2015   CLINICS

Coach Wyatt's "News You Can Use"

american flagTUESDAY,   APRIL 21,  2015

*********** I was talking to Wing-T Godfather Mike Lude on Sunday.  If you run the Delaware Wing-T, thank Mike, because he was there at the birth of the offense.   He was the first Delaware Wing-T line coach, and he’s the guy  responsible for the blocking rules you use today.

One example: the use/nonuse of the word “Gap,” in two different publications by Dave Nelson and Forrest Evashevski.

When their “Scoring Power With the Winged T” first made its appearance in 1957, “Gap” was scarcely to be found in the rules.

But when their “The Modern Winged T Playbook” came out four years later, “Gap” had become the first instruction in many of the rules.

The difference?  Defensive people are not stupid, and after the Wing-T’s first stunning appearance on national TV, they went to work. Many defenses had begun lining up in the gaps and causing problems for Wing-T coaches whose original rules hadn’t made allowances for that possibility.

No doubt because of his wing-T orientation, Mike remains a great believer in common-sense play-calling.  He told me about the time when he was head coach at Colorado State and in one particular game they were having success with a particular play. So he stuck with that play. (Any double wing coach will understand.)

An assistant in the press box suggested that maybe they ought to run something different.

“Can you see how well this is working?” Mike asked.

“Yeah, but we’re liable to wear it out,” was the reply.

Said Mike, “Wear the damn thing out!”

*********** Shh.  Don't say anything about a certain devout Christian quarterback signing with the Eagles.  Let's all keep a low profile. We don't want to ruin his chances. Maybe if he was transsexual it would be different.  Shh.  Pass it on.

*********** No doubt you’ve heard about Britt McHenry,  ESPN bimbo, who acted the spoiled diva in insulting an employee of a car-towing company.

She forced me to go get the B-word and the C-word out of the closet.



*********** I'm sitting at Tommy's basketball practice. Nine eleven-year-olds who have never played before. All of them asking questions about possible loop holes in the rules: "what if I do this?" How about this? "Can I do this?" All crazy attempts to do something never seen before.

Reminded me of young coaches trying to reinvent offences.

Football is fun.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** Grrrrr.

(1) This year’s incoming plebe class at the US Military Academy will be 23 per cent female, an all-time high. And the leadership at West Point is jumping up and down with excitement.  Meantime,  how many future Grants, Pershings, Eisenhowers, Bradleys, Van Fleets, MacArthurs, Pattons and Schwartzkopfs (all male, if you hadn’t noticed) may have been denied admission as a result?

With the high attrition rates they already experience due to the discipline of cadet life  and the high academic and physical demands of the academy, how long will it be before some female Congressperson (or the President himself) “suggests” cutting back on the physical requirements?

The West Point Board of Visitors is its "Board of Trustees." According to its site: "The board... shall 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."

The new “chairperson" of the Board of Visitors, an Obama appointee of course, is a West Point graduate, who “co-founded Knights Out, a group of openly gay USMA graduates, and now heads up SPARTA, an advocacy group supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and veterans.”

Are you f—king kidding me?


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

First off let me thank you again for the Double Wing offense you designed. It was a very successfull season for my youth team. We finished the season at 5-1 (last game of season was cancelled because of politics) and out scored our oppenents by a score of 29 - 11. Once the kids got rolling sfter the 2nd game(lots of false start and turnovers) they really hit their stride in the last 4 games of the season averaging 36.5 points a game. After every game the same comment kept coming  "Wow! What an offense. You guys are really physical. Where did you learn to tackle like that?" My answers were always humble and I would sing the praises of your Double Wing as well as your Safer and Surer tackling videos. I amy be in some trouble with that as we are a Heads Up league, but I don't really care. They can try and attack me with that stuff, but Safer and Surer tackling is the only way for my program.

I am so inspired by the level of success with my first year that I have recently bought the Trouble Shooting DVD as well as the Practice without Pads DVD, and the Demo Deck. Looking forward to getting those materials real soon.

I am also wondering if the May 16th clinic is the only clinic you will have this off season? I noticed in the past you had given one in Providence Rhode Island, and am hoping you will have one there as well. I am really interested in learning the Open Wing, but am finding the distance to the May 16th Pennsylvania clinc to be to much of a distance. If you are not holding any other clinics this year I would like to find a way of accessing the Open Wing playbook if possible?

Hopefully this email finds you well and thank you for your time and commitment.
John Guebara

Head Football Coach
North Country Jr. Falcons
Newport Vermont

Coach Guebara,

I appreciate the note.

I really don’t know much about Heads Up, because in all fairness I have to admit to a distaste for USA Football, for the way they claim to be the “governing body” of football (like who died and made them king?) and because they really are a front for the NFL (that’s where their support comes from) and because they’re selling a double wing playbook which is a poor ripoff of my work.

But otherwise…

I’m only going to be doing one clinic, the one in PA on May 16.  For various reasons, I couldn’t bring off the Providence clinic this year.  That’s always been one of my favorites.

I think of you as I plod along trying to produce some Open Wing materials worth selling.  I won’t sell anything unless I’d use it myself.

Stay in touch and I’ll give you updates!

*********** Who was the first winner of the Heisman Trophy?  (And why wasn't it Jay Berwanger?)

*********** In the best "peaceful protest" tradition, an animal-rights bunch tried to force their way inside a circus in San Bernardino.

But in the best “show-must-go-on” tradition, circus workers, including clowns,  fought them off.

Wrote one commenter, “The protesters thought they had the numbers until a compact car pulled up and 72 clowns piled out. game on!”


*********** One of the quirky pleasures of living at Ocean Shores is being able to drive on the beach.  Especially at low tide, it is wide, and flat, and hard. We like to drive down and let our dogs run.

Even so,  towing newbies out of the sand - or water - is a thriving business at “The Beach.”

There are those spots, both close to the water’s edge where it’s soft and wet, and way back where the high tide seldom gets,  where you really don’t want to go without 4-wheel drive (which I have).  And, the ocean being the ocean, you never want to park too close to the water, because at any time a larger-than-usual wave can come out of nowhere.

Stupidity never helps.


*********** I don’t mention this often, but I’m a huge fan of college fight songs.  They have a special place in our sports culture, and they’re one of the things that draw the line between college and pro football. 

“Fly, Eagles, Fly?” “Bear Down, Chicago Bears?” Give me a break.  Buncha drunks that don’t even know the words when they’re spotted them on the JumboTron.

Watching the Illinois spring game, I heard the band play Oskee-Wow-Wow, the Illini fight song, and that got me thinking about Chief Illiniwek.   The late Chief Illiniwek, once the living symbol of the Fighting Illini.

From 1926 until 2007, win or lose, a high point of Illinois football games and, later, basketball games, was what the people at Illinois proudly called “The most exciting four minutes in all of college athletics” - starting with the playing of Oskee Wow Wow,  the entrance and dance of Chief Iliniwek, in native buckskin attire and wearing a beautiful orange-and-blue war bonnet (a gift of a Sioux chief). At the end of the dance, Chief Illiniwek would stand at midfield, arms folded, as the band played, and the crowd sang the alma mater, “Hail to the Orange.” 

And then - I know you can see this coming - somewhere back in the ‘80s, the complaints began.

The Chief and his “dance,” it was claimed, disparaged Native Americans. Mocked them.

Those opposed were not necessarily a majority of Native Americans, you understand, but take a tip from me:  if you ever want to get around the old “majority rules” nonsense that a democracy is supposed to be based on, the best way to do it is to claim you’re offended by something.

And then, although it’s nowhere to be found in the Constitution, the Right Not to be Offended kicks in, and one makes a majority.

It starts with one person, then two or three pick up the cry, until eventually they get in the ears of someone in power - power is the key motivator here, I suspect - and slowly the wheels of Political Correctness start to grind.

So it was with colleges. If their nickname, or mascot, or  symbol was related to Native Americans, however noble its intent, they were ipso facto insensitive.  Racist.

Maybe they didn’t want to change - years of tradition and all that - but their traditions meant nothing to their opponents, who came under pressure from the PC juggernaut not to play them.  And the NCAA, always sensitive to PC pressure, informed those colleges that until they divested themselves of their Indian names and symbols, they were in danger of becoming athletic pariahs.

Illinois put up a fight,  but eventually the pressure became too great, and Chief Illiniwek, a symbol to tens of thousands of Illinois faithful since the days of Red Grange, was gone.

With him, in my opinion, went a proud symbol of the people who once populated Illinois, people removed by government order to Indian Territory.
Look, we’re not talking “Redskins” here.  (I know Native Americans who aren’t offended in the slightest by that, but I can understand how offensive it might be to others.)

And we’re not talking about the Cleveland Indians and Chief Nok-a-Homa (Knock a Homer - get it?)

We’re talking here about celebrations of nobility and courage, of symbols that glorify a people and a way of life, one that unfortunately we can never bring back any other way.

Granted, I’m a white guy who doesn’t pretend to understand.  But I have a hell of a time seeing how Native American symbols, depicting men as brave, as hunters or warriors, in any way disparages native people.

Bring back Chief Illiniwek.  And provide a scholarship for a Native American resident of Illinois to be (not “play”) the Chief.

Chief Illiniwek’s last football game… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSoR8PLorTw

And Chief Illinwek’s final appearance, at a basketball game… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7tyfQu4QJo

*********** One of the candidates for the QB job at Illinois is  Jeff George, Junior.

*********** Penn State had a very good crowd of 50,000 or so.  Pretty good, considering how remote State College is. But Ohio State had ONE BIGASS CROWD - maybe 90,000 or so.  The Horsehoe looked pretty full to me.

*********** Notre Dame, whose stadium is undergoing another renovation, held its spring game on a practice field, whose bleachers held maybe a couple of thousand people.

*********** I’m guessing the Alabama spring-game crowd was 55,000 tops. Very, very good, but not by Bama’s standards. I heard something about threatening weather.  Or is this what happens when you’re Alabama and you don’t win the national title?

*********** On Saturday, just two days after throwing the discus a state-leading 177 feet, North Beach’s Caleb Bridge threw the disc 181-3.  That’s the top throw in the state in all classes,  more than 8 feet in front of the guy in second, with 172-11.

Caleb, a 6-5, 260-pound offensive and defensive lineman who’s headed for the Air Force Academy, is also 8th in the state in the shot put at 54-4.  Right behind him in 9th place is North Beach junior Jonny Law, at 53-8.

*********** John Amirante has spent  35 years singing the National Anthem at New York Rangers games. I heard him for the first time last weekend.  Sure hope he’s good for another 35.

No precious little  8 year old.
No high school sophomore who nobody has the guts to say she’s not really that good.
No multiple grammy award winner.
No refugee from “American Idol.”
No 5-minute display of questionable creativity offensive to the ears of anyone who loves our nation’s song.

Nope. Just the straight, meat and potatoes, stirring version of the Star Spangled Banner we old-timers grew up loving.


Right up there with John Amirante is Jim Cornelison, who sings the anthem before Chicago Blackhawks’ games. But I sure wish the Chicago fans would act more respectful of our country and STFU for the minute or two that  he’s singing, instead of shouting so loudly he can barely be heard.  That may be their team about to play, but it’s OUR national anthem, too.  Ironically,  they'd probably call for an invasion of Canada if they heard a Montreal crowd doing the same thing during our national anthem. (Funny - I think the Canadians are more respectful than that.)

And then there’s the woman who sang before the Islanders’ game.  Sheesh. I knew we were in trouble when the PA announcer said she was going to “perform” the national anthem.  Perform, she did.  National anthem, it wasn’t.  At least nothing I recognized.

*********** If you’re looking for a girl to share your interest in college football, I can help a little.  But you’re going to have to help yourself, to some degree.  You’re going to have to start pulling for Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma or Tennessee.

That’s because (here’s where I try to help)  according to a Scarborough Research poll based on women who said they were “very” or “somewhat” interested college football, the top five markets are Birmingham, Columbus. Oklahoma City, Knoxville, and Mobile. (I can’t believe Lincoln didn’t make it.)

If it’s pro football you’re more interested in, you’ll want to head for Green Bay, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New Orleans or Milwaukee.  In that order.  (It doesn’t take a genius to see that your chances are pretty good if you like the Pack and you don’t mind cold weather.)

*********** This time last spring, Oregon tight end Pharaoh Brown was looking forward to another season of college ball before entering the NFL draft.

As he told the Portland Oregonian’s Andrew Greif, “I was like, man, I’m trying to leave and trying to get to the NFL; I’m out of there after this season.”

And he went out and started having a good season - caught 24 passes good for six touchdowns - right up until the Utah game, when he injured his knee. He injured it so severely, in fact, that he narrowly escaped amputation of his leg, and since then he’s had to have three operations.

“His injury is something that a lot of people wouldn’t try to come back from,” said Oregon’s associate director of athletic medicine, who added that she’d only seen one other athlete suffer a comparable injury.

He didn’t even begin walking again until February, and he still hasn’t been cleared to start running, but Pharaoh Brown is determined to play again.

He’s determined, yes, but - a lesson to all young athletes - he’s had to face the reality that his football career could be over at any time, and as a result  he’s immersed himself in his studies, taking a full load of classes in his major, advertising.

“I know I’m not going to play football for the rest of my life,” he told Greif. “I know I’m going to play again, but I like the fact that I was able to figure that out.”

*********** Yale’s John Spagnola spent 11 seasons as an NFL tight end, but he’s in the college record books as a passer. Believe it or not, his  77-yard touchdown pass to Bob Krystyniak on a trick play against Harvard is still the longest scoring play in the history of “The Game,” a rivalry that dates to 1875.  

He told Chip Malafronte of the New Haven Register that he and Krystyniak sit together every year at the Yale-Harvard game, and every time Yale moves the ball out past its own 23-yard line, they celebrate with a drink.

“Because we know they can’t break it in that series,” Spagnola said. “By the end of the game, we’re usually feeling pretty good.”  

*********** In reading an article about the Oregon Ducks’ annual sale of surplus athletic equipment (forget about flying out to Eugene - demand is so great that season ticket holders get first dibs), I came across an interesting item about a guy named Ed Garland, a former Ducks’ assistant equipment manager  who in 2005 went on to become Cal’s equipment manager.

Inspired by his experience of colleges’ need to dispose of overstocked equipment, in 2011 he founded a company called ShoeU, which buys surplus athletic shoes from colleges and sells them online at discount prices.

Check it out… http://www.shoeu.net/about_shoe_u/index.htm

*********** Widmer Brothers, founded in 1984, was one of the first of the many brewers that have made Portland the center of the craft brewing movement. (For the record, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world.)

Its Hefeweizen, a wheat beer, is extremely popular, especially with women and others who like a slice of fruit stuck on the rim of their glass, and thanks to a tie-in with a larger brewer, it’s distributed nationwide.

It’s hard to believe that Widmer has grown so much that with the expansion it just announced,  its capacity will increase to 750,000 barrels.  That, folks, is not a craft brewery.  That is big.  Not Budweiser big, but not a microbrewery by any stretch.

(A “barrel” is 31 gallons, and it’s the standard way of measuring brewery capacity and sales.  But in reality, what you call a “keg” is actually a half-barrel, or 15.5 gallons.  In the trade, kegs are known as “half-kegs,” or, if you want to sound like a real insider, “halves.”)

american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL  17,  2015-   "If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."  Mark Twain

*********** My brother-in-law, Wayne Cunningham, is on the far side of 80, but he has yet to slow down.  He wrestled and played baseball and  soccer in high school and played soccer at Duke,  and well into his 40s he was still playing on a traveling fast pitch softball team.  Over the years, he’s coached high school softball and refereed soccer and wrestling, and even now, he’s assisting with a  girls’ softball team. 

And once a week he plays softball (slow pitch by now) in an organized league.

Since the object of the league is to have fun, the rules specify that everyone on the team - not just the starting nine - must bat in turn. In other words, if 15 guys show up for that evening’s game, everyone gets to bat every 15th time.

Did I say the object of the league was to have fun?  Wayne says that for big games, the better teams in the league very cleverly arrange for their “out men” not to show up.

********** The powers that be at the United States Military Academy, also known, because it is located at West Point, New York, as  “West Point,” and whose athletic teams have been known ever since they started competing in sports, back in the 1800s, as “Army,” have announced the results of an 18-month -ong process of “rebranding.” Nike, I should add, was involved.

The supposed need was a supposed confusion in the mind of the American Public over “West Point” and “Army.”  See, there are many people out there who think “Army” represents the US Army.  (I believe this, because I watch Jesse Waters’ interviews, and he has no trouble at all finding people who think that we fought the British in the Civil War.)

I personally don’t worry that much about those numbskulls, because from having spent a little time helping with admissions out here in Washington, I can attest to the fact that there is no difficulty at all finding high-quality applicants every year who understand the difference.  When they apply to Wst Point, they know they are not enlisting in the Army.  For the roughly 1,000 admissions spots in every class, there are more than 10,000 candidates - and you can be sure that most of those 10,000 are standouts in their high schools.

I suspect that it has something to do with feedback from sports recruiters who report that they’re having problems getting top-quality talent because those kids are confused. How good is the recruiter, anyhow, if he can't clear that up in the first minute or two of talking to a kid?

Regardless of the reasoning, henceforth the “brand name” will be “Army West Point.”

There are those cynics who say that 13 straight losses to Navy - er, “Navy Annapolis” - promoted the rethinking. 

Brilliant.  So henceforth it will be the Army West Point-Navy game?  The Corps of Cadets will sing “On Brave Old Army West Point Team?”

Oh- and rather than ditch the “Black Knights” nickname and return to the age-old “Cadets,” they’ll be both Black Knights and Cadets.  Take your pick.  A mascot for everyone.  (And don’t forget the mules.)

I’m reminded of the two high schools in Oregon that merged several years ago, The Dalles Indians and the Wahtonka Eagles.  In a strike of brilliance, they became The Dalles-Wahtonka Eagle-Indians.  It's true.  I coached against them.  Twice.

No doubt everyone in the Army West Point athletic department has their orders - no more just “Army.” But I have news for them.  I’ve worked for  newspapers, and newspaper guys don’t take orders from athletic departments. If  Army insists on being Army West Point, they’d better prepare to see themselves in headlines as “AWP,” right along with UTEP, UNLV and IUPUI.

To be fair, there’s a uniform redesign that looks okay.  I stress the word “uniform.”  No more sending a blind equipment manager into a dark equipment room to randomly select this week’s jersey, pants and helmet combination.  That’s for Oregon and guys with four-star players.   Let’s be real - Oregon wouldn’t look very cool if they lost more than they won.  And no more of that camo uniform sh—, either, although I’m told that was less a style issue and more a matter of who owns the rights to the camo design.

The Army Athletic Association ("Army West Point Athletic Assocation?") rep happened to call  me on Wednesday.  I unloaded on him - told him exactly what I said above.  And then made my annual donation.


As for the “Army West Point” nonsense, I thought it might be fun to reprint a few of the comments from the Army Football Board, whose posters are mostly West Point graduates: (the "Boo" referred to a couple of times is Army West Point AD Boo Corrigan.  I have no idea how he got that name.)

Sadly I feel that all of this "rebranding" is done in an effort to simply make Army or West Point (they will remain independent of each other in my mind for all of eternity) relevant again in the landscape of NCAA athletics.  Well I've got news for the big brass at school...you know what makes programs relevant in the NCAA??  Wins!  Period!!!  Who had ever heard of Gonzaga before they started winning in the NCAA tournament a decade ago?  Who had ever heard of the university of Miami until they hired Howard Schnellenburger and starting winning in the late 70's?!  That's right simply start winning and we can do away with the Micky mouse camouflage costumes on Saturdays and the ridiculous names given to us by the frickin history department at school!  When did this identity issue become a problem?  I'm pretty sure that when someone asks me where I played ball at in college, I have yet to receive a single question about my response of either West Point or Army.  Newsflash you only have an identity issue when you create one by calling yourself 8 different things!
That brings me to my next point...after an 18 month research and development program the best we could do to present our new look was to parade out a couple of middle aged men who peaked out in their lives at about 21 years old when they themselves were firsties hanging out at the firstie club sipping warm beer and hitting on trou back in 1986.  Anyone with half a brain can agree that last nights presentation was an absolute abortion.  After only 4 years of wasting my time in briefings as a cadet, West Point found yet another way to waste a good hour of my life.
Kudos to Coach Monkens opinion that the Army team will wear gold helmets and gold pants at home...as it should have and should forever be.  Let's quit pretending that we're Oregon...because we ain't!  We are Army...not Army West Point (which almost sounds like some directional regional college...think Eastern Michigan State A&M or some other ridiculousness)...we wear gold helmets and you had better bring a lunch pail when you come to play against us!  Rant over!

So.......one of if not THE greatest college FB fight songs......."On brave old Army West Point team, on to the fray. Fight on to Victory, for that's the fearless Army West Point way. " I'm a third gen USNA guy. Grew up and still say "Beat Army" after grace. Went to my first A-N game in 1952. You don't need to 'rebrand"......you're  all that's good and right about America. The Long Gray Line. The speech that MacArhtur gave at WP...."when I die my last thought.....the Corps, the Corps and the Corps." Davis and Blanchard.

The best way to fix this branding issue is to win.  I wasn't around in the 1940's but I'm willing to bet most people knew who and where the Army Team was from.  I will continue to say Army or West Point but not both.  That's silly.  No other school does this you don't hear people say "I went to Stanford California, or Vanderbilt Tennessee, or Northwestern Illinois, or Florida State Tallahassee, or Georgia Athens,  or Notre Dame Indiana.  It's just silly.  

I think that the name Army West Point is to make stupid Americans aware that the Army team is composed of cadets that attend West Point rather than a group assembled from the enlisted Army.
Whenever we attempt to dumb down things to the lowest common denominator, we generally lose.

When my son first went to USNA many didn't understand the concept.  I would follow up with the Navy's Academy in Annapolis.  They would respond--Oh he goes to school in Indiana (see recent commercial with Charles Barkley and Samuel Jackson for the Final Four).

Then I realized it was best to drop it if they didn't understand Naval Academy from the get go.

I completely agree.  No need to cater to the lowest common denominator.  If Army West Point starts winning again, then the uneducated GAP might figure out who Army West Point is.

Until then, does anyone really think that those people care who Army West Point is?  They're not watching football anyway -- they're too busy figuring out what they should be protesting.

Listening to my network of friends, classmates, teammates, and other alums, I have yet to find anyone (not a single person) that thinks "Army West Point" is a good idea...in fact, the vast majority absolutely despise it to the point that they appear physically upset about it.  What population of alums and former athletes did they use to vet this garbage?  Or is that a complete lie?  Could it be that they tossed "Black Knights" back into the mix at the last minute to spite the media leaks and speculators?  It would have been easy, since it's just the stencil font.

We are getting hammered on social media for the "Army West Point" crap and the 15 nicknames and mascots. 

I'm just curious...how much money was spent figuring out that ARMY needs black/grey/gold unis and a block-A logo? There are about 500 old grads on this forum alone that have been telling Boo, et al. exactly that since he's been there, and it didn't cost anyone a dime. Sheesh, I'm in the wrong business.

Why the identity crisis anyway? We don't see our colleagues at USNA or USAFA getting their panties in a bunch trying to figure out if they should call themselves "Navy Annapolis" or "Air Force Colorado Springs". They have the advantage, I suppose, of having won a lot of games recently; whenever that happens, people tend to try to find out more information on their own.

I am a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY, whose sports teams have always been referred to, colloquially, as "Army". So far as this disgruntled old grad is concerned, they will remain "Army" and West Point will remain the physiographic feature associated with the location of our alma mater. I frankly don't give a damn whether those distinctions are lost on the Great American Public. "Army West Point"...spare us, Boo. Seriously.

Therein lies a branding problem...our nickname and our mascot were completely unrelated...
Less related than...
"Hoyas" and bulldogs?
"Crimson Tide" and elephants?
"Aggies" and Shetland sheepdogs?
"Tar Heels" and rams?
"Bonnies" and Bona wolves?
"Midshipmen" and goats?

The Supe and all of the other high-minded leadership at the Academy insisted in the rebranding hoopla that this really has "meaning" and links the future with the past. Then they tried to explain why the name is meaningful and what the connection is, for all of the unsophisticated head-scratching people across America. If you have to explain a joke, it isn't a joke. In this bizarro world, the fact that you have to explain it, means it IS a joke. Congrats to all who feel proud to have fathered this effort: you have indeed linked the future to the past. You now own the 21st Century patent on "New Coke"

Navy '68 Grad here...  FWIW, you have always been Army, and you will always be Army.  Don't let some Manhattan consultant with a gold earring and a Gucci purse tell you who you are. WTF is rebranding?  You are one of the the greatest institutions this country will ever see.  Let the screwed up outfits rebrand.  This entire thing makes me sick, and I'm Navy. 

Whenever I tell people who don't follow football that I'm going to the Army game, I usually get questions like "The Army has a football team?" They're usually vaguely aware of what West Point and the academy are when I tell them that the team plays for the school, but they usually have to ask what state West Point is in and are surprised to find out that it's so close to NYC. Really no need to try to appeal to those sorts of people. They aren't coming to any of our sporting events or buying any of our merchandise.

"Army West Point" is a terribly inelegant way of going about it. There are far more subtle ways to make a connection between Army and West Point in the public imagination. Now we're pretty much the college version of "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim".

My guess is they'll try to push this "Army West Point" crap on us for a season or two, the fanbase and the rest of college football fandom will ignore it and keep calling us just "Army", and after a few seasons the athletics department will quietly scrap the "West Point" addendum.

No media independent of the academy is going to actually call us that (unless maybe when they want to poke fun at us). I have yet to run across any college sports-related site that has us officially listed as "Army West Point" besides gawps.com. Forget all the other implications of the name change; plain and simple, "Army West Point" is a mouthful. It's just too long for the national media to adopt for a team it hardly pays any mind to in the first place. It's going to crash and burn spectacularly, but after the name melts away we'll still have all the positive aspects of the re-branding - good logo, good uniforms, etc. So I'll gladly put up with this silliness and just ignore it until the Athletic Department removes their hands from over their ears and listens to the cacophony of jeers.

Why the identity crisis anyway? We don't see our colleagues at USNA or USAFA getting their panties in a bunch trying to figure out if they should call themselves "Navy Annapolis" or "Air Force Colorado Springs". They have the advantage, I suppose, of having won a lot of games recently; whenever that happens, people tend to try to find out more information on their own.

I'm afraid a Navy buddy of mine hit the nail on the head.  He said, "With all the names and logos you guys have floating around out there, why didn't you just settle on calling yourselves "F Troop?".  I wanted to shoot back at him with something clever, but sadly, I couldn't.

I am a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY, whose sports teams have always been referred to, colloquially, as "Army". So far as this disgruntled old grad is concerned, they will remain "Army" and West Point will remain the physiographic feature associated with the location of our alma mater. I frankly don't give a damn whether those distinctions are lost on the Great American Public. "Army West Point"...spare us, Boo. Seriously.

Just got off the phone with a sportswriter who covers college football and basketball at a major newspaper. He could not stop laughing about our new name and was trying to figure out what is behind it all. Said his newspaper will continue to refer to the team as Army. Of course, i had no answer. Boo and the WP brass blew it again. Army West Point makes no sense and I am again embarrassed about something else associated with West Point football. Yes, this is the New Coke of the 21st Century. I wonder how many years we are going to have to put up with this before they go back to the old name.

Wrote Mark Beech, author of “When Saturday Mattered Most,” a 2012 book on Army’s 1958 undefeated football team:

“They wanted to make it clear they were West Point and not Ft. Drum.  I’m not sure how people were mistaking it but that was their feeling. It seems like this is a response to that but there’s still something in the back of my mind that tells me if they don’t lose to Navy 13 times in a row I’m not sure they think that they need a rebrand.

“If you are just looking at the football team, the big problem for them is a talent thing and everything else is secondary to that.”

(Army has experienced one winning year (2010) since its 1996 Independence Bowl season, when it won 10 games.)

“It’s not like Army has been on the lips of everyone at the top ranks of college football for years,” Beech said. “The profile of the program has been declining. I venture this is the way to do it (improve the profile). The better way to deal with the problem is to put a winning program on the field and for whatever reason they haven’t been able to get the talent to do that.”

“I just can’t imagine anyone calling them Army West Point,” Beech said. “I have yet to get my brain around that. I can’t imagine the Army West Point-Navy football game. -


*********** Coach Wyatt
Was reading your “News” and saw the mention of only having known one woman high school Football Coach.  Well, there was one when I was coaching in Nebraska.  I think you remember Scott Frost when he was a QB at Nebraska, and I think is currently on the Oregon Staff, well his Father was the head coach of his high school team and his mother was the defensive backfield/receivers coach.  She had been a very good college Track star at Nebraska I believe.  They won the state championship in their Class his senior year.  Just some trevia I remember from coaching up there.
Ron Timson
Leesburg, Florida



Yes, I do remember that.

Scott Frost has done a great job at Oregon and he’s very well thought of here.  Many Oregonians were afraid they’d lose him to Nebraska when that job came open.

To my knowledge, he is one of the few real studs from Nebraska ever to leave the state (he originally went to Stanford).  As I recall, his return to Nebraska had something to do with genius Bill Walsh’s moving him to DB.  Didn’t do too bad at QB for the Huskers, did he?

Thanks for writing!

******************** Jeez.  Look what they’ve done to Paul Brown’s Browns.  (Did you know that’s where the name came from?) There was a time when the Browns wore all-white, at home and on the road.  Talk about recognizable!  Even in black-and-white photos, even on black-and-white TV, you knew you were watching the Cleveland Browns.  They really stood out.  And those were the days before modern washday miracles and artificial turf, when games were often played on muddy fields.

But now, the Browns are joining the 21st century, Nike-style. In other words, uniforms in lotsa combinations.

Just in case you might not be able to keep track of all the combos, they”ll have “CLEVELAND” across the front of their jerseys and down the sides of their pants legs.

Said Browns’ president Alec Scheiner,  “We could be like Oregon of the NFL.” I think he meant uniform-wise, because Oregon has so far managed to escape ridicule in most places by winning a lot.

And to think that Browns fans are still pissed at Art Modell.  In fact, there has been more than one instance of Browns’ fans pissing ON Modell. On his grave, that is.

Yes, he took his NFL franchise to Baltimore, which would never win him Citizen of the Year in Cleveland, but in the grand scheme of things, all he did was take a bunch of players.   He didn’t do what the Irsays did when they slipped out of Baltimore - taking players, plus team name, uniforms, colors, horseshoes on helmets and team records to Indianapolis.

Modell at least left the team name and colors and all the team records where they belonged - in Cleveland, so when a team returned, it would resume play as the Browns.

And when it did, damned if it wasn’t the old Browns - at least in appearance.

Until now.


*********** With Aaron Hernandez on his way to the slammer, Roger Goodell can breathe a sigh of relief.

At the moment, there aren’t any murderers left in the NFL.  That we know of.

And to think how close he came with Lawrence Phillips.  Lawrence Phillips made Aaron Hernandez look like Tim Tebow.  He made Ray Rice look like a feminist.

Phillips, charged in California with murder in the killing of his cellmate, a gangster who was in for killing another gangster named “Trouble,” was once a very promising running back who came with a load of baggage.

Sign after sign, incident after incident, indicated that the guy was trouble, big trouble, yet one coach after another, in their insatiable quest of talent, covered for him and made excuses for him.

In that regard, Tom Osborne was the worst.  I hesitate to use the word “worst” with Dr. Tom, because he was a great coach, beloved in Nebraska, and from everything I’ve read about him, a very good man. 

But his handling of Phillips was disgraceful. 

After Phillips was charged with dragging a Nebraska basketball player named Kate McEwen, his girlfriend (or, you might argue, “ex-girlfriend,” since he found her in another player’s room, in the wee hours), by the hair, “caveman style,” down three flights of stairs, Osborne announced that he was “dismissed” from the team.  Then, Osborne announced that he was “indefinitely suspended.”  Then, not long after, he was reinstated.

You know how it goes.  Guy has serious anger issues. He needs help.  We can keep a better eye on him if he stays on the team.  Blah, blah, blah.  And maybe Dr. Tom really did believe that he could rehabilitate a person whose upbringing was so shaky that he may not actually have ever been habilitated. 

Never mentioned, though, was the fact that the guy was a horse of a runner who ran a 4.3 40, and without him, the Huskers weren’t half the team they were with him.  With him, they were national title contenders.

In light of the Ray Rice incident,  if that had been Lawrence Phillips, and he’d dragged his wife-to-be down three flights of stairs, and Goodell had suspended him, we might be talking right now about the late Roger Goodell.

The story of Kate McEwen’s settlement.


The late Jim Murray’s column on the Phillips incident back at the time it happened…


Phillips wasn’t the only bad actor the Huskers had back then.


*********** ESPN has released Lou Holtz. No more Doctor Lou.

*********** Easy come, easy go.  A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research of some 2,000 players drafted by NFL teams between 1996 and 2003 found that within 12 years of retiring from the NFL, 15.7 of them filed for bankruptcy.   My guess is that there’s a very strong positive correlation between bankruptcy and frequenting “gentleman’s clubs.”

Bridge Guys*********** My wife and I took Thursday afternoon off and drove north to catch the North Beach kids at a track meet. It was an especially big day for North Beach senior Caleb Bridge, who not only broke the school record in the discus but broke his dad’s personal high school record at the same time.

Oh - and he also got word that he had received an appointment to the Air Force Academy, where he plans to play football and throw the discus. 

In the photo, that’s Caleb,
younger brother Seth, dad Todd (their high school football coach and their throwing coach), and granddad Steve Bridge, a former high school coach and AD who now works for Canfield Insurance.  One of Steve’s claims to fame as a coach is having coached ESPN's Colin Cowherd in high school.  

*********** To young coaches out there…

I think it’s essential that your kids learn that a healthy respect for others  will help them in every aspect of their lives.
And being on time is one sure way of demonstrating it.

If there's one thing you can teach your kids, it's to show respect for you by being  on time.

And if they can't be on time, to show you the respect of giving you advance notice - of letting  you know the instant they suspect they may be late.  If you can teach them that, it will serve them well the rest of their lives.

My first real appreciation of the seriousness of punctuality dates back to  August, 1957, and the first meeting of the varsity squad at college.

We sat there,  sophomores, juniors and seniors,  maybe 70 or so of us, and as the head coach, Jordan Olivar, began to speak,  a couple of guys came walking in.  Coach Olivar paused, and addressing no one in particular, said, "those who can't make it to meetings or practices on time will become known as 'the late members of the team.'"

Oooh, I thought.  Great line. I've never been able to use it since, because I figured it would go over the heads of most of the high school  kids I was aiming at, but it sure registered with me.

Five or six years later, when I was working in sales with a big packaging company, I was in a sales training session where a veteran salesman said that the most important thing for a salesman was to show respect to a customer by being on time for an appointment.  And the second most important thing, he said, was that as soon as you suspected you might be late, was to show him respect by calling him and letting him know.

That wasn't easy, back in the 60s.  There were no cell phones then, only pay phones, and in my travels in the  Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia countryside, they weren't easy to find.

But I unfailingly followed the veteran's advice, and you know what?  It worked.  I earned my customers' respect by showing them respect.

*********** Maybe they listened…

From: Hugh Wyatt <coachwyatt@aol.com>
Date: Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 2:22 PM
Subject: Out-of-season practices
To: mywiaafeedback@wiaa.com

A recent article in the Vancouver Columbian noted that football (as well as other sports) is more and more becoming a sport of haves and have nots.

One of the reasons cited was that affluent parents can afford to pay private coaches to work with their children out-of-season.

I can definitely see a lawsuit coming, as current WIAA regulations seem to disadvantage poor and rural children.


Hugh Wyatt
Camas, WA.

Check the rationale. Sounds as if I could have written it.

Basically, for a football coach, they’re saying that beginning approximately halfway into the winter and spring sport seasons, you’ll have 20 days until the end of each season to work with your football players.  (Making sure, I should add, not to interfere in any way with kids involved in another sport.  What do they think we are - basketball coaches?)

Each sport will be limited to twenty (20) contact days of coaching during designated open coaching periods during the out-of-season.

Rationale for ML/HS Amendment #4: 1. This proposal is intended to level the playing field, particularly for students living in geographically isolated areas or for students without the financial means to participate in non-school programs.

17.5.0 OUT-OF-SEASON - DEFINITION – Out-of-season is that time during which paid or volunteer coaches cannot coach present or future squad members except during designated coaching periods. 17.5.5 A coach of a school team (paid or volunteer) may coach only during the WIAA sport season and up to twenty (20) days during the designated open coaching periods. Each sport will be limited to twenty (20) contact days of coaching, regardless of the number of coaches for that sport. Although these rules apply equally to middle level and high school level coaches, the time periods are determined according to the high school seasons. August 1 through the first day of the fall sports season - no coaching allowed First day of the fall sports season until Monday of the first full week in October - no coaching allowed except for the fall sports in season Monday of the first full week in October through the first day of the winter sports season - open coaching for coaches of all sports First day of the winter sports season until Monday of the first full week in January - no coaching allowed except for the winter sports in season Monday of the first full week in January through the first day of the spring sports season - open coaching for coaches of all sports First day of the spring sports season until Monday of the first full week in April - no coaching allowed except for the spring sports in season Monday of the first full week in April through the final day of the spring sports tournaments - open coaching for coaches of all sports First day following the spring sports tournaments until August 1 - no coaching restrictions except for football.

american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL  14,  2015-   “Progress, the religion of those who have none.” Lord Acton

********** Not too long ago, I watched the “Long Gray Line” again. It’s  a 1950s movie about  Marty Maher, who arrived at West Point around 1900, a young Irish immigrant looking for work, and retired 50 years later  a revered member of the US Military Academy staff.

It’s a great movie, one that an entire family can enjoy. It is a trifle dated,  mainly in its lack of vulgarity, violence and sex.

Except.   Except -


If you have any Irish in you, I do hope you’re strong enough to be able to deal with the fact that early in the movie, when young Martin Maher, fresh off the boat from Ireland, introduces himself to the sentries outside the post,  he is referred to as “Mick,” and   “Paddy.”

Oh, the pain. Please don’t blame me.  I’m merely the messenger.

I do hope that your life has been happy and successful up to this point,  and that hearing these terrible slurs won’t so traumatize you that the rest of life is all downhill.

*********** Stan Freberg, a multi-talented man, died last week at 88.  He was a tremendous talent.

And he had a tremendous influence on American humor.

He had an impact on me at several  different stages in my intellectual development (if that’s what you want to call it).

In high school, we went nuts over his “St. George and the Dragonet.”

Back then, there was no bigger TV show than Dragnet, starring Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday, of the LAPD (“My name’s Friday.  I’m a cop.”)

Joe Friday never got excited, never raised his voice.  He spoke in a monotone and never wasted words. ("Just the facts, Ma'am," he'd say to a witness who insisted  on telling him her life story.)

Stan Freberg, with his fertile imagination, cast Joe Friday as St. George, going out to kill the dragon. The result was a smash-hit record, “St. George and the Dragonet.”  (Dragnet, Dragonet.  Get it?)

We high school kids could recite all the lines by heart.  I still remember some of them:

DRAGON (In a roaring voice): Hi! I’m the Fire-Breathin’ dragon.  You must be Saint George, right?

ST. GEORGE (In a perfect Joe Friday impersonation):Yessir.

DRAGON: I see you got one a them 45 calibre swords.

ST. GEORGE: That’s about the size of it.

DRAGON: Haw, haw.  You slay me.

ST. GEORGE: That’s what I want to talk to you about.

In college, we laughed at his sendup of the rock and roll classic  “The Great Pretender,” with the piano player who balks at having to play the same chord, over and over.  It's an insult to his professionalism. Reminded that if he doesn't, and instead  insists on playing the jazz  he prefers, he won’t get paid, he gets back to work with a vengeance, banging away at the same chord.


And there was his Banana Boat Song:  the bongo drummer, a beatnik who somehow winds up in a calypso band, objects to the loud singing (“DAY-O!”) and when they get to the line about the beautiful bunch of ripe bananas hiding “The deadly black tarantula,” he stops the song right there and says,  “Man, don’t sing about spiders. I mean, like, I just don’t dig spiders…”)


He was quite a satirist, poking fun at the commercialization of Christmas with his best-selling “Green Christmas.” (The irony was that he himself was making money by satirizing those who were making money by commercializing Christmas.)

And then, he reinvented himself as an Ad man.

After college, as a young salesman, I spent a lot of time on the road, which meant a lot of time listening to the car radio.  And when the other salesman and I would come in off the road, we’d immediately start in retelling the latest Stan Freberg commercial.

Maybe it was his singing group, “The New Prince Spaghetti Minstrels.” In song, they pledge their loyalty to one another

The big time or small time,
United for all time!

And then a record company comes along and offers a big  contract - just to the lead singer - and he bolts.

There was the Contadina guy, who put “eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can.”

And the guy singing about Mars Junior Bars

Made with pure chocolate and all that good stuff -
Hide ‘em in your pocket, conceal ‘em in your cuff
If you’d rather not lug around big, bulky bars,
Mars Junior Bars are for you!

There was  the poor schlub of a salesman for Krindleman Coffee (an imaginary brand) who kept getting outsold by the Salada Tea guy

And this great one: a  guy in an  elevator giving a sales pitch for Chun King chow mein to his fellow passengers (you younger guys: the guy who keeps trying to shush him is called an elevator operator - just one of countless  jobs lost to automation)


In Baltimore, where EssKay was the leading maker of lunch meats and hot dogs, we loved this one…

GUY: Trying to cut down on smoking?
Switch to Ess-Kay K-wality Franks.
(Guy puts hot dog in his mouth, like a cigar, and lights it)
I’m down to a pack a day


One of his last ad efforts was on behalf of the United Presbyterian Church.


Where’d you get the idea you can make it all by yourself?

Doesn’t it get a little lonesome sometimes…

Out on that limb… Without Him?


A guy’s asked to come to church.

He answers that he’s too busy this weekend - and next.

“How about two weeks from now?” he's asked.

“Two weeks?" he says. "I never plan that far ahead. The whole world could blow up by then.”

(After a short pause) “That’s right.”


A real classic was his  Accent commercial, sung to the tune of "Stars and Stripes Forever"

Pour on the Accent

And bring the flavor out!

A leg of lamb a roast, a wienie

Chicken a la king or scallopini

You can make a meatball taste the way it never did before...

And oh, what dash it brings to hash, or even a halibut,

Even a halibut...

Who'd believe the flavor it brings out in a brisket of beef?

Once you sprinkle it on filet mignon,

ever after you'll be grateful you used


You think you are seasoning the food,

When you pour on the salt and the pepper,

But talk to the chefs of the world,

And they will tell you which end is up!

Believe me they don’t fool around,

When they buy it, they have themselves a sack sent,

Your cooking will all be a smash,

When all your vegetables and meats

Are cooked with AC-CENT!

How far ahead of the pack was he?  How about this?  He anticipated today’s plague of Political Correctness by at least 30 years.

Once, as if to appease an imaginary group complaining about the lack of sensitivity in the title of “Old Man River,” he changed it to “Elderly Man River.”

And on another occasion, he attributed an illness to a case of the “Swiss Flu” (so as not to offend anyone).


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

Not sure if you have come across the Eagle cam yet, but if not you should check it out.  A live feed was placed in an Eagles nest in York PA.  My wife started checking it out after the eggs were laid I started checking it more recently since they have hatched.  It’s pretty awesome to see this majestic bird in its nest taking care of the Eaglets.  It’s a pretty big deal here, i have even caught kids in class trying to watch it on their phone, not that I condone that but its better than playing a game constantly. ( I made them turn it off though)


Dave Kemmick
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania

Connie and I have seen it and it is very cool.  I heard it was someplace near Hanover.

One of the delights of coaching where I do is that there's scarcely a day that we go to the beach with our dogs that we don't see at least one bald eagle, often a pair. (Check the photo)

Several times a season, practice will come to a halt whenever an eagle flies over us and lands in one of the big fir trees that surround the field.  Even teenage boys are impressed by a bald eagle.

It's wonderful to see the way those great birds have come back from near-extinction.

*********** Jordan Spieth sure did a heck of a job in winning the Master from start to finish.  What was most impressive to me was how he handled himself throughout.  At a time when basketball players thump their chests after  baskets and football players jump up and celebrate routine tackles, this 21-year-old guy who’d just accomplished one of the world’s great athletic feats displayed grace and dignity and humility. No fist pumps. No dances.  And in contrast to the scowls of basketball and football players, he actually looked at people and smiled. I’m sure his uncommon maturity has something to do with the fact that his sister suffers from some sort of neurological order that’s akin to autism.  It’s been noted that brothers and sisters of special needs kids tend to be pretty good kids themselves, and Jordan Spieth certainly didn’t do anything to disprove that.  We need more examples of Jordan Spieth.  Lots more.  In all our sports.

*********** Dennis Prager, in National Review, wrote a thoughtful but scary essay entitled “America's Accelerating Decay”

The Family: Nearly half (48 percent) of American children are born to a mother who is not married. Forty-three percent of American children live without a father in the home.

Education: Most universities have become secular seminaries for the dissemination of leftism. Moreover, aside from indoctrination, students usually learn little. One can earn a B.A. in English at UCLA, for example, without having read a single Shakespeare play.

The End of Male and Female: When signing up for Facebook, one is offered nearly 60 options under “gender.” In various high schools across the country, boys are elected homecoming queen. A woman was recently kicked out of Planet Fitness for objecting to a man in the women’s locker room. She was accused of intolerance because the man said he felt that he was a woman.

The End of Right and Wrong: At least two generations of American young people have been taught that moral categories are nothing more than personal (or societal) preferences. This extends to assessing the most glaring of evils. Since the Nazis thought killing Jews was right, there is no way to know for sure whether it was wrong; it’s the Nazis’ opinion against that of the Jews and anyone else who objects. I have heard this sentiment from American high-school students — including many Jewish ones — for 30 years.

The End of Religion: Instead of being guided by a code higher than themselves, Americans are taught to rely on their feelings to determine how to behave. Instead of being given moral guidance, children are asked, “How do you feel about it?”

The End of Beauty: Just as morality is subjective, so are beauty and excellence. There is no good or bad art or literature. You like Beethoven; I like rap. You like Shakespeare; I like Batman. “Street art” (a.k.a graffiti) is worthy of museum exhibition; paint thrown by an “artist” from atop a ladder onto a canvas is considered high art and fetches over $100 million.


*********** Hank Soar scored the winning touchdown for the New York Giants in the  1938 NFL title game;  for part of a season he coached the Providence Steamrollers in the BAA, the predecessor to the NBA; and he was an American League umpire for more than 20 years.

Identified by-
Ken Hampton, Raleigh, North Carolina
Bill Nelson, Thornton, Colorado
Kevin McCullough, Lakeville, Indiana

*********** Brian Grazer, movie producer, talked about the importance of failure, in the  April 2015 WSJ Magazine

Failure has played the most meaningful role in my life. With my movie about a mermaid, "Splash," I must have had a thousand people say no to me on that. And they always said no in a way that was kind of degrading, like - what, a mermaid? And so when it worked, I thought, Wow! Nobody knows.  Nobody really does know. Because all those people - many of them experts in their own right, running studios or directing movies - said no to me. So I thought, you just need to follow your own truth. I remember seeing Steven Spielberg, after doing "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Jaws," being turned down on "E.T."  And I thought, Wow, this isn't personal.  Even Spielberg, this prodigy who has empirical evidence of being a genius, is being turned down on a movie he loves.  That was a signature moment for me. I thought, I just have to keep going.

*********** Lou Orlando, a fellow Yalie who lives in Sudbury, Massachusetts wrote...

Hi Hugh,

Found this online the other day, thought you’d enjoy it!  Great “Wedge” at the 2:25 mark


*********** "Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding."  Thus spake Our President. 

Hmmm. Now, I really want to see those college transcripts, because I'd like to see if he took history.  And passed.

But anyhow, a high school lacrosse coach was fired after sharing an Internet letter about  the relative importance of Islam in American culture, and putting it in the form of an open letter of rebuttal to the President.


*********** I like Bo Ryan.  He’s a hell of a coach.  He’s paid his dues.  HIs fellow coaches seem to like and respect him.  And, of course, he’s a Philly guy.  Okay, Chester.  But that’s Philly.

So I’m going to cut him slack.  A lot of slack.

But I was disappointed - shocked, actually - to hear him, right after the NCAA title game loss to Duke, blame the officials for the physical play they allegedly allowed Duke to get away with.  (This, after Duke’s two biggest stars spent the better part of the first half on the bench with foul trouble, while the Badgers were called for only two personals the entire first half.)

I didn’t hear a word out of his mouth in praise of the opponents. Very bad form.

And I was really disappointed when he later used the term “rent-a-players,” clearly in reference to Duke’s three outstanding and (likely) one-and-done freshmen.

So I take my hat off to Mike Krzyzewski for the gracious way he dealt with it all. Without even mentioning the complaints about the officiating, he said, “I like Bo,” and then  went on to say that he felt that Bo's wording was unfortunate, and that he  should have used the phrase “one and done,” because “rent-a-player” connotes doing something illegal.

And then, on the subject of one-and-done, he mentioned how it originally ran counter to his philosophy of insisting that his players all graduate.  But then, as Duke began facing more and more schools that had such kids, he began to ask his assistants, “Aren’t there some of these guys that fit our profile?”

Indeed there were.

The big difference now, he said, was in the team building required to get those young guys on board once they commit:  it starts well before they even enroll at Duke, so that by the time they’ arrive on campus, they’re familiar with the coaches and their teammates and what’s expected of them.



*********** “Jameis has great character,” (Jimbo) Fisher said. “Did he make mistakes? Yes. Did he make silly mistakes? Yes. I mean, he’s still a 20-year-old kid. He and Johnny Manziel are the only two who have ever gone through that pressure of winning a Heisman (as an underclassman).

Coach Fisher, that is sheer crap.

Underclassmen who won the Heisman Trophy (Juniors unless otherwise noted):

Doc Blanchard

Doak Walker
Vic Janowicz
Roger Staubach
Archie Griffin
BIlly Sims
Herschel Walker
Barry Sanders
Andre Ware
Ty Detmer
Rashaan Salaam
Charles Woodson
Desmond Howard
Jason White
Matt Leinart
Tim Tebow*
Sam Bradford*
Mark Ingram*
Cam Newton
Robert Griffin
Johnny Manziel **
Jameis Winston **
Marcus Mariota

* Sophomores
** Freshmen

Presure? Not a knucklehead  in the bunch until you get to the last five years or so.


*********** FROM THE AMERICAN FOOTBALL FOUNDATION: Coach Ray Graves, a 1990 College Football Hall of Fame inductee from the University of Florida, passed away April 10. He was 96 years old.

Born on Dec. 31, 1918, Graves played at the University of Tennessee where he was team captain in 1941. After a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, Graves embarked on a coaching career in 1944 at his alma mater. Graves joined Georgia Tech’s coaching staff in 1947, where he spent 13 seasons under legendary Hall of Fame Coach Bobby Dodd.

The University of Florida hired the 41-year-old Graves as the 14th head football coach in school history in January 1960. In 10 seasons as the Gators’ head coach from 1960-69, Graves won nearly 70 percent of his games, and he led Florida to five bowl games, including its first appearances in the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Graves finished his career at Florida with a 70-31-4 record, including a 9-1-1 season in 1969 and a memorable 14-13 victory over Tennessee in his final game as head coach. He coached seven All-America players and three College Football Hall of Famers, including wide receiver Carlos Alvarez, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier and defensive end Jack Youngblood.

********** Carelessness and inaccuracy is everywhere, and few people seem bothered by it.

A story in Rolling Stone told of a Universitty of Virginia coed who was gang-raped as some sort of fraternity initiation. But nobody at the magazine had bothered to check on whether it actually happened. (It didn’t.)

People are still saying “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” as if it’s based on an event in which that scenario actually happened.

There was the Maya Angelou stamp.  Mrs. Obama and Oprah Winfrey, among others, were pictured standing in front of a giant replica.  The design of the stamp is a photo of the late Ms. Angelou next to a "Maya Angelou" quote.  Except those aren’t her words.   

And then there’s the missing word in the official Hillary announcement (see if you can find it):

From her mother’s own childhood – in which she was abandoned by her parents – to her work going door-to-door for the Children’s Defense Fund to her battling to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, she’s fought children and families all her career.

(HINT: doesn’t “fought FOR children and families” sound much better?)



***********  Talk about turnarounds:  in Ed Fisher's fourth season at South Kitsap High School, outside Bremerton, Washington, he was 1-7, bringing his overall record to a disappointing 15-20.

But in his fifth year, 1978, his Wolves went 7-2, and only once again over the next 18 years did they ever win as few as 7.

When  he retired after the 1996 season at “South K,” Ed Fisher had won 14 league championships,  In 22 years, his  overall record was  184-47.

That included won state championship, and three other appearances in the state final game.

In addition to his undefeated 13-0 1994 state championship team, he had eight one-loss seasons, (which means that the losses came in post-seaosn play, which means that those teams were unbeaten in regular-season play).

Coach Fisher had a lot of experience with post-season play: at a time when only the top 16 (of 90) teams in the state’s highest classification made it to the state playoffs, his teams qualified for the playoffs  16 straight times. His record in post-season play was 26-16. So  when I came across this article about getting ready for the post-season - as he prepared for his final year - I thought it you’d find it useful.  It's from the Fall, 1996 issue of Washington Coach.

Post-season preparation can be broken down into mental and physical. The physical portion of practice is cut back slightly. Almost all players are suffering from some minor aches and pains at this point in the season.  The excitement and competitive drive of the athlete will take care of any minor edge that your opponent may have in conditioning.  We have never lost a game because we were too tired to compete at the end of the game.  We have lost games  because the other team was better than we were or that I did not do a good job of preparing our team.

We feel that mental preparation is where the edge is to be gained. In the state of Washington, 16 teams out of 90 make the state playoffs and there will be only one team to win the state championship. We prepare our athletes for the goal of winning the state championship but the probability is that they may be beaten. Being able to participate in the playoffs is an honor, win or lose. This is like having extra frosting on the cake. We will spend time talking about what have accomplished and where we are going in post-season play.  We want to make it very clear that we want to be state champions and practicing harder and longer is not the answer to achieve that goal. Mental preparation is where you can get an edge.

We will sit down in the film room in a ver relaxed atmosphere and discuss what the playoffs mean to us.  Each player and coach will have an opportunity to express his feelings, thoughts and emotions.  We all listen to one another.

At South Kitsap, we keep practicing basically the same way we have all year long.  The players know what it is like to practice and to win. The stability we have maintained throughout the years is important.  Not changing when it is time to go into post season play is an important concept in being successful at the next level of competition. We have shortened our practices by 10 minutes and up to 25 minutes over the years.  The shortening of practice has some in the areas of conditioning and individual technique work.

We have tried to do more mental preparation than physical.  As a coaching staff we feel we have a choice: (1) going into a game slightly less conditioned than our opponent but with fresh legs and a fresh, positive mental outlook, or (2) our conditioning equals our opponents' but with weary legs and struggling mentally.  We take the number one choice every time.

Over the past sixteen years we have been involved in the state playoffs, I have learned a few lessons.  First and foremost is, don't change things on the players. Keep the routine as normal as possible. We have reached the playoffs because we were doing something right during the regular season. The kids believe in wheat we're doing, so don't screw them up by changing just because you're going into post-season competition.

Spending a little more time in the film room, studying their  opponent, and a little less time on the practice field, is time well spent in post season play.  The players are also asked to spend some time alone, by themselves - no phone, no radio, no TV (this was before texting and Twitter and Madden. HW)  - all alone, and think of what it means to them to play in the postseason.  Some internal reflection time is important for players.

(For what it’s worth, Coach Fisher’s South Kitsap Wolves made it to the 1996 state final game - his last game -  before losing to Richland, 34-25.  It was only South K’s third loss in four years.)

*********** Saturday’s TV was wall-to-wall Spring Games.  Well, call them “Games,” because for way too many colleges, they're becoming mostly drills followed by some sort of scrimmage with a meaningless  scoring system that allows the offense to play the defense the entire time.

Okay.  But if the TV people insist on showing us a half-hour of drills before the half-hour scrimmage that they call a "game," couldn’t they at least show us the drills themselves?  They seem to forget that the only people watching spring practices are us hard-core types, and we enjoy that sort of inside stuff.  But instead,  the drills mostly serve as a backdrop for exciting interviews with assistant coaches or former players now in the NFL.

Northwestern came first.  They looked okay, but, probably figuring that nobody would come anyhow, they stayed on a practice field.  Very low key. The "action" was often shot from field level, as if by one of the player's dads.

And then we switched to Lincoln.  Nebraska.

O. M. G.  You talk about a Sea of Red.

There were 80,000 people  in that stadium to watch a game, and - give those Cornhuskers credit - they gave them a game.  A real, honest-to-God game.  Kickoffs and everything. The crowd was even bigger than the usual Big Red spring game turnout, undoubtedly to see what the new coach’s product looks like. My impression?  Granted, I like Mike Riley, but I have to say that the Huskers looked pretty damned impressive. Welcome to Lincoln, Coach Riley.  Just keep winning.

One of the Husker QB’s was redshirt freshman Zack Darlington, son of Rick Darlington, state championship coach at Apopa, Florida. From what I saw, Zack looked pretty doggone good.

Minnesota had a decent crowd and looked pretty good.  Coach Jerry Kill was a good interview.

Stanford had nobody there.  Well, it is Stanford, after all, and besides,  there are plenty of other things to do on a sunny Bay Area Saturday than sit in a football stadium.  Stanford fans were obviously out doing those things.

*********** And to think Tom Osborne once thought he could straighten Lawrence Phillips out...


*********** A female coach in the NFL?

Bruce Arians thinks it’s possible.

And he may be right.  But where are they all now?  Shouldn’t we be seeing some women in high school coaching?

So far,  in all my travels and in all my years of coaching high school football, I’ve seen exactly one.

(She was, by the way, a  good one.  Her name was Nancy Fowlkes, and she coached under Steve Allosso at F. W. Cox HS in Virginia Beach.  I got to meet her because at the time, Coach Allosso was running the Double Wing.   In fairness, when Coach Allosso hired her, she was not exactly new to coaching, having won numerous state field hockey titles.)


american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL  10,  2015-   “I am not ashamed to confess I am ignorant of what I do not know”  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sorry - I'm in the process of making the switch over to a new computer - no NEWS today EXCEPT -


american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL  7,  2015-   "From the 18th century to today, many leading thinkers on the left have regarded those who disagree with them as being not merely factually wrong but morally repugnant." Thomas Sowell

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain

*********** "All week people on Twitter have been telling me that all discrimination is bad, no matter what. That’s awful news, because I really don’t want to invite pedophiles, Nazis, or complete strangers from the 7-11 parking lot to my Passover seder. Now I’m told such discrimination is wrong, no matter what."  
Jonah Goldberg: 

*********** From time to time I'm asked about my experiences coaching in Europe, and about the best way to land a "job" over there. I first have to tell them that my experience is now 20 years old and things have changed.

For one thing, there are more Americans over there than there were 20 years ago. But now, more of them are players, and fewer are coaches. I'm sure that by now there are many native Europeans, most of them former players,  who are capable coaches, and ready access to the Internet has been of great help to them in their education.

For another, the Internet and what American football they see has convinced them that there is just one way to play - the NFL way. Where 20 years ago they were willing to accept the Double Wing as a perfectly valid means of winning games, they're now even more intolerant of the offense than anybody you'll meet in the states.

But one thing hasn't changed. American football is still small potatoes over there. Soccer is number one everywhere except maybe in Sweden and Finland, where hockey is huge. Rugby is big in English-speaking countries and in France, and Cricket is big in England, but after that, there are niche sports.  And that's what American football is.  Which means that it has to scramble for crumbs - for the sponsorship Euros left over after the other sports have taken their share.

Teams are not normally "owned" as they are here in the states, and "profit" is not a concept associated with their sports.  There, if the football team is part of a larger sports club, it subsists on its share of membership fees and sponsorships.  For smaller, individual clubs,   it really is a hand-to-mouth existence for most teams,  requiring  fund-raising efforts that make ours look puny.

And the European relegation system,  which sends this year's best teams up to a higher league next season, and the worst teams down to a lower league, complicates financing even further. A drop down almost always means a loss of sponsorships, but a move up doesn't always mean adding sponsors, because first-year teams in the higher league often have a rough go, and sponsors sometimes adopt a wait-and-see approach.

Such is the perilous nature of funding for American football teams overseas that with their seasons about to get under way, two top European football teams have gone under.

One of them, the defending Norwegian champion, folded just two weeks prior to the start of the season.

It's too late for this season anyhow, but the best way to search for a job overseas is to subscribe to europlayers.com, a Web site run by an old friend (and double-wing coach!) named Roger Kelly, a Canadian who now lives in Sweden.


*********** A Look at the Targeting Foul by Rogers Redding

Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

Targeting became a part of the NCAA rules in 2008. At that time, the penalty was the same as for any other personal foul – 15 yards and an automatic first down. The NCAA football rules committee made minor changes to the language of the rule along the way, with nothing major until last year.

By 2013, the committee had become concerned about the increasing number of concussions and other head and spinal injuries, so it took a bold step forward by including automatic disqualification from the game in the penalty. If a player commits a targeting foul in the second half, he must sit out the first half of his team’s next game. The ruling is subject to review in games where Instant Replay is used. While this was seen in some quarters as an overly expensive penalty, the committee felt that it needed to take a strong stand in trying to remove this dangerous foul from the college game.          

There remains some misunderstanding about the rule, as we continue to hear people use the term “helmet-to-helmet contact.” But the rule does not mention helmet-to-helmet contact. Incidental helmet-to-helmet contact happens many times in a game as a matter of course, but this is not illegal. What is prohibited is (a) targeting action and forcible contact with the crown of the helmet and (b) targeting action and forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent – no matter what part of the body the player uses. It could be the shoulder, forearm, etc., as well as the head.

By “targeting action and forcible contact” we mean such things as a launch, an upward thrust out of a crouch and similar actions which signal that the player is trying to do more than make a good football play.

The rule is having a very positive impact on the game. We can clearly see that players are being coached to change their approach: they are lowering the “strike zone” to make a tackle or defend against a pass, they are getting the head out of the action and they are making more “heads-up-wrap-up” tackles. While targeting fouls continue to take place, and we as stakeholders need to remain diligent, our game is becoming safer because this rule is leading to changes in behavior.

*********** I was rereading "The Young Man From Denver," a biography of author, journalist and Hollywood screenwriter  Gene Fowler, written by his son, Will.

Gene Fowler knew everybody in the newspaper business and show business and everybody knew - and liked - him.  Over the years, he'd partied with most of them.

At the time of his death, famed writer Ben Hecht, one of his friends, reminisced about the time they'd visited another friend, famed comedian and notorious hard liver W. C. FIelds, just days before he died.

There he was in his garden, wrote Hecht, "pouring gin into himself and holding, of all things, a Bible in his hand."

"What are you doing with a Bible?" he was asked.

Answered Fields, "Looking for loopholes."

*********** A former Navy player applied lessons he learned in football to handling the responsibility of managing  40,000 employees.


*********** Yes, you could call me a Climate Change Denier, which I guess puts me in Big Al Gore's sights. 

Yeah. The sights on the old shootin' arn he's had since he was a boy back in the hills of Tennessee, when he used to go huntin' varmints with his daddy, (Senator Albert Gore, Sr.). 

Or was that Lord john ("Can I get me a hunting license?") Kerry?

So I gritted my teeth when I read that the head of some group calling itself The Wilderness Society has proclaimed that in order to prevent catastrophic global warming, 90 per cent of US coal must remain in the ground.

You hear that, all you miners in West Virginia and Kentucky?

Meanwhile, everybody in the US over the age of 5  has a cell phone, and our government is giving subsidies to electric car makers so that more rich bastards can buy their $100,000 Teslas, because, you see, electric cars produce "zero tailpipe emissions."

Well. Maybe zero emissions from a tailpipe in Beverly Hills, but that electricity that the expensive toy runs on has to be generated somewhere, and it sure ain't from solar panels on the roofs of those mansions. 

Get ready for this, Wilderness Society guy - at the present time, coal remains by far our largest source of electric generation,  producing nearly 40 per cent of the electricity we Americans consume.

And guess what? (1) We have all the coal we'll need for another century or more, - how's that for energy independence? -  and (2) coal happens to be one of the few things that we sell in any quantity to the Chinese. 

You think we're on the verge of class warfare now? Just you wait till  we start having daily brownouts  while  all those rich environmentalists  in their electric cars are down at the charging stations  getting taxpayer-subsdized fillups.

*********** World-Turned-Upside-Down Department

The insanity continues. Lolita Baldor, of the  Associated Press, writes that there's still debate over whether to let transgender "folks" serve in our armed forces...

U.S. military leaders have expressed reservations about any move to lift the Pentagon's ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces, an issue since Defense Secretary Ash Carter's suggestion that he is open to the idea, officials say.

Carter told troops in Afghanistan that he was open-minded when asked if the Defense Department was planning to remove one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service. But some defense officials have said they have broad concerns about the impact of such a change.

The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Much of the opposition centers on questions of where transgender troops would be housed, what berthing they would have on ships, which bathrooms they would use and whether their presence would affect the ability of small units to work well together.

There also are questions about whether the military would conduct or pay for the medical treatment and costs associated with any gender transition, as well as which physical training standards the troops would be required to meet.


*********** Mon Oct 20, 2014

Hello sir, My name is Jeramiah Komlofske and I am head coach of the 8-9 year old rookie squad Killen Patriots in Killeen Texas near ft Hood.  We are a military town with lots of football competition.  We are currently in TYFA division 2 and I have adopted your double wing this year.  I'm in love with it to say the least.  We are an undersized squad and we need this in order to compete.  We are 3-3 at this point and still unable to defeat the physically superior teams but my problem is this...the Refs.  I am fighting them every game.  My wedges cannot be stopped no matter who we are playing but I get flagged for arm locking when we dont, at all.  I've had 3 scores called back and countless yard removed because of this.  Refs do not understand the formation and will not let my line sit back from the los.  They call me for to many in the backfield.  It's killing my team.  I'm sure I'm not the only coach to have gone through this.  Need some advice.    Thank you for your time.

Jeramiah Komlofske

Head Coach Killeen Patriots

Tue, Oct 21

Hi Coach,

Thanks for writing.

Your problems are not uncommon, but usually the officials come around.

You might show them this clip of my team at practice.


We're running it from a different formation, but it illustrates how we teach the wedge blocking, and you won't see any locking of arms.

As for being back off the ball, the rule is clear that they are legally on the line so long as the top of their helmet penetrates an imaginary line drawn through the center's waist.  But if it's clear that you won't win this one, ask the officials to take a look at your kids and tell you what's legal, because you want to make sure that you comply, blah, blah, blah.

It's all about power, and you're not going to win, so you might as well let them know that you will do what they require.

Hope this helps you some.  Let me know how it works out.

Tue, Oct 21, 2014

Thank you sir,

We will get to work on that right away.  We need this win this week to stay in the race and its a far more superior foe.  I will sure let you know how it goes.

Thank You

Jeramiah Komlofske

Head Coach Killeen Patriots

Mon, April 6, 2015

Hello sir,
Thank you for the help and it most certainly helped.  I conducted a meeting with the officials prior to game and had no problems with them during it, as a matter of fact they were defending it against the other teams coaches without my help, LOL.
I switched to a shotgun double wing in order to fix exchange issues and took the motion out.  We were much more competitive but unfortunately we were not able to make the playoffs. We did, however enter the AAU Unrestricted National Tournament and ended up winning the Championship in December 30-0.  We will use this momentum for the future push.  Thanks again
Jeramiah Komlofske
Coach K.
*********** Yuengling, of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, has been named the US's  top craft brewer...

Uh, I'm all for Yuengling, but the company isn't that small - it has three breweries, two in Pennsylavnia and one in Florida.

It's that the definition of "craft breweer" has been changed so that it might as well be "any brewing company not named AB Inbev, SAB Miller or Molson Coors."

The Top Five Craft Brewing Companies of 2014:
D.G. Yuengling Sons, Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Boston Beer Co., Boston
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, California;
New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colorado;
Gambrinus, Shiner, Texas.

The top 10 U.S. Brewing Companies” of 2014:
Anheuser-Busch Inc., St. Louis; (Foreign owned)
Miller Coors, Chicago, Illinois (A marketing joint venture of SAB MIller and Molson Coors)
Pabst Brewing Co., Los Angeles;
D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc., Pottsville;
Boston Beer Co., Boston;
North American Breweries, Rochester, New York;
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, California;
New Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colorado;
Craft Brew Alliance, Portland, Oregon;
Gambrinus, Shiner, Texas.


*********** ROCKY COLAVITO hit 374 career home runs and once, in 1968, he pitched 2-2/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn a win over his former teammates, the Detroit Tigers.

In 1965 he became the first outfielder in AL history to play an entire season (he didn't miss a game) without making an error.

Playing before the PED area, when he retired he had hit more home runs in the American League than any right handed hitters except  Jimmie Foxx and Harmon Killebrew.

Correct answer provided by...

Bill Nelson, Thornton, Colorado

Ken Hampton, Raleigh, North Carolina

Kevin McCullough, Lakeville, Indiana

***********  I have no objections whatsoever to the NFL's hiring its first female official.   But it's pretty bad when the best I can say is that she can't be any worse than some of the clowns they've already got.


***********  Lynn Swann and John Stallworth are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Has any team ever selected two better wide receivers in the same draft?

They were both drafted by the Steelers in 1974. Both became  All-pro wide receivers, and both were key components of the Super Steelers of the 1970s.

And the Steelers almost passed them up. They weren't fast enough.

Swann's 4.7 wasn't fast enough for Steelers' Coach Chuck Noll,   and neither was Stallworth's.   But Noll liked them both.

He told player personnel director Art Rooney to "get a good time" on Swann, so Rooney flew to the West Coast and timed Swann in a 4.55. And the rest is history.

For the lesser-known Stallworth, who played at historically-black Alabama A & M, he leaned on Bill Nunn.

Nunn, once the highly-respected sports editor of the black newspaper Pittsburgh Courier, was by that time a Steelers scout, the man given credit for the way the Steelers gained access to previously untapped talent in black colleges.

He knew that Stallworth had been timed on a grass field, and he went back to Alabama to "get a better time."  That he did. He timed Stallworth in 4.58, 4.6 and 4.62.

But only he and the Steelers knew that, and he was able to convince Noll that unlike the better-known Swann, from USC, whom the Steelers chose with their first-round draft pick, they could safely wait until the fourth round to draft Stallworth because no other NFL team had a time on him faster than a 4.7


*********** How's this for being a three-sport guy?

He scored the winning touchdown in the 1938 NFL championship game.

He coached the Providence team in the BAA, the forerunner of today's NBA.

And as an American League umpire for more than 20 years, he was the first base umpire when Don Larsen pitched his perfect gamin in the 1956 World Series.

*********** I swear to God I read this on a "forum" and the guy was serious...

"you must be looking in a mere."

*********** Charles Barkley, asked about whether he uses Twitter: "I don't do the Internet. That's where fools go to feel important."

Of course, a lot of Twitter users would probably give it up, too, if they had Barkley's audience.

*********** We were watching the Duke-Michigan State basketball game and during a commercial break I was reading a paper when my wife said...

 "Honey, play that back."

Wh-?  Why?

"Just play it back."

I'll be damned if it wasn't a Honey Maid commercial featuring two "guys" and "their" newborn baby.

"We're kind of traditional guys," one of the guys said.

It was a very short commercial - maybe 15 seconds - so it was over before I could say, "WTF?"

But just to be sure, its signature line took a snarky shot at Indiana:

"We Serve Everyone"


*********** It was back around 1960 that replay of televised events came into being, and it was so new and unheard of that at first, not everyone  understood that what they were watching was not live.

There were many. many stories of bets on games being won by those who understood, taking advantage of those who didn't.

It was another 20 years or so before we had the ability to record events on our own, at home, but no matter. Most of us thought this was a miracle.

But no good deed goes unpunished -  there were enough others who were indignant that nobody had told them they weren't watching something live.

You'd think that the TV people would have learned their lesson - you have to tell people, and tell them again, and tell them once again.  Repeat that process several times for a couple of weeks.  And then, maybe - maybe - half the public will get your message.

So there we were Saturday, and TBS, in order to accommodate those basketball fans who insist on hearing announcers that favor their team, provided five different broadcasts of the two games - the usual network broadcast, plus alternative  "homer" converge for the four teams playing on Saturday.

But clearly, based on the irate tweets flying around ("These guys are so biased for Kentucky!")  including a couple from Deion Sanders, not everyone was aware of TBS' noble experiment.

Never mind.


*********** Following Saturday's upset of Kentucky by Wisconsin, Kentucky's  Andrew Harrison was caught by a live microphone saying "F--- that n----" after a teammate was asked a question about Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky.

Harrison later called Kaminsky and apologized on Twitter.

"He reached out to me, we talked about it, I'm over it," Kaminsky told reporters. "Nothing needs to be made out of it."
This brings up a very interesting philosophical matter.
As anybody who draws breath knows, it is highly inadvisable for a white person to use the "N-word."  At all.

But as most of us also know, there are those black people (certain black people) who argue that it's okay for them to use the "N-word" around each other.

A forum full of ancient Greek philosophers would have been kept busy debating how it is that a white man can be fired in disgrace from the job of his dreams for saying a word considered hurtful - but not so hurtful that young black people don't throw it around  with cheerful abandon. 

But here's one that even Socrates himself would have had trouble divining:  what happens when a black person calls a white person the "N-word?"

Socrates aside, I'm really upset with Frank Kaminsky. Here he had a chance to  fuel the racial flames, and he had to go and defuse everything by saying he's "Over it!"

I want to say to him (looking up, of course), "Hey, big guy! You gonna let him off that easy?  After we just went out and bought all that paint? Now, here we are  painting our signs and planning a rally outside the Kentucky state capital - and you say, you're "Over it?"

Oh, well.   Just because you're taking the high road doesn't mean I have to let the opportunity go to waste.

Personally, I think there's only one way of dealing with this issue: the entire Kentucky team should have to undergo diversity training.  After all, it's only fair for black guys to get a taste of the sort of BS we whiteys - sorry, "persons of no color" -  have had to sit through over the years.

And furthermore - here's my chance to get in on the  racket - I'm offering my services to the Wildcats.

I'll require fIrst-class air fare, a suite in a four-star hotel, the use of an SUV, and a $15,000 fee for a three-hour diversity workshop.

From what I understand,  they'll be getting off cheap.


*********** You realize just how far this whole PC thing has taken us (and how hard it would be to be a comedian today),  when you read that one of the "racist" emails (I think they found maybe three) from the Ferguson PD was actually an Internet  joke:  

a guy said that he had come to grips with his wife's infidelity by finding religion.  Said he had become a Muslim, and tomorrow he was going to stone her to death.

It's a joke, for God's sake!   I'll bet even some Muslims find it funny.   Well, maybe not female Muslims.


american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL  3,  2015-   “Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.”  G. K. Chesterton

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain

*********** In his book "DUFFY," famed Michigan State coach Duffy Daugherty wrote, "I learned a tough lesson in the mid-sixties when our first-string center, Walt Forman, quit football after his junior year because his nearly-perfect grade point average in the classroom won him immediate admission to medical school. I decided right then and there I'd never again recruit  a player that intelligent."

********** Eddie LeBaron died Wednesday in Stockton, California.  He was 85.

I wrote this back in 2003:

Eddie LeBaronA LOOK AT OUR LEGACY: In the portrait at far left, Eddie Le Baron is shown as a Marine 2nd Lieutenant; in the middle, he's shown as "The Little General," a 5-9 NFL quarterback. He was a college All-American, NFL Rookie of the Year, a Four-Time Pro Bowl selection, and an NFL General Manager. He was the first starting quarterback in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. Today, he's a successful lawyer (portrait at far right).

He was an All-American quarterback at College of the Pacific, and following graduation in 1950, with the Korean War starting up, he accepted a commission as an officer in the Marine Corps.

He spent nine months in Korea, seven of them in combat on the front lines. He was wounded twice, and was awarded the Bronze Star for an act of heroism at Heartbreak Ridge.

Back in the States, despite his height (generously reported to be 5-9) he wound up as the starting quarterback job with the Washington Redskins when Sammy Baugh broke his hand, and, coached along by Baugh, he wound up throwing for 1400 yards and earning Rookie of the Year honors.

After two years with the Redskins, he jumped to the CFL with two other Redskins, but returned a year later and, under Coach Joe Kuharich, led the Skins to an 8-4 record. Hopes were high for 1955, but a preseason car accident ended the career of star Vic Janowicz and the Redskins finished a disappointing 6-6.

From then on, although he was the NFL's leading passer in 1958, it was three straight losing seasons with the Skins, until his career was saved when Tom Landry traded for him and made him the brand-new Dallas Cowboys' first quarterback. Don Meredith understudied him, until gradually, as Meredith became ready, Landry began to shuttle the two quarterbacks in and out.

He had earned his law degree from George Washington University while playing for the Redskins, and he put his legal talent and business expertise to use as General Manager of the Atlanta Falcons from 1977 to 1982 and as executive vice president and chief operating officer from 1982 through 1985.

In 1980, Eddie Le Baron was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

(Remember when I used to ask you to identify people?)
Correctly identifying Eddie LeBaron- Joe Daniels- Sacramento... Mike Framke- Green Bay, Wisconsin... Kevin McCullough- Culver, Indiana... Dennis Metzger- Connersville, Indiana... Adam Wesoloski- Pulaski, Wisconsin... Dave Potter- Durham, North Carolina... Joe Gutilla- Minneapolis ("The Little General's exploits at Pacific are legendary. COP (as it was called back then) had a strong football tradition for many years, and LeBaron was the first in a line of outstanding quarterbacks play at Pacific. Pacific and Fresno State would play in front of overflow crowds at Memorial Stadium in Stockton. The Tigers-Bulldogs rivalry was as heated as they get. However that list of UOP quarterbacks will remain short since UOP's football program was one of many in California that fell victim to the Title IX budget axe.")... Keith Babb- Northbrook, Illinois ("Thanks for coming up with an easy one this week. Eddie LeBaron was very familiar to me when I lived in Texas and followed the then brand new Dallas Cowboys. He also appeared in the first book I ever read about football, 'Heroes of the NFL.'")... Ron Timson- Umatilla, Florida ("He was one of my idols, mainly because of his small stature that I also endured as an athlete. I admired the fact that he could make it in the NFL. I remember him throwing the jump pass to TE's and being a pretty good scrambler.")... Bert Ford- Los Angeles... Scott Russell- Potomac Falls, Virginia... MIke O'Donnell- Pine City, Minnesota... David Crump- Owensboro, Kentucky ("My dad and I saw him quarterback the Cowboys to a preseason win over the Giants in Louisville in 1960. I think that is was the only game they won that year. I know they went winless that year in regular season play. Eddie took a lot of tough hits playing for the Cowboys.")... Steve Staker- Fredericksburg, Iowa... John Reardon- Peru, Illinois... Alan Goodwin- Warwick, Rhode Island...

*********** An interesting story is the role Eddie LeBaron played in the emergence on the national scene of the Belly Series, as told by famed Georgia Tech coach Bobby Dodd, in "Dodd's Luck."

The Yellow Jackets were  coming off what was for them a disastrous 5-6 season.

Dodd retained Ray Graves who was a fine line coach and outstanding defense coach. For the 1951 season Graves installed the "monster defense" (the monster man was a roving linebacker-defensive back) hybrid. Graves had learned the monster, which was designed to stop the split-T, from Oklahoma's Bob Wilkinson.

On offense Dodd brought Frank Broyles back home to the Flats. "Broyles was a big asset," Dodd said. "He was
enthusiastic and a real good offensive coach."

It was Broyles, under Dodd's guidance, who introduced the Belly series to Tech football. In the summer of 1950 (actually, it was 1951. HW) , Dodd returned to  Chicago to serve as an assistant coach for the College All-Star team.

This time one of Dodd's quarterbacks was a half-pint Houdini named Eddie LeBaron.

One day during practice Dodd recalled, "Eddie and I were out there fooling around, which we did every once in a while, hiding the ball talking about different things.  And told me they had this play at Pacific which they got a lot out of called the  belly series. I said, 'show it to me.'"

LeBaron demonstrated the belly series.  Dodd was captivated.  "He was clever as could be,"  Dodd said.  "Just a great quarterback.  Anyway, he showed me the belly series and I immediately knew it was good."

It was the kind of offensive attack in which Bobby Dodd would have thrived as a quarterback, relying on ball handling, deception and quick thinking.  The secret of it, Dodd said, as he jumped to his feet to demonstrate, putting his hands together as if taking the snap from center then pivoting to handoff, "Was that the quarterback had the option at the line of scrimmage, either to hand off to the fullback coming up the middle,  or to pull it back and go wide.  Sometimes, of course, he'd give him the ball, but the fullback's covered up by the line blocking and the linebackers over there can't see if he's got the ball. And we blocked just exactly the same whether we're gonna give him the ball or not.

"And then if we don't give it to him, the quarterback takes the ball and he pitches it back to the halfback, who's gonna ruin wide.  We would freeze the linebackers with the fullback fake and then pitch the ball.  And we'd outrun 'em.  I had speed galore.  So we used the belly series, and we got a lot out of it."

I guess they did.   After going 5-6 in 1950, they installed the Belly Series (and the monster defense), and in 1951 Tech went 11-0-1. In the six years from 1951 through 1956, Tech went 59-7-3

*********** Eddie LeBaron was once deprived of a chance to set a record that would never be broken.  In 1962, his 99-yard touchdown pass to Frank Clarke was called back when a Cowboy lineman was called for holding.   To add insult to injury, because the infraction was committed in the end zone, it was ruled a safety.

*********** A sad sidelight to the Georgia Tech success story: after a poor 1950 season, Tech coach Bobby Dodd made a tough call and   let two long-time assistants go. 

Tough, did I say?

The wife of one of the assistants was Mrs. Dodd's best friend, and  the Dodds and the other two coaches and their wives would socialize on Saturday nights after Tech games.

"We were all close back in those days," he recalled. "When you only have a small coaching staff like we had, you become close."

Years later, Dodd still called it  "The most depressing thing I ever had to do."

*********** Hard to believe that a businessman savvy enough to own an NFL team doesn't even know the details of the multi-million dollar deals he's committed to...

(Aaron) Hernandez signed a $40 million contract with the Patriots in 2012, but as defense lawyer Michael Fee questioned him, Kraft said he couldn't remember whether it ran through the 2018 season.

"I don't get into the details. I just knew we signed him," he said, adding that Hernandez was signed because he was "a very good player."

Hernandez also told Mr. Kraft that he had nothing to do with the murders he's accused of committing. Hmmm. Wonder if he still believes that.


*********** Coach Wyatt,
Here is the statement issued earlier this week.  Thought you would be interested in it.

Jonathan Thompson
Northwest High School
Wichita, Kansas

Wichita Public Schools 3‐29‐2015

Wichita Public Schools 3‐29‐2015

BACKGROUND FACT SHEET – Special Education Student and East High Athletic Letter


The Wichita Public Schools values and honors the contributions of all students to the life and culture of a school community. The world walks in the hallways of East High, and the school’s histories and traditions celebrate all students.

Michael Kelley’s participation, and that of the other student members of the East High Tri‐County league’s basketball team, have and will continue to been honored with letters and pins celebrating their participation on the team.

Mr. Kelley’s letter jacket was never taken from him as has been suggested. School staff did suggest a year ago to his parent that it not be worn at school because it didn’t feature the letter that he had received from the school. However, he has continued to wear the jacket proudly at school since then, and he continues participation on the basketball team, and it has not been the point of any further discussion at the school.

Athletic Letters in the Wichita Public Schools:

According to the Kansas State High School Activities Association, the opportunity to recognize students with athletic letters, pins, patches, etc. is the discretion of each member school.

In an effort to ensure consistency, the 9 KSHSAA schools that are members of the Greater Wichita Athletic League (7 from WPS and 2 from the Wichita Catholic Diocese) have defined in the GWAL handbook the criteria for earning an athletic letter in each of the KSHSAA‐sanctioned sports.

Beyond these sports, recognition for participation or achievement in clubs and activities is at the discretion of the individual school.

The Tri‐County Athletic League was created five years ago as a volunteer league focused on providing athletic participation opportunities for special needs students. Current organized sports ‐ basketball and soccer ‐ as well as cheerleading.

The Tri‐County Athletic League has been working for the last nine months to develop an athletic letter program that will allow participating students to earn an athletic letter based on consistent league criteria, and approach similar to the GWAL.

The Tri‐County league is unique. District leaders aren’t aware of other communities or schools where such a league has been created to provide regular and active opportunities for participation by special needs students.

The first letters are expected to be awarded by the end of the 2014‐15 school year. Criteria have been confirmed by the Tri‐County board, and the design recommendation for the athletic letter will be forthcoming soon.

Background on the incident that prompted questions:

According to Principal Thiessen, the subject of the jacket came up approximately a year ago.

East High currently recognizes student participants in the Tri‐County League’s basketball program. Students receive a letter and pins representing subsequent years of participation, based on school‐specific criteria in the handbook for student participants.

Mr. Kelley’s parent requested a standard athletic letter, and the school declined. A letter jacket and athletic letter were purchased from a local vendor by Mr. Kelley’s parent.

Approximately one year ago, a teacher suggested to Mr. Kelley’s parent that it was not appropriate for the student to continue to wear this letter on his jacket because it was not the letter that had been presented to him for participation in the league

The suggestion was made to the parent. There was never any direct conversation with the student about the jacket. In no way was there intent to embarrass or otherwise harm the student in any manner.

The student has continued to wear the letter jacket in the hallways of East High for the past year. At no time was the jacket taken from the student. Additionally, school staff indicated that there was never an exchange of the student’s letter jacket for an alternative jacket or sweatshirt.

In December 2014, the school received a request from the student’s parent to allow all student athletes on the Tri‐County League team to receive the same athletic letter as varsity athletes as a way to recognize their participation on their team.

Both Principal Thiessen and District Athletic Director J. Means indicated that awarding of letters or other honors for participation in activities such as this was a school‐based decision, falling outside of the GWAL criteria that have been defined for letters earned in KSHSAA‐sanctioned sports.

East High recognizes participants in the Tri‐County Athletic League with a team letter and participation pins. Other types of teams and clubs – JROTC, Science Olympiad,
music, leadership – are awarded appropriate letters or recognition based on established school criteria.

At the time of the December conversation, Mr. Kelley’s parent was advised of the Tri‐County League’s work to develop a league‐wide athletic letter program.

Media questions emerged following the March 25 2nd annual East alumni vs Tri‐County Basketball League fundraiser in the East gym. This event featured all the elements of a varsity athletic competition (announcer, band, student body participation).

Coach Thompson,
I really appreciate the info.  I should have suspected that this was something ginned up by the media.
What bothers me almost as much as the mother's wanting egg in her beer, and the media's not having checked into the facts, is that the story isn't "news" at all, and they've "neglected" to inform us of that.  Even Fox News fell for it.
And now, as ancillary casualties, Wichita schools, and the East high school principal especially, are besmirched as cold and uncaring,  despite their laudable efforts to provide opportunities for special needs kids to participate in sports.
The real story is not that a kid was deprived of something.  It is that the Wichita schools went way beyond the call of duty, and their thanks is public castigation because a mother wanted even more.
Thanks very much for contacting me. 

Notice there's been nothing on this the past day or so?  The news media evidently realize they've been had, but as for their attempt to set things straight - as Emily Litella would say, "Never mind."
This joke is dedicated to the Wichita mother...

It's a war, sunny day at the beach, when a woman suddenly jumps up and begins shouting frantically, "Help, help!  My son's drowning! He can't swim!  Somebody please help! "

A man springs into action and sprints several hundred yards down the beach to where the woman stands. Swimming out past the breakers to where the boy is thrashing his hands wildly, he grabs the youngster, and manages to swim back to the beach with one arm around the kid.

Once back at the beach, the man hands the boy to his waiting mother, then collapses onto the sand, exhausted. The mother hugs her son, then looks down at the boy's rescuer  and says, "He had a hat."

God's gift*********** Dad

Check this Twitter screen shot - Washington player of the year and his Twitter profile. Almost reads like a parody. And yes "Gods_Gift2015" is his Twitter "handle." Some coach will have to deal with this kid next year.


If Calipari can get this kid to play team basketball in a season or less, he deserves to be named Coach of the Year.

*********** Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller, disturbed by the "haters," tweeted -

Finally to the people that try to make us feel like our season was a failure. Go cheer for ASU!

Amplfying, he said, “These guys have been in the top 10 for every day that they’ve dribbled a ball at Arizona, and we lost to Wisconsin in two hard-fought battles in the Elite Eight. And if that’s a problem, I think you know what you can do.”

First of all, time to drop the hip-hop-inspired "haters" and "Hatin' on" crap.  Hate is serious.  Rape is serious.  College basketball is, well, not quite that serious.  Unless there's something wrong with you.

Coach, if the reaction of certain Arizona knuckleheads shocks you, you wouldn't want to trade jobs with Les Miles.

LSU football fans make Arizona basketball fans look like the parents who bring kids orange slices at halftime. Three or four more national titles might - might - be enough to appease them.

Not that that's any guarantee of security.  Let Saban have a couple of 9-win seasons at Alabama and wait for the fun to begin.

Coach Miller, this is what you signed up for.

*********** Remember a few years back when the baseball All-Star game  was ended   because one of the teams ran out of pitchers?  Total BS.

So here's what I'm asking you to do:

I'm asking you to name the slugger who once came in and pitched 2 and 2/3 innings of scoreless ball in relief, and scored the winning run.

Hint: He hit 374 career home runs. And he was 1-0 as a pitcher.  

*********** Watched the Stanford-Miami NIT Final.  Good game. But the TV cameras had to keep cutting away  to a certain Miami booster - and the last thing I want to see when I watch a basketball game (or anything else, for that matter) is that f--king Michael Irvin.

*********** When I watch Wisconsin play basketball and I hear "Bo Ryan," I sometimes think I've heard "Bo Rein." They both sound the same.

Bo Rein was a coach, too, and his is one of the saddest and most bizarre stories in college football history.

Bo Rein was a very good football player at Ohio State who spent  a brief spell with the Baltimore Colts before embarking on a career in coaching.

At the age of 30, he became the youngest head coach in major college football  when he succeeded Lou Holtz  at N. C. State.

In four years with the Wolfpack he went 27-18-1, and then, following the 1979 season, LSU hired him to replace Charlie McClendon, who'd been coach of the Tigers for 18 years.

Rein lasted less than two months as LSU's coach. On January 10, 1980, while returning from a recruiting trip to Shreveport in a private jet, his pilot took action to avoid a storm, heading eastward and climbing to 20,000 feet.

Then, for whatever reason - it's theorized that a loss of cockpit pressurization at that altitude caused a lack of oxygen that caused the occupants to black out - the plane went out of control, climbing to 40,000 feet and heading directly east.

Military jets picked it up and escorted it until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the Atlantic, 100 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

Bo Rein, 34, died before he ever got to coach at game at LSU.

"The weird thing," said LSU Athletic Director Paul Dietzel,  "is the plane's path took it right over the North Carolina State campus, where down below Bo's wife and children were sleeping."



*********** Years ago, Matt Szczur (pronounced Caesar) was a star football player for the Lower Cape May Raiders, coached by my friends Frank Simonsen and Floyd "Flash" Hughes. From there, it was a standout high school career, and then football/baseball career at Villanova  which saw him named the MVP in Villanova's 2009 FCS championship game victory.

Now, he's a top prospect for the Chicago Cubs, and there's a good chance he'll have a long career in the major leagues.
But whatever he accomplishes on an athletic field or a baseball diamond will pale in comparison to an inspiring  act of generosity.


*********** In Northern Virginia, a young volleyball player's parents are suing because their daughter isn't playing and the league won't let her change teams. See, she may not be good enough to play for an AAU (or whatever it is) team, but nevertheless they're keeping her from getting a college scholarship.


*********** In Iraq they're killing Christians and destroying works of art hundreds of years old.

Isis is kidnapping young Kurdish girls and subjecting them to all manner of indignity.

In Kenya, more than 100 college students were killed Thursday, most of them because they were Christians.

Iran is famously hostile to homosexuals.

But here in America, we can't be bothered with those places. We're more focused. 

Here, we pee our pants. And send out death threats.  And badger  basketball coaches to declare where they stand.  And threaten to business boycotts of  an entire state.  All because there might be a baker someplace in Indiana who might just happen to believe it's contrary to his religious principles to put two f-king men on top of a wedding cake.

Big f--king deal.

I used to think that Christianity would make its last stand in the Middle East, but now it's beginning to look like it might be in the Hoosier State.

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

I hope you and your family are doing well.  I have some bad news to pass on - Leroy Lunn passed away this morning.  His health had been deteriorating for some time and I just thought you would like to know.

Jason Bland
Spring Valley, Illinois


Thanks so much.  I appreciate your thinking of me.  God Bless Mr. Lunn. I'm sure Spring Valley is very proud of a young man who went away to West Point and distinguished himself as captain of a great Army team.

Mr. Lunn's 1953 team was the team that brought Army back from a cheating scandal that resulted in most of the varsity starters being dismissed from the academy. After sub-par seasons in '51 and '52 Army went 7-1-1 in '53 losing only to Northwestern, tieing Tulane -  and beating Navy.

Mr. Lunn was gracious enough to present the Black Lion Award at Hall High School in his home town of Spring Valley, Illinois in 2010.

1953 Army Team

The 1953 Army team - Captain Leroy Lunn is number 60, in the middle of the front row.   Number in the back row is sophomore Don Holleder, who would be named All-American end as a junior before being switched to QB as a senior.  He is the inspiration for the Black Lion Award.

Leroy Lunn Army pre-season

Prior to the 1953 season, Army captain Leroy Lunn and coach Earl Blaik posed for this PR shot...

Leroy Lunn Army-Navy Program

As captain of the Army team, Leroy Lunn rated a full-page in the 1953 Army-Navy game program.

Leroy Lunn BL Award

In 2010 Leroy Lunn presented the Black Lion Award to Anthony Urbanski

Rest in peace, Mr. Lunn.

american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 31,  2015-   "You know the barbecue is good if the woodpile is bigger than the restaurant." Charles Perry, of Birmingham, Alabama, quoted in the Wall Street Journal

********** Q. Whose bright idea was it to play a regional basketball tournament in a football stadium, like they did in Houston last weekend?


Q. But why would they play important  games in a place with no backdrops for players to gauge their shots, a place where the stands at the end of the court sloped back so gradually that in fact there were no bleachers behind the basket, a place with an elevated floor that required the players to sit in what amounted to baseball dugouts?

A. Because a football stadium has lots more seats than a basketball arena, and with lots more seats to sell, they can sell more tickets, which means more money for the NCAA.

Q. But doesn't it change the nature of the game, after they've played an entire regular  season in gyms, arenas and field houses?

A. It's all about the Tournament.  Who cares about the regular season, anyhow?

Jesse CarperLocust Mountain Boys

*********** My 2001 Black Lion Award (Craig County Cougars) winner passed away last night in a car wreck. Jesse Carper, 26 years old, he was Craig County's favorite son. Hell of a mandolin player. Was in a bluegrass band called the Locust Mountain Boys, you should Youtube them.

He was also a fantastic muskie fisherman.

He was Craig County's favorite son. The local news is doing a segment on his life tonight. All players are special but a few are extraordinarily so........he was one of those. I can't count them on one hand, but I don't need two.

Jimmy Fisher
Roanoke, Virginia

My prayers for Jesse and my condolences to all who loved him.

*********** Yiddish, a language spoken by Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, was once commonly spoken  by immigrants in many of our big East Coast cities.  As its speakers have died off, it's pretty much died with them, but it was such an expressive language that  it's added a wealth of useful words, phrases and expressions to American English.

Just a few examples:

Bubkes - nothing
Dreck - Poor quality goods
Glitsch - (Anglicized to glitch) A minor malfunction
Gonif - a lowlife
Goy - a non-Jew
Kibitz - to offer advice without being asked
Klutz - a clumsy person
Kosher - in keeping with dietary laws - fitting, okay
Kvetch - to bitch constantly
Maven - An expert
Mensch - a really decent. honest, upright person
Nebbisch - a poor, hapless person
Nudnik - a pest
Nudge - a gentle push
Oy! - Omigod!
Oy, vey! - Oh, the pain
Putz - A jerk (literally, penis)
Schlemiel - A clumsy person
Schlep - To drag or haul something (or one's self)
Schlock - Poorly done work
Schlong - A penis, a person who's a prick (Literally, a snake)
Schmeer - what you spread on something
Schmooze - To converse, chat (sometimes, brown-nose)
Schmuck - A real jerk (liyerally, a penis)
Schnoz - Nose, especially a big one
Schpiel - An act, or scene,  as in a play

Tchotchke - A knick-knack
Tochis - The buttocks
Tushie - short for Tochis
Yenta - a blabbermouthed woman

One of my favorite Yiddish words is chutzpah - the "CH" is like a gargled "H".

It means guts, or nerve, as in "I can't believe the nerve of that person."

A classic example of  chutzpah is a guy who murders both his parents, then asks the court for mercy because he's an orphan.

I thought of that when I listened to John Calipari, the Kentucky coach who's built his program with talented one-and-done players, making excuses for his team's play against Notre Dame: "We had a lot of freshmen in there."

*********** You could apply the word "chutzpah" to the Wichita, Kansas woman whose special needs son played on his high school's special needs basketball team.  My congratulations to the Wichita schools for providing those kids a chance to play.  But, instead of being grateful that her schools found the funds - and the gym time - so that her son and others would have a chance to play games, Mom went a step further:  she went out and somehow bought her son a varsity letter. And when someone at the school told him that he couldn't wear it because he hadn't earned it, the woman has gone ballistic.

So, too, has most of the national media, gung-ho as they are in their opposition to anything that in any way resembles what they consider "elitist."

Check out the story online and see the comments. So immersed are so many Americans  in this crazy fantasy of equal outcomes that you'd think anything less than naming the kid to the all-state team was a form of bullying.   You won't believe the things that the principal is being called, simply because he had to be the one to tell the mother (and her countless supporters)  that at a time when some schools are even doing away with grades, a varsity letter is one of the few things left that kids still have to earn.

***********" I would always laugh whenever I'd drive through Middletown, Maryland, on old Route 40.  On the west end of town, a sign on the outside of a building  read, "RUDY'S WELDING SERVICE AND COLD BEER."

WTF? I would think.  I guess it was Rudy's idea of diversification.

I haven't been through there in a few years, but I'm told the place still exists, a very cool example of a very unique combination of services.

I thought of Rudy's Sunday when I read of a local guy whose life has been, shall we say, a bit of a struggle.

After a series of burglaries, he did 25 months in prison, but once outside, "fearing for his safety," he told our local paper, he got him a gun. Uh-oh.  Convicted felon.  Tsk, tsk.  Back to prison.

He's out again, and I'll let the paper take it from there.

"He decided he had to turn his life around.  He studied cosmetology and auto mechanics."


*********** This NCAA tournament has been a great one for the Poles:

Arizona's Tarczewski, Gonzaga's Karnowski, Wisconsin's Kaminski, Duke's Krzyzewski, Utah's Krystkowiak.

*********** No more of that legends sh-- at Michigan.  When a number's retired, it's retired.   And if a high school recruit insists on wearing a retired number worn by a Heisman Trophy winner, well,  too bad.  Unless he's really good.


*********** It's no secret that I am not a fan of the current President of the United States, but I believe in giving credit where credit's due, and I do believe that this time he's nailed it...

My fellow Americans, although if I had a son, I'd have to think twice about letting him play football, I realize the important part football plays in Americans' lives,  I intend tomorrow to make the Monday following Super Bowl Sunday a federal holiday.

Yes, there will be folks who'll say that this nation can't afford another federal holiday.

But the fact is that the folks who work hard to make our government work haven't had a new holiday in years, and besides, not much of any economic consequence is being done on that day as it is.

Whether in offices, stores or factories, government studies have shown that productivity suffers. 

Companies large and small tell me they experience  abnormally high absentee rates on Super Bowl Monday, and corporate HR departments report large numbers of folks taking personal leave days.

And those folks who do make it  to work are either worn out from the previous day's festivities, or they spend most of the day talking about the game anyhow.

Coming as it does, midway between two other federal holidays, Dr. Martin Luther King Day and President's Day, it will provide a well-deserved mid-winter break for our hard-working government employees.

With the possibility of the Super Bowl being played in northern cities, the chance of having to postpone the game is always present, which causes serious problems for those folks who have to be back on the job the next day. But now, should the game have to be postponed for any reason, working-class folks like you and me who've saved for years to realize the dream of seeing a Super Bowl won't have to go home disappointed.

And let's not forget the folks in the host city, either, folks who worked tirelessly for several years to make the Big Event happen.  This will be a bonus day for their restaurants and hotels, and an extra day of wages  for those hard working folks in the hospitality industry.

For folks in the transportation industry, it's a blessing - it gives them an extra day to spread out all those flights home.

And back home, in cities and towns all over America, it's one more day for folks to spend with their friends and families.

Normally I would ask Congress to pass legislation making this day a holiday,  but this is too important to entrust to a Congress dominated by an obstructionist Republican Party seemingly bent on opposing us at every turn.

No, this can't wait.  We can't afford not to make the day after the Super Bowl a holiday.  America's national morale and economic competitiveness is at stake.

So tomorrow, April 1, 2015, I will use my pen to sign Executive Order Number 14909, declaring  the Monday following Super Bowl Sunday to be known henceforth as NFL Appreciation Day.

Thank you and God Bless America and God Bless the NFL, the folks  who invented the great American sport of football.

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

Thank you for the great article that clearly explained the New Jersey problem with nonpublic schools, competing with public schools. Although like any other politically controlled system, if they do anything, It will probably take several years before we see anything happen.

It was also good that you picked up on me problems that we have in the Atlantic City high school district. We often joke anymore about going to Atlantic City,” if you're going make sure you wear your Kevlar suit”.

Frank Simonsen
Cape May, New Jersey

In my experience, in many parts of the country, the private schools are feasting on the public schools, without bringing anything to the table themselves.  The public schools don't have enough problems as it is, without the private schools skimming off their best kids, so it scarcely make sense to provide them access to a nice state tournament that only enables them to further demonstrate how much better they are, and why you should send your kid there.

*********** Famed North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, who died in February, provided in his will for  $200  to be sent to every UNC letterman who played for him - working out to between $35,000 and $40,000 - along with the wish that they'd each "enjoy a dinner out, compliments of Coach Dean Smith."


*********** Travel Tip for anyone visiting Aberdeen, Washington...

Kyle Mittan of the Aberdeen  Daily World reviews
The Thunderbird Motel ...

In an 85-day span between December and March, Aberdeen police officers responded to 66 incidents at the Thunderbird Motel, according to a list of reports obtained by The Daily World in a public records request.

The incidents were reported between Dec. 1, and Feb. 23. That’s about one call every 1.3 days.

The figures come to light after the state Department of Health revoked the West Wishkah Street motel’s license to offer lodging, citing numerous code violations that included an infestation of cockroaches, broken windows, hypodermic needles found in rooms of the hotel and mattresses stained with what appeared to be blood and urine, according to court documents.

But I would say that if you're planning to visit Aberdeen in the near future, go ahead and book a room at the Thunderbird, because according to Mittan,  there's a good chance it'll stay open:

Motel owners have appealed the decision, and a hearing is set for July 15. The motel can remain open and operational at least until the hearing date.


*********** Dad

Watched the 30 for 30 "Requiem for the Big East." Great line at the end - "I didn't sign on to the Big East to play in Morgantown, West Virginia."

Yeah, and they didn't sign on to play in State College, Pennsylvania, either - and that's the attitude that's left them a little, mostly-Catholic basketball conference.

Absolutely the most mismanaged conference ever, mostly because in their big-city Eastern myopia, they really believed that basketball was bigger than football.

Hubris and myopia notwithstanding, I think the times were changing and anyway you slice it, that "old" Big East was doomed. It was conceived by Gavitt purely as a basketball conference, taking a bunch of teams that didn't have any representation (or automatic NCAA tournament bids) and turning it into a powerhouse. Even if they'd added Penn State, I don't think that would have solved the problem of Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, St. John's vs big football. I think they could have done it better, but it would have been a far cry from what the Big East used to be. Football and the insane sums of money it starting making changed the entire landscape of college sports. You could do a similar 30 for 30 on the ACC.

Not sure it was hubris.  They just couldn't see it coming, but then, who could?

People knocked the BCS, but it had a lot to do with generating football's "insane" sums (can't argue with your assessment).

The ACC's transformation from a cozy, familiar bunch of southern schools that had played each other forever into a monster conference that sold its soul to become a so-so football conference would be an interesting one.  I guess.  It's just hard to get excited about the ACC now.  But give them credit - they saw it coming and did their best to turn themselves into a football-first conference.


Judith Shulevitz, writing in the New York Times, reports that the precious flowers that inhabit our college campuses are demanding “safe spaces” where they can go to be free from speech that might hurt their tender feelings.

She lists examples of the demands of students that verge on the incredible; in one instance, when a student group at Brown University called the Sexual Assault Task Force discovered that a debate was to be held where one participant, a libertarian, would slam the term “rape culture,” the group protested to the administration. That prompted Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, to schedule a talk concurrent with the debate that would provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” A “safe space” was created for students upset by the debate; the space included cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets, and a video of puppies.

These can't be the same tender "children" we see in videos of Spring Break, shaking their tattooed hineys in front of dozens of drunken strangers.   Looking at them makes me want a safe space.


***********  When Duke's  Quinn Cook made one of two free throws with 0.7 seconds remaining, giving the Blue Devils' a 63-57 victory over Utah Friday, it cost the Las Vegas sports books large sums of money.

Duke was a 5-point favorite going in, and without Cook's shot - taken when the two teams were brought back from the lockers - the game would have ended in a tie after Utah was given the five points.


*********** "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

Six Flags Great Adventure plans to cut down more than 18,000 trees in order to build a f-king SOLAR FARM. in NEW JERSEY.

But not to worry.  After taking that giant step to save Our Planet, Six Flags will plant 25,000 trees over a seven year period.  How do we know that?  Because Six Flags said so! We have their word! And you know you can trust somebody who cares enough about the environment that they'll cut down 18,000 trees.

Great. Park visitors on a hot, humid summer day can look forward to sitting underneath one of them. - twenty years from now.   (Actually, come to think of it, no one said where those 25,000 trees will be planted - if ever.)


*********** The CBS basketball halftime team of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Clark Kellogg and Greg Gumbel is really good.

They are knowledgeable, they are likable - I LOVE Barkley - and they really work  well together.

Sure wish I could see more of them.

*********** Bobo Brayton, who in 33 seasons as Washington State's baseball coach won 21 conference championship and 70 per cent of his games, died at the age of 89.


*********** The College Football Playoff, it was predicted, would kill off the lesser bowls. 

Still might.  But  the lesser bowls keep coming, with three new ones proposed,  one each in Tucson, Little Rock and Orlando.

Now get this. Assuming no existing bowls pack it in, the three new ones will increase the number of bowls to 41, plus the Playoff title game. Figure it out - there are 127 FBS teams, and 82 - almost 2/3 of them  - are going to be playing in bowl games.  Prepare to sit back and watch a lot of teams that have "earned" the right to play in bowl games by compiling losing records. 

If the Playoff doesn't kill the lesser bowls, that ought to do it.

*********** Oh, dear.  Evidently the only approved America-in-the Twenty-first-Century response to a new Indiana law denounced as "gay-bashing" is...  Indiana-bashing.

Better get on board, guys.

The day isn't far off when one of those white "POLICE" cars, property of the Department of Homeland Security, will pull up alongside you and a guy inside will call out, on his PA system, "Hey, fella - What's your opinion of gay marriage?"

TIP: I recommend you  answer, "It's great!"



american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 27,  2015-   "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!"    Sir Walter Scott

*********** In 2003, the football field at Natrona County High in Casper, Wyoming, was named Cheney Alumni Field in honor of alumnus Richard Cheney, former Vice-President of the United States. 

Two years earlier, a proposal to rename the high school itself in his honor failed to pass. Most of the school's students  opposed the name change, but one Natrona County High sophomore suggested to the Wall Street Journal that in view of Mr. Cheney's heart problems, a good nickname for the school would have been the Pacemakers.

*********** The greatest of all Army teams was either the 1944 team or the 1945 team.  Pressed to make a choice, Army coach Earl Blaik, did so with the skill of a politician asked to pick the most beautiful baby at the county fair : "The greatest squad was 1944, and the greatest team was 1945." 

I'll leave it to you to figure out what that meant.

The line coach of those great Army teams was the legendary Herman Hickman.  A native of Chattanooga and an all-time great at Tennessee, Hickman was a great line coach, a legendary trencherman (eater) and a lover of literature and quoter of  that earned him the nickname "The bard of the Smokies."

Tim Cohane, in "Gridiron Grenadiers," writes that on one occasion, when asked  by reporters  to discuss his  Army line,  Hickman replied in verse...

Hercules was a mighty man, and Samson was another.

And Goliath, from his press reports, might well have been their brother.

Old Atlas tossed the world around in days, now dead and gone,

And Milo was well honored by the natives for his brawn.

Ajax had his moments when he didn't do so bad,

And Thor the Norseman, history says, was quite a robust lad.

I picture them alive today, a wondrous dream is mine:

Centers, tackles, ends and guards - the perfect football line.

*********** You're an NFL GM.  You have a decision to make.  Before you make that decision, here are a few facts to consider...

OMAHA, Neb. -- Defensive end Randy Gregory said he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine last month and that he failed two drug tests at Nebraska last year.

Gregory disclosed his marijuana use in an interview with NFL Media on Wednesday.

Gregory went into February's scouting combine projected to be among the top 10 picks in the draft. He declared for the draft after his junior season at Nebraska, where he recorded 17 1/2 sacks in two seasons.

He said he tested positive for marijuana at Nebraska in January 2014 and April 2014. Gregory said he hadn't smoked marijuana since December.

"I blame myself," Gregory told NFL Media. "And I know it sounds cliche, but there's really no one else I can blame."


I say, what the hell.  Since everybody agrees that the guy's a player good enough to draft, here's your Choice:

Would you rather have him

(A) smoking pot and mellowing out at home

(B) slapping his "fiancee" around

(C) drinking cognac with the lads at some "gentleman's club"

Myself, I'll draft him and take my chances with (A). But face it, just my luck it'll be ALL OF THE ABOVE

Soldier Field 1926

*********** The first crowd of over 100,000 to watch a football game and (obviously) the largest crowd up to that point ever to do so, was at the 1926 Army-Navy game.

Played in Chicago, it was the first time the game had been held elsewhere than  the East Coast, and a crowd of 110,000 was on hand to formally dedicate Soldier Field.

The game ended in a  21-21 tie. That would be the only smirch on Navy's records, and it would cost the Middies a "true"  national championship, one determined, for the first time, by a system based on a colleges' record and the quality of its opponents. 

Here is the  1926 Top Ten, selected by the Dickinson system, named for the college professor who devised it. In fairness, not everyone  accepted the good professor's judgement, and many considered Navy the national champion.

(Notice there's only one "SEC" team in there. And no, Lafayette and Brown are not misprints.

1. Stanford
2. Navy
3. Michigan
4. Notre Dame
5. Lafayette
6. USC
7. Alabama
8. Ohio State
9. Army
10. Brown

Among the incorrect guesses: a Michigan game.  The "Big House" wasn't built until 1927, and at its opening, its capacity was "only" 72,000.

And it wasn't the Rose Bowl, which, designed in 1921, wasn't made a complete "bowl" until 1928.

Penn State? Fuhgeddaboutit. Penn State - sorry, Lions' fans - was way too remote in those days to draw the kind of crowds it does today.

Army-Navy Ticket 1926


Five Atlantic City High School students were arrested on aggravated assault charges last week, after "allegedly" attacking school leaders during a fight at the school.

A 17-year-old girl is accused of spitting on the Director of Security. An 18-year old "man" was charged with assaulting a female assistant principal. The principal was assaulted by three other "students," aged 18, 17 and 15, while he was attempting to separate two other students.

The principal's last day at  "Atlantic High" is April 14, when he leaves to become superintendent of another South Jersey school district.


*********** On Monday night, Maryland’s women’s basketball team defeated Princeton  in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, giving the Tigers  their first loss of the season. President Obama, who has a niece on the Princeton team, was on hand. He'd picked Princeton to beat Maryland and advance to the final four, losing there to  UConn.

Following the game, Maryland coach Brenda Frese brought out a cardboard cutout statue of the president wearing a Maryland jersey and said, “Sorry, man, but we had to bust your bracket!” and her Maryland players shook the President's image.

Well. Many were offended that the Maryland players were so disrespectful, conveniently overlooking the fact that when a  President works so hard to show what an ordinary guy he is, he risks being treated like an ordinary guy - and one who's disrespected people at that.

One commenter took advantage of the incident to take a shot at the University of Maryland...

I suspect the underlying reason is that the majority of the Maryland players couldn't last a semester at Princeton. They won a basketball game, big deal, in 5 years I could see them serving the Princeton players in the local restaurant. I hope the Princeton players tip them generously.

Careful there, Joe Ivy. Like any public institution, Maryland serves the masses, yes, but it's done a pretty good job of producing people who've made some pretty significant contributions, as pointed out in this response...

Right. Google, UnderArmour, Outback, Sirius, Seinfeld, The Muppets for just a few of the businesses and entertainment created by Maryland grads.


*********** It's always been amusing to hear a fight manager say, "We'll fight anybody."


I get the same reaction when I read that the White House is FURIOUS at Israel.

Um, does that mean "The President" is furious?  That's his right.

But the house he lives in?  WTF?

Or does it  mean all the bootlickers and lickspittles and parasites who live  in the reflected glory of The Man and begin to think THEY were the ones elected?

*********** I was sitting at a stop sign yesterday when a big, white police SUV approached on the cross street.  I knew it was a police car because - duh - it said POLICE in bigass letters on the side.

But it was white.  That's funny, I thought.  Camas (our town's) police cars are silver.

As the white "police" car whooshed by, I could see for sure  that it wasn't one of ours - the SOB said, "Department of Homeland Security."

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

Police, my ass.

Is this where this whole Homeland Security Monster is  headed?

This is scary as sh--.  A national police force? 

Is this part of a  Department of "Justice" plans to swoop in and rescue the oppressed citizens in towns whose police departments it disapproves of?

Or are they just going to be cruising our streets looking for "VOTE REPUBLICAN" lawn signs?

*********** You go, Bill!

"We spend money to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil, we spend money to go overseas to London, but we can’t spend money to have four cameras in the end zone, four cameras to help determine the correct call in the end zone on certain plays?"


Rick Davis team*********** Longtime friend and Double Winger Rick Davis and his wife, Beth, picked up and moved from Duxbury, Massachusetts to New Zealand a couple of years ago and, eager to keep coaching football (er, "gridiron") he found a way to do so. That's his team at the left. Coaching in NZ  hasn't been without its challenges, and one of the biggest has been  equipping his players.  Maybe you can help.  Rick writes...

Coach Wyatt,

Thanks so much for posting this on your blog. It was your post about a year ago that put me in contact with Joe Ashfield, who used to coach in New Zealand, and who helped get the ball rolling. Briefly, I was able to restart an American Football club on the North Shore of Auckland, but one major challenge facing us is procuring equipment, which is very expensive to buy new and import. I was able to borrow equipment from the league this past season for our 14-16 year-old team, and am looking to add a 17-19 year-old team this coming season.

Our 14-16 year-old team had a great season. The boys embraced running the Double Wing and we ended up 5-5 and made the playoffs. I’ll be the head coach of both teams so there will be lots of Double Wing (and maybe some Open Wing) to go around.

I’m returning to Duxbury, Massachusetts for a month in July to visit friends and family, and would like to obtain used equipment to ship back to New Zealand. I’m looking mainly for helmets and shoulder pads in reasonably good condition and will be happy to drive to anyplace in New England to pick the equipment up (could bump it out a state or 2 further if a team had more than a couple of sets to donate). It can be larger youth sizes but I’d really like to get some equipment that would fit the larger Polynesian boys as well (I had twin 250+ pound linemen wearing 170-pound shoulder pads this season).

If any of your readers would like to help out, or have any information on teams/organizations that would like to help, please email me at 4baselead@gmail.com. Thanks very much again for your support.

*********** A proposal being considered by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association committee would set up separate leagues and tournaments for public and parochial schools.

Public schools have long complained that private schools can recruit and draw players from a wide area, giving them an unfair talent advantage. In one part of South Jersey, they point out, in the past three seasons the three private parochial schools that play football are 59-10 overall against public schools.

Several  New Jersey public schools, acting on their own,  have already announced plans to forfeit football games against private schools this coming fall.

Few public school coaches can be found to oppose the idea.

“I’m all for it,” one public school coach told the Atlantic City Press. “They (private schools) get to recruit all they want. They can form their own all-star teams. I understand what they’re doing. But it’s not fair to play those types of schools. They pick the cream of the crop. Once every 10 years you might beat them.”

It was suggested that the breakup might actually work out to the private schools' advantage, giving them opportunities to play well known, out-of-state schools, which could help them recruit even more better players.

Said another  public school coach, “More power to them if that’s what they have to do to bolster their programs. I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about who we have to play and making sure the playing field is as even as it can be.”


*********** New Jersey is also looking at dealing with the increasing numbers of athletic-inspired transfers that plague many areas of the country.

Their plan is to make transfers ineligible to compete in post-season play.

A new proposal would classify schools as "closed enrollment" or "open enrollment."

Closed enrollment schools would be conventional public schools, that draw students from a specific geographic al area.

Open enrollment schools  would be private schools and those so called public "magnet" schools that can draw students from anywhere.

The plan would require varsity athletes who transfer to an open enrollment school  to sit out the first 30 days of the season and to be banned from taking part in the state tournament.

Athletes who transfer from one closed enrollment school to another closed enrollment school  would be eligible immediately so long as there is a "bona fide" change of address.


*********** With a recent poll showing that only a third of its residents want Boston to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the group organizing the city's  bid has reversed its original position and now supports a voter referendum on the proposal.

John Fish, chairman of the group, Boston 2024, pledged that if the measure failed, the group would drop the bid.

(For what it's worth, John Fish  is also chief executive of the Boston area's largest construction company.  Hmmm.)

The United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee  are opposed to such a ballot measure because it can prove to be an embarrassing rejection.

Things haven't been helped by the mayor's signing an agreement barring city employees from criticizing the bid, and then it was it was disclosed that Boston 2024 was paying former Governor Deval Patrick $7,500 a day to be a “global ambassador” for  the Boston Games.

This winter's record snowfall has caused people to question whether Boston public transit system could transport Olympic-sized crowds  if it couldn't transport commuters.

“Terrible idea,” former United States Representative Barney Frank told Boston magazine. “If we can’t find a place for snow, where are we going to find a place for the Olympics?”

Back in January, 51 percent of Bostonians supported the Olympic bid. By February, support had dropped to 44 percent. Last week it was 36 percent, according to polls conducted by the local NPR station.

“At this rate," said Daniel Payne, a Democratic consultant, "by the time the IOC makes its decision, support here will be about 2 percent.”


*********** Daniel Podolsky,  a New York college student,    missed his flight out of St. Louis when Southwest Airlines barred him from boarding while  wearing a shirt with the word "F-CKING" boldly printed on the front.  

Video of the airport confrontation shows the gate agent providing several chances for the young man to remove the shirt, cover it or turn it inside out — but he refuses on grounds that he is expressing free speech.

“Is there anything you can do not to display the shirt because at this point we can’t allow you to go,” the Southwest employee asks.

Podolsky shoots back, “I have freedom of speech … really it’s not bothering anyone.”

“I know you do,” the worker explains. “I can show you in our contract of carriage that you can’t wear any shirt that says offensive (things).”

But Podolsky wasn’t having it.

“Can we take a poll?” he asks.


Outraged at this violation of his supposed rights,  he immediately contacted St. Louis TV station KTVI.

Nice job of raising the kid, Mr. and Mrs. Podolsky.  And wherever he went to high school - nice job of teaching him about what the Constitution really says about "freedom of speech."

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

It seems like yesterday but I have been running your system now for 5 years at 3 different schools. Your materials have been very good to me and the offenses I have coached. Last year at an inner city school taking them to a 5-5 record with 3 freshman offensive lineman and two down to the wire losses. I just saw the clips you posted on your website of the "open wing" offense and was wondering if I could see more or a more in depth look at your passing, running, and formations used. I have the athletes this year to have some fun in the shotgun and would love to see what you were doing for such great success at North Beach. If you are still looking for clinic sites, please do not overlook Ohio! We love double wing here and I have always wanted to come to one but distance has always been a factor with a young family. Let me know what you think coach!

Thank you for the constant help and support with your system!

Luke Katris
Columbus, Ohio
West High School

Coach Katris,

Nice to hear from you.  I'm very pleased to hear of the great job you've done using the Double Wing.

At the present time I don't have anything very helpful for you, but I can let you see some of what we've been doing in the form of the video of our opening game last year.


If you go through it and mark down questions at the particular time on the video, I'll do my best to help.

But it would be really helpful if you could somehow get away for a clinic.


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 24,  2015-   "I'm proud to be an American and pay taxes, but I could be just as proud for half the money."   Arthur Godfrey

*********** Nap time, story time, finger painting - but not for little kids. For something  called adult pre-school.

It caters to millenials, with, I'm willing to predict, not a Republican in the bunch.

And while they have their cookies and milk and settle down for their naps, ISIS is beheading Christians in the Middle East.


*********** QUESTION: A crowd of 110,000 people - largest at that time ever to watch a football game - looked on at the dedication of this famous stadium.  What was the stadium and what (and when) was the game?

*********** GRRRRRR.

Good Morning,
Enrollment for USA Football’s High School Heads Up FootballŪ program is now available for the 2015 season. If you have not done so already, visit www.usafootball.com/headsup to sign up North Beach HS.
 The Seattle Seahawks are hosting a Heads Up FootballŪ Player Safety Coach Clinic on Saturday 3/28/15 at the VMAC Training Facility in Renton, WA.
Heads Up FootballŪ will meet and exceed WIAA Coaching Requirements that all Heads Football Coaches must be certified in for 2015.
Once your organization is enrolled online, here are the next steps to focus on:
·         Nominate a Player Safety Coach (PSC). The PSC will be trained by USA Football and will lead the implementation of Heads Up Football within North Beach HS. The Player Safety Coach should be an experienced, senior-level coach on the staff or administrator who has earned the respect of your coaches and parents and is committed to a better, safer game.

·         Get your PSC certified. All Player Safety Coaches must take and pass the Heads Up Football, Heat Illness Prevention and Concussion in Sports courses at NFHSLearn.com.

·         Get your PSC trained (3/28/15 at the VMCA) USA Football hosts more than 200 clinics across the United States where Player Safety Coaches are trained in Heads Up Football curriculum and drills. All PSCs – including returning ones – must attend a single-day clinic each year to receive the latest information. This year instruction on Heads Up Blocking and handling cases of sudden cardiac arrest are new items in the curriculum.

·         Get your coaches certified. All coaches become USA Football coach members and complete the Heads Up Football, Heat Illness Prevention and Concussion in Sports courses at NFHSLearn.com.

·         Track your coaches. Through your USAFootball.com dashboard, you can see which coaches have registered and which have completed their 2015 certification requirement.

·         Share a certificate of insurance. Maintain and provide proof of insurance that meets USA Football’s requirements: $1 million general liability, $25,000 accident and health/participant liability with USA Football added as an additional insured.
Once again, please visit http://usafootball.com/headsup to learn more about Heads Up Football or call me at (317) 489-4426 to discuss how this program can help your organization and your athletes.
Thank you for your commitment to make the game better and safer!
Bassel Faltas
USA Football
H.S. Regional Manager, West
317-489-4426 Office

*********** Hugh, after reading your news this morning I need to share this with you. I need to take a Language arts/ and health and fitness to become credentialed in the state of Washington, and I was up on the teachers website to register for testing. 

One question stood out. It asked if you are male or female, but to my surprise there was a third box??
The boxes went male, female and - UNDECLARED!

I thought, you have to be shi--ing me!?!

My father would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what we as a society have become. I just wonder if I want to be a part of it. Have a great day!


The interesting thing is that the state just made it illegal to "counsel" gay youngsters  with the intent of making them straight because, LGBT activists insist, they are born that way.  So if that's the case, what's to declare?

*********** Just channel surfing, we came across "The Express," the Ernie Davis story Sunday night after the basketball games were over, and watched it till the end.

Although some of the scenes dealing with racial issues were in caricature form (naturally, white southerners were all pretty much racist swine), overall the movie was decent.

The uniforms were pretty authentic and the plays they ran were not unlike the Syracuse unbalanced offense of coach  Ben Schwartzwalder.

One laughable gaffe occurred on Ernie Davis' very first touchdown run when used several camera cuts as he raced downfield,  first camera one, then cut to camera two, then back to camera one, and finally, as he crossed the goal line, to camera two again.

The problem? They shot the run with the two cameras at two different times. In the camera one shots, he's carrying the ball in his right hand, and in the camera two shots, with his left.

Now, unless he actually switched hands three times,  while in the clear and outrunning the opponents...

Also, there's the matter of Ernie Davis' recruiting his successor, Floyd Little...

In the movie, Davis is being introduced over the PA in Cleveland Municipal Stadium, but he holds up the crowd of 60,000  to turn to coach Schwartzwalder and tell him, "Floyd Little's going to Syracuse!" 

Little's version differs a bit from the movie - he says he was still debating whether to go to Army or Notre Dame when he learned of Ernie Davis' death, and remembering that he'd given Davis his word that he'd do so, chose to go to Syracuse.


*********** It's all over - CLAP, CLAP, CLAP-CLAP-CLAP

Starbucks, a liberal corporation which, like all true liberals, set out to change the world, is back to selling high-priced coffee without the racial discussion.

Next  person in line, please.


*********** The big talk behind the scenes at the NCAA basketball tournament  is about speeding up the game.

Defense?  Bad. Passing more than once? Bad. Shooting quickly? Good. Racehorse basketball?  Very good.

Tell that to the Navy.  The Navy football team, that is.

In the 2004 Emerald Bowl, the Midshipmen iced a win over New Mexico by putting on a goal-line stand with a minute left in the third quarter, then staging a drive that ate up 14 minutes and 26 seconds.  It took 26 plays, and lasted 32 minutes in actual time. In terms of the time consumed, it was the longest drive in college football history - and it didn't even end in a touchdown.

Starting at the Navy one-foot line, it ended on fourth-and-goal at the New Mexico 5-yard line, where the Mids kicked a 22-yard field goal with 2:25 left.

Not all the Midshipmen were happy about killing all that time.

"Our defense was starting to get mad at us," Navy fullback Kyle Eckel told the Wall Street Journal in 2009. "For a lot of the seniors, it was their last time playing football, and here we were spending the whole time on the field."

*********** As always, your blog is an oasis in a sea of madness:

1. I believe the sanctimonious Starbucks soliloquies will turn out to be a HUGE loser for these twits.  This gives me a warm feeling, because most of these "conversations" about the libprog cause du jour are actually one-way lectures, rather than two-way conversations.  Interestingly enough, Starbucks seems to be getting more negative response from their hipster core customers, rather than from crusty old conservatives.

2. Hillary -- Nixon without the charm...and also without the geopolitical acumen.  Putin wouldn't be running rings around the Ol' Trickster.

3. Since everyone knows Al Sharpton is many millions in arrears to the IRS, howcome he's not in the same trouble you or I would be, in similar circumstances?  Somebody's got a heap a 'splainin' to do.

4.  Good for Army with the new (old) uniforms.  Hope they start a trend.

5. Tim Tebow.  It's almost enough to make me believe in a conspiracy.  Fantastic athlete -- a winner wherever he goes.  Unparalleled character and off-the-field contributor -- a perfect role model for kids.  Yet the NFL treats him like he's radioactive.  If he were playing at Jacksonville, he would make umpteen dollars for the club in jersey sales alone.  Something's fishy.

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

Right on all points. Where do I start?  

Starbucks?  Precious liberals chatting it up with other precious liberals? Like New York Times reporters covering a Democratic convention.  Maybe to get a little diversity of opinion they should offer 50% off on Duck Dynasty Tuesdays.

NIxon?  People disliked him and disagreed with his opinions and his tactics, but no one could have doubted his love of country, his strength, or his competence.

Sharpton?  The single most divisive thing that our Uniter in Chief has done has been to give that torch the standing of an unofficial cabinet member.

So long as they get their uniforms from Nike, Army football is still a wait-and-see.

Signs that our world has turned upside-down:  Israel is bad and Iran is good;  a gay football player is celebrated and a Christian football player is scorned.

*********** My, how times have changed.  I was looking through the March 1988 issue of Scholastic Coach (Remember that?  Great mag) and I came across a panel discussion among two high school ADs, one from Indian and one from Virginia, and a high school football coach from the Denver area.

The Indiana AD said he expected to get seven years' use out of a helmet before having to replace it, while for the Colorado coach the expected life was six years, and for the Virginia AD it was five.

The Colorado coach sent helmets out for reconditioning every three years, the Indiana coach every two years, the Virginia coach every year.

*********** In an article in that same March 1988 Scholastic Coach issue, Jackie Sherrill, then head coach at Texas A & M noted the benefits of switching from film to videotape (VHS), a move they'd made just  the previous August.

*********** It's my guess that Army AD Boo Corrigan has been busy answering calls from SEC athletic directors after the conference ruled that it will count independents Notre Dame, BYU and Army as "Power 5" conference opponents.

So Army can step in there in place of Western Carolina or Savannah State - and the SEC team gets credit, just as if it were playing Penn State or Kansas State, without nearly  the risk.

I'm not sure, as an Army fan, how I feel about this.  Yes, big money. But at least at this point in Army's football fortunes, little else to gain.

Air Force and Navy miss out on this grand opportunity because they have conference ties.  Air Force is  a member of the Mountain West, and Navy will begin play in the American Athletic Conference this fall.


***********  Watch this and then try to convince me that (1) Our schools aren't wasting our tax dollars, and (2) It's not time to raise the voting age to, oh, 25 or 26.  Or 35 or 36.


I guarantee you that newly-naturalized citizens know a lot more about our country than those hopeless twits on whom the Democrats spend millions trying to get them to vote. 

It was, of course, dead wrong, back in the days of Jim Crow,  for  southern states to employ literacy tests as a devious way to keep blacks from voting. And now, unfortunately, because of their evil associations, there is zero chance of ever implementing literacy tests  on a national scale to cull out all the morons walking around.

Dude - Rock the Vote.

************ Remember the Three Tenors?

Maybe instead of one President, we need the Three Sheriffs:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona  


Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin


Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County, Florida



Actually, I'd settle for any one of them.

*********** "Proselytizers of atheism seem to have concluded that if they’re big enough jerks, they will seduce the faithful into abandoning God. It’s sort of like asking Don Rickles to run your customer-service desk."   Jonah Goldberg

flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 20,  2015-   “There is no bigot like the atheist.”  G. K. Chesterton

*********** Janet Napolitano against student protestors. Wow.

What if you don't care who wins?  What if you hope both sides lose?  What if you just want to see blood?   It must be something like  the voyeuristic sensation some people feel when watching teenage girls fight.  

While protesters raised hell about proposed tuition hikes during a meeting Wednesday, Napolitano, President of the University of California, leaned over to a member of the Board of Regents sitting next to her and said (microphone still on), “Let’s just break. Let’s go, let’s go. We don’t have to listen to this crap.”

Well, of course she doesn't.  She's Janet Napolitano.

She's paid a $570,000 salary, gets $9,000 a year car expenses, and  lives in a house that the The University leases for $9,950 a month.  For that, you'd think the students would show her a little respect.

Jeez.  I actually find myself leaning toward the protestors.

*********** So 49ers linebacker Chris Borland decides he's had enough of football and cashes in, after one season,  and that's all the proof that America needs. No football for my son!  Too dangerous!

Now, I respect Chris Borland's right to decide the best course for his life. But you'll have to respect my right to suspect that there might be something more to the story than fear of concussions, which is how it's being played.

So it was with a  sigh of, "Finally!" that I read about a medical professional who says, "Enough Already!"

Dr. Joseph Maroon, professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is also the Pittsburgh Steelers' neurosurgeon, and a consultant to the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee.

He says long-term neurological damage from hits to the head has been exaggerated, and that there is no proof of any connection between CTE and youth or high school football.

“I think the problem of CTE, although real, it’s being over-exaggerated and it’s being extrapolated to youth football and to high school football,” he said on Tuesday’s "NFL Total Access."

"There are more injuries to kids from falling off of bikes, scooters, falling in playgrounds, than there are in youth football,” he said.

"...it’s much more dangerous riding a bike or a skateboard than playing youth football.”

Sadly,  in America's wussified society, a likely consequence of Dr. Maroon's remarks will be mommies taking their kids' bikes and scooters from them.


*********** In his 23 years as a big-time head coach, Bill Snyder has won two Big Twelve titles  and 16 of 18 bowl games. He's been named Big Eight Coach of the Year three timed, and Big 12 Coach of the Year four times.

At Kansas State.

Barry Switzer once called what Bill Snyder has accomplished at K-State  the greatest job of coaching in football history, and I tend to agree.

He's done it, writes David Collier in "Football Matters," a publication of the National Football Foundation, by his attention to  things you can't see out on the field.

The values and standards Snyder lives by are a part of every day life, and they always have been. Snyder has taught those values to every guy he’s ever coached. In fact, Snyder requires his players to take a test on the values that the Kansas State football program are built on in addition to having a group discussion about a topic the head man chooses.

However, Snyder says all of the credit goes to Snyder’s mother, who raised him as a single mother and molded Snyder into the man he is today.

“I’ve been blessed in my life to have a lot of caring mentors and people who were of great assistance to me,” Snyder said. “I learn from people every day. My mother was the most significant. She was an amazing lady who had a set of principles that are certainly replicated in what we are interested in here and what I’m interested in my own life.”


*********** Stone Phillips, former network news anchor, was a pretty good quarterback at Yale in 1975 and 76, and on the celebration of Carm Cozza's 80th birthday in July, 2010, he had this to say about his coach...

Carm was always mindful of his teams in their totality. Whenever an opportunity arose to get second and third string players into a game, Carm made sure they got off the bench and onto the field. The other day, I was looking back at an old Football Y News following the 1976 Princeton game, the same game during which John Pagliaro broke the all-time scoring record. In his “Coach’s Corner” comments, Carm began, not with commendations for individual play, but compliments for the team as a whole. And this line, in particular, jumped out at me: “I was pleased that we could play every able bodied player on the squad, some 70 people.” To some, maybe that’s not a big deal. But making sure that everyone got into the game mattered to Carm. He knew how important it was that 70 uniforms be soiled and stained with grass from the Bowl that day. He knew how many out-of-town parents would have pointed and yelled, “He’s in the game! Our boy’s playing! Go Yale!” Admittedly, the score was lop-sided—Yale won 39-7—but the substitutions started early. Long before the game was put away, Carm was opening it up. Good for him! Great for Yale!

*********** From a coaching friend...

last night we played --------- in a 7X7 and after about four plays I looked over the defense and I notice they had a safety at 15 yards, two corners at 12 yards and then five backers across the field at 5 yards.  Well, call me crazy but that is 8 players.  I called their head coach over and he told me that they are going to a 3-5-3 defense and his kids need to practice with all 8 guys in the mix.  I retorted by asking if we could then add another receiver but he did not think that was a good idea.  Imagine that... we still hung in there and scored 4 or so touchdowns.   I wanted to punch the arrogant SOB in the teeth.  That is why I hate 7X7's.

*********** Saint Mary’s Cathedral, in San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways.

The cathedral's four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, attract homeless people who interfere with worshippers as they attempt to enter the cathedral.

To discourage the homeless from camping there, water is poured intermittently and without warning from a hole in the ceiling above each alcove.

Despite signs warning the homeless about what happens in these doorways,  they are a persistent lot, some of them bringing waterproof gear and umbrellas.

“We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person," said a spokesman for the Archdiocese.  "But there is only so much you can do.”


*********** "Yale's Ironmen," by William N. Wallace, was a really good read.  The late Mr. Wallace, a long-time sports reporter for the New York Times, was a Yale grad, and one of the first football games he ever saw was the Princeton-Yale game of 1934.  Even in the depth of the Depression, 53,000 people turned out to watch that clash.

Few gave Yale any chance. The Blue was 3-3, while mighty Princeton, under coach Fritz Crisler, was riding a 15-game win streak dating back to a 7-7 tie with Yale at the end of  the 1932 season.  

But Yale won, 7-0. 

Princeton had gone undefeated in 1933 and most of 1934, and would do so again in 1935, but in the middle of that fantastic three-year stretch was that damn loss in 1934 to underdog Yale, a loss that tormented many Princeton men to the day they died. (Princeton was at the least a 5-1 favorite, 10-1 in some places. Bookies had not yet adopted the idea of handicapping - of giving points to an underdog.)

The most remarkable thing about the game,  and what prompted  Mr. Wallace to devote his last years to researching and writing it, was that just 11 Yale players played the entire 60 minutes, the last time that "ironman" feat has ever been accomplished  in a college game.

(Following the 1937 season, Crisler would take his single wing - and the now-famous wings on the helmets - to Michigan, where he would become a coaching legend.)

We all grow old, of course - those of us who are fortunate - and Mr. Wallace's research followed many of the participants throughout the rest of their lives.

One of the most poignant parts, entitled "Pepper Constable's Last Victory," is the story, written by his widow, of the Princeton fullback  who went on to become a doctor, and in 1981 made the self-diagnosis that he was a victim of Alzheimer's disease.  She wrote,

"During the first two or three years, there was little obvious change. In fact, Pepper's strong, healthy good looks fooled nearly everyone for all five and a half years of his illness.  Friends and family, in kindness, tried to tell me the diagnosis was wrong.

My answer was, "But you don't live with him."

In August, 1987, while vacationing in Nantucket, his wife woke up one morning to find him gone, his pajamas by the door.  During the night he had walked  out the door and into the ocean.

*********** There's been a lot of concern expressed by certain basketball writers about the lack of scoring in college basketball, and most of the suggested remedies have something to do with shortening the shot clock.

Funny that nobody's mentioned the size of the court, and the way it restricts offensive movement.

I've said for years that football - pro football at least - needs a bigger field.  As big and fast as today's players are, how much sense does it makes to play on the same size field that they were using  100 years ago?

That idea came to me when I read an interview several years ago with one-time pro basketball great Ed "Easy Ed" Macauley, who argued that the game had changed quite a bit from when he played.  At 6-8, he was one of the bigger men in the game. At the time he spoke, long after he'd retired, players had become much bigger.  Not only taller, but wider - no more beanpoles playing in the NBA.  And the players were faster, too.

That was a great idea then, and it's an even better one today.  Now, if we can just persuade those celebrities with their front-row seats to move back about six feet...


*********** It used to be common among the older, more cynical types among us  to respond to a worthless idea by saying, "Yeah - that and a dime will  get you a cup of coffee."

That, of course, was back when a cup of coffee cost a dime.

So hats off to Starbucks, which built a business empire on the idea of selling a highly-embellished ten-cent cup of coffee for many multiples of a dime.

Needless to say, Starbucks didn't build that empire by locating its stores in urban ghettoes  and decaying mill towns. 

And forget older people, even affluent ones. They grew up in the ten-cent days, and they can't quite cope with the notion of a four dollar cuppa, even when it's served in a recyclable paper cup by a server who's not just a server, but - a barista, for God's sake!

No,  Starbucks stores are found where the younger, more affluent gang hangs out - the college town, the techie town, the quaint "Old Town."  "Fish where the fish are," is the way the old-time marketers used to put it.

Their market is young, affluent, hip - and liberal.  And so devoted (addicted?) are their customers that Starbucks appears to think there's something more than a simple buyer-seller relationship between them - something that will enable it to achieve the dream of every liberal - to "make a difference."  To "change the world."

So Big Coffee is embarking on a campaign called "Race Together," whose goal  is to get people talking about the topic of race - with baristas or with others in line - while waiting for their coffee.  Or while drinking it. 

The   Company has plans to publish what it calls  "Conversation Guides" designed to encourage baristas to engage you, with questions like  "How have your racial views evolved from those of your parents?"

Hmmm.  I've talked about an awful lot of things with an awful lot of bartenders, but I just can't see myself and a "barista" with lime-colored hair and neck tattoos and multiple rings in her eyebrows holding up the line while we discuss whether The Man really is out to get black people.

I have a suspicion this idea was sneaked into a Starbucks marketing  meeting by an undercover Dunkin' Donuts employee 

*********** ANSWERS
In 1995, Utah  had players selected Number One in both Football and Basketball: Alex Smith  and  Andrew Bogut

Correctly answered by...
(1) Bill Nelson
Skyview HS
Thornton, Colorado

(2) Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

(3) Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina


Connoe and Quinn Cook*********** For the second year in a row, my grandson Connor Love celebrated his birthday with breakfast at Elmo's Diner, a famous  Durham eatery, and for the second year in a row he ran into Duke star Quinn Cook.   Go Devils!


*********** I heard Coach K on the radio talking about beating UNLV in the NCAA semi-finals in 1991 after losing by 30 to the Rebels in the final game the year before. 

He noted that they  had a week to prepare- he said "that was huge" - and  said that during that week, he really stressed mental preparation. One of the things he did was show his players clips of the good things they'd done in the game the year before. ("We didn't show them all the and things," he admitted.)

He said that he and Jerry Tarkanian were good friends, and that afterwards,  he told Tark that if they'd met in the finals - which yowled have meant Duke had only a couple of days to prepare - UNLV would have won.

After all, he reminded us,  "We had Laettner and Hurley and Grant Hill - and we still only won by two!"

*********** Aaargh!  Heads Up Football Comes to Washington - Like it or not

From the WIAA Handbook:

23.3.1 COACHING REQUIREMENTS - Described below are the minimum standards for a paid and/or volunteer interscholastic coach for employment, progressive employment and continuous employment

Beginning with the Fall of 2015 all middle school and high school head coaches must meet the requirement.

Beginning with the Fall of 2016 all football coaches must meet the requirement.

Options for schools:
Any coach that successfully completes a USA Football “Heads Up Football” Player Safety Coach (PSC) clinic will meet the requirement.

If a coach from the school successfully completes the Player Safety Coach clinic and then trains other coaches from that school in each of the components, each coach trained would meet the requirement.

Schools may choose to use programs other than Heads Up Football. Schools should pre- approve these programs and have documentation to show that each component of the requirement has been met.


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 17,  2015-   "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want - and deserve to get it good and hard."  H. L. Mencken

*********** As the ranks of the transgendered "folks" swell, it's important for us "breeders" to be sensitive and refrain from automatically using "he" or "she" as the preferred pronoun when referring to them, when many of them prefer that we use "ze" instead.

"When in doubt,"  advised an article I was reading, "ask a transgender person which pronoun is preferred."

My problem has always been asking somebody if ze's transgendered.

*********** I like a lot of teams in this year's NCAA basketball tournament, and it's a damn shame that Kentucky isn't one of them, because I don't see anybody beating the Wildcats.

I really like Notre Dame.   Partly  it's because they beat North Carolina, but there's more. The Irish are really fun to watch.   They're very unselfish, possibly because they actually have SENIORS.  And they've got three kids from Massachusetts, for crying out loud!

I like Duke because... because I like Duke. I have for years.  And I really like and admire Coach K.  And my daughter and son-in-law went there.

I like Villanova because I'm a Philly guy at heart, and because I really like the football people at Villanova. And because I've heard a lot of good things about their coach  And, of course, because one of my grandsons went there.

I like Arizona because they've got two kids from Pennsylvania.  One of them's from Chester, which is near Philly and  has always been a good basketball town. Chester's also the home of Bo Ryan, the Wisconsin coach. Their point guard, T. J. McConnell, is a Pittsburgh kid,  and he's as good as there is anywhere. Zona also has a big kid from New Hampshire - New Hampshire! - named Kaleb Tarczewski. 

I like Wisconsin because I like their coach. He's a Philly guy.  And I like their big center, Frank Kaminsky.  Guy is really good. And I like the fact that they've actually got WISCONSIN kids on their team.
A LOT of  them.  What is this, something new?  Recruiting kids from your home state, and winning with them?

I like Iowa State for the same reason I like Kansas State in football. With richer, better-known, more glamorous schools in their own conference, they've managed to win two conference tournaments in a row.  And they keep coming from behind.

I like Virginia because it's still a good school academically (I think) and I got to like the coach, Tony Bennett, when he was at Washington State.  He catches hell because his teams win with defense, and that means there's often not a lot of scoring.  Sounds a llittle  like a Double Wing coach.

I like Gonzaga because it's a Washington school, although way over on the eastern side of the state, I like the coach, Mark Few, and I like the eclectic mix of backgrounds of the players and the way Few always manages to get them to play as a real team.

I like Wichita State because they have a great player named Ron Baker who was an all-state HS QB in Kansas, and I hope that at least the Shockers win their first-round games so they get a shot at the Kansas Jayhawks, who haven't been willing to play them otherwise. The two teams haven't met since 1993.  How about this one- Wichita State is the winningest team in Kansas over the last three seasons.

Yeah, I'd be happy to see any of those teams win, or maybe even a Northern Iowa. But who's kidding who(m)? Hard to bet against Kentucky.

*********** Jason Gay wrote it, in the Wall Street Journal: "You can drive from Philadelphia to Vancouver during the last two minutes of a college basketball game."

*********** Seattle, famous for the high quality and great number of its restaurants, has been seeing them close down at an astonishing pace lately.  You don't suppose, do you, that  the minimum wage, set to start going up on April 1  to $15.00 an hour, has had anything to do with it?


*********** "MEET COUGARS," was the subject line.  Talk about a wasted Email.  For me to meet cougars  they'd have to take me to a nursing home.

*********** Washington QB Cyler Miles has chosen not to participate in the Huskies' spring practices this year.

"Cyler is dealing with some things in his life that are more important than football, and he felt it was important to take some time away from the game," Washington coach Chris Petersen said in a news release. "We are working to support him in any way we can and hope he returns back to the football field soon."

This will the second year in a row Washington will have to go through spring practice without a bona fide starting quarterback.

It will also be the second spring practice Young Mister Miles will miss.  Last year, he was suspended the entire time because of his role in the beating up of a guy following a Seahawks' game.

Whatever his problem is now, you would think that after last spring's fiasco, Huskies' coach Chris Peterson would have made damn sure that this spring he had a Plan B.


*********** I heard a guy being interviewed last week who'd spent  50 years with the same company - Mansfield Plumbing Company, Perrysville, Ohio -  and never missed a day of work.

Notice that in the graphic that accompanies this TV story,  "Mansfield"  is spelled it with two "n's."

Probably the regular guy who does the graphics was home sick.


*********** A Vallejo, California football coach fired by a Catholic school for not knowing about the hazing going on in his program sued the Diocese and  has received a $4 million settlement.


*********** Yes, we have freedom of speech.  Of course we have freedom of speech.  But not complete freedom. There are some well-known limits. It's been long established that you can't yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre, and you can't announce that you're planning to bomb your plan.  And if you'd like to meet some swell secret service guys, try making it known that you intend to kill the President of the United States.

And many are the guys who got their noses bloodied after telling ethnic jokes to the wrong audience.

At one time, ethnic jokes were very popular. Polish jokes, Irish jokes, Italian jokes.  They even tell me that  up in Da U-P they told Finnish jokes. 

If you happened to be a member of an affected minority, you could laugh, or pretend to ignore it, or handle it like Jerry DiPaolo.

Jerry was our Eastern Division sales manager when I worked for the National Brewing Company in Baltimore, back in the 1960s, and very proud of his Italian heritage.

He came to me one day and said, "What's black and blue and floats in the harbor?"

"I don't know," I told him.

Said Jerry, "Next son of a bitch that tells me an Italian joke."

************* That guy who pops up whenever there's the potential of a racial disturbance? He does pretty well for someone who's stiffing  the rest of us to the tune of more than $4 million in unpaid taxes and penalties, writes Jillian Kay Melchior, in National Review.com

When he speaks at public colleges and universities, Al Sharpton flies first-class, stays in upscale hotels, travels to events in a chauffeured vehicle, and often brings a bodyguard or aide with him. He makes these demands on taxpayer-funded institutions, despite owing as much as $4.5 million in unpaid taxes and penalties.

"In terms of travel, Rev. Sharpton travels first class on flights and will require a large black SUV for transportation and, if the trip requires lodging, he will require a suite in a four/five star hotel," wrote Sharpton's assistant, Abyssinia Tirfe, in an August 14, 2014, e-mail to Michigan State University (MSU) obtained by National Review. "Also, Rev. Sharpton travels with [an] aide who will require [an] economy ticket and a standard hotel room (if needed)."


Doc Blanchard*********** It's semi-official.   Army is going to "rebrand." No more of that "Black Knights" sh-- (I hope).  No more of that guy in a capes who looks like he just came back from the trick or treating (I hope). And no more "who-the-hell-are-we-watching-anyhow?" uniforms that change weekly (I hope).

Bring back those black jerseys with the gold and gray stripes.  And the gold helmets with the black stripes (Army, back during World War II,  was the first college team to wear  Riddell plastic suspension helmets).  And  bring back the  gold pants.

Those uniforms were ARMY, and anybody who saw them knew right away who they were looking at.

As a kid in Philly, I grew up on Army-Navy. With Army always winning(that's how long ago that was).  

To me, those will always be the real Army uniforms.  Navy? They'd   come out in something crazy every year, but Army's look never changed. Why should they? They were ARMY. They were the standard of excellence.

Those uniforms were classic, which means that they'll never go out of style.

If we can't bring back the glory days of the great Doc Blanchard (in the photo), can't we at least bring back the look?

*********** Bill Walton did the Arizona-Oregon Pac-12 final.  Even allowing for the fact that my dislike for him is hard-wired, dating back to his playing (and non-playing because of injury) days in Portland, he is really obnoxious when he gets behind a mic.

He won't STFU.  He goes non-stop, with a stream-of-consciousness blather that ignores the action and makes you say "WTF?" every couple of minutes.

But don't take my word for it...


*********** Only one college has ever had the first player drafted in both football and basketball in the same year.



*********** A proposed change in the NCAA's illegal man downfield rule has been tabled-

Did you know, for instance,  that three yards downfield isn't  considered "downfield?"


*********** So Chip Kelly had Tim Tebow in for a look. Don't know about you, but I sure would love to see somebody - anybody - sign the guy.  And give him a chance.  And for me,  it would be even better if it could be Chip Kelly and the Eagles.

***********  George Tsugawa is now 93. He and his family have owned and operated a nursery in Woodland, Washington, about a half hour from where we live, since 1980.

He's a native-born  American,  born in 1921 in Everett, Washington to Japanese immigrants.

In 1925, the family moved to HIllsboro, Oregon where his father ran a fruit stand, and in 1939, George  graduated from Hillsboro High School.

In 1942, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 calling for the  evacuation of Japanese and Japanese-Americans from the West Coast. (Actually, the executive order didn't say "West Coast" and didn't specifically mention Japanese - it simply gave the Secretary of War the power to "prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded.")

The "military areas" were a wide band extending from Washington to California, and inland to Arizona.

The "persons"  to be "excluded," it was understood, were Japanese and Japanese-Americans.

The Tsugawa family was rounded up and transported to  Portland, Oregon and held temporarily in an area normally used to hold livestock. The entire family was permitted to bring just one duffel bag; the rest of their possessions were seized and never returned.

After two months in Portland, the Tsugawas were loaded on a train, into crowded cars whose windows were blacked out so no one would know where they were headed, and transported to an internment camp in the sagebrush desert of south-central Idaho, about 190 miles from Boise.

Today George recalls it being “very intimidating, large fences with barbed wire at the top and armed soldiers on watch towers.”

While there, his older brother Akira volunteered to serve in the US Army.

In 1944, with his mother  dying of cancer, the family was permitted to move to Boise.

After the war, they moved to the Beaverton, Oregon area and took up farming. In 1950, George married Mable Taniguchi, and together they would have six children.

In 1956, George bought a  farm in Woodland, Washington, and over the years provided  thousands of local kids with summer jobs picking berries.  In 1980, after all the children had graduated from high school, Mable started the family nursery.

Mable passed away in 2011.

For several years now, Shari Conditt, a History and Government teacher at Woodland High School, has had Mr. Tsugawa come to school to give ther students  a unique look at  a period of history and a government action that today seems incomprehensible.

A couple of the things  Ms. Conditt remembers from Mr. Tsugawa's visits  really stuck with me.

First was his pride in his ancestry:

One year, after hearing that Japanese families had to register their ethnic background in downtown Portland before heading to the camp, she asked Mr. Tsugawa if he  had ever considered lying about his descent - for instance, telling the government he was of Chinese heritage - in order to avoid internment.

The class, she said, couldn't believe his answer. "They were so shocked that it would have never occurred to him to deny who he was because he had so much pride in who he was,” Ms. Conditt said. “Those are the kind of moments where the students’ eyes are really opened.”

Second was his utter loyalty to his country of birth.

When asked by Ms. Conditt if he was bitter that he and his family were deprived of their property, their business and their belongings and forced into an internment camp, he answered,





american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 13,  2015-   "To be able to look back upon one's past life with satisfaction is to live twice."  Lord Acton

*********** ONE person got the answer to what the list of great players had in common-

they were all Heisman Trophy runners-up.

Kudos to  Kevin McCullough, of Lakeville, Indiana, who added...

Purdue had some good teams back in the 60's......Leroy Keyes could do everything.......i can also remember " it's Theisman rhymes with Heisman".....seems like it was pronounced "Theesman before he became a starter

Yes, Purdue had some good teams and good players.   And yes, according to the story, upon arriving at ND
Thiesmann was persuaded by Sports Information Director Roger Valdiserri  to change the pronunciation.

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

Five years ago my wife and I were in Ukraine to adopt our fourth child.  While there a big celebration occurred - International Women's Day.  It was basically explained to us by our interpreter as "a day in which you give flowers and candy to the women in your life." So, mom, wife, daughters.  I thought it was kind of unique and cool, so I bought candy for all of the women at the orphanage.  I looked at it not as a requirement, but as a positive like "let's honor and celebrate the women in our lives."  No parades.  Nothing over the top.  Just flowers and candy.  

Seeing all of the issues domestic violence, sexual assault, etc., I think "International Women's Day," as it was celebrated in Ukraine (and I expect much of Europe), would be a small step in the right direction for many in American society.  

1 Peter 3:7   Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


I think it is a wonderful idea.  Not as a protest march or a demonstration of grievances, but as a way of honoring the women in our lives.

It takes me back to Bill McCartney and Promise Keepers, back in the 90s,  in which men promised, among other things, to honor their wives and the promises made to them.

What's really dismaying to me, as I look back at an earlier time, is the refusal of so many of today's women to accept their Biblical role, and the refusal of so many men to honor theirs.  

But it's still a wonderful idea.

Maybe we could start out small and call it American Football Coaches' Women's and Girls' Day.

And then, considering the attention being paid to how poorly some football players treat their "fiancees,"  we could expand it to include players, as American Football Women's and Girls' Day.

Better get on it fast before somebody trademarks it and tries to make money off it by selling tee-shirts and hats and holding rock-concert-like meetings.



*********** A Pittsburgh guy who stabbed and killed a police dog got 3⅓ to 7 years in the Big House.

Make that 17+ years total, after adding in time for attempting to disarm a sheriff’s deputy and stabbing a  police officer.

Sure hope the dog got the bastard good before he died.


*********** A Washington, DC guy is being sued by his neighbors because they claim his tobacco smoke is seeping into their home through cracks in the wall that separates them.  As a result, a judge has told him he can't smoke... IN HIS OWN F--KING HOME.

There's more.  It's a story about urban gentrification.

The guy is black and the house has been in his family since 1964.

The neighbors, on the other hand, are white, both of them lawyers, and they've lived there all of four months.

This one could be fun to watch.


*********** Jake Locker has retired after just four seasons (and God knows how many injuries), and now there are pussies on the Internet and on talk radio, pukes who've never strapped one on, ripping him for it.  Like he should have come back to  incur a couple more serious injuries and take more of their criticism.

No matter.  He'll be forever remembered fondly where it counts. Kid comes from a long line of athletes and coaches in the small town of Ferndale, Washington, up near the Canadian border. Hell of a football and baseball player.  Turned down a baseball contract to play football at the "U-Dub," the University of Washington.

In 2007, his freshman year, he rushed for 986 yards, passed for 2062, and was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.  But the Huskies finished only 4-9, and fans were calling for Coach Tyrone Willingham's job.

He missed most of his sophomore season with a broken thumb and the Huskies fell to 0-12, and Coach Willingham was let go.

In 2009,  under new coach Steve Sarkisian, the Huskies climbed back to 5-7, highlighted by upsets of #3 USC and #19 Cal. Locker passed for 2800 yards and rushed for 388, and at the end of the season was presented  the Guy Flaherty Most Inspirational Award, Washington football's oldest and most prestigious honor.

When  he announced at season's end that he would forego the NFL Draft and return for his senior year, he earned himself a place in the hearts of Husky fans everywhere.

In 2010, his senior year, the Huskies made it back over .500 by ending the season with wins over archival Washinton State and, in the Holiday Bowl, Nebraska.  The win over the Cornhuskers was especially sweet, because in addition to giving the Huskies their first winning season since 2002, it avenged an earlier 56-21 loss to Nebraska in the third game of the season, a game in which Locker had not played particularly well.

He was team captain for the second straight season, and again won the Guy Flaherty  Award, becoming  just the fourth player in the 103-year history of the award to win it twice.    And he'll be remembered forever after  for sticking around and helping the Husky turnaround.

So let the dweebs who sit in front of their computers down in their parents' basement take their shots at Jake Locker.  To tens of thousands of loyal fans of the University of Washington, he'll be loved and respected as long as the Huskies play football.

At Washington, Jake Locker's reputation as a great player and a good person is carved in stone. You do the things he did for his school, and you'll  be remembered and appreciated for a long time,  all the more so if you've demonstrated your allegiance as he did.

Personally, that's the place where I'd choose to be respected.

In an NFL city? Look - unless you're a Walter Payton, an all-star who plays his entire career for one team (is there such a thing anymore?), you're just another mercenary who passed through town on your way to a bigger contract.


*********** Remember when certain things just weren't discussed in "polite company?" ( For those of you who remember when there was such a thing as polite company.)

In the category of unmentionables were terms related to excretion, but with the increasing use of "poop" and "pee" on TV and in everyday conversation, the barriers are coming down.

Now,  where once  the term "bathroom tissue" was used because "toilet paper" was considered a bit crude, some company is on TV trying to sell the public on buying a new, improved paper that it says does such a GREAT job of, uh, wiping one's posterior that one will be tempted after using it to go without underwear.

(To "Go Commahndo," as the properly British-accented announcer says.)


The old advertising expression is "sex sells," but my gut tells me that they're going to have a hell of a time   using sex to sell toilet paper.  Sorry - bathroom tissue.

*********** My friend Mike Lude, one-time AD at Kent State, Washington  and Auburn, said that he used to meet with all the school's teams before very season and impress on the athletes that like it or not, because they were Kent State, or Washington, or Auburn athletes, they would be held to a higher standard of conduct out in the community.

To reinforce his message, he'd ask them how the headlines back home would read if he were on vacation someplace in Europe and had too much to drink but went ahead and drove anyhow -  and killed somebody.

Their  answers, he said, with only slight changes depending on the school, were pretty uniform:


I thought of that this week when the Aberdeen, Washington Daily World headed its story about a kid in a neighboring town:


(Hmmm. He took English all four years.  Why wasn't he identified as an English student?)


*********** Tweet from Andy Levy: hillary clinton is richard nixon without the charm

*********** Good morning!

I just finished the news and wanted to add something to Jason Gay’s comments about Russell Westbrook achievements.  
He notes Oscar Robertson averages but fails to mention the Big “O” did not just average a triple double for a month but rather for an entire season.  From the Basketball Hall of Fame site:

The Big O's best statistical season came in 1961-62. Oscar averaged a triple double for the entire season, averaging 30.8 ppg, 11.4 apg and 12.5 rpg, a feat that has never been duplicated.  

The averages for his first five NBA seasons are a triple-double: 30.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 10.6 assists per game. 

He was truly an amazing player!

I am not sure that the average fan can even begin to understand that accomplishment and is part of the reason why I believe that Oscar Robertson is the greatest to ever play the game.

Dennis Metzger
Richmond, Indiana


I agree that Jason Gay might have expanded on his comments about Oscar Robertson.

He was indeed a great one.  I can't go so far as to call him THE greatest, but I will allow for your both being Indiana guys and not dispute your claim.

I would certainly put him in my Top Five, along with Chamberlain and three others yet to be decided.  Jabbar and Jordan are almost certain to make it.  Kobe and LeBron have decent shots at it.   Maybe Westbrook can keep it up.

*********** Long after his baseball playing days were over, the great Joe DiMaggio was still in demand as an endorser of consumer products.  One of them, Mister Coffee, used him in so many  TV commercials that he developed a whole new generation of fans, who didn't have the slightest idea that he'd ever played baseball but wanted his autograph - because he was  Mister Coffee.

I was reminded of that when I saw George Foreman on Fox News the other night.  How many younger people, I wonder, who know that he sells grills, know that he was once one of the most feared boxers on earth?

He got on the subject of how he transitioned from heavyweight boxer to renowned marketer, and I saw in what he said a lesson for coaches.  "If you can't sell," he said (although in his Texas accent he pronounced it "Say-ull") "you're gonna starve."

Great point, whether you're in business or you're a coach. What is selling, after all,  but convincing people that it's in their interest to do something that you'd like them to do?

His secret, he said, was simple - learn to smile.  It wins people over. If you're not  a smiler, force yourself to do it, until it comes naturally.  It will.

Don't worry about whether it might seem phony. You can learn.  As my coaching friend Greg Koenig, in Beloit, Kansas, likes to tell his kids in cases like that, "Fake it till you make it."

*********** I'm so impressed by the wonderful job our schools are doing indoctrinating  our young people in the new, official state religion of environmentalism that I'm going to give them a project to keep them busy:

(A) How many tons of nasty, filthy pollutants  are spewed into our atmosphere every day
(B) how many nasty, filthy power plants
owned by 
(C) which nasty, greedy profit-hungry corporations
(D) how many tons of  nasty, filthy coal
just so
America's little environmentalists can charge their f--king phones?

Amare*********** Amare Stoudamire took his teammates to task, telling reporters, "We’ve got to find a way to refocus. We’ve got to key into the details of the game of basketball.

“We can’t cheat the game. We can’t screw around in shootarounds and practices and joke around all the time and figure we’re going to win games. This is the pros. It’s the highest level of basketball. We’ve got to act that way.”

And here he is, making his point.  Challenging his teammates.

Assuming they  take him more serously than I do.

*********** A coach donates bone marrow and  saves a life...

Helping save a total stranger's life by donating marrow turned out to be just the start of Chris Gennaro's involvement with the cause of marrow donation during his time working at Yale. Gennaro, who made his life-saving donation around the same time that he first started working for the Yale football team in 2012, has also become one of the key volunteers for the Bulldogs' annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive. And earlier this month he took his involvement to a national level, traveling to Washington, D.C., to be a part of Legislative Day for Be The Match on Tuesday, Mar. 3. 

Gennaro, Yale's director of football operations, spoke to members of Congress about the value of marrow donation, emphasizing how easy and rewarding the marrow donation process was for him.

Originally from Saco, Maine, Gennaro first joined the Be The Match Registry while he was a member of the football team at Maine. The Black Bears were one of dozens of college football teams -- like Yale -- participating in the "Get in the game, Save a life." campaign, which was started by Villanova head coach Andy Talley.

In the early 1990s Talley recognized the impact that these drives have: donors that could help save lives join the registry through testing that consists of simple cheek swabs. He began getting football teams around the country to start organizing them on their campuses.

Yale assistant head coach Larry Ciotti, a friend and former teammate of Talley's at Southern Connecticut State, brought the drive to Yale in 2009.


*********** It used to be that a tremendous number of fires were caused by smoking in bed.

Here in granola land, I'll bet 90 per cent of the fires are caused by candles.

What the big deal is with candles, I don't know, but I do know I wouldn't leave the house with a candle burning.

That's what some knuckleheads around here did Monday, and now they're looking for a place to stay.

According to the Vancouver Columbian...

"A pet tarantula in the house was not harmed."

Thank goodness for that.  I've heard about saving dogs, but I doubt that there was a firefighter willing to  give mouth-to-mouth to a tarantula.


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 10,  2015-   “It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”  G. K. Chesterton

*********** Unless Missouri wins two games in the Big 12 conference basketball tournament, it will become just the 10th power conference  basketball team since  2004-2005 to win fewer games than its football team.

The other schools are Auburn, Baylor, Georgia, Iowa, Oregon, Oregon State, South Carolina, Southern California (twice) and Utah.

In most cases, it's a combination of a good football season and a bad basketball season, but in 2005-2006, when  Baylor was only 5-6 in football its basketball team couldn't even match that, winning only four games.  (Those were the dark days following a major scandal involving drugs and  the murder of a Baylor basketball player.)

*********** I saw the Oklahoma frat video and the first thing I thought was, "where did kids like that come from?"

I've been around thousands of kids, from coast to coast, and I have never seen any potential in them  for the  kind of ugly racism displayed on the video.

It's distressing to think that in Twenty-First Century America parents are raising brats like those frat boys who thought it was cool  to sing loud and proud about not allowing "any ni**ers in SAE" (the fraternity) but this is what you get when you can't spank kids  or wash  their mouths out with soap because you'd get jailed for  child abuse.

But is there anything that says we can't do that to their parents?


*********** When I was teaching, it would really anger me when I'd read about some teacher someplace who'd been caught having sex with kids.  Of either sex. 

Besides the fact that it was repulsive in and of itself, it bothered me because I knew that as a result of stories like that there were bound to be parents of my students who'd look at me and wonder if I were that kind of guy. 

And now, thanks to a handful of what I presume to be spoiled, rich white kids at a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, there are sure to be some black people who will look at us, well-intentioned white people, differently. They'll hear what we say and see what we do and yet still wonder whether, deep down, we think like those fraternity boys.

I see us losing a lot of the ground we've gained since the 1960s, and it really pisses me off.  White or black, it should piss you off, too.

*********** Oregon State basketball coach Wayne Tinkle is a big man.  He's 6-10, and broad-shouldered, yes, but it's what he did last Tuesday night that illustrates how big a man he really is.

Backtrack to the start of practice last fall, when Tinkle who had been hired from Montana to replace Craig Robinson, got his first look  look at what he'd inherited:  a roster depleted by transfers, injuries, and ineligibility.  So he actually put out a call to the student body: open tryouts.

Twenty-two  showed up; four of them were kept.    They made it possible to scrimmage, five-on-five. 
They were not given scholarships, but they made the traveling squad. Student-athletes, so to speak.

Some of them actually got into a few games during the season,  a season in which the Beavers far exceeded anyone's expectations by going17-13 overall and 8-12 in the Pac-12.

But none of them, not the four who made it through tryouts or a fifth walk-on holdover from last year's team, ever expected to start a game.

Yet on Tuesday night, in front of a big home crowd, against the hated Oregon DUcks, Tinkle started all five walk-ons, all of them Oregon kids.

They were only in for 30 seconds or so, and it didn't go very well while they were in. The Ducks scored three points and thanks to a turnover, had possession of the ball when OSU's regular starters came in.

The Ducks wound up winning  the game, and the winning margin was - three points.

Wrote the Portland Oregonian's Jason Quick...

Scoreboard be damned. This was not a loss for Oregon State. In the big picture, this was a victory.

After all, how many times can a program point to a moment and say, "This is what we stand for"? How many times can a program point to a moment and say, "This is what we value"?

And how many times is a program willing to do that while putting the ultimate prize -- victory -- on the line?

Said Coach Tinkle,  "I would do it all over again.''

Was it worth it? he was asked.

"Damn right,'' he said. "Damn right it was worth it.''


*********** Florida State,  taking no chances, pulled the scholarship of a Valdosta, Georgia kid...


*********** Prepare  yourselves, Americans.  They're not done yet:   in Thailand, a three-way gay marriage...


*********** Boeheim loses 108 wins, gets  a nine game suspension, and "Cuse loses twelve scholarships.


Wow.  And Syracuse self-reported.

What will happen to North Carolina?  (I know what should.)

"If you ran a college and knew there was substantial money to be had from sports but no requirement to educate athletes, you might cut corners—that’s exactly what the University of North Carolina did for nearly two decades." Wall Street Journal

*********** In the month of February, Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City averaged 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists a game, "a historic month," according to the Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay, "matched only by the sublime Big O, Oscar Robertson."

Wrote Gay, "...the average sports fan wants three things to happen during the average sporting event:

A. They would like for it to finish by midnight so they don't pass out in their 9:30 a.m. work meeting.

B. They would like coaches to chill out on the time outs in the final two minutes.

C. They would like to see something they've not seen before.

Westbrook can't promise "A" or "B" but he almost always delivers on "C."

*********** One of the few benefits of growing old is the likelihood that I won't have to be around to see how all this sh-- ends, because it isn't going to be pretty...

Stating that theAmerican  flag  symbolizes “colonialism and imperialism,” UC Irvine’s student body government voted to ban the showing of it in the college  student area.

The bill, R50-70, was authored by Social Ecology Representative Matthew Guevara, and accuses all flags, especially, the American flag, of being “symbols of patriotism or weapons for nationalism.”

"Flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets [sic] homogenized standards for others to obtain which in this country typically are idolized as freedom, equality, and democracy,” the bill reads.

The  bill adds that such free speech as flags in "inclusive spaces," can be interpreted as hate speech.


*********** This past weekend, whether it wanted to or not, New York City "hosted" something called the International Women's Day March.   Not all the participants were female.   There were a few males on hand.   One speaker referred to them as "Men Sisters."

*********** To think that people send their kids to four years of college to study journalism, and this is what results...

Sideline reporter Allison Williams: "Coach Pitino, how did you manage to beat the Number Two team?"

*********** Meantime, it appears that North Carolina's practice of devising no-content, no-work, no-attendance-required classes for basketball and football players may have started even earlier than originally thought...


*********** Besides being great college players, all of these guys have one very significant thing  in common.  What is it?

Whizzer White

Angelo Bertelli
Charlie Trippi
Charlie Justice
Kyle Rote
Johnny Majors
Bob Griese
Leroy Keyes
Joe Thiesmann
Ed Marinaro
Gregg Pruitt
Anthony Davis
Ricky Bell
BIlly Sims
John Elway
Steve Young
Rockey Ismail
Marshall Faulk
Peyton Manning
Larry Fitzgerald
Adrian Peterson
Colt McCoy
Toby Gerhart
Andrew Luck
Manti Te'o
Melvin Gordon

*********** Many  rules are entered into the rule book in an attempt to "improve" the game, (although there is often disagreement as to whether the addition is actually an improvement). But many other rules, especially in the early, formative  days of the game, came about because of occurrences unforeseen by the game's founders.

It's hard to believe that football had been played for nearly 100 years before it was deemed necessary to pass this rule:

If Team B commits a foul, the period expires during the play, and the penalty is not declined, the period must continue until a down free from interference by a Team B foul.

(Loosely translated: "Unless the offense declines, a period can't end on a penalty against the defense.")

The rule dates back to Notre Dame vs Syracuse, 1961

According to the Notre Dame archives...

Trailing 14-15 with only a few seconds left on the clock, Notre Dame sent in kicker Joe Perkowski to attempt a 56-yard field goal.  He missed soundly as time expired, but there were flags on the field.  Syracuse player Walt Sweeney was called for roughing the kicker, a penalty that carried a charge of fifteen yards.  The gained yardage would put Perkowski in better position, although it would not be easy.  Since time had expired on the previous play, it wasn’t obvious Perkowski would even get a second attempt.  The Syracuse fans had already started to rush the field to celebrate their victory.

The officials had to make an on-the-spot decision about how to handle the foul, and they decided to enforce the standard penalty for roughing the kicker.  Even though time had expired, Notre Dame kicker Joe Perkowski was given fifteen yards and a second attempt, and he kicked the game-winning, 41-yard field goal.

As can be imagined, not everyone was happy with this impromptu decision.  The legality of the extra play was shortly afterwards contested by the Big 10 and Eastern College Athletic Conferences, who supplied the officials for the game, and the NCAA rules chairman General Bob Neyland.  Review of the game film and the rules books led many to question the referees’ decisions.  Did Walt Sweeney really rough the kicker and place holder?  Since the initial kick was far from its target, which team actually had possession when the foul occur?  In the end, neither the conferences nor the NCAA had the power to overturn the Irish win, leaving the game officials with the final say and the Irish with a win for the record books.  The rules were changed in 1962 to prevent any future confusion should a similar circumstance arise.



flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 6,  2015-   "I get satisfaction of three kinds. One is creating something, one is being paid for it and one is the feeling that I haven't just been sitting on my ass all afternoon." William F. Buckley, Jr.

*********** While most major college football programs are making a mockery of the term  "education," and while the NCAA continues to promote the sham of the  "student athlete,"  there are still some  Terry Baggetts. 

Terry Baggett was a very good running back at Army - he holds the Academy record of 304 yards rushing in a single game - and he's a very good student, too - he will graduate this May with a 3.368 GPA - in Chemical Engineering.


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

Your quote by Coach Bible made me think "hey, I think I have that book."  I'm not sure if this is the exact place your quote was taken from, but I did find that in fact I do have Championship Football by Dana X. Bible.  I have not read the whole thing, but what I have is pretty good stuff.

On my bookshelf I also ran across my copy of Oklahoma Split T Football.  Bud Wilkinson knew his stuff and took the time to write about it thoroughly.  Man is that book good.  So much time spent on the reasoning behind why things are done (altering splits to set up a the defensive lineman for failure, etc.).  Really, really good stuff.

And in the same spot I found a copy of the video "Dynamics of the Double Wing" by some guy named Wyatt.  If I had a vcr I would watch it (for the umpteenth time).

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois


Both great books.

Wilkinson was really good.  He was also one of the very first former coaches to become a TV analyst.  Boy, those were the days when we had guys like Bud Wilkinson and Frank Broyles and Ara Parseghian in the broadcast booth.  Now, with 75 or 80 games on TV every Saturday, I swear some of them must stop by the local pee wee practice on their way to the game and ask if anybody wants to make a few bucks analyzing a college game.

It surprises me that there isn't at least one make of VCR still on the market, simply because so many people have so many VHS tapes with no place to play them. Ironic that "vinyl" is on the way back.  Turntables, too.

*********** I don't know what percentage of American high school students attend a private school, but I do know that among all students K-12, the figure is less than 10 per cent.

So please explain, without using the "R" word, how come that of this week's USA Today's Top 25 Boys' Basketball Teams, 14  including the top three:

Oak Hill Academy (Virginia)
Montverde Academy (Florida)
St Vincent-St Mary (Ohio)

are Private schools.

*********** Good morning, Coach.

Have you seen the new requirement from the WIAA??


(Compulsory "heads Up" training for all middle school and high school football coaches)


DJ Millay
Vancouver, Washington


I have.  The way I read it, only one guy on the staff has to attend, and then he can "train" the rest of the staff.  Suits me fine, as long as I'm not the one.  This year, the first year, it has to be the head coach.

I just read that USA Football received $45 million from the NFL Foundation (the "non-profit" league's charitable arm) to implement "Heads Up Football." That's almost as much as they pay Roger Goodell, and it's more than enough to make it the NFL's stooge. With that kind of money and power behind "Heads Up Football," there's no sense trying to get in its way.

On another subject, I also read the proposed rules changes regarding off-season practices (working with a QB, for example) and it appears that in return for limiting us to 20 "contacts" in the summer, they're proposing given us 20 contacts during the winter sports season and 20 in the spring.  

*********** From my friend Doc Hinger, in Winter Haven, Florida, now busy watching spring training:

At the ball park this morning I heard a guy utter what has to be the line of the day. "If Nancy Pelosi gets one more facelift she'll have a beard".

*********** Nice to talk with you again and sure hope you have a clinic in Atlanta because if you do, I can about guarantee you 3-4 attendees.   I saw on your site where you have been dabbling with the R & S combined with double wing.  I definitely want to take a look at that stuff.  


I had to get off to a later start this year and I'm hung up right now on a location - I'm trying to get a place not too far from the airport if possible where I can have kids on hand to demo my stuff.

For the last two years, I have run what I call my "open wing" along with a basic double-wing package.

Since "opening things up" (without changing our line play) we were 7-3 in 2013 and 10-1 in 2014.

Here's a clip from last spring showing a very basic look at what we're doing


Ed Modzelewski*********** Ed "Big Mo" Modzelewski (Mah-je-LEF-ski), the star fullback on Maryland's undefeated 1952 Sugar Bowl champions and the brother of Maryland College Football Hall of Famer and New York GIants' defensive tackle Dick "LIttle Mo" Modzelewski,  died February 27. He was 86.

HIs brother survives him. "He and I were very close as brothers,"  Dick Modzelewski told cleveland.com "We went to the same college. We both made All-American together. We were in business together and we raised cattle on a farm together. Ed will be greatly missed by me and my family."

At  age 15, with the World at war, Ed lied about his age and joined the Merchant Marine. But when his parents learned about American merchant ships being sunk by German submarines, they managed to get him released from service.

Returning to his hometown,  West Natrona, Pennsylvania,  he got a job,  but one day he passed by the high school practice field where the football team was practicing, and decided to return to school and turn out for football.

HIs team, Har-Brack High, made it to the 1947 Western Pennsylvania (WPIAL) title game but lost to New Kensington; he was named second team All-State fullback and awarded a scholarship top Maryland.

Four years later while playing for Maryland, the Modzelewski brothers got their revenge against New Kensington, when the Terps, on their way to an unbeaten 11-0 season, defeated Michigan State.  The Spartans had eight former New Kensington players on their roster, including Willie Thrower, who in 1953 would become the first black player to play quarterback in an NFL game.

Maryland was chosen to play in the Sugar Bowl against unbeaten Tennessee, already awarded the national championship (the final ballot in those days was conducted BEFORE the bowls), and defeated the Vols, 28-13.  Ed Modzelewski rushed for 153 yards, and was named the game's MVP.

He was the Steelers' top draft choice in 1952, and played one year in Pittsburgh, then   served for two years in the Air Force. On his return, he was traded to the Browns where he played for five seasons at fullback, following one great in Marion Motley and preceding another in Jim Brown. Selected by the Cowboys in their expansion draft in 1960, he chose instead to retire.

Paul Wiggin, his teammate on the Browns, told cleveland.com that Ed was talked out of retiring and taking a coaching job by Cleveland coach Paul Brown: "Brown said he'd like him to stay because of a young fullback he wasn't sure of," said Wiggin.  "That fullback was Jim Brown. Ed always joked about that."

Interestingly, although Dick ("Little Mo") is in the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame, Ed ("Big Mo") is not.


Natrona, Pennsylvania - a look at a town that's seen some rough times - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9UXtDYHzSA

*********** Har-Brack High School is no more.  Like so many high schools in once-populous towns in western Pennsylvania, it's been "consolidated" - combined with another school and given another name. Har-Brack (for the towns of "Harrison" and "Brackenridge" which it served) produced the Modzelewski brothers, and not long after they graduated, along came Cookie Gilchrist, a 6-3, 253-pound running back who was so good that the great Paul Brown signed him to an NFL contract right out of high school.  But that's another story...


*********** By chance, I watched a couple of back-to-=back episodes of Friday Night Tykes.

They ought to call it Friday NIght Yikes.

It's a series devoted to youth football, Texas style.

I'm sure they do other things at practice, but if you didn't know better, you'd think all they did was practice tackling - by lining up little kids about 20 yards apart and having them smash into each other at full speed. Sort of like teaching them to swim by throwing them into the deep end.  I guess the misguided idea is that they're "turning them into football players."  Yeah - and turning at least as many into soccer players.

I loved watching a coach go through the kind of gyrations that give us the Jameis Winstons.

One kid - we'll call him JR - didn't show up for practice all week. Or for the game. Oh - and he was the QB. So they started the backup.  Let's call him David.

David played well, and they won the game.

The following Monday, with a big game coming up, JR was back at practice.  No apparent discipline, no nothing.

We were privy to a conversation between the head coach and an assistant.

"Who do you think I ought to start Saturday- David or JR?"

And then he reasoned aloud...

"David does a good job and does everything we ask of him."

"JR doesn't know how good he can be.  All he lacks is a work ethic.  He gives us our best chance of winning."

Do I have to tell you who got the start?

***********  The NCAA has lifted the postseason ban on Idaho - IDAHO, for God's sake! -  imposed for failing to meet academic standards for the 2009 through 2012 seasons.

Who would ever have known that was the reason we haven't seen Idaho in a bowl game lately?


***********   A West Linn, Oregon sophomore ("rated one of the top cornerbacks in the country for the Class of 2017," if you can believe that) suffered a skull fracture playing for "Team Oregon" in an elite 7-on-7 "national tournament" in Las Vegas Saturday.

Think hard now - when was the last time one of your kids suffered a fractured skull in practice?  Even in a full-out scrimmage?

Didn't think so. I never heard of such a thing in all my years of coaching, dating back to 1970.

Nevertheless, this year, in an effort to reduce the thousands and thousands of  head injuries that are reducing our young men to virtual vegetables, our state intends to follow the Know-It-All State, California, and limit in-season "contact practices" to two a week.

Full-padded, "thud" scrimmages, with no one being taken to the ground,  are considered "contact."

7-on-7 is not.


*********** I was listening to a radio broadcast of the Oregon State-Grambling baseball game, and the pre-game national anthem (I timed it)  took a band exactly one minute to play.  For comparison purposes,  at most NFL and major bowl games, it takes a Grammy-Award-winning singer upwards of two minutes.  To perform.

*********** The 18-year-old voting age has been such a success (hey- it got us legalized marijuana in Washington, dude!) that in Brattleboro, Vermont there's a move afoot to lower the voting age to 16.  Sweet.


***********  Back in 1990, Gordie Gillespie came to dinner.  A friend of mine, Ralph Balducci, knew him somehow, and when Ralph told me Gordie was coming to Portland to talk at a clinic, we schemed to get him over to our place.

What an impressive person.  Friendly, personable, gracious and knowledgeable.  He was generous in complimenting my wife on her cooking, and generous in sharing his knowledge of the game.

He was of interest to me because at that time, he was coaching the College of St. Francis, in Illinois, and the previous year, Portland State had played St. Francis and I deduced from the local papers that he was running an offense not unlike our Double Wing. (As it turned out, we was running something very close to what I call "slot" formation - a slotback and a flexed end on each side.)

All told, in 61 years of coaching in three different sports, he amassed 2402 wins.

He won four national titles in college baseball, and in 27 years as head coach at Joliet Catholic High School, he won five state championships.

Gordie Gillespie died on February 28 at the age of 88.  What a career.  What a coach.


*********** When I was a high school kid and being a smart ass, I was sitting in the back seat, passenger side, and I hollered something a little bit crude out the window of our car at a truck we were passing.  And then promptly put it out of my mind. Until several blocks later, when we were stopped at a light, and the driver of our car, looking in his rear view mirror, said, "Uh-oh, Hughie.  Here comes that truck driver."

As I was saying, "What truck dr---", he reached in the window, grabbed me by my shirt, pulled me halfway out the window, and popped me one in the nose.  Hard.

And then, saying, "That'll teach you to yell sh-- at me!" he turned and walked back to his truck and waited for the light to change. Mission accomplished.

My buddies, of course, were laughing their asses off, unconcerned about my pain or my embarrassment. You played, you paid.  Those were the rules.  Everybody knew them.

Nowadays, that truck driver would be facing charges.  And a lawsuit. But those were the fifties, and my biggest worry - once my nose stopped bleeding - was that my father would find out. Things would really go downhill for me if he did.  So I swore everyone to secrecy.  Having fathers themselves, they understood.

Those sure were different times. Say you were playing in the street, as we often did,  and you smarted off to a passing car, as we often did.  Nine times out of ten, the guy would stop - right in the middle of the street - and start chasing somebody. God help you if you were the one he chased, and he caught you.  No sense running home afterward and telling mommy, either. She'd only ask what you did to cause the guy to punch you, and remind you to watch your mouth.

Yes, those were different times, with a very different cast. Figure it out - by the mid-fifties, World War II was only ten years in the past. Just about every guy between the ages of 30 and 45 had been in the service, and a lot of them had seen serious action. After what they'd been through,  they weren't about to put up with any sh-- from some smart street punk.

Things don't work that way now.  Nobody bothers to make you pay.  And besides, you go on the Internet and write all manner of vile things about anybody you please, and you can always play it safe by hiding behind a screen name.

Unless, that is, you happen to write those vile things about Curt Schilling's college-bound daughter.  He's going to hunt you down and when he's found you, you're going to wish Al Gore had never invented the Internet.

And then, when that young lady's daddy is finished with you - that's what daddies used to be for - may that long-gone truck driver on that faraway Philadelphia street return to life and punch you  in the f--king nose.


*********** According to the official police report, a Jefferson Parish, Louisana (suburban New Orleans) kid, drunk out of his skull, refused to disperse when told to do so, started leading a group in chants of chanting F--k the Cops!," pushed an officer in the chest and said, "F--k you, Pig!" and then he got his smart ass whipped.

And now?

Why, he got him a lawyer!

Does that surprise anyone?

*********** Coach, is there any Double Wing option play you can suggest?


I don't advise getting too deeply into any option stuff because option football is a "time bandit" - it will demand practice time at the expense of the rest of your offense.

The old football wisdom is: "If you're going to run option - run option."

However, here's one fairly (I stress "fairly") simple option that I like because it employs  Double Wing principles.  It's a "double option" (keep or pitch) so there's no dealing with such a thing as a "mesh" with a dive back.  (That, in my opinion, would be getting you in way too deep.)

OPTION 88 DIAGRAMBlock it like Super Power (Super O, actually) - but make sure that no one touches the End Man on the LIne - the defensive end. That's the man you're going to option. Your backside guard should have been taught already that that DE is no business of his - that he has to help block that scraping inside backer.

The QB takes a big step straight back with either foot (to let the pulling guard past), then, shoulders still square,  "gathers his feet" and runs off-tackle, as if he were running Super Power.  Unless the DE pinches, the blocking is there and he should run there.

However, if the DE  sits in the hole, the QB will flatten and try to run across the End's face.  If he can, he is off to the races.  If he can't,  he pitches.

If the DE attacks the QB immediately, the QB has to be prepared for that, and must pitch immediately.

This takes practice reps.  You have to make sure that your QB sees in practice all  the things that an end can do to him.

It's the job of the motioning wing back to get - and stay - in pitch relationship. We want him about five yards wider than the QB and about 3 yards deeper.  He doesn't take his eyes off the ball, and he doesn't turn upfield unless the QB turns upfield or he's within five yards of the sideline.

A fairly constant pitch relationship is essential, and it takes a lot of work. Because the timing is different on every different type of option play, you want to limit your option attack.

I got this far without mentioning the most important point of all:  I'm assuming that you have a QB who can exercize good judgement and who can run.  If you don't, forget it.


american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 3,  2015-   "Nothing so needs reforming as other peoples' habits."  Mark Twain

***********  My son just celebrated his birthday, and I have to say I'm really proud of the type of person he's turned out to be.

For several years, before getting into radio and TV, he taught English at Bellarmine Prep, a private Catholic High School in Tacoma, Washington.

Not so long ago, the school publication, BELLARMINE TODAY, contained an article about Mike Bahn, since 2013 the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for  USSA, the National Governing Body for the US Olympic Ski and Snowboard Teams:

"Bahn remembers the passion that came from his Bellarmine teachers while he was here - from teachers like John Woltjer, Brother Paul Cawthorne, Ed Wyatt, and the late Cam Brown."


************ MInnie Minoso died Sunday at 89.  Or 90. No one knows.

He was a black man, born in Cuba, and while he was not baseball's first black player, or baseball's first Hispanic player, he WAS baseball's first black, Hispanic player.

His last name wasn't Minoso - it was Arrieta.  Minoso was the last name of a half-brother, for whom he was mistaken.  He was nicknamed "Minnie" because, well - for the same reason a guy named Smith is called "Smitty" or a guy named O'Brien is called "Obie."

He was a true all-around baseball player - he was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and he had a lifetime batting average of .298. He hit 186 home runs and had 1023 RBI.  He was a constant threat to steal, and he was willing to take one for the team - he led the league in hit-by-pitches 10 times.

Jonathan Eig, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who's now writing a biography of Muhammad Ali, wrote in the Journal about meeting with Minoso  nine years ago, and asking him what he would have done if he hadn't played baseball.

He said Mr. Minoso thought about it, and finally said, "I don't know. But I know one thing: I'd be a good gentleman."

*********** Although younger Americans, just like the rest of us,  generally want more and bigger things, there's one thing they appear to want less of.  Sports.

Take baseball. It used to be that a baseball game was a time away - a time devoid of the real world's cares, when a man and his son, or a couple of friends, or a salesman and a customer could relax and BS during the many breaks in play. But now, young people who "consume" (I swear, that's the word that sports marketers use) sports, want action.  Fast, concentrated action.  They don't want to sit an entire game just to see a couple of "highlights."  They want to be able to whip out their phone and see in an instant the bases-loaded, two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth homer that won the game for the Mudville Nine.  To hell with everything that went on up to then.

So our various sports, increasingly catering to the attention-span-deprived among us, are researching ways to shorten their games.

Tennis is experimenting with four-game sets. Cricket has had phenomenal success with something called 20-20, which enables a game to be played in a few hours, rather than - get this, Americans - several days. "Rugby Sevens"  - what you'll see in the Olympics - is a distillation of the real sport down to seven men on a side for two seven minute halves.

This whole idea of speeding things up catches baseball at a bad time, when not only are games taking longer to play, but for anyone who likes hitting, they're also becoming snoozers.  Two reasons are given for the latter.  One is that players no longer take "uppers," to get them through the long season, and stats bear out the fact that hitting is down in the late stages of the season.  Another is the pitching.  I just heard pitching guru Tom House say on "60 Minutes" that there are at present more pitchers in the Big Leagues capable of throwing 100 miles an hour than in all of baseball history up to now, and that stats bear that out, too.

What's baseball going to do about the latter two factors?  One suggestion is to go back to a 154-game season, but start and finish the season at the same times as now, so that there would be some open dates in the schedule. As for the pitchers? Who knows?  Reduce the number of pitchers of the roster?

Move the mound back? I realize that baseball prides itself on the fact that since its inception (whenever that was) very little has changed in the basic layout of the game, but maybe, with all those fastballs out there, it's time to realize that people are bigger and stronger and faster than they were in the 1800s.

But as to the time factor...

Shorten the games? Put pitchers on a "shot clock."  Basketball players can do it, and quarterbacks can get a play off in the time allotted.

I say tell batters that they're free to step back out of the box and adjust their cup as they wish, but once that pitcher steps on the rubber, he's free to throw at any time, whether the batter's in the box or not. 

Even more radical - when my son was young and learning the game, and later when I was teaching PE, I found that one thing that really sped things up was to have just three balls and two strikes.

Or, really radical - cut down on the seemingly interminable commercial breaks between innings. 

Except that's about money.  Never mind.


*********** KC Smith of Boston was kind enough to write me and point out a  typo in my latest NEWS.

I thanked him and made the changes and, jokingly, said, "I need to pay my proofreaders more. Where do I send your check?"

His reply:    "Friends of Harvard Football"

*********** At the wedding of NASCAR driver Brian Scott to Whitney Kay, Scott got down on one  knee and said to the bride's little daughter something that anyone who's been the daddy of a little girl will appreciate:

“I promise to always hold your hand and skip with you down the street and bring comfort to your life. I vow to make you say your prayers before you eat. I promise to read you stories at night, to always tuck you in real tight. I vow to show you how a man should treat a woman in my relationship with your mother. And above all else, I vow to protect you, care for you, and love you forever.”


*********** Hmmm.

"I'm not ashamed of any of my past incidents because that's what made me who I am today."   Dez Bryant

*********** One of the reasons why Americans really don't understand our enemy is that we don't understand what motivates it.

When we hear the tired old  "they want jobs" nonsense it indicates a total lack of understanding that ISIS members are driven by deeply-held religious beliefs, and that they're willing to kill - or die - for those beliefs.

What would modern-day Americans know about that?

To Americans, an increasingly irreligious people whose true faith is as likely to be environmentalism or hedonism, whose opinion makers routinely ridicule Christianity, the idea of deep devotion to one's religion is totally foreign to anything in their experience.

Whenever I go to a strange church, the first thing I do after sitting down is reach for a hymnal. I open it and look for "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" (Ye Soldiers of the Cross).

Good luck finding them in most hymnals.  At a time when our Judaeo-Christian culture is literally under attack, it's quite dismaying to see how many Christian churches have abjectly surrendered to the forces of political correctness, and purged from their "approved" hymns those beautiful old exhortations to stand up for one's faith.

There is a great story about Onward Christian Soldiers. Evidently, it was written by the Yale Divinity School's director of music, for the school's first-ever graduation.  But when he submitted it to the dean for his approval, the dean said he thought "with the cross of Jesus going on before" sounded "Roman Catholic,"  and out of place at a Protestant institution. The director left and came back a few days later with an alternative: "with the cross of Jesus left behind the door...," and asked the dean, "Which version do you prefer?" 

*********** National Review's Andrew Johnson wrote that at the recent CPAC (Conservative) Conference, -  Christie told the audience he’d planned to give up the New York Times for Lent . . . but his priest told him nothing doing - he had to give up something he’d actually miss.

***********  Bob Novogratz and Pete Dawkins are two former Army All-Americans, members of legendary coach Earl Blaik's last team, (and Army's last undefeated team).  Both went on to long and successful careers in the Army, and then to successful careers in business.

Both knew the late Father Theodore Hesburgh, of Notre Dame, who died Friday, and it was very kind of them to permit me to print their comments  on Father Hesburgh's passing.

It's important, I think, for me to be able to pass along to other coaches the words of men like Bob and Pete, who exemplify the ideal of the scholar-athlete and what college football should be about.

Bob wrote...

Big loss at South Bend.

I met Fr Hesburgh at Notre Dame Stadium a couple of times. He was very fond of Pete Dawkins.

He was getting weak at our last meeting and Father Joyce, the President, was taking care of him as if he was his personal valet.

An interesting thing about these two campus biggies was that they lived in the dormitories.

Quite a contrast to many college presidents making more than $500,000 per year.

Sad day for the irish.


To which Pete,  an All-American like Bob - and a Heisman Trophy winner and Rhodes Scholar to boot - replied...

It is,  indeed, a sad day, not just for Notre Dame, but for college football more broadly, as well.

I had the privilege of serving with Father Hesburgh on the NCAA Scholarship Committee for some 15 years years in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s.  He and I became good friends, and I grew to look forward to our periodic meetings.  He viewed college football as truly an Intercollegiate sport — that is, a sport played by bona fide college students.  He was a passionate believer in Notre Dame and in Notre Dame football.  And he fervently believed that it was possible to play competitive Division 1 football with teams made up of students who went to class, studied, and graduated.

When I had the great honor of speaking at the 200th West Point Founders Day, one of the themes I spoke about was “Winning”.  On that occasion, I recounted a conversation I had had with Father Hesburgh at the end of the 1998    Army -  Notre Dame game at South Bend — a conversation that displayed not only his competitive spirit, but his respect for Winning the right way .

A Giant who walked modestly among us is gone.  We will miss him.  But, fortunately, we will remember him, too.

Father Hesburgh was more than the president under whose leadership Notre Dame rose to an academic prominence that matched its football prowess.  He became a national figure, widely respected by all for his opinions on controversial issues.

In 1969, when college presidents right and left caved in to student protestors, many of whom wound up occupying the presidents' offices, Father Hesburgh informed Notre Dame students in no uncertain terms that anyone attempting to disrupt the operation of the university would be expelled.

In 1991, Father Hesburgh led a special commission that looked into  the excesses of big-time intercollegiate sports. When the commission issued its report, his statement  indicated more hope than optimism: “We would love to put the sleaziness of college athletics to rest with this report,” he said.

Not that Notre Dame neglected football during his tenure. The Irish won two national during that time, one of them under the direction of a Protestant coach, Ara Parseghian.

The story goes that at his interview, when Parseghian mentioned his faith, he noted Father Hesburgh taking notes, and heard him say, out loud, "P..."

"That's 'P-A-R.." Parsegian said, accustomed to having to help people  spell his name.

"No, no," said Father Hesburgh.  "I'm trying to spell 'Presbyterian.'"


*********** Hesburgh, Hessberg - quite a coincidence that on the day I was writing about Father Theodore Hesburgh's passing, I happened to  correspond with Bob Barton, a retired sports reporter for the New Haven Register,  and he  mentioned a gentleman named Al Hessberg, who'd been a member of the same 1937 Yale backfield in which Clint Frank so impressed the nation's sports writers that he won the Heisman Trophy.

A bit of research on Al Hessberg, who died in 1995, disclosed that he was the first Jewish member of Skull and Bones, the exclusive Secret Society to which countless illustrious Yalies have belonged. In 1938!

Among the member of "Bones" over the years...

Presidents (William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush)

Presidential candidates: Robert Taft, John F. Kerry (okay, okay - even "Bones" can make a mistake.)

Numerous Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, Ambassadors and other prominent government officials (including Gifford Pinchot, first head of the US Forest Service, and the namesake of a huge National Forest near where I live)

(One notable senator: Prescott Bush, from Connecticut, father of one president and grandfather of another.)

Judges, including Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

College Presidents, including David Boren, current president of the University of Oklahoma

Authors/Writers/Poets/Historians, including Archibald MacLeish, John Hersey, William F. Buckley, Jr. and David McCullough

Actor James Whitmore

Businessmen, including numerous Rockefellers and Vanderbilts, H. J. Heinz, II; Henry R. Luce, Founder of Time-Life; and  Fred Smith, founder of FedEx

Football Players:
Walter Camp - Father of American Football - responsible for rules innovations that turned rugby into  American football
Amos Alonzo Stagg - Coach of U of Chicago for 41 years, U of Pacific for 14 more - overall record of 314- 199-35; invented the batting cage; played in the first game of basketball every played
Frank Hinkey - Four-time All-American (1891-1894)
Ted Coy - Three-time All-American - lost only one game in three years
Larry Kelley - 1936 Heisman Trophy Winner
Clint Frank - 1937 Heisman Trophy winner
Mike Pyle - Captain of the 1963 NFL champion Chicago Bears
Brian Dowling - Quarterback - "B.D" in the original Doonesbury cartoon

And, in 1938, while Hitler was preparing to take over Europe,  Al Hessberg.  
At a time when the game of football is under attack on several fronts, I'd like to ask those who would end our sport - could that possibly have happened if it weren't for football?

***********  Next time somebody gives me some crap about my occasional suggestions that we eliminate or minimize the importance of the field goal ("then how come you it's called football?"),  I'm going to be ready for them.

There is a very strong argument that the  term "football" does  not at all mean "a sport played with the foot."

Instead, it's argued, the name refers to a sport played on foot, as Medieval peasants would have been inclined to do, rather than on horseback, like the nobles.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

*********** Earl Lloyd, who became the first black player to appear in an N.B.A. game, died Thursday. He was 86.

Although  was not the first black player chosen or signed, he was the first to play.

In the 1950 draft, the Celtics selected Chuck Cooper, from Duquesne, in the second round.  The Knicks then announced their intention to purchase the rights to Sweetwater Clifton  from the Harlem  Globetrotters.  And in the ninth round, The Washington Capitols picked Earl Lloyd.

It was October 31, 1950, when Lloyd made his NBA debut against the Rochester Royals in Rochester.

Cooper played his first game with the Celtics  the next night, and three days later, Clifton debuted with the  Knicks.

In 1955, with
the Syracuse Nationals,  Earl Lloyd and Jim Tucker became the first black players to play on  an NBA championship team.

In 1971, Lloyd was hired as head coach of the  the Detroit Pistons, becoming the fourth black head coach in NBA history (after Boston’s Bill Russell, Seattle’s Lenny Wilkens and Golden State’s Al Attles).

He told Ron Thomas, who wrote,  “They Cleared the Lane: The N.B.A.’s Black Pioneers,”“I just hope I conducted myself where I made it easier for others, and I think I did.”


flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 27,  2015-   "Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought." Lord Acton

*********** Think about this, coaches, when you're tempted to go out and hire an assistant you don't know a thing about...

Larry Baer is the President and CEO of the San Francisco Giants, and in a Wall Street Journal interview, he stressed the importance of hiring people of character for jobs in the Giants' organization.

He noted that a venture capitalist whom he knows (aside: a venture capitalist is a guy who can come up with the money to stake your venture when nobody else will even look at you. In return, he'll take a piece of the action. But he isn't going to risk a dime unless he likes your idea. And trusts you.) told him that when he invests in something or someone, "he would much rather put his money behind an A person values-wise with B talent than A talent and B values."

Baer suggested one very good way of finding out about the character of the person you hire:  about 70 per cent of the Giants' new hires have come through their internship program.

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

Saw your comment today about Chris Conley's ample athletic ability shown at the Combine.  I want to add--he may be one of the smartest out there as well.

While at Georgia, he wrote and directed a Star Wars fan film/parody titled "Retribution"

(on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsJU5Ebka44).

It is a little bit cheesy, but it's very polished, and I'm sure you can imagine the amount of leadership, creativity, organization, and hard work it would take to pull a project like this together. Note the cameos by Todd Gurley and Mark Richt, and Conley himself plays the bad guy.

Some city is going to be very happy with that draft pick--I'm a little sad that the Falcons have so many good receivers there's little chance that we'll pick him.
John  Mooney
School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Georgia


My wife and I just finished watching "Retribution."  

Absolutely outstanding.  Very well done.

Apart from his physical skills, Chris Conley is an amazing talent.

NFL or not, he has a real future.

Thanks so much for the info.  I can't wait to pass it on to my readers.

*********** Keith Olberman took a bold step toward cementing his spot atop the America's Most Hateful list, getting into a pissing contest on Twitter with some Penn State students, and winding up with a four-day suspension from ESPN.

The students had just spent the weekend in some sort of dance marathon which they call "Thon," whose purpose is raising money to fight pediatric cancer. This year's Thon raised $13 million.

Perhaps in celebration, a Penn State student tweeted Olberman, "We are!"  (To which the appropriate response, if you're a Penn Stater, is "PENN STATE!")

But Olberman, decidedly not a Penn Stater (I'm embarrassed to admit he's an Ivy League snot), tweeted back, "Pitiful."

That, naturally, prompted a reply, to which Olberman responded with the rottweiler aggressiveness that's made him such a dead weight in the ratings game wherever he's gone.

And things went on - and down - from there.

To any rottweilers offended by the comparison, I apologize.


*********** The Pawtucket (Rhode Island) Pawsox have been the Boston Red Sox' Triple-A affiliate forever, but now, it appears, the team may move to nearby Providence, a much larger city with plans to build a new ballpark downtown, on the riverfront.

The Pawtucket ballpark is old and said to be decrepit and not worth the expense of refurbishing it.

On the other hand, downtown Providence is a very attractive place, and a downtown, riverfront ballpark would be a very nice place to spend  a summer evening.  

The cost? Hang the cost.  It's Rhode Island.  There's always some way of finding the money.   Buddy Cianci can do  it.   (If you don't know, he's the colorful former mayor who, while he may have spent a little time in the slammer for alleged misdeeds while in office, nevertheless deserves credit for turning downtown Providence from dingy and depressed to attractive and vibrant. Who cares where the money came from?)

Parking?  We'll worry about that later.


*********** I can't completely verify this, but it seems plausible:

In the 1860s,  British school boys commonly gave nicknames to things, often adding “er” to the end of the nicknames.  Rugby was - still is, frequently -  called “Rugger”.  Association Football became known as “Assoccer”, and then, just  “Soccer."

Because most other English-speaking countries were already playing their own form of "football,"  when "Association Football" arrived, it arrived not as "football," but as "soccer."

*********** For those of you who played football - how many of you ever knew what your high school coach thought of you?  How about your college coach?

How about you?  What would your kids say about you?

Consider what former GE chairman and CEO Jack Welch told the Wall Street Journal's Alexandra Wolfe.

Jack Welch is a business legend, and at 79, he's still going strong as a speaker and, with his wife, an author.

"How many of you know today what your boss thinks of you?" he said he'll ask an audience.

"You get 5 to 10 per cent of the crowd," he answered.

Moral for the football coach: There are a lot of kids today who face a lot of negativity in their everyday lives. You have  chance to make football the one place where everything's positive. Never pass up a chance to give a kid a sincere compliment: "I'm really proud to be your coach."  "I'm really glad you turned out for football."  "You're really making progress." "I admire your leadership."

And if a kid asks you where he stands, be honest with him: "I'm concerned about whether we can count on you until you get your grades under control."  "Frankly, when we put you in there, you acted confused.  If you don't know what you're doing, that's not the time to be letting us know."

Hell, you know what to say.  If it's just mouthing my words, it's not sincere.

*afca tackling**********
After receiving an email from the AFCA that contained the photos at left, I thought, "Holy sh--!" and dashed off an e-mail of my own. To the AFCA:

I enjoy the AFCA publications, but I was greatly taken aback to read the heading of an AFCA Weekly article "STUDY: Educated Youth Football Coaches Can Cut Head Injuries"  and then, directly below, see a photo pertaining to another article depicting a tackler who has ducked his head in a way that exposes him to the possibility of serious neck or head injury.

This isn't consistent with the AFCA's position as the leading spokesman for what's best for our game.

As a long-time member of the AFCA, I know that no one in the organization condones such a technique, and it's never good for our sport to show such a dangerous technique without an appropriate comment.

I really urge you to have someone with a football coaching background take a long look at the photos you use.

Best Regards,

Hugh Wyatt
Camas, Washington

(Before printing  this, I thought I'd give the AFCA a chance to respond.  I have yet to hear from them. In fairness, they probably outsource the publication. )

*********** In the Tennessee girls' state basketball tournament, two high school teams engaged in a screw-up contest involving deliberate turnovers, blown free throws, and even a shot at the opponents' basket, in an attempt to  lose their game and avoid having to play the defending state champion.

Imagine -   telling kids to take a dive.  Teaching kids to duck out when things get tough.

If they weren't planning on going to the tournament to go all-out, they should have stepped aside and let somebody else go to the tournament.

I'm not going to take the time to research it, but I'm guessing that this may have come about because they were in some sort of double-elimination tournament format, which enabled them to lose and still remain in the tournament, postponing the  inevitable date with the powerhouse.

Otherwise, my question for those coaches would be: "why in the world did you take a playoff spot away from some other team that would have been excited about going to the tournament and would have given it their best shot, no matter who they had to play?"

Thanks to Brooks Rawson of Alamo, Tennessee...


***********  I read the headline: "Former Louisville guard Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy"

Ho-hum, I thought.  Some guy who played basketball for Louisville a couple of years ago is back on the streets where he came from, back to the life he led before spending a few years living on a college campus.

And then I read that the rape and sodomy he is accused of took place last Saturday night, shortly after the guy had helped Louisville beat Miami.

And then, the next day,  the university announced that he was no longer on the team. So technically, whatever happens from here on, he's a "former" member of the team. (Think maybe they were tipped off?)

And then, on Wednesday, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

So on Thursday, we read about the "former" Cardinal being charged with rape and sodomy, and to put a fine point on it, that was correct.

Except that when he (allegedly) committed the crimes, he was still a member of the team

Very  clever, Louisville.  Had me fooled for a minute.


*********** Donald Keough died Tuesday.  He was 88.  Mr. Keough joined Coca-Cola in 1964 and from 1981 to 1993 was its president and chief operating officer.

He was at the helm in 1985 when Coca-Cola launched "New Coke", only to drop the idea after a few weeks when loyal Coke drinkers raised hell.

Said Mr. Keough in admitting the company had erred, "Some critics will say Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake.  Some cynics will say that we planned the whole thing.  The truth is, we are not that dumb, and we are not that smart."

*********** It was bound to happen.  A mob of Kansas State students rushed the court after the Wildcats' upset of Kansas, and in the melee, a K-State student (allegedly) "body-checked" a KU player.

There's something going on with college kids, something that I suspect can be traced to their growing up in an environment in which "boys don't fight," under any circumstances, and as a result, they soon learn that they can say or do almost anything without consequences.

Oh, how I wish that KU Jayhawk, Jamari Traylor, had slugged the fan who felt empowered to bang into him.  Amazing what a guy 6-8, 220 pounds (I looked it up) can do with one punch.

Yes, there'd be a few people who would condemn Traylor, but maybe college administrators would begin to realize that they can't continue to condone - encourage, almost -  the sort of vile verbal abuse that their students routinely heap on opponents and not expect it to bubble over once a game's over.

I've commented before about the danger in idiotic, most likely drunk college kids storming a football field and getting in the faces of opposing players.

Extra security isn't an answer.  I suspect that any college worth its salt nowadays offers a major in how to file police brutality charges.

My suggestion?  Goal posts. Wooden goal posts. Balsa wood, actually. Lower them from the ceiling as soon as the visiting team's off the floor.


*********** We're going to have to learn a little more about the Baylor football player who once was homeless and then, after someone in his hometown gave him a place to stay,  has been ruled ineligible  for receiving "impermissible benefits."

This much we do know: 

The kid was ruled ineligible not by the NCAA, but by Baylor.

The kid at first said that he was provided housing by a "close family friend," but later admitted that it was merely "an acquaintance."

Baylor's compliance office had warned him about the danger of accepting the benefits.

Meantime, the NCAA, having been exposed for its kangaroo-court treatment of Penn State,  appears utterly impotent, unable to do anything about North Carolina, a university that for years maintained an entire department with sham classes so that "scholar-athletes" could pretend to go to college.

*********** The Obama administration has begun referring to illegal aliens as "Americans in waiting."

Rush Limbaugh suggests calling them what they really are: "Unregistered Democrats in waiting."

*********** I really object to the news media's use of "The White House" this and "The White House" that, as if it's some huge, faceless organization.  As if there's no President there.  Well...

The scary thing to someone of my generation is that when we were growing up, any news coming out of Russia (actually, the USSR), would always start, "The Kremlin said..."

*********** Over the years, Ole Miss has taken its share of lumps for the way it went about  desegregation, but some of them were undeserved, based on this little item I found in the New York Times' obit of famed Ole Miss coach Johnny Vaught, in February, 2006 -

In the early fall of 1962, a mob of segregationists tried to block James Meredith from becoming the first black student at the university. The football team's nickname, the Rebels, embodied the Old South, but Vaught was enlisted by the Kennedy administration in a futile effort to avert bloodshed.

''I had a call from Washington to tell me Meredith was coming on campus that particular day, and they asked me if I would use my influence to quiet the group and keep them normal,'' Vaught recalled in a 2002 interview with The Oxford Eagle. ''I went over to the Student Union and got on the high steps and looked at the crowd that was there, and I didn't know anybody. They weren't dressed like they were students. They weren't our people. They were outsiders. They weren't going to listen to me, so I just moved on.''

***********“We need to understand what true compassion is to reach out to individuals who think that being dependent is reasonable as long as they feel safe.  It’s not compassion to pat them on the head and say, ‘There, there, I’m going to take care of all your needs, your health care, your food.' That’s the opposite of compassion. I’m not interested in getting rid of a safety net, I’m interested in getting rid of dependency." Dr.  Benjamin Carson

american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 24,  2015-   "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" Thomas Jefferson

*********** WISDOM OF THE ELDERS -

Although the reasons for a team's success or failure in any particular game may defy generalization, certain components will make or break it over the long pull.   These components are called by different names.  Let's call them the Five S's - Spirit. Speed, Skill, Size and Savvy.

Which "S" is the most important?  The least?  We believe that size, beyond a reasonable minimum, is the last in the list. Little men have been outstanding players - All-Americans.  They compensated for their lack of size with a bountiful supply of the other four S's.

Let's put it this way: Give us a boy with normal intelligence and coordination, who is big enough to keep from blowing away in a stiff breeze and who has speed and spirit - and we have the makings of a fine football player.

Dana X. Bible

Dana X. BibleDana X.  (or sometimes just  "D. X.") Bible was one of the greatest of all college coaches. He was a head coach for 34 years, the last 29 of them at Texas A & M, Nebraska and Texas, and present-day coaches at those places can thank him for the often-unreasonable demands supporters place on them, because he's the one who spoiled them. His teams won 14 conference championships, and he posted an overall win-loss mark of 209-74-19.

Born in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Dana Bible was a three-sport athlete in college, first at Carson-Newman and then at North Carolina.

Right out of college, he took a job as head coach at Brandon Prep in Shelbyville, Tennessee. After a year, he moved to Mississippi College, then moved to Texas A & M to become freshman coach.  Following a year as head coach at what is now LSU, he was offered the job as head football coach and athletic director at Texas A & M. It was 1917 and he was 26 years old.

You might say Coach Bible got off to a good start at A & M - his 1917 team was undefeated and unscored-on. With the outbreak of World War I, he saw service overseas as a pilot, but he returned without missing a beat - his 1919 team was also unbeaten and unscored-on.

He was a master motivator. In 1922 at halftime against Texas, with the game tied, 7-7, he drew on a bit of Texas history to challenge his men: in an act reminiscent of the defense of the Alamo, when Colonel Travis drew a line in the sand with his sword, Coach Bible drew his foot across the floor of the Aggies' locker room and said, ""Those who want to go out and be known as members of an A & M team that defeated Texas in Austin - step over the line." There was a stampede to cross the line, and the Aggies went out and beat Texas, 14-7.

When he left after the 1928 season to take over at Nebraska, he could truly claim to have put A & M football on the map. His record at College Station was 72-19-9, with six Southwest Conference (SWC) titles. He had undefeated teams in 1917, 1919 and 1927.

If for nothing else, he will be forever remembered at A & M as the man credited with starting the tradition of the "Twelfth Man" - the notion that every Aggie - anywhere - stands ready and willing to go onto the field and jump in if needed. (It's why Aggies stand for the entire game - they never know when they might be needed.)

In his eight years at Nebraska, he was 50-15-7, and won six Big Six titles, but in 1936 he was lured away to Texas with what was then, in the middle of the Depression - an unbelievable contract - $15,000 a year for 20 years, the first 10 as head coach and AD, the final 10 as AD. (The President of the University was making just $7500 a year.)

University of Texas football was down when he arrived, but he came up with a plan - which came to be called the Bible Plan - designed to put it on solid footing. He knew well that there was a plentiful supply of high school talent in Texas, and he believed that the key to success at Texas lay in winning the recruiting battle in-state, so he divided the state into fifteen districts, and designated prominent Texas alumni to play major recruiting roles - including providing "jobs" - within those districts.

At first, wins came slow - he won only three games in his first two seasons. But then the Bible Plan began to bear fruit, and from 1940 through 1946 Texas went 53-13-3, winning three SWC titles.

He served as a member of the National Football Rules Committee for 19 years (1929-1947). He is a charter member of the National Football Hall of Fame, and in 1934 served as President of the American Football Coaches Association

When he retired following the 1946 season, he hired Blair Cherry, who by most peoples' standards did a great job,  going 10-1 in his first season and beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Cherry's overall record at UT was 32-10-1, and he never lost to A & M. In fact, he went 9-1 in his last season, and the Longhorns finished third in the nation. Unfortunately for Coach Cherry, that lone loss was to Oklahoma, which finished first in the nation. It was UT's third straight loss to OU.

Coach Bible had so elevated the expectations of UT supporters that a 32-10-1 overall record,  9-1 season and a third-place finish nationally wasn't enough to offset three straight losses to Oklahoma, and, under great pressure, Coach Cherry "retired."

And then Coach Bible went out and found UT another coach - a young Oklahoman who'd just finished his first year as head coach at the University of Washington. A youngster named Darrell K. Royal.

*********** It sure looks as if year-round football - well,  the 7-on-7 version, at least - has arrived in Southern California.

One more thing for high school coaches to worry about.  One more claim on their precious off-season time.  Face it - if they don't get out and devote the extra time to coaching their own kids, they run the risk of turning them over to the football version of the AAU basketball coach, who may or may not teach them correctly and, given the plague of athletes' transferring  that's infesting L.A. area schools,  may or may not suggest another school where their talents may be better showcased. If you know what I mean.


*********** A West Point sweater worn by Vince Lombardi when he coached at Army was bought for 58 cents at a Salvation Army store - then sold at auction for $43,000.


*********** NASCAR.  Daytona 500.  Big event. Opening race of the season.  Three abreast for at least seven rows.  Rush-hour  traffic at 195 mph.  No way to pass.  Great driving unquestionably, but when nobody can get out of the jam, is it really  racing?

I tried to watch. I haven't had good luck watching NASCAR in the past, but  I tried be open-minded.  I was actually primed and prepped to enjoy it, but in my semi-ignorant way, I'm still waiting for the race to start.

Look - seven rows of cars, bumper to bumper and three abreast - even at 200 mph - is great driving, but - did I say traffic jam? -  actually, as tightly packed as the cars were, it was more like a high-speed parking lot.  Either way, there was very little "racing" going on.

Not when when most of the field was stuck in that traffic, penned in with zero chance of passing.  It would be as if the NFL had 24 with  no chance of winning the Super Bowl.  Oh, wait...

It was tremendous driving, for sure, but what was the point, except maybe to see how long they could keep it up without an accident?
And then - oops - some damn fool wrecked.  And there went the "race."

Because  once the track was cleared,  the race was over in a lap or two.  As good as those drivers are, they could have finished in reverse.  (Which, come to think of it, might be something for them to consider.)

I gather, reading accounts of the race, that it was considered by insiders to be a hell of a race. 

Here's the problem: I'm not an insider.  I'm the little kid who watches the Emperor go by and wonders why he isn't wearing any clothes.  And I'll bet there are plenty of others  like me - fans of sports in general who're wiling to sit and watch and at least see what they've got, and then go away shaking our heads and wondering what just went on.

Many of us  will never come back.   Not me, yet.   Like a fool, I keep coming back, hoping that this time, it'll be great TV.

But face it, NASCAR - We've only got so much time, and there's way too many other sports fighting for our attention.

Grrr moment: with under five laps to go Fox went to "split screen" for a LONG commercial break - except that the screen was "split" about 3/4 commercial and 1/4 race. 

*********** There's a rumor afoot that the Big Ten, the Pac 12 and the Big 12 are discussing the possibility of freshman ineligibility - the way it was when I was in college, except that with this proposal, players (sorry - "student-athletes) would still have four years of eligibility remaining. Five-year scholarships, in other words.

Personally, I think that if colleges are at all serious about their academic mission, giving freshman a year to learn to act like actual students is a great idea. 

I don't think freshman ineligibility is likely to happen in basketball until the NBA changes its stance on signing players after just one year of college. College coaches certainly wouldn't recruit kids who would spend a year playing on their freshman team and then turn pro.

So most of what are now called "one and done" kids will instead go overseas and make a few bucks for a year and then enter the NFL.  That one isn't going to fly with the basketball guys.

Any return to the days of freshman ineligibility is unrealistic for basketball unless the NBA (and the NBA Players' Assn) first agree to something on the order of "three and free"  or "two-and-through."

It would be interesting to see how, given freshman ineligibility, how attending a JC would count against college eligibility.  I'm guessing that the first year at a JC would count as the "freshman year." Then, after two years at a JC, a player would transfer to a "four-year" college and still have three years of varsity eligibility left. This could be a bonanza for JCs and the colleges that feed off them.  

Although I favor the plan, for me it's a two-edged sword, because it would really hurt the service academies.

1. There's little likelihood of a cadet or midshipman staying around for a fifth year on the  taxpayer's dime  just to use up all four years of eligibility.

2. It's tough enough as it is persuading hotshot high school kids to spend a year at prep school, before actually enrolling at an academy.  How do they now tell him that he's going to have to spend a second year - one at the prep school and then another at the academy - before he can play a down of college football?

***********  Coach -  Just some information on McFarland to comment on something I saw you write.  I never ran the double-wing, but I respect the heck out of it and have read your news for several years.
I haven't seen it yet, but it definitely is "based on a true story" and changes some several key details.  I think this is mainly mitigated by the fact that the coach, Jim White, and members of that team are fully supportive of the film as is the town.  McFarland, even in the San Joaquin Valley where these small towns are all over the place, has almost always been considered primarily a migrant farm-worker town.  The migrants before WWII were primarily dust-bowl Okies and Texans, but the town's population demographics shifted to mirror each set of migrants who came to work.

The idea that Jim White came to coaching at that school as an outsider is pretty laughable.  Jim White was my Mom's sixth grade teacher in McFarland (HS class of '74) that makes him being new to McFarland in the mid-80s off by just a bit. I asked my mom about him and she told me he is extremely nice, was a great teacher, and very religious.

I will say that McFarland Cross County is exceptionally good for a small public school.  Due to CIF's policy of "competitive equity" (basically promotion/relegation), while almost all of McFarland's sports teams compete in Division VI (the lowest division), their boys cross country team competes in Division I with large (2500+) schools from significantly higher socioeconomic backgrounds.  Previous to this year (their first in Division I), they as a team had qualified to *every* state championship  the state has ever held.  This year, they did not.  Suffice to say that this policy has some feathers ruffled.


MIke Burchett
Learning Director
Woodlake High School
Woodlake, California

Hi Coach,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

I appreciate the insight.   I just watched a movie made in 1954 that claimed to be "A true story," despite numerous embellishments and acts of poetic license, so maybe we've made a little progress ovr the years with the addition of the phrase "based on."

So tiny McFarland builds a cross country powerhouse that earns it the right to keep moving up until finally going up against someone ten times their size.  "No good deed goes unpunished."

NIce to have you as a reader.

*********** Bill Parcells, who's either trying to push his book or can't stand being out of the limelight, or both, evidently is claiming that he was approached by Penn State to take their head coaching job tafter Joe Paterno was forced out.

Right. Just the guy.  Hasn't coached a college team since he went 3-8 at Air Force in 1978.

Okay. I might as well tell you.  They approached me, too.  It's all in my book...


*********** Army is rumored to be dropping the stupid "Black Knights" nickname and logo, and there's a rumor circulating among the faithful that that might mean a return to being the Cadets, and to a former logo they called the "Kicking Mule."

Army logosFor sure, the current logo of a rather swish-looking knight (don't you just adore the cape?), has been associated with a disastrous run on the football field.  Adopted in 2000 after three straight losing seasons, it's seen just one winning season (7-6 in 2010) and one win over Navy (in 2001, over an 0-10 Navy team).


One can only hope.  Writes one supporter...

I would love to see a return to "Cadets" but if we are to do this, then let us do it properly. No need to reinvent the wheel. Bring back the Kicking Mule in front of the "A" (maybe with a very minor touch-up to bring him into the 21st century) and very little more will need to be done.

And if we're truly set on returning to tradition, bring back the old uniforms or at least something resembling them. For the millionth time.

If we bury the "Black Knights" era this year, it will end up being remembered as the lost years of Army football - no cohesive or persistent on-field strategy, a coaching carousel that spun like a top, a rebranding that tried to give us a new identity for the new millennium but was met with a collective yawn, and, in its final years, a desperate attempt to forge a new look by paradoxically not having a look and doing a weak impression of Oregon.

Cadets. Kicking Mule. Black and Gold. End of story.

*********** A Portland woman learning to ride a motorcycle in a  parking lot died when she lost it and crashed into a parked car. She was 60 years old.  And she was learning on a Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster. That's a lot of bike. It's like gong for a pony ride and finding out you're on a thoroughbred.

*********** Brooks Rawson writes from Alamo, Tennessee - "Following a showcase event in Boston for middle school football standouts, Rivals.com announced it will begin tracking two sixth-grade players, adding recruiting profiles to the website."

One is a 5-2, 105-pound middle school quarterback from Enfield, Connecticut

To me it's borderline child porn.  At the very least, it's one more example of adults exploiting and corrupting  kids' sports, coming the very week it was revealed that cheating by adults was behind the winning of last summer's Little League title.


*********** I watched a fair amount of the "Underwear Olympics" (The NFL Combine) and as always was impressed by the quality of the athletes on display, most of whom will never draw an NFL paycheck.

One guy that somebody has GOT to sign is Chris Conley, Georgia wide receiver.

He ran a 4.35 40, and had a 45" vertical jump and an 11-foot , 7-inch broad jump.  Oh - and he can catch, too.

*********** I think it was a new feature  for the Combine telecast - the "virtual" 40 yard dash races  created by  superimposing videos of two or three guys shot when they ran their individual 40s.

In one case, they created a match race between a couple of guys who ran their Combine 40s a couple of years apart -  between one of this year's better defensive linemen and current NFL star J. J. Watt.

*********** A big laugh for me came when the NFL Network's Mike Mayock on the Combine telecast, trying (unsuccessfully) to mimic a Pittsburgh accent. 

I think Mayock does a great job, but good luck trying to do any other accent when you're starting out with the sort of Philly accent he's got. (A Philly accent has been compared to Cockney.)

(For those of you who aren't similarly accent-hampered, a good start on Pittsburghese is Johnstown:  "Jawnstahn.")

american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 20,  2015-   "A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason."   J.P. Morgan, once the world's richest man

***********  "I'm asking people to stop their nonsense right now,' said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. "These are adults jumping out windows. It's a foolish thing to do, and you could kill yourself."

Boston, if you hadn't heard, has been buried by eight feet of snow this winter, and certain Bostonians (at risk of profiling, I am picturing young, male and perhaps at least a bit tipsy) have been jumping out of windows into high snowbanks.

"This isn't Loon Mountain," Walsh said.  "This is the city of Boston, where we're trying to remove snow off of the street and it becomes very dangerous. And the last thing we want to do is respond to an emergency call where somebody jumped out of the window because they thought it was a funny thing to do."

Charles Blockson*********** Stay with me on this.   It's worth it.

I was in high school when I saw Charlie Blockson play for Penn State.  He was fairly famous in the Philadelphia area because at nearby Norristown High School, he'd been an all-state football player, and between the shot put and the discus, he'd won five state titles. In his senior year, he won the National Indoor HIgh School shot put title in Madison Square Garden. 

He went on to Penn State, where  he played football as a fullback - and a teammate of future NFL stars as Lenny Moore and Roosevelt Grier - on some very good  Nittany Lion teams, and was an outstanding weight man on the track team.

But there was more to him than Charlie Blockson the athlete:

There was Charles Blockson the inquisitve student.

He recalled as a boy learning about African-American history from listening to his grandfather sing. "One Sunday afternoon, I asked him what he was singing about. He said he was singing about the Underground Railroad." Young Charles learned that his great grandfather had been a slave in Delaware and had escaped to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

"Our textbooks in those days said that all the slaves were happy on the plantations," Blockson wrote. "But I said to myself as I started to get into it, 'if the enslaved people were happy, why did they run away?'"  Thus began a lifelong interest in the Underground Railroad.

And there was Charles Blockson the collector. 

Inspired by a substitute teacher who told him there were no black people to study about  in history because "Negroes have no history - they were born to serve white people," he set out to learn more.

In his words,

When I was 15 years old, I travelled from Norristown to Philadelphia to browse in some bookstores.  At Leary’s Book Store at 9th and Market Streets, I found a thick, worn green cloth-covered book entitled The Underground Railroad by William Still published in 1872.  I paid five dollars for the book.  The book was much more than I had bargained for as I found two of my relatives who escaped on the Philadelphia’s Underground Railroad.  The discovery of William Still’s book began my interest in the history of the Underground Railroad which led me to write about it."

He reminisced about his Penn State days, and how "Lenny (Moore) and Rosie (Grier) would say, "Why are you always going to the book store?"

He began teaching, at Norristown High School, and continued to collect, in the process amassing an enormous collection of of books and other items pertaining to African-American history.

And he researched tirelessly.

Among the original manuscripts in the Blockson Collection are the letters of William Still.  whose 1872 book,  wrote Mr. Blockson, "was a major inspiration for my research and writing."

In 1984, he donated his collection  to the Temple University Library, and until 2006 served as curator of  the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection.

Today, Mr. Blockson is internationally known as the foremost expert on the Underground Railroad. He has written three books and lectured extensively on the subject.

Interestingly, he recalled that 20 or 30 years later, after he had attained some renown as a historian and lecturer, he encountered the teacher who had once told him, "Negroes have no history."

She apologized, and told him, "Charles, you have taught us all something about ourselves and our place in history."

Now here's what's especially cool, from the point of view of someone who follows football:

He went on,

During my research, I found a family connection between my family and the Still family.  Our family relationship extends almost 170 years.  I learned after contacting the National Archives for information on William N. Blockson,  the son of Leah Blockson, my great-grandmother.  William married Henrietta G. Still of Philadelphia on July 4, 1869 and she was the daughter of William Still’s brother .

In sum:

Charles Blockson's great-grandmother was named Leah Blockson.

Leah's son, William, married a woman named Henrietta Still.  Her uncle was William Still, the author of the 1872 book on the Underground Railroad.

That made Charles Blockson a part of the extensive Still family, which for over 140 years has held the Annual Still Day Family Reunion in Lawnside, New Jersey, once known as Snow HIll.

Among the many members of the Still family are former pro football players Art Still and Levon Kirkland, and current Cincinnati Bengals' defensive end Devon Still.

If you are a football fan, you undoubtedly know the story of Devon Still's 4-year-old daughter who's been fighting cancer.

The little girl's name is Leah.  I have a suspicion that Leah Still is named for Charles Blockson's great-grandmother Leah Blockson.

To get a better appreciation of Mr. Blockson and his place in the American tradition, I highly recommend this remarkable series of clips from an interview with him.


The Annual Still Day Family Reunion


Read more about Charles Blockson

Charles Blockson's Penn State Distinguished Alumni Award citation

Mr. Blockson's writings on the Still family

About William Still

The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection in the Temple University Library

************* I don;t know where they find these people, but  the administration manages to find one moronic  "spokesperson" after another willing to go out in public and make a fool of him (or her) self for the good of the cause.

One of these tools is a woman namd Marie Harf (rhymes with barf), who speaks for the State Department, and last week suggested that the way to deal with ISIS is not with bullets, but with... jobs.

"We're killing a lot of them, and we're going to keep killing more of them... But we cannot win this war by killing them," she said on MSNBC. "We need ... to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it's lack of opportunity for jobs..."

She went on "If we can help countries work at the root causes of this -- what makes these 17-year-old kids pick up an AK-47 instead of trying to start a business?"

Many, many years ago, that "root causes" crap was being tossed about as the real way to combat crime.   You know - if we could just get at the things that cause young men to commit crimes, we wouldn't have to spend all that money building prisons, blah, blah, blah.

Back in 1995, New York magazine ran this headline headline: “(Mayor) Giuliani and (Police Chief) Bratton think they’ve finally found the root cause of crime: Criminals.”

*********** Writes Ivan Maisel in espn.com

The NCAA Football Rules Committee recommended that the distance that offensive linemen may go downfield to block on a pass be trimmed from 3 yards to 1 yard, and every defensive coordinator in the Pac-12 yelled, “Halleluyah!” No teams have done a better job of turning that 3 yards into 5 or 7 than Oregon and Arizona. NCAA rules editor Rogers Redding said that officials had a tough time keeping an eye on where the linemen were while seeing when the quarterback released the ball. It will be interesting to see if this change impinges on the offenses, or merely makes it easier for the striped shirts to do their jobs.

The late Beano Cook used to say that every coach has a loss that will awaken him at 3 a.m. 20 years after retirement. Before Sunday night, Pete Carroll's 3 a.m. loss was in the Rose Bowl to Texas for the 2005 BCS Championship. The Trojans led Texas 38-33, had 4th-and-2 at the USC 45, and went for it. LenDale White gained 1 yard. Now LenDale White was a good back. He gained 1,302 yards that year. But he was not Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman winner, who rushed for 1,740 yards, wasn't on the field. Bush ran for a 26-yard score against Texas with 11:19 to play. He never carried the ball again.

*********** *********** A big scandal has been unearthed in Texas with a report  disclosing that the prestigious and highly-selective (I am not kidding, guys) University of Texas has been admitting under-qualified  applicants.  Well, duh.  They're called "football players."

Actually, they're children of the influential and well-connected, and despite substandard GPA's and SAT's, they've been admitted on the "recommendations" of members of the University's board of regents and powerful politicians.

So big deal.  If they find the work at Texas too hard, they can always transfer to North Carolina, famous for a major that doesn't even require going to classes.  Which means they could still live in Austin, enjoying the good life there.



*********** "McFarland" premieres tomorrow.  It appears that it's one of those "based on a true story" films, which means that something a bit like the true story may be shown the way it actually happened,  to characters resembling in some way the ones you see in the film.  I like fiction, and I non-fiction.  I understand the distinction, and I respect it, and it bothers the hell out of me the way Hollywood takes a "true story" then deletes, creates and embellishes at will, in pursuit of box-office earnings.

See, "Invinceable" wouldn't have been as great a story if we'd known that the real Vince Papale had actually played two years or pro football before being "discovered" by the Philadelphia Eagles, instead of being a down-on-his-luck bartender whose only prior exposure to the game before his Eagles' tryout was rough touch with his buddies.

And it wasn't enough for "The Elmira Express"  to tell the ennobling story of Ernie Davis, a young man of unlimited promise whose career - and life - were cut short by leukemia before he could ever play a down in the NFL.  Oh, no - the wizards of Hollywood had to portray his coach, Ben Schwartzwalder, by then long dead, as a classic racist.  Forget the fact that Schwartzwalder was way ahead of most other coaches of his time in recruiting black athletes.  That wouldn't have advanced the story line.

I might watch McFarland, though, just to see the way the town's portrayed.  I know McFarland.   More than a dozen years ago, I spent several days there, helping the then-head coach, James Beltran, install the Double-Wing.  McFarland, a farming town in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley about 25 miles north of Bakersfield, was almost totally Hispanic, so naturally the football players and coaches were, too.   But what struck me was that those were young American kids busting their asses, like American kids everywhere, to play an American game.  And out on that field, in McFarland, California, I could well have been coaching anywhere in the United States.  It felt so - American.  So unifying.

Having just seen the movie's trailers, I get the impression that this (white) coach winds up in McFarland, where the HIspanic kids have absolutely nothing going for them.  He persuades them to go out for cross-country (he's the coach) and through lots of hard work and motivational talking turns them into a powerhouse team which - you guessed it - goes out and kicks the asses of - privileged white kids. 

Unifying?  I have my doubts.

*********** A Pennsylvania high school basketball Coach, upset at learning at noon the day of a state playoff game that his team's 6-7 center was declared academically ineligible, decided to take action.

He went on Twitter and harshly criticized the athletic director, who I assume was the person who had made the hard call.

And then he announced that he would "take a stand" - and boycott the game.  In other words, not to coach the team he was paid to coach.

The game went on anyhow, and the team lost, 77-58.

There's more.  There always is.  The AD is the former basketball coach, who was relieved of his coaching position after 12 seasons, and is accused by the coach of attempting to undermine him.

Left unaddressed is my key question: where was the basketball coach when, with at most a dozen kids under his supervision, a player -  his best one at that - got to the point where he was academically ineligible?

Meantime, the coach now claims that he didn't resign.  Don't know WTF else you'd call it when a guy refuses to coach his team.


*********** Before you go betting the farm on the old US of A against the boys from ISIS  (or "ISIL" as our President insists on calling it), consider this:  Army recruiters say that seven out of ten young service candidates are unfit because of obesity, reliance of drugs prescribed for various disorders, and - tattoos.

Fortunately, all is not lost. The military is said to be reconsidering lifting its ban on transsexuals.
Myself, I'd just as soon have some tattoed dudes who can fight.  What the hell - once they're through basic, most of them will go out and get some body art anyhow.  (Ever seen how many tattoo parlors there are in a military town?)


*********** The Department of Justice has finally debunked the claim that one-in-five college women are victims of rape. It would have been nice if the White House and countless media outlets had never insisted on using the transparently bogus stat in the first place. It will be interesting to see who among the people who used that fake number now admit it was never true. The new number is about 1 in 52 college women have been victims of sexual assault. That’s still way too many if you ask me (and non-college women are more likely to be assaulted). But the campus rape-epidemic stuff was always a power grab.)      Jonah Goldberg


Jerome kersey***********  Jerome Kersey, a former Trail Blazer and a longtime favorite of Portland fans, died unexpectedly Wednesday.  He was 52.

In the photo, he's seen at Portland's Madison High School only the day before, appearing along with former Trail Blazers Terry Porter (on the left) and Brian Grant  (in the middle) to help observe Black History Month.
HIs death was attributed to a blood clot that originated in his leg and traveled to an artery in the lung.

Dr. Larry Lewman of the Oregon state medical examiner's office said Kersey's death could be a complication from surgery that Kersey had Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. But, said Lewman, the clots could have existed before the surgery, and  he is attempting to determine how long the clot might have been in his body.

"It's something we see in people who are sedentary,'' he said.

Jerome Kersey was extremely well-liked, a part of the "good" Trail Blazers (Drexler, Duckworth, Porter, Williams),  a team that made it to the NBA finals in 1990 and 1992 with good guys. 

Not long after, with those guys gone management tried to fool fans with an assortment of lowlifes that earned themselves the name Jail Blazers.  Oh, how they missed the likes of Clyde and Terry and Ducks and Buck and Jerome.

Current Trail Blazer Steve Blake, who's been  wearing Kersey's old number (25) said he was in a Bible study group when he heard of Kersey's death, and said that after lying awake all night and praying about it, he went to management and asked if they'd get the league's permission for him to change his number so no Trail Blazer would ever wear Jereome Kersey's 25 again.



*********** Coming soon, to a school near you....

For years, at Seattle's Franklin High School, graduation tradition has meant students marching in boy-girl
pairs, boys in black gowns,  girls in green, with boys then sitting on one side of the room and girls on the other.

Not no more, as my Grandma would say.

No, siree.  This is Seattle, and the school has a gay-straight alliance. And the gay-straight alliance raised objections.

Asked one (allegedly) female student, "How about if you don’t identify as a girl, (and) you want to wear black instead?”

Well.  What else could the school officials do, but give in?  From now on, everyone will wear black. Another tradition bites the dust.

I mean,  this whole idea of just two sexes, and staying with the one you're born with, is so twentieth century.


*********** Anyone in Boston remember this, from 2000?

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past


The Wisdom of the Elders...

Bob Reade won multiple Illinois state championships at  Geneseo High School, and then three straight NCAA Division III National Championships at Augustana College. Back in the 1980s, several of us Wing-T coaches in the Portland area pooled our resources and flew Coach Reade out to put on a clinic.  He was great. His Wing-T wasn't my wing-T, which was the Delaware version, but no matter - I got so much from listening to Coach Reade talk about offense, defense and football in general.  This,  clearly, was a man with ideas we could all use in our own programs.

Bob Reade on staffing: "I was always adamant that my high school assistant coaches be paid the same.  That let me organize my staff to best help our program without worrying that I was delaying someone's family an income.

Because the assistants knew they got equal pay, they always had great camaraderie. When all coaches are at the same salary, no one of them feels he's any more or less than any other member of the staff.

I have never believed in "I'm just the freshman coach," or "I'm just the assistant junior high coach."   There is no just anything.  If you're good and you contribute to the program, you shouldn't have to qualify your role. I think the coaches on my staffs have felt very much a part of whatever success we enjoyed because I gave them the opportunity to coach and didn't interfere.

american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 17,  2015-   "Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache." Mae West

*********** I spent three-and-a-half hours of my life Sunday night watching three-and-a-half hours of the four-hour 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live, and I finally gave up.
It was nice seeing so many of the actors again, and it was interesting seeing how some of the older ones have aged.  But I finally grew weary of waiting for the show to be funny.  There was introduction after introduction, and an occasional lame attempt at a redo of an old skit, but for the most part, there simply wasn't any there there. 

Yes, Paul McCartney is a legend  and all that, big enough to justify a special all his own, but how much did he do on SNL to warrant giving him all that time while 40 years' worth of the real stars of one of TV's greatest shows were shown in a series of rapid-fire montages that merely hinted at their amazing comedic talents?

*********** I have to admit that I watched a lot of the NBA's All-star extravaganza over the weekend.  I really enjoyed the three-point competition - Stephon Curry is really tough - and I got a big bang out of the slam-dunk contest, especially because it was won by the Timberwolves'  Zach Lavine, a kid off the mean streets of Bothell, Washington.  (Yeah, some mean streets - according to Zillow, the median home value in Bothell, a Seattle suburb,  is $417,000.  Real ghetto kid.)

The game itself wasn't really worth watching - it was 83-82 at the half and wound up something like 163-158, favor of the East.  (Or was it the West?  Does it matter?)

Perhaps it's because this year's festivities were held in New York, assuring the presence of a flock of celebrities, and perhaps because the NBA ties in the closest with the entertainment business, but it sure seems to me that of the four major sports, this is becoming by far the biggest and best all-star event.

*********** You probably already knew this, but just in case you didn't, the World Cup of Cricket is under way.  You can buy ESPN's package showing every game for just $99.95.

Kidding aside, Cricket, if you didn't know, is a passion in many large countries.

Sunday, in Adelaide, Australia,  India and Pakistan were scheduled to play.  Played far from both participating countries, the game was expected to draw 48,000 people, but the TV audience was expected to be more than a BILLION viewers.  To put that in perspective, the worldwide TV audience for the Super Bowl, including 115 million in the US, was estimated by Reuters at a paltry 160 million.

I heard a cricket expert trying to put the India-Pakistan rivalry in American terms - it was, he said, like the Yankees and Red Sox, except both sides had nuclear weapons and had fought four wars against each other.  Personally, I would have likened it to Alabama and Auburn, and offer thanks that the guy who poisoned the trees at Toomer's Corner couldn't get his hands on a nuclear bomb.

*********** I've been doing a little bit of research on the 1979 Pitt Panthers, and I came across a guy on the roster from Johnston, Pennsylvania named  Artrell Hawkins - which led me to his son, Artrell Hawkins, Jr., a former NFL player... which led me to the following article in which, in retirement,  he explains why so many NFL players are such jerks.


*********** A person wrote in to our local paper arguing for mandatory vaccination.

We're in agreement on that, because it's a public health issue -
if you want your kids to attend a public school,  you don't have the right  to decide to put other peoples' kids in danger.

But then the writer went on and blew it, as far as I'm concerned.

If we are going to to follow the argument of the opponents of mandatory vaccination, she wrote,  we might as well go ahead and abolish the child car seat and bicycle helmet laws, too.

Well, actually, I thought, I'm all for that.  Those laws came along after our kids were raised, thank God, but I know I'd have resisted the government's trying to tell me what size car seat I had to have before I could take a 40-pound kid someplace. 

But why stop there? As long as we're abolishing those nanny laws, let's do away with helmets for motorcyclists and  seat belts for adults.

*********** I read a story in our paper about a little kindergartner who got off a school bus at the wrong stop.  Before anyone blames the bus driver, whose job isn't tough enough as it is - 37 kids get off at that one bus stop every day.  You try keeping track of that.

*********** Charlie Weis told the South Bend Tribune it's "highly doubtful" that he'll ever coach again.

Now, Charlie - Yes, I know you've proven that you're not a college head coach, but since you definitely don't need the money, surely there's one high school or small college coach out there that you didn't manage to diss, back when you were a big shot, who'll let you volunteer.


*********** To make a short story of it, the Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, resigned recently because his "fiancee," one Cylvia (that's not a misprint) Hayes was busy enriching herself by taking money from green-energy companies in return for favors that she, as "First Lady," implied or assured that she could provide.

That's as brief as I can make it.

It goes deeper than that, though, back to when the Guv was first sworn in and announced that he and  Cylvia, who was then merely his girlfriend, would move in to the Governor's Mansion together, and she would be the First Lady.  Believe it or not, there were still some old fuddy-duddies in Oregon who thought the shackup arrangement was a bit unseemly, and furthermore, the First Lady is a wife.

But come on, guys.  This is the Twenty-first Century. And Governor Kitzhaber, who wears jeans and boots everywhere, is so cool.

Then stories began to pop up about how Cylvia was working both sides of the street as owner of a green energy consulting firm with unusual access to the governor.  Many people who'd come by their government positions honestly found themselves having to answer to the First  Concubine.

This past fall, the Guv was confronted with the news that some time ago, when Cylvia was in college, she'd found a novel way to pay for her tuition. She'd enter into an arranged  marriage with a 20-year-old Ethiopian (she was 30) under the terms of which she'd get paid a sum - and he'd get American citizenship.

Just to give you some idea of the kind of dog the governor was lieing down with. (Hey - where'd all those fleas come from?)

Still, blinded by love, he ignored all the goings-on.

And now, the Guv is out of a job, and since Oregon has no Lieutenant Governor, the next one up is the Secretary of State, one Kate Brown.

He/she is a bisexual, which - we're told as if it's a matter of great pride - makes him/her the first such governor in America.

Since Brown is  (currently) married to a man (at least I think that's what he is - he goes by the name "Dan Little") I'm going to refer to "her" with the female pronoun.

The good news for Cylvia  is that with a bisexual governor living in the Governor's Mansion, she might be able to arrange a way stay on and serve as First Lady when needed.

***********  Back in August (August 25, 2014 issue) Sports Illustrated ran an interesting article on a former NFL player named Alex Bernstein.

A graduate of Massachusetts' prestigious Amherst College, Bernstein spent  three seasons in the NFL with the Ravens, Jets and Browns until his career was ended by a neck injury.

That was 2000. In 201,  North Social, a software company he had founded, was acquired for $25 million.

He was wealthy.  But it wasn't easy.

He started out with an entry-level job in the tech industry, and said that he applied the same effort and work ethic that had kept him on rosters in the NFL - rising early, working hard and reading everything he could get his hands on.

"Instead of preparing for a game," he said,  "I devoured every book I could find on business."

And that, he said, is the problem with a lot of former players.

Some of his former teammates avoided entry-level jobs that they considered beneath them.

"I knew guys who after they were out of the NFL for two or three years were still hanging around old teammates, still talking about getting back into the league," he said. "Their wives would approach my wife because they knew she was a therapist and ask, "How do I get him to move on?"

An observation of his worth noting by any coach who's ever had to ask a kid to switch positions, from the one he always dreamed of playing to the one the team needs him to play:

"I had tons of terrible jobs. But I learned what I was good at and what I liked to do, and that often what you are good at and what you like are two different things."


*********** In the movie "Diner," set in Baltimore in the 1960s, Baltimore native Barry Levinson illustrates how much Baltimoreans loved their Colts in a scene in which a guy makes his fiancee prove her worthiness to marry him by answering a series of Colts-based trivia questions. 

One question had to do with the teams that Colts' running back Buddy Young had played for that no longer existed. The answer (then) was three: the New York Yankees of the AAFC, The New York Yankees of the NFL, and the Dallas Texans of the NFL.  The Texans existed for one season; they were taken over by the league and kept on life support until a wealthy businessman, Carroll Rosenbloom, acquired the franchise and brought them to Baltimore as the Colts.

Since the movie was made, though, the Baltimore Colts are no more,  having been moved to Indianapolis in the dark of night by a drunken lout named Bob Irsay.

Buddy Young's total is now four.

*********** My next concern, wrote John Bothe, of Oregon, Illinois...
The post-game behavior that college and pro football exhibited in bowl games and NFL playoffs (and some coaches).  I do not remember a post-season that had so many brawls, ejections, and incident as this year had.  Ridiculous.
The NBA is looking better all the time…

The NBA really has cleaned up its act.

I'm bothered that football increasingly is being portrayed, and seen by more and more people, as a lower-class sport.  Like it or not, in my opinion it's a big reason why many people are steering their sons to other sports  - under the cover of
the much-overblown spectre of concussions.

*********** "Run to Daylight," Vince Lombardi's story as told to W. C. Heinz, is one of the great football books. 

The "As told to" doesn't do justice to Mr. Heinz' role, because, alongside the great Red Smith, he was considered one of the great sports writers of his time, and it's not likely that Coach Lombardi struck a single key on a typewriter to assist in the writing.

I found two paragraphs from a recent Wall Street Journal about W. C. Heinz (he died in 2008 at the age of 93) especially interesting:

In 1962, Heinz’s friend and fellow sportswriter Red Smith put him together with Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi to write a book. In Wisconsin, Heinz learned that the coach had little descriptive recall of his life outside the gridiron, but his wife did, and Heinz slyly developed a method of gleaning Lombardi ’s memories from Marie Lombardi and then presenting them for his reaction, “Yeah, that’s right!” Soon they were filling up Heinz’s notebooks with what became the 1963 football classic, “Run to Daylight!”

A doctor he had interviewed for his 1963 novel “The Surgeon” introduced Heinz to Dr. H. Richard Hornberger, who was looking for help shaping his salty novel based on his surgical experiences in the Korean War. The two collaborated enough to share a byline as “ Richard Hooker ” for the novel “MASH” (1968), a best seller and the basis for the movie and television show that followed.


*********** My son Ed, admittedly a Ducks' fan, wrote regarding the Oregon Ducks' signing of Eastern Washington QB Vernon Adams. Adams has a year of eligibility remaining and, because he has graduated from EWU, he's cleared to play at Oregon immediately,

Interesting how this NCAA graduation rule is allowing colleges to "recruit" players. I never really liked the rule anyway but this is starting to get absurd. However...for FCS coaches to make a big deal of it smacks of hypocrisy to me, since many of those schools benefit big time from FBS transfers who don't have to sit out a year. Another however...I agree wholeheartedly with the EWU coach that Adams can't work out with his team.

Theoretically, FBS schools can't "recruit" such a guy until he gets his release,  and evidently some people at EWU claim Oregon didn't wait.

You're right about the hypocrisy.  Many FCS schools make no secret of the fact that they tell kids being recruited by FBS schools, "If it doesn't work out, give us a call."

And before Eastern complains too loudly... not that long ago, the EWU coach was mentioned as a candidate for the Oregon State job.  Think he wouldn't have taken it if offered?


*********** Think that all those rules they've passed to protect quarterbacks (and receivers) as well as allowing linemen to hold haven't changed the pro game?

Consider the things that happened in the NFL in 2014 related to the passing game...

*** a record number of touchdown passes thrown (804)

*** a record percentage of passes completed (62.6 percent)

... a record nine quarterbacks threw at least 30 touchdowns. The previous high was five,  in 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010. 

... The four quarterbacks in the NFL's conference championship games - Tom Brady,  Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson  - were responsible for at least 72 percent of their teams’ offensive output.

... 16 quarterbacks played in every one of their team's games. Back in 1992, when Brett Favre began his streak of 321 consecutive starts, Steve Mariucci, Favre’s position coach,  began keeping track of how many other quarterbacks would play every game that season.  In 1992, there were eight, and in 1993 and 1994, there were seven.

... Teams threw the ball 60 per cent of the time.  Why not? Forget that old saw that when you throw the ball, three things can happen, and two of them are bad.  Not any more.  Not in today's NFL.   In addition to that 62.6 per cent chance of a completion, there's also the possibility of a defensive holding, illegal contact, pass interference or  helmet-to-helmet penalty.


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 13,  2015-   "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."  William F. Buckley, Jr.

*********** Thanks for posting the article from Dr. Ed Riley in your Tuesday News.  It is spreading rapidly among coaches in Illinois, I believe that every head coach in the state will be sent a copy of it by the association.
It is great from the injury standpoint but also the overall value of high school football.  Very well written.
John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois


We need more people like Dr. Riley to speak up and speak out.

Based on his statement about the research -  "Most of the cases considered focus on former NFL players involved in a lot of high-risk behavior other than football" -  the NFL might have helped our cause by fighting the players' suit,  but they chose instead to settle.

Also to continue to promote and celebrate a form of our game that puts on display some of the basest aspects of our culture.

*********** At the Army football program's  postseason banquet...

Larry Dixon, a senior running back from Bremerton, Washington, was selected as the Thruston Hughes Memorial Award winner. It was established in 1939 to honor the team MVP and will be presented officially during the Awards Convocation prior to graduation.

Joe Drummond, a senior defensive lineman from Pittsford, New York, wore the Black Lion patch during the Army-Navy Game presented by USAA in December. The Black Lion is presented to the football player who best exemplifies the character of Don Holleder, an All-America offensive and defensive end for Army who was killed in action in Vietnam. Holleder’s daughter, Katie Fellows, presented the award.

Joe Drummond also was honored with the William C. Whitehead Jr. Memorial Award as the graduating senior with the highest grade point average. He also took home the Lt. Gen. Garrison Davidson Award for having the highest military grade and earning distinction in the areas of honor, country, sportsmanship and leadership. He also collected the Army Football Lifter of the Year for his commitment to his personal development on and off the field.

Larry Dixon and classmate Geoffery Bacon shared the Creighton W. Abrams Memorial Award as team captains.

*********** Oregon is bracing itself for legal pot. Pot, for "recreational" use, is now legal in Oregon.  But that doesn't mean it's welcome everywhere in the state.  Not in cowboy country, that's for sure.  Out there, in the wide open spaces east of Portland, it's generally seen as something associated with misfits and Portland hipsters.

It's certainly not welcome in Pendleton.  Pendleton's the home of the annual Pendleton Roundup, a BIG stop on the pro rodeo circuit with assorted side events.  One of the high spots - or low, if your prefer - is the Let 'er Buck Room, a rough-and-ready joint underneath the grandstands of the rodeo grounds.

What follows is a brief description of the goings-on inside, written a few years ago by a big-city writer from Seattle...  A female...  A very brave female...

After the last event of the day, Robert and I head for the Let 'Er Buck room, the fabled saloon that sits beneath the bleachers and serves only hard alcohol, with your choice of mixer being Pepsi or nothing. Within moments of joining the crushing throng that crowds into the bar after the rodeo, Robert and I are separated. Figuring I can get along well enough on my own, I decide to look around. Big mistake. Maybe a nun could run the gauntlet from the entrance to the back bar without her crotch being grabbed, her ass poked, or her boobs prodded.  Maybe.

If there was ever a joint that should hang a sign announcing, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here," this is it. The atmosphere of the Let 'Er Buck Room is a cross between a cattle auction and a potential orgy. It is a contest to see who can get drunk the quickest, cop the most feels, and get set up with a sure lay by evening's end. A gathering place for spectators and participants alike, here you find the cowboy groupies (or "buckle babes") offering "butt judging contests," and guys coming up with such memorable bon mots as "Hey, girl! Give me a squeeze out of one of them jugs!" Any illusion I harbored that a cowboy was a true gentleman was quickly shattered as I fended off groping hands. Troy, a Pendleton local who buys a $12 rodeo ticket just to gain entrance to this buckboard bacchanalia, sighs, "Sh--. This ain't nothing like it used to be. A few years ago you'da got the Wrangler patch bit off your ass."


Now, that story is a few years old, and it wouldn't surprise me if nowadays they're serving drinks with parasols in them.  Well, actually , it would, because the Roundup's huge crowds come from all over the West - not to mention Canada - and for some of them, watching rodeo isn't the only reason they come.

But Roundup time or not, pot isn't welcome in Pendleton. Unlike big-city Oregon, Pendleton police enforce drug laws aggressively.  As Parley Pearce, owner of Hamley & Co., a Western store noted for its saddles, told the Portland Oregonian,  "It's not so much that I oppose personal choice.  It's just that I know that people who make good personal choices end up paying for those who make bad choices."

*********** The Washington Post devoted a story supposedly investigating the fact that Scott Walker dropped out of college in the middle of his senior year.

To say the least, it stirred up the readers.    The last time I checked there were well over 5,000 comments, and 24 hours after the story was published they were still coming in faster than I could read them.

About a third of them named highly successful people from George Washington to Henry Ford to Bill Gates who never finished college. 

Another third questioned when they could expect to read a similar story on the as yet unreported college record of Our Current President.

A tiny sampling...
*** Absolutely astounding. The WaPo investigates a conservative's college records and yet we have yet to see the socialist president's transcripts, even after 6 years!

*** And where does this story begin ? Is it against the law to drop out of college ? I see some progressive fear between the lines. If this is suppose to be some deal breaker, well good luck with that. In the meantime since you find the college years of a potential candidate interesting, how about finding Obamas transcripts from Occidental, Columbia and Harvard. We have never been able to witness how smart he was.
*** If Obama had only been vetted half as hard as conservative candidates, maybe we would have known we were putting a community organizing, racist, Muslim sympathizer into office.

*** Bill Clinton is humping underage hookers at private orgies on a secret island with a pedophile... but the media isn't interested in that.

*** Let's see. Walker left college to work in the real world.  Obama snorted coke in college, kept going to school as long as he could, and then hid out from the real world as a law prof.. lol

*** Did he own any dogs?  
Did he have any black friends?  
Was he kind to his mother?
Does he now or did he ever use "Just for Men"?

*** WaPo is afraid of a match up between a young guy with a track record of keeping his campaign promises and getting things done for the taxpayer and a old, dishonest failure of a white lady Hillary Clinton.  If this is the worst they can turn up on Walker, Hillary shouldn't come out of rehab.

*** Thank you for this hard hitting article about Barack Obama's mysterious transfer from Occidental to Columbia and how he was given a waiver from the Classics core all Columbia students were required to complete as freshmen and juniors because he enrolled as a foreign exchange student from Indonesia with the help of an Arab businessman....oh wait, that article will never appear in the WaPo.

*** How does this compare with multiple allegations of being a rapist? If a serial sexual harasser, possible rapist, can become president, I am thinking that Walker will be okay.

*** WPO your bias is showing- again! Your article on Walker is silly. The Democratic Party spent millions trying to smear Walker and he beat them and their ridiculous candidates bloody in a deep blue state. You would have more credibility if you showed the tiniest interest in Obama's college and law school back ground including but not limited to : where are his transcripts, who paid for his college and law school education, has he ever published an article for Harvard Law Review? Why did his publicist claim he was born in Kenya? Did he apply at Columbia as a foreign exchange student? Come on WPO answer the questions and maybe we can take your interest in Walker as something more than partisan sniping.

*** Geez Louise, that's more words reported here in one article than all the words reported on Obama's college days in the last 8 years.. At least they remember him and acknowledge seeing him in class. I don't remember many stories here featuring Barry's classmates.

*** Walker, when he was 15 years old, threw to second base instead of first, in an attempt to get the lead runner. There were two outs.
Shouldn't he have thrown to first? Why didn't he?


*********** Jerry Tarkanian's gone now, but the truth is I've missed him for quite some time.  There's something about the American character that makes us like certain outlaw types, and Tark the Shark epitomized the sports version of  the lovable rogue.

Interesting that Tark, who tended to be sarcastic rather than jovial, and tended to put some rather unlovable characters out on the court, is remembered fondly, in a way that Bill Belichick never will be.


*********** Ed Sabol, founder of NFL: Films, died Monday.  Mr. Sabol was 98. He started out with a motion picture camera gin him as a present, filming his son, Steve's games at the Haverford School, outside Philadelphia.  If you can call this a connection, The Haverford School was in our league.  I was four or five years ahead of Steve, though, so it's highly doubtful that any action footage of me made it into the family archives.


Several years ago, my son and I were given a tour of the NFL Films headquarters in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, a Philadelphia suburb.  It was an eye-opener.  Believe me, nothing you can see or do - nothing you can see on TV or at an NFL game - will give you a better idea of the enormous scale and scope of the NFL than a look inside NFL Films.  Without NFL Films and the job it did conveying the image of The League to the American public, it's doubtful that the NFL could  have grown to the point where now more than 100 million people will watch a Super Bowl.

nfl films sign nfl films studio nfl films board games
The Face of the NFL is  hidden away, off the beaten path
The control panel, where  on a football  Sunday every NFL game is monitored (and recorded)
The halls of the building contain so much football memorabilia that the place is like a museum; on display  in this room, from the days before Madden,  is just about every football board game ever invented

************ I doubt that I'll be going to see a new British movie called "Kingman: The Secret Service," but I read a preview with some interest.

Jan Yamato in The Daily Beast describes one of the characters, a "supervillain" named Valentine:

Valentine is a disillusioned eco-philanthropist with a drastic plan to solve overpopulation: First, give free cellphones to the masses. Next, trigger a homicide-inducing subliminal frequency from the safety of a mountaintop bunker and sit back and watch as the population exterminates itself.

I think Valentine may be onto something.

Resisting the temptation to make some tasteless crack about Obamaphone-aided genocide,  I'd love to ask this Valentine  guy if there's some way his device can be made a bit more specific.  What I have in mind is being able to zap the a**hole who holds a full-volume conversation in a public place; or the one who crosses the street, phone to ear,  totally oblivious to oncoming traffic, which he expects to come to a halt for him;  or  the guy in the lane ahead of you who speeds up and slows down aimlessly because he's on the phone.  (In the latter case, we'd probably have to figure out a way to delay the effect until the guy's off the highway.)

Earthquake Enyart*********** He was a great linebacker and such a horse of a fullback in Dee Andros' feared Power T attack that his teammates called him "Buff," for Buffalo.  But to football fans all over the country, he was known by the name given him by his school's sports information director: "Earthquake."

Bill "Earthquake" Enyart was such a stud that his quarterback, Steve Preece, recalling the days before coaches sent in the plays, said, "He ws the greatest default for a quarterback calling plays you'd ever seen, because if you couldn't think of anything else to do, you'd just hand it to him and he was always good for five yards."

In one of the greatest wins in Oregon State history, when the "Giant Killers" upset Number One USC (featuring a running back named O.J. Simpson), Bill Enyart rushed for 135 yards as OSU beat the Trojans, 3-0.

He was a first-team All-American in 1968, when he carried 293 times for 1304 yards.  Those 293 carries, in the Beavers' 10-game schedule, worked out to 29 carries a game.  In 24-21 win over Utah, he carried 50 times (still a school record) for 299 yards (also still a school record). The Beavers finished 1968  7-3, losing to Iowa and Kentucky by one point each and to USC by four points.

Bill Enyart was drafted in the second round of the 1969 draft by the Buffalo Bills,  and played two season with Buffalo and one with Oakland, but he was slowed by injuries most of the way and retired after three seasons.

Coach Andros, a World War II Marine who played college football for Bud Wlkinson at Oklahoma, ran a hard-nosed offense perfectly suited for the kind of kids that came out of Oregon's logging and mill towns and its farm and cow country, and Bill Enyart  was the cover boy of his book on the Power T.

A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Bill "Earthquake" Enyart died Tuesday.  He was 67.

*********** Listen to Harvard Law Professor Jeannie Suk, describing the precious flowers now taking up valuable space in our academic institutions (bear in mind that many of these same easily-traumatized students will argue passionately that women are capable of serving in combat):

Students seem more anxious about classroom discussion, and about approaching the law of sexual violence in particular, than they have ever been in my eight years as a law professor. Student organizations representing women's interests now routinely advise students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class discussions that focus on the law of sexual violence, and which might therefore be traumatic.  These organizations also ask criminal-law teachers to warn their classes that the rape law unit might "trigger" traumatic memories. Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well. One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word "violate" in class - as in "Does this conduct violate the law?" - because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress.

First printed in newyorker.com on December 15, reprinted in the Wall Street Journal, December 24

*************** Bryn Mawr College, a prominent all-female college outside Philadelphia, is really in a quandary. It was decided that it will admit biological males so long as they "identify" as females.  But at the same time, it will not admit biological females who identify as males. 

Sure wish they'd make up their minds.  We're running out of pronouns.


Xavier with shield************  It was almost 13 years ago, at my clinic in Baltimore, that I asked  Xavier Underwood if he'd demonstrate a youth blocking shield I was selling at the time. Xavier, son of coach Dwayne Pierce and his wife, Dr. Darlene Underwood, of Washington, DC was happy to oblige.

Over the years, my wife and I have become friends  with Dwayne and Darlene and their kids, and we always look forward to seeing them at my Durham clinic. Darlene has roots in that area - she's a Wake Forest grad - and for years they've made it a point to arrange a trip to North Carolina to coincide with my clinic -  followed always by a get-together at my daughter's and son-in-law's place.

In the meantime, Xavier, their oldest,  has grown into an impressive young man, currently hard at work helping lay the groundwork for the anticipated presidential campaign of Dr. Ben Carson.  Recently, through the good offices of conservative radio talk show host Armstrong Williams, Xavier (on the left in the photo below) and Charlton Woodyard II of the Washington Times had the honor of a private meeting with Justice Clarence Thomas in his chambers.

Justice Thomas

*********** The Wisdom of the Elders...  Bobby Dodd on defensive penetration

Penetration cuts down on pursuit: Every step of penetration cuts down two steps of pursuit. It is basically more logical to play at the line of scrimmage, and to penetrate just enough to give you a change of pace. You will have to come in with penetration where the down and distance require it.

If you are to carry through with the axiom of pursuit, you must keep penetration to a minimum. You do not want to play for the "fourth and ten" - you are playing for the fourth with two or three yards to go for a first down.

A team that tries to stop the offense for no gain each time is leaving themselves open for the long gain.

Coach Dodd enjoyed a fabulous career at Georgia Tech.  The quote is from his book,
"Bobby Dodd on Football "

american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 10,  2015-   "Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral laws are written on the table of eternity."  Lord Acton

*********** Dad,

As you know, I've never been a big Terrell Owens fan. Despite his undeniable talent, he seemed like a me-first guy who was more than happy to throw his teammates under the bus. But my perception changed after seeing him here in Melbourne and talking with him on our radio show.

TO was brought over (for a fee) by Corey McKernan, an ex-Australian Rules Football star who now owns a company that takes Australian sports fans to big American sporting events like the Masters and the Super Bowl. TO came over for the Australian football Grand Final (championship) in October and came back for Corey's massive Super Bowl party.

I didn't meet TO, but did interview him on radio for 10-15 minutes; he was engaging, honest, articulate and most interesting of all, expressed some regret for his past actions. Over the course of three days here leading up to the Super Bowl, TO did plenty of TV and radio, met a number of Aussie Rules players and even participated in a charity touch football game, which as you might expect, he dominated.

As I said, I didn't meet him, but everyone I talked to said he was a pleasure to be around, and displayed none of that arrogant behavior that we saw during his time in the NFL. And by the way, he is in great shape and still looks like he could play.

Love, Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia

*********** Dean Smith was the sort of person whose death brings different memories to different people.

For our family, the memories take us back to the 1970s.

Those were different times - three TV stations in every town, plus, in larger cities, maybe an independent station or two.  In the latter case, they were often "UHF" channels, unavailable unless you had a special UHF antenna and tuner.  There were a few cable systems, but they were known then as CATV (for Community Antenna TV) systems, and they existed only to provide reception in remote, mountainous places like Cumberland, Maryland and Pottsville, Pennsylvania, where you couldn't pull in over-the-air signals with conventional rooftop antennas.

That was by way of explaining that there was no ESPN, not to mention any Big Ten Network.

Unlike nowadays, when the list of college football games on TV takes up a quarter of a page in Saturday morning's sports section, there was one - ONE - college football Game of the Week.

And unlike today's college basketball, which offers a minimum of a half-dozen games on TV every week night, there was one game on Saturday.

But for those of us who lived in ACC Country, there was one more.  During the week.  The ACC Game of the Week.

We were fortunate enough to live in ACC Country - Hagerstown, Maryland - and the ACC Game of the Week was a major family event. 

To me, allowing for the possibility that all the fond memories attached to it may be a factor, there will never be any college basketball better than the ACC basketball in those days.

The ACC was good long before then, but the weekly TV show really helped to develop the mystique that to some extent still surrounds it.  And nothing was more representative of that mystique than the North Carolina Tar Heels, and the exciting brand of basketball they played.

Year after year, they put great basketball players on the floor.  They epitomized team play.  They could run, and they could slow it down.  Oh, could they slow it down. 

In those days, the Boston Celtics dominated the NBA, and once they had a game under control, their coach, Red Auerbach, would light up a cigar.  On the bench.  (Nowadays he'd get thrown out of the arena.)

Similarly, for those watching a North Carolina game, the signal to one and all that the game was as good as in the bag for the Tar Heels was when they went into their four-corner offense.  That, as much as anything, was Dean Smith's trademark.

I've read a few tributes to Coach Smith in which the four corners was mentioned in less than complimentary terms, dismissed as just a stall, and if all you've ever known has been basketball-with-a-shot-clock you mightn't appreciate it.  But to those who watched it in action, it was a marvel - a combination of masterful ball-handling and dribbling and passing and the deadly free throw shooting it led to that symbolized superior coaching.  It was Dean Smith at his best.

Dean Smith's coach at Kansas was Phog Allen.  And Phog Allen's coach at Kansas was Dr. James Naismith.  We didn't just lose a great coach.  We lost a direct link to the founder of the game.

*********** Bob Barton, a fellow Yalie (Class of 1957), is retired now, but as a longtime sports reporter and editor of the New Haven Register, he probably knows more about Yale football though the years than any man alive.

In brief,  Bob and I have become a committee of two whose mission is to get one of Yale's new residential colleges named for Levi Jackson.

To explain -  Yale College (the undergraduate division of the university) is divided into twelve "residential colleges" which operate almost as mini-colleges.

Even before arriving at Yale, students are assigned arbitrarily to one of the colleges, where they will live and eat most of their meals for their entire four years. (It is highly unusual for a student admitted to Yale not to graduate in four years, and it is highly unusual to live off-campus.  Fraternities exist as places to party, but no one lives there.)  Each college has a library, a dining room, a game room and a snack bar, and assorted other amenities.  There is intramural competition among the colleges in a varsity of sports, including, in my time, tackle football.  (When I was injured my senior year, coaching our college team was my first experience as a football coach.  I was hooked.) A master (who, I imagine, could be female as easily as male) resides in each college and in addition to his/her usual faculty duties, acts as a sort of combination college president and dean. 

Yale's residential college system was made possible by a grant in 1933 from Edward Harkness, a very wealthy alumnus who in his lifetime donated more than $2 billion (in today's dollars) to numerous causes.  The colleges were designed to emulate those at Oxford and Cambridge, where individual colleges operate independently of one another and to a great extent of the universities themselves.

One significant way in which Yale's system differs from those at Oxford and Cambridge is that Yale's colleges do not operate independently of the larger university.  All classes are taught in university classrooms by university faculty and are open to any student from any residential college.  In reality, the college system provides a nice balance between being a part of a large university and getting to know a wide variety of people, and at the same time enjoying the greater intimacy of a small college.  In such an environment, I think it would be less likely for a student in need of help to fall through any cracks.

The 12 Colleges have been named for Yale's founders, presidents and illustrious alumni, as well as a few  Connecticut governors from long ago, but to the school's credit, although it expects to spend $500 million to build the two new colleges, there has never been even the slightest thought give to naming one for a donor.

In contention to name the new colleges, there are far too many illustrious alumni to name, but given  that every college so far has been named for a white male, and given Yale's extreme consciousness of its elitist past, it would seem to me that they'd at least take a serious look at females or (a phrase I hate) people "of color."

The odds against a female are low. Given that Yale's first class including women didn't graduate until 1973, it's not likely that there are yet any alumnae ("alumna" is Latin for a female graduate, and "alumnae" denotes more than one) who qualify on the basis of (1) achievement and (2) being dead. (The latter qualification would almost eliminate the chances that the recipient would do anything to embarrass the university after being selected.)

This, then, brings us to a person "of color."  I would be proud to nominate Dr. Benjamin Carson, of the Class of 1973, but fortunately, Dr. Carson is still very much with us.

That's where Levi Jackson comes in:

Connecticut native, raised in Branford

Local, a graduate of New Haven's Hillhouse High School

First black man to play football at Yale

Elected captain of the Yale football team, 1949

First black executive of Ford Motor Company

Instrumental in forming Ford's Minority Dealership Training Program

Member President's Commission on White House Fellowships under President Lyndon B. Johnson

Member of Selective Service Appeals Board under President Richard NIxon

Ford's Man of the Year, 1968

Retired as Vice-President of Ford after 32 years

1987 Walter Camp Man of the Year Award

Writes Bob,

If Levi Jackson College should ever come to pass, a prominent place should be given to a portrait of Reggie Root, his coach at Hillhouse and later a member of Howie Odell's Yale staff. "That man was my angel," Levi told said of Root. It was Reggie who persuaded Levi, who was taking the standard high school curriculum, to switch over to the college prep curriculum, which kept him at Hillhouse an extra season. Reggie's move to the Yale staff doubtless made Levi more comfortable about choosing Yale (over Cornell and Brown, if one can believe the papers of the day).  When Odell went out to Washington, taking some aides including Root with him, Levi wanted to transfer. (Imagine a Husky backfield with Don Heinrich, Levi and Hugh McElhenny!) Reggie talked Levi into staying at Yale. Otherwise, who knows when we'd ever have had a black captain?

Levi Jackson on fence

Wrote the late William N. Wallace, a Yale graduate who would go on to become a sportswriter for the New York Times,

"I went on to become a sportswriter in New York and in future years dealt with countless stories that involved race, not all of them pleasant. There were more 'firsts', then numbers, percentages, countless counting of blacks and whites, alsong with the inevitable playing of various race cards.

"My finest racial moment had been back at Yale the time that no one gave white or black consideration when it came to Levi Jackson sitting on the Yale fence for the routine captain's photograph, the white Y on the blue jersey over his human body."





*********** In case you're not aware of the fuss being stirred up by the upcoming visit of Israel's president, Benjamin Netanyahu -

He's been invited here, against the wishes of Our President, to address our Congress about danger of trusting Iran, something Our President appears all too willing to do. See, he thinks that he alone has the secret to making Iran behave.

Meanwhile, Iran continues getting closer and closer to producing a nuclear bomb, something that will pose a mortal threat not only to nearby Israel, but to Western Europe and, ultimately, the Old USA.

If you have any doubt about what we're dealing with in Iran, consider its involvement in the real-life spy novel unfolding in Argentina.  It seems that a couple of weeks ago, a government prosecutor named Alberto Nisman was found dead in his apartment, the night before he was scheduled to testify before the country's congress about secret dealings between the country's president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and Iran.

Mr. Nisman was expected to accuse Mrs. Kirchner of arranging to lift international arrest warrants for Iranian officials wanted in the 1994 bombing of an Argentine synagogue that killed 85 people.  In exchange, Iran would give the depressed Argentine economy a boost by providing it with oil and buying large quantities of Argentine grain.  

Mr. Nisman's death was at first dismissed as a suicide, but the circumstances - a single bullet hole in the middle of his forehead - have made murder a more likely explanation.   

And now, just a few days ago, investigators found in his apartment a document that would have called for the arrest of Mrs. Kirchner and the country's foreign minister. 

Maybe Iran is involved.  Maybe not.   This is dirty, nasty stuff - something the Iranians are experts at.  It shouldn't be necessary for Mr. Netanyahu to have to come here to tell us this. But then…


*********** I'm informed by my "sources" that the proposal in front of the NFHS to eliminate the free blocking zone didn't even come up for a vote, which means it goes away for another year.

But believe me,  it's not going to go away for good, and we've got to be vigilant.  It's got defensive guys on its side,  and they're using the safety argument
(got to protect their kids' legs, don't you know).

For sure, one hangup is going to be how they can reconcile making the offensive linemen hit higher without requiring the same of defensive linemen.  I mean, we have to protect the legs of players on both sides of the line, don't we?   That would suit any double winger just fine - no more of those a**holes trying to submarine (which, it seems to me, is as dangerous as a low block thrown from short  range). 

Once that point is raised, the defensive people will shut up.  If it's not, and the rule passes, it'll ruin the game.

*********** Governor Bobby Jindal of Lousiana rebutted Our President's claim that to the effect that Christians are no ones to be pointing fingers at ISIS (or "ISIL," as he prefers to call them, citing atrocities committed in the name of Chrisitianity.  Except that those atrocities took place hundreds of years ago...

“It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast,” Jindal said. “Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

*********** From the Vancouver (Washington) Columbian…

A Vancouver man was sentenced Friday to 17 months in prison for torching a Vancouver home he shared with his former domestic partner of 16 years.

Timothy Meagher, 58, used gasoline to start the fire at 6208 NE Wilding Road on June 13 soon after his former partner, James L. Hansen, ended their commitment and asked Meagher to move out of their house.

Meagher's attorney, George Marlton, said Friday that the intentional fire was a crime of passion sparked by Meagher's belief that Hansen was having an affair with a woman.

*********** According to Sports Business Journal, fewer underclassmen are declaring themselves eligible for the NFL draft...

The number of college football underclassmen declaring for the NFL draft went down this year, reversing a five-year trend, and talent experts credit better education and a new NFL grading system for the drop.

Seventy-four players were granted special eligibility for the NFL draft, down 24.5 percent from a record high of 98 in 2014. Before that, the number had been climbing steadily since 2009, when 46 players with college eligibility declared for the draft (see chart).

“Hopefully, 2014 was a one-year anomaly and the number in 2015 will begin a trend back to the historical averages,” said Rich McKay, Atlanta Falcons president and CEO and the chairman of the NFL Competition Committee.

Last year McKay decried the record number as “surprising” and “disappointing.” Thirty-six of those 98 players were not drafted.

McKay, NFL agents and others said that the new NFL grading system, which went into effect last year, may have something to do with the drop.

Previously, college underclassmen who requested a draft grade from the NFL were given one of five grades:
* Potential first-rounder.
* Potential second-rounder.
* Potential third-rounder.
* Potential fourth- through seventh-rounder.
* Projected free agent.

The new NFL evaluation system has only three grades:
* Ability of potential first-rounder.
* Ability of potential second-rounder.
* Recommendation to remain in school.

In addition to the new grading system, the NFL also implemented a limit on the number of grades a school could request. In the past, the number of requests was unlimited. This past year, once a college had five players reviewed by the NFL’s College Advisory Committee, the school had to ask permission to get additional reviews. It was not clear how often such permission was granted.

McKay said the new rules appear to have helped reduce the number of early entrants. “That said, it’s only been one year with these modifications,” he said.

Jeff “Hawk” Hawkins, University of Oregon director of football operations, said he worried at first that the new system might send the wrong message to underclassmen not projected as first- or second-rounders.

“I was afraid … the kids would think, ‘Well, I’ll go in the third [round],” Hawkins said. “I was really concerned that they would read between the lines when they shouldn’t.”

Hawkins said he was pleasantly surprised by the numbers and said that the new grading system seems to have had an effect.

Todd McShay, ESPN NFL draft analyst, said both the new grading system and the limit on evaluations may have kept the number down. “I think the combination of the two things was very smart,” he said.

The large number of juniors and redshirt sophomores declaring last year wasn’t due to underclassmen trying to take advantage of a weak class, McShay said. “This 2014 rookie class is one of the better rookie classes — I would say — in a decade.”

McShay noted that the number of underclassmen declaring for the draft took a jump after the negotiation of the 2011 collective-bargaining agreement, which instituted a new rookie pay system. Those new rules cut the amount of money that high first-rounders could make by about half.

Nowadays, agents are telling draft prospects that it is all about getting the second contract, where the real money can be made. If players come out one or two years early, they are closer to that second contract.

“The problem we are having is guys are coming out before they are ready,” McShay said. “And it doesn’t matter if you are closer to it, because ‘it’ (the second contract) doesn’t exist.”

Gil Brandt, a draft analyst for NFL.com, who makes the decision on which players are invited to the draft, said he thinks the reason fewer underclassmen came out this year is because college coaches did a better job of telling players about the underclassmen who declared last year but were not drafted.

While the number of underclassmen who have declared for the draft has gone up in recent years, the number who are actually drafted has not, said Lal Heneghan, a partner with Cornerstone Sports Consulting, which provides education about the NFL to college football players at 12 Division I schools, including Alabama and Florida State.

Universities are spending more time educating players about the pitfalls of declaring early, including the possibility of going undrafted, Heneghan said. The decrease in the number of underclassmen declaring could mean those players are going to stay in school and develop both as football players and individuals, Heneghan said.

If so, Heneghan said, “that is a good thing.”

*********** Don't know whether you've noticed yet, but evidently the point of Bud's latest ad campaign ("It's brewed for drinking - not dissecting") is  to give people who drink Budweiser a way to explain to their craft-beer-snob friends why they're still drinking an "industrial" beer.  Tsk, tsk.  Somebody should have told the Bud people that Pabst Blue Ribbon beat them to the punch. PBR drinkers feel no need to justify their choice - they're almost defiant in their loyalty to their plain old white-bread beer. And unlike Bud, Pabst didn't have to go out and blow $4.5 million on a Super Bowl spot to make that happen.


You simply MUST read this column, first published  back in December for the Portland Tribune. It was written  by Dr. Ed Riley, a physician and professor of anesthesiology at Stanford and the father of a high school football player.  Dr. Riley is the younger brother of former Oregon State and now-Nebraska head coach Mike Riley.  The Riley boys' father, Bud, was a long-time college assistant coach.

My son’s high school football team finished 1-9 this year, and I wouldn’t be prouder of this team if they had gone undefeated.

They made a game of it each Friday night, and while they often were outnumbered and overmatched, they never were outplayed. My son and his teammates have learned more about hard work, sportsmanship and resilience on the football field than anywhere else, and these lessons will make them better men.

But as much as I enjoy the tradition of high school football, I worry about its future.

My son’s school has nearly 2,000 students, but his team is lucky to suit up 20 players for a varsity game. There are a lot more young men who want to play, but whose parents won’t let them. Their parents think the risk of brain injury outweighs the benefits of playing.

I understand the concerns and share them, but I have concluded those concerns are misplaced. My children are the most important part of my life. I am a widower, and when my son wanted to play football his freshman year, every mom and my in-laws chastised me for considering it. Even President Obama wondered whether he’d let his theoretical son play.

I’m a physician and medical researcher at Stanford, and I only decided to let my son play after reviewing the medical research.

The study that best elucidates the risk of football-related brain injury comes from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDCP officials studied 3,439 former National Football League players with at least five years of pension-credited playing seasons between 1959 and 1988.

This is arguably the highest-risk group of players available for study. Among these players, the incidence of neurodegenerative disease is three times higher than in the general population. However, the risk of death from neurodegenerative disease was relatively low in both groups: 3 percent in NFL players, and 1 percent in the general population. The risk associated with a long NFL career is not insignificant but remains small.

The high-profile research that is regularly cited as connecting the dots between football-related concussions and dementia in NFL players lacks sufficient data to establish a causal link. Most of the cases considered focus on former NFL players involved in a lot of high-risk behavior other than football, and none of these studies included a control group. Research like this is typically filed away as “interesting, but we need better data.”

The key here is that high school football is not the NFL. The Mayo Clinic found that the risk of high school football players developing degenerative neurological diseases later in life is no greater than if they had been in the band, glee club or choir.

The data suggests that the normal life of adolescents puts them at risk for brain injury all the time. What would be the alternatives to my son playing football? Sports such as soccer, skiing, rock climbing or lacrosse have similar risk profiles to high school football.

My late wife rode horses competitively growing up. As an anesthesiologist at a hospital that treats more horse-related trauma accidents than any other in the country, I’m glad my son went with football.

I believe the benefits of playing high school football are worth the risks. Football is an equal-opportunity sport. All different types of athletes make up a football team, the skills needed don’t require years of practice, and there is no real advantage for kids with private coaches. A healthy, average athlete who shows up to all the team’s practice sessions and attends off-season weight training can usually find a spot on the team.

My son’s teammates are from the whole socioeconomic and racial spectrum. The only reason that his team was able to make a contest out of each game, despite that they had so few players to work with, is that the boys learned how to build on what they had in common instead of focusing on their differences.

As Jack Kemp, the former pro quarterback and congressman, once said, “The huddle is color-blind.” In an increasingly diverse world, opportunities to learn how to work together with a wide range of people who start out on equal footing should not be lightly dismissed.

When I sit in the stands, I worry when my 160-pound son lines up on the front line of the kick return team, but that is only slightly less than I worry when I sit in the passenger seat as he merges onto the highway. Adolescence is a scary time for parents.

To all you parents who are keeping your sons from playing football, I say, “Let them play.” They are just as safe on the football field as they are in most of the other sports and activities we regard as a necessary part of a healthy adolescence. You can save money on expensive club sports and specialty coaches, and your sons will develop skills that will serve them and the rest of us well.


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 6,  2015-   "If you think you undertand God, it is not God."    St. Augustine

*********** Only in San Francisco North, aka Seattle:

according to an AP Story:

Vu Le a 33-year-old Vietnamese immigrant who runs a Seattle nonprofit, knew nothing about professional sports when he started cheering for the Seahawks during the team's Super Bowl run last year. On his blog, he tried to draw lessons from the loss for the nonprofit world, spelling out what he called Seattle's "stages of grief":

"Denial, Righteous Anger, Hot Yoga, Organic Juice Cleanse, Bargaining at a Farmer's Market, Composting, Existential Despair, Biking to Happy Hour, and Acceptance - of Marijuana."

************  I spent most of National Letter of Intent Signing Day watching ESPNU during the day, and then the Pac-12 Network in the evening, with a few short side trips to the Longhorn Network and SEC Channel.  A few observations…

* Sure looks as if Texas has signed some serious defensive talent.

* Everybody, as usual,  got the players they wanted.  Kyle Whittingham of Utah, though, was refreshingly frank.  He said that they landed a lot of really good Utah kids, but admitted that they lost a few that they wanted.

* The colleges who signed all those blue-chippers whose highly-orchestrated signings we witnessed are going to have their hands full "un-recruiting" them, bringing them down to earth in time to realize that they're actually going to have to compete for a position.

* There are no signs of any let-down in the inventiveness of mothers in naming their sons.

* I have ridiculed him in the past, and rightly so, but Rick Neuheisel, on the Pac-12 Network, does a really good job

* I find myself actually beginning to like (gasp) a rapper.  I'm talking about Snoop Dogg, aka Calvin Broadus, whose son, Cordell Broadus, despite his father's professed love for USC,  signed with UCLA.   The kid, a standout wide receiver at Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High, handled himself quite well on-camera and was appropriately  complimentary and appreciative of his parents and coaches.  Dad came on very briefly but in no way attempted to draw attention to himself.  Later, I watched a 30-for-30-type show called "Snoop and Son," and was mildly shocked as I listened to Snoop supporting this son's coach after Cordell was suspended for a game for missing a practice without notifying the coach.  (For what it's worth, even without Cordell, BIshop Gorman, a national power, won, 63-0.) Mr. Dogg  (I do  wonder what the other kids on the team call Cordell's dad) also said quite a few things about the importance of academics relative to football, and the fact that football doesn't last forever.  Even if he were insincere, what he said could still make a difference in the lives of a lot of young kids.

* Josh Montgomery of Berwick, Louisiana sent me a text with an article about a receiver named Daylon Charlot, of Patterson, Louisiana whom he'd coached as an 8th-grader.  The kid had signed with Alabama.  I expressed surprise at the idea of a Louisiana kid bypassing LSU, and he said with regret (he's a big LSU fan) that Louisiana kids don't seem to have the same intense sense of loyalty they once did.  And then I happened to turn on the Pac-12 Network and listen to Rich Rodriguez talking about the success they'd had in Louisiana, where, he said, "the high school football is very, very good."  And I started checking the list of signees in the Pac-12, a conference more than 1,000 miles away,  and damned if I didn't see at least 10 Louisiana kids!  Hey - there's plenty of states that don't even produce that many Divison I signees total!  I'd have to say that in terms of recruiting, Louisiana has become a mini-Texas, and competition for kids has blown away a lot of kids' loyalty to LSU.

* I saw the name "Frank Buncom IV" on Stanford's list of signees, and I immediately headed for the computer and Google. This had to be the grandson of THE Frank Buncom, who I remember playing for the Chargers and Bengals, and who died while still an active player.  In my dealings years ago with a State College, Pennsylvania lawyer named Bob Mitinger, who had played with the Chargers in the AFL, I happened to mention Frank Buncom, and Mitinger went on and on about what a great teammate he was.  And I worked with Ernie Wright, another teammate of Frank Buncom's with both the Chargers and the Bengals.  He and Frank Buncom were roommates, and he died in his sleep while Ernie was in the room.    (His death was caused by a pulmonary embolism - a blood clot that had travelled from his knee, injured a week previously, to his lungs.)   He was just 29,  and his son, Frank III, was just seven weeks old.  Now his grandson, Frank Buncom IV, heads for Stanford.  I can't imagine that Stanford coach David Shaw, who comes from an illustrious San Diego family, wouldn't know the story of his recruit's grandfather.  A beautiful story, especially appropriate for Black History Month.



*********** Coach,
I googled ‘rugby style football tackling’ and found this Pete Carroll video on teaching tackling; the point of which is taking the head out of the game.  Some good stuff. (comforting to see NFL coaches actually teaching tackling.  Leading up to the game Sunday it makes me want to pull for the Seahawks even more – rather than the rules/integrity squeezing ‘Infla-triots’ hah!
The video made me think of you with your ‘Safer and Surer Tackling’ video I got from you years ago.
Hope you are well
Coach Emory Latta
Dothan, Alabama

Hi Coach,

We've received the Seahawks' video and looked at it, and although the NFL and the Seahawks are really pushing it, we have rejected it on the grounds that

(1) it's basically arm tackling

(2) we don't want our players ever to leave their feet

(3) we insist on heads up at all times - and I see heads going down in the video.

(Not to mention the fact that those Seahawks DBs didn't do such a great job Sunday when Edelman, Amendola, Vereen and Grontkowski got loose in the secondary after catching Brady's dinks and dunks.)

We don't have any plans to change from the way we've taught tackling for years:  "Eyes to the skies, guys"

*********** If an NFL player scores a touchdown and then "celebrates" in the end zone by pretending to defecate an Official NFL football and nobody sees it on TV… does it really happen?

The Seahawks' Doug Baldwin scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl and shortly afterward, the referee announced that Seattle was being penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.  "What did he do?" we asked.

After the TV replay showed Baldwin spinning the ball, we looked at each other and asked, "For that he gets 15 yards?"

Pretty severe, we thought.  What we heard from the announcers - essentially nothing - didn't do anything to enlighten us any further.

Not until a couple of days later, when videos shot by fans in the stands began to surface, did it become known what Baldwin had done.

Let's just say that if what Baldwin was penalized for had been given the treatment it deserved - if the NBC director hadn't cut to another camera and instructed the announcers not to comment - the NFL and the creeps that inhabit it, specifically the Seahawks, would have been exposed once and for all for the lowlifes that they are.

If you need to see what I'm talking about, Google "Doug Baldwin Celebrates."  Or, to cut right to the chase, "Doug Baldwin Takes a Crap."

It's that bad.   It's vulgar.    It's creepy. 

In the biggest sports event on the planet,  Baldwin defiled the event,  not to mention the sport that makes him rich, by simulating the act of taking a dump that produced - lying right there on the ground beneath him - a football.

But, thanks to NBC's silencing of the act, it might as well not have happened.

And there's been very little comment on it in the national media.

Nothing in the Seattle papers, of course. Figuratively, at least, they're owned by the Seahawks.

Baldwin at first was his defiant, angry self, implying that the gesture was aimed at someone whom he chose not to disclose.  Later, he suggested it was directed at some unnamed group.

Then, a few days later, totally unremorseful, he said that actually he was just havin' fun. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Said his teammates didn't have a problem with it.  (He didn't say what they thought about kicking off to the Patriots from 15 yards farther away, with the Super Bowl winnings on the line.)

Well, if that's really true, and no one on that team has a problem with it, then to hell with them all.  A plague on them.

Me?  If I'd known what he did at the time, I'd have either turned off the set in disgust, or I'd have pulled hard for the Patriots to beat those lowlifes.

But then, on second and goal from the one, Carroll would have decided to give the ball to Lynch.


***********  I love Stanford, and I admire what they've done to ascend to the top levels of college football without seemingly compromising their high standards.

And then I consider the actions of Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin, and I go, hmmmm.

***********  Quick - get to an intellectual property lawyer and trademark "the simulated act of defecation of a football in the end zone of a football field."

Knowing the Seahawks, they'e already beaten  you to it.  And next, at the winter meetings, they'll get the 31 other teams to exempt their "special celebration" from a penalty, and voila! - they've got their own patented version of the Lambeau Leap:

The Seahawk Stool.

*********** Where are the coaches in all this? Rush Limbaugh asked.

Good question.

Is there even one high school coach in a hundred who would let a kid get away with grabbing his crotch?  Who wouldn't tell him to sit down? Is there one who wouldn't tell a kid who pretended to crap on the field that he was done for the night?

If so, he's coaching at the wrong level.  Maybe his football knowledge isn't enough to get him to the NFL, but in terms of morals and ethics and proper conduct in a civil society - he's good to go.

As Pete Carroll has shown, success in the NFL seems to come from being able to tolerate - enable, even -  coarse behavior. 

For what it's worth, though, I'll bet Pete Carroll is USA Football Heads-Up certified.  So all you Moms out there - you won't have to worry about your son learning any bad behavior while he's on Coach Carroll's team.

*********** What a POS operation the NFL is. 

The artificial crowd noise that the Falcons have now admitted to having played over their loudspeakers when visiting teams were in their huddles?  No big deal.

Likewise, expect nothing to come from all the noise about the possibility that the Patriots may have been cheating by using softer, easier to throw and catch, footballs (I refuse to go for the easy joke by saying "balls").

*********** Doug Baldwin was fined $11,000 for Defegate - his unbelievably crude, coarse antics in the Super Bowl.   I bet that hurt.  He was signed last spring to a  three-year contract  worth some $16 million. Now, I don't know the terms of the contract, but I think it's safe to say that in this past season, he "earned" at least $4 million.

Running the numbers, $11,000 works out to be .275 per cent of Baldwin's salary.

To give you an idea of the kind of effect the fine's likely to have on Baldwin, let's assume that you're a high school teacher/coach making $50,000 a year.  A fine of .275 per cent of your pay would be $137.50.  In some states, it'd cost you more than that if you forgot to buckle your seat belt. 

*********** Where's the outrage over the Patriots' Julian Edelman going back into the game despite the apparent need for him to undergo the league's concussion protocol after being hit by Kam Chancellor?

Don't you wonder how many times, back when all those guys who sued the NFL were  playing, that they did that very thing?

Don't you figure that years from now, when Edelman can't remember where he left his glasses, he'll blame it on football?

*********** Whenever there's an Islamist atrocity, the outcry goes up: "Where are all the good Muslims?"

It's as if people expect thousands of them to stand up and say, "That's not me. That's not what I stand for."

Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There's a fear of reprisals, or there's a reluctance to appear to cause a division. Or both.

So they remain silent.  And in the public's eye, they wind up being associated with the bad guys.

I see a Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch or a Doug Baldwin take a country, and I ask, where are all the good Seahawks?  Why aren't they speaking out?

For many of the same reasons, I suspect, that the good Muslims don't.

And as a result, the entire Seahawks' organization looks like a bunch of slimeballs.

*********** An interesting thing is that as the NFL becomes more and more individualistic and narcissistic, the NBA is becoming more of a team sport. (I cite San Antonio, and Atlanta as prime examples.)

That's not the only way in which the leagues are diverging.  Tell me the last time an NBA player made news for the kind of repugnant conduct that's become common among pro football players. 

*********** 1. Anytime you have to have an agent you've got half sport and half entertainment and quite often the NFL lets the entertainment part dominate.  

2. Because of media saturation the NFL to too many people is "real football"/the ultimate level of achievement.  They fail to understand the level of athletic ability in the NFL and think every team (college and high school) should be coached/game played like the NFL.  

3. They listen to/watch so much analysis on the NFL that they are (in their minds) experts on coaching.  Reality is they can't get a kid in a decent stance.  

4. Too many coaches are seduced into thinking they need a huge playbook (O or D) so they can out smart the other team failing to realize the team can't memorize let alone get good at anything in their book.  Their blocking, tackling and execution are then horrific and they wonder why the team isn't competitive. and lastly

5. To see someone show up to a press conference and "not talk" - "here not to get fined" ....whatever happened to the Price of Greatness is Responsibility?

NIck Mygas
Virginia Beach, Virginia 

*********** Michigan has eight classifications in high school football.  Catholic high schools won the state championship in seven of them.

***********  Deflategate may have deflected some of the nation's attention from away from WING BOWL,   but in Philly, at least among some elements, it's bigger than the Super Bowl.

Wing Bowl 23 tool place, as always, on the Friday before Super Bowl.  In the morning.  Early morning.

Patrick Bertoletti of Chicago ate 444 wings in 26 minutes to win, setting a new all-time Wing Bowl record, but in truth, the wing-eating part of the event is secondary to the, um, "pageantry," which starts out in the parking lot well before the gates to the Wells Fargo Center open at 5 AM (Wing Bowl was the brain child of Angelo Cataldi, a Philly morning sports talk host, who narrates it as part of his daily show on radio station WIP). Some fans pile right  in, others remain outside a little longer to finish drinking breakfast.  At 6 AM or so comes the parade of contestants.  And their entourages. I picture something on the order of  the Olympic opening ceremonies except with beer and bare bosoms.  The eating competition gets under way at 8.  In earlier years, before the organizers fully understood their clientele, they'd run out of beer by then.

I'll turn it over to Andrew Albert of philly.com

There is something uniquely haunting about seeing the Wells Fargo Center parking lot full and lively at 5:00 a.m. as it would be for a Flyers game at 5:00 p.m, nonetheless, fans piled into the parking lots to tailgate the 23rd edition of the WIP Wing Bowl.

Some began filing into the arena when the doors opened at five, but many stayed behind to adult friends (and probably beverages) in the parking lot. For those who did make their way into the home of the Flyers and Sixers, they were treated to WIP narrating their flagship event.

Molly Schuyler came into the day with the best odds (2-1), looking for a repeat of her Wing Bowl 22 title in which she crushed the all-time Wing Bowl record by eating 363 chicken wings.

"There's some security out there because it is going to be a rambunctious morning in Philadelphia," host Angelo Cataldi said at the start his 6 a.m. timeslot on WIP, blasted across the sound system in the arena.

"Only a country like America would allow a competition like this," Cataldi added. No, only a city like Philadelphia.


*********** In the obituary of Jakie Sandefer, a former Oklahoma running back and later, a wealthy and prominent oil man who contributed to the OU football program in many ways, was hidden a story that belongs in Black History Month.

By John Hoover, Tulsa World

J.D. “Jakie” Sandefer III, a beloved halfback on Bud Wilkinson’s 1956 national championship team and a friend to the program for nearly 60 years, died Tuesday night. He was 78.

“No one loved Sooner football more than Jakie Sandefer,” OU super fan and pro wrestling icon Jim Ross told the Tulsa World. “What a character (and) story teller. Loved the guy.”

Sandefer died at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston, where he and his wife, Melissa, lived. He went in with pneumonia, but it only worsened.

Former OU coach Barry Switzer said he flew to Houston to see Sandefer on Monday and said Sandefer was on a respirator. Switzer said doctors told Sandefer he could remain on the respirator indefinitely, but Sandefer replied, “‘Hell, no, take me off of it.’ He made that decision there when we were there yesterday. He said, ‘Hey, let’s say our goodbyes.’

“Lost a good friend.”

Sandefer, who came to OU from Breckenridge, Texas, became a successful oilman and prominent OU booster later in life.

During his career, Sandefer scored touchdowns rushing, receiving, returning and passing. He was on Owen Field when Notre Dame ended OU’s 47-game winning streak in 1957. Sandefer was a halfback and defensive back from 1956-58, platooning on offense behind stars like Clendon Thomas, Tommy McDonald and Prentice Gautt.

Gautt was OU’s first African-American scholarship football player, and in 1957, when the room list came out for the Sooners’ season opener at Pittsburgh and Gautt was left without a roommate, Sandefer offered to room with him. For the next two seasons, Gautt and Sandefer shared a room on road trips.

When Sandefer followed his late father into the Texas oil fields, he made a fortune. With it, he helped Switzer build a second Sooner empire by flying the coach around the country in his private jets to visit recruits, and by flying recruits into Norman.

He bought his first King Air in 1974, Switzer’s second year and first of two straight national titles. Sandefer also owned the Learjet that flew Billy Sims to Mississippi to meet Marcus Dupree in 1981.

“That plane used to fly everywhere,” Switzer said. “This plane brought in - on the same trip, they all came together - Victor Hicks, Darrell Hunt, Kenny King and (George Cumby). That’s four blue chips on one plane.”

Switzer said Sandefer used to fly him from Norman to Abilene on Thursdays during the recruiting season of 1967-68. Switzer would land, spend the evening recruiting Jack Mildren, then stay the night at Sandefer’s home and fly back the next day.

“Coach Wilkinson said one time he made a mistake by not recruiting more nationally and not taking advantage of the jet airplane,” Sandefer said. “I saw right then (in ’74) the effect that a private airplane could make on recruiting. Everyone we wanted, we got ’em.”

Sandefer is survived by his wife, two daughters, a son and several grandchildren.



From Prentice Gautt's obituary in The Oklahomoan:

When Gautt played at OU, the first- and second-team players at each position were roommates on road trips. Gautt's roommate for two years was Jakie Sandefer. "Prentice asked me to introduce him into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, and I was very honored that he asked me to induct him," Sandefer said. "My statement there was, 'Was Prentice different? Yeah, Prentice was different. He had more class than the rest of us, and he was a better student.'" -


american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 3,  2015-   "It is better to be alone than in bad company."    George Washington

*********** In a lifetime of watching football,  I can't think of anything that compares with Petey Carroll's decision to pass from the one yard line in terms of a coach taking a game away from his players. Absolutely unforgivable.

I'd venture to say that most people reading this are younger than me, which means you've got plenty more years of watching football in front of you.  And I'm willing to bet right here and now that you'll never see another call to rival it.

Surely Carroll was smart enough to have weighed the risks and rewards of that call.

He could lose his team as a result.  For one thing, there's always the possibility on any team of tension between the offense and defense. And then there's Marshawn Lynch.  He has to be thinking about whether he wants to stay.

I'm not even a Seahawks fan and I'm really pissed. Up to now, Petey has had the Seattle fans and media eating out of his hand, but the honeymoon could be over. And it was totally preventable.  

We've had "The Catch" and "The Immaculate Reception" and others, and now history awaits the christening of the most-watched bonehead play in history - Pete Carroll's inexplicable play call that cost, oh, about 110 million viewers the chance to see the most dramatic Super Bowl ending ever.  I vote for The Call.

*********** I have heard a few people talk about how noble it was for Pete Carroll to take responsibility for The Call, when in reality it was offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's call.   Give me a break.  The head coach is ultimately responsible for anything an assistant does. Show me the NFL head coach who would stand back and turn the biggest call of the season over to an assistant.   If Bevell made that call, it was with the concurrence of the head coach.  And if Pete Carroll didn't concur, and didn't overrule his assistant, then that's even worse.

*********** I once heard Woody Hayes tell a clinic that Paul Brown said the best play in football was one that went straight ahead.
And the second best play was one that went ALMOST straight ahead.

*********** Tell me that the Seahawks couldn't have made use of a Double Wing package facing a second-and-goal from the one.

*********** I was listening to some pro football analysts talking about "C-Gap runs," and it hit me - I can't remember the last time I heard anyone remotely connected with the NFL use the term "off-tackle."

*********** The Seahawks' first mistake in game management was having to use a time out getting organized after the fantastic catch by Jevon Kearse. That left them with just one time out. 

On first down, Lynch ran down to the one.  As he hit the ground, the clock read 1:01.

They could have called back-to-back plays and gone right to the line and caught the Patriots off-balance.  High schools and colleges can do it, and I suspect NFL teams are capable of doing it, too.

But they didn't.  Nevertheless, had they chosen to run, they could easily have called and gotten a play off in 20 seconds.  Any high school or college team can do that, too.  That means that if they score,  allowing for at most five seconds to run the actual play, Brady has 35 seconds to get his team in field goal position. If they don't score, allowing a couple of seconds to unpile, that means they'd have 32 or 33 seconds left to run downs three and four. Let's assume another 20 seconds to get a play in and get the ball snapped again, and maybe five seconds to run the play.  At that point, if they've scored, Brady has just eight seconds to go downfield. If they haven't scored, they call their final time out, with eight seconds left, fourth and one.

The risk, of course, is scoring on second down, leaving Brady with 35 seconds.

I, personally, would prefer that scenario.

But Carroll admitted, post-game, that he wasn't willing to run that risk.  He said, in so many words, that he preferred to "waste" second down, and then get serious on third or fourth down.

So the Seahawks fiddled and farted until the clock ran down to :26 before they snapped the ball on second down.  And threw the fateful pass.  The clock read  :24 when the ball was intercepted.

Yeah, Petey, we know, we know - you didn't want the Patriots to have any time left after you scored.  You were that sure you were going to, weren't you? 

*********** The Seahawks' call probably would have worked if the teams had been reversed.  I can picture the Patriots pulling it off, with far superior offensive personnel:  Grontkowski coming off the line against Chancellor, Edelman running the slant underneath, and 6-5 Brady throwing the slant.

*********** Lots of credit, as it should, goes to the Patriots' Malcolm Butler, who made the interception, but Butler's play was made possible by Brandon Browner's sensational play on Jevon Kearse.  Browner, a corner who plays like a linebacker, was right up in Kearse's face, and at the snap, he met him right at the line.  Now, Kearse was planning on blocking ("rubbing," I believe they would have called it, had it worked) Browner, but I suspect that the plan was for him to engage a couple of yards deep in the end zone.  Had that happened, Butler would have effectively been prevented from making the play. But the much bigger and stronger Browner completely stifled Kearse. 

Ricardo Lockette, the intended receiver,  lined up just outside Kearse, and at the snap took a step to the outside, then broke back in on a shallow slant.  Butler, seeing what was going on, broke immediately for where he knew the ball was going - and was able to get there because Browner wouldn't let Kearse off the line, and Kearse did not get to the inside of Browner.

*********** Pete Carroll is a bit manic anyhow, and he usually talks in mile a minute bursts, but after the game he was spitting out his words at a record pace in a frenzied attempt  to explain away his incredible call.

He said several times that the Seahawks didn't want to run against the Patriots' goal line defense.  Now, where did that crap come from? 

Funny how squeamish Pete he seemed to be about running the ball right straight ahead into the teeth of that seemingly impregnable Patriots' goal line defense, even with only a yard to go and Marshawn Lynch at his disposal, when on numerous occasions this year I saw the Patriots needing only a yard and getting it - with a simple Tom Brady sneak.

***********  Consider  poor Roy Riegels of Cal, who intercepted a pass in the Rose Bowl and, disoriented after being hit, ran 69 yards in the wrong direction until being tackled by a teammate (and some Georgia Tech players) at his own one-yard line.  Cal tried to punt the ball out of its end zone but the punt was blocked for a safety, and that made the difference in Tech's 8-7 win.

For the rest of his life, he bore the burden of the being called  Wrong Way Riegels.

So now, how about a nickname for Smilin' Pete, architect of The Call?


*********** The Seahawks' OC sounds as if he mave tried to  put some of the blame for  the failure of The Call on his wide receiver, Ricardo Lockette.  I've heard someone else trying to blame Russell Wilson.  But I suspect that Seattle fans know better, and when it comes time to throw anyone on the bus, I think there will be a long line of Seahawks' fans waiting to do the throwing, and a line almost as long waiting to drive the bus.

*********** You do have to wonder about the judgement of a guy who may be a 9/11 Truther. Pete Carroll may be s nutty as he sometimes acts.


*********** I keep hearing what a great game it was, but I ain't buying.  I'll be damned if I think dink-and-dunk passing is any more exciting than running up the middle every play.

50 passes for 328.  That's an average of 6.6 yards per attempt.  Not exactly "going vertical."

On the other hand… the Seahawks basically sat back and let Brady do it, so I guess credit goes to the Patriots for sticking with what works until the other team makes them stop.

*********** Not suggesting that Belichick has been playing fast and loose with the eligible-player rules, but you did notice, didn't you, that to deal with his machinations, the officials had to devise a special set of signals for the Super Bowl? 

*********** All you people hammering Pete Carroll for not punching it in from the one… If Mike McCarthy was coaching the Seahawks they'd have kicked a field goal.

*********** That mini-brawl that broke out at the end of the Super Bowl?  Remember, that was the Seahawks' defense out on the field.  They were pissed.  But you would think they could have waited a couple more seconds until the game was over and they could take it out on Pete Carroll.

*********** The Super Bowl and its contribution to history ignorance: 

The Turbotax ad in which they are supposedly recreating the Boston Tea Party?   The protestors dumping the tea into the harbor are dressed liked colonists, although any school kid (at least any school kid that I ever taught) knows that they actually were disguised - very thinly disguised - as Indians.

In his interview on NBC, shot in the White House kitchen, Our President told the interviewer that he was the first occupant of the White House since George Washington to brew beer in the White House.  Except… except… gee, Mister President, sir… I'm not sure how this got past the 100-some assistants you have in the White House to check on these things, but, um,  I don't exactly know how to tell you this, but…  George Washington may have made beer, but he never lived in the White House.  It was 1800 - two years after Washington had left office - when John Adams, our second President, moved in.

*********** Surprisingly few Super Bowl commercials ended up with a guy getting hit in the stones.   Jeez - if that can't be counted on to get a laugh anymore, it sure must be hard to make a living as a real comedian nowadays.

*********** Heard some people are upset with the Seahawks fans for booing when Belichick's face appeared on the Jumbotron during the national anthem.  Said it was disrespectful to the national anthem.

Where have these defenders of our nation's traditions been all these years, while the NFL was busy doing just that, hiring grammy-award-winning "artists" to "perform" our nation's song?

For the record: I have a number of recording of college bands playing it in a minute or so. Sunday, it took that drowsy singer TWO F--KING MINUTES to "perform" it.

So who's the one disrespecting it?  I say the "performers." Or the people that hire them.

*********** Was anyone else out there as pissed off as I was at seeing "Tin Mike" Ditka sitting there in the lead-up to the Super Bowl and giving us his expert opinions?   He's made his millions from the opportunities football provided him, and now, having said publicly that he wouldn't want his son playing football, at the very least he should resign from his cushy job with ESPN.

*********** As they do all season, NBC allowed the players to introduce themselves, and we were treated to a few cretins telling us where they went to grade school or high school.  Actually, I was sort of pleased that LeGarrette Blount didn't mention that he'd spent time at Oregon.

*********** Interestingly, I can't remember the last time I watched one of those NBC self-introductions without hearing a single "The U" or "THE Ohio State University."

*********** After seeing how many yards the Patriots made on those short, short passes… Next time Petey sends us coaches a video of how the Seahawks supposedly tackle, rugby-style, he needs to point out that the action clips in the video were winnowed from hundreds and hundreds of plays, and we shouldn't actually expect his players to be any better at tackling than any other NFL team.

*********** Remember all that BS about whether Richard Sherman would have to leave the game if his pregnant girlfriend went into labor?  Other than making sure to marry her first, I really didn't see the problem, but like everyone else, I went along with the story.

And then it turned out she isn't due for at least another week, and she was up in the stands watching the game.

*********** If the Seahawks' Doug Baldwin hadn't been penalized for celebration, with the penalty was assessed on the following kickoff,  we might have gone an entire Super Bowl without a kick return.

*********** I couldn't believe the number of times my wife and I watched a Super Bowl commercial and had no idea what they were selling or what they wanted us to do.

*********** The Doritos commercial in which the guy sitting in an airplane's aisle seat tries various ways to discourage passengers from sitting in the middle seat (next to him). Finally, by waving a bag of Doritos, he entices a nice-looking young woman to take the seat, discovering too late that she's got a baby with her.

*********** “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.”

I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that on a commercial. It know the voice anywhere. It was the voice of the late President John F. Kennedy, suggesting, 50 years after his assassination, that maybe we should take a Carnival Cruise.  


Have we really fallen so far that a man of dignity, a man whose memory means so much to so many of us,  would be used posthumously to sell cruises?

*********** I wonder what makes the Heineken people think that watching a bunch of scruffy sailors on a rusty old steamer celebrating the fact that they've figured out how to watch a soccer match on their TV is going to sell beer to Americans.

*********** I swear there was a vignette in a T-Mobile ad  in which  we're in a delivery room and a (female) doctor tells a new mother, "Sorry, it's a boy."  Now, I didn't go back to make sure I heard that, but in our feminized society, it's believable.  Wouldn't it be nice to put an end to this "Girls Rule, Boys Drool" double standard where too many women think it's cute to say anything derogatory they want about men and boys?

*********** Nationwide's ad showing the little kid who won't be able to do all those things because he's dead is getting panned, big-time.  I suggest they quickly get Peyton Manning to shoot another little scene where he's sitting on a couch watching the Nationwide commercial and he sings (to the  "Nationwide is on your side" tune) "That's a really dumb-ass ad!"

***********  Warren Sapp, in Phoenix for the Super Bowl festivities, was arrested for soliciting a prostitute - two ladies, actually - at 7 AM Monday. 

Tsk, tsk. To think - here he is a Hall of Famer and he still has to pay for sex.    I didn't think they even had to do that when they were simply players.

He's already been fired from his job as an analyst on the NFL network.  Maybe Dancing With the Stars will have him back.

*********** According to Mary Kay Cabot in cleveland.com,

"Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, who's been photographed partying from coast to coast since the day he was drafted, entered a treatment facility Wednesday and is getting the help he needs, according to a family friend and advisor."

These treatment people can do wonders these days, and once they've cured him of being an asshole, I imagine that next they'll take a look at the whole drinking thing.

Seriously, though (see, I was trying to be funny), considering the fact that last year's draft was not even a year ago, how in the hell did the Browns not know he had problems?

And if they did, what in the world did they see in him to make him worth the risk?

*********** Even the newspaper in my old stomping grounds, Hagerstown, Maryland - about 70 miles west of Washington, DC - has gone all politically correct on us…

Scot McCloughan, the new general manager of Washington in the National Football League, played for the Hagerstown Suns baseball team in 1993 and 1994.

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

Reading your news as I do every week I was caught by Coach Hollis' questions.  I loved your responses to his questions and had some thoughts if you could share with him as well.  I too bounced around among different schools.  After experiences in small colleges, large high schools, small high schools, and even a little stint at a Big Ten school without question the entity that I enjoy most is small high schools.  The reason is simple - you are there to truly get to know people and help them.  Your job is not management but mentoring.  In college it is all about recruiting, a process of creating hype and influencing people that your entity is superior to others. The actual coaching in college is fun as you have an opportunity to get to know your position group (even if you're a coordinator) very well and they are typically highly motivated.  However, if your going to make that into a full time living the reality is they pay you to recruit ,not coach.  If you're a bad recruiter and a good coach you won't make it long.  In big schools you find yourself managing so many Coaches, parents, programs, and athletes that the depth of relationship that you gain with each individual pales in comparison.  I still have some great relationships with many kids in these stops and there are kids you do get to know very well but it is generally through the two year window when they are playing on Varsity.  In the small school I feel I have the opportunity to try and help mentor and support all the kids.  There are middle school kids that I work with now and am "getting to know" that will be spending their next 6 years of life with me.  Watching these kids grow is a wonderful gift.  My current situation - I'm driving 108 miles every day between my home, work, and coaching there.  My pay is horrible, but outside of my Faith and my Family it is the best part of every day.  I do miss being in one place greatly but do view that being patient that will likely take care of itself.  I guess I may have even matured enough to finally understand Frosty's message, at least I hope so!

God Bless,

Jason Mensing
Head Football Coach
Whiteford High School
Whiteford, Michigan

Coach Mensing,

Nice to hear from you.  Having coached at another level, you're able to comment first-hand on the biggest difference between coaching "down here"and coaching "up there . "

You hit the nail on the head with the word "maturity."  As we get older (and hopefully wider) we're bound to gain a little wisdom and begin to   look at what we're doing in a different way.

(Not to disprespect younger coaches   - they obviously can't look at things with the same perspective as we do, but   thank God for us all that they have the fire and drive that they do because   we depend on  guys   like them to defend our country.)

I sympathize with your commute.  I've done it, and I can only say that it's proof of how much you love coaching and working with kids.    If anybody ever says anything to a high school football coach about "community service" and "giving back,"   I'd be willing to put our efforts - and our results -  up against those of any billionaire or any activist.

I hope that your patience will be rewarded and you'll soon find your work and your family coming closer together.

I see you had a good season.  Congratulations!

Thanks for writing and stay in touch.

american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 30,  2015-   “The world is full of willing people: some willing to work, others willing to let them."   Robert Frost

********** It's been no real news that for some time pro football has been  crossing the line between sports and entertainment. 

The NFL acknowledges as much with its trampy "cheerleaders" and grotesque halftime shows, and winks when its players engage in ridiculous acts of buffoonery.

What we haven't really understood was which line it was crossing, and which type of entertainment it was crossing into.

Now we know.

A vulgar act that once would have been cause for expulsion from a sport, an act that  even now would get a man branded for life as a sexual offender if he were to stand outside an elementary school window and do it, is laughed off by one and all as simply good old Marshawn Lynch, a great fellow and a great teammate, doing his thang.

Just another contribution by  the NFL to the coarsening of our culture.  The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan referred to it  as "defining deviancy down."

Enjoy the Super Bowl. I understand they may even play a football game before and after the concert.


********** An article in the New York Times claimed that "New England" meant the Patriots represented an entire region, while the Seahawks represented only a city.

It's worth my pointing out, to those in the Northeast who are geographically challenged, that Seattle is even more of a regional franchise than "New England," which actually started out as "Boston" and didn't go regional until the Patriots, without a stadium to play in, weren't sure whether they'd wind up playing in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Rhode Island.  

How regional are the Seahawks? In addition to Seattle and the state of Washington, the Seahawks have long had large numbers of season ticket holders in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Those are big-ass states, guys. You could fit all six New England states inside any one of them.  Several of them have counties larger than any of the New England states except Maine.

Oh - and I'm not counting Canada. The Seahawks have more season ticket holders in British Columbia than in all but three Washington counties. B.C. is REALLY big.

*********** Tom Brady told the New York Times he'd like to play until he's 70.  Given that Tom Brady is a football player in approximately the same way that a DH is a baseball player, the risks and physical demands of his position are not that excessive, and depending on how he deals with the usual ravages of aging such as forgetting where he put things and maybe having to wear trifocals,  I don't see why he can't.

*********** Some feminist organization that calls itself "Ultraviolet" plans on running a commercial in (or near) the Super Bowl in which a huge, padded-up football player blind-sides a woman, followed by the line "Let's take domestic violence out of football."

Okay. I get it.  It's not right to hit women.

I get it, and I think most boys who are the beneficiaries of what the lamestream media like to deride as Ozzie-and-Harriet upbringings do, too.

Part of the problem, I would wager, is that a lot of the perps, at least those who play in the NFL, have been raised in other, less ideal circumstances. 

In the meantime, while we men who choose to raise the sons we've fathered accept our responsibility to do what we've always done - teaching them not to hit girls - you folks at Ultraviolet could sure help us out by backing off on your demands that girls be allowed to play football.

You can't have it both ways.


*********** When I was in college, preparing for Dartmouth weekend was like preparing for a siege.

Dartmouth played us in New Haven every year.  None of that home-and-home stuff. Not for Dartmouth.  Dartmouth played everybody away. 

Dartmouth, in western New Hampshire, was remote and hard to get to, especially in those pre-Interstate Highway days, and even if people were inclined to drive there, Dartmouth's stadium, such as it was, only held maybe 15,000.

Playing at Yale every year, given the Yale Bowl's 60,000-seat capacity and New Haven's proximity to Dartmouth alumni from throughout the New York area, made much more sense. 

But "hosting" Dartmouth every year meant putting up with hordes of invading  Dartmouth guys, drunken and ill-mannered (even compared to us). Dartmouth, like Yale, was all-male, but hidden away up there in the woods of northern New England, there was little else to do outside classes and studying than drink.  As a result, drinking - heavy drinking - reputedly occupied a goodly portion of the week. But on weekends they really picked it up, and on their road trips to away games in New Haven and Boston, Dartmouth guys earned their reputations as "animals."   I should point out that they were rather proud of this reputation,  as a popular but unauthorized version of one of their fight songs attested.

Here are the official lyrics:

Dartmouth's in town again, Team! Team! Team!
Echo the old refrain, Team! Team! Team! -   

But here are the ones we heard the guys sing:

Dartmouth's in town again - run, girls, run! 
Dartmouth's in town again - fun, girls, fun!
Our pants are steaming hot,
We'll give them all we've got,
Virgins are just our meat!
Rape! Rape! Rape!

(Dartmouth has been co-ed for years, which undoubtedly has had a certain civilizing influence on the males, and in these times of heightened rape-consciousness, I rather doubt that anyone who wished to remain at Dartmouth until graduation would burst into singing that song at a party.)

But those were less enlightened times, and needless to say, when Dartmouth guys invaded your town on football weekends, the possibility of mayhem was ever present. You barred the doors to fraternity houses and you doubled the guard. 

This is all  by way of saying that while the times may have changed, New Hampshire winters haven't. They're still long and cold, and even with the addition of females, Dartmouth men still are said to pass the time with strong drink.  In fact, in these liberated times, the women probably drink as hard as the men do.

Which is what has prompted the president of the college to adopt a no-hard-liquor policy. 

After a spate of student misbehavior that has tarnished the reputation of Dartmouth College, its president on Thursday announced a ban on hard liquor on campus, and threatened to do away with fraternities or other groups that fail “to elevate and not denigrate the Dartmouth experience.”

Officials said the ban will apply to any liquor that is 15 percent alcohol — barely more than most wine — or more, and will take effect when the spring term begins March 30. Dr. Hanlon said the college will also increase penalties for people who provide alcohol to minors and to any student in possession of hard liquor, but did not offer any details.

Good Luck, Prez.  It ought to work about as well as Prohibition did.


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

The Jon Kitna move is an interesting one.  I have a range of thoughts concerning it and the circumstances that lead to good men leaving for (potentially) greener pastures.  

I wonder if "small town football" would work in a big school.  I think it would to an extent.  But I don't know how well I could get to know 200+ kids and their moms and dads in a large program.  And that would bother me.  And then it wouldn't feel quite like small town football.

I got my start here in a program that was historically unsuccessful.  I have been able to grow it in my vision without feeling any kind of pressure to win.  Honestly, winning was not a priority at the school or in the community.  Heck, I was the only person to apply for the job.  Going to a school where they put a premium on wins from the start...would that change me or how I approach things?  Would it alter how I interact with parents (or players) or how they interact with me?  Would it cause problems for my family?  Do I want to be the coach of a program where we our worth to young men is judged based on how many football games we win rather than the impact we have on their lives now and into the future?

Jon Kitna made a decision and says he went where he was led to go.  I respect that response from him.  I'm sure he had lots of questions and is uneasy about the transition as well.  I hope all goes well for him and he is able to be both successful and significant in his new position.  Good luck to him.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


I think we're of like minds on this.

I'm looking at this from the perspective of one who is well past the point of searching for greener pastures.

I once was that guy who (figuratively) danced with the girt while looking over her shoulder to see who was coming in the door.

It took me quite some time to buy into Frosty Westering's "Make the Big Time Where You Are" - to stop worrying about the next job and make your preent one as good as it can be for all concerned -  and my life has been better ever since.

But it is a balancing act.  As you point out, the pressure to win has something to do with it.  We all have to win enough, of course, or we don't get to keep our jobs, which means that we lose our position to influence the lives of kids.

But when there is real pressure - when the community expectation is first to win -  it's bound to push into the background all those other things we can and should be doing for the kids we coach.  It's bound to force us to look at them the way the pros do,  as pieces in the puzzle, whose worth is determined solely by playing ability.

Once, I could have coached that way.  I couldn't coach that way now.  

I have a warm place in my heart for the small school coach, because with rare exceptions, small schools enable - require - the coach to get to know each kid and what makes him tick, because since there's no way to "get a better player, " he has to "get a player better."   For me, being a head football coach in a small community that appreciates you is about as good as it gets.

What, really, is the incentive to leave a good situation at a small school in order to coach at bigger school?  A larger coaching stipend?  Yes - and you'll earn it.  You'll have more kids to supervise and more parents to complain.  And you'll have more assistants to train and supervise.  Artistically, the bigger school will be less frustrating, because you'll have all 22 positions covered, and you'll likely get to work with bigger, better players.  For sure, there'll be a lot less worry about whether you'll have enough kids to field a JV team.  The flip side is that your opponents will have more and better kids, too.  There is career advancement:  if you're young and hope to move into college coaching, your chances will be better at a big high school, but you've already put yourself at a career disadvantage anyhow, by going into high school coaching rather than getting a graduate assistantship.  From that point on, it's largely an ego thing:  the big-school gets the big headlines on Saturday mornings, and the big-school coach tends to get the speaking gig at the clinic.

I speculated about Jon Kitna's reasons for making a very dramatic move.

I would not have done that.  I once inherited a team whose beloved coach took another job in mid-summer.   I respected and understood the coach's decision.  It made all the sense in the world for him and his family.    But it's never easy to move on, and I saw and dealt with the kids' heartache at losing  a man they looked on as their father.

On the other hand, if he'd stayed, there were a hundred different ways that school district could have changed his working conditions  - and his relationships with those kids.

That's what Jon Kitna was referring to when he said that his success at LIncoln was "not sustainable."

I can say I wouldn't do this.  Now.  But I'm no longer driven by the ambition that drove me when I was younger - the sort of ambition that led me to move my family across the country years ago.  Now, I'm at the stage in life where I consider what I'm doing as my contribution to a community.  I like that.  Every coach should one day enjoy that luxury.

I wish Jon Kitna all the best, in a town where I suspect they won't care much how well he treats their kids if he can't beat Ennis.

*********** Hugh, just finished last night looking at the you tube video on your web site of Jon Kitna. You are right, a hell of a guy with great standards. I can see why the kids don't want him to leave. Liked his thing on real men too. Hope your eye surgery went well, take care.

Mike Foristiere
Mattawa, Washington


Heck of a guy.  I'm afraid he'll get chewed up in Texas.

Sometimes the Big Time is right where you are.

Hugh, I agree, sometimes where you are needed is where you are at right now. I mean what I saw on the you tube video is exactly where he needs to be. Those kids need him and he is exactly where he needs to be. I am no Jon Kitna, but where I am at right now is a good spot. I have had at least a dozen Mexican parents and 2 Indian parents come up to me and tell me how fortunate they feel that I am here with their sons helping them to be a man - that I am the answer to their prayers. Hugh, it is nice to hear but like a lot of coaches I am just trying to do the right things and make sure they are doing the right things so we can all be successful. In the end I just say thank you and keep that in the back of my mind when I start to feel frustrated.


The problem is that 25 grateful parents can thank you for looking out for their boys but one unhappy parent in the ear of a gutless administrator can ruin it for everybody.

*********** On the heels of a very successful first year,  the College Football Playoff (CFP) folks are bracing for a couple of fights - one, very real and one potential.  The first is likely to be big,  the other, should it take place, still potential, will be huge.  

The first fight is already taking place between ESPN on the one hand and the CFP folks on the other.

Next season’s Playoff semifinals are scheduled to take place on New Year's Eve, a Thursday night, but ESPN is pushing the CFP to move those games to January 2, a Saturday when there's not much else on TV.  There's not likely to be competition from the NFL - its regular season ends on Sunday, January 3, and the league hasn’t played a game on the last Saturday of the regular season since 2007.

ESPN is concerned that going up against the New Year's Eve "count-down" shows will cut into its ratings, while the CFP insists it is committed to its plan to hold two tripleheaders - three bowl games on New Year's Eve and three on New Year's Day."

If that weren't bad enough, up steps the NFL, and a problem with the potential to stir up some real trouble -  ESPN and the CFP.

It's no secret that the NFL has been making noises about adding to its playoffs.  Not content evidently with the number of mediocre teams already clogging up Wild Card weekend, it's expansion would mean two more wild card games.  In insider terms, that means it would need two more "TV windows."

According to Sports Business Daily, Roger Goodell told the FBS conference commissioners that any expansion of the playoffs would mean playing a Wild Card game on Monday night.

Here's the problem:  dating back to the BCS,  the colleges have been playing their championship games on a Monday night, and the CFP's contract with ESPN, which runs for 12 years, calls for the championship game to be played on a Monday night, usually the second Monday night in January.  That just happens to be the Monday night the NFL would insist on.

The colleges have no intention of moving their game. Should the conflict occur, ESPN would be caught in the middle, because it not only has the rights to televise the CFP but it also regularly televises the NFL's "Monday Night Football."

The CFP's contract specifies that its games must be aired on ESPN, and not ESPN2 or ESPNU, and it's not likely that the NFL would play second fiddle and allow one of its "playoff" games to be moved to ESPN2.

There is the possibility that the NFL could offer its Monday night wild card game to another network, which would mean going up against the biggest colleeg game of the year with a couple of deadass NFL teams - and guess which one would win out.

Stay tuned.

*********** The referee at the Super Bowl will be out on the field by the grace of God and the incredible skills of Dr. John Elefteriades,  a surgeon at Yale School of Medicine.


*********** "I knew once they started to name these winter storms it was all over."  Rush Limbaugh

*********** In Vancouver, Washington, a 35-year-old high school drama teacher - a rather nice-looking woman, judging by the photo in the paper - has been charged with four counts of rape of a high school student.

I have no experience with such a scenario. Rape of a student? By a teacher?  Unthinkable where I went to school.  I went to an all-boys school and all our teachers were male, which would have meant man-boy sex. Ugh. Forget that.  In addition to the general taboo against any teacher having sex with any student, let's just say that in those days homosexuality was not viewed as a co-equal lifestyle, an acceptable alternative, the way it is today.  The closet door was shut tight.   The word "gay" did not yet draw snickers when we sang it in a song.

In fact, one of our more illustrious alumni was the legendary tennis player Big Bill Tilden.  He was never accorded the recognition he would otherwise have enjoyed, and I can remember asking an older teacher about that and being told - in a whisper - that years earlier he had shown a, um,  "preference" for young men.

At first, the article in the paper didn't say whether the student was male or female.  Next-day stories indicated it was a 15-year-old boy.

It went on to say that she and the student had sex on several occasions, and that they made sure to get their stories straight in case anyone suspected.

This is rape?

I guess, because of the kid's age (the age of consent in Washington is 16) this might be a case of statutory rape, but otherwise, how is this rape?  IHow many male high school students in the United States would have to be forced to have sex with an attractive female teacher?

Calling this teacher's conduct, however revolting,  "rape" diminishes the impact of a word that for most of us conjures up a picture of a man forcing an unwilling woman to have intercourse with him, committing a crime that at one time was punishable by death.

Question:  Is it my imagination, or are seeing more such cases than we used to? Is it the "sexual liberation" of The Pill?  Is this what results from "do your own thing?"  From "who are we to judge?"  From "Love makes a family?" From Presidents getting B.J's in the Oval Office?

american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 27,  2015-   “It is perfectly obvious that in any decent occupation (such as bricklaying or writing books) there are only two ways  of succeeding. One is by doing very good work, the other is by cheating.”    G. K. Chesterton

*********** General Robert Neyland of Tennessee is by anyone's standards one of the greatest college football coaches of all time.

Following  are General Neyland's famous Axioms, passed along by his former player Andy Kozar. They may have have originated with Charlie Daly, Neyland's coach at West Point...

1. The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.

2. Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE. 

3. If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up... put on more steam.
4. Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.
5. Ball, "oskie," cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle... for this is the WINNING EDGE.
6. Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.
7. Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.


*********** God help us all if the rest of the United States reacts, as New York City did, to the mere forecast of a snowstorm. Buncha weenies.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to rush out to the Safeway and lay in an emergency food supply before they make us get off the roads. It's supposed to get down to 54  degrees tomorrow, with a chance of rain.  But you never know.  Better safe than sorry,

*********** I hope I can keep from laughing long enough to write this... So Belichick found a guy to take the fall - some rogue equipment manager who evidently decided on his own to deflate the footballs. This went against everything the Patiorts stand for, so the equipment manager will, of course be "reassigned," but not before becoming the highest paid equipment manager in the history of christerndom, when you include the pension, the home on the Cape, college tuition for his kids, one-per cent ownership of the Patriots, and lifetime use of a luxury box right next to Mr. Kraft's.

Has it ever occured to anyone that the so-called deflategate fiasco was deliberately  employed as a diversionary tactic  to make everyone forget the incompetent officials and their pass interference non-call  in the Lions-Cowboys wild card game?

*********** I don't really know why, but unlike most all-star games, I actually found the Senior Bowl  kind of fun to watch.  Yale's Tyler Varga, a 230-pound running back from Kitchener, Ontario,  looked pretty good, both running and blocking.

*********** Such is the popularity of the NFL, and such is Big Football's ability to brainwash the public into thinking that they're watching real football, that for years, the sham that is the Pro Bowl has drawn impressive TV ratings.

But for two straight years now, its ratings have headed south.  The 2013 game (the one that was so bad that the league debated discontinuing the Pro Bowl) drew a 7.7 rating. But the Players' Union promised to be good, and do a better job of fakery, and the game lived on.  But the rating -  last year it dropped to 6.7 and this year's game pulled a 5.6.

Those ratings are still better than anything else that ESPN could have put on at that time, but still,  the decline is 27 per cent in two years, a sure sign to Big Football that the public is growing wise to the fact that the Pro Bowl is basically pro wrestling with worse acting and no plot.

The game itself was a bit confusing, played as it was between teams chosen by "captains" Michael Irvin and Chris Carter.

Hey -  as long as they're going to glorify a lowlife like Michael Irvin by making him  team captain or somesuch, next year they ought to go all out and let the fans vote on a list of  NFL misfits, either retired or on suspension for "substance abuse."

But  no more of this "Team Irvin" (or, in the event that T.O. should win, "Team Owens") crap.  If you've  got to imitate soccer, it has to be "FC Irvin" or "FC Owens."

The game itself showed how football can be made safe - by taking out the tacking and blocking.  Think non-alcoholic beer.  I started out counting how many guys ever went to the ground during the game.  That got old fast, but it's safe to say that on average it was maybe one guy per play. (There were several "running plays" where no one at all went to the ground - the running back and the "tackler" simply ended up in a warm embrace and by mutual consent, the play was over.  In a suspiciously large number of instances, runners or receivers lost their footing, and any time the ball carrier was within five yards of the sidelines, the script evidently called for him to run out of bounds. 

Wrote Frank Schwab of Yahoo sports,  "You can't have a violent game like the NFL be played in a setting in which nobody really wants to hit each other. Two of the first three plays Sunday were handoffs to Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray. Defenders held him up and hoped for a whistle instead of bringing him to the ground."

It really is a great deal for the players.    Those who elect to play in the game (many don't)  are flown - first-class - to the game site, housed for a week in top-notch hotels and fed like kings.  True,  they "practice" a couple of hours a day, but otherwise, it's a heck of an excuse to relax and/or party.  Damn shame to have to ruin a week like that by having to go out and play a game of football, however bogus.

But play they do, and the public watches while a bunch of overpaid oafs cavort and carry on and have a great old time.  Members of the winning team are paid roughly $50,000.  Losers are paid about half that.  Chicken feed, I know, for well-paid high school football coaches like you and me. Also for NFL players,   many of whom budget $50,000 just to cover for the fines they expect to be assessed during the season for various transgressions. But seriously - $25,000 for a couple of hours playing pretend football?  A person earning $12 an hour has to work 40 hours a week for 52 weeks to make that much. That's the sort of thing that could make a socialist out of me.


***********  It was a lock to be one of those "based on a true story" made-for-TV movies.

The local kid, the star of the high school football and basketball teams,  goes off to s small college where he plays well enough at quarterback to draw the attention of the pros. 

And against all odds, he makes it in the NFL and enjoys a 16-year career as both a starter and a backup.

And then - here's where it gets great - he goes back to his old high school!

He gets a job teaching math and coaching football.

The football team's been down for a couple of years.   The demographics of the student body have changed since he went there. 80 per cent of the kids have no father in the home.  75 per cent of them are on free- or reduced-price lunch.

But he comes in with an approach that's about much more than just football - he teaches math and his wife volunteers her time in academic support for the players.  He stresses being responsible and being accountable. He stresses being "real."  He's a Christian, and he makes references to Jesus.

He goes 5-5 in his first year there.

And the next year, he goes 8-2.

And in his third year, with his own son playing quarterback, his team goes undefeated in the regular season, and finishes 11-1.  It's only loss is to the eventual state champion.

Pretty good so far, right?

Here's how the movie's going to start:  We're at his retirement party.  One by one, former players come up and tell how playing for him changed their lives…

Okay.  Now I'm going to ruin it for you.

The story's true.  The coach is Jon Kitna, who graduated from Lincoln High in Tacoma, Washington, played at Central Washington, and went on to play for a number of NFL clubs before returning to teach and coach at Lincoln.

But now - there goes your story, Hollywood - he's leaving to become head coach in Waxahatchie, Texas.

Why?  According to the Tacoma News-Tribune...

“The dream would be to stay here, the comfortable thing would have been to stay here, the ideal thing would have been to stay here. But where God is leading me, I have to follow, and I’ve always said that.”

Kitna, who spent the first four years of his 16-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks and the final four with the Dallas Cowboys, said it came down to sustainable positions for his assistant coaches.

At least four assistants will go with him, including brother Matt Kitna. Junior quarterback Jordan Kitna, Jon’s son, is going, as is junior tight end Devan Brady, whose father is Lincoln assistant Evan Brady. The other assistants leaving are Casey Kjos, Damola Adeniji and possibly Corey McBride, who had not decided as of Wednesday.

Lincoln had five assistant coaches, with each making almost $5,000 this year. In the 2013-14 school year, Kitna was paid almost $40,000 to coach and teach part time at Lincoln. Kitna said the pay for his assistants made it difficult to keep them and that his staff payroll will increase at Waxahachie.

“It’s really hard to ask coaches to put in 25-30 hours a week after they work a 40-hour-a-week job,” Kitna said. “If you just want to show up for practice, OK, we’ll go through our two-hour practice and show up on Friday. That’s great. We would be mediocre, we would compete for our league title here every year and stuff.

“But at the end of the day, I can’t stand average. I want to be able to compete at the highest level. I just don’t think we could sustain it as is, as it is currently constructed.”

So there goes the movie.  It's sad, but understandable.

I'm guessing it's partly

(1) that he's found he's gone as far as he can go in a bureaucracy-bound big-city school district, and ultimately, those people in administration really don't give a sh-- what you're doing for their kids.  They're armchair generals and they resent warrior types and they'd just as soon hire some guy off the street who won't pester them with demands.

(2) He has that urge that lots of us get to see if his act will play on a bigger stage, and you can't go bigger than Texas;

(4) He's a devout Christian, and that doesn't play all that well in the Northwest.  It undoubtedly makes school administrators squeamish.

I wish him well in Texas.  In terms of high school coaching, it's a world away.  He undoubtedly already knows this to the extent that an outsider can, but only by going there can he really understand.

The News in the Tacoma paper...

The news in Waxahachie...

Waxahachie is getting a heck of a guy.

*********** Rather than ask you to name the very first draft pick in the very first draft of the Minnesota Vikings, I have to pass along the sad news that Tommy Mason died last week.  Mason, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, was an outstanding running back at Tulane, and went on to play 11 seasons with the Vikings.  He played in three Pro Bowl games, back in the days when they still tackled.  For a time, he was married to noted gymnast Cathy Rigby.



*********** The NFL thought that Marshawn Lynch's crotch-grabbing act was in such poor taste that it fined him.

And then, true to its dedication to making a buck off anything, it offered for sale - for $149.95 -  a collage featuring Mr. Lynch that included a photo of his coarse touchdown "celebrating."

Alas for The League, there are still people in this country with morals and good taste, and after they complained, Big Football pulled the item.

See, they have a policy. Said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, “Any play that results in a fine may not be used commercially.”

I think that means that you can still go ahead and sell those Bill Belichick pumps..


*********** Ernie Banks, a great gentleman and a great baseball player who symbolized the futility of being a great player on a lousy team  - in his case, the  Chicago Cubs - died last week.


american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 23,  2015-   "if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy."   Thomas Jefferson

*********** Hey all you Hudl users - Check out what the AFCA Code of Ethics has to say about film exchange…

It is unethical to make available to any individual or institution any video or film in which your own team does not appear

Look- there's no getting around the fact that Hudl is a great service.

But Hudl has led to a Wild West sort of arrangement in which coaching ethics is being thrown to the wind. 

Let's call ourselves Team A.  Let's suppose Team B, one of our opponents, has come into possession of several game videos of us, against Teams C, D, and E. 

Team B obtained all of them on the up-and-up, by straight swaps with teams C, D and E.. 

But then, after we've played Team B, Team B gets a call from Team F asking what they've got on us,  and  out of the goodness of their hearts, Team B sends them everything they've got on us -not just their game against us, but also our games against Teams C, D and E.

It's an all too common practice -  and it's a violation of the AFCA Code of Ethics.

To many of us, that still matters.

*********** QUESTIONER: "Is Tom Brady a cheater?"

TOM BRADY: "I don't believe so."

ME:  "WTF? I don't believe so?"

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

I usually agree with your postings 100%, but I feel that the national talking heads and perhaps Coach Harbough may have left out a couple of subtile points or facts.  I am a season ticket holder and was at the game as usual, so here goes:

1.  Each and every time that one of the "backs" reported the official announced on the public address system so everyone including the 78,000 fans could hear the following "number 34 has reported as ineligible- that means you don't have to cover him on pass coverage"  (no kidding he went the extra step to define that)

2.  Each and every time the announcement was made- the line judge stood over the ball for 5-6 seconds before allowing the play to proceed. (presumably to allow adjustments/substitutions)

I also find it amusing that an entire defensive secondary that is paid on average $6 million a year each to play professional football, and have the advantage of an entire coaching staff in the box with direct communications to the middle line backer via the helmet radio- couldn’t figure out who was or was not eligible.  Additionally, as I recall from my playing days- anytime you were not sure (like if someone rolled out the swinging gate etc.) You audible to a zone.

Not to pat myself or my two friends who go to all the games with me on the back but we figured it out real time at the game- as did several of the fans around us.

Sorry, but I don't think the rule should change, nor do I believe it was dishonest, it was simply showing a look that was not the "vanilla" look the NFL has become accustomed to.   I bet Harbough would have complained if they ran the single wing or lined up in the swinging gate or God forbid- Tight Rip 88 super power.

No one complained a few years ago when Harbough sent Ray Lewis in to run the football.

Rich Golden
Montville, Connecticut

Sorry for my delay in responding.

Funny how the delay allowed me to address not only your email but also the latest accusations against the honorable Mr. Belichick.  The temptation to do so is great, but I'll pass on the underinflation issue.  I'll just say that I wouldn't defend Belichick as strongly as Jimbo Fisher has defended Jameis Winston.

With respect to the Patriots' use/misuse of the current rules, I did not know how clearly the officials had informed the Ravens (and the fans) at the time, and - you got this right - I fell for the misinformation provided by the clowns who pose as sports media.  

Knowing that, I have to agree with you on the absolute responsibility of the Ravens' defense to deal with the matter at hand based on the information provided them.   I would be upset with any high school sophomore who'd fail to understand that.  And I'd be VERY upset with myself for not preparing the kid for that situation.  And, as you say, the pros do have a few coaches up in the box, plus the ability to communicate directly.

It was rather clever (devious, maybe)  of Belichick to have his ineligible-man-with-the-eligible-number move rapidly backward into the backfield - into a position that would make him eligible, once he was as deep as the QB.

I can't believe the way teams keep falling for this "tackle eligible" crap.  They're clearly told that a guy with an ineligible number os eligible - and they still don't cover him!  WTF?  The Patriots threw a TD pass to Nate Solder on Sunday.  Despite the declaration that he was eligible, NOBODY covered him.

I can't be persuaded to change my stance on the need for the NFL to wake up and adopt the very simple-to-apply rule on eligibility that we high schoolers seem to have no problem complying with.

*********** Now we come to the matter of the underinflated balls.  First of all, since the subject involved "balls," have you ever heard so many sophomoric attempts at humor in your life?

Secondly, now that we've heard Bill Belichick and Tom "Conehead" Brady (the dweeb in that stupid stocking cap) deny knowing anything about the deflated balls, permit me to pass along a bit of dime store wisdom I've picked up over the years:

If a guy will cheat, he'll also lie.  Bet on it.

Now, then…

Who, other than a Patriots' fan, doesn't believe that Belichick would try such a juvenile stunt simply to get an edge, especially knowing the scrutiny he's constantly under?

If this were to go to trial, you wouldn't be able to find a juror who knew anything about pro football and didn't have a strong opinion one way or the other.

Even so,   I'm still waiting for one reputable person to step up to say, "I know Bill - and Bill would never do something like this."
I will bet you that shortly after the news broke, Roger Goodell fielded 32 phone calls  - 31 from the other owners demanding that he slam Belichick.  (The first, of course,  would have been from New Orleans owner Tom Benson , whose coach had to sit out a year for something called Bountygate.)

The thirty-second call was from DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA, wanting to know what, in view of the way Goodell's hammered players for off-the-field issues,  he's going to do about a coach whose conduct brings into question the integrity of "The Shield" itself.
Hey- however repulsive their actions, nothing that Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson did brought into question whether the NFL's product, the game itself, was on the up-and-up.
Up-and-up did I say?  Make me laugh. In my opinion, the whole operation's a sham: players routinely hold, but the house-servant announcers call it blocking.  Defenders dive at runners but it's called tackling.  The League constantly tweaks the rules in favor of passing, distorting the game in a never-ending effort to produce more scoring. 

The players are paid millions to play a game, yet when they simply do what they're expected - paid - to do, they celebrate in a way no one in any other productive occupation would ever do. (I had eye surgery yesterday and when it was over, the surgeon shook my hand and began to get ready for the next play - er, patient. Not even a single high five!)
I hate to make this whole Belichick deal seem bigger than it is,  but to me it's symbolic of an end-justifies-the-means, if-you-ain't-cheating-you-ain't-trying society, at the top of which is a President who boasts that if playing within the rules won't get him what he wants, he'll just have to take action on his own, rules be damned.

*********** I loved hearing Brady say that, in effect, he doesn't notice the softness of the ball once he's out on the field.

I call BS on that.    Does he expect me to believe that my high school quarterbacks can instantly tell an over-inflated ball from an under-inflated one (they can) when an NFL quarterback can't?

Great athletes are highly conscious of  the tools of their trade, and as illustration I recall a story I heard years ago about baseball great Ted Williams.

Apparently the bat manufacturer's sales rep, tired of Williams' famous fussiness,  set out to expose him.  He arranged for the next shipment of Williams' bats - several dozen or so - to include one whose handle was a few thousandths of an inch narrower than all the others.  Williams, unaware of what was going on,  went through the shipment and quickly identified - and rejected - the anomaly.

*********** If I were Roger Goodell…

Guilty or not,   I'd require Tom Brady, poster boy for pussy football, to spend an entire season playing by the rules that greats like John Unitas, Bobby Layne and Bart Star had to play under (I won't go all the way back to Sammy Baugh and make him play defense, too):

No wireless communication with the coach.

Hashmarks dividing the field into thirds.

No Intentional grounding.  Anywhere.

Spiking? It's intentional grounding.

No surrender-by-hook-slide

Contact with receivers is allowed anywhere downfield until the ball's thrown

Offensive linemen must keep their hands against their chests when pass protecting

Defenders can hit  the quarterback anywhere on his body.

Defenders can's be expected to stop just because the quarterback has released the ball.

Defensive linemen can "head-slap" offensive linemen

Tell me you wouldn't like to see Old Candy-Ass play real football.

And - guilty or not - I'd turn Belichick over to Mark Emmert.  Anybody who could do what Emmert did to Joe Paterno and Penn State  has to have one meanass streak in him, and now that he's been forced to roll back the Penn State sanctions he's got to be hungry for somebody else to beat on.  I'm figuring on something like a $60 million fine, a five-year ban on post-season play, a 33%  reduction in draft choices,  and the vacating of all Super Bowl victories.

Oh - and here's the deal breaker - I'd make him dress like Vince Lombardi on game days.

*********** Writes Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post, Roger Goodell has to act firmly and decisively.  And fast.

Cannizzaro's vote is for suspension of Belichick from all Super Bowl activities.


*********** Coach:

Have you heard any more about any possible rule changes to the free blocking zone. Spread guys are determined to take the 180 lbs Offensive Lineman pout of the game.

David Maness
Lincolnton, Noth Carolina


My "sources" tell me that one way or the other, the NFHS expects to rule on the free-blocking zone in the next week or so.

My greatest fear is that they'll tell the offense that it can't block low but they'll leave the defense free to submarine, which is at least as dangerous to the offensive kids' knees as blocking low is to the defenders!

On January 23-25, 2015, the NFHS will review and vote on proposed rule changes.  We are looking for your input on the following proposed rule change.

Eliminate the Free Blocking Zone and make blocking below the waist clipping and blocking in the back illegal anywhere on the field, in order to greatly minimize the risk of injury for the participating student athletes. This attempt to reduce injuries we hope will also help save the game of football as we know it today.  Participation numbers are down, and we feel they will continue to decline unless this wise and reasonable committee makes a move to protect the student athlete against injuries to lower extremities.

I have to chuckle at the notion that numbers are down because of the free blocking zone.

Good Lord - with all the free publicity that the concussion issue has received thanks to the NFL and its lawsuits, saying that fear of "injuries to lower extremities" is the reason for numbers being down is like arriving at the scene of an accident caused by a drunk going 100 mph and saying we need to get more people to wear seat belts.

My worry is that with so many coaches no longer even bothering to teach three-point stances, this won't seem like an issue to a lot of guys.

*********** After the Bloomington, California High School girls' basketball team lost a recent game, 161-2, its coach is back on the job following a short suspension.

This wasn't the first bad game the Bloomington team has ever played.

Over the last four seasons, they've gone  1-60.

In their 15 games so far this season, they've scored 150 points - an average of 10 per game

In that same time, they've given up 992 points - an average of 66 per game.

Okay, I made up the part about the losing coach being suspended. 

No, he didn't get suspended.  The winning coach did. 

Everyone - the story made national news - blamed him.  No blame, though, for the people who by now might have realized that they've been overscheduling the Bloomngton  team. 

(If the name "Bloomington"  rings a bell, it should.  Bloomington was where Double Wing great Don Markham  set a national high school football scoring record.  You'd better believe there were some big scores run up that season.)


*********** ISIS has killed 13 youngsters - for watching a  soccer match!

If they were ever to come to the United States and start killing soccer fans, they could put Starbucks out of bsiness.


*********** Still on soccer... We've all heard about groupies,  but this is ridiculous:  In Australia for the Asian Cup soccer tournament, players from Iran, where women aren't permitted to watch them play,  have been posing for selfies with Iranian-Australian women, potentially causing problems for them when they return home. 


*********** Doug Marrone was just hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars  as their offensive line coach.

They've been really, really had, so if they can turn things around down there, it could him land a head coaching job someplace.

Wait - didn't he just  walk away from the head coaching job in Buffalo?


*********** Today's quote was sent to me by Coach Mark Hundley, of Dublin Jerome HS, in Dublin, Ohio, who wrote,  "I thought of you and your quotes at the start of your  News You Can Use when I read this quote."

*********** All the results of all of this past season's  bowl games…


********* The highest TV rating of all bowl games outside the Big Six College Football Playoff Games went to the Holiday Bowl (USC-Nebraska), which drew 6.8 million viewers

*********** In an episode of HBO's Real Sports,  Mike Ditka told Bryant Gumbel that if he had an 8-year-old son right now, he wouldn't let him play football.

"I wouldn't," he said.  "And my whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do.”

Talk about a hypocrite.  Football enabled him to live the life of a lord, and he continues to cash in every Sunday, sitting behind a desk and pontificating on the sport that he now disparages.

Funny thing is, when he first enrolled at Pitt, he claimed he wanted to be a dentist.  Yikes.  Can you picture Doctor Ditka leaning over and saying, "This may hurt a little?"


*********** See how Americans
(bear in mind that these people vote) reacted to the "news" that Martin Luther King, Jr. had just died...


*********** Jonah Goldberg notes the contradictions amend our campus lefties...

We’re breeding generations of citizens who think attacking left-wing college administrators from the left is bold and courageous and denouncing Islamic extremism is racist. We apologize for the “root causes” that lead to actual violence, while we theorize endlessly about how ultimately we’re really to blame. Our military heroes are terroristic and the terrorists are misunderstood.

*********** Former New York GIants' head coach Allie Sherman died on January 3. He was 91.

He coached the Giants for nine years, and won back-to-back NFL Coach of the Year awards in his first two years in New York, but he never could truly win over the Giants' fans.

The problem was that he wasn't Vince Lombardi and he wasn't Tom Landry.

The Giants were tremendously successful during the 1950s under Jim Lee Howell, but what wasn't known by most fans was that Howell was chiefly a figurehead.  The real coaching was done by Lombardi, who had the offense, and Landry, who had the defense.

But the Mara family, owners of the Giants, were loyal people. When Lombardi was offered the Packers' job in early 1958, they encouraged him to take it.  There was never any thought of letting Howell go.

However, when Wellington Mara initially gave the Packers' president Dominic Olejniczak permission to talk with Lombardi, he gave it with one condition: if ever the Giants' job came open, they could try to bring back Lombardi.  Olejniczak said he had no problem with that.

Two years later, it almost worked out that way.

Wrote David Maraniss, in "When Pride Still Mattered,"

At the end of the 1959 season, Jim Lee Howell had walked into Wellington Mara's office and announced that he was burned out. The thrill of winning, Howell said, no longer compensated for the deep anxiety he took from losing.   He would coach the 1960 season, but that would be his last.  Howell's surprise burnout did not come at the best tie for the Maras. Not only had they let Lombardi go to Green Bay a year earlier, but they had just lost Tom Landry to the expansion team in Dallas.

Now, the Giants' thoughts immediately turned to Lombardi,  whose Packers' 7-5 finish had earned him Coach of the Year honors.

Obtaining secret permission from
Olejniczak, they spoke with Lombardi, but both parties agreed to table the matter until after the 1960 season.

Throughout thatseason, the New York news media pressed the issue.  They wanted Lombardi back.

And Lombardi, a New Jersey-New York guy, seemed  to relish the idea of coaching in New York.  (His wife would gladly have moved back.)

Lombardi  loved the Maras and knew they were people of great integrity.  And he knew most of the Giants' players and liked them.

But there were arguments for staying in Green Bay.  For one thing, he had power that he could never have in New York.

And he liked his players in Green Bay too.  And, wrote Maraniss, "In terms of talent, they were younger and they were better."

And there was the matter of his contract.  With the AFL coming on the scene, George Halas of the Bears expressed concern that if a coach could break a contract, it might be hard for the NFL to prevent players from doing the same.

And, pointed out Halas  and Paul Brown, just as Lombardi had saved the Packers' franchise, his leaving could undo all the good he'd done.

In the midst of all this back-and-forth,  his team got hot, and made it to the NFL championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles. 
There, Lombardi informed Jack Mara that he was staying in Green Bay.

Meanwhile, Allie Sherman, who was replaced by Lombardi years earlier when Steve Owen retired and Jim Lee Howell was hired,  was brought back as Giants' offensive coordinator, and when Howell retired after the 1960 season, Sherman replaced him.

Inheriting a team that had gone 6-4-2 in 1960, Sherman led the Giants to a 10-3-1 regular season in 1961, and was named Coach of the Year.  Alas, the Giants fell to the Packers in the title game, 37-0.

In 1962, the Giants finished 12-2, and he was  once again named NFL Coach of the Year again, becoming the first person to be so honored in consecutive years.  but again his Giants lost to the Packers in the NFL championship game, 16–7.

In 1963, the Giants ended the regular season 11-3, but for the third straight year they lost in the title game, this time to the Bears, 14-10.

In 1964, the Giants' record plunged to 2-10-2, and until he was let go following the 1969 session, the never again finished above .500

It was during the disastrous 1966 season, when the Giants finished 1-12-1 that Giants' fans began singing, "Good-bye Allie, Good-bye Allie, Good-bye Allie, We hate to see you go.”  They kept it up for years.

“That wasn’t hard on me,” he said years later. “That was hard on my family. I knew I wasn’t appointed coach for life.”

At the time, he  joked that he owned the rights to the song and was making a fortune off the royalties.

What finished him with the Giants was a loss to the hated Jets in a 1969 pre-season game.  Despite having five years remaining on his contract, the Giants let him go.

He never coached again, but he went on to be  successful in several different fields.

Besides his career with the Giants, Allie Sherman left his mark on the game in other significant ways.

In 1962 a friend named Ed Sabol arranged with Sherman and Wellington Mara to film Giants games for use by various TV outlets. Calling his new firm Blair Motion Pictures Sabol contracted with NFL Commissioner Pete Roselle to film the 1962 NFL Championship Game between the Giants and the Packers, and  In 1964, Blair Motion Pictures became NFL Films.

In 1966,  Emlen Tunnell and Roosevelt Brown, two former Giant all-stars, became the NFL's first full-time black assistants when Allie Sherman hired them.

Born in Brooklyn, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he is a member of the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Rest in Peace, Allie.


american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 20,  2015-   "You have to be prepared to die before you can begin to live."  Rev.  Fred  L. Shuttlesworth, called “The most courageous Civil RIghts Fighter in the South" by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*********** Finally, two NFL teams got together Sunday and put on a real game.  I'm glad the Seahawks won,  but I'm sorry the Packers lost - you can't watch a game in Green Bay and not come out of there with a little "Go Pack" in you.

I do have to say, though, that after Mike McCarthy went for a field goal on fourth and a foot,  it was poetic justice to see the trite old NFL "fourth down - time to kick a field goal" formula bite the Packers in the ass.

(It's worth noting that in the Ohio State-Oregon game there was exactly ONE field goal kicked.)

*********** Extortion:  obtaining money, property, or services through coercion

The NCAA-Penn State story came to an end this past weekend with the NCAA all but admitting that it never had a case.

You may remember back when the NCAA handed down its draconian sentence that I insisted that it had no right to be punishing an institution for something that was way outside its jurisdiction.

What has transpired in the time since the NCAA hammered Penn State has been revelations by those on the inside that NCAA President Mark Emmert misrepresented things ("lied," if you will) in getting Penn State to accept the punishment.

With a brand-new president on hand, Penn State was in no position to challenge Emmert's assertion that the college presidents on the committee discussing the punishment were "out for blood," and that a "multi-year" death penalty was a very strong possibility - unless Penn State agreed to the terms he proposed, which included a reduction in scholarships, a four-year bowl ban, and the right of any of Penn State's current players to transfer without having to sit out a year. Oh - and the vacating of 112 of Penn State's wins under coach Joe Paterno, and the payment of a  $60,000,000 fine. 

And Penn State had 11 days to decide whether or not to accept.  The Mob would have been proud.

Penn State's Board of Trustees caved.   They signed a consent decree, But Penn Staters,  members of one of the largest alumni bodies of any American college,  refused to accept that as the last word, and they fought the trustees. One by one, alumni candidates who opposed the settlement knocked off members who had voted for it.

Other Pennsylvanians, including the Paterno family, responded with lawsuits.

And now, based on the emails and sworn testimony of members of the NCAA committee that  there never were more than a couple of votes in favor of a death penalty, not to mention that there was considerable doubt as to whether the NCAA even had the right to assess penalties in this case,  it became obvious that Emmert was "bluffing" - I call it lying - and his obtaining concessions from Penn State under threat of the death penalty was extortion, pure and simple.

Writes Tim Sullivan in the Louisvlle Courier-Journal,

“We are not at all admitting that we didn’t have the authority to impose the penalties,” Emmert said.

Well, not in so many words.

The NCAA’s proposed legal settlement with Penn State could avert a court battle over a consent decree the school signed under unseemly pressure from the governing body for college athletics. And it allows Emmert the right to continue claiming jurisdiction he might have a hard time justifying under oath. But if you’re keeping score at home, this case was a blowout.

By cowardly  standing back as its president did great damage to a proud, upstanding member institution that had never, ever,  come remotely close to violating any NCAA rule,  the member presidents have undermined whatever credibility the NCAA had.   At least as long as Mark Emmert remains on the job, the NCAA is as good as dead.



*********** I feel terrible for the Packers' Brandon Bostick.  Green Bay people are decent sorts, so I have no doubt he'll be able venture out and about without fear for his safety. But he probably should expect to pay for his own beer.

*********** Used to be, the post-season all-star games were somewhat interesting.

That was back in the days before we knew most of the players -  before every game of every college team was on television, and half the teams in major college football played in a bowl game; back then, an all-star game was often our first chance to see some of the guys we'd only read about.

That was back before players had agents.  Before the projected high draft picks began to be  advised by their agents/entourage to forget the all-star games - to drop out of school and get to work preparing for the combine. 

But we still have things like last week's Medal of Honor Bowl and this past weekend's East-West Game and the  NFLPA Collegiate All-Star Bowl.

Good for the people putting on these games.  Good for the coaches and the players.  Noble efforts, all.

But, jeez, the football was lame.  Really lame.  The coaches, most of whom had pro experience, couldn't possibly have done a better job of realistically simulating actual breathtaking NFL excitement.  How about this: Five offensive touchdowns… Two interceptions returned for touchdowns… NINE f--king field goals.

Let's see.  The final score of the Medal of Honor Bowl was 26-14, favor something called the "National" team.  (I have no idea how they decided on who played on which team - in any of the games.)

Now get this - there were only two offensive touchdowns scored.  And they were both scored by the LOSING team.  The winning team "dominated" with two interception returns and four field goals.

But that game was a nail-biter compared to the East-West game, a 19-3 win for the East.  The game MVP was a guy from South Florida who kicked four field goals.

I actually watched  a bit of the "NFLPA Collegiate All-Star Bowl" (now there's a jawbreaker of a name for you).  The game took place in Carson, California, in a soccer stadium, which might explain why the announcers kept hammering us with the soccerish "Team National/Team American" crap.

It might as well have been a soccer game, judging from the handful of spectators on hand.

The NFLPA might be made up of the best football players on the planet, but marketing experts they're not.  In an area of more than 6 million people - they couldn't entice more than a couple thousand people to come out on a sunny Saturday afternoon and pay a few bucks to watch a football game.

Give the TV people their due - despite the fact that they had THREE guys in the booth, the first sideline interview came with 5:22 in the FIRST period.

The game itself?  A 17-0 snoozer.  Won by Team National.  Or was it Team American?

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

An acquaintance of mine has a son who plays high school football.  From the information available to us, we believe he's the nation's leading receiver (yardage). 

He's got good size, good speed, great hands, and huge "ups" as the kids say these days.  My friend knows I take an interest in the recruiting process, so he asked me how his son might go about getting on the radar of D1 coaches.  It was surprising to me that such a prospect would go completely unnoticed.  I was going to suggest that he write a polite letter (or email) to the D1 coaches in the area, asking if they might consider taking a look.  But then I saw what you wrote about Yale telling you to mind your own business.  If a respected high school football coach can't even get a football program to just take a look at a prospect, then what chance do any great but unknown kids have?  How do these coaches find players, anyway?  Do they just ask ESPN or Rivals who the "Top Studs" are?  For that matter, is Yale so inundated with NFL-calibre athletes clamoring for a roster spot that they can just turn away mass numbers of prospects?
I'm not sure what the next step should be.  Time is growing short now with national signing day a month away.  I have sent emails to recruiting directors for the various scouting services, merely asking for advice.  All have gone unanswered.  Do you have any helpful suggestions? (I would even be willing to accept unhelpful snide remarks at this point.  We just want SOMEBODY to acknowledge that they've heard us.)

Thank you for your time,
You didn't say where you and your acquaintance live, so I'm sort of flyIng blind. I hope you'll understand that my reply is limited by my not knowing anything about your friend's son, or of the sort of program in which he plays, or of his grades or other issues.  
I'd certainly want to know what visiting recruiters had to say to his coach if/when they saw his video. That is, if they do visit - again, I don't know anything about the level of play.
To make sure I didn't steer you wrong, I asked a friend who is recruiting coordinator at a top program what he would suggest and here's what he wrote ---
Best bet: email a link to highlight film to the recruiting coordinator - it will get watched/evaluated by someone in the program

ESPN/rivals/etc is "all nonsense "- "we evaluate the film and go from there"

As for this year's signing day  - the real deadline passed a long time ago for scholarship colleges. They have been on top of these kids since at least  junior year, and they know by now who they want. No surprises from this point until signing day.  Most likely anybody they're looking at now is for next year's recruiting class.
If the young man is a senior, a junior college or prep school might be helpful.
Hope that helps some
********** I'm not sure what they were thinking when they signed him up, but somehow I just don't see Cam Newton moving a lot of Greek yogurt off the shelves.

*********** Note to Bill Belichick: not saying that you did or didn't let air out of those footballs, but if you did - what were you THINKING???? You could have clobbered the Colts  using  a rugby ball,  a nerf ball or a 16-pound shot.

(For those who argue that a playoff determines which team is the best - please tell me how a team as bad as the Colts managed to make it that far.)

Not to say that the Patriots actually deflated their footballs Sunday, but tell me, honestly - do you doubt that Bill Belichick is capable of such a stunt?  If I told you that Tony Dungy was accused of doing it, you'd say "NO! Not Coach Dungy!"  But Belichick?  I can see the smirk on your face now.

Here's a guy who ought to be compared with the Halases and Shulas and  instead he finds himself, victimized by his own antics, keeping company with Al Davis.  (The Last time underinflation was an issue, USC got caught doing it against Oregon a couple of years ago.  The USC coach was Lane Kiffin.)

NFL procedure is for the officials to check the balls of each team - all of them - before the game, and then to hand them back to the respective teams.  From that point, though, the teams are essentially free to tamper with them as they wish.

Our high school system, in small-town Washington,  isn't much different.  Before the game, an official comes and asks to see the game balls.  Our game balls are the same balls we practice with - we usually have a half-dozen or so of them - so  we'll pick out three to show him.  Then, one by one, he'll squeeze them (very scientific) and if he thinks any of them is maybe a little  too soft, he'll tell us it needs a little more air.  We'll either give it a couple of shots with a pump, or we'll hand the official another ball, and  then he'll mark the balls that he's approved - and away we go.  But from that point, the officials are plenty busy with other things, and if we were so inclined,  we could probably get away with what the Patriots are accused of doing.

(I can't reveal my sources, but I'm told that Commissioner Goodell has ordered the air from all the Patriots' balls to be transferred to specially-made "balloons." After carefully weighing each one,  he and his top aides will "destroy" the evidence by sitting on the "balloons" and allowing the escaping air to make amusing noises.)

*********** Somebody PLEASE tell the newspaper guys that the football is supposed to be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds of AIR PRESSURE,  and NOT 12.5 and 13.5 pounds' WEIGHT.  Good Lord - a 13-pound football?  Just how strong an arm do they think Brady has?

*********** Funny how we all got to see Marshawn Lynch grabbing his crotch, but the instant the director realized that we were (gasp!) watching Russell Wilson and other Seahawks kneeling in a post-game prayer…

*********** Maybe the third time's the charm…

Steven Rivers, a quarterback like his older brother Philip,  appeared in only four games in two years at LSU. Last spring, with two years of eligibility remaining,  he transferred to Vanderbilt where, having graduated from LSU, he was able to play right away.

At Vandy, he played sparingly, completing   25 of 63 passes for 334 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. 

According to the Nashville Tennessean, his decision to transfer  was not a surprise.  His last significant playing time came in a 44-17 loss to Georgia in early October when he made a serious mistake that ended any Vandy chance of winning: according to a coach, he read his wristband upside-down, interpreting a "60" call that had been signalled in to him as a "90," and wound up throwing an interception that was returned 53 yards.

He got on the field just once more after that, appearing in three plays at the end a 51-0 loss to Mississippi State after the two guys ahead of him were injured.


*********** The story of three-year-old Tommy Morrissey is about as inspirational as you can get…


*********** There's a lot to be said for not specializing in one sport, and some schools are taking steps to try to bring back the three-sport athlete.

At Fairfield (Ohio) High School, one of the state's largest schools, AD Mark Harden has seen specialization in his own family.

“Just this year, my 8-year-old was asked to play on a traveling baseball team that trained year-round and he had to decide whether he wanted to do that or continue to play football and basketball,” he said. “Again, my son is eight.”

At Fairfield High, the athletic department has created a special award for any senior who plays three varsity sports in his or her senior year.

In addition,  Fairfield moved this year to waive participation fees for any student who participates in a third sport during the year.

“I’ve always thought that kids benefit from playing multiple sports over specialization,” Harden said. “Unfortunately, at a school our size there is a pressure to focus on just one sport in order to ‘make a team’ or ‘be a success’ at that particular sport. What is driving this even further is the availability to play sports or train for them year-round.”


*********** From the New York Times… a great defense of high school sports and their lifetime benefits.



american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 16,  2015"If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!"  P. J. O'Rourke

*********** I guess I should be a John Elway fan, but I'm not.

I once was,  back when he played at Stanford. My son was there at the same time and we've still got a great photo hanging on our wall of Elway at Stanford, autographed "To the Wyatts."

And I rooted for him when he played for the Broncos.

But since he's been running the Broncos, I've wondered when he might need a shoulder operation after all the self-back-patting he's done.

And now he's thrown John Fox under the bus, even though most onlookers are pretty sure that wasn't John Fox out there throwing those lollypops against the Colts.

I've been  enjoying watching him go, in the space of a week,  from  "Elway: Executive of the Year" to "Elway: A Lot to Answer For."

adm tom lynch***********
Know your history.

You've probably seen the ad on TV.

I sat up straight the first time I saw it - "Admiral Tom Lynch" tells veterans about something called New Day USA.

I wondered - could that be THE Tom Lynch?

The former Superintendent of the US Naval Academy?

The captain of Navy's 1963 football team? 

The Navy team that  went 9-1 and played Texas in the Cotton Bowl for the National Championship?

The Navy team whose quarterback , a guy named Roger Staubach,  won the Heisman Trophy?

Could that be the Tom Lynch who as the center snapped the ball to Staubach on every offensive play, then, in those days of going both ways, played middle linebacker, where he was called a "demon on defense?"

The same.  

*********** Sam Knopik, head coach at Kansas City's Pembroke HIll School, emailed me from the AFCA National Convention, which has been taking place all this week in Louisville, to say, on the subject of the free blocking zone, "Coach they are going to eliminate this. The day in which all kids can play this game is coming to an end."

Not good news. Another win for grass basketball.

I'm guessing that its intent is to outlaw all blocking below the waist. Anywhere.

If it's also going to apply to colleges, it's aimed squarely at Georgia Tech and the service academies. I've seen that coming for several years now.  It's going to cause them problems.  Firing out low along the line was one of the things that made the 'bone and its variations a great equalizer, and it's the thing that opponents hate the most.

For us, there are workarounds.  I've anticipated this, and over the last two seasons we've all but eliminated "shoeshining."

Do you suppose this means that defenses will be required to make contact above the waist, too?  Will it outlaw submarining against our wedge?   Hahaha.  Silly man.  Not a chance.

*********** Most people are unaware of this, but while the 32 individual NFL franchises are run as for-profit businesses, the NFL itself is not.

The NFL itself is a non-profit. It is, in fact - hold still, now - a charitable foundation!

Charity?   In 2012, Big Football gave away just $2.3 million, most of which ($2.1 million) went to its favorite charity - the NFL Hall of Fame.

Charity?  Well, they say it begins at home, and the head of the "charity," NFL  Commissioner Roger Goodell, was paid $29.5 million.

The lengths to which Big Football will go to preserve its non-profit status (neither MLB or the NBA have it) naturally means taking good care of the people who make our laws - which means many of them will will be at the Super Bowl on the NFL's (or a lobbyist's) dime.


*********** The Texas Class 6A Division I final matching undefeated Allen against Cypress Ranch, had an announced attendance of 52,308. It’s the second-largest crowd for a Texas high school football game, trailing only the 54,347 that were on hand for last year's 5A Division I championship game between Allen and Pearland.

*********** The Black College Football Hall of Fame announced the 25 Finalists that will be on the ballot for induction into the 2015 Black College Football Hall of Fame.

The Finalists were narrowed down from a list of 180 nominees by a 13-member Selection Committee.

The committee,  as well as all living members of the Hall of Fame classes, will select from the 25 finalists seven members (six players and one coach/contributor) who will be inducted as the Class of 2015.

        Emerson Boozer (RB, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 1962-1965)
        Roger Brown (OL, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, 1956-1959)
        Ken Burrough (WR, Texas Southern University, 1966-1969)
        Harold Carmichael (WR, Southern University, 1967-1970)
        Richard Dent (DE, Tennessee State University, 1979-1982)
        Hewritt Dixon (RB, Florida A&M University, 1959-1962)
        L.C. Greenwood (DE, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 1965-1968)
        Harold Jackson (WR, Jackson State University, 1965-1968)
        Gary “Big Hands” Johnson (DL, Grambling State University, 1971-1974)
        Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd (DL, Grambling State University, 1957-1960)
        Leo Lewis (RB, Lincoln University, 1951-1954)
        Tyrone McGriff (OL, Florida A&M University, 1976-1979)
        Timothy Newsome (RB/KR, Winston Salem State University, 1976-1979)
        Jethro Pugh (DE, Elizabeth City State University, 1961-1964)
        Ken Riley (QB, Florida A&M University, 1965-1968)
        Donnie Shell (DB, South Carolina State University, 1970-1973)
        Otis Taylor (WR, Prairie View A&M University, 1961-1964)
        Emmitt Thomas (QB/DB, Bishop College, 1962-1965)
        Everson Walls (DB, Grambling State University, 1977-1980)
        Aeneas Williams (CB, Southern University, 1987-1990)

        Joe Gilliam, Sr. (Defensive Coordinator, Tennessee State University, 1963-1983)
        W.C. Gorden (Head Coach, Jackson State University, 1976-1991)
        Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones (President, Grambling State University, 1936-1977)
        Arnett Mumford (Head Coach, Southern University, 1927-1961)
        William J. “Billy” Nicks (Head Coach, Morris Brown, 1930-1942, Prairie View A&M University, 1945-1965)


Wait a minute, I thought, as I looked at that list.  That's a heck of a group of football players. And they aren't in yet?  And not all of them are going to make it?  So who in the world IS in?

Good question, Wyatt.

The very first group inducted (in 2010) was about as distinguished a group as you would find in any Hall of Fame…

Buck Buchanan

Junious “Buck” Buchanan, as a defensive end for Grambling State University from 1959 to 1963, was an NAIA All-American and a three-time Black College All-America. Buchanan could bat down passes with either hand, play the run and rush the passer. The first of the prototypical defensive lineman, combing size, speed, and strength, he was the first black college player taken as the No. 1 overall pick in an NFL Draft, when the Kansas City Chiefs selected him in 1963. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and the College Football Hall of in 1996.

Willie Galimore  

Willie “Gallopin’ Gal” Galimore, as a running back at Florida A&M University from 1953 to 1956, was all-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference choice four times and was named a Black College All-America by the Pittsburgh Courier three times. The Rattlers won four conference championships while Galimore was at FAMU and one Black College National Championship. He played for the Chicago Bears from 1957 to 1963, before passing away tragically at the age of 29 in an auto accident in Rensselaer, Indiana, on July 27, 1964. As FAMU’s all-time leading rusher, Galimore averaged 94 yards per game and was the Rattler’s first 1,000-yard runner (1,203 yards in 1954).

Deacon Jones
David “Deacon” Jones played defensive end for South Carolina State University and Mississippi Valley State University from 1958 to 1960. Blessed with speed, agility, and quickness, the “Deacon” became one of the finest pass rushers in the business. Yet had it not been for the chance observation of two Rams scouts viewing films of an opponent, he might never have had a chance to play pro football. When the scouts noted that the 6-4, 272-pound tackle was outrunning the backs they were scouting, they recommended Jones as a sleeper pick. He went on to unanimous all-league honors six straight years from 1965 through 1970 and was selected to eight Pro Bowls. Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.

Willie Lanier
Willie “Honey Bear” Lanier played Linebacker and Offensive Guard at Morgan State University from 1963 to 1967. He earned first team All-America honors his junior year and led the Bears to bowl games in 1965 and 1966, winning both and holding opponents to 0 total yards offense in the 1965 game. His teams won three conference championships and at one point had a 32-game winning streak. Lanier went on to play in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs, winning a Super Bowl and five times being named as an All-Pro Middle Linebacker. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

Walter Payton
Walter “Sweetness” Payton, as a Running Back at Jackson State University from 1971 to 1974. made every All-American team picked for college division or division 1-AA teams. In both years Payton was voted Black College Player of the Year. A tough back, who ran harder than his size (5’10, 200), Payton was a complete football player -- one who could run the ball, block, tackle, pass, catch passes, and kick. It was in college that Payton picked up his nickname "Sweetness" because of the smooth way he ran. He moved on to a legendary career with the Chicago Bears, which included a Super Bowl Ring in 1985, nine Pro Bowls and two NFL Player of the Year Awards. Payton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Jerry Rice 

Jerry Rice, a wide receiver for Mississippi Valley State University from 1981 to 1984, is widely regarded as one of the greatest receivers in history on any level. He was named first-team Division I-AA All-America and finished ninth in the 1984 Heisman Trophy voting. His 27 touchdown receptions that season set the NCAA mark for all divisions. Rice was named the 1984 SWAC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year for the State of Mississippi. In addition to being named first-team Division I-AA All-American, the NEA and Football Writers’ Association of America both named Rice to their first-team Division I-A All-America squads. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 16th overall selection in the 1985 NFL Draft and became arguably the greatest player in NFL history. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and is a 2010 Nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ben Stevenson 

Ben “Big Ben” Stevenson spent his first years at Tuskegee University as a prep-schooler, which at the time allowed him to play eight seasons in all for the Golden Tigers, from 1923 to 1930. During that span, the team amazingly suffered only two defeats. Stevenson combined speed (9.8 100-yard dash), strength and durability. Scoring on a combination of long runs and drop kicks, he also played defensive back, earning a reputation as one of the top pass thieves in the conference. Stevenson was named to seven consecutive Black College All-America teams, numerous Negro all-time All-America teams and was voted as the game's greatest all-around player.

Tank Younger  

Paul "Tank" Younger had a record-setting career at running back and linebacker at Grambling State University from 1945 to 1948. He was named to the 1948 Pittsburgh Courier All-America team and was the Tigers’ leader on offense and defense. Younger totaled 60 touchdowns during his career at Grambling, which at the time was a collegiate record. After his senior season, he was named black college football's Player of the Year. Younger went on to a very successful NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning Pro Bowl status five times. He became the first black player to play in an NFL All-Star Game, and after his playing days, went on to become the league's first black assistant general manager in 1975.

Eddie Robinson    (Coach)

Coach Eddie G. Robinson spent 56 years at Grambling State University, from 1941-1997. He put together an incredible overall record of 408-165-15 and sent more than 80 players to the NFL and AFL. Robinson led the Tigers to a streak of 27 consecutive winning seasons from 1960 to 1986, as well as 17 SWAC Championships and nine Black College National Championships, more than any other HBCU. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997 and has received more awards than any other coach in history.

Jake Gaither    (Coach)

Coach Alonzo “Jake” Gaither spent 24 years at Florida A&M University, from 1945 to 1969, amassing an astonishing record of 203-36-4. His teams won 18 Conference Championships and were Black College National Champions six times. In a 10-year streak, from 1953 to 1962, his teams went 87-7-1. His “split line T” offense was adopted by several major college programs, and he retired in 1969 with a .844 winning percentage, the best ever among all NCAA coaches. In 1975 he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Bill Nunn    (Contributor)

Legendary journalist and NFL Scout Bill Nunn entered the newspaper business as a sports writer for the Pittsburgh Courier, where he later rose to sports editor and managing editor. After elevating the Courier’s Black College All-American team to new heights, Nunn joined the Pittsburgh Steelers' scouting staff part time in 1967 and then full time in 1969. A true innovator, he constructed a bridge between the Steelers and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Five Super Bowl Rings later, Nunn is among the most legendary NFL scouts of all time.


*********** Hugh, I was surprised and pleased to hear that an athlete of Kobe Bryant's stature was telling the world that the AAU Emperor has no clothes.  After six years of parental involvement in girls' AAU basketball, I can tell you that Kobe's remarks are right on target.  99% of AAU hoops teams are nothing more than collections of talented physical specimens with no personal inclination or external direction toward team play.  No team fundamentals are taught and no individual skills are improved -- it's simply glorified playground "ratball".

The AAU system is constituted to serve the interests of college scouts, who can see 40 or so D1 prospects at any given "viewing tournament".  Naturally this is more convenient than having to scout 1 or 2 athletes at each individual high school game.  Since the whole purpose of AAU ball is to make an impression on the scouts, the players eschew passing, and each possession usually consists of the ball being shot by the girl who has brought it down the court.  Woe betide the player who inbounds the ball!  In most cases, the ball will already be in the air in the general direction of the basket before she has crossed midcourt!

With all this physical ability and all this shooting, AAU scores are still as low as high-school games (despite much higher overall talent levels) because shot selection and "basketball IQ" is not valued or developed.  AAU also puts a lot of unnecessary wear-and-tear on the girls, since a winning team will play as many as five full games in a weekend tournament.  How could they be expected to play a) safely and b) sharply and intelligently at that kind of fatigue level?  Believe me, it leads to unnecessary injuries.

Evidently the college coaches are OK with this, since a reputation as an AAU "scoring machine" is a ticket to one of the five "power conferences", while girls with lesser stats make do with the "mid-majors".

Having seen this process "up close and personal" for so long, I understand completely when the USA mens' team is beaten by some welterweight like Greece or Lithuania.  Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

In closing, I will say that I have seen two or three AAU girls' teams that obviously teach fundamentals and play team ball.  Each of them is a thinly-disguised high-school team that has played together under consistent coaching for years, rather than a collection of "all-stars".  In my opinion, that is the way that off-season basketball should be structured.

Clarke triplets
I'll bet Kobe feels the same way!

All the best,

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

(Shep Clarke knows what he's talking about.  His three kids, from left to right, Wain, Riley and Mac - are triplets, and  seniors at Puyallup's Emerald Ridge High.  Each in his or her own field, they're amazing achievers.  Riley, the basketball player, has earned an appointment to the Air Force Academy; Mac, after playing in the Seattle Sounders' youth program, will be going to San Diego State on a soccer scholarship; and Wain, a standout receiver and defensive end for Emerald Ridge, has committed to play at Hillsdale College, in Michigan.)

*********** This is not good.  Indianapolis Colts' linebacker Josh McNary, a West Point graduate and former Army captain, has been charged with rape.

I know nothing other than what has been reported, which leaves me caught between two stories.  I know which one I want to believe, but as John Adams said, in defense of the British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."


Steve Anderson, who played four seasons at West Point with Josh McNary, and who was co-captain with him their senior year, told the Middletown (NY) Times-Herald-Record, "I know his family really well. He was raised really well. He's always been respectful and a stand-up guy...  For me to honestly believe this took place, I would need a confession out of Josh. I would literally need to hear it from Josh himself before I could get caught up in even believing this is close to being true."


********** Hello Coach Wyatt:
This is the other Coach Wyatt  from Whitmire, SC and I hope that this email finds you in the greatest of health.  I’ve been on your website looking your 2015 clinic dates.  When will you be posting them?  Now that my basketball season is coming to an end (Jan 29), I will have time to sit down and really study/watch it and won’t have to rush like I did last year (new coach new system).
I wish you and your staff have a blessed day.

Maurice Wyatt

Coach Wyatt,

NIce to hear from you.

I enter the New Year with a pretty long agenda of health issues - nothing serious - that I've been putting off for some time, and dealing with them means I'm going to have to at least push back this year's clinics.  That would mean that if and when I do any, it may not be until April or even May.

Atlanta is a likely spot, but Durham NC is almost definite.

Hope you can make it.  In the meantime, if you come across any questions in your study, fire them off to me!

*********** In Washington, DC, three U.S. Marine recruiters heard a woman crying for help outside their office, an rushing outside, they stopped an attempted robbery and chased down one of the perps, despite the fact that the guy said he had a gun.

"I've been shot at before," said one of the Marines.  "It's not as bad as everyone thinks. Most people miss."

*********** Bob Brookover, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, has a few suggestions.

First, to the NCAA: restore those 111 wins that you took from Penn State and Paterno, overstepping your jurisdiction in doing so...

Then, to Penn State: bring back the Paterno statue.  With one condition...


*********** A blogger named Ben Garrett lights into Urban Meyer.  He writes,  "Ohio State Won, Urban Meyer Lost"


The piece is very well researched and very well written. The writer does do a number of Meyer, starting with that last Ohio State touchdown, and ranging through his tenure at Florida.  Unlike the writer, while I didn't particularly appreciate Meyer's sticking that last score in there, I would  argue that if that's the way he plays, it was Oregon's job to stop him.  My complaint, and one that he should have to answer for, is that Ohio State had - what? - 85 players dressed for the game, and if anybody was going to try to score down at the end, it should have been their backups, guys who worked their tails off all season long and then, in the biggest game of their lives, never even got on the field.  (In case they wondered what their coach really thinks about them.)

*********** This, from Forbes Magazine's Mike Ozanian…

Is there a bigger hypocrite in college sports than Urban Meyer?

With Ohio State leading Oregon 35-20 in the college football championship game last night the Buckeyes had first and goal at the Ducks’ 2-yard line. There were less than two minutes left in the game. Urban Meyer could have his quarterback take a knee and Ohio State would be champs.

This is what Meyer instructed Cardale Jones to do, right? After all, Meyer talks a big God game and is pals with Todd Gongwer, whose book on finding the heart of leadership, LEAD…for God’s Sake, struck a chord with Meyer and served as the foundation for their friendship. The book is supposedly (I have not read it) about finding a purpose in life through Christian values.

Or not. Instead of graciously letting the clock run out and not humiliating his opponent, Meyer had Jones give the ball to running back Ezekiel Elliott. Twice! On his second attempt Elliott got into the end zone with 28 seconds left. Ohio State 42, Oregon 20.
Urban Meyer. Hypocrite.


*********** Cardale Jones admits he's not ready for the pros.  Actually, it remains to be seen whether he's ready for college.

But he is old enough to be a father.  Surprise. An interviewer, evidently not aware that there are still a few of us who don't think it's such a great idea for children to be fathering children,  inevitably out of wedlock, gushed as she mentioned his little four-month-old daughter.

How cute.  I suppose it would have been rude - not to mention naive - to ask how his wife was doing.

*********** Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That's the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Over and over, as if they were constitutional scholars, people in all areas of life mistakenly cite it as giving them a license to say anything they want, at any time and place they choose, to anyone they want.

But the reality is that very day, we encounter dozens of instances in which, in one way or another, our freedom of speech is "abridged."

No, not by Congress.  Congress couldn't care less whether you think your wife's new slacks make her look fat.  That means you're free to say whatever you think, right? 

Right.  But it doesn't mean there aren't going to be consequences, and it doesn't say anywhere that you are going to be shielded from those consequences.

So go ahead and tell the 16-year-old  girl on the basketball team you coach that she's got nice legs…

Or tell that TSA person that you're going to hijack the plane and fly it into the Golden Gate Bridge…

Or tell those guys sitting in front of you in those silver and black jerseys that the Raiders suck.

Sure, it's a free country.  Congress hasn't even given a thought to passing a law that says you can't sit in Oakland Coliseum and say "Raiders suck."

No, the founding fathers saw no need to go that far, undoubtedly believing that common civility - not to say common sense - would prevail, and would restrain most people.  And where it didn't, the offended party would either take it - or take action.  Duelling was still common when the First Amendment was ratified.  Andrew Jackson once killed a man in a duel for insulting his wife.

After dueling, there was still the old-fashioned punch in the mouth.   That was usually enough to keep peoples' opinions under control.

But for the most part, what kept things civil was a code of politeness, a part of the social contract that said, "you just don't say those things." 

Recently, the murder of members of the staff of a French satirical magazine as a result of some cartoons it published seems to have evoked some serious misunderstanding of the idea of "free speech."

Yes, those "journalists" were free to mock and ridicule a religion and its sacred figures.  Their government guaranteed them that freedom.  But nowhere was it stated that there would be no consequences for their actions. 

No, they should not have had to pay with their lives.  Yes, Islamic terrorists are murderers and must be eliminated (not, as our faint-hearted  presidents like to say, "brought to justice"). 

But I personally have grown tired of the way Christians stand, sheeplike, and allow others to demean and ridicule our faith,  and I personally would have applauded if a Muslim had walked into those offices and punched the editor in the nose.

Such an expression of disagreement with a journalist would not be unprecedented here in the United States.

In 1950, after the Washington Post's music critic wrote a scathing review of a young singer's performance, he received a threatening note, calling it a "lousy review," and concluding,  "Some day I hope to meet you.  When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below."

The writer was the singer's father,
President Harry S. Truman.

************ Protesters blocked Interstate 93 outside Boston during rush hour Thursday.  Needless to say, people are pissed. In case the demonstarors, mostly out of towners,  have any plans for the weekend,  let this be fair warning:

Boston writers


american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 12,  2015-  "If you're going through hell, keep going."    Winston Churchill

*********** I am so bummed.

College football is over for another year;

I've almost certainly seen the last of Marcus Mariota as a college football player;

I've seen the Oregon Ducks lose in the national title game;

And worst of all, I've seen the Ducks play as badly as they've played in several years.

Yes, Oregon played a terrible game, in every respect, but Ohio State played like the national champions that they are, and the result, I'm sorry to say, was an ass-kicking.

The Buckeye defense was outstanding, and their offensive line was overpowering. They absolutely ate Oregon alive with that counter - what we would call 6-C and 7-C.

Ezekiel Elliott was a beast, and the Buckeyes' coaches did a fantastic job of keeping Cardale Jones focused for most of the season after J.T. Barrett was promoted to starting QB, and then of getting Jones game-ready.

*********** Kudos to the two coaches in the National Championship game - they went for it on fourth down more  times than all the NFL coaches would in an entire season.  (Maybe I exaggerate, but not that much.)  Imagine - just one k--king field goal the entire game!

*********** Evidently even a national championship game still isn't enough to draw an audience on its own merits.  They had the Ohio State band on hand, one of the finest in all creation, but  oh, no - they still had to go out and hire some weirdass trio to "perform" the national anthem.

*********** Just when I'd almost forgotten Bill  Belichick's filming of opponents' practices (BTW, I'm willing to bet that before he "destroyed the tapes", Commissioner Goodell made himself a copy and stashed it in a safe somewhere) and recognize him as one of the great NFL coaches of all time, he goes devious on me.

Yeah, yeah, I know.  That little stunt he pulled against the Ravens with players' jersey numbers is legal, blah, blah, blah…  Tom Brady even snidely suggested that the Ravens ought to  study the rule book.

Yes, what he did was legal.  But I put it in the category of a violation of "unwritten rules," things that are legal but just aren't done. Baseball is full of them (stealing when you're x number of runs ahead, etc.), but football has its share - things like pretending to take a knee and instead throwing deep.

Most such travesties, such as forward fumbles, sleeper plays and hidden ball plays have pretty much been outlawed by now, but for some strange reason the NFL still allows this to happen by leaving a couple of archaic rules on the books  - rules that date to the earliest days of pro football, when teams had some 33 men on their rosters, and it was common for many players to go both ways.

Here's the legal basis for what Belichick did…

Rule 5, Section 3 Changes in Position


Article 1 An offensive player wearing the number of an ineligible pass receiver (50–79 and 90–99) is permitted to line up in the position of an eligible pass receiver (1–49 and 80–89), and an offensive player wearing the number of an eligible pass receiver is permitted to line up in the position of an ineligible pass receiver, provided that he immediately reports the change in his eligibility status to the Referee, who will inform the defensive team.

Now, with 53-man rosters (plus 10-man "practice squads") and specialization to the point where they keep guys around just to rush passers on third down, there's no reason on God's earth to keep such outdated rules.  They serve only to confuse officials, opponents and fans, as well as providing temptation to the sort of guy who likes to play fast and loose with the rules.

It especially bothers me that whenever these changes of position are employed,  it's always to exploit an opponent's pass defense.  Good God, the rules aren't tilted heavily enough toward the passing game as it is. (The Patriots certainly gave us a look at the future of the pro game Saturday,   "rushing" seven times for 14 yards against the Ravens.)

I can't imagine anyone wanting to keep those rules on the books.   All the NFL has to do is adopt the high school rules. 

They're quite simple and easy to understand, and difficult to take advantage of.

NFHS: Rule 7, Section 2, Article 5

(a) At the snap, at least seven A (Offensive) players shall be on their lone of scrimmage.

(b) At the snap, at least five A players on their line of scrimmage must be numbered 50-79

There are certain exceptions for "scrimmage kick formations" (in which the presumed kicker is at least seven yards deep) so that teams can substitute an eligible-numbered guy as a deep snapper as well as lighter, faster players to take the place of big offensive linemen in kick coverage. 

Rule 7, Section 5, Article 6

The following players are eligible pass receivers:
(a) All A players eligible by position and number include those who, at the time of the snap, are on the ends of the scrimmage line or legally behind the line (possible total of six) and are numbered 1-49 or 80-99.

I'm thinking that the reason the NFL hasn't changed is the same reason why it didn't employ our overtime - someone else thought of it before they did, and not even the NFL could fool people into thinking otherwise.

Belichick wasn't the first to try this "find the eligible man" shell game.

A few years ago, some high school coach in California got the bright idea of lining his QB up seven yards deep.  This made him technically in "scrimmage kick formation," but his purposes was not to kick. The rule permitted him to have 11players on the field with eligible numbers, leaving opponents - and officials - trying to guess who was eligible on any given play.  He called it the "A-11" offense.

Although legal according to the letter of the law, it was a violation of the spirit of the law, and the idea was quickly put to rest, by state associations.

To the NFL: even with our high school rules, swapping numbers isn't that difficult.

At North Beach,  we took a page from  Stanford, which complied with the college rule (which is similar to the HS rule) by having at the ready an extra set of shoulder pads inside a player's alternate jersey, and then, as needed, simply exchanging one set of jersey/shoulder pads for the other.  That was much quicker than having to exchange jerseys while leaving the shoulder pads on.

We adopted the idea this past season for a player who backed up on our offensive line and also at tight end.

*********** I don't recall where I first heard of it, but I had to pass along links to "The Dash" - a poem by Linda Ellis.  (The "dash" refers to a person's life - to what's represented by the dash, on a tombstone, between the dates of a person's birth and death.)



*********** In Fuzzy Thurston's memoirs, "What a Wonderful World," the Packers' all-time great guard tells a story of persistence and belief in one's self - and of the influence one great person can have on one's career.

Although Thurston had been such a good linemen that in his senior year he was named his conference's most valuable player, he came out of little Valparaiso,  and was a relative unknown to the pros.  Nevertheless, he was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round.  As he points out in his book, with only 12 teams in the NFL at the time, that was a pretty big deal.

He was cut by Eagles after their final exhibition game, and returned home to his hometown, Altoona, Wisconsin, to learn that he'd been drafted again - this time, though, by the United States Army.

After 21 months in the Army, much of the time spent honing his football skills playing a good brand of service football ("better than I had seen at Valparaiso") he signed with the Chicago Bears for a $500 bonus.  But after three exhibition games he was traded back to the Eagles - who then cut him on the Wednesday before the season-opener.

When he was contacted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, he headed north.  He was now married with an infant son, and out of work,

In Winnipeg, he had the good fortune to encounter one of the game's legends, and to be the beneficiary of an astounding act of selflessness that sent him on his way to an NFL career.

"My time in Canada was short, but valuable. I was there a week, but before I signed a contract, the Bombers' head coach, Bud Grant, called me into his office. Grant said the Baltimore Colts called and inquired about signing me to a contract. He said he hated to do it, because he really wanted me, but he felt  I needed to go to Baltimore and give it another try. He told me he felt I belonged in the NFL, and that if I was given another chance I could have a good career."

Signed to the Colts' taxi squad, he was activated after six weeks, and played on special teams and backed up guards Alex Sandusky and Steve Myhra, and earned a championship check as the Colts defeated the Giants in the NFL title game often referred to as "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

Prior to the next season, he left Wisconsin the day after his second son was born, and drove all night to get to Colts' camp, where on his arrival he found a note on his door reading, "See Coach in the morning."

In the morning, he was informed by Baltimore coach Weeb Ewbank that the Colts needed another linebacker, so they had traded him to Green Bay for Marv Matuszak.

"I didn't understand why he couldn't have told me this before  I got in the car and drive eighteen hours." Thurston wrote.  "I was pissed off."

So he turned around and drive back to Wisconsin, to Green Bay, where a new coach named VInce Lombardi had just arrived on the scene to try to turn around a woeful team that had just gone 1-10-1.

And the rest, as they say…

*********** Since many of you are teachers, you will probably appreciate the writing of Peter Greene who refers to himself as "A grumpy old teacher trying to keep up the good classroom fight in the new age of reformy stuff." My friend Paul Herzog put me onto him.  Guy's pretty good. Here, he writes about  the fallacy of evaluating teachers based on their students' test scores.

So Sorry, Minneapolis Teachers

As promised, this morning brought the publishing of teacher ratings, including VAM scores, with a map and a pearl-clutching interview with the district's superintendent. The gap is shocking, alarming, inexplicable.

I'm speaking of course of the apparent gap between Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson's brain and reality. How does somebody with this gigantic an inability to process data end up as a superintendent of a major school system?

Superintendent Johnson is shocked-- shocked!!-- to find that under this evaluation system, it turns out that all the worst teachers are working in all the poorest schools! Hmmm-- the poorest schools have the worst results. What's the only possible explanation? Teachers!! (Pause for the sound of me banging my head on the desk.)

“It’s alarming that it took this to understand where teachers are,” Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson said Friday. “We probably knew that, but now have the hard evidence. It made me think about how we need to change our staffing and retention.”

No, Superintendent Johnson.  What's alarming is that you don't understand a damn thing.

Here's what you have "discovered." If you rip the roof off a classroom, the teachers that you send to teach in that classroom will get wet when it rains. You cannot "fix" that by changing the teacher.

But apparently that's the solution being considered. "Okay," says Superintendent Johnson. "Over here we have teachers who stay dry and their students stay dry, so we'll put this dry teacher in the classroom without a roof and have a dry teacher for the wet rooms. That'll fix it."

And Superintendent Johnson appears willing to go further. "Maybe we just need to fire the wet teachers and replace them with new, dry ones," she may be thinking. [Sound of me banging my head against the concrete slab of my basement floor.]

If you want a dry teacher in the room, build a damn roof on it.

Look. Look look look look look. We already know that poverty absolutely correlates with test results. Show me your tests results and I will show you where your low-income students are. Poverty and lack of resources and underfunding put these students in a classroom without a roof, and anybody you put in there with them will be a wet teacher.

Build a damn roof.


********** If you're an old-timer like me and you wish NFL players would start to look the way they did it the old days,  you might see some potential uses for this guy in West Reading, Pennsylvania...


*********** I came across a few great reactions by Bostonians to the news that Boston will be the USOC's candidate for the 2014 Olympics…

As someone who lives and works in Boston and deals daily with traffic gridlock, decaying bridges and tunnels, and a subway from the 19th century, where a large portion of the population lives in poverty, i was thinking the other day that what this city really needs is a good velodrome...

If you plan on taking the Green Line to the games, you'd better get on a train now.

***********  Ask yourself - honestly  - would you want your son (or grandson) playing a game in which an opponent can lay in wait for him and, at no risk to himself, while your kid's helpless to defend himself, knock him senseless?

So why should we expect anyone else who's seen an NFL defensive back launch himself at a defenseless receiver and then watched officials split hairs trying to determine whether contact was made by shoulder or helmet, or whether the point of impact was the shoulder, or neck, or helmet of the targeted victim,  allow his (or her) kid to play a game like that?

It started in the NFL, and as inevitably happens with the most repugnant aspects of the NFL, it's seen on TV by kids and very quickly copied.   And, left unchecked, it's going to kill our game.

What would you say to someone who tells you this is why he doesn't want his son playing football?   What can you say? 

Even boxing allows a man the opportunity to defend himself.

This isn't boxing, though - this is much worse.  HItting a helpless opponent  requires no courage. Tucking the arms and hands and launching one's self into a helpless opponent is about as courageous as sucker-punching him.  It's the knockout game in shoulder pads.

I recommend two changes: 

(1) Hands must lead - hands must be above or ahead of the shoulders or it's not a tackle.  It's illegal contact.  Fifteen yards from the spot.

(2) Time for a penalty box.  None of this suspension crap, where coaches can prepare a substitute. Guy's out for a specified period of time - while his team plays a man short.   Watch how fast coaches - and players - change their ways.

What kind of sport allows a player to deliberately injure an opponent?  Boxing? Whatever happened to boxing, anyhow?

*********** For a nation with so little respect for history, our media sure do seem to spend an awful lot of time talking about a politician's "legacy." As if, two or three years from now, anyone will even remember any of these clowns.

*********** By the time the first NFL game was under way Saturday, the North Dakota State- Illinois State game was already over.

Too bad, because it was by far the most exciting game of the weekend.

Geez, I hate watching those Patriots play.  It's like watching seven-on-seven with a handful of big linemen cluttering things up.  It's a travesty to watch Brady stand there.. and stand there… and stand there.. and throw passes.  It's pussified football, and I fear that it's the way the NFL (and, ultimately, the rest of football) is headed. 

Think of it - 7 (SEVEN!) running plays for 14 (FOURTEEN!) yards, for God's sake. Is there any easier way to make a living in American than as a Patriots' running back?

No, you can't count Brady's six ventures out of the pocket (for ZERO yards) as "running plays" even though the stats guys do.  Believe me, there's no way the Patriots ever intend for Brady to run the ball.  What - and have him actually play football?

I don't want to wish anything really bad on Brady or anything, but it sure would be a little more like the football we grew up with if he'd have to take a serious hit every now and then.

*********** I've flown a lot in the past 20 years or so, and I've seen a few  "emotional support animals" on  flights… but a f--king 50 pound pig?


*********** I'm partial to David Shaw, not only because he's a Stanford guy and he's the Stanford coach, but also because I knew his dad, Willie.  Willie Shaw was on Rich Brooks' Oregon staff when I'd work at Oregon's camp back in the 70s and 80s.  Great guy.  A career coach.  I think that if he'd been born maybe 20 years later, he'd have been a head coach himself (if you get my drift) but his legacy is his son and what he's been able to accomplish at Stanford.

From AFCA  Weekly...

Before Stanford University head coach David Shaw first started coaching at Western Washington, he received some terrific advice from his father that he holds dear to this day.

“Coach to your personality,” his father told him. It’s just a few short words, but it speaks volumes.

“He knew I was going to work hard,” says Shaw of his father. “He knew I was going to do what I was supposed to do, but his advice was don’t try to be like anybody else.”


american flagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 9,  2015"Take notes on the spot: a note is worth a cart-load of recollections.”    Ralph Waldo Emerson

*********** Only in California, where when it comes to managing peoples' lives, state government could give the USSR a run for its money…

This year, California's middle school and high school football coaches will be required by STATE LAW to limit contact in practices.

The law prohibits high school and middle school teams from

(1) having full-contact practices lasting longer than 90 minutes in one day

(2) conducting more than two full-contact practices per week during the season and

(3) holding contact practices during the off-season.

The intent, of course, is to limit concussions and other serious head injuries.

The state doesn't require coaches to be USA-Football certified.  Not yet.


*********** This one was sent me by Chuck Lovinski, younger brother of my late friend, Frank "Pope Franjo" Lovinski.

Chuck, a native of Wheeling, West Virginia,  was a QB-running back for WVU in the mid-60s, when Jim Carlen was the Mountaineers' head coach, and his offensive coordinator was a young Alabamian named Bobby Bowden.  Another QB, trying to come back from a leg injury, was a 6-3, 200 pound kid from Farmington, the home town of the legendary Sam Huff, named Joe Manchin.

Chuck Lovinski remains a BIG Mountaineer fan, and a big fan of the Mountain State in general, and he sent me  link to an amazing story:

The Coaching Cradle That Claims 15 National Titles…

From one small area in north central West Virginia have come four coaches who among them have won 15 National Championships:

Fielding Yost, Fairview - six (all at Michigan)
John McKay, Shinnston - four (all at USC)
NIck Saban, Monongah - four (one at LSU, three at Alabama
Jimbo Fisher, Glens Falls - one title at Florida State

Other areas of the Mountain State have produced such outstanding coaches as Rich Rodriguez, Lou Holtz, Ben Schwartzwalder (won the 1959 national title at Syracuse),  Greasy Neale (coached at Virginia, West Virginia, Yale, and won the 1948 and 1949 NFL titles coaching the Philadelphia Eagles).


*********** We lost two country music greats last week:

LIttle Jimmie Dickens
"May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" -

George Hamilton IV.  
"A Rose and a Baby Ruth,"

Get this - from the Nashville Tennessean  - George  Hamilton was the rare country star to actively support progressive politicians in the 1960s, and his abiding Christian faith led was the bedrock of his belief in civil rights and racial equality. In 1968, he and wife Tink attended Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy's speech at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym. Kennedy was late for the speech, and event organizer John Seigenthaler asked Mr. Hamilton to entertain the assembled crowd.

"He said, 'Well, it just happens I have my guitar in my trunk,'" Seigenthaler told a Vanderbilt Hustler reporter.

Mr. Hamilton played for 45 minutes, and he considered "opening" for Kennedy a highlight of his musical career.

*********** Kobe Bryant says European basketball players are better because in their system they learn (and work) on fundamentals, instead of in our AAU-driven system based on assembling teams of talented players and playing lots and lots of games.

"I just think European players are just way more skillful. They are just taught the game the right way at an early age. ... They're more skillful. It's something we really have to fix. We really have to address that. We have to teach our kids to play the right way."

The problem, as he sees it?

"AAU basketball.  Horrible, terrible AAU basketball. It's stupid. It doesn't teach our kids how to play the game at all so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap and they don't know how to post. They don't know the fundamentals of the game. It's stupid."

Obviously, Kobe has never seen one of these NFL "camps" that profess to teach young kids "fundamentals."

Or an NFL practice, where they're way too busy to practice tackling.


*********** Not that I've ever been in the San Antonio Spurs' locker room, but I' told that there's just one sign on the wall - in English, French, Serbian Spanish and Turkish.

It's a quote from Jacob Riis, a Danish-American social reformer:

"Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two. . . . It was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before."

It's what's meant by "pounding the rock."

*********** Maybe it's been bought by Muslims.

Either that or somebody on Fox News just mispronounced the name of Hartford's paper, the Courant ("Current"), calling it the Harford Kor-AHNT.

*********** Well. Jameis is off to the NFL, and now Florida State can get back to just playing football.  Maybe.

My wife asked me what I'd do if I were coaching at Florida State with all that's gone down the last couple of years - the criminals and near-criminals on the team, and their apparent coddling by the team, the school athletic department and the local police.

I wish I could say that I'd hand in my resignation and walk out. 

Nowadays, I would.

But realistically, that would have been a much younger and far more ambitious me, and caught in that situation, I'm afraid I might have sold my soul and said nothing, knowing that there weren't many jobs out there as good as the one I had.

I'm human, and I know it, which is one reason I count myself fortunate to have found myself in that sort of moral dilemma just once, working for a totally amoral man in Philadelphia, and to have had my problem resolved for me when our entire league went out of business.

*********** “It was a blessing to be able to coach him.  He’s one of the unique players that I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. He embodies what you as a coach want as a person, a student and a player. He’s a genuine and honest guy.”

That was Jimbo Fisher.  It really was. He was talking about Jameis Winston. He really was.

*********** Where did ESPN find this Marty Smith guy?  I can't tell if he's any good because his unkempt appearance puts me off.  The guy just doesn't... look... football. Truthfully, he  looks like a guy they found holding a cardboard sign at a freeway on-ramp, and  threw a sport coat on him and stuck a micorphone in his hand.

*********** The Big Guy in the Orange Sweater may have committed an ethics violation

Writes Cindy  Boren, Washington Post…

(Chris) Christie flew to Dallas and accepted the ticket to the game at the expense of the Cowboys’ owner, who just so happens to have a business relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The state’s Code of Conduct says that governors “may accept gifts, favors, services, gratuities, meals, lodging or travel expenses from relatives or personal friends that are paid for with personal funds.”

The sticky issue is that the governor of New Jersey, along with the governor of New York, controls the Port Authority, and Legends Hospitality, a company in which Jones has an interest, has been given a license to run an observation deck atop One World Trade Center, which is operated by the Port Authority.


*********** Bob Stoops fired his top offensive guys, but insists that they're not being made scapegoats.


40-6, Clemson.


"Well, heads we blame it on the offense, tails we blame it on the defense. 

"Oh, wait.  Can't do that.  My brother coaches the defense..."


*********** Army's Black Lion Award winner, Joe Drummond, has been selected to play in Saturday's Medal of Honor Bowl Game in Charleston, SC

In the team huddle following practice, Coach Gailey was very specific about this week’s goal. “You guys are here to make the NFL, not to party. The fun can wait.”


*********** John Simar and I have been on a search for Hanson Ely.  Was he or was he not an Army football player?

John, who retired last year after a long tenure as athletic director at New Jersey's Lawrenceville School. is a former Army football player and coach, and when we first met he was serving as President of the Army Football Club, the association of former Army football players.

In that position, John played a major part in the Army Football Club's sponsorship of the Black Lion Award at West Point.

In his years at Lawrenceville, John became quite aware of Dennis Mahan Michie, a Lawrenceville grad and the "father of Army football."  Army's MIchie (MY-key) Stadium is named in his honor.  Thanks to his considerable efforts, Army was able to put together a team of cadets, only three of whom had ever played a game of football, to face a much more experienced Navy team. 

The date of the game was November 29, 1890.

Navy had been playing since 1882, and, understandably, won the contest, 24-0.

But the loss actually had a bright side:  so determined was the Army command to avenge the defeat that as hard as the Army football players had had to work to make that first meeting with Navy possible,  they had no difficulty at all in arranging for a second meeting the next year.  And at a time when Cadets rarely left the academy grounds for any reason, they even  gained approval to travel to Annapolis to play the game.

For that game, the Cadets were prepared. Having learned that former Yale star Harry Williams had landed a teaching job in nearby Newburgh, Michie and the officer in charge of football managed to persuade Williams to volunteer his services as a coach.  Making the trip over Storm King Mountain to West Point twice a week, Williams worked wonders, and the outcome of the 1891 contest was a 32-16 Army victory and the assurance that, yes, this would, indeed, be a rivalry- and one of college football's greatest rivalries at that.

But John Simar also came across a very interesting connection between that first Army football team and the Black Lions.

He wrote me,

My grandfather kept a journal when he served with the 29th Division (the famous National Guard Division that was assigned Omaha Beach in WWII) in France in WWI. 

When I was researching WWI for a booklet I did on him for my family I read John Eisenhower's (Ike's son) book called "Yanks".  He has a chapter on Cantigny.  That was a crucial engagement for the American army for 3 reasons: it deprived the Germans of an important observation point, it showed the Germans that the American army was not just a rabble, and most importantly it added to Pershing's argument for an independent American command which saved many American lives.  Our troops would have been parceled out to French and British divisions and would have been used as cannon fodder.

The Black Lions are the 28th Infantry Regiment which was part of the 1st Infantry Division in WWI.  The 28th was assigned to take the town of Cantigny, France from the Germans and was commanded by Col. Hanson E. Ely.

Eisenhower says, "Ely was considered a formidable warrior.  A quarter century earlier, at 6'2 and 220 pounds, he had been one of West Point's first football players, and since then had lost none of drive and stamina."

The regiment did such a magnificent job that the French named the Regiment the "Lions of Cantigny", thus the patch and the French lion.

This led John on a search of West Point records - was Hanson Ely  actually "one of West Point's first football players?"

Alas, there is no mention of him in the Army media guide.

But wait -  I dug into my library and found a book by Tim Cohane entitled "Gridiron Grenadiers," a history of Army football, published in 1948.

Author Cohane wrote about preparations for the first game of football an Army team ever played - against Navy, on November 29, 1890...

"Cadet Hanson Ely, who would have played on the team if he hadn't broken an ankle in the riding hall, asked Professor Francis J. Kernan if the academy would provide uniforms.  The professor laughed."

So if Tim Cohane's research - as well as John Eisenhower's - is correct, Hanson Ely, commander of the 28th Infantry at Cantigny, the battle in which the Black Lons earned their name, may not have been able to play in the first Army-Navy game, but he was on the first Army football team, and would have played had he not been injured.

Hanson Ely,  “Ely of Cantigny,” held many awards for bravery.  At his retirement in 1931 he possessed the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Croix de Guerre with five citations and other foreign decorations.

During his forty years in the Army he campaigned in the old West, Mexico, Cuba and the Philippines. 

He was one of the first American officers sent to France, in May 1917.  His first work there was the study of the trench warfare methods of the Allies.

In World War I he rose from the rank of Major to that of Major General.  He received his “Cantigny” nickname on May 28, 1918, when, as a Colonel commanding the Twenty-eighth Infantry, First Division, he led his men at the battle of that name in France in the first purely American offensive of the war.


*********** Dad - not sure if you saw this. Great piece about the LA Rams. Love, Ed

The biggest tease in this latest NFL news isn't that another rich guy is planning to build another stadium on another perfect site like Hollywood Park.


I've been reading quite a bit about Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Rams, and his plans to go ahead and build a stadium in Los Angeles, on the site of old Hollywood Park Race Track.  He's going to do it (he says) on spec, fully aware that he needs approval of two-thirds of the NFL owners in order to move.

I would expect there to be resistance to his play, because I think the NFL would prefer to sell a brand-new franchise to somebody and place it in the LA market and distribute the money among the members - what do you suppose an expansion  franchise in the Los Angeles market would bring?  

Otherwise,  if they do let the Rams/Chargers/Raiders (the three teams most likely to move there because the taxpayers in their current cities won't build them new stadia)  move - what's a franchise worth in a much smaller, much less glamorous area that (in the NFL's estimation) needs a stadium and wouldn't build one for the last guy?

For sure, Kroenke is smart to take advantage of the fact that no matter who else wants to get in there, he owns that name.  In my opinion, "Los Angeles Rams" has value.

Let me tell you, those Rams of the late 40s-early 50s were damn good! They were so far ahead of the game in so many respects.  Only the Cleveland Browns rivaled them in the (relative) wide-openness of their offense.  They and the Browns are the only teams of that era that you could look at today and, allowing for the fact that they'd be  in black-and-white, see evidence of today's NFL offenses. (Ironically, the Rams moved from Cleveland to LA because with the AAFC - and the Browns - coming to town, they could see that they were going to be Number Two in ttheir own market.)

It's popular nowadays to say that pro football "didn't arrive" until the Colts played the Giants in 1958, but the Rams were playing in front of huge crowds well before that. (And so, it should be added, were USC and UCLA.  Never let anyone tell you that the Southland isn't great football country.)

I remember my college coach, who lived in LA in the off-season, telling me in 1960 what a big deal the Rams were - how every tavern within 50 miles of LA would run buses to the game - way before the guys back East ever figured it out.

*********** I can remember when coaches weren't permitted to send in plays.  Not sure I'd want to go back to those days.

But I can also remember when coaches couldn't call time outs on the sideline, and I'd love to go back.  For God's sake, do we want to turn our game into a Madden with more life-like players?

C'mon, coaches - Is it absolutely impossible for you to communicate to one of your players your desire for a timeout?

Does anyone remember this year's Army-Navy game, when Army lined up for a 4th-and-one at midfield and managed to make it?   And then the referee said that Navy had called a timeout before the play?  And then replay showed clearly that the ball had been snapped while Navy Coach Ken Niumatololo was still communicating his intentions to the official on the sideline?

Back in 2004, the NFL rule book was changed to allow coaches to call time out from the sideline.  Up until then, it could only be called by a captain, on the field.  Coaches argued convincingly that the change would save precious time spent trying to get the attention of the captain and then trying to get the attention of an official.

And then, this.   The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes.

In a 2007 game, as the Raiders'  Sebastian Janikowski lined up for a game-winning field goal attempt, Denver coach Mike Shanahan quietly informed an official near him on the sideline that he was going to be calling a timeout. Then, just before the ball was snapped,  Shanahan called it.

The time-out was too late to stop the center from snapping the ball, but not to nullify the outcome of the play - which, as it turned out, was a field goal.

When Janikowski missed the re-do, Shanahan was seen in some circles - the darkest circles of shady coaching - as a genius,  and there we are.  Now, it's become a routine part of a coach's strategy.

Said Mike Pereira, the NFL’s head of officiating at the time, “It’s the unintended consequence of a good rule change. I don’t think any of us projected it would be used this way. It just doesn’t seem right.”

One proposed tweaking of the rule - prohibiting the calling of a timeout once the kicking team is set and the offensive linemen are in their three-point stances - has proved unhelpful, as more and more teams eschew the three-point stance entirely.

Said Giants CEO John Mara, back in 2007, “The next thing you’ll see is a coach walking up to the official and acting like he’s going to call it, and then he doesn’t do it. Do we want to have that in the game? I don’t really like the way it looks, to have the kicker kick the ball and you think the game is over and the players run out onto the field celebrating and it’s, ‘Wait a minute,’ and you’re lining up again.

“We have other sportsmanship issues we have had to deal with - taunting, excessive celebrations - and this just adds a whole other level to it.”


american flagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 6,  2015"When you strike at a king, you must kill him."    Ralph Waldo Emerson

************ Found a sure-fire way to keep from putting on those Christmas pounds.

Get sick.  Don't eat. 

Just lie around and watch bowl game after bowl game after bowl game.  (I actually slept through one bowl game, something I normally do only during NFL games.)

It'd been a long time since I really got whacked like that.  spent most of the time between Christmas and New Year's going back and forth between the bowl games on TV in one room and The Kohler Porcelain Bowl in the other.

*********** Rest in Peace, Stuart Scott. 

*********** In case you didn't see the big guy in the orange (or whatever it was) sweater up there in Jerrah Jones' box in Dallas,  that was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, doing his best to piss off all those GIants', Jets' and Eagles' fans back home…


***********  After watching 2-3 weeks of bowl games, the NFL game is bo-o-o-o-ring. I've said it so often that it's becoming cliche, but  there's more excitement in  a weekend of  college football than an entire NFL season.  And if you watched even half of all the bowl games, you will have seen enough football to be immune to all the bullsh-- the media will be putting out over the next few weeks to tell you how exciting the NFL playoffs are.

Of course, if you find watching quarterbacks dropping back into the pocket, play after play after play, you may actually find it exciting.  By far the most exciting point of this entire past weekend was when the officiating crew, either through incompetence or corruption, decided that what they initially called pass interference against the Cowboys wasn't actually pass interference after all.  Most surprising to me was that here we've come to expect referees to lecture us at considerable length on the appropriate rule and why it does or does not apply, and so forth, and in this case, the referee went totally silent on us.

*********** I've never made a secret of the fact that I despise the NFL and what it's been doing to our game, and this past week did nothing to change my opinion.

First, there was the the unbelievable Suh decision, all but rewarding dirty play by allowing Suh to step on an opposing quarterback's ankle and then rescinding his one-game suspension, even though what he did was nearly identical to the act just a week or so earlier that cost teammate Dominic Raiola a game.  Yes, yes, I know - Suh was fined $70,000.  Brutal. Guy made $12.5 million this past season, which means $70,000 works out to maybe 10 plays a game.

Moral - you're so worried about domestic violence that you need to get back to focusing on what's going on INSIDE your game.

Heads Up TacklingThen, there was the "tackle" that knocked the ball out of Ted Ginn's arms in the Panthers- Cardinals game.  Our local paper actually ran a photo of it on the front sports page.  Hey, kids - don't listen to what your coach tells you!  Do it the way the pros do!  Just like the guy in the picture!  (And Moms, make sure your little boy's coach is USA Football-certified!)

Moral - You need to spend less time trying to tell  high school coaches how to coach and get back to teaching your own players . Start with tackling.  Try to remember: "Heads Up!"

Actually, I predict that the next big NFL scandal will occur when a player dies of a broken neck after tackling with his head down and the public demands to know why, since initiating contact with the crown of the helmet in the open field (as shown in the photo at left) was officially made illegal in 2013, the officials have seldom flagged it.  It's not likely that coaches are doing anyting to discourage it, either, which makes them liable, whether they know it or not.  Worse yet, it could happen to a high school kid, and when it does, nobody will even think to make the connection between what he did and what he saw NFL players doing.

Finally, there was the unconscionable "whoops!" call in the Cowboys-Lions game.  ("Whoops!  That was the Cowboys we called it against!  Let's pretend it didn't really happen.  Who will know?")  

Remember back when the refs were on strike and the league went with "replacement refs" - and the "real refs" union spent money pointing out the mistakes made by the replacements, as if that would never happen with them?

Moral -  If you want people to start doubting the integrity of the game, tell officials to do this more often.

*********** They're saying that the  Dallas-Detroit interference/non-interference call may have been the result of the NFL's brilliant idea to use "all-star" crews in playoff games, rather than crews that have worked together all season.

Tell me about it.  The worst-officiated game I've ever coached in was a playoff game worked by an "all-star" crew.

*********** Johnny Manziel was  a gift from God to guys like me who enjoy ridiculing all the knuckleheads in the NFL but hate to appear to be constantly hammering on black guys.

So, thank you, God, for Johnny Football - a white guy who may be the biggest knucklehead of them all.

One writer to the Cleveland Plain Dealer said he knew Manziel's story about being out with three friends from his hometown (Kerrville, Texas) instead of throwing a party had to be a lie because "you can't find three people in Kerrville who like him."

*********** Are you listening, Johnny Manziel?
Bill Simmons...

I wholeheartedly believe that NFL quarterbacks succeed for the following reasons: “talent” (25-30 percent) and “everything else,” which covers leadership, charisma, personality, work ethic, intelligence and not doing basically anything that Johnny Football does (70-75 percent). You’re not just the QB in pro football; you’re the CEO. You’re setting a week-to-week, day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute example. If your teammates don’t believe in you, if they don’t follow you, if they don’t totally care about protecting you or fighting for you, then you’re done. If you can’t crouch in a crunch-time huddle — down four, three minutes left, 80 yards to go — and look your 10 dudes in the eye and say with complete confidence, “WE ARE SCORING RIGHT NOW,” then you’re never making it in (Cris Carter voice) the National Football League.

***********  I will defend the safety of my players…forever.

thus tweeted  Jim Mora, UCLA coach, lamely explaining his rude, ultra-quick "handshake" with BIll Snyder following the Alamo Bowl. 

Uhhh, Coach… Somehow, I don't see how disrespecting the sort of coach you can only hope to become did a whole lot to defend the safety of your players, seeing as how the game was over.

Actually, allowing for my bias toward K-State and my general dislike of UCLA, I had the impression that overall, UCLA played borderline-dirty ball. As just one example,  Miles Jack, a Washington kid and a  very good player, seemed to take a lot of questionable shots and be right in the middle of any entanglement.


*********** Keep an eye this one…

“I have no plans to coach anywhere other than UCLA at this point."

That was Jim Mora, quoted by the Orange County Register's Ryan Kartie.   Before the Alamo Bowl.   At that point.

*********** Florida QB Jeff Driskel, who threw for 23 touchdowns in his career at Florida, has been given his release and is free to transfer.

Because he has already graduated, he will be able to play right away at his new school.

In seven games this past season, Driskel threw for 1,092 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

*********** Despite years and years of Title IX and sharing the wealth,  despite all the female sports that colleges have added - invented, even -  we're no further along than this:

The AP Female Athlete of the Year is a 13-year-old girl who pitched on a boys' Little League baseball team.

And that's progress?

Would they in all seriousness  have done that to male athletes? 

Look - I've seen UConn basketball and I wonder where Breanna Stewart finished in this bogus poll.  And wasn't there anyone on Penn State's NCAA volleyball championship team who was worthy?  Wasn't there a college soccer player or sprinter or swimmer? 

Or were they just getting tired of giving the award to Serena Williams every year?

If I were a woman and either a coach or an athlete, I would be pissed at the way the AP lost sight of the meaning of its own award, and let a feel-good story that played out over a couple of weeks last summer enable a child to barge ahead of thousands of outstanding female athletes at the apex of their sports.


*********** What kills me about the likelihood of "The (ESPN) Playoff" slowly killing off the other bowls is the sight of all those excited kids after their teams ended their seasons with big bowl wins.

Not that fans give a sh--, but the more The Playoff expands, the more we approach the ugliness of a pro-type system which ends with only one winner.

*********** Note to Rich Rodriguez:  talented or not, don't you have to wonder if a guy really is smart enough to be your quarterback when he can't remember that he doesn't have any more timeouts left - and with time for (maybe) two more plays he runs and  lets himself get tackled?

*********** I consider myself a connoisseur of college fight songs, and I like Arizona's "Bear Down", but their band sure lost me with the  new, revised - and dumbshit - version they played, over and over, in the Fiesta Bowl.

************ TRIGGER WARNING… Thankfully, the camera cut out before our little children were forced to see the Michigan State kids bowing in prayer.  But next time I wish they'd give us a little warning first.

*********** Sure wish I'd started counting all the false start penalties they called during bowl season.  Ridiculous. 

*********** How far they've fallen… Her ties with ESPN cut, one-time sideline dream girl Erin Andrews has been reduced to starring in Probiotics commercials.

*********** PLAY OF THE BOWL SEASON - 6-G/7-G, by Air Force and Georgia Tech


*********** ESPN had, oh, four weeks to prepare for the Rose Bowl game, but I'm going to bet they put off preparations until the last minute and then pulled an all-nighter.  It showed.

Maybe someone should have told them about how fast-paced the Oregon offense is, because they were so busy with their usual between-play horse puckey that they missed the starts of play after play.  They totally whiffed on Oregon's two-point conversion after their first score because, you know, everybody just routinely lines up for a place kick, right?

They could have made do with a whole lot fewer cameras, because  with all those cameras there's too much temptation for the director to sue them all.  As a result, in addition to the usual closeups between plays, we got a lot of ground-level shots and cutesy-poo shots from strange angles.

*********** Once Chris Spielman and the play-by-play guy with him got on the idea that Boise State's defense was tired they wouldn't let go of it. 

*********** The guys at the whatever bowl who kept saying how great it was of Kevin Sumlin (to leave that "student-assistant" in the locker room)...

What coach wouldn't have made sure that guy vanished?

Not once did they ask what the guy, not by any definition a real coach, was doing right in the middle of everything, and how he could have hit two different West Virginia players without the coach finding out about it until halftime, as he claimed.

*********** Enough, already.  Stop with this "VAH-tech," "LAH-tech" crap. I'm just waiting to hear, "WAH State"

*********** It was Stanford 35, Maryland 7,  and with 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter the talk up in the booth switched from the game to The Playoff

Before that, they noted at one point  that there was only one Californian on the Maryland team.  Helpfully, they provided us an explanation: "Maryland is not a West Coast team…"


*********** BIG BOWL WINNERS

OREGON - Tsk, tsk, FSU.  You done got exposed. All that work covering up for Jameis, and he goes belly-up on you. Literally.

OHIO STATE - There can no longer be any doubt - Urban Meyer can coach.

THE BIG TEN - Ohio State, MIchigan State and Wisconsin all came up winners on New Year's Day.

THE PAC 12 - Not lookin' so soft, now, are they, all you  guys who've been poll-parroting what you heard on ESPN?

TCU - Definitely good enough to have been in - even won  - "The Playoff"

CLEMSON - Good enough to hammer Oklahoma. 

GEORGIA - Do they EVER run out of good running backs?

GEORGIA TECH - Paul Johnson demonstrated  that no, people haven't caught up with his offense. Other guys may be tempted to run that triple option, but there just aren't many guys out there who know how to teach it and coach it

STANFORD - Where do they find all those good athletes with good grades? All those big linemen?  All those tall receivers?  We know where they found Christian McCaffrey - his dad, Ed,  played at Stanford (before the Denver Broncos).  You have got to see this kid.  He is incredible

BOISE STATE - Broncos developed yet another kid from the Northwest into a winning QB

ARKANSAS - It's been a long road back from the Petrino debacle, but the way the Hogs took it to Texas  it looked like some of Bielemaa's best Wisconsin teams. (How about the 8-man line they threw up there in a short yardage situation?)

USC - Scary.  And now the QB's coming back.

MICHIGAN STATE - They were so far out of it against Baylor that  I switched the bigger TV over to Wisconsin-Auburn.  That game was OVER.   Whatever Harbaugh is getting, Mark Dantonio should get at least $1 more.

WISCONSIN - It might have been a "meaningless bowl" to you, or to the experts in the media, but not to those kids from Wisconsin.

TENNESSEE - Young team. Great young QB returning. Explosive.



FLORIDA STATE - Pretenders (And these guys took a spot from TCU?). Classless losers at that. Most of the team simply walked off the field after the game. Somebody needs to give that bunch a lesson in how to act like men.  Even when you lose.  Happens to other people all the time. Seven of your opponents lost to you by six points or less,  Noles, and they all had to deal with the pain and disappointment of losing when they went and shook your hands. Yes, it hurts like hell, but congratulating your opponent is part of the price you pay for being able to be a part of our great game, and shame on the head coach who doesn't teach that.  Which brings us to the head coach.   Guy just had his ass kicked, admittedly a very rare thing for any Florida State coach, and he barely acknowledged his opponent before going straight to spin mode: "We beat ourselves." "It was the turnovers."  (Yeah. Like Oregon didn't have anything to do with that.)  And then there was the superduperstar Heisman Trophy winning quarterback himself, who sounded as if he had just finished  playing in another game on another planet and had magically materialized for the press conference: "We were never stopped at all."

The BCS - If we still had it, Alabama would be playing Florida State for the BCS National Championship game

TOSTITOS -  Haven't seen a single ad yet. Just doesn't seem like a national championship without 'em.

THE BIG 12 - Thank the Lord for TCU and Oklahoma State

THE SEC - Still strong, of course.  Still may have the most NFL prospects. But at least we won't have to listen to all the bragging about the SEC's claimed superiority until the start of next season.

THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI - Mississippi State and Ole Miss both finished their seasons embarrassed in their bowl games.  At one point, earlier in the season, they were 1-2 in the nation.


OKLAHOMA - A really, really bad performance.  The Oklahoma people can't be happy, but what are the odds that they could do better than Bob Stoops?

TEXAS - Sorry, but I just don't see any of that Charlie Strong magic yet

TEXAS A & M - Yes, they won, but a team that allows "student assistant coaches" (whatever they are) to get close enough to the action to hit opposing players might have other problems.

NORTH CAROLINA -  At least they don't have to worry about getting back to their studies.  There'll be tutors to cover for them.  If any of them are taking actual classes, that is.

Speaking of North Carolina… Butch Davis was all over the ESPN studio shows…  He was head coach at UNC while a lot of the academic scandal was taking place, but he swears he had no idea it was going on.  Right.  Believe me, as paranoid as most major college football coaches are, it would be a total shock to learn that we'd actually come across one of them who wasn't aware of every tiny detail of his operation.    http://abc11.com/education/butch-davis-defends-decisions-he-made-at-unc/434982/

IOWA - I like Kirk Ferentz and I admire what he's done at Iowa, but memories are growing short.   Jim Harbaugh's entry on the Big Ten scene means the league will become even more top-heavy,  and it's going to be quite a job for Iowa to get back up there with the Ohio States and Michigan States along with - bet on it - the Michigans, Nebraskas and Penn States.

WASHINGTON - Got waxed in the Cactus Bowl - and theyre losing their three best defensive players.

XAVIER WOODSON - Arkansas State linebacker. Despite stopping Toledo on a fourth-and-goal  play,  Arkansas State found itself facing a first-and-goal from the one after Woodson was penalized and ejected for "threatening an official."  WTF?  NOBODY seems to know what he said.


Poinsettia Bowl - Navy-San Diego State (Pretty bad when it's played in San Diego, a big Navy town at that)
Heart of Dallas Bowl - Lousiana Tech - Illinois
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Air Force-Western Michigan (I thought the idea was to get Midwest people to go someplace warm)
Orange Bowl - Georgia Tech - Mississippi State  - Full house - if you didn't count the empty upper deck
Outback Bowl - Wisconsin-Auburn- Pretty good crowd down below, very good job of keeping the TV cameras off the upper deck
St, Petersburg  Bowl - NC State - UCF
Quicklane Bowl - NC-Rutgers
Bahamas Bowl - Western Kentucky-Central MIchigan - I played in front of bigger crowds in Finland, for God's sake
Armed Forces Bowl - Pitt - Houston

Sun Bowl - Arizona State-Duke
Music City Bowl - LSU-Notre Dame
Cotton Bowl - Baylor-MIchigan State
Peach Bowl - TCU-Ole Miss
Holiday Bowl -  USC-Nebraska
Fiesta Bowl - Boise State-Arizona


Yankee Stadium - This one is way out in front of the competition, well on its way to retiring the trophy. Every year they try resodding after the baseball season's over, and in the Northeast, that just doesn't work. As the TV cameras showed - but the announcers seemed to be instructed not to comment on - the loose turf caused the BC placekicker's plant foot to slip, costing BC the extra point in OT that cost them the game.

Levi's Stadium - Stanford vs Maryland - not that it should have surprised anyone:
From the San Jose Mercury-News:
The stadium's field proved to be an embarrassment, as the Niners had to rip out the entire brand-new $1.4 million turf system after the first preseason game in August because it wasn't playable. The team is currently on its fifth field after having to re-sod parts or all of the turf about once per month during the season, and while players publicly said they were generally fine with the playing surface, big divots and brown patches continued to be visible during Niners games.