 7 man front a LB may be un-accounted for.  I would call the protection opposite to my primary receiver so the QB can see the unblocked defender if they send 7…..does that sound right to you?


Typically, when we are throwing to the open side, we want our playside linemen sliding. We want the Back set to the side of the twins because (1) if we want, we have his run fake to the tight side (2) this puts him in a better position to pick up a blitzing inside LBer (3) it sets up a screen to the side away from where the QB’s looking.

If there is ever any need - this has never come up - for extra blocking on the backside, we call “MAX” (MAXIMUM)  and the TE blocks a man ON or to his OUTSIDE.

Honestly, I have never had an issue with this.  Often any “protection” problem lies somewhere else.  I should stress here that making this protection work is as much a matter of timing between the passer and the receiver as it is blocking upfront.  The QB and the receiver need to be drilled on taking the correct number of steps and the QB needs to be drilled on getting the ball out of there, without wasting a lot of time patting the ball or waiting for a receiver to "come open.”

That waiting, I find, is a major problem with inexperienced quarterbacks.  They have to set up, and they have to know what to look for and where and when to throw the  ball without wasting time.


*********** MY COLLEGE FOOTBALL MUST-TAKE-A-LOOK-ATS

THURSDAY -

WAKE FOREST, 19-POINT UNDERDOGS,  GAVE JAMIE NEWMAN, A 6-4, 230 REDSHIRT FRESHMAN, HIS FIRST START AT QB AND ALL HE DID WAS DRIVE THE DEACONS THE LENGTH OF THE FIELD IN 1:09 TO DEFEAT 14TH-RANKED NORTH CAROLINA STATE - ON STATE’S FIELD. 

FRIDAY -

Fresno State is favored over Boise State by 2-1/2.  It’s on Boise’s field, so I’ll take the Broncos

SATURDAY -

West Virginia will beat TCU plus 11-1/2.  It’s in Morgantown, and TCU has been looking bad ever since they had to kick off the girlfriend-beater

Michigan State plus 3-1/2 over Ohio State.  No real reason other than I like the Spartans and I dislike Ohio State’s coach and that damn “THE Ohio State University” attitude.

Penn State over Wisconsin plus 9 - Badgers are in QB trouble with Hornibrook having concussion issues

Kansas State over Kansas plus 10 - K-State may be having their problems, but they’re still more than 10 points better than the Jayhawks - especially in Manhattan.

Army over Lafayette - this one shouldn’t have been scheduled, and the oddsmakers won’t even touch it.

Indiana by one point over Maryland - It’s at Indiana, and as long as there are guys on the Maryland team who’d still rather D. J. Durkin were their coach, it’s hard to pull for them.

Oklahoma State and 20-1/2 over Oklahoma - only because of my grandson Mike, a Cowboy.

Washington State over Colorado plus 6.  Seen how bad Colorado has looked the last couple of weeks? Besides, the Cougs had their close call last week against Cal.

Baylor and 14-1/2 over Iowa State.  My upset call. Actually, I’m pulling for Matt Rhule.

Pitt over Virginia Tech plus 3-1/2.  Pitt, if you hadn’t looked, is in first place in the ACC Coastal.

Purdue over Minnesota plus 11. Purdue is pretty good.  Minnesota is not.

Oregon plus 3 over Utah. Utah may not have its QB.  Ducks usually play well in SLC.

Georgia over Auburn plus 14.  Dawgs have had one slip-up and aren’t about to have another until they meet Bama in the SEC title game.

Georgia Tech over Miami plus 3.  Even when Miami has been good, Georgia Tech has played them well.  Game is in Atlanta.

Houston over Temple plus 4-1/2.  Forgive me, Owls.  Going with my head and not my heart.

Notre Dame over Florida State plus 16-1/2.  Not many times I find myself rooting for Notre Dame, but this is one of them.

Texas Tech plus 1-1/2 over Texas.  It’s in Lubbock, and I think Tech is good enough to take the Horns.

Boston College plus 20 over Clemson.  I’m figuring it’ll be wet, and a lot colder than some of those southern boys have ever experienced on a football field.  Plus, BC is pretty good.

Stanford over Oregon State plus 14.  That’s my guess at a spread. The oddsmakers haven’t posted anything.

Cal plus 5 over USC.  USC is not USC. Cal has been steadily improving.  Their defense nearly shut out WSU’s Gardner Minshew last week.

I’ll watch UNLV at San Diego State and Colorado State at Nevada because they’re both on late, but I have no particular interest (other than that I hear CSU’s Mike Bobo is a pretty good guy.)


*********** How many times have you read about a coach's wife not knowing whIch team to root for - her husband's team, or the opponents, whom her son plays for?

I knew the feeling last Friday night, when LaCenter and Elma met in a “play-in” game to determine which would be one of the 16 teams to advance to the state playoffs.

Many moons ago, I coached at LaCenter.  Those who got my video “Dynamics II” will understand.  The place had no tradition and it was way short on facilities.  But I had great support from the principal (a former football coach), really good kids, and a really good staff. One of the best members on the staff was a young guy named John Lambert.

John had been a student and a player for me at Hudson’s Bay High - smart, bright-eyed, hard-working and enthusiastic, both in the classroom and on the team - and after a playing career at Western Washington, he became a teacher.  There’s where the principal’s support came in - he hired John, and for two years, John was my right hand man, soaking up everything he could and contributing more and more as he learned.

When I left LaCenter after three seasons, I recommended John, despite his youth and his relative inexperience, because I felt that he had the makings of a great coach.  The principal, to his credit, listened - and hired John.

That was 1999.  And there we were last Friday night , and there was John, finishing up his 20th season as head coach at LaCenter.

He has, to say the least, been successful.   His 20-year record is 143-71.

By his third season, he made the state playoffs, and by his fifth season, his Wildcats (for those who don’t know, LaCenter is the reason why I gave the “Wildcat” formation its name) were in the state semifinals.

In all, his teams have made the playoffs 12 times in his 20 years, and in that time he has had only two losing seasons.

Although he now runs more of a single-wing look than double-wing, he’s still a proponent of physical football. “A lot of teams don’t run what we do,” he told Paul Valencia in Clark County Today.  “That in itself is an advantage. A lot of teams are mimicking what they see in college. Four-wide, empty backfield. We want to establish the line of scrimmage. We teach our linemen to be physical, be aggressive, to stay low, and move people off the ball. Not many teams do that.”

John never kicks off deep (sound familiar?) and he seldom punts.  He’s going to make you play defense against him for four downs.  That was his strategy long before guys started writing about it in coaching magazines.

John has had numerous opportunities to go to bigger schools, but he’s turned them all down.  He’s wise enough to  know that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.  At LaCenter, he’s got a solid program with a solid staff of assistants and great community support - much of which is his doing.  And as the LaCenter area continues to grow, he’s got a steady stream of young football players coming up who know the LaCenter system and “want to play for Coach Lambert.”

LaCenter brought a 4-5 record into Friday night’s game.  In fairness, John always arranges to play as tough a non-league schedule as he possibly can: of his four out-of-league opponents, three went on to make the playoffs, one of them in a higher classification.  Their overall record was 25-4.  By the time league play started, the Wildcats were in an unaccustomed 0-4 hole, but the tough pre-season had prepared them well - and they went 4-1 in league play to qualify for the playoffs.

Me and johnJohn Lambert and me

With John Lambert coaching one of the teams, why in the world would I be conflicted?

Well, facing LaCenter Friday night was Elma, about 2 hours northwest of La Center.

Until this season, Elma had gone a long time without a lot of success on the field.  The Eagles won a state title in 1998, but they hadn’t won more than 5 games in a season since 2005. 

In 2017, Ron Clark, an Elma native who’d coached for years at nearby Aberdeen, took over as head coach.  In his first year, the Eagles were 3-7, but this year, going into Friday's game,  they were 7-2.  The two losses were by the skinniest of margins: by one-point to unbeaten Hoquiam, after having both an extra point and a field goal blocked in the last two minutes; and to neighbor town Montesano (Elma hasn’t beaten “Monty” in 13 years) by six points on a touchdown with less than a minute to play.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdg3ZhIWH1k

Elma runs a classic wing-T.  Its bread and butter plays are buck sweep, trap, bootleg (waggle) and weakside belly.

Occasionally the Eagles will line up in shotgun (what we would call East or West formation), mostly to throw but with a bit of zone read thrown in.

Everybody who coaches football babbles about how important the offensive line is (the same way they go on and on about how important blocking and tackling is, blah, blah, blah),  but anyone who has coached a wing-T (or Double Wing) knows that in those offenses,   the line really IS important. 

And Elma’s line is coached by Todd Bridge, whom I coached with for six years at North Beach.  He was the head coach and I was his OC, and he coached the line.  Now the AD at Elma, he also signed on as line coach when Ron Clark needed help, and he’s put together a very physical front.  As a testament to the way they’ve run the ball, in 10 games, the Eagles have rushed for 2980 yards and 44 touchdowns.  Obviously, I’m pleased at how well Coach Bridge has done and very happy for him both as coach and AD.

And I’m happy for Ben Bridge, too.  Ben is Todd’s third son.  I’ve been fortunate to coach all the Bridge boys, but I only got to coach Ben for two years.  Ben’s now a senior, and he plays full-time at center and rotates in on the defensive line.  While not as tall as his older brothers, both of whom are over 6-5, at 5-11 and 230 Ben’s every bit as strong, winning the state powerlifting title last spring.  (He won the center competition when he convinced the coach to let him make the one-handed, end-over-end shotgun snap that he learned at North Beach. Ahem.)  I have yet to see him make a bad snap all season, shotgun or T-formation.

Elma’s leading rusher is their fullback, 5-10, 210-pound Taitum Brumfield, who’s carried 205 times for 1289 yards. His 22 touchdowns represent half the team’s total.

elma group photoCOACH BRIDGE, CODY VOLLAN, BEN BRIDGE, ME

But their second leading rusher is their quarterback, 6-2, 190 pound Cody Vollan.  He’s carried 97 times, and even after deducting yards lost on sacks he’s gained 536 yards - and he’s rushed for 10 touchdowns.  He’s a threat to run on designed plays and on pass plays when he decides to take off.

The passing aspect is where I come in, if I may be allowed a bit of bragging.  Every weekend in the winter and spring, Cody and I worked together, and it has been a delight for me to watch him develop.  His passing has been a key to Elma’s success. (I should point out that I have made a special effort not to be like some gurus I’ve heard of who are slyly - sometimes blatantly - critical of their client’s coach.  Not once have we discussed strategy, and even when I might have seen something in his mechanics that could stand adjustment, I’ve held off, believing that trying to do anything at that point might do him more harm than good - like trying to change a tire while the car’s doing 70.

Much of the time, when Cody’s been called on to throw it’s been in “passing” situations - where the Eagles were in a hole and needed a first down.  Even under those conditions, he completed 43 of 87 for 988 yards and 11 TDs.   He has thrown deep successfuly on numerous occasions, as reflected by his 11.4 yards per attempt, and his ability to take the deep shot at any time has kept defenses from overcrowding the line of scrimmage. His 11 touchdowns work out to an extremely productive one in every eight attempts.

Everyone who coaches quarterbacks knows that the quarterback’s number one job is to protect the ball, and Cody has more than done that: he’s thrown only one interception all season. 

Overall, if Cody were a college QB, his high yards-per-pass, his high percentage of TDs, and his low percentage of interceptions, would give him a passer rating of 184.2.  If he were playing in the NFL, his rating would be an extremely impressive 125.4.   (Source: http://www.primecomputing.com/ 

Cody is a very good athlete - he's point guard on the basketball team - and he has  very good speed - he runs the 400 in track. He is very coachable, always eager to improve.  He is a great competitor who is just as happy playing corner on defense, where he’s college-prospect good, as he is playing quarterback.

So there I was, caught between two loyalties, letting things work themselves out on the field.

It was a hell of a football game, a test between a bigger, more physical Elma eleven and a young, quick LaCenter team with a bag of tricks ready to go.  Elma jumped out to an 14-0 lead and it appeared that we could be looking at a blowout, when LaCenter took back  the following kickoff 93 yards to make it 14-7 at the end of one.

Cody threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7, but with a minute left in the half LaCenter answered.  Sophomore QB John Lambert, John’s son, ran in from 5 yards out to make the halftime score 21-14.

LaCenter took the second half kickoff and drove right in for a score, with Tom Lambert running in from the 10.  The PAT tied the score with 9:00 remaining.

But with 2 minutes left in the third, Cody ran four yards to the left corner to give Elma the lead it needed, and Taitum Brumfield added a score with 4 minutes to play. The Elma defense, meanwhile, shut down la Center the rest of the way, stopping them on downs, recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass.

The final score was 33-21, and Elma moves on to the state playoffs

The game, I should add, was played in LaCenter’s beautiful new nearly-completed stadium.  I have to admit that I never thought, 20 years ago, that it would ever be possible. Actually, without John Lambert, it wouldn’t have been possible.  I’m not one for naming things after people who are still working, and I hope John coaches many more years.  If it's his wish, I hope it’s at LaCenter.   But when he finally does decide to hang ‘em up, they’ve got to name that stadium after him.


*********** Got this from a long-time friend whom I respect as an excellent coach…

Coach Wyatt,

From time to time, I receive emails from coaches asking for assistance.  I received this one over the weekend.  Here is our exchange (his in bold)


Do you have any pwrpoints,clinics,dvds,manuals, for sale?

--Nothing for sale.  What is it that you're looking for?

Actual footage on all your drills. To see how there supposed to be run. Visual learner.

--What age do you coach?  How long have you been coaching?  Are you in NC?

7 to 8 yr olds. 1st year hc. Just did regular season. Went 0-8. We played 9 on 11 players. Fixing to coach select 8u in a couple of weeks. Installing kb first. Then the O. Aggression and confidence is what I seek.  I'm in Tx. Thanks
I have what it takes to be a Disciple. Just need help getting there. For instance. On my rabbit drills i didn't use the fear of another player tackling them from behind. I used good ole fashioned dog sh-- as the motivator. I put some in a clear baggie and chased them to get them moving. It worked. Im all in. 


--You’re kidding....

I sure did.


--Can you explain your thought process behind it?

Getting tackled from behind sucks. Getting sh-- on your back sucks even more. Have a stubborn player that runs outside on 16 power? Stand there with some poo. He'll go inside.

If that's your approach, it's only because you don't know how to teach.  I feel bad for your players.  If you think that's an appropriate way to teach kids, there's little I can say that will convince you otherwise.  I think your approach is way past wrong.  It's a farce.  It's demeaning.  Regardless, you're no "disciple" of anyone, because I don't know of any self-respecting coach that would use your approach.


Coach Wyatt, he "thanked me for my time" and I sent him one followup saying that I was willing to help because he obviously needed it, but that I was blunt and if I think he's wrong then the best way for me to help him was to tell him what I thought.  Of course I didn't get a reply.  I'm sure he thought I was harsh, but sometimes these guys just need to be grabbed by the collar...And I was willing to help, but as with most coaches, they're willing to let their pride get in the way.

I wrote...

I can’t help thinking that guy was pulling your leg.

Demeaning, for sure.  I would call it borderline abuse.  Some, I’m sure, would say it goes way over the border.

I’m not for government interference in sports, but if the local leagues won’t screen and vet and double-check the guys who coach our kids - and then observe them at practices and games - there’s nothing left but the government to do it.

Funny how he describes that “coaching” and then he says he has what it takes to be a “disciple.”  I think I know you well enough by now to know that that couldn’t possibly be further from your approach to coaching.

Not that it will make any difference, but that guy needed to hear what you said.  He also needed (needs) to be hit with a 2 x 4.  Literally.


***********  Hugh,

A good friend of ours has also finished a disappointing first season, but...the ever positive coach told me it was good to get the season over and get back to the serious work of developing his new program in the off-season where true success is made.

After that first drive of the game I thought Army was going to blow Air Force out of the sky.  But AF hung tough with the Cadets, and it took Coach Monken's "muy bolas grandes" decision on that fourth and one to seal the Army win. 

Speaking of Army a few of the cadets did manage to "ground" the Air Force mascot before the game.  From what I understand the "pranks" the academies pull on one another have been going on for a hundred years.  Yet...by the reactions of "civies" to the prank one would think our service academy folks are a bunch of miscreants.  Aurora, the falcon, did recover
Texas...how in the world do BOTH DIVISION I 4-5 STAR safeties, at that point in a close game, let a receiver get behind them for the would be game winner??  Then...how in the world does the corner allow the receiver to cross his face and complete a slant pass in the end zone??  Then...how does the DC not put a "spy" on the QB for the second two-point try??

The current ND team, with its inconsistent play, at best, is probably the 6th or 7th best team in the country.  Even IF they are fortunate to run the table, and get in the playoffs, and continue to pull wins out their butts the way they have, an appearance is about all you'll see from them.  UNLESS...that offense gets cranked up, and that defense has a sudden change of temperament.

Best game on TV this weekend will be Fresno State at Boise State on Friday night.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I’d rather not even talk about the incredible lack of judgment - in future Army officers - that would lead USMA cadets to think kidnapping a bird was a bright idea. I’d also like to know how they managed to get the bird out of the house of an Army Colonel.  Was the Colonel in on the caper?  Uh-oh.  Did they break into his house?  Uh-oh. 

*********** FROM THE COACH WHO SUGGESTED THAT HE TEACH THE NON-PLAYING KIDS ON HIS YOUTH TEAM A FEW DOUBLE-WING PLAYS… (HIS HEAD COACH GAVE HIM THE GO-AHEAD)…

Got a nice win tonight, 18-16. DW accounted for all of our points and we ran it 80% of the time. The other team didn't even realize we were going unbalanced on our base leads. Kids were pumped...our defense struggles at times so we fell behind a couple of times, but fought back each time, which they hadn't been doing. They had been packing it in when we got behind in the score. Coach was excited as well. Lots to correct and work on but good first effort. We played a wing-T team and you know how easy it is to stop those old fashioned offenses! :)

Will keep you posted....two more games, need to put in 6/7 G-O and 3T2 this week.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - As a high school coach in Middletown, Ohio, Glenn “Tiger” Ellison grew tired of losing games with his running attack, and devised a wide-open passing attack which he called Lonesome Polecat (because, as he wrote, one of his assistants said, “it stinks”).

The Polecat, however, led to his development of a wide-open system heavily oriented to passing which came to be called the Run and Shoot.

He enjoyed great success as a high school coach. He was named Ohio Coach of the Year in 1961 and served as President of the Ohio High School Coaches Association.

Over the years, with certain adaptations to his original system, his offense has met with great success at every level of the game.

He was a graduate of Denison University, where he was an All-Ohio guard, and after retirement as a high school coach, he served for six years on his college teammate, Woody Hayes,’ staff at Ohio State.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TIGER ELLISON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

*********** Glenn "Tiger" Ellison is my answer!  I just finished the book: Run and shoot football:Offense of the future.  What a great book!   Back in 1991, I worked with a coach who ran the offense.  he called the series, Gangster,  Cowboy, Popcorn, wagon train,  and we even ran some of the lonesome polecat, straight out of the book! 

I always thought he made that stuff up!  I plan to re re-read it a few more times this offseason!

I also loved reading Woody Hayes foreward in the book!  He is one of my all time favorite coaches.

Mike Benton
Colfax, Illinois

*********** I ran Polecat my 2nd year I was a head coach.    Monsoon like weather had me run my "short yardage" offense which morphed into your DW later.      Some of the hits in the polecat would be defenseless targeting now.

John Irion
Granville, New York

*********** Sent me by several coaches -

A nice read about Tiger Ellison’s contribution to today’s football.

http://pistoltripleoptionfootball.com/glenn-tiger-ellison-greatest-innovator-football-history/


*********** The work that best updates Tiger Ellison’s work - bringing all his “Popcorn” and “Gangster” stuff (names I have to admit were way too corny for me) into a form usable in today’s game - is Al Black’s “Coaching Run and Shoot Football.”  Al Black was a very good high school coach in Pennsylvania, winning 149 games against 41 losses. After retirement, he coached some in Europe, and he worked as an OC at some small eastern Pennsylvania colleges. His book, published in 1991, is really good. It’s available, but scarce, so start saving your money.

AL BLACK BOOK

About Al Black…

In 1970, the Springfield Spartans of Montgomery County fielded an extraordinary gridiron team. The smallish suburban Philadelphia school, with 25 returning lettermen, romped through a ten-game schedule and scored 497 points, an average of nearly 50 per game. The Suburban One League championship race was no contest.

Coach Al Black's masterpiece had experience, speed, intelligence and enthusiasm that translated to a blazing offense and a stifling opportunistic defense. Opponents' mistakes were quickly converted into points. Black summed it all when he said, "Hustle and good execution win games. When you combine them with talent, you can't help but have a great season."

Despite its modest enrollment, Springfield had moved from the less challenging Bux-Mont League, after winning the 1968 crown, into the powerful Suburban One to play many of the biggest schools in the area.

After erasing neighbor Plymouth-Whitemarsh, Black's "Big Blue Brigade" faced Upper Merion in their fourth 1970 game. UM was thought before the season to be Springfield's toughest rival. The Spartans won 58-8. Amazing halfback Paul Melzer shredded the Vikings' defense for 319 yards and four TD's. With guard Bruce Williams leading the way, Melzer was sensational all season and was named to the All-State first unit.

The following week against non-league Lower Moreland, deep Springfield dressed 72 players and Black got all of them into the game, a 48-29 romp. The Spartans led 48-8 at the half. Decisive victories followed over defending champion Abington and hopeful Norristown.

Abington dominated the first quarter, had the Spartans on their heels, and led 3-0. The Spartans quickly got the message and blitzed the Ghosts for 26 points in the second quarter and 21 more in the third. No seniors played in the final period as Springfield won 54-3.

In the finale of this glorious season, long before the playoffs were introduced, Springfield overwhelmed Thanksgiving rival Wissahickon, 55-30. The Spartans scored on dives, sweeps, reverses, and long and short passes. Black also employed "junk" plays, as he called them. A double reverse pass went for 16 yards and a touchdown.

Springfield had gained more than 500 yards in every game. The highest scoring team in the nation, the Spartans were nominated by the Philadelphia Inquirer as the best in the state. A championship game against WPIAL AA champion Mt. Lebanon or New Castle's great team would have been something to behold.

Al Black is a native of Northfield, New Jersey and graduate of Glassboro State, now Rowan. Glassboro had dropped football and Black played in the semi-pro ranks during his college years. He started his career as an assistant at Audubon, NJ. He was head coach at Springfield just five years, moving to Coatesville in 1971. Black coached the Red Raiders for 13 years, winning seven Ches-Mont titles.

An attacking specialist, Black later served as offensive coordinator at Widener, Millersville and Delaware Valley (colleges) . More recently, he has worked in various levels of professional football in Europe, coaching, holding clinics and consulting. In 2003, his London Olympians won the "Brit Bowl".

The Spartans'1970 record:

55 UPPER MORELAND 20
42 UPPER DUBLIN 27
41 PLYMOUTH-WHITEMARSH 12
58 UPPER MERION 8
48 LOWER MORELAND 29
56 CHELTENHAM 0
46 METHACTON 8
54 ABINGTON 3
42 NORRISTOWN 22
55 WISSAHICKON 30


************ QUIZ: Army has a black place kicker named John Abercrombie, a junior from Phoenix.  He’s pretty good - best they’ve had in quite a while.  Interestingly, he spent his first year at West Point playing on the sprint football team (178-pound max). 

For some reason, there haven’t been many black place kickers in the NFL.  Can you name the first?

(PS: Do not be misled by someone who played in the AFL and NFL  but never kicked in the NFL, or someone who played another position and kicked only occasionally. This guy was an honest-to-God kicker. He was a handy guy who could help out at other positions - at a time of 40-man rosters, there was no such thing as a kicking specialist - but wherever he went  he was on the roster because he was his teams' full-time place kicker.)



american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 6,  2018 - "The   taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but  doesn't  have to take the civil service examination." Ronald Reagan

*********** After having to forfeit his first two games because of a lack of players, my friend Dwayne Pierce in Washington, DC, managed to put a team together at Coolidge High and managed to finish the season, his first at Coolidge, with his team intact.  That’s quite an accomplishment at a school that was once a District power but hasn’t won more than two games in a season since 2012.  The Colts’ overall record was 1-7, but that’s counting the two forfeit losses. The 14-6 win over Phelps in the next to last game of the season was their first win in more than two years. And now, Coach Pierce, with a season behind him, can continue his rebuild in the off-season.

***********  “I’m back coaching with Jet,” wrote Jeff Murdock, from Piedmont, South Carolina. “We are at a 5A (largest class) school running straight Double Wing. We play for the region championship on Friday. On a 5-0 run since going to the Dwing. The band is back together and can still play!”

This is a long story that starts more than 20 years ago, when two young guys named Jet Turner and Jeff Murdock took over the program in a small South Carolina town called Ware Shoals.  Jet was the head coach and Jeff was the line coach.  They were struggling.  In their first three years there, their record was 5-25.

And then they started running the Double Wing.  They were regulars at my clinics in Durham and Atlanta. And in their next three years at Ware Shoals, they went 27-10.

And then Jet moved on to Clover, South Carolina, a larger school not far from Charlotte that had never been to the playoffs.  By his third year there, Clover made the third round of the state playoffs, and in his 5th year, won the state championship - still running the Double Wing. In his eight years there, he compiled a 70-30 record.

He left to coach at a private school, Wilson Hall, in his home town of Sumter, and in one season he went 13-1, but then he moved back to the big school stage, taking the head job at Broome High in Spartanburg.

Broome had gone 1-10 the year before he arrived, but went 6-6 in his first year and 8-4 - with a region championship  - in his second year. After five years there he was 31-24. 

In spring of 2017 he was offered the head coaching job at Woodmont High, in Piedmont, South Carolina, outside Greenville.  Woodmont had had only one winning season in 13 years, and in the eight seasons since that winning season, had won a total of 17 games.

In 2017, his first year there, Woodmont went 2-9.  But in 2018,  the band was reunited.  Jeff Murdock was back.

Back when Jet left for Clover, Jeff stayed on at Ware Shoals and took over as head coach.  He more than kept the winning tradition going, compiling a record of 71-38 in eight seasons, winning 6 region titles and making it to back-to-back Upper State final games in both 2008 and 2009.

That led him to take a job at a bigger school, Crescent High in Anderson, South Carolina, and in his six years there he had a 36-32 record, making him the third-winningest coach in school history and only the second to post a winning record there.

And then he joined up with Jet.

They opened this season running the veer, but after four losses, and two straight shutouts, they made the decision to go back to the Double Wing.  Why not?  They both knew it, they’d both had success running it, and they  didn’t have to worry about second-guessers.

Their record at this point, after falling to a 10-0 T.L Hanna High last Friday, is 5-5, and they’re in the playoffs.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that Friday they face 9-1 Gaffney, a state power.

No matter.  The worst they will finish is 5-6, and knowing what those two guys know about the Double Wing, and how well they can teach it, I predict big things for them in 2019 and in years to come.



*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY

*** Where TF did Ohio State get those hideous black uniforms?  (I know, I know - Nike pays the fiddler and Nike calls the tune.) There’s no truth to the fact that that was not the real Ohio State team out there in the first half.

*** Army celebrated the 60th anniversary of its unbeaten 1958 team - Coach Blaik’s last team - Saturday, and I swear I saw the Army offense come out in the Lonesome End formation during its opening drive.

*** Army’s opening drive ended in a score at 2:05.  That’s nearly 13 minutes’ controlling the ball. Although the drive was 75 yards in length,  the secret to taking all that time off the clock was penalties - Army had three 15-yard penalties, meaning that technically, they drove 120 yards.

*** By now you have probably seen the Nebraska kickoff man try to kick it short - and whiff entirely.

*** A Maryland defender throws a Michigan State runner to the ground - except he doesn’t go to the ground.  He stays on his feet and picks up 6 more yards, down to the one-yard line.

*** Would the crowd at Maryland have been  any worse if, instead of firing D.J. Durkin, they’d kept him - and then the students had boycotted? 

*** I’m all for player safety but I think pretty soon they’re going to have to put sumo costumes on everybody.  In the Army-Air Force game there were three chop blocks called in the first half.  Two were highly questionable.

*** Maybe it’s because so many of the other studio analysts suck, but Kevin Carter, in the CBSSN halftime studio, was pretty good.

*** Time of possession at halftime: Army- 22 minutes, Air Force- 8 minutes.

*** A nice Air Force play was called back because of an “illegal block below the waist” - an Air Force wingback, coming from the outside-in,  blocked a linebacker at the knees.  Good call. But the uselrss announcers passed it off as "a mental mistake,” and then, later, a “mental error.”

My ass. If that’s so, how come you don’t see more high school kids making that same “mental mistake?”  You don’t suppose it’s because they’re actually coached not to, do you?

*** Leading 17-14 and facing a fourth-and-one at midfield with :17 left, Army coach Jeff Monken passed up a much riskier (in my opinion) punt and called for a quarterback sneak.  And it got the first down.

*** Army and Navy respect each other.  But neither of them seem to have a whole lot of respect for Air Force, and one reason why was made clear at game’s end when several Air Force players chose to confront their Army counterparts at midfield, jawing away and, in the case of one Zoomie, flipping the bird at them. If that kind of crap can happen at a service academy, how can we expect anything different from players at any other college?

*** Baylor gets a win over Oklahoma State with a touchdown with 7 seconds remaining.

*** It’s hard enough as it is  to look really sharp as it is when your colors are old gold and black, but jeez, you don't  have to make things worse by wearing those goofy jerseys that Purdue wore.

*** Do little girls still play with paper dolls?  I thought of that when I pictured  the foo-foo creative types back at Nike headquarters dressing paper dolls shaped like  big, strong football players.

*** The TV people should flip the score graphics at the bottom of the screen so that the score on the right side is the score of the team on the right side of the TV screen, and the converse.

*** West Virginia’s best OL was thrown out of the game on a really lame call for for shoving a Texas player.

*** If Texas-WVU game officials are any indication, Big 12 officials suck.

*** WVU QB Will Grier was injured by a sack from behind that should have been called a horse collar.

*** Basketball has its nose in the tent now, and we can expect to be seeing more and more promos advertising early-season “big games.”

*** Purdue drives and kicks a field goal with :08 to beat Iowa, 38-36.

*** What goes around comes around, Coach Franklin.  Remember Georgia State last year?  Remember calling a time out to keep them from kicking a field goal so you could preserve your f-cking shutout?

Hmm. With 3:00 left and the rout complete, your buddy  Harbaugh called a timeout with 42-0 to challenge a ruling that a Penn State player made a catch.

*** Lots of experts thought that Utah had become the best team in the Pac 12.  And then, in a great back-and-forth game,  Arizona State went out and beat them.

***
Duke went 75 yards for a TD on the first play from scrimmage against Miami. Most of the game was played in the damnedest rain storm I’ve ever seen. 

*** Northwestern was dressed like the Dick Thornton-led, Ara Parseghian-coached Northwestern team that upset Notre Dame back in the 1960s.  That was the end of the resemblance.  Florida State can’t beat the Irish.  Can Syracuse?  Can USC?

*** West Virginia made the winning 2-point conversion but Texas had called one of those obnoxious “who knew?” timeouts.  On the second try, there was no question - Will Grier ran it in for the win, but damned if one of those officious asses in stripes didn’t call him for unsportsmanlike conduct for holding the ball aloft as he crossed the goal line.

*** Best sideline bimbo post-game interview question: “Take me through your mind set.”

*** Did Bobby Petrino ever say or do something to piss off Dabo Swinney? Why else would a coach put 77 points on a fellow coach?

*** What’s with Navy?  Cincinnati shut them out - beat them, 42-0. The Mids had 171 yards of total offense.  They had 47 yrds passing and - are you ready for this? - 124 yards rushing.

*** If players would be taught to actually tackle - to let their hands and arms precede their bodies - and not go for the big hit, there’d be a lot fewer guys ejected for targeting.

*** When an Alabama player tackles you, you stay tackled.

*** With the first half about to end, LSU gave up what could have been a disastrous sack on their own goal line.  Said Gary Danielson, “There’s a difference between aggressive and reckless.”

*** I'll bet the Alabama-LSU game lost a lot of its audience at halftime, with Alabama way in front - 300 yards of offense in the first half - and LSU showing no signs of life on offense.   LSU had 27 plays in the entire first half.

*** You know things are bad in Knoxville when Tennessee beats Charlotte, 14-3.

*** In the lifetime of a coach, you’ll have those games where everything’s going wrong, and no matter what you do, you can't change things. You just know you’re going to lose. And you do.

For Washington State fans,  Cal-WSU seemed like  just such a game. Cal played lights-out defense, and the Cougars made the kind of mistakes that can only happen on a night when you seem fated to lose.

In one case, a Cougar linebacker intercepted a Cal pass and returned it 40 yards to the Cal 5 yard line, where he lost the ball and it went into the end zone. At least two Cougars appeared to be in position to recover for the touchdown, but no - it rolled out of the end zone for a touchback, which meant it was Cal’s ball, first and 10, on the 20. To make it brief (it was late, even on the West Coast),  the game was tied, 13-13,  with 32 seconds left when Gardner Minshew threw his first touchdown pass of the night.  Final (the Cougars missed the extra point) 19-13.

*********** “A bowl game is a reward for our players.  We’re not going to work them so hard that they won’t enjoy the trip.  That’s not what football is about.”  Bobby Dodd, 1960

(I’ve said this more than once before - has anyone ever asked the players what they think of a playoff as opposed to the bowl system? That’s a rhetorical question.  You know damn well they’d never ask it for fear that the players would all vote to pass up two or three more weeks of intense practices and two more “must-win” games, and go to a bowl game instead.  And “enjoy the trip.”)

*********** Writing recently about the Modzelewski brothers, I did a little digging into their high school, Har-Brack High.  In addition to Big Mo and Little Mo, Har-Brack also produced Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist,  so promising a runner that Paul Brown signed him to an NFL contract while he was still in high school.  No matter - Har-Brack closed in 1967.

Har-Brack wasn’t alone.  In 1952, around the time the Modzelewskis were in high school, Pennsylvania had 2506 school districts.  Today,  there are 501.

Declining enrollments, caused by the cratering of Pennsylvania’s mining and manufacturing base, have led to the closing of hundreds of Pennsylvania high schools and, using an “optimum” target of at least 3,000 students, the creation of larger, “consolidated” districts. 

There would likely be even fewer than 501 districts, if there weren’t holdouts over differences in pay scales and tax rates, fear of loss of autonomy from being merged into a larger district, and the (real) fear of loss of the community identity that comes with having a local high school.

This is not unique to Pennsylvania, of course.  All over America, as our country becomes more urbanized and rural population declines, small towns find themselves fighting to keep their high schools.  Do the math - in Pennsylvania, there are at least 2000 communities that no longer have their own high school.

I think it’s a sad situation, destroying local control of schools at the altar of greater efficiency.  The small local high school, once as representative of American democracy as the  New England town meeting, is becoming a dinosaur. Local control of schools is being passed along to county school boards, to state bureaucrats, and, increasingly, to the Department of Education.  And that’s why, no matter what your community thinks about it, your six-year-old will be taught that Heather has Two Mommies.

*********** The late Steve Sabol, whose father started the company that became NFL Films, succeeded his dad as head of the company, and is recognizeable to almost any football fan as the host of countless NFL Films specials.

He played football at Colorado College, where he was known as something of a free spirit.

On one occasion, he had a plaque made and installed in the visitors' locker room that read: "This field is named in honor of Morris Washburn, who died when his lungs exploded due to a lack of oxygen during a soccer match with Denver University in 1901."

*********** Regarding something I wrote recently about General Neyland of Tennessee, it was the great Herman Hickman - whom the General once called “the greatest guard football has ever known” - who said "If Neyland could score a touchdown against you he had you beat. If he could score two, he had you in a rout."

*********** Coaching is teaching.
 
One of the big failings of so many young coaches is that they get an offense or a defense off the internet - or from Madden - and think they’re all set.  They think that coaching football is EASY -  that all they need is some play diagrams and they’re ready to coach.  They don't understand what all good teachers understand:   that the material you want kids to learn is of no use if you don’t know how to teach it to them.
 
I do believe that some of the best teaching in any school takes place on the football field, but unfortunately, I also believe that the converse is true.  I’m amazed at the  bad coaching  I see because the "coaches" simply don't understand and apply the principles of teaching.
 
Coaching is teaching.

*********** It used to be that every school in town was named either for the town itself, or for a distinguished American - a former President, or maybe a general - preferably one from that town.  At the very least, for a local politician or retired educator.

But no more.  Not in a climate in which even George Washington is considered controversial.
 
Now, by a large margin, communities are going in a totally different direction, taking a real estate developer's approach and giving their schools generic names devised by mixing and matching an assortment of geographic features.
 
In the same way that real estate developers combine words such as Spring, Valley, Mount (or Mont or Mountain), Ridge, Dale, Woods, Forest, Estates, Briar, Oak, etc., schools are trending to innocuous, inoffensive names like Sky View, Mountain View, View Ridge, River Ridge, Lake View, Ridge View, ad nauseum.

*********** I do remember the Tom Landry commercial...Ahhh, the good ol' days.
If a commercial like that ran today...people would be screaming RACIST!!!!

Mike Framke
Green Bay, Wisconsin

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

Despite Matt Canada's best efforts to get the Maryland football program turned in the right direction he will likely be somewhere else next year because of what he's been able to do.

Watched the UCF-Temple game last night.  Wow does UCF have some speed or what!?  If Temple had anything resembling a defense, and if they could have sustained more time-consuming drives they could have pulled off an upset.  However, won or lost, UCF was exposed. 

Not making any predictions this week.  Holding my breath instead.

I think the world of Coach Snyder, but his time has come and gone.  However I can certainly understand why he sees his son as his successor.  Could be he's the only one he TRUSTS to get the job done right??

The MAC "experiment" has failed miserably.  They need to cut their losses and get back to Saturdays when college football games should be played.

Enjoy the games, and have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

 

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: A native of Humboldt, Tennessee, Murray Warmath  played  under General Neyland at Tennessee and following graduation he joined the staff at Tennessee. After a three-year time out for World War II service, he returned to  Tennessee and served through 1948.

He believed that the future of football lay with the T-formation, and knowing that General Neyland was committed to running the single wing, he believed that in the best interest of his chances of getting a head coaching job, he needed to learn more about the new offensive system that was sweeping the game.

He couldn’t have chosen a better place to learn it than from a coach who had won three national championships in the past five years - Earl Blaik at Army.

In 1949 he was hired by Blaik to coach the line.  He succeeded Sid Gillman, who had left to become head coach at Cincinnati. Along with him, Gillman had taken a young assistant, one who had played under him at Miami of Ohio, named Paul Dietzel. Joining the Army staff that same year was a new backfield coach named Vince Lombardi.

Following the 1951 season, he was offered the head coaching job at Mississippi State.  To install the split-T offense that was winning championships at Maryland and Oklahoma, he brought in as an assistant a former Oklahoma quarterback named Darrell Royal.

In 1954 he was offered the head coaching job at Minnesota. Prior to World War II, the Gophers had won or shared five national championships and six Big Ten championships, but in the years since, Minnesota football had declined.

He started out well. He finished with a  7-2 record in his first season, then dropping to 3-6 but rebounding to 6-1-2 in his second. But that was followed by a three-year dry spell (4-5, 1-8, 2-7) from 1957 to 1959, and Minnesota fans and boosters were calling for his head.

But along came 1960, and his Gophers swept through the 1960 season with an 8-1 record.  They were named national champions, and he was named Coach of the Year.

Winning the Big Ten title earned Minnesota a spot in the Rose Bowl but in anticlimactic fashion, after having already been named National Champion,  they lost to Washington, 17-7.

The next year, though, they atoned for the Rose Bowl loss, defeating UCLA 21-3.

In his 18 years at Minnesota, his teams won 87 games, lost 78 and tied seven times.  In a time when teams played nine-game schedules, three of his teams won eight games.

At a time when the entire Big Ten was limited to just one bowl game a year, he took two of his teams to the Rose Bowl.  Five of his teams finished either first or second in the Big Ten.   Four of his teams were ranked in the Top Ten; seven of his teams were ranked in the Top 20. 

His 1967 team was the last Minnesota team to finish first - or tied for first - in the Big Ten.

If he were known for nothing else, it ought to be his willingness to break color barriers by recruiting black athletes when other major college schools were still reluctant to do so.  Some of the better known black players he recruited to Minnesota were Sandy Stephens and Bill Munsey, from Uniontown, Pennsylvania,  Bobby Bell from Shelby, North Carolina, and Carl Eller from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MURRAY WARMATH

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** Murray Warmath once helped Bear Bryant get a job. Warmath  was an assistant at Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt’s Red Sanders offered him a job as his assistant.  When Warmath turned him down, Sanders offered the job to Bryant.

*********** Before fall practice started, Army’s Earl “Red” Blaik liked to take a number of his assistants and a few of his chosen sportswriter friends from New York to a lodge on the shores of  Bull Pond, on the huge West Point Military Academy reservation.  There, they would swim, fish, converse, play practical jokes and generally enjoy good company. Meals were a shared responsibility, and while some of the campers prided themselves on their cooking abilities, others weren’t quite so skilled.

Warmath, on sitting down to a meal prepared by one of the lesser-skilled cooks, looked at his food and said, “Am I supposed to eat this or have I already eaten it?”

*********** QUIZ - As a high school coach in Middletown, Ohio, he tired of losing games with his running attack, and devised a wide-open passing attack which he called Lonesome Polecat (because,  he wrote, one of his assistants said, “it stinks”).

The Polecat, however, led to his development of a wide-open system heavily oriented to passing which he called the Run and Shoot.

He enjoyed great success as a high school coach. He was named Ohio Coach of the Year in 1961 and served as President of the Ohio High School Coahes Association.

Over the years, with certain adaptations to his original system, his offense has met with great success at every level of the game.

He was a graduate of Denison University, where he was an All-Ohio guard, and after retirement as a high school coach, he served for six years on the staff of  his college teammate, Woody Hayes, at Ohio State.


american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 2,  2018 - “For what avail the plow or sail,  or land or life, if freedom fail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

*********** We lived in Maryland for 14 years and we loved it.  Three of our children were born in Maryland, and all four of our kids started school there.  My wife graduated from Hood College in Frederick, and  I got my start coaching in Hagerstown. We first moved there (to Baltimore) in spring of 1961, and after moving west to Frederick in 1966 and then farther west to Hagerstown in 1970, we lived in Maryland until we moved to the Pacific Northwest in the spring of 1975. 

Although my wife and I are native Pennsylvanians, and we’ve lived in Washington state for more than 43 years, Maryland remains a special place to us, and we always feel a great sense of nostalgia when we visit.

This is by way of saying how horrible we’ve felt about the tragic death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair, and the resulting atmosphere of irresponsibility and bumbling incompetence displayed by the University of Maryland.

Jordan McNair died back in June, some two weeks after suffering heatstroke during an off-season team workout.  By most accounts, the severity of his condition was not immediately acknowledged and treated appropriately.

Further investigation into the matter indicated that there was a lot of unhealthiness (“toxicity” seems to be the word of the day)  in the Maryland program.  The strength coach who was in charge of the workout was fired. And was paid $300,000 to go away.

I’m not able to do a thorough job of providing a timeline, so I won’t try.  The Baltimore Sun has done a great job, and I’ve attached a link to it at the end of this article.

Meanwhile, this story continues to grow - and to grow weirder.

The Coach, D.J. Durkin, had been on suspension, but he was reinstated. GIven his job back.

The University President had wanted to fire the coach but he was overruled by the Board of Regents, which is appointed by the Governor. The President seemed to go along, but announced he would be retiring next summer.

Just 24 hours later, Durkin was fired. By the President.

When the news broke that he would be returning, there was such an uproar from so many different directions - including Jordan McNair’s parents (his father said he felt as if he’d been “spit in the face”), students and faculty and deans and, finally,  the Governor himself - that the President went ahead and defied the Board of Regents and fired Durkin.

At Durkin’s first meeting with the team on his return, two or three players got up and left.

At Tuesday’s practice, the first that Durkin attended, there was a fight.  The Maryland team has actually played well under its interim coach, Matt Canada. But Durkin’s return yesterday appears to have revealed a schism on the team between Durkin detractors and Durkin supporters. Good luck with that, Coach Canada.

Anyhow, Durkin is gone. Amazingly,  he will be paid some $5.5 million due him for the remainder of his contract, since - for some reason unfathomable to me - he wasn’t fired “for cause.”  He was just “bought out,” as if he simply hadn’t won enough games.

Jordan McNair’s parents rather early announced their intention to sue.  The University, to its credit,  did the right thing and acknowledged, back in August, that it would accept “legal and moral responsibility” for Jordan’s death.  But then, defying all logic, the Board of Regents raised temperatures - and the cost of settlement - by reinstating the coach whom Jordan McNair’s parents blame for their son’s death. 

On Thursday came word that the University of Maryland’s accreditation could be in jeopardy.  This matters because accreditation of an institution is required in order for students to be eligible for federal student loans, and according to the Department of Education, roughly one-third of Maryland’s students receive federal loans.

Personally, I think the disastrous decision to return Durkin to the job would never have been made if there had been just one person on that Board of Regents with an ounce of understanding of how big-time sports works, and what an impossible time Maryland’s football staff would have had trying to convince parents - especially single mothers - to entrust their kids to them.

There's no easy way for me to say this:  if I were selected to serve on a jury - fat chance, as I do have some knowledge of the issue and some strong feelings - you would have a hell of a job trying to convince me that Jordan McNair wasn’t allowed to die, as a result of the liability of people in the school’s athletic department whose responsibility was his safety.

THE BALTIMORE SUN’S “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW”:

https://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/terps/tracking-the-terps/bs-md-umd-football-scandal-faq-20180813-story.html

*********** On one TV we had the Temple-UCF game. Absolutely riveting. On the other, I took a look at Raiders-49ers.  It was 31-3 - the sort of  ho-hum game you'd have to pay me to watch. How bad are things in the NFL when they keep tampering with the game in hopes of juicing up the offense but so many of the teams are in need of resuscitation? (Oh, well.  If the Raiders keep on like this, I'm sure some city will have them. And Gruden can always go back to being a TV expert.  Or has he blown his cover?)

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL WORTH WATCHING THIS WEEKEND:

FRIDAY GAME: Colorado at Arizona - Is Arizona (now 3-3 in conference) finally coming together? Are they as good as they looked against Oregon last week? Did Colorado (now 2-3) really lose to Oregon State last week?

SATURDAY GAMES:

NEBRASKA AT OHIO STATE: Just kidding.  This probably won’t be worth watching for long, but I can hope.

MICHIGAN STATE AT MARYLAND: Believe it or not, Maryland would be bowl-eligible with a win. But will Maryland be able to field 11 players who can get along?  Will the anticipation of something weird happening keep people away?  Or draw a crowd?

AIR FORCE AT ARMY: Air Force is 3-5, but three of their losses were by less than a touchdown and the Zoomies haven’t been beaten badly by anyone.  They’ve already beaten Navy - badly - and if they win, they also win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.  So Go Army!

GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY: Biggest game in Lexington in years. This one is for all the marbles - and the right to get beaten by Alabama in the SEC championship game.

WEST VIRGINIA AT TEXAS: For some reason, the ‘eers don’t get a lot of love from the guys who do the ranking, even though they’ve lost only once. Can’t say they don’t “control their destiny” : they end the season in Morgantown against Oklahoma.

IOWA AT PURDUE: Neither one has better than an outside shot at a spot in the title game,
because they’re both 2 games behind Northwestern in conference standings. But I’ll watch.

KANSAS STATE AT TCU: I’ll watch this one for reasons that I explain below.

PENN STATE AT MICHIGAN: Okay, okay.  This week I’m back to being a Penn State fan. But I would root for Harbaugh if he were playing ISIS.

UTAH AT ARIZONA STATE: Utah is in the lead for the South spot in the Pac-12 title game.

DUKE AT MIAMI: GO DEVILS!

NOTRE DAME AT NORTHWESTERN: Time for the Irish  to go earn their bowl money like all the conference guys.
 
UCLA AT OREGON: Chip Kelly returns to Eugene.  Do the Ducks have any fight left in them?

ALABAMA AT LSU: LSU has more quality wins than any team in America.  I will be rooting for the Tigers to pick up one more.  But I’m a realist.

OKLAHOMA AT TEXAS TECH: Ought to be a good game. Texas Tech lost a tough one to Iowa State last week, but they’re capable of beating the Sooners. Not going to happen, though.  I think Oklahoma is a playoff team.

STANFORD AT WASHINGTON: Hard to say, after UW’s inexplicable benching of starting QB Jake Browning last week.  Stanford almost beat Washington State last week. If Washington wins, and then goes on to beat Washington State, the Huskies would go to the Pac-12 title game.

USC AT OREGON STATE: After the Beavs beat Colorado last week, is two in a row asking for too much?

BYU AT BOISE STATE: Sorry, Cougars.  Boise State might be the best non-Power 5 team.

CAL AT WASHINGTON STATE: Is THIS the week that they “Coug it?”  Nah.  The Cougars are good.

UTAH STATE AT HAWAII:  Utah State isn’t getting enough credit, but they’re 7-1 and their only loss was at Michigan State, 38-31 in their opener.

***********   On Tuesday morning,  Giants’ backup QB Kyle Lauletta was arrested in Weehawken, New Jersey while on his way to practice,  for “various motor vehicle and related disorderly persons offenses” including “eluding police, a third-degree crime, obstructing administration of law, and resisting arrest, which are disorderly persons offenses.”

Aditional charges included “reckless driving, disregarding an officer’s directions, improper turn in a marked traffic lane, and failure to remain in a marked lane.”
The official Weehawken Police Department statement said that Lauletta was driving in a dangerous manner in heavy traffic and almost struck an officer with his 2017 Jaguar.   In addition, Lauletta refused various instructions to produce his driving credentials and exit his vehicle.

Oh,  and evidently he had made the same illegal turn a day earlier.

If you like your irony:   the Giants were rumored to be on the verge of taking the car keys away from Eli Manning and giving them to Mr. Laudetta.   So much for that bright idea.

So there was Kyle Lauletta, a young white guy, driving a 2017 Jaguar.  He commits a few traffic violations, after which he refuses “various instructions to produce his driving credentials and exit his vehicle.”

Coupla questions about young Mr. Lauletta:

1. Who is it that’s been teaching our young people - white and black - not to cooperate with law enforcement?

2. Would it have made the social justice people feel any better if the police had roughed him up a bit?

*********** You have no idea how many times I have heard variations on this theme…

Coach Wyatt,

Our team finished with a 4-5 record this season.  To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement.  I struggled this season feeling like the Head Coach was not supportive of my wishes in running the Double Wing Offense. 

To begin with I was told we needed to run the offense using splits.  I was told that was non negotiable, so I scrapped most of the plans I had for the season.

I was then told we would have a new O-line coach who had coached last year at a big school that ran the spread offense.  It was clear to me that he had no clue about nor did he believe in the Double wing offense, or wing T offense for that matter.  So basically every day, board drills, hands blocking, you know the rest.

What was really frustrating to me was that we knew we would struggle this year with our line as we were undersized and inexperienced.  I even asked at one point if I could coach the line and was told no.

As bad as it was, we still managed to rush for over 2000 yards and scored in every game. 

Our defense was horrible as we decided to run a 3 man front  stack defense in a predominantly run oriented league.  My suggestions were ignored all season about the defense.

I haven't resigned yet.  But I am considering it. 

Coach,

To say that I’m disappointed to hear of your experience would be an understatement.

That someone with your knowledge and experience, someone who has done as much for that program as you have, would be treated with such disrespect is disheartening.

At the same time, though, it teaches me - teaches us both - that human nature will not change.  Very few are the coaches who are intelligent enough, and secure enough, to listen and learn from someone else’s experience.

Something you didn’t mention but which I’m willing to bet on, is that somehow the disappointing season is going to be blamed on you.

Buck up.  There has to be another program in the area that will appreciate what you can do for them.

Thanks for the update and keep me posted.



*********** If you’ve seen any of the mid-week Mid-American Conference games, you’ve seen the near-empty stands.  It’s impossible to hide them from viewers. You get the impression that they’re paying people NOT to attend.

These are pretty good teams, most of them, playing in  important games, some of them, and playing an entertaining brand of football, all of them.  But no matter.  It’s Tuesday night in Bowling Green, or Wednesday night in Toledo, and the football game just isn’t the event that a Saturday afternoon game is.  Besides, it’s late fall, and it gets colder at night.

My question: do the conference members really think that whatever pittance they’re receiving from ESPN… whatever “exposure” they’re getting from being on TV… are worth discarding a major part of the college football tradition in return?

So while we sat there in our warm, comfortable living rooms, watching the MAC on TV this past week -  there is just one single MAC game this Saturday afternoon.  It’s Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan.  Uh-oh.  I saw the “crowd” when Army played at Eastern last Saturday afternoon. 

Never mind.

With its decision to sell its soul to TV, and the resultant drop-offs in live game attendance - a phenomenon that’s begun to affect bigger schools as well -  the MAC may be giving us a look at the future of college football.

*********** I thought the voice on the Toledo-Ball State game Wednesday night sounded familiar.  Thought it sounded like Desmond Howard.  Turned out it was.

Damn, it’s one thing to hear him engaging in conversation on Game Day, but Heisman Trophy or not, that diction of his is hard to listen to on a game broadcast.

*********** I heard some guy on TV - no doubt one of these under-30 geniuses who think that they didn’t start playing football until, oh, the year 2000 or so - say this:

“This (this coming Saturday’s game against Georgia) will be the biggest game in the history of Kentucky football.”

Well, Einstein, nobody expects you to know that a fella named Bryant - first name Paul, but most folks called him “Bear” - once coached at Kentucky, from 1946 through 1953.

During one three-year spell, from 1949 through 1951, he took the Wildcats to three straight bowls. There were no “major” bowls then - there were only the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Gator and Sun Bowls.  That was it.  An awful lot of good teams stayed home back in those days.

Coach Bryant’s 1950 team went 11-1 and went to the Sugar Bowl.

Think they didn’t play any big games?  They beat LSU, Ole Miss,  Florida, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State. Their only loss was to Tennessee, but that’s another story.  If you don’t know your football history, it’s because even good Kentucky teams have always had trouble beating Tennessee. It’s a lot like the way the late Beano Cook once explained why he predicted that Penn State would beat Maryland: “Because Penn State ALWAYS beats Maryland.”

Oh - and behind their All-American QB, Babe Parilli,  they beat Oklahoma, 13-7 in the Sugar Bowl.  That was 10-1 Oklahoma’s only loss and it ended the Sooner’s 32-game win streak.   82,000 people were at the game in the old Sugar Bowl (Tulane) Stadium. 

THAT was a big game.

Yes, the Georgia game Saturday will be a big game for Kentucky football.  But the biggest ever?  Nah.  Maybe the biggest since Bear Bryant coached there.  I’ll give you that.

*********** Looks as though the folks in Kentucky like their Aussie punter!

https://twitter.com/max__duffy/status/1056343449195163655?s=21

*********** Hugh,
 
I agree with you.  Northwestern has what it takes to beat the Irish.  ND has not yet convinced me after their performance against Navy (and most of their opponents) that they are worthy of the playoffs.  I could be wrong.  This week's game will say a lot about what kind of team the Irish are.

I was wrong about the Fresno State-Hawaii game.  The Bulldogs season will be defined in the next two weeks vs. San Diego State and Boise State.

I thought for sure Minnesota was going down vs. Indiana.  But...those young Gophers showed great resilience and pulled out the victory.  In my opinion the backup red-shirt freshman QB the Gophers have is better than their true freshman QB who was injured.  But it still is good news for Minnesota's future.

Nice to hear that Greg and Pete continue their winning ways.  Best of luck to both.

Have a great day!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Some time ago I wrote that the Bill Snyder era wasn’t going to end well.  Coach Snyder, whose remarkable job of turning around the woebegone Kansas State program - twice - has been called by no less an authority than Barry Switzer “the greatest job of coaching in the history of college football,” is not a young man.  Even if his Wildcats were having a great season, the subject of his succession would be wearing heavy on K-State people. 

The problem originates with his insistence that his son, Sean, succeed him.  Otherwise, he isn’t going anywhere.

The Cat Pack is divided.  There are those who believe that after what Coach Snyder has done for Kansas State, he has earned the the right to turn his job over to anyone he wishes.

There are others who argue that Sean Snyder (whom I have met and found to be a very good man) is not qualified, having never been a head coach or a coordinator.

Unfortunately, the Cats are not having a great season.  Not even a good season.  They’re having a bad season, and the future doesn’t look promising.

What to do?  K-State has already lost some good assistants who got tired of waiting for things to work out.  One potential replacement, former K-State assistant Jim Leavitt, has the qualifiations. He did a great job of building the program at South Florida, and he’s bided his time as DC at Colorado and now Oregon.  He’s highly paid at Oregon, but his contract stipulates that he can be released if he’s offered the head coaching job at Kansas State.

But to compllicate things further, Oregon has not been playing well lately, either.  And that includes its defense.


Writes Tim Fitzgerald in GoPowercat.com, The Time has Come.

Saturday’s game was a mismatch, a rout that the score did not honestly reflect because OU coach Lincoln Riley called off his potent offense, electing not to pummel the literally defenseless Wildcats into utter humiliation.

K-State looked much closer to the feeble program Snyder took over in 1989 than the one he built into a power that won a pair of Big 12 championships. The last one came in 2012, and six seasons later the slow erosion is obvious. Snyder’s castle is collapsing in decay.

https://247sports.com/college/kansas-state/Article/Kansas-State-football-Bill-Snyder-2018-retire-retirement-after-loss-to-Oklahoma-2018-123935038/


*********** While most of you back East have fallen asleep on Saturday nights, Washington State’s Gardner Minshew, is establishing himself as a Heisman Trophy runnerup. 

Heisman Runnerup is about all a West Coast player can aspire to, because with the exception of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, no non-USC player has won the Heisman since Jim Plunkett of Stanford won in it 1970.  In fact, it’s been since 2005 when a USC player last won it - and that was Reggie Bush, who had to return it because he was being paid more than most other Heisman winners would ever admit.

In high school, in Brandon, MIssissippi,  MInshew threw for 11,222 yards and 105 touchdowns in the state’s top classification. He was also a 4.0 student.

After going to Troy University for six months, realizing he wasn’t going to beat out the starter, he transferred to Northwest Mississippi Community College and led it to the 2015 National Junior College Athletic Association title.

He then transferred to East Carolina, where he shared the quarterback job.  He got his degree in December, and with a year of eligibility remaining and the ability to transfer and play immediately, he committed to Alabama.  Although  the Crimson Tide had Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts returning at quarterback, Minshew thought Alabama offered him a great chance to learn the game.

Then Mike Leach called and, the story goes,  said something like this: “Hey, you want to come lead the country in passing?”

That evidently sounded good to Minshew, so he cancelled out on Alabama, and  headed to an unlikely place for a kid from Mississippi - Pullman, Washington.

Since he didn’t arrive until after spring practice, he started out in the fall as the number three quarterback.

But by the opening game he was the starter, and after eight games, his stats are eye-popping:

294 completions in 414 attempts - 71 per cent completions… 7.7 yards per attempt… 26 TDs… 6 INTs… 6 sacks…

A Passer rating of 153.4

And, best of all - if any Heisman voter is reading - a 7-1 team record.


*********** A lot of you may not be old enough to remember this great American Express commercial, done back in pre-PC days…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8do9Y1rwQeA&feature=youtu.be

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Bowden Wyatt is one of only three men to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and also as a coach (The others: Amos Alonzo Stagg and Bobby Dodd).

A single wing coach all the way, in the span of just eight years he won conference championships with three different teams, and was named Coach of the Year in three different conferences.

A native of Kingston, Tennessee, not far from Knoxville, he played at Tennessee under  General Bob Neyland.  He started every game for three years, during which time the Vols were 23-5-3, and in his senior year, 1938, he was a consensus All-American end and captain of a Tennessee team that went 11-0. The Vols went to the Orange Bowl his senior year - the first bowl game that Tennessee ever played in - and defeated Oklahoma.

After graduating from college, he coached at Mississippi State for three years, then served as an officer in the Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he spent one more season at Mississippi State before landing the head coaching job at Wyoming.

Patterning his game after that of General Neyland, he coached the Cowboys to a  39-17-1 record in six years.  In 1949 the Cowboys went 9-1 and in 1950 they went 10-0, including a Gator Bowl win, and were ranked 12th in the AP poll. He was named Skyline Conference Coach of the Year.

In 1953 he took over a sorry Arkansas program, one that hadn’t had a wining season since 1947, and by October of his second year, 1954, his Hogs were the talk of the country.  The “25 Little Pigs” were unbeaten after knocking off Texas and Ole Miss on consecutive Saturdays.  They did eventually lose three, including a loss to Georgia Tech in the Cotton Bowl, but they won the Southwest Conference championship. Their 8-3 finish earned him Southwest Conference Coach of the Year honors, a new car - courtesy of the boosters - and an offer to be the head coach at his alma mater.

Just as Bear Bryant would leave Texas A & M for Alabama a few years later because “Mama called,”  he couldn’t turn his alma mater down. He took the Tennessee job, and in his second year at Knoxville, the Vols went 10-1, going unbeaten in the SEC and losing only to Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.  He was named SEC and AFCA Coach of the Year.

But in his final five seasons at Tennessee, his teams went 25-22-3 and he was let go, one game short of his 100th career win.

His overall record at Wyoming, Arkansas and Tennessee was 99-56-1.

He died of viral pneumonia in 1969.  He was just 51.

So far as I can determine, we are not kin.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BOWDEN WYATT

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA


*********** Courtesy of Adam Wesoloski

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IxNfKpC2jo

*********** QUIZ: A native of Humboldt, Tennessee, he played  under General Neyland at Tennessee and following graduation he joined the staff at Tennessee. After a three-year time out for World War II service, he returned to  Tennessee and served through 1948.

He believed that the future of football lay with the T-formation, and knowing that General Neyland was committed to running the single wing, he believed that in the best interest of his chances of getting a head coaching job, he needed to learn more about the new offensive system that was sweeping the game.

He couldn’t have chosen a better place to learn it than from a coach who had won three national championships in the past five years - Earl Blaik at Army.

In 1949 he was hired by Blaik to coach the line.  He succeeded Sid Gillman, who had left to become head coach at Cincinnati. Along with him, Gillman had taken a young assistant, one who had played under him at Miami of Ohio, named Paul Dietzel. Joining the Army staff that same year was a new backfield coach named Vince Lombardi.

Following the 1951 season, he was offered the head coaching job at Mississippi State.  To install the split-T offense that was winning championships at Maryland and Oklahoma, he brought in as an assistant a former Oklahoma quarterback named Darrell Royal.

In 1954 he was offered the head coaching job at Minnesota. Prior to World War II, the Gophers had won or shared five national championships and six Big Ten championships, but in the years since, Minnesota football had declined.

He started out well. He finished with a  7-2 record in his first season, then dropping to 3-6 but rebounding to 6-1-2 in his second. But that was followed by a three-year dry spell (4-5, 1-8, 2-7) from 1957 to 1959, and Minnesota fans and boosters were calling for his head.

But along came 1960, and his Gophers swept through the 1960 season with an 8-1 record.  They were named national champions, and he was named Coach of the Year.

Winning the Big Ten title earned Minnesota a spot in the Rose Bowl but in anticlimactic fashion, after having already been named National Champion,  they lost to Washington, 17-7.

The next year, though, they atoned for the Rose Bowl loss, defeating UCLA 21-3.

In his 18 years at Minnesota, his teams won 87 games, lost 78 and tied seven times.  In a time when teams played nine-game schedules, three of his teams won eight games.

At a time when the entire Big Ten was limited to just one bowl game a year, he took two of his teams to the Rose Bowl.  Five of his teams finished either first or second in the Big Ten.   Four of his teams were ranked in the Top Ten; seven of his teams were ranked in the Top 20. 

If he were known for nothing else, it ought to be his willingness to break color barriers by recruiting black athletes when other major college schools were still reluctant to do so.  Some of the better known black players he recruited to Minnesota were Sandy Stephens and Bill Munsey, from Uniontown, Pennsylvania,  Bobby Bell from Shelby, North Carolina, and Carl Eller from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 30,  2018 - “Young men think old men are fools; but old men know young men are fools.”  George Chapman

COLLEGE FOOTBALL ON THE TUBE LAST SATURDAY

*********** EASTERN MICHIGAN VS ARMY - Eastern Michigan’s field is a slate gray.  It looks like a fuzzy parking lot. Maybe that’s what kept the crowd down to what I expect to see at an 8-man high school game.

Can’t imagine how Eastern beat Purdue earlier in the season.  They are very undisciplined - and that includes the coaches.

They had five personal fouls or unsportmanlike conduct penalties, three of them after the play was over.

Damned if they didn’t pick up two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the same play - half the distance followed by half the distance.  One of them was on the “assistant head coach.”  Lemme tell you something, fellas - if you’re an assistant, stay back and stay out of it! It’s bad enough for the head coach to pick up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but it’s absolutely unthinkable - an inexcusable intrusion on the head coach’s business - for an assistant coach to get one. 

Eastern didn’t have a first down in the entire first half.

For some reason, otherwise-effective passers seem to lose their accuracy against Army.  Could the Army defensive guys be operating some sort of top-secret, hand-held anti-missile device from up in the press box?

An Eastern Michigan defensive lineman was called for defensive holding, and damned if replay didn’t show him pulling down an Army offensive lineman by his jersey.

Army had a backup crew of announcers. You could tell they were because they didn’t get the official memo from headquarters: not once did they say “Army West Point” or “Hopkins, Junior.”  One of them was a former NFL lineman named Ross Tucker.  For a Princeton guy, he was pretty good.

After the game - a 37-22 Army win - some Eastern guy named “McGILL JR” came over to Army’s QB, Kelvin Hopkins, and got in his face and started jawing at him.  Very classy.

*********** Navy isn’t good enough to beat Notre Dame, but Northwestern definitely is.

*********** A kid named Rocky Lombardi got the start at QB for Michigan State.  Did a nice job.  Purdue was flat, MSU was fired up.

*********** It doesn’t appear that Mississippi State has a QB controversy after all.   Nick Fitzgerald is still the man.

*********** For the first time in a few years, Florida-Georgia was a game.  For a while. But Florida isn’t ready yet.

*********** Is it time to take Kentucky seriously yet?

*********** Houston sure took the wind out of South Florida's sails.

*********** San Diego State has only one loss - to Stanford; Fresno State has lost only to Minnesota; Utah State has lost only to Michigan State; Boise State may be the best of them all - but the Broncos have lost twice - not only to Oklahoma state but also to San Diego State.

*********** I saw three real, honest-to-God quarterback sneaks this weekend  - with the fullback pushing on the QB - and they all worked: for Michigan State, Army, and Oklahoma State.

But wait - there was a fourth, if you believe the ignoramuses at the AP.  That's what they called it in their stories on Sunday. It was the play that Oregon State’s Jack Colletto scored on  to beat Colorado in OT. But he wasn’t under center.  Looked more like an old-fashioned single wing tailback off tackle play to me. Are you telling me that these jackasses who've turned tailbacks into quarterbacks are now going to turn an off-tackle run into a quarterback sneak? (Ahem. Jack Colletto is from Camas, the town I live in; his dad, Bert, played for me in 1980 at Hudson’s Bay High in Vancouver, Washington. He was a really good football player who went on to play at Eastern Washington.)

COLLETTO QB SNEAK

********** The TV networks need to have a “Mercy Rule” when blowout games go extra long while the game we’ve been waiting to watch has already started. Sheesh. Clemson was winning 59-3 with 6:51 to play - and they were throwing!!!  The only thing that made it bearable was that it was against Florida State and Willie Taggart.

*********** Speaking of Willie Taggart… FSU suffered its worst loss ever, since the days when it first admitted men (it was originally an all-female school) and then took up football.  In the post-game press conference Taggart implied that there were some quitters on his team.  Hmmm. Would a job-hopping coach be a quitter?

*********** Iowa State, leading 33-31, sees nobody in the middle of the field and throws a post, good for a 49-yard touchdown.  Texas Tech drives but with 1:51 throws an interception.  The TT QB stands there with his palms up instead of going after the return man.

*********** Iowa led Penn State early, 5-0.  How often do you see that score?

*********** I tuned in Kansas-TCU to see how the new TCU QB was doing and there it is the second quarter and Kansas is still winning. (7-3)

*********** I think if a QB wants to run he has to be considered a real football player, with none of this sliding sh—, and defenders not sure whether or not to hit him.  If he wants to slide, by all means let him do so - but no more of this getting the first down and then sliding. Instead, once the ball is dead, spot it five yards back from the start of the slide. (I would actually start the negotiating at 10 yards, but I’d settle for five.)

*********** Iowa used a hard count and got Penn State to jump on 4th and one.  Another reason for having a QB under center.

*********** Watching two or more TVs - and only listening to one of them - makes you aware that TV networks could do a much better job on their graphics.  Who was the ball carrier? How much did he gain? 

*********** Holy sh—! Kansas 14, TCU 10 in the third quarter!

*********** Iowa, going for a field goal just before the half, screws around with the signals and the ball is snapped too soon. Penn State recovers and puts on a drive and kicks a field goal of its own. A six-point turnaround.

*********** Kirk Ferentz is now #5 among all Big Ten coaches in conference wins, after Hayes, Stagg, Schembechler and Paterno (assuming the NCAA hasn’t yet erased Joe Paterno’s wins from the Big Ten’s book).

*********** Penn State’s Trace McSorley, taken out of the game earlier with a leg injury, comes back in and runs a 51-yard keeper for a TD. Penn State leads, 24-17.

*********** USC had been leading the whole game, when Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry pulled off an all-time great punt return and the Sun Devils went ahead, 31-28.

*********** Oregon State, after being blown out by Colorado 31-8, scored again to make it 31-28.

*********** TCU, down 27-24, drives to the Kansas 7 yard line with 1:11 left - and fumbles.  Kansas recovers and runs the clock down to 7 seconds, then takes a safety, leaving one second on the clock.  Time runs out on the free kick and Kansas has its first win over TCU since 1997.

*********** Washington takes the field against Cal with fruity-looking purpley helmets, the bright idea, no doubt, of some flit at Nike.

*********** Oregon State scores with :29 left to tie the score at 34-34.  And then THE DAMN KICKER MISSES THE EXTRA POINT!!!  We’re headed for overtime.

*********** Arizona State, up 31-28 on USC, calls a QB keeper on 3rd and 1 and it’s good for  a long TD. Final: ASU, 38-28.  I believe I’ve already said this, but just in case I haven’t - Herm Edwards is putting a well-coached football team on the field.  I still think he’s a blowhard, but I have to give him credit where it’s due.

*********** MIchigan State is definitely good enough to beat Ohio State.

*********** Iowa was driving with 3:15 left when the QB threw an interception.  Actually, it looked like a sure completion but a shallow receiver appeared to let the ball go past him, perhaps thinking it was intended for a deeper receiver. Instead, it landed in the arms of a Penn State defender.  Game over.

*********** Oregon State scores in OT, then stops Colorado, ending the Beavers’ 13-game conference losing streak - and their 22-game road losing streak.

*********** Halftime, Oklahoma State 31, Texas 14. Wow.

*********** Cal scores only one TD, and it’s on an interception return, after Washington mystifyingly replaces its starting QB.  But one’s enough, and Cal wins.  Washington looks flat and uninterested.

Said Huskies’ coach Chris Peterson afterward, “Obviously painful. Painful on offense. Let me start by saying: Pulling Jake (Browning) out, that had more to do with me trying to do something to help this offense way more than it did with Jake. Jake is a competitor. Jake does everything we ask. But, you know, we got to try help this offense out somehow, someway…”

Well, Coach, since you brought it up:  what about a real fullback?  A couple of tight ends?  An off-tackle play?

(I have yet to hear back from them on my suggestion that they stop playing patty-cake on offense and start playing physical football.)

*********** Stanford finally finds an offense and gives Washington State all it wants, but ultimately it’s not enough. Stanford receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside is as good a receiver as there is anywhere.

*********** Oklahoma State takes a knee but a Texas defensive end with a wildass mane of hair and an attitude decides he’s going to go hard, and it nearly starts a brawl.  For a moment it looks as if the two coaches will get into it, but they kiss and make up at midfield afterwards.

That kid down on the field afterwards? The one in the middle of the crowd? The one in the orange tee-shirt?  That was my grandson, Mike Tiffany. 

*********** Washington State wins and Mike Leach says of his QB, Gardner Minshew, “I think he’s the best quarterback in the country.”

He might be right, now that it’s obviously not Oregon’s Josh Herbert.  Herbert, with no running game to take the heat off him, wasn’t at all sharp, and the Arizona Wildcats hammered the Ducks.

To be frank, the Ducks looked as if their season ended last week in Pullman.  Their old coach, Willie Taggart, was a continent away, calling his players quitters.  If he’d stayed at Oregon, he might have been saying the same thing Saturday night.

*********** You could have made a lot of money betting on the underdogs in the Pac-12 Saturday.  (Utah played UCLA on Friday night.)

All five games were upsets:
Oregon State over Colorado
Cal over Washington
Arizona State over USC
Arizona over Oregon
Washington State over Stanford

*********** It would take quite a bit of digging for find out, but I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1975 and I sure can’t remember a Saturday when Oregon and Washington both lost and Oregon State and Washington State both won.

*********** Syracuse beat NC State in the Dome, and the Orange is bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.  Syracuse QB Eric Dungy is an Oregon kid.

*********** A bank of lights went out in Fresno and they sent the teams inside.  Not sure why.  We could see fine on TV.  Maybe somebody saw the word “lighting” problems and  read “lightning” problems.  No matter.  Fresno beat Hawaii handily.  Get this: Washington State is the only Pac-12 team in the Top 25 this week.  But Fresno State is in there. In other words, the Bulldogs outrank 11 of the 12 Pac-12 schools.

*********** NFL miscellany….

Jameis Winston may be the face of the Bucs’ franchise, but Ryan Fitapatrick is the better QB, and he damn near pulled out a win yesterday. 

I really think that the nightclub “brawl” in London started when the four Jaguars’ players found out they were actually expected to pay their entire $64,000 tab - that they weren’t being comped all those $500 bottles of champagne simply because they were star athletes.

Without all the Packer fans in attendance, the Rams, as good as they are, would have had half the crowd they did.

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

I also hope Northwestern can pull off a win against Wisconsin for "personal" reasons.  Go Gophers!

Would like to see Minnesota vs. Indiana tonight but I'll be watching a flag football game instead.
Go Gophers!

Hawaii will give Fresno State a battle.  Should be a good one to watch!  Go Bulldogs!

We spent last weekend in Denver.  You could say we smelled a "Rocky Mountain High" all three days we were there.

Pop Warner was way ahead of his time, and why he is still considered one of the great football coaching minds of all time.

I can vouch for that long-time DW coach and what he says.  As the former HC here we ran the DW and won.  Something that had not been done in the previous 5 years of the school's existence.  After I stepped down the new HC abandoned the DW for the "Air Raid" offense.  They went 3-7.  After that coach stepped down the next HC abandoned the Air Raid for the Spread Option.  They went Ofer.  Those last two years may have killed the football program.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** The Double Wing rolls…

Pete Porcelli, who for five years had been head coach at Hoosic Valley High in the nearly-unpronounceable town of Schaghticoke, New York -  north of Albany -  hung it up after last season.

He’d had a good run - three straight playoff spots at a school that was seriously considering dropping football before he took over.

And then he wrote me to say that he was back in the saddle.   He’d reconsidered, and he’d rescinded his resignation. 

After the first three games, though, he had to have some second thoughts.  His kids were 0-3.

He didn’t panic - he’d been in the same spot last year.  He stayed the course, and his kids kept getting better.

And they began to win, And win.  Now, they’ve won six straight, defeating Whitehall in the Super Bowl semi-final, 22-7.

In next week’s final, they’ll face Warrensburg (7-1). It ought to be VERY interesting - Warrensburg beat them, 34-14 in week two.

Don’t bet against Hoosic Valley:  Whitehall, the team they just beat 22-7, beat them 40-20 back in week three.

*********** The Double Wing rolls… In his second year at Cimarron, Kansas, Coach Greg Koenig has the program on the move.

His Blue Jays are now 8-1, their only loss coming in the opening game after a lightning-caused cancellation when they trailed, 27-20 early in the fourth quarter.

Since then, though, the Blue Jays have run off eight straight. Seven of them were by large margins, including Friday night’s opening-round 52-14 playoff win over Ellsworth.

It was Cimarron’s first playoff win since 1998, and the first time since 2004 that a Cimarron team has won more than seven games in a season

Cimarron made short work of things, leading Ellsworth 22-0 after one quarter and 30-0 at the half.  Ellsworth’s two scores came in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore A-Back Tate Seabolt carried 36 times for 183 yards and two TDs.

Next up: Hoisington (7-2), a 38-13 first-round winner over Sterling.  Cimarron beat Sterling earlier in the season, 74-19.    Hoisington beat  Ellsworth, Cimarron's first-round victim,  48-14.


*********** The Double Wing rolls…

Coach,

Our regular season is done. We used to be called the Junior pride. Now we are the Hornets. We went from 1-8 last year to 7-1. Complete turn around in 1 year. We went from worst offense to number 2 in one year if installing the DW. We have a Bye in first round of playoffs. Our only loss was to the number 1 team. This was achieved using only the following plays. Super Power, Counter, Wedge, reach (we have a 100 meter dash champion) and Brown/Black pass. We once in a while run Criss Cross Counter.

You can use us as a testimonial. We used your new book to educate coaches and implement.

John Coelho
Turlock, California
john coelho standings


Coach,

I appreciate the update and the offer to be a testimonial.

My congratulations to you, your players and your staff.  I’m certainly proud of the job you did and the results that you achieved.  

Best of luck in the playoffs!


*********** The Open Wing rolls…

Cole Shaffer, a former player for me in LaCenter, Washington, and a former assistant of mine at Washougal, Washington, now lives in Northern Colorado, where he owns and runs several NAPA stores. He’s just finishing his first season as a youth coach, running my Open Wing offense, and he sent me this update…

Hi Coach,

Well it was a battle, but we won our semi-final playoff game 13-6. They played us tough and we struggled to move the ball continuously, but we finally broke a 6-G Keep that got us down to the 5. Then I told our kids that we needed the wedge of our lives. You see, the team we were playing has a Nose Tackle that outweighs most everyone on our line by 50 pounds. But as you can see in the photo below, the kids did run the wedge of their lives and we drove the big kid all the way into the end zone for the game winning TD.

It's been a tremendous run, and we have one more game to go. We play the Northern Warriors again, the only team we haven't beat. But our defense is playing the best it has all year, and we have a great game plan on offense. Should be fun. Win or lose, I couldn't be more proud to have the smallest (in numbers and size) team in the league and be headed to the Championship.

So much fun, thanks as always for you help!!

(That’s Coach Shaffer’s team in red. Whether open Wingers or Double Wingers,  readers will recognize the Wedge in the photo below!)

Cole shaffer wedge


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER:  The son of a Polish-immigrant coal miner, Dick Modzelewski (Mod-jel-EFF-ski) was a native of Natrona Heights, in western Pennsylvania, and a three-sport star at Har-Brack High.

He played with his older brother, Ed, on Jim Tatum’s powerful Maryland teams of the early 1950s.

Although at 6 foot, 215, Ed was the smaller of the two,  Ed had already made a name for himself at Maryland as a powerful runner - that name was “Big Mo,” a takeoff on the nickname of the famed World War II battleship, the USS Missouri.  When Dick arrived, although he outweighed Ed by at least 30 pounds, he was dubbed, half-jokingly, “Little Mo.”

During his three years of eligibility, the Terps went 24-4-1, including a 22-game win streak. In the 1951 Sugar Bowl, the third-ranked Terps defeated previously unbeaten (and already-crowned national Champion) Tennessee, 28-13. (Big Mo gained 153 yards and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.)

In 1952 he was a consensus All-American, and he won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman.

A second-round draft choice of the Redskins, he played with four teams during his career: Redskins, Steelers, Giants and Browns.  His best years (1956-1963) were spent on the front line - along with Roosevelt Grier, Jim Katkavage and Andy Robustelli - of the great New York Giants’ defenses of Tom Landry.  Although future Hall-of-Famers Grier and Robustelli got more ink, he was a consistent solid performer in Landry’s scheme.

In 1964, he had the good fortune to be traded to Cleveland, and although intended as a backup on the defensive line, he wound up starting - on the last Browns’ team to win an NFL title.

Dick Modzelewski is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame.

He died last week.  He was 87.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DICK MODZELEWSKI

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
big mo and little mo
BIG MO (LEFT) AND LITTLE MO AT MARYLAND


*********** Ed Modzelewski’s obit - http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/terps/bs-sp-obit-modzelewski-20150301-story.html

*********** QUIZ - He is one of only three men to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and also as a coach.

A single wing coach all the way, in the span of just eight years, he won conference championships with three different teams, and he was named Coach of the Year in three different conferences.

A native of Kingston, Tennessee, not far from Knoxville, he played at Tennessee under  General Bob Neyland.  He started every game for three years, during which time the Vols were 23-5-3, and in his senior year, 1938, he was a consensus All-American end and captain of a Tennessee team that went 11-0. The Vols went to the Orange Bowl his senior year - the first bowl game that Tennessee ever played in - and defeated Oklahoma.

After graduating from college, he coached at Mississippi State for three years, then served as an officer in the Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he spent one more season at Mississippi State before landing the head coaching job at Wyoming.

Patterning his game after that of General Neyland, he coached the Cowboys to a  39-17-1 record in six years.  In 1949 the Cowboys went 9-1 and in 1950 they went 10-0, including a Gator Bowl win, and were ranked 12th in the AP poll. He was named Skyline Conference Coach of the Year.

In 1953 he took over a sorry Arkansas program, one that hadn’t had a winning season since 1947, and by October of his second year, 1954, his Hogs were the talk of the country.  The “25 Little Pigs” were unbeaten after knocking off Texas and Ole Miss on consecutive Saturdays.  They did eventually lose three, including a loss to Georgia Tech in the Cotton Bowl, but they won the Southwest Conference championship. Their 8-3 finish earned him Southwest Conference Coach of the Year honors, a new car - courtesy of the boosters - and an offer to be the head coach at his alma mater.

Just as Bear Bryant would leave Texas A & M for Alabama a few years later because “Mama called,”  he couldn’t turn his alma mater down. He took the Tennessee job, and in his second year at Knoxville, the Vols went 10-1, going unbeaten in the SEC and losing only to Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.  He was named SEC and AFCA Coach of the Year.

But in his final five seasons at Tennessee, his teams went 25-22-3 and he was let go, one game short of his 100th career win.

His overall record at Wyoming, Arkansas and Tennessee was 99-56-1.

He died of viral pneumonia in 1969.  He was just 51.

So far as I can determine, we aren't kin.



american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 26,  2018 - “People who live inside higher education are masters of words, but not necessarily of clarity.”  Allan Guelzo, history professor, Gettysburg College

*********** Talk about good planning... How could Urban Meyer know, when they put this year's  schedule together,  that he’d be needing a BYE this week in order to recover from the ass kicking his Buckeyes received last week?

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES I’LL WATCH (OR RECORD AND WATCH)

FRIDAY GAMES:

INDIANA over Minnesota - Indiana is a one-point favorite.  When was the last time Indiana was a favorite against a Big Ten opponent?

UTAH over UCLA - UCLA has made a lot of progress, but not that much.  UTAH may be the best in the Pac-12 South.

HEY IVY LEAGUE - Why no game this week?

SATURDAY GAMES:

CLEMSON over Florida State.  Give it to them good, Tigers!

NORTHWESTERN over Wisconsin -  Wishful thinking. I like them both but a Northwestern win will help Iowa - and show that Northwestern could be strong enough to beat Notre Dame

WAKE FOREST at Lousville. Also wishful thinking. A real college against a minimum security football team.

ARMY over Eastern Michigan -  But only if they play better than they did last week against Miami (OH). Eastern is a one-point favorite. The game is at Eastern,  and this is not the old Eastern Michigan that couldn’t beat anybody.

PURDUE over Michigan State -  I really do think that Purdue is that good, but it’s hard to come right back with the kind of effort it required to beat Ohio State last week.

NEBRASKA over Bethune-Cookman - Had to put this one in there so I’d at least get one game right.  And I will check in from time to time.

VIRGINIA over North Carolina - Can’t get the ACC network but I’ll pull for the Wahoos (that’s the Cavaliers, if you didn’t know).

DUKE over Pitt - MIght get this on Watch ESPN. I like Pitt but Duke is family.

TCU over Kansas - I’ll check out the Frogs just to see if Michael Collins gets the start at QB.  Kid’s a three-time all-stater from New Canaan, Connecticut who transferred from Penn. Yes, Penn, as in Ivy League. 

COLORADO over Oregon State - I probably won’t stay with this one very long.

GEORGIA over Florida - I just don’t think Florida is ready to take this step just yet.

IOWA over Penn State - Penn State is a 7-point favorite.  I never thought I’d one day be rooting against Penn State but I tend to root for coaches and I like Kirk Ferentz and I’m beginning to dislike James Franklin.

SOUTH FLORIDA over Houston - Ought to be a good game.  Houston is favored but I'd like  USF and UCF to be unbeaten when they meet.

USC over Arizona State -  But only because it’s in the Coliseum.  USC QB J.T. Daniels may not play.

KENTUCKY over Missouri - Wildcats are a 7-point underdog, but this could turn out to be one of the best seasons in UK history.

WASHINGTON over Cal -  Cal has proven it can beat bad teams. But Washington is not a bad team.

WASHINGTON STATE over Stanford - Yes, yes, I know.  Cougin’ it.  But I’m not at all impressed with this Stanford team. If form holds, Wazzu could blow Stanford’s doors off.

MISSISSIPPI STATE over Texas A & M - Only because it’s in Starkville.  The Bulldogs have a QB controversy going,  It’ll be interesting to see who plays.

SYRACUSE over NC State - State has to be down after Clemson spanked them last week.  Syracuse will be tough to beat in the Dome.

BOISE STATE over Air Force - Beat ‘em up, Broncos. (Air Force plays at Army next Saturday.)

NOTRE DAME over Navy - This is not your usual Navy team.  Mids may hang around for a while but I think ND is too talented for them. Still… GO NAVY!

OKLAHOMA STATE over Texas - My upset pick of the week. 

OREGON over Arizona  - Ducks are a lot better than the Wildcats. Even in the desert.

FRESNO STATE over Hawaii - Fresno State is much better - especially at home. Bulldogs haven’t lost since the second game of the season, a one-TD loss to Minnesota.

SAN DIEGO STATE over Nevada - Aztecs haven’t lost since their opening game against Stanford.


*********** One of the toughest things for me on those occasions when I’ve been back East on a football weekend has been being reminded how f—king late the West Coast games come on the tube.  A 7 PM kickoff back home means a 10 PM kickoff when I’m in Philly or North Carolina or Maryland. 

Living on the West Coast, I’m able to watch college football for 12 or 13 hours straight and still get to bed at a reasonable hour Saturday night. 

The first Saturday college games start at noon on the East Coast, but for us they come on at 9 AM;  and the last games of the day - usually a Pac 12 Game of the Week - come on at 7 or 7:30 at night. 

Now, with LeBron James’ moving to the Lakers, and The Warriors’ remaining as loaded with stars as ever, the concentration of talent on the West Coast is imposing hardships on hard-core East Coast NBA fans, forcing them to make major lifestyle changes in order to follow their favorites.

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

Minnesota lost its two returning 1,000 yard rushers for the season before the season even started.  The backup was lost to an injury for two weeks after the first game.  Also lost a couple of defensive starters.  Their starting QB is a walk-on.  Of the 22 starters they have on both sides of the ball half of them are either true freshmen, or red-shirt freshmen.  They are a very young team overall (only 17 seniors).  They haven't lost both oars, but the one oar they still have is badly damaged. 

I would pay money to see Harbaugh and Dantonio in the same room together by themselves.

In my opinion the game of football continues to slowly wind.  I've noticed that the really good teams are back to utilizing TE's and FB's, and it's just a matter of time before others start to figure out the same.

Thanks for pointing out that 'lonesome polecat' alignment WSU used against Oregon.  Clever little gimmick from the old sage Mike Leach and it paid off.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Thanks for the info on Minnesota.

I'll put my money on Dantonio as my sentimental favorite.  He’s at least semi-likeable.

Plus, he’s more than proved himself against Harbaugh on the field.

Funny how the offensive linemen are now so big and immobile that an awful lot of schools use TE types as H-Backs (or “sniffers”) to do their pulling.  Not a whole lot different from the old single wing blocking backs, except those guys also had to call the plays!

Lonesome Polecat is fun!


*********** I said when they announced the hire that I thought it was just a tiny bit premature of ESPN to take Jason Whitten, who had been a very good tight end, and start him out in his post-football career at the top of the sports broadcasting profession - as the color analyst on Monday Night Football.  I mean, the guy had had absolutely no experience in the booth, and it showed.

MIdway into the season, it’s becoming apparent that the experiment is a failure.  (Taking the third guy from the booth and sitting him in a sideline crane, where he mostly obscures paying customers’ views, hasn’t helped any.)

https://www.sbnation.com/2018/10/17/17986566/jason-witten-monday-night-football-espn-color-commentary-review

*********** Decisions, decisions…

You're an NFL General Manager, and your scouts have just handed you the following information

(1) TCU receiver/return man KaVontae Turpin was dismissed from the team after a 22-year-old woman - his longtime girlfriend - told police that Turpin “dragged her across the parking lot” and “slammed her to the ground.”    This was not, it turns out, the first such incident involving Turpin and the girlfriend.

(2) In his freshman year, Turpin scored four touchdowns against Texas.  He caught six passes for 138 yards and was namd Big 12 Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Last year, his sophomore year,  he was the only player in the country to score a touchdown passing, rushing, receiving, by a punt return and by a kick return, and he was the first-team All-Big 12 return man. Last week,  he scored against Oklahoma on a 99-yard kickoff return, and a 41-yard pass reception. As of this writing,   he was second in the Big 12 in all-purpose yards with 132.7 yards per game.

Your question: Do you sign him to a three-year, $10 million contract or to a one-year, $4 million contract?

https://sptspage.com/everyone-loses-in-turpin-story/

*********** And just in case you thought the pros really checked out their prospects…

The Denver Broncos announced that backup QB Chad Kelly - a young fellow with “a history of misadventure” during his college days - was kicked off the team after being charged with trespassing.

He was found in a stranger’s house, sitting on the sofa, “mumbling incoherently.”  That, after being thrown out of a team party. (How disorderly do you have to be tto get thrown out of a professional football team’s party?)

According to the story,  “Police said they did not find any alcohol in his system.”

Perhaps not, but  - this being Colorado -  wouldn't you think it might have occured to the police that he could have been on something else?

https://www.sbnation.com/2018/10/23/18015294/chad-kelly-trespassing-broncos-arrest-halloween-party

*********** From AZ Central…

The game that looked so made for national TV a week ago is now down to two backups battling each other Friday night when Phoenix Pinnacle plays host to Scottsdale Chaparral.  Pinnacle senior quarterback Spencer Rattler, who is committed to Oklahoma, did not go to practice Thursday morning and won't play in the game.

Coach Dana Zupke confirmed it, but he wouldn't say what happened to Rattler.

Rattler returned a direct message on Twitter, saying, "sprained MCL, out for a while."

Rattler practiced Wednesday evening with the Netflix documentary crew following him for Season 3 of QB1.

Asked Thursday afternoon when the injury happened, Rattler said, "I felt it bugging me Tuesday. Didn’t go to practice this morning.

So Oklahoma commited to a QB from Phoenix before the kid’s junior season.  But here we are, in his senior season and headed to the playoffs, and something came up and  the kid didn’t play in last week’s game.

The kid put out that the story that he’d hurt his knee.

But that, it turns out, was a cover-up.  It’s actually something more, and it’s evidently  pretty serious - he’s been declared ineligible by his school district for the remainder of the season.

As school administrators always do when asked about what happened, these cited the FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act) in refusing to comment.

Somehow, I think that Oklahoma will find out what really happened, if it doesn’t know already.

And if it’s not a felony - or at least not a major one -  the kid will still be more than welcome to come to Norman to get his education.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/high-school/2018/10/18/pinnacle-qb-spencer-rattler-out-against-chaparral-espnu-game-friday/1686856002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/highschool/2018/10/23/oklahoma-commit-spencer-rattler-ruled-ineligible/1746852002/

*********** For those devoted Michigan fans who might not understand why there are some of us out here who despise your head coach…

Remember the pre-game incident in which the Michigan State team walked the length of the field, arm-in-arm - as is their tradition - only to encounter a few Michigan players who refused to get out of their way?

Remember the Michigan lout who displayed his sportsmanship by defacing the Spartan logo at midfield?

Remember Coach Harbaugh afterward, insinuating that Michigan State caused it all and cast aspersions on the character of  the opposing coach, Mark Dantonio?

Perhaps this will help clear things up:

Michigan State's official statement reads:

“Regarding last Saturday’s pregame timeline, both teams were distributed pregame timing sheets and were in communication earlier in the week about Michigan State’s pregame tradition of walking the field upon arrival to Spartan Stadium. There has never been an on-field issue with this tradition in the 12 years under head coach Mark Dantonio. The timing of Saturday’s pregame tradition did not change from previous games, nor did the communication change between both schools.

"MSU was scheduled to leave the Kellogg Center for its walk to the stadium at 9:45 a.m. and left at 9:47 a.m. The team was scheduled to arrive at Spartan Stadium at approximately 10 a.m. and walked the field at approximately 10:02 a.m. As a courtesy, Michigan was granted field access before MSU’s arrival with the understanding from both sides that the U of M student-athletes would leave the field during this tradition. Michigan was on the field prior to 10 a.m. as previously agreed upon, but when multiple MSU staff members asked both U of M student-athletes and staff members to please move off the field for the pregame field walk, this did not occur.”


Michigan State's players said that a member of the MSU staff asked the Wolverines to take to the sideline temporarily until the Spartans left the field.

Harbaugh said  that’s not what happened. Now, he wasn’t on the field at the time, but no matter - he said he learned about the incident from other Michigan staff members.

(So he's absolutely certain he knows  what happened, right?)

A Michigan spokesman named Dave Ablauf said that a Michigan player was "clotheslined" during the pregame walk and another had a pair of headphones ripped from his head.

(Those things can happen when you’re where you shouldn’t be - when you’re asked to get the hell out of the way and you don’t.)

Harbaugh also said Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was walking "five yards behind it all smiling."

(Wait.  Didn’t we ESTABLISH  that Harbaugh wasn’t there?)

Discipline, I once heard Woody Hayes say, is ninety per cent anticipation.  (Ironic that I’d find myself quoting an Ohio State guy to help make my point.)

My point is that if Michigan had a real coach,  he’d have anticipated - he’d have foreseen what would happen with his players still out on the field after 10 AM, and he’d have made damn sure that they were off the field in accordance with the “understanding from both sides.”

That’s what a real coach would have done.

Instead,  Michigan has a professional bomb thrower (for any liberals reading this, that’s just a figure of speech; see, Harbaugh  doesn’t really throw bombs) who knew good and well what was going to happen, and he went ahead and left his players out there just to see what kid of sh— they could stir up.

It’s impossible to come to any other conclusion. Grow up, Harbaugh.

https://247sports.com/LongFormArticle/Michigan-Wolverines-Devin-Bush-New-evidence-suggests-Michigan-started-pre-game-scuffle-at-MSU-123700992/#123700992_6



***********  WISDOM OF THE AGES… POP WARNER ON OFFENSE

My advice to high-school and minor college coaches is as follows: Use a few simple but strong plays perfectly worked up and do not spend a lot of valuable time on a large number of plays which, by reason of the short season and lack of experience of the squad, can only be half-baked and of doubtful value.

From my observation and what I have heard from other coaches and from high-school players themselves, I am convinced that nine out of ten high-school teams are burdened with a much too complicated system of offense.  A good offense is not made up of tricky, complicated plays but of  a few substantial plays perfectly worked up, in which every man, after weeks of practice, knows exactly what to do and how to do it.

High-school boys think that the big university teams are successful because they have wizard coaches who teach their teams elaborate and intricate plays.  But the big university teams are good because they are composed of experienced players who have been coached well in the rudiments - who know how to tackle and block, and who have been taught a few strong plays which their coaches have found, perhaps by many years of experience, to be sure ground gainers when every man does his part in the plays. No team can get anywhere if it depends wholly upon tricks or forward passes. A team to be a winner must have the old punch which puts over a few simple plays with so much speed and so much hitting power that the defense cannot resist its force or the cleverness with which the plays are executed.

I do not mean to say that forward passes should never be resorted to. Every team should have three or four good forward pass plays, and perhaps six can be worked up sufficiently well to be useful; but more than this number is wasted energy and four good passes will be found to be much better than a dozen which can be only imperfectly mastered. Neither do I say that no trick plays should be used, for a good trick play used occasionally makes the opponents a bit wary and nervous; not so great reliance should be put on tricks and only two or three should be taught any team.  One of our most successful university coaches uses only about a dozen or fifteen plays, but these are so perfectly worked up and have such power in them that his teams  always rank near the top at the end of each season.

I think most high-school teams neglect the rudiments and spend too much time in running through signals or plays.  No plays are any good unless the players know how to start quickly, how to charge and block, and how to handle the ball; practice in these things would be of much greater advantage than would a lot of time put in on fancy plays.  Also it should be realized that a good defense is just as important as a good offense, and more time should be put in at tackling than most high-school players devote to this important feature of play.   Eleven good, sure, and deadly tacklers are never going to be beaten very badly even if they have no offense at all.

College and university teams which are composed of fairly experienced players can master a more complicated system of offense than can the school teams, but even with such teams the tendency of many coaches is to have too many plays.  In the minor, easy games a large number of plays are not needed, and in hard games in which the teams are evenly matched a team will have the ball less frequently, and when on offense will want to use only its very best plays because it will probably find that only a select few will prove effective against a very strong opposition.

From “Football for Coaches and Players” by Glenn L. Warner, Director of Football, Stanford University  - Published July, 1927

*********** A long-time Double-Wing coach whose abilities I can vouch for finds himself assisting at a place where he enjoys the coaching and the kids and the guys he works with. But, he says, he misses coaching the Double Wing…

I do miss running a series-based offense the most...it's kind of in my football DNA if you will at this point...I'm always looking for complimentary plays, etc. Our second group gets zero reps on offense so I'm thinking about asking the coach if I can work with them and install a simple DW series.

He went on…

It kind of cracks me up....coaches get such crap about running the DW, but we run the I formation as our base formation, and guess what, our 2-foot splits become 6-inch splits when someone lines up in gaps and ruins our plays. We played another team who ran the straight T against us.  They had better athletes, but weren't well coached so we beat them. I knew that they had run the DW in the recent past so mentioned to their coach, a young guy, that we had also prepared for the DW. His response was, "yeah, the HC used to make me run that, but not this season"....I'm thinking, dude, you're dissing the DW, but you ran the straight T against us (and not very well, no dive fakes, very little misdirection, etc.). Crazy.

I think his idea of installing a simple package for the backups is outstanding.  Just one problem: what will the head coach say when those second-group kids move the ball better than the starters?

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Mick Tingelhoff was a native of Lexington, Nebraska who played college ball at Nebraska.  Although he lettered three years, he didn’t start until his senior year, when he was also named a co-captain.

He was undrafted, but after signing as a free agent with the Vikings in 1962, he became their starting center as a rookie. He held that spot until he retired in 1978.

He was generally considered to be the best center of his time, being named first team All-Pro five times and second team twice.  He played in six straight Pro Bowls from 1964-1969.

He is one of just 11 Vikings’ players to have played in all four of their Super Bowl appearances

When he finally did retire, he had started in 240 consecutive games, second only among NFL players to his  former teammate, Jim Marshall.

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


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MICK TINGELHOFF

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA


*********** Still liked Ken Bowman & Jim Ringo better... Lexington is one of those water towers & grain elevators you pass by on I-80... While coaching in Beatrice passed by many times, scouting & playing, on our way to North Platte... Nebraska had 3 "big school" "Class A" conferences...Metro (Omaha), Capitol (Lincoln) & Plains (the rest of us).

I think Lexington was a Class B school.

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

Growing up in North Dakota, we watched the Vikings nearly every Sunday after church; so today's quiz was one that I didn't have to search for. Mick Tingelhoff was a rock for those great Vikings teams.

Greg Koenig

*********** In the mid 60's I was over with my cousins at their gma’s….. This was in Columbus, Indiana....out in the back yard next door was Mick Tinglehoff.... I guess at his mother-in laws ?..... I got to shake his hand and all I can remember is his Vikings t-shirt and my hand disappearing in his.....

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

*********** QUIZ:  The son of a Polish-immigrant coal miner, he was a native of Natrona Heights, in western Pennsylvania, and a three-sport star at Har-Brack High.

He played with his older brother, Ed, on Jim Tatum’s powerful Maryland teams of the early 1950s.

Although at 6 foot, 215, Ed was the smaller of the two,  Ed had already made a name for himself at Maryland as a powerful runner - that name was “Big Mo,” a takeoff on the nickname of the famed World War II battleship, the USS Missouri.  When Dick arrived, although he outweighed Ed by at least 30 pounds, he was dubbed, half-jokingly, “Little Mo.”

During his three years of eligibility, the Terps went 24-4-1, including a 22-game win streak. In the 1951 Sugar Bowl, the third-ranked Terps defeated previously unbeaten (and already-crowned national Champion) Tennessee, 28-13. (Big Mo gained 153 yards and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.)

In 1952 he was a consensus All-American, and he won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman.

A second-round draft choice of the Redskins, he played with four teams during his career: Redskins, Steelers, Giants and Browns.  His best years (1956-1963) were spent on the front line - along with Roosevelt Grier, Jim Katkavage and Andy Robustelli - of the great New York Giants’ defenses of Tom Landry.  Although future Hall-of-Famers Grier and Robustelli got more ink, he was a consistent solid performer in Landry’s scheme.

In 1964, he had the good fortune to be traded to Cleveland, and although intended as a backup on the defensive line, he wound up starting - on the last Browns’ team to win an NFL title.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame.

He died last week.  He was 87.


american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 23,  2018 “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** I was watching two Seattle area schools play on TV last Thursday night. I especially wanted to see Kennedy Catholic’s sophomore quarterback, Sam Huard, who threw for 10 TDs in a game earlier this season.  A tall lefthander, Huard is the son of  a former University of Washington and NFL quarterback, Damon Huard, and the nephew of another former Husky and NFL quarterback, TV analyst Brock Huard.

I was certainly impressed with the kid’s ability, but Kennedy (5-2) seemed unable to put Kentwood (2-5) away.

Finally, though, with under two minutes to play, Kennedy took a 36-35 lead.

But Kentwood drove into field goal range, and with seconds left, called time out and lined up for what it hoped would be the winning kick.

Unfortunately for Kentwood, though, the snap was bad, and the holder, unable to scramble out of trouble, threw incomplete.

With that, the Kennedy Catholic bench emptied and Kennedy players raced to the end zone to celebrate the hard-fought win.

Or so they thought.

Unnoticed by anyone but the officials, it had only been third down, and when the Kentwood holder threw incomplete, there was still time remaining - and it was still Kentwood’s ball.

The Kennedy celebration? The act of players leaving the bench area resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty - and another (and closer) field goal attempt by Kentwood.

This time the snap was good.  And so were the hold and the kick.

Final:  Kentwood 38, Kennedy Catholic 36.

Think about that the next time you wonder about the wisdom of kicking that field goal a down early.

*********** College Football playoff situation - updated

Remember:
1. No team with two losses will make the playoff
2. There are still plenty of teams that will finish with no worse than one loss
3. No team outside the Power 5 conferences has a chance of getting in with one loss.  At present, Central Florida, Cincinnati and South Florida of the American Athletic are still undefeated - but they all have to play each other.
4. Notre Dame, as an independent, has an inside track even with one loss (should it lose to USC) because as an independent it can stay home and watch as other playoff contenders eliminate each other in bogus “conference championship” games.
5. With Notre Dame still unbeaten, the Irish are likely to be one of the four playoff teams, which means only three spots remain for the Power 5 conferences. That also means there is little likelihood of two teams from the same Power 5 conference.  Most importantly, though, it means two conferences - and all their members - will not get a nickel of playoff money, while Notre Dame gets to pocket AN ENTIRE CONFERENCE SHARE. (Who made that deal, anyhow?)

Speaking in terms of Power 5 conferences only…

There are still two unbeaten Power 5 teams:
Alabama and Clemson

My call: “Alabama plays Tennessee in their traditional Third Saturday in October game, but Bama isn’t going to blow this one.” True dat. 

My call: “Clemson and NC State meet Saturday - at Clemson.  The winner has a great shot at taking the Atlantic Division spot in the ACC championship.”  Clemson definitely got the job done.

Last Thursday’s preview: “there are still lots of one-loss teams fighting to stay that way and make it to their conference championships.  Several of them will play in big games Saturday…”

1. Michigan vs Michigan State?  Michigan got the job done

3. Texas vs Oklahoma State? Mea culpa. (Latin for "my bad') Texas played BYE. This week it's OSU.

4. West Virginia vs Baylor?  WVU got the job done.

5. LSU vs Mississippi State? LSU got the job done.

6. Ohio State at Purdue?  “Buckeyes are just too good,” I wrote.  Well.  As I wipe the egg off my face… apologies to the good folks from Purdue whose patience and forebearance was rewarded with one of the most inspired performances you’ve ever seen over an Ohio State team that looked dazed.  This team - the same Ohio State that gave us Archie Griffin and Eddie George and Jim Otis and Bob Ferguson and John Brockington and Ezekiel Elliott and Hopalong Cassidy and Vic Janowicz threw the football 73 times!

7. Vanderbilt at Kentucky?  Kentucky got the job done.

8. Oregon at Washington State? (“So is ESPN Game Day, in recognition of 15 years of the Cougar flag - Ole Crimson - waving at Game Days around the country. The loser will come out of this with two losses and can kiss its playoff chances good-bye.  The Pac-12’s last hope for a playoff spot is for Oregon to win this one and win all the rest. The Ducks’ toughest game the rest of the way is at Utah, and then, of course,  the conference title game.  Washington State? If they beat the Ducks, the Cougars still have to beat Stanford, Colorado and Washington, and - out here it’s called “Cougin’ it” - they can’t possibly win them all.”) The Cougars won, and now - tada - they “control their own destiny.”

9. Duke vs Virginia?  Duke was 5-1 going in, but they’re 5-2 now.

10. Iowa vs Maryland?  Hawkeyes got the job done. They’re now 6-1 - and they’re still ranked below Penn State, who’s 5-2.  They’ll settle that one on Saturday.

*********** My playoff prediction, updated:

1. Alabama.  Best team in the country by far.  Jalen Hurts, their "second starter" at quarterback (he deserves a better title than “backup”) could start for almost any other team in the country.  He appears to have suffered an ankle injury against Tennessee Saturday. The Tide will beat LSU, MIssissippi State and Auburn.  (And The Citadel.)

2. Clemson. The Tigers have had their close call against Syracuse.  They dispatched pretender NC State with such ferocity that it’s obvious they’re in a class by themselves in the ACC.  They will beat Duke and archrival South Carolina.

3. Notre Dame.  Damn, this one pisses me off.  But a deal’s a deal, and evidently the wizards who put together the playoff didn’t have the stones to tell ND to go get in a conference like every other major college team.  Any other year, Northwestern, Florida State, Syracuse or USC would be a significant hurdle - but not this year.  USC’s thumping by Utah Saturday night makes it apparent that USC is still a long way from restoring the glory days.

4. Either Michigan or Ohio State.  This assumes that they will both enter their final-week matchup unbeaten, and that the winner of their game will move on to the Big Ten championship game - and win it.  Even that might not be enough for Ohio State to overcome the embarrassing beat-down that Purdue put on the Buckeyes this past Saturday.

(At the very least, I’d like to see Notre Dame in that #4 spot, so the Irish have to play Alabama in the semi-finals.  But Clemson will beat them just as bad.)

OUTSIDE SHOTS:

Georgia or Florida (or even Kentucky) could slip in with an SEC title-game win over Alabama (or LSU). Despite rankings and all that, I don’t see how Bama could get the nod - this time - over a team good enough to beat it in the conference championship game.

LSU - But they have to beat  Alabama. (The game’s in Baton Rouge.)

Iowa - Only if the Hawkeyes win out. And Wisconsn loses once more. Iowa still has to play Penn State, Purdue and Northwestern.  And even if the Hawkeyes  were to run the table, Wisconsin - the only team to have beaten Iowa - would get the Big Ten West title game spot if the Badgers were to win the rest of their games.

Oklahoma/Texas/West Virginia - It’s quite a job for any of them.  Texas and OU both have to play WVU. And they both have to play Texas Tech.  And when one of them is eliminated,  the two survivors  will have to meet in the conference title game.

Washington State - A Mike Leach team will always put up points. And don’t look now but the Cougs play pretty good defense, too. But they’ve already got one loss and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll win the rest of their games - not with Stanford, Washington and a conference championship game still ahead.

*********** SITUATIONS TO WATCH:

1. PENN STATE.  The Lions are now 5-2 (remember when they were just one bad call away from possibly beating Ohio State?). They play Iowa this week, then they play Michigan at home and then Wisconsin on the road.  That’s three tough games in a row.  Remember a year ago when Georgia State lined up for a field goal with 11 seconds left to play, and Lions’ coach James Franklin called a timeout? Penn State led, 56-0. Franklin at first defended what he did as always keeping his foot on the gas, then after catching heat from some New York sports writers, he denied that he did it to ice the kicker and preserve the precious shutout, and said that he called the timeout to get his second unit in the game.  Right.  That’s why he called it nanoseconds before the kid kicked.  Anyhow, if you believe in karma, three weeks from now Penn State could very well be 5-5 (2-5 in conference play) and playing Maryland - Maryland, for God’s sake! - to stay out of the Big Ten East cellar.

2. OREGON. A week ago the Ducks were riding high. Their convincing win over the Washington Huskies had washed away the pain and stain of their lone loss, a fluky, overtime defeat at the hands of Stanford, and now they had a shot at a possible playoff spot.  All they had to do was beat Washington State. But as one Portland sports writer noted, the game started at 4:00 and the Ducks started at 5:30.  By the time they got serious, the Cougars had put them away.  The Ducks play a suddenly-alive UCLA, then at tough Utah, then Arizona State.  They could lose two more.

3. OHIO STATE. Earlier in the week came the rumors that Urban Meyer might be on the verge of another “health crisis” - you know, like the one that caused him to walk away from the train wreck about to take place in Florida.  And then came the whipping put on the Buckeyes by Purdue. This week, they’re off, and then they’re at Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers have been showing signs of life lately, but the Bucks have too much talent for them.

4. PURDUE. The Boilermakers lost their first three games - including a four-point, opening-game loss against Northwestern - so they’re way out of any playoff conversation. But they’re now 3-1 in Big Ten play, with a decent shot at getting into the title game: they need to win out, and they need someone else to beat Northwestern.

5. NEBRASKA. The Huskers thoroughly beat Minnesota in Lincoln.  And to their fans’ credit, there was no storming the field in celebration.  I mean, this is still Nebraska, right?  With the proud tradition of Nebraska football, ending a losing streak is not celebrated as if it were a national title.  Besides, they have to keep focused on Saturday’s big game against Bethune-Cookman.

6. MINNESOTA. After rowing the boat to wins in their first three games, the Gophers must have let go of the oars, because they’ve lost four in a row.   And they haven’t been close in any of them.  WTF is going on?

7. NAVY. Their offense seems to have lost a step.  Is it me, or  could it be that having to play a full conference schedule - in a very tough conference at that - is beginning to take a physical toll on the Middies?

*********** Harbaugh just can’t seem to resist being an a$$hole,  which explains why he’s got guys on his team like  Devin Bush out there before the game playing the child, scuffing up the Michigan State Spartan logo, and why he defends the guy’s actions afterward.

*********** I sort of wanted to see Cincinnati remain unbeaten, even if it meant beating Temple, but not after I saw the dirty hit that a Cinci player put on a defenseless Temple receiver.  That did it for me.  That was borderline assault and battery.

https://www.12up.com/posts/6201588-video-incredibly-dirty-hit-on-temple-player-results-in-impressive-coach-freakout

*********** The Michigan-Michigan State game was delayed by severe weather for 1-1/2 hours, and once they resumed playing, Fox seemed to think none of us cared to resume watching, shuffling us off to some little-known Fox channel that I have yet to find on either cable or Dish.

*********** You won’t see this happen often, but just before halftime, with one inch to go and one down to score a touchdown, Army - a wishbone team - wasn’t able to punch it in against Miami (OH).

*********** With 17 seconds left to play, Miami scored against Army to pull to within 21-20.  Any chance that the whatever-they-ares-now (used to be Redskins) might have decided to go for the win went out the window, when the receiver who scored the TD just had to spike the damn ball. Just had to do it.  After the penalty they kicked the point and the game went into OT, but Army won. 

*********** Diversity is our strength…  It wasn’t so much that the referee at the Army-Miami game was female.  It was having to listen to that shrill voice. 

*********** Miami (OH) linebacker Brad Koenig (“KAY-nig”) is really good.  Miami had a good scheme against Army, and Koenig was making tackles all over the field.

*********** Maybe these spread teams that don’t even bother to recruit fullbacks any more ought to pay attention:  Michigan ran a fullback, a 6-3, 250 pound horse named Ben Mason, as an I-formation tailback for a score against Michigan State.

*********** Starting to see a lot of flat passes being thrown from shotgun to the running back that was just faked to.

*********** Indiana gave Penn State all they wanted but the Hoosiers just can’t seem to finish the deal.

*********** Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, said Samuel Johnson. 

First Nike aligns itself with Colin Kaepernick, and then it goes and plays patriotic by resurrecting a story of the 1918 LSU team - whose members went off to fight in World War I - as the pretext for putting the Tigers in all-white uniforms with purple helmets.

I’ll bet you could even buy replica jerseys at the LSU book store.

*********** Who else was hoping that Purdue would go for two at the end, just to make it a nice round 50 against THE Ohio State University?

*********** ESPN College Game Day did a very nice feature on Tyler Trent, a young Purdue fan with terminal cancer who basically expressed a dying wish that his beloved Boilermakers could somehow beat Ohio State.  It was quite moving, and if there was any football fan in the United States who had trouble picking sides before watching, the choice was easy afterward.

*********** Purdue was picked to have a good season, but then the Boilermarkers started out 0-3, including a loss to Eastern Michigan. Purdue Coach Jeff Brohm was asked after the Ohio State win what happened to turn things around and he started out, “We were 0-3. We were conservative, and we got our ass - our butts - handed to us…”

*********** Mike Leach has a dry sense of humor, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile. (Remind you of Bobby Knight?)

So when he had finished his deadpan postgame explanation that his Cougs still hadn’t played a compete game, the interviewer said to him, “Try to enjoy this.”

*********** Tua Tagovailoa still hasn’t played in the fourth quarter of a game.  He’s thrown 25 TD passes and ZERO interceptions.

*********** Linfield College, a D-III school in McMinnville, Oregon, is now 4-2.  If they beat Pacific Lutheran next Saturday,  2018 will be their 63rd straight winning season.

*********** A few days ago I happened on a great TV feature on Jim Abbott, whom some of you may remember as an outstanding left-handed pitcher at Michigan, and then for a number of major league teams.

In his major league career, he won 87 games and had 888 strikeouts, and in 1993, while playing for the Yankees, he pitched a no-hitter.

But It’s never possible to write about him without mentioning that he was born without a right hand, and I do so in admiration of how, not unlike a great football coach named Mark Speckman (who was born with no hands), he learned to “deal with it.”

His biggest initial challenge was fielding - throwing with his left hand, then quickly putting on his glove to catch the ball, and then just as quickly shedding the glove and grabbing the ball with his hand so he could throw.  His story of how as a little kid he worked and worked to get good enough at fielding is quite inspirational.

He was an exceptionally talented athlete, driven not just to compete, but to excel. “I was tired of being an inspiration,” he said.  “I didn’t want to win the Courage Award. I wanted to be the MVP.”

What was especially interesting to me was that he also played high school football, and rather well at that.   His high school, Flint (Michigan) Central, turned out many good athletes and good teams.

He was a quarterback, of course, but first the coaches had to figure out how he was going to get the ball from center, and one of them recalled how funny it must have seemed to see three coaches kneeling down, watching him take the snap.

He didn’t start a game until the final game of his senior year, when he was pressed into service - and threw four touchdown passes.

Interviewed on the show, his high school baseball coach said,  “playing football made him the baseball player that he became.’


*********** If you didn’t watch the Washington State-Oregon game, you missed this.  Even if you did watch, you might have missed it.

WSU Lonesome Polecat

Washington State, in dark uniforms, is lined up in what would ordinarily be a 3 x 1 spread formation, with trips to the right. (There is also a split end on the left but he’s out of the picture, to the bottom of the screen.)

Just one little matter: that flexed end on the right side (the guy circled) is the “center.”. He’s going to flip the ball to the QB, who’s going to hand off to the running back, who’s going to run a plain old running play to the left.  (But then, he’s going to cut back to the right, break maybe six or seven tackles, and dive in for a Cougar score.)

Nothing at all ingenious about the play itself, but the formation on the right side was an adaptation of the “Lonesome Polecat” as explained by the great Tiger Ellison in his book, ‘Run and Shoot Football” (1965).

Two things to note about the “center”:

1. He doesn’t have to snap the ball between his legs. He can flip it directly back, of course, but he can also throw it, underhanded, to either side.  (In this case, he’s going to throw it to the left, to the QB)

2. Although he may be the “center” in the sense that he’s snapping the ball,  he’s on the end of the line, and he’s wearing an eligible number (17) - which makes him an eligible receiver.

It’s interesting that the Cougars ran what they did, because it was only a couple of weeks ago that I got an email from  Mat Hedger, of  Langdon, North Dakota, who saw Iowa run something similar and asked if I’d ever run from any “special formations” like that.

Why, yes, I told him.  I’ve done stuff like that on occasion - mostly toward the end of a season as a way of having fun and keeping guys interested.

But a few years ago, finding ourselves in a first-vs-fourth first-round playoff game (we were the fourth-place team and we were facing a top-ranked team, one that we knew would blow us out by 50-60 points)  we decided to run some Lonesome Polecat - Credit to Glenn “Tiger” Ellison and his book, ‘Run and Shoot Football” (1965).  It was a very limited package, because the emphasis is on improvisation...
Polecat


We got blown out, as we knew we would, but we had a lot of fun in practice and we actually ran off a few good plays in the game - more than we would have if we’d stayed in our base offense.  Try taking a very good scrambler and lining him up ten yards deep - and see hard it is for two or three defenders to run him down.  (Any more than that and they’ll have trouble covering all your eligibles and defending against the blocking of your five linemen.)

*********** The Web site is named “isgrudengoneyet.com

And the  answer is an emphatic NO

and running counters show:

* the years/weeks/days/hours/minutes/seconds left in his contract

* The amount of money he’s made so far

* The amount of money he’s made just since you logged in

* The amount of money he’s still due

http://isgrudengoneyet.com/

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

Sorry for the late reply.  

What gives Urban Meyer a headache?  BOILERMAKERS!!  That was a flat-out take 'em out behind the shed and give 'em an old-fashioned a** whoopin'!!

Suddenly...Michigan is looming even larger for the Buckeyes.

Mike Leach has a favorite new hobby...Duck Hunting!

Only thing standing between Notre Dame and the National Championship Playoff is Notre Dame.  Each of their remaining games is a trap game.  Any one of them could knock the Irish off.  Navy has the option.  Florida State is steadily improving.  Northwestern has a history of pulling off big upsets.  Syracuse is a sleeper.  USC is a rival.

Some TV talking heads continue talking about Texas as playoff contender.  NOT.  As much as I would like to see the Horns in it their remaining schedule is daunting, and even if they were lucky enough to keep winning they would have to face Oklahoma again in the Big 12 championship.  Sooners will be fired up for that rematch.

I think it's way too early to start predicting the playoff.  Way too many tough conference games remaining, and conference championships.  People keep saying Alabama is a lock, BUT... they still have to play Ed Oregon's fired-up LSU Tigers IN Baton Rouge next week.  Clemson may have the easiest schedule (and the best team).  See above for Notre Dame.  Ohio State may be fading and thus opening the door for either Michigan or Iowa.  The PAC 12 champ will be playing in the Rose Bowl.  Georgia is still a factor.

My alma mater Fresno State continues to impress at 7-1.  Only San Diego State and Boise State (as tough as it gets) stand in their way of being considered for a January 1 bowl game.

Army managed to escape a huge upset at the hands of Miami OH.  Goes to show that even the most disciplined teams can't afford taking anyone lightly.

I thoroughly enjoy seeing those old play sheets from great coaches of the past. 

Talk soon!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe’s joke is pretty good.  I wonder how many younger guys - or guys who didn’t grow up around working men - even know what a boilermaker (the drink) is! The boilermaker is nothing more than “a shot and a beer.”  The shot - usually blended whiskey (once called “rye” in Pennsylvania) - is tossed down neat in one gulp, followed by the beer - usually a short draft or a small bottle because it’s as much about the whiskey as it is about the beer.  I see on Youtube that there are people trying to call it a “cocktail,” but it’s nothing of the sort. It’s a real man’s drink, a “workingman’s special,” and it’s definitely an acquired taste. The guys I once worked - and drank - with wouldn’t have known what the hell to think if they’d heard some millenial refer to it as a “cocktail.”

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Doug Atkins came out of Humboldt, Tennessee and went to The University of Tennessee on a basketball scholarship. He was a great high jumper, finishing second in the SEC track championships.  He played football for General Bob Neyland, and  although he played in the 1950s, he’s still considered perhaps the greatest defensive player in the history of SEC football.

He was so good as a defensive end - big and mean and agile - that he would have been as good today as he was when he played.

At 6-8 and 265, he would be big enough to play in today’s NFL, but by the standards of his day he was huge.

In 1953 he was the first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, but after two years in Cleveland, it was apparent to Paul Brown that he was not Brown’s type of person, and he was traded to the Chicago Bears for a couple of future draft choices.  In his 12 years in Chicago he made eight Pro Bowls.

Said Bears’ owner/coach George Halas years later, “Paul Brown couldn't handle him in Cleveland. I could slough off anything. He didn't give me trouble, except when he'd get stiff and call me up at night."

Because of him, Halas hired a private detective to keep track of players. At training camp, Bears’ coaches refused to check his room at bed-check time because he kept a pit bull named Rebel in his room. Recalled teammate Richie Petitbon, Rebel was “trained to kill.”

He evidently liked a drink. Once, he and fellow defensive lineman Fred Williams had a martini-drinking contest.  They stopped drinking at 21, but Williams conceded that Atkins probably won, since he was able to drive them home.

He didn’t like to practice - he claimed the Bears didn’t pay him enough to play and practice, too.

He loved to try to get under Halas’ skin.  Once, on the first day of training camp, he arrived late to practice, and  proceeded to jog lazily and indifferently around the field. When Halas asked him what he was doing, he said, “Breaking in my helmet.”

For all his distaste for practice, though, he once went 12 straight years without missing a game, and in his 17 years of football he missed only 17 games.

And on the field, he was feared; the word among opposing offensive linemen was, “Don’t make him mad.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Fullback Rick Casares once said: ‘We used to hope that somebody would hold him. The next play you would see guys flying around like King Kong had gotten ahold of them. Awesome. I've seen him grab a tackle by the shoulder pads and just flip him over like a doll, then come in on a back that weighed 225 pounds without breaking stride and hit him in the chest, knock him over on his back, reach over, grab the quarterback by the shoulder pads and throw him down with one arm.’”

Despite his great size, he would often hurdle over blocking linemen on his way to the quarterback, and if sacks had been counted when he played, he would almost certainly be in the record books.

Recalled his Tennessee teammate Jack Stroud, who had a long career with the Giants, “The notion that because those guys in the 50s didn’t lift weights and take steroids they weren’t strong is a crock.  A lot of those guys would have whipped the hell out of these guys today.  Take Doug Atkins. He was 6-8 and 265 and was solid muscle and bones. And he he high jumped six feet.  And he never touched a weight in his life.  With the frame he had, he could have weighed 300 pounds no problem. His arms were 18 inches around.  We measured them in Knoxville.  I told him over to the gym to try to get him to work out (Stroud was a serious lifter). He allowed that that was a lot of extra work he didn’t need.”

He was a team leader - of sorts.  “Doug was a nice guy but you were scared of him," said Mike Pyle, who played center for the Bears. "He nominated me for player representative. He said, 'I nominate Mike Pyle 'cause he's from Yale.' The rest of the players were asked, 'Anybody else?' Doug said, 'Yeah, I move the nominations be closed.'"

At 37 he was sent to the Saints in the expansion draft, but he had enough left in the tank that in the three years he played in New Orleans he played well enough to have his number retired.

Despite Halas’ initial misgivings about his practice habits, he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His highest salary was $25,000, and at his Hall of Fame induction, he said he once got into a heated argument with Halas over $500.
"Coach Halas said if I give you that money you would only spend it. I said, 'Coach, that's what I want it for'"

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DOUG ATKINS:

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

*********** Great article on Doug Atkins…

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-bears-atkins-appreciation-spt-0103-20160102-story.html

*********** Video of Doug Atkins - thanks to Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MIh8BPLgwI

*********** QUIZ - He was a native of Lexington, Nebraska who played college ball at Nebraska.  Although he lettered three years, he didn’t start until his senior year, when he was also named a co-captain.

He was undrafted, but after signing as a free agent with the Vikings in 1962, he became their starting center as a rookie. He held that spot until he retired in 1978.

He was generally considered to be the best center of his time, being named first team All-Pro five times and second team twice.  He played in six straight Pro Bowls from 1964-1969.

He is one of just 11 Vikings’ players to have played in all four of their Super Bowl appearances

When he finally did retire, he had started in 240 consecutive games, second only among NFL players to his  former teammate, Jim Marshall.

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




american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 19,  2018 “For Trump to receive a warm welcome in California, he’d have to come in illegally.” Dennis Miller

*********** College Football this weekend…

By  official proclamation of the owner of this site, it’s time to begin assessing playoff possibilities.

Assumptions:
1. No team with two losses will make the playoff
2. There are still plenty of teams that will finish with no worse than one loss
3. No team outside the Power 5 conferences has a chance of getting in with one loss.  At present, Central Florida, Cincinnati and South Florida of the American Athletic are still undefeated - but they all have to play each other.
4. Notre Dame, as an independent, has an inside track even with one loss (should it lose to USC) because as an independent it can stay home and watch as other playoff contenders eliminate each other in bogus “conference championship” games.
5. With Notre Dame still unbeaten, the Irish are likely to be one of the four playoff teams, which means only three spots remain for the Power 5 conferences. That also means there is little likelihood of two teams from the same Power 5 conference.  Most importantly, though, it means two conferences and all their members will not get a nickel of playoff money, while Notre Dame gets to pocket AN ENTIRE CONFERENCE SHARE. (Who made that deal, anyhow?)

Speaking in terms of Power 5 conferences only…

There are still three unbeaten teams:
Alabama
Clemson
NC State

Alabama plays Tennessee in their traditional Third Saturday in October game, but Bama isn’t going to blow this one.  Bama still has to play LSU, MIssissippi State and Auburn.  Also the Washington Generals. Not really - but they always have a softy down near the end of the schedule and this year it’s The Citadel.

Clemson and NC State meet Saturday - at Clemson.  The winner has a great shot at taking the Atlantic Division spot in the ACC championship except… Clemson still has to play Duke and - big intrastate rival - South Carolina.  Should NC State get past Clemson, the Pack has a fairly easy schedule remaining: Syracuse, FSU, Wake, Louisville, ECU

There are still lots of one-loss teams fighting to stay that way and make it to their conference championships.  Several of them will play in big games Saturday…

1. Michigan plays at Michigan State.  Ohio State may be the big game for Michigan, but Michigan is the big game for State.  The Spartans are tough, especially coming off last week’s win at Penn State. A loss would probably keep Michigan out of the Big Ten championship game, since the Wolverines still have to play Penn State and Ohio State.

2. Oklahoma at TCU.  OU has one loss and even after TCU, the Sooners still have to play Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

3. Texas at Oklahoma State. Texas has beaten Oklahoma, but still has to play Texas Tech and West Virginia.

4. West Virginia plays Baylor.  WVU “controls its destiny” as they like to say.  (Except that if it’s destiny, nobody has any control over it, right?) The Mountaineers still have to play Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.  The season-ending OU game will be in Morgantown.  And then, theoretically, the two teams could meet a week later in the Big 12 title game.

5. LSU plays Mississippi State in Baton Rouge.  The Bulldogs are tough. A loss to State would cook LSU’s goose. Oh - and Bama’s coming up next week. 

6. Ohio State goes to Purdue.  Buckeyes are just too good. After this, though, they still have to play Michigan State and Michigan.  (The Spartans could break my “no team with two losses” rule if they were to win out - giving them wins over Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State - and then win the Big Ten title game.)

7. Vanderbilt is at Kentucky.  While Florida and Georgia take this weekend off before their big one next week, Kentucky continues to fly under the radar.  The Wildcats, who already have a win over Florida, have an outside chance at a playoff spot.  Their schedule the rest of the way: MIssouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and Louisville.  But then, of course, there’s the SEC title game - against Alabama.

8. Oregon is at Washington State. So is ESPN Game Day, in recognition of 15 years of the Cougar flag - Ole Crimson - waving at Game Days around the country. The loser of the game will come out of titwith two losses and can kiss its playoff chances good-bye.  The Pac-12’s last hope for a playoff spot is for Oregon to win this one and win all the rest. The Ducks’ toughest game the rest of the way is at Utah, and then, of course,  the conference title game.  Washington State? If they beat the Ducks, the Cougars still have to beat Stanford, Colorado and Washington, and - out here it’s called “Cougin’ it” - they can’t possibly win them all.

DARK HORSES

9. Duke is playing Virginia in Durham.  Duke - surprise - is 5-1. Virginia, fresh off a win over Miami, will not be easy. Next for Duke: Pitt, Miami, UNC, Clemson and Wake Forest 

10. Iowa hosts Maryland.  Am I the only person who overlooked the Hawkeyes?  They are 5-1 and their schedule the rest of the way is not exactly a killer: Penn State (in Iowa City), Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Nebraska. The Hawkeyes are my pick to face Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

*********** Just a bit more on the Vosean Joseph situation at Florida (where a player was called for unportsmanlike conduct but allowed to remain in the game, without correction or chastisement)…

This is just me, you understand, and I’m not telling anyone else how to coach his team, but anyone who ever played for me knows that anyone responsible for a penalty - encroachment, illegal motion, holding, block in the back - came out of the game.  Immediately.  In most cases, it was just for one play, and the miscreant went right back in.

But everybody on the team knew that if he got his team a penalty, he was coming out of the game. Simple as that. Nothing to negotiate.  It was part of the fabric of the team.

Yes, yes, I know:  But, but, but… embarrassing… humilating… singling him out… blah, blah, blah. 

Look - you don’t want to bring unwanted attention to yourself?  DON’T GET YOUR TEAM A PENALTY!

Who the hell are you that you think you have the right to cost your team a game?

As for the Vosean Joseph sort of misconduct (two unsportmanslike conduct penalties -  in one half of play), a player, no matter how good, would have spent a more significant amount of time on the sidelines, listening to me.  But that was never an issue: I don’t mean to brag, but going back at least to 1993 I can’t remember any player on any team I coached incurring a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  It just… wasn’t… done.

I don’t think any major college or pro coach can say that (but then, neither could I if I had to coach the kind of barbarians that they bring into their programs, in the hope that somehow their good deeds will outweigh the bad).

Very simply - you have to eliminate the things that beat you, and that takes stones, because it means making it a part of your culture that penalties, like turnovers, won’t be tolerated.

I believe it was  Jack Reed, a coach from Northern California,  whom I first heard say it: “What you tolerate, you encourage.”

*********** RIP Jim Taylor, a fullback’s fullback whose block was indispensible in making the Lombardi Sweep a part of football lore…

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2018/10/13/jim-taylor-dies-packers-hall-famer/1629378002/

*********** Few NFL players have have brought more class and credit to our game than Steve Largent,  all-time Seattle Seahawks’ great receiver and later a four-term Congressman from Oklahoma.

From an interview with Seattle Weekly…

*** I kind of came from a tough background. My parents got divorced when I was 6. My mom remarried when I was 9. And the guy she married was an alcoholic. So there was a lot of friction in the house. It really was football and the people I met through football, particularly coaches, that were real mentors to me. Football was a life-saving event in my life. I’m very thankful.

*** I tell my own grandkids … I encourage them to play. And play hard and have fun. And all that stuff. I don’t think football is any more dangerous than other sports. There is some risk involved, but it’s pretty minimal, especially at a younger age.

https://www.seattleweekly.com/news/seahawks-legend-steve-largent-football-was-a-life-saving-event/

*********** Kimberly-Clark, the giant paper company that makes Kleenex, has caved in to pressure from - who the hell else? - and will “rebrand” (change the name of) its “man-size” tissues.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/kleenex-rebrand-mansize-tissues-gender-complaints-58582322


*********** By any measure, General Robert Neyland of Tennessee was one of the greatest coaches of all time.  He was Nick Saban long before Nick Saban was born.

Tim Cohane, in his  book, “Great  Football Coaches of the  Twenties and Thirties” wrote, “Neyland, by repeated proof and victory, was able to convince his team, as no coach before or after him, that the keys lay in - and in this order, if order there must be - a sound kicking game, a containing defense, and, say, a couple of dozen plays all thoroughly learned, meaning that none of them is run in a game until it has been practiced at least 500 times.”

He was a single-winger.  But he believed in the importance of “position rather than possession.”  His teams were so sound defensively that he didn’t mind giving you the ball - in your end of the field.  He didn’t mind at all punting on an early down if it could get him out of his own end of the field, or if it could pin you deep in your own territory. He would punt on the opponents’ side of the 50, from the 45 to the 35, with strict instructions that the ball should be “angled out or punted dead to the 10 or inside it.”

So thoroughly did he integrate the offense, the defense and the kicking game - long before most other coaches - that it was said that if Neyland could get a touchdown up on you, he had you beaten.  And if he could get two scores up on you, it was a runaway.

As sound a football man as ever lived, the General (he was a West Point graduate who really did earn his star as an Army general) had a well-thought-out reason for everything he did.  For him, nothing happened by chance.

Why did he run a balanced-line single wing when everyone else ran it from an unbalanced line? Why, I was told by Dr. Andy Kozar, who played for the General and then collected and published his notes and journals, he lived to run off-tackle, and he knew that with a balanced line his tailback would get to the off-tackle hole faster. Actually, he told author Tim Cohane in the 1970s, “I was not wedded to the single wing as closely as some thought. I used it because we could get quicker power at tackle.”

Another thing that the General did was position his blocking back in the strongside “A” gap - nowhere near as wide other single-wing coaches (these are the General’s own play diagrams, published in Dr. Kozar’s magnificent book, “Football As a War Game.”)  #10 is his staple off-tackle play.

tenn single wing

One major reason why the General put his blocking back where he did (actually, he was still just as close to the off-tackle hole as the blocking backs in unbalanced lines) was that he was a great admirer of one thing that T-formation (with the QB under center) teams could do that single wing teams couldn’t: a quarterback sneak. In the diagram below, General Neyland has shown a sneak from his punt formation in Play 32. (In Play 35 he has also drawn up a toss sweep.)
tenn punt form


(Dr. Kozar is now dead and his book is out of print.  If you can find a copy, be prepared to pay.  If you bought one back when I first recommended it, hang onto it and leave it to one of your kids in your will.  Or let them fight over it.)

andy kozar book

General Neyland’s respect for the quarterback sneak ought to be enough of a recommendation for anyone, but even now, every Sunday we see genius coaches line up on 4th-and-1 in a shotgun and, already starting four yards deep in the backfield, hand off to the only running back in the backfield (what - you thought they’d have their QB run it?).  Occasionally - you know how the pros are - they’ll even throw the ball on 4th and 1.  Sometimes, they’ll put their quarterback under center, but he’ll hand off to the only running back, who’s lined up seven yards deep! (You do see some of this same crap on Saturday, too, since an awful lot of today’s college coaches are auditioning for the NFL.)

Even when it’s now legal to push the runner from behind, I’m amazed that I don’t see people running a sneak -  with a 300-pound fullback right behind their quarterback as a pusher.

You have to wonder why not.  Michael Salfino, writing on October 10 in the Wall Street Journal, noted that this season, in the NFL, sneaks had been attempted 44 times on either 3rd and 1 or 4th and one, and they’d been successful 42 times - that’s a 95.5% success rate. (Since 2013 - Sneaks in those situations have an 84.9% rate of success.)

For non-sneaks, the success rate is considerably lower - 64.6%

But here’s the kicker: despite the overwhelming odds in favor of a successful quarterback sneak in 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1 situations, teams sneak only 15% of the time!

The "sneakiest" NFL coach is Ron Rivera of the Panthers - he calls sneaks 26.8% of the time. (Of course, he’s got a giant economy-size QB in Cam Newton).

NFL coaches who are most reluctant to sneak:

Pete Carroll: 2% of the time.
Jason Garrett, Mike McCarthy: 3.4 % of the time.

One of General Neyland’s former players, Phil Dickens, did the General one better - he had his QB take snaps and sneak, toss, drop back, and run options to the weak side.  The QB was not exactly under center - he was in the A gap but turned in, facing the center.  From that position, he could take the snap, or he could allow the direct snap to go to the tailback or fullback while he did what a single wing blocking back was expected to do - block. This came to be known as the “side-saddle T.”  He was 29-11-1 running it at Wyoming, and his 1956 team (shown in the photo against Arizona) went 10-0.  That was good enough to get him the Indiana job, but, alas, he got caught cheating and that was his last coaching stop.

wyoming side saddle

WYOMING VS ARIZONA, 1956

John McLaughry ran his version of it at Brown, which I remembered from my college days. I spoke with him not long before he passed away, and he said that his main reason for running it was that it better enabled his QB to spin and lead through on off-tackle plays.  I gathered from that that he was not a single-wing coach trying to acquire some of the deception of the T-formation; instead, he was a T-formation coach trying to acquire some of the single wing’s power.
brown side saddle


FROM YALE SCOUTING REPORT VS BROWN, 1959


*********** Whenever there’s talk about “shutting down” the government, it’s always accompanied by a threat:  they’ll close the national parks.

And when the school board says it has to have more more money, it threatens us: it says that unless it gets the  funds it’ll have to cut sports.

Those government types aren’t dumb. They know what’s really important to us.

So now, all their pleas to save the polar bears and keep the oceans from rising having fallen on deaf ears, the climate change zealots are trying the same tack as the school boards.  They’re threatening to take our fun from us.  You see, unless we change our ways immediately, the world’s supply of barley could be in danger by the end of this century.  And since barley is a major ingredient in making beer, well, you can figure out where this is going.   Help us fight climate change or you’ll be cut off.

PS - The end of the century is still far enough away that anyone reading this who is 18 or over will probably be drinking Ensure by then anyhow - if he’s still around.

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

First I heard about the UCLA win and how bad it was for Cal.

As big a fan I am of ND there is NO WAY the Irish are one of the Top 5 teams in the country.  A Top 5 team should beat everyone they play, and beat each one convincingly to earn that recognition.  ND is a good team, but if they want to be considered Top 5, or a National Championship caliber playoff team, they need to step it up big-time.  Otherwise it will be another January 1 bowl game that could end badly for them.

Apparently I didn't miss much in last week's Army game vs. SJSU.  

Mark my words...after Humboldt State drops football next year, SJSU will be the next California State University to follow suit and join the ranks of the following schools that dropped the sport: San Francisco State, Hayward State, Chico State, Sonoma State, Cal State LA, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal Poly Pomona.  Others: University of the Pacific, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, USF, Loyola, Pepperdine, and UC Riverside.

Speaking of Sonoma State and Gary Patterson.  Gary and I met in 1985 while I was a coach at Sonoma State and he was working an Offense/Defense Camp back there at that time.  He was the coach that introduced me to his 4-2-5 defense concept.  Just a concept at that time.  But it was his concept I took back to high school with me after my short time at SSU and have used it ever since.  I follow Gary's TCU teams from afar because of his defense, and briefly visited him at TCU a few years ago.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

I agree with you on the Irish but only Northwestern and  USC appear to be left with a decent chance of beating them. The big thing they have going for them is not having to play a damned useless  conference championship game.

Sorry to see California dropping all those “small school” programs.  The death knell is going to come when then start dropping JC programs.  Oregon and Washington had them when we first moved out in 1975, and within 20 years they were all gone.  Just having JCs and the realistic goal that going to one represented really helped high school programs.

I think that Patterson has done a remarkable job at TCU, and I respect him for having the good sense to stay there as long as he has.


********** Pro football eats its seed corn… 

Defensive linemen Nick Bosa didn’t even make it halfway through his junior season before declaring that his Ohio State career was at an end.

A team captain, Bosa announced that he’s not going to be coming back from his injury, but instead he’s going to drop out of school (I’m sure he’d really been faithfully attending classes) to devote all his time to rehabbing from his injury - and getting ready for the NFL draft.

From a purely financial standpoint, with tens of millions of dollars on the line, Bosa’s decision makes sense.

But, thinking along those lines, how long will it be before top college players begin to “save their bodies,” starting to take it easy and pay attention to little aches and pains once they hit junior year? (If they aren’t already doing so.)

https://www.si.com/college-football/2018/10/16/nick-bosa-ohio-state-return-2019-nfl-draft-plans-injury-news


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Charlie Justice was a native of Asheville, North Carolina, where he was an outstanding athlete.

After “service” in the Navy (he played football) during World War II he enrolled at the University of North Carolina, where he became the most storied player in Tar Heel football history.

It was while playing at Bainbridge, Maryland Naval Training Center that his running style was compared to a locomotive, earning him one of the most colorful nicknames ever bestowed on a runner - “Choo-choo Charlie.”

In his four years at Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels were 32-7-2 and played in two Sugar Bowls and one Cotton Bowl.

Playing tailback in Coach Carl Snavely’s single wing, he rushed for  3774 yards and threw for 2362 yards and, running and throwing, he was responsible for 64 touchdowns.

He was a four-time All-American, and finished second in the Heisman voting in 1948 (behind Doak Walker) and 1949 (behind Leon Hart).

Following graduation, he was the MVP of the College All Star game, rushing for 133 yards in leading the All Stars to a 17-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

His NFL career with the Washington Redskins was cut short by injuries.

Charlie Justice is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.  His Number 22 has been retired by North Carolina.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHARLIE ‘CHOO-CHOO” JUSTICE:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSI
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** Ken Hampton, of Raleigh, North Carolina notes that Charlie Justice’s Number 22 is displayed in Carolina blue at the 22-yard line at Kenan Stadium.

*********** QUIZ: He came out of Humboldt, Tennessee and went to Tennessee on a basketball scholarship. He was a great high jumper, finishing second in the SEC track championships.  He played football for General Bob Neyland, and  although he played in the 1950s, he’s still considered perhaps the greatest defensive player in the history of SEC football.

He was so good as a defensive end - big and mean and agile - that he would have been as good today as he was when he played.

At 6-8 and 265, he would be big enough to play in today’s NFL; by the standards of  his day he was huge.

In 1953 he was the first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, but after two years in Cleveland, it was apparent to Paul Brown that he was not Brown’s type of person, and he was traded to the Chicago Bears for a couple of future draft choices.  In his 12 years in Chicago he made eight Pro Bowls.

Said Bears’ owner/coach George Halas years later, “Paul Brown couldn't handle him in Cleveland. I could slough off anything. He didn't give me trouble, except when he'd get stiff and call me up at night."

Because of him, Halas hired a private detective to keep track of players. At training camp, Bears’ coaches refused to check his room at bed-check time because he kept a pit bull named Rebel in his room. Recalled teammate Richie Petitbon, Rebel was “trained to kill.”

He evidently liked a drink. Once, he and fellow defensive lineman Fred Williams had a martini-drinking contest.  They stopped drinking at 21, but Williams conceded that our guy probably won, since he was able to drive them home.

He didn’t like to practice - he claimed the Bears didn’t pay him enough to play and practice, too.

He loved to try to get under Halas’ skin.  Once, on the first day of training camp, he arrived late to practice, and  proceeded to jog lazily and indifferently around the field. When Halas asked him what he was doing, he said, “Breaking in my helmet.”

For all his distaste for practice, though, he once went 12 straight years without missing a game, and in his 17 years of football he missed only 17 games.

And on the field, he was feared; the word among opposing offensive linemen was, “Don’t make him mad.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Fullback Rick Casares once said: ‘We used to hope that somebody would hold him. The next play you would see guys flying around like King Kong had gotten ahold of them. Awesome. I've seen him grab a tackle by the shoulder pads and just flip him over like a doll, then come in on a back that weighed 225 pounds without breaking stride and hit him in the chest, knock him over on his back, reach over, grab the quarterback by the shoulder pads and throw him down with one arm.’”

Despite his great size, he would often hurdle over blocking linemen on his way to the quarterback, and if sacks had been counted when he played, he would almost certainly be in the record books.

Recalled his Tennessee teammate Jack Stroud, who had a long career with the Giants, “The notion that because those guys in the 50s didn’t lift weights and take steroids they weren’t strong is a crock.  A lot of those guys would have whipped the hell out of these guys today.  Take —— —— He was 6-8 and 265 and was solid muscle and bones. And hhe high jumped six feet.  And he never touched a weight in his life.  With the frame he had, he could have weighed 300 pounds no problem. His arms were 18 inches around.  We measured them in Knoxville.  I told him over to the gym to try to get him to work out (Stroud was a serious lifter). He allowed that that was a lot of extra work he didn’t need.”

He was a team leader - of sorts.  “(He) was a nice guy but you were scared of him," said Mike Pyle, who played center for the Bears. "He nominated me for player representative. He said, 'I nominate Mike Pyle 'cause he's from Yale.' The rest of the players were asked, 'Anybody else?' (He) said, 'Yeah, I move the nominations be closed.'"

At 37 he was sent to the Saints in the expansion draft, but he had enough left in the tank that in the three years he played in New Orleans he played well enough to have his number retired there.

Despite Halas’ initial misgivings about his practice habits, he is 
in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His highest salary was $25,000, and at his Hall of Fame induction, he recalled getting into an argument with Halas over $500:  "Coach Halas said if I give you that money you would only spend it. I said, 'Coach, that's what I want it for'!"


american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 16,  2018 -   “If you have a bad temper, employ it for a purpose.”  Vince Lombardi


*********** It seemed only days ago that we Portlanders learned that Paul Allen’s cancer had returned, and then today came the sad news that Mr. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, had died.  He was 65.

Strange and somewhat reclusive, Mr. Allen was one of the wealthiest men in the United States, and he invested his wealth in a wide number of areas besides sports. I can only imagine how many people he and his many companies employed, but just as one example, his 400-foot yacht, the Octopus, carried a crew of 57. He actually lent the yacht - which had a deep-diving submarine - to governments for use in major salvage and rescue operations.

What a job it’s going to be to sort out all of Mr. Allen’s many and varied holdings.

I suspect that fans in Portland and Seattle may never again have it as good as they did with him, one of our own, owning our major sports franchises.

*********** Hard to tell which was more painful for Cal fans Saturday - the thumping that their Golden Bears got from UCLA, or their loss of first place to UCLA in Times Higher Education’s rankings as the Top Public University in the US.

*********** If you’ve ever been in a spot where the wolves were howling for your job… I’ll bet you didn’t have a guy standing behind you the way Donald Trump stood behind his nominee for the Supreme Court.

*********** John Walters, in The Athletic, asks, “How does a kicker come to be known as “Bubba?’” (Miami’s Bubba Baxa.)

*********** Tua Tagovailoa has yet to play in the fourth quarter this season.

*********** I got so tired of hearing announcers say “Hopkins-Junior” this and “Hopkins-Junior” that as if that’s the last name of Army QB Kelvin Hopkins that I turned off the volume.  And then I tuned in an Air Force game and it was even worse: “Hammond-the-third” this and “Hammond-the-third” that.

*********** What does a spread team do when it’s 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 and it has to go for it?  Why, first it snaps the ball back to a guy who’s four yards deep…

*********** A holding call in the Vandy-Florida game prompted this bit of professional analysis: “He might have got a LITTLE bit of jersey…”   Yeah, it was just a little bit of jersey.  "Penetration, however slight..."

*********** I would have enjoyed listening to some of the Iowa-Indiana game, but no-o-o-o-o.  Not once I heard that it was Beth Mowins on play-by-play.

*********** Indiana’s secondary appears to be incapable of covering receivers without interfering.

*********** Oklahoma State was on the Kansas State one, third-and-one.  The one-FOOT line, actually.

So what do they do?  Why, they run a jet sweep.  And lose five yards.

*********** A Florida linebacker named Vosean Joseph - more from him later - picks up a Vandy runner and pile-drives him, earning a richly-deserved unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  And the Florida staff did absolutely nothing about it. Didn’t bat an eye.  Just as if it was business as usual, he was still on the field for the next play. What the hell kind of coaching is that?

*********** The brand… the brand… the brand.  We hear this sh— from the marketing guys at the colleges as if they really have an understanding of what branding is all about… And then they send their product out into the marketplace in a package that’s unrecognizeable. 

What, exactly, is the reason for all the all-black uniforms on teams whose colors have never included black?  This past weekend it was Tulsa and Iowa State.

Maybe it’s all part of the Death of Normal.

*********** A Florida player puts a dirty hit - blind-side, helmet-to-helmet - on a Vanderbilt player and as the Vandy player lies motionless on the ground, his coach, Derek Mason, has words with Florida coach Dan Mullen.  Florida DC Todd Grantham seems to forget that he’s not the head coach, and flaps his mouth, too.

Meanwhile, Vosean Joseph - remember him? - picks up his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty IN THE SAME HALF and now he has to leave the game.

But not without a tantrum.  The mother, I would say, of all tantrums.  Hmmm.  Maybe that’s why nobody on the Florida staff had the stones to pull him out of the game for a little “coaching” after that first unsportmanlike conduct penalty.

New coaching staff.  Same old Florida.

*********** 4th and 18 and a great fake punt catches Vanderbilt flat-footed.

*********** Nebraska takes a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.  Could this be the Huskers’ day?

*********** Vanderbilt’s deep snapper hustles downfield and  catches the punt in the air.

*********** How an option team takes itself out of its offense…

Georgia Tech, down 14-7 to Duke, fumbles and - like that - Tech is down 21-7.

Georgia Tech, down 21-7 to Duke, fumbles and - like that - Tech is down 28-7.

And now, Georgia Tech is forced to play Duke left-handed -  throwing the ball.

*********** Speaking of playing left-handed… Two very sketchy grounding calls that should have been called against Northwestern. One of them is so bad that the Northwestern QB is “throwing” the ball left-handed.

*********** This is how it happens when you’re going down the gurgler…

There’s 2:02 left. Nebraska leads, 31-24, and Northwestern is on its own one yard line. 99 yards to go.

And then a Cornhusker lineman is called for a blow to the head, and Northwestern is out of the end zone and on its way to the last-second score that will send the game into OT.

*********** Free timeouts for incomplete passes.  Since when do we reward failure?  It’s making a farce of the game.

*********** Pitt comes out wearing its Dorsett-era uniforms - sunflower gold helmets and pants.  All that was missing was the talent they had on those teams.

*********** Derek Mason and Dan Mullen seemed quite cordial in their post-game meeting at midfield.

*********** The Oregon-Washington game saw a targeting call against a UW linemen who couldn’t possibly have made a more beautiful form tackle on the Oregon QB.

*********** Proof that there’s a God - Washington’s kicker missed what would have been a game-winner as time expired, and the game went into OT.  What a sin it would have been if the game - a real classic - had ended, like most NFL "thrillers,"  on a f—king chip shot kick.

*********** For the 1,000th time… coaches should not be calling time out.  Ever,

*********** Washington scored in the top half of OT to lead, 33-30.

In its first series, Oregon was stopped on 3rd and 1, and now faced 4th and 1.

But wait - Oregon was called for holding. What to do?

Take the play and force the Ducks to decide whether to kick or go for it?

Or take the penalty and bet that they can’t make 3rd-and-11?

Washington took the penalty, but Oregon made the first down - and went in to score the winning touchdown.

*********** UCLA 37, Cal 7 - It was that bad an ass-kicking.  How’s that QB demotion working out? Well, since you asked, Cal had FIVE turnovers, all by the QB.

*********** Is there no end to the stupid play?  Virginia, leading Miami 16-13 with :30 left to play, kicks a field goal to go ahead 19-13.

But not so fast - a Miami player roughed the kicker.  Take the penalty and it’s an automatic first down. Miami has no timeouts left, which means GAME OVER.

*********** Lotsa Field Storming on Saturday…

Iowa State
LSU
Oregon
UV

*********** Lost in the crowd?  More like the crowd lost in the seats?

For some reason, San Jose State chose to play Army in Levis Stadium.  You can imagine what 15,627 (announced) looks like in a stadium that seats 68.000

AND THIS IS WHAT SAN DIEGO STADIUM LOOKED LIKE WHEN AIR FORCE AND SAN DIEGO STATE RETURNED AFTER A 1-1/2 HOUR LIGHTNING DELAY

AFA VS SDSU AFTER STORM

*********** I watched Tom Brady score a TD against Kansas City when he ran out of the grasp of a Chiefs’ defensive lineman. Are you kidding me?  Brady breaking a tackle?  I swear it looked to me as if the defender, afraid of throwing Brady to the ground and getting called for roughing, let up.

I suspect we’re going to be seeing more of this,  and it threatens to make a travesty of the game.

At the very least, in return for the cosseting of the QBs, there should be some tradeoff.  How about when he’s “in the grasp” (remember that?) the play is dead?

There.  That way we’ll find out if this no-roughing garbage is really about the quarterback’s safety… or if it’s about goosing the offensive stats.

*********** Bowling Green didn’t wait until the end of the season to fire Mike Jinks, letting him go roughly at the mid-point of his five-year, $2.1 million contract.

He had to go.  Losses were mounting.  Crowds were dwindling.  Boosters were bailing.

And all because of an AD who had no f—king idea how to hire a football coach.

Back in 2015, coming off a MAC championship and needing to replace his coach, the AD did what any sharp AD would do.  No, he didn’t go to a list of potential hires he’d begun to compile back when it became obvious that his current coach (Dino Babers) was so good that somebody was bound to lure him away.  No, that’s what old-time ADs did.

This digital-age AD went to Google.  No lie.  He searched for the team with the most productive offense, which Google said was Texas Tech.  And then he zeroed in on the top Tech assistant that he could afford.

That turned out to be a running backs coach named Mike Jinks.  So Jinks had never so much as been a college coordinator. So Jinks had never even been in the state of Ohio.

So Jinks was so unready he didn’t even have a list of assistants to hire if he ever got a head coaching job. (His first staff wound up consisting of seven assistants who had never previously coached at the Division 1 level, and had, in toto, zero ties to Ohio.

What could possibly go wrong?

(For what it’s worth, the AD in question, a guy named Chris Kingston, worked at West Point under one of the world’s worst ADs, a guy named Kevin Anderson. Kingston is no longer at Bowling Green.)

https://www.toledoblade.com/sports/college/2018/10/14/college-football-bowling-green-state-university-mike-jinks-david-briggs/stories/20181014165?abnpageversion=evoke


***********  Hugh,

You may be right about the option.  While I never miss an Army game now I can see how the cut block downfield has limited the offense's effectiveness on the perimeter.  I completely disagree with it, and my point is this:  If a defender is allowed to take the legs away from the blocker, how is THAT not considered as dangerous as a blocker taking the legs away from a defender??  Or...if defenders are allowed to leave their feet on a tackle below the waist...why isn't that considered dangerous to both the ball carrier and the defender??

While I briefly watched some of the Yale-Dartmouth game last Friday I couldn't help but notice the crowd in the venerated old Yale Bowl. 

Speaking of crowds, and Andy Kerr, and Stanford...is there a possible connection that crowd sizes at Yale and Stanford last week may have something to do with the progressive mindset on both the east coast and left coast???

Glad to have you back!  Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe-

I am actually seeing calls of cut blocking against defenders who take on blockers at the knees.  Coaches on the sideline act incredulous.

What pisses me off about what’s happening with the spread guys ganging up on the option is that it’s like Amazon and Wal-Mart and Target favoring legislation that may sound great on the surface ($15 minimum wage!)  but is actually designed to crush the little guys.

As for the Yale Bowl (dear to me because it’s where my wife and I first met)...

The Bowl was once the largest stadium in the United States.  Even adjusted for the greater width of modern-day asses, it still seats close to 70,000.  To see even 20,000 in that big old bowl looks like those incongruous scenes on TV of high school playoff games being played in NFL stadia.

Ivy League football is long gone as a spectator sport. We were borderline big time  when I went there, at least by the measurement of attendance.

To give you an idea of how Yale once drew…

In 1956, my freshman year, Yale played SEVEN home games. They drew 243,825 - and average of 34,800.

Compare that with
ALABAMA - 6 games - 154,000 - 25,700 per game
ARKANSAS - 6 games - 161,000 - 26,800
AUBURN - 5 games - 120,000 - 24,000
FLORIDA - 7 games - 233,662 - 33,400
GEORGIA - 4 games - 110,000 - 27,500
OREGON - 4 GAMES - 55,000 - 13,500
PENN STATE - 4 games - 107,030 - 26,750
SYRACUSE - 5 games - 157,480 - 31,500
TCU - 4 games - 104,000 - 26,000
WASHINGTON - 6 games - 190,000 - 31,700

College football has undergone a sea change since then.

At Yale, we would routinely draw crowds in excess of 50,000 for “big” games.

At that time, that meant Princeton, Harvard or Dartmouth.  For those games, we could make decent money selling our tickets to rich New York alumni who wanted to impress client with good seats (our seats were on the 40). We didn’t consider it scalping because we didn’t pay anything for them. Those rich alumni were the students of the 30’s, when Yale football was a national power.

Nowadays, I think the quality of the play is probably better than when I played,  but the interest is gone. The fan base has eroded.  The old alumni are dead. Today’s students don’t give a sh— haven’t in years, and when they graduate they become alumni who don't give a sh—.  This process has been going on since about the time they admitted women (hmmm.). Soon, there will be no alumni at all who care. Only parents and girlfriends of players will be at games.

It may be a coastal thing, but I believe it’s also a tribal thing - members of the leftist/feminist/LGBTQ tribe don’t care much for football.  Certainly not for glorifying something that reeks of testosterone and male toxicity.

(This appears to be a small but dangerous first-stage cancer even at real football schools, where students party in the tailgate area instead of going to the actual game.)

Thanks for getting me going on this.

Hugh

PS— Thought you might enjoy this, from June, 2001—


*********** Hi coach, Just a couple of things to note. We installed the DW this past week at Benilde-St. Margaret's School in Minneapolis. I was thrilled at our turnout, (over 60 players grades 7 through 12) but more importantly, the players picked it up quickly and they're really fired-up about it. The coaching staff can't wait to get going! Your installation tape, and attending the Chicago clinic made the installation that much easier. I'll be in touch with you periodically to let you know how things are going for the "Red Knights".

 Also, I'm very interested in the "no-huddle" and "new play" information you described on your website "news" and would greatly appreciate anything you can send. Look forward to hearing from you, and again, thanks for all your help.

 Joe Gutilla Head Football Coach

P.S. By the way, my "star" TB I told you about when I first contacted you about running the offense (he was very skeptical about the change) watched the Dynamics video and took part in the installation. He's now convinced there isn't anyone we'll face that will be able to stop him at B back. I may have created a monster.

*********** The Law of Unintended Consequences…

You wonder why our language is going to hell?

My daughter passed this along to me some time ago…

A friend of hers said a speech therapist she knows told her that it has become more and more difficult for her to motivate kids to improve their speech, because now that it's no longer acceptable for others to make fun of the way they speak (“bullying?”), there's no incentive for them to learn to speak properly.

The intended consequence of “tolerance” was to keep kids from feeling bad about themselves. After all, we didn’t want them all committing suicide, right?  But what we got instead was a growing cohort of people who, if they even speak English at all , speak it poorly.

*********** Number one-ranked Mater Dei, of Santa Ana, California, fell to St. John Bosco, of Bellflower on Saturday.

Mater Dei doesn’t lose often.  Bruce Rollinson has been the Mater Dei head coach 1989, and during that time, he’s coached a number of state championship teams, including  last year’s team that was also named the national champion.  Among his better known players are Matt Barkley, Colt Brennan and Matt Leinart. And USC’s current true-freshman QB,  J. T. Daniels, was Mater Dei’s QB just last season.

There’s a nice article in the latest AFCA publication about Coach Rollinson and his approach with parents, which he decribes as “brutally upfront.”

Here’s why: Even after winning the national championship last year, Rollinson said nine different players transferred from Mater Dei to other programs.
A major reason was playing time or “getting their share of the spotlight.”

Said Rollinson, “I was disappointed because they did have potential but I was never going to make their parents happy anyway.”

*********** I have a theory that kids who stare at screens - who never read and never listen to stories - never develop their imaginations.  With everything done for them from the time they’re old enough to hold an iPad, they’re basically unable to create pictures in their minds. 

In popular entertainment, this manifests itself in primitive humor that lacks subtlety because its audience simply can’t put the pieces together. Why take the chance that they won’t be able to figure out for themselves why that guy is doubled over in pain?  Why not simply show him being kicked in the balls?

Matt Groening, whom we can all thank for giving us “The Simpsons,” referred to this recently in recalling the early days of the show. “Our original concept was a little coarser and a little more risque.  We went in that direction and it didn’t feel right. It felt too easy. There are words you can use that will automatically get a laugh.  But it’s more fun to skirt the edge.”


*********** Just checking to verify that Frontier is enrolled for the Black Lion Award.

We’re having another good season despite having just 4 seniors on the squad.

We lost our opening game to a ranked opponent and had the lead at half but couldn’t finish. We lost momentum when we didn’t score in the closing seconds of the half and had a thin 6-0 lead. (We took the kickoff at the start of the game marched right down the field -textbook DW) Since then we 3 straight and average over 30 points per game.
66/77 average over 8 yards per carry. I’ve also worked in a freshman at A back for some carries. He shows real promise and contributes to the rushing stats. Despite the bruising rushing attack a few “Dads”can be heard on the sidelines calling for us to “open it up”.  Yeah right.  Besides running 66/77 the usual way we will run 66 with Liz motion with the QB reversing like on a 56c.  We call it LIZ 66 INSIDE POWER or RIP 77 INSIDE POWER. Our sweeps also look pretty good this year. Something we lacked the past few seasons. 88/99 G-REACH and we sometimes offset the FB play side or flank the FB to play side about 8 yards and have him crack on the outside LB.

Works pretty good - especially after pounding off tackle for a few plays. We continue to practice openwing as well.   Havent unleashed it yet other than in preseason scrimmage but it’s there if we need it or just want to mess with next weeks opponents scouting. It might placate a few of the Dads. lol

Only 3seniors starting on each side of the ball tonight. Wish us luck.

BTW I enjoyed the Army vs Oklahoma game - got to watch it via YouTube.

Don Gordon
Frontier Regional School
Deerfield
Peoples Republic of Massachusetts

PS   Did I read somewhere you’re working on another playbook focusing onformation adjustments?

Coach-

You did read correctly.  But first on my list of projects is the next installment of the Open Wing playbook.

Keep enjoying your season.  I’ve enjoyed watching your team.



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

I hope you are feeling better. I saw on your NYCU that you had been under the weather.

I wrote to you back at the beginning of the season regarding my fumbling problems and you gave me some excellent advise, but we still kept fumbling. Some of the players had improved, but others were not able to really get better, and with play time rules in effect I made a switch after our 3rd game. We had a bye week and I decided to install the Open Wing. In examining my skilled players I came to realize I had 2 guys who are excellent runners (put them at BBack)and a pretty good QB that throws well and can run a little. Since the installation we have put up 42 and 29 points in the 2 games and we have won both games. The transition was pretty seamless for the Oline other than I decided to flop them using an open and tight side, and my center had no trouble with the short snap. The biggest improvement is we have only fumbled once( in the first game in the Open Wing) and the kid got the message real quick when I benched him for the rest of the half. As for the other guys that continued to fumble, well they get to play X and Slot and never have to see the ball. I do have a kid at X that I throw to, and a slot player that is lightning quick so I run him on reach plays, but other than those two no one else out there gets a whiff of the ball.

I do have a question about the Open Wing, I have the videos and maybe I need to look at them again, but when would I use Over, Eastern, or Western? Especially if I am sticking with the G-O's, X-O's, and the traps. When would be a good time to change the formation that may be advantageous to the play calls I hope this makes sense.

Thanks Coach

John Guebara
Craftsbury, Vermont

Glad you’ve been able to make use of the Open Wing.

A brief answer to your question would be that you might use Eastern and Western (moving your slot to the Tight Side) when a defense that’s normally a 3-deep covers your slot back with its safety (and therefore there's no one in the middle).  That means that it’s playing your running game 9-on-9. (TOP)

By moving your Slot Back to the other side ("Western") , you can force the secondary back into its base 3-deep, and  make it an 8-man box. (BOTTOM)

western


Otherwise, unless you have some plans to throw, there’s no advantage to you to go Western or Eastern. (If you can throw, you have trips to the tight side, and almost certainly one-on-one coverage on the split end.)

Hang tight until I send out playbook pages for “Strong” backfield.

Good Luck!


*********** Hugh Freeze joins Rick Neuheisel!

1. https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/former-ole-miss-coach-hugh-freeze-hired-as-offensive-coordinator-in-new-aaf-league/

Uh-Oh.

2. Have you felt the Push for Notre Dame as NatChamps this year? "It's the feel good story of the 2018 college football season..."  CBS Sports on the 'Net is the worst: A  picture of the ND QB with high cheek bones and a chin carved from a rock from Mount Rushmore appears for a few seconds with whatever story you're reading.  This guy is ready to star in a Superman  movie.  Get ready for another "Fifth-to-First"  year, even with a Playoff System.

Think there aren't strings being pulled for some people?

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

*********** Don’t you just love Politial Correctness?

Came across this…

The mascot of Flint Central High School since 1928 was the Indian. In 2001 the Flint Board of Education voted to phase out school mascots that made reference to Native Americans in all of Flint's schools. This affected other school mascots as well including the Pierce Elementary School Arrows (although the mascot name is a reference to the automobile model, not the weapon),

Did you get that?  There was once a car called the Pierce Arrow.  And a very prestigious automobile it was. Therefore, it being Michigan and autos and all that, what a clever nickname for Pierce Elementary School.

But ooooooo. Arrows bad.

*********** I go back a long way with Gil LeBreton, a long-time sportswriter and columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Back in the days of the World Football League, Gil, an LSU guy,  was the PR man for the Birmingham Vulcans, and I served in the same capacity with the Portland Thunder.  We hit it off pretty well and in return for his hospitality when I visited the Magic City, I reciprocated when he came out to the Northwest.

After a long career with the Star-Telegram, Gil has embarked on a new venture, a subcription-only site devoted to Dallas-Fort Worth sports.
In one of his most recent columns, Gil wrote about Gary Patterson’s losing both of his parents in the past year, and how his upbringing has been responsible for making him the man - and the coach - he is…

Patterson left tiny Rozel, Kan., in 1978, first to Dodge City Community College and then to attend Kansas State, but in a lot of ways Rozel has never left him.

Rozel is smack dab in the middle of central Kansas, 137 miles from Wichita, 135 miles from the Nebraska state line and 150 miles from Colorado. There’s a grain elevator, a water tower and a few dozen houses, but no signal light or even a stop sign on the town’s main street.

The population of Rozel is listed as 156. Patterson’s final year at Pawnee Heights High was the school’s last season to play 11-man football.

*****
“People say, ‘Well, why are you so driven?’” Patterson reflected Tuesday. “You’re driven because you have parents that drove you, and you want to make sure that you paid them back for all the hard work they did.”

Patterson’s father Keith, who died in January, leveled farm land for a living so area farmers could find irrigation. His mother was a career nurse.
His parents valued the necessities of hard work, Patterson said.

“I went back to see her last Sunday after the Iowa State game, and it was the last time,” he said. “Most people, if they knew a parent was going to pass away, would have stayed a couple of days.

“But she was one of those [who said], ‘Now, I don’t want you to get beat by Texas Tech, so you need to get back and get prepared.’

“That’s just the way we do things. That’s the way they brought me up.”

His mom died quietly on Thursday, Oct. 4, four days after Gary visited.

*****
From his parents, Patterson continued, he inherited his zealous drive.

“They were a couple who knew what they were and how they did things,” he said. “They worked hard. The reason myself and my brother and sisters turned out way we did was the simple reason that they pushed us to be that.

“We never knew we didn’t have anything. We didn’t have anything but we didn’t know that. They always found a way to make sure we had an education, clothes, everything.”

When Patterson returned in January to see his then-ailing father Keith, he received a similar scolding as the one his mother would later give him – get back to work.

“If you lose a recruit because you’re back here . . . ,” the elder Patterson told his son.

https://sptspage.com/a-game-then-a-sad-flight-home-to-kansas/

Gil’s BIO: Gil LeBreton's 40-year journalism career has seen him cover sporting events from China and Australia to the mountains of France and Norway. He's covered 26 Super Bowls, 16 Olympic Games (9 summer, 7 winter), 16 NCAA Basketball Final Fours, the College World Series, soccer's World Cup, The Masters, Tour de France, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup finals and Wimbledon. He's seen Muhammad Ali box, Paul Newman drive a race car and Prince Albert try to steer a bobsled, memorably meeting and interviewing each of them. Gil is still the only journalist to be named sportswriter of the year in both Louisiana and Texas by the National Sportsmedia Association. A Vietnam veteran, Gil and his wife Gail, a retired kindergarten teacher, live in the stately panhandle of North Richland Hills. They have two children, J.P., a computer game designer in San Francisco, and Elise, an actress in New York City.

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER- JIM SWINK was born in the small town of Sacul, Texas, but when his parents fell ill, he was taken in by a childless couple in nearby Rusk.  At Rusk High School he was an outstanding high school athlete, and he chose  TCU partly because it agreed to  let him play both football and basketball.

In 1955 he gained 1,283 yards on just 157 carries and scored 18 touchdowns as the Horned Frogs went 9-2 and finished with a No. 5 national ranking.  His 8.2 yards-per-carry average led the nation and is still the school record.

An electrifying runner, a threat to go all the way on any play,  he was nicknamed the  Rusk Rambler.

In his career at TCU, he had three great performances against Texas. (Perhaps he saved his best for the Longhorns because they hadn't recruited him.) In TCU's 47-20 trouncing of Texas in 1955, he carried 15 times for 235 yards and four touchdowns. The night before, thousands of Texas fans had gathered for a candle-light vigil, hoping to put a hex on the Frogs. "Heck," said TCU Coach Abe Martin, "if a candle can beat us, we ain't very good."

In the final game of his career, a historic Cotton Bowl matchup with Syracuse and the great Jim Brown,  he scored the winning touchdown in a 28-27 victory. (Brown scored 21 points by himself, but missed the extra point that proved the margin of victory.)

He was named first-team All-America running back in both 1954 and 1955, and finished second in the Heisman voting in 1955.  He was on the covers of numerous football magazines, and at least twice on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

“He was one of the five best players in TCU history and should have won the Heisman,” said Dan Jenkins, the famous TCU alum, football historian and writer.

“He was a guy basically, with Davey O’Brien and Sammy Baugh, that put TCU on the map,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson.

But he passed up the NFL to go to medical school.

“The Bears drafted me, and it was tempting” he told the Star-Telegram years later. “George Halas used to call me up and talk for an hour. He’d say, ‘I need someone up here who doesn’t fumble the ball.’ But I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule.’

In 1966 he was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam as a medic - as the Black Lions’ Battalion Surgeon - returning home in 1968 as a captain with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

For 35 years  he was an orthopedic surgeon in Fort Worth, but in 2006 after a stroke, he returned to Rusk, where he grew up, and continued to practice. He died in 2014.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000.

“Much of what we accomplished didn’t seem such a big deal at the time,” he told the Star-Telegram in 2000 before his induction into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. “It was just a part of the overall experience of getting a college education. It was also a more innocent time, and we were mostly kids from small towns who hadn’t seen much of the world. It was also the one-platoon era, where you could build a competitive program with a lot fewer people than it takes today.”

At the time of his death in 2014, his wife told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that of all the things he had accomplished,  “He was most proud of being an Academic All-American. He was proud of all of his accomplishments, but he was especially proud of that.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM SWINK:

KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS


*********** QUIZ: He was a native of Asheville, North Carolina, where he was an oustanding high school athlete.

After “service” in the Navy (he played football) during World War II he enrolled at the University of North Carolina, where he became the most storied player in Tar Heel football history.

It was while playing at Bainbridge, Maryland Naval Training Center that his running style was compared to a locomotive, earning him one of the most colorful (and alliterative) nicknames ever bestowed on a runner.

In his four years at Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels were 32-7-2 and played in two Sugar Bowls and one Cotton Bowl.

Playing tailback in Coach Carl Snavely’s single wing, he rushed for  3774 yards and threw for 2362 yards and, on the ground and in the air, he was responsible for 64 touchdowns.

He was a four-time All-American, and finished second in the Heisman voting twice:  in 1948 (behind Doak Walker) and 1949 (behind Leon Hart).

Following graduation, he was the MVP of the College All Star game, rushing for 133 yards in leading the All Stars to a 17-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

His NFL career with the Washington Redskins was cut short by injuries.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.  His Number 22 has been retired by North Carolina.


american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 12,  2018 -   “Once the party of the working man, Democrats have become the party of the screaming woman.” Robert Stacy McCain, The American Spectator

*********** The latest Sports Illustrated contains a couple of very deep football articles, neither of which will please someone who dislikes the way the game is headed.

One, “The NFL’s Unfixable Problem,” by Tim Layden, deals with the newest definition of roughing the passer, and how offenses have taken advantage of the near-untouchable status of the quarterbacks  and the added protection of “defenseless” receivers to put up numbers less related to the skills of the players than to the laxity of the rules. It’s part a concern for  player safety, true, but it’s also business-driven, because spectators pay to see offense. (Next:  baseball moving the pitcher’s mound back to 90 feet, and giving the batter four strikes - and saying that because so many pitchers are throwing in the 90s now, it’s for the safety of the batters.)

Jack Lambert drew laughs back in the 70s when Howard Cosell asked him if he could think of any rules change to protect quarterbacks and he answered, “it might be a good idea to put dresses on all of them.”

We are almost there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=15&v=IxDUCaUYhnw

The other article, “The Option,” by Ross Dellinger, does a nice job of giving an overview of the various forms of options and how  option football appears doomed. Even its practitioners agree, and most of them seem to feel - as I do - that the rulesmakers “have an agenda.”  The latest attack on option play has been an outlawing of below-the-waist blocking downfield. Passed as a “safety measure,” I have yet to see the data to support it.

There’s no question in my mind that there is an “agenda” to do away with option football.  Non-option coaches are a great majority, and their influence on the rules committee reflects it.  If with just one rule they could outlaw option football overnight, they’d do it, but realizing that that’s impossibile, they’re settling for one bite at a time.


*********** Downtown Vancouver, Washington used to be a fairly rough place, known mainly for its dives, card rooms (legalized poker) and - a sure mark of a place where people live on the edge - pawn shops.

Gentrification is making its inroads.  The cardrooms were sent packing long ago, the dives are being replaced by brewpubs and wine bars, and with the closing of a major pawn shop, only two remain from what was not long ago seven.

The reason for the pawn shops’ demise doesn’t seem to be as much a factor of an improved downtown as it is a result of peoples’ ability to sell things online.

But at least one guy isn’t worried about the future of  pawn shops in Vancouver.

Said Dan Maks, co-owner of still-in-business Lucky Loans, “As long as people still spend more money than they make, there will always be pawn shops.” 

*********** KC Smith, of Walpole, Massachusetts, brought to my attention an NFL player/MD whom I’d overlooked.  And shame on me because he was an Ivy Leaguer.

He’s Dr. Archie Roberts, a native of Holyoke, Massachusetts who played at Holyoke High and then Deerfield Academy before going on to Columbia.

He got his MD at Case-Western Reserve, and became a cardiac surgeon.

By the time he retired, he had performed more than 4,000 open heart operations.

(Actually, he missed the list because he’s not  a former NFL player - he was an AFL player (Jets and Dolphins) and barely one at that, appearing in only one game.)

KC Smith wrote with some amount of personal interest: Archie Roberts played at Deerfield Academy for his dad, Jim Smith.

So did KC.  And so did KC's  four brothers, Mike, Danny, Jimmy and Patrick.

In his 36 years at Greenfield, Jim Smith coached the Deerfield Big Green to a 175-88-12 record.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Roberts_(American_football)
 
https://deerfield.edu/athletics/news/2012/10/smith-football/10198455/

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

Everyone down here is gearing up for the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma in Dallas this weekend.  I like Texas' chances and will take the points! (Honest - I got this email before the game! HW)

I think the guy having the tough season is the same guy we both know.  A ton of injuries to his starters, and the drop-off at each position is significant.  He still has great support because his boys are learning a lot about character this year.  Just a matter of time before they start winning.

It's apparent Todd Bridge has a plethora of football knowledge as a player and a coach, and I'm happy to hear he landed a good job.

Sounds like Coach Pierce is facing the same challenge as our head coach here.  Lack of numbers.  He only has 16 healthy bodies including 6 freshmen and 4 sophomores.  They're 0-4 and have cancelled 3 games with only two remaining...provided they have 20 players eligible by decree of our school administration.  The chances of the football program surviving are slim.

Sometimes you have to wonder wtf some coaches are thinking when they don't supervise their athletes.  Likely they aren't thinking, and why we hear and read about those asinine stories.

An old mentor coach of mine (RIP) was the one who advised me on becoming a head coach to always strive to be different than your opponents.  He knew what he was talking about.  While everyone back then was running some form of triple option, or power football he was throwing the ball all over the field and winning championships.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Coach John Coelho, in Turlock, California, sent me this classic “10 men in the box” shot…

TURLOCK

Mustn’t have been too successful, because his Hornets are now 5-1, second in their league, and they lead the league in scoring,

(Remember - the closer defenders get to the line of scrimmage, the more committed they become to that side, and the less of a threat they are to plays run in the other direction.)


*********** Coach - I actually enjoy this Friday Night Ivy League  Game thing ESPN has got going , who ever came up with that concept  should be promoted.  What I would actually like to see is ESPN dedicate a Night  - Wed Night or Thurs Night OR even a time slot on Sat - on one of their Channels for a 1-AA (FCS) Game of the week. I actually think that would catch on. Plenty of good 1-AA conferences
 
John  Muckian
Ipswich, Massachusetts

John,

It’s a great concept and the Ivies have been putting on a good show.

The Ivy has a chance at getting viewers because they are nationally-known colleges with great reputations that turn away large multiples of the numbers of kids who apply.
I’m not so sure that there would be that kind of BIG-MARKET interest in many other FCS (D-IAA) leagues except maybe Colonial (Maine, NH, Nova, Delaware, W & M, Richmond, etc.). 

I actually would prefer something every week like this past Tuesday night’s Arkanas State-App State game.  The non-Power 5 FBS conferences play football that's good enough that the average fan couldn’t distinguish it  from the SEC if they were to switch uniforms with SEC teams. And this would be their chance to shine on a national level.

And don’t forget, it’s almost time for the MAC to start playing two or three nights a week. (Sure hope it’s good for MAC football to be totally turning their backs on Saturday afternoon football.)


*********** In the AFCA Coaches’ Top 25 weekly poll, the top five in the less-publicized classifiations
 
FCS
1. North Dakota State; 2. Kennesaw State; 3. Eastern Washington; 4. Wofford; 5. South Dakota State

DIVISION II
1. Minnesota State; 2. Grand Valley State; 3. Ferris State; 4. West Georgia; 5. Ouachita Baptist

DIVISION III
1. Mount Union; 2. Mary Hardin-Baylor; 3. St. Thomas; 4. Brockport State; 5. Wisconsin-Whitewater

COMPLETE RANKINGS...

https://www.afca.com/fcs-poll-elon-upsets-james-madison-to-shuffle-top-5-in-afca-fcs-coaches-poll/?utm_source=AFCA+Insider&utm_campaign=8a96b6388d-AFCA_Weekly_100317_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-8a96b6388d-147880073

*********** Think the fans in Pittsburgh haven’t noticed?

Michael Salfino in the Wall Street Journal noted that  over the last nine games of the 1976 season, the Steelers’ defense allowed opponents a grand total of 28 points.

This year’s Steelers’ defense has given up 21 points in one quarter - against the Chiefs in game #2.


*********** I consider Charlie Wilson of Crystal River, Florida to be as knowledgeable  about the wishbone and/or the belly as anybody I’m aware of, and I knew I’d hear from him after Georgia Tech’s demolishing of Louisville:

GT VS LVL BONE

Look at the Attachment.  It's a good ol' WT-6 with the Safety at 6 over C and the OLBs out of the picture.  That oughta' work.  So..."Whadya' run against THAT, CPJ?"

Of course!  "I'm gonna Double the DT by reaching the C to the right and Blocking my Right T down whilst I Pull my G around...".  The Louisville D is still looking for TaQuon Marshall who reversed Counter Clock Wise, took a step or two and then cut straight up-field.  Just gashed 'em.

Remember what I've said through the years?  "All Defenses of the Wishbone/Flexbone/Spread Option go back to the Wide Tackle Six and the Defense the Option Team most wants to face is the WT-6."

I may not get to sleep tonight.

Hope yer OK.


*********** With the recent deaths of George Taliaferro and John Gagliardi, the world of football lost two giants in the space of just a few days.  Ironically, they’d both been featured during the past year as subjects of my quiz. (No, I don’t see myself as “jinxing” them in any way.  Don’t forget, the men I write about - if they are still alive - are already well up in their years as it is.  I’m just glad that I happened to bring them to some people’s attention before they passed away.  We need to treasure men like that while they’re with us. God rest their souls.

BACK IN FEBRUARY…..

***George Taliaferro  spent six years in the pro football, with four different teams in two different leagues.

He&n