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

american flagFRIDAY,  DECEMBER 7,  2018  “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." President Franklin D. Roosevelt

dynamics 3 cover

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

THE  NEW DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK IS BEING SHIPPED!

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

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

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

CONTENTS

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

$39.95


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

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

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

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

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


REACTIONS TO THE NEW DOUBLE WING PLAYBOOK…

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


***********



BLACK LION GREG AND DALLAS



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

FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FROM THERE

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***********
*********** I mourn the death of President Bush.  He was the embodiment of the “Yale Man,” an archaic term that once meant something to those who attended a school whose byword was “For God, For Country and For Yale.”  He was an athlete, he was a warrior, he was a wonderful family man, he was a man who served others, with never the hint of a scandal.  He didn’t take himself too seriously, and he came from a time that fewer and fewer of us are alive to remember: a time when a man didn’t brag - when manliness was still a supreme virtue, and it was universally agreed that it was unmanly to boast or bring attention to yourself.

*********** One of the things about the Army-Navy game that the public doesn’t always get to see is the good-natured ribbing that takes place between the two opposing sides in the days leading up to the contest.  Some of the videos and memes are pretty well done.  One little sampling…
Go Play Navy


*********** The Top 25 Power Rankings show what most of us suspect - the SEC is pretty good. Of the teams on the list:
SEC: 8
ACC: 3
BIG 10: 3
BIG 12: 3
PAC-12: 3
Mountain West: 2
AAC: 1
INDEPENDENTS (Notre Dame, Army): 2

*********** Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport Iowa, writes…

Your talking about NAIA recruiting reminded me of my college O line coach Brodie Westen talking about us...remember that chart called the evolution of man, well Coach Westen talked about the "De-evolution" of Linemen....Edge rushers...if they can't do it, move them to a 3 tech...3 tech doesn't work out make them a 1...after that it goes to offense, 1st to C/G & if it doesn't work that last stop is T...In his words, "If offensive T doesn't work out, then it's the Glue Factory!"

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

Go Army!  Beat Navy!

My Bulldogs did it!  I stayed up and watched every agonizing minute.  Arizona State and Fresno State will be a good matchup in the Las Vegas Bowl.  Will be watching that one as well.

Minnesota will have its hands full with Georgia Tech.  Tech will be doing everything it can to send Coach Johnson out a winner.

Notre Dame.  If they can play with any consistency they will give Clemson a battle.  Especially if Clemson plays the way they did against Pitt.  Otherwise...it was a great season for ND.  If the ND Club of Austin comes up with a reasonably priced package to attend the game we will be going.  Dallas is only 3 hours away.  Otherwise...pub time!

My brother's buddy was at the PAC-12 championship game.  My brother told me his buddy said they were lucky to have 30,000 there.  PAC-12 needs to do a Mike McCarthy with Larry Scott.

At one time the story was Jalen Hurts and his dad weren't happy with Nick Saban, and that the dad was threatening to pull his son out of the school.  Not sure how it was settled but the Tide football team is happy with the result!

If I was in charge at Kansas State I would have offered Jim Leavitt the job yesterday.  Leavitt is a damn good coach.

If I became a head coach again (not that I have any intention to) one of my first hires would be a locker room assistant whose main job would be to police the locker room from the time the players get in, to the time the last player leaves.  I would have to in order to keep my job.

P.S.  Just heard the news about Urban Meyer.  Not surprised.  This time around his health is TRULY the issue he's calling it quits.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


***********  A great suggestion written in to the Wall Street Journal by one Joseph Henderson, of  The Woodlands, Texas.

I will not believe that the NCAA and the NFL have a brain between them until they send the head coach to the locker room with the player who commits any dirty hit this is the only way to get coaches to become teachers of the rules and to address head injuries with each successive penalty of this nature assistant coaches should join them in the locker room until the equipment manager and the team doctor are calling the plays.

AMEN, MR. HENDERSON.  Coaching is the solution.  So long as coaches take a boys-will-be-boys approach to the continued assault-that-passes-as-football, the ugliness will continue.  Watch how fast the dirty play stops once some big-name coach gets escorted off the field along with the player. Oh- and has to miss the first half of the next game.

Just as the player is punished by depriving him of playing time, the coach is punished by depriving him of his power - and power is his oxygen.

*********** Reassuring… An eight-year Johns Hopkins University study has found that the third highest cause of deaths in the United States - behind heart disease and cancer - is medical errors.

*********** An interesting fact from Chris Vannini in The Athletic:   About 1/3 of all FBS head coaches either played or assisted there.

*********** With Louisville’s having hired Appalachian State’s Scott Satterfield, App State’s next coach will be only their third since 1989.  The App State job could be a good one: the Mountaineers, who just won the Sun Belt championship,  return 10 starters on offense and seven on defense.

*********** Bear in mind that Colorado has had one winning season since 2005.

Now, then… read the Colorado AD’s comments as he talks about hiring a coach: “I want to win Pac-12 championships.  I want to win national championships. I’m committed to that.  This is one of the great jobs in all of sports.  There’s not a better job in American than here in Colorado.”

Now… tell me this guy, who has no prior experience as a player or a coach, isn’t delusional.

PS. He’s so on top of things that he’s had to hire a search firm to help him find a coach.

*********** In talking with my friend Mike Lude,  who once served as AD at Auburn, the subject of Georgia Tech came up.  One very important point, in considering the job that Paul Johnson did, and the task facing his successor: whoever takes that job had better realize that there are two things out of his control - annual games against Clemson and Georgia.

Built into the GT schedule every year are games against Clemson, its “designated rival” within the ACC,  and Georgia, for obvious reasons.

To give you an idea how that affects a coach’s job, consider:

Overall, Paul Johnson’s record in 11 years at GT was 82-59 - a winning percentage of .582.

But what if he didn’t have those two monster must-plays on his schedule?

HIs combined record against Clemson and Georgia was 8-15; against UGA it was 3-8.

That means that if GT had been able to drop both Clemson and Georgia off the schedule, his record would have been 74-44 - a winning percentage of .627,  the best of any coach at Georgia Tech since the great Bobby Dodd retired in 1966.

But assuming that Clemson is forced on GT by the ACC, just  dropping Georgia off the schedule would have resulted in Tech’s going 79-51 - a winning percentage of .608.

But of course you wouldn’t just drop Georgia.  Like every other Power 5 conference school you’d replace it with someone you could beat.  And assuming GT had gone 10-1 against those gimme games,   PJ’s record would have been 89-52, a winning percentage of .631.

With a record like that, GT fans would have learned  to love the ‘bone.

*********** Was anyone else watching Monday Night Football when the three guys on the announcing team delivered their five-minute lecture on domestic violence? 

They’re not enough of a drag on the game as it is, but they had to go on and on, talking over the game, to tell us what we already knw (it’s bad.)

It was probably the bright idea of the producer, and it was probably scripted, but I felt like I was one of the 99 rule-abiding members of a team who have to sit and listen to the coach rant about what we shouldn’t do when there’s just one a&&hole on the team who broke the rules - and guess who recruited him?

*********** In case you might think that cricket isn’t a very demanding sport, watch this exhibition of a “batsman” hitting against the “bowler.”  The bowler is trying to hit the “wicket,” the three upright sticks in the ground.  Normally, there are two short pegs (“bails”)  that bridge the sticks (“stumps”) which the bowler hopes to knock off their perches.  The batsman acts as a sort of goalie by trying to prevent the ball from knocking off the bails.  At the same time, he may decide after hitting the ball to run to another wicket, on the other side of the bowler.  If he can make it there before the one of the fielders can throw the ball back to the bowler, it’s a “run.”  If he can make it there and back, it’s two runs.  Sorry, that’s the extent of my knowdlege of cricket, and I may have a thing or two wrong.  But if you understand what I’ve written, you know at least as much about cricket as 99 per cent of Americans.

https://twitter.com/cricketcomau/status/1069875373666516993

*********** A guy I once worked with is in deep sh— with the law over a number of things, and it’s upsetting to me, but I did have to chuckle a little when I read that one of the things he did was violate an order not to drink alcohol.  Yup.  Even with a court order not to drink, he told the judge he was at a wedding and had a couple. (And then he drove, and got pulled over.  And although he blew only .07,  the mere fact of his drinking was violation.)

I’ve never understood what a court really thinks it’s accomplishing by “ordering” someone who it deems to have a drinking problem not to touch alcohol. Isn’t this pretty much setting him up?  Assuming he does have a problem, isn’t there a strong likelihood that he’ll offend?

If only it were that easy:  Stop theft by ordering thieves not to steal.  Stop rape. End drug abuse. 


*********** Attention applicants for the now-open Green Bay head coaching position…

Friction between Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and ousted head coach Mike McCarthy escalated throughout the 2018 season in part due to Rodgers's tendency to regularly change McCarthy's playcalls at the line of scrimmage, according to reports from Sports Illustrated's Kalyn Kahler and Albert Breer.

From the fan reaction I’ve read, Mr. Rodgers is not going to come out on the good end of this.  I’ve even read conspiracy theorists’ suggestions that Rodgers’ poor performance against Arizona - resulting in the loss that proved to be the tipping point against McCarthy - smelled of taking a dive.

At the very least, it sounds as if the next Packer head coach will have to meet the approval of a certain diva quarterback.  And then share the play-calling with him.

https://sports.yahoo.com/aaron-rodgers-regularly-changed-mike-195505172.html

Colin Cowherd has an interesting take on the reason for the unusual power and influence Rodgers wields…  the Packers don’t have an owner!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSqCXqU6OgY

*********** Writes Mike Bianchi, in the Orlando Sentinel…

How sad is it that there is no sadness?

When Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer announced he was retiring Tuesday, the college football world reacted not with warm goodbyes and glowing tributes but with cynical comments and skeptical columns.

There were no heavy hearts; only cocked eyebrows.

Usually, when one of the greatest coaches of all time announces his retirement ostensibly for health reasons, there are cheers and tears and crying-in-our-beers. But on the day Urban Meyer supposedly retired, the first thought that crossed everybody’s mind was, “Yeah, right.”

*********** George Bush’s Baseball Legacy

by John Henry - PressboxDFW

George Bush’s most excellent excursion into history began in 1948 with a trip in a Studebaker to Texas, though, he wasn’t making it to chase his true dreams, which he left behind in Connecticut.
“The truth?” he wrote in his autobiography, Looking Forward, answering a hypothetical question of why he moved his young family to Texas. “I wish I could have answered, ‘A fat contract to play professional baseball.’”

Bush, being honored on Wednesday with a state funeral in Washington, D.C., became a man of consequence as the 41st president, but as a collegian he was better known as “Poppy” Bush, a student of the “dismal science” – economics – and baseball and soccer player.

On the diamond he was adorned in a uniform with the No. 2, a first baseman for Yale from 1946-48.

He bat left and threw right.

As a senior and team captain, he famously met Babe Ruth at home plate before a game in New Haven. The encounter was captured for posterity through a still photo published in the Yale Banner yearbook.

According to the researchers at the Society for American Baseball Research, Bush hit .224 with a home run in 76 games for the Elis, the only Yalie to start every game. He had a fielding percentage of .983.

He was, his coach Ethan Allen dubbed him, “good field-no hit,” something the president liked to repeat over the course of the years.

A 1947 game pit Yale with Bush and Fordham with Vin Scully, another good field-no hit. Both went 0 for 3 that day.

He also played in two College World Series.

The Yale years are only part of the story of one man’s romance with the American pastime.

Baseball molded him. And he cherished it as an institution with as much the same reverence as the sacred bond he shared with his wife.

“You never forget your first love,” he wrote in the 1990 World Series program. “For me, that was and is Barbara, but a close second is baseball.”

He came of age with Ruth, Foxx and was a teen when Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial broke in.

Babe Ruth and President BushThe picture of a dying Ruth handing Bush the final manuscript of his autobiography The Babe Ruth Story as a donation to the Yale library was impactful.

Bush called it a “thrill.” The Bambino “radiated greatness,” Bush recalled, despite speaking in a voice that was more of a “croak” than normal.

It was Lou Gehrig, however, who was his childhood hero. Of his baseball idol, Bush later wrote, recalled in Curt Smith’s The Presidents and the Pastime, Gehrig was “steadier, less flamboyant and more dependable than the Babe, steadily achieving excellence.”

That could have been a description of himself, Smith, a Bush speechwriter, noted.

As president, Bush would often summon baseball reporters, a dozen or so at a time, to catch up on what was going on across the league.

For half-an-hour or more, the president would just talk baseball, Smith wrote.

“I’d rather watch baseball than anything else,” Smith recalled Bush saying. “There are some things I’m sure I’m behind on, but I love sitting there, thinking what would I do next – would I walk this guy or tell a fellow to steal?”

A highlight of his presidency was unquestionably hosting 5,000 Little Leaguers to mark the 50th anniversary of the organization.

A week later, he was in Poland, newly freed from the bondage of a Soviet satellite, christening Little League Baseball in the Land of Walesa.

There, he gushed about Carl Yastrzemski and Stan Musial, both the off-spring of Polish immigrants.

Bush also was a presidential baseball pioneer.

William Howard Taft was the first sitting president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, but it was 41 who took the custom to the pitcher’s mound. With his Yale first baseman’s glove affixed to his right hand, the president fired a ball to Orioles catcher Mickey Tettleton on Opening Day 1989.

YouTube has a clip. Bush appeared overjoyed, bounding off the mound to shake Tettleton’s hand and then that of Orioles manager Frank Robinson before hurrying off – in Bush fashion – and probably on Secret Service script.

Bush performed the same duty for the Texas Rangers on Opening Day 1991, the president hosted by his son George W. Bush, then the managing general partner of the Rangers and himself with baseball DNA. Our link to Bush family baseball concerns, of course, is significant. The ownership group under George W. literally saved baseball in Arlington.

Gerald Ford was the first president to toss an Opening Day pitch in Arlington in 1976, a political decision considering Texas was very much in play in 1976. Bush 41 and 43 returned in 2010 to throw out the first pitch before Game 4 of the 2010 World Series.

Bush’s throw on Opening Day 1991 bounced to recipient Geno Petralli. The president was mortified, an inexcusable transgression for a baseball player.
And a “player” he still was to some degree.

In his first term as Ronald Reagan’s vice president in 1984, Bush, then 60, played one inning at first base in an old-timer’s game in Denver.

Bush popped out facing Warren Spahn, but was given a “mulligan,” facing Milt Pappas next. The first pitch was a swinging strike, the second a ball. On the third pitch, Bush stroked a grounder up the middle for a base hit.

He recorded a putout of Brooks Robinson on a grounder to third baseman Ron Santo. The next hitter, Tony Oliva, drove a hard grounder down the first-base line, which the vice president stabbed and tossed to the pitcher for the out.

Said Pappas at the time: “He made a terrific play.”

The chance to play with the former big-leaguers was his Walter Mitty moment, he said later.

The GM of the then minor-league Denver Bears watched in amazement, telling reporters afterward that he “couldn’t believe that any politician could look that comfortable out there and have that kind of athletic ability. It was obvious that he had played before.”

Another chance to do something like was out of the question during his presidential term.

Ted Williams was also on Bush’s agenda as president.

Williams initially declined an offer to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He didn’t want to wear a tuxedo. Officials told him a tie would work. So, to Washington he went in 1991.

Williams’ contributions to American culture and freedom were irreproachable, but Bush no doubt likely also wanted to do something nice for him.

Without the Splendid Splinter there might not have been a Bush presidency.

During the primary season in 1988, Bush had lost to Bob Dole in Iowa and was trailing at the next stop, New Hampshire. A loss would have in all probability necessitated his withdrawal.

Bush and Williams had first met in WWII flight training at Horace Williams Airport in North Carolina. They remained steadfast friends.

Unannounced and unexpected, and sensing the urgency, Williams flew himself from Florida to help campaign, knowing his standing as Teddy Ballgame would be an asset in the northeast.

“Everything’s going to be fine now,” Williams assured Bush, according to Smith.

Bush won easily on his way to the nomination.

The Kid was the difference.

Bush also wanted to commemorate Williams’ and Joe DiMaggio’s 1941 seasons by presenting each a “President’s Award.” That was the year Williams hit .406 and DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games.

Smith was directed to write the speeches.

His first question: “When was the last time this so-called President’s Award had been handed out?” The answer was never. There was no such thing. (It has since never been presented again.)

But never before to that point had America had such a baseball fan as president.

https://www.pressboxdfw.com/the-bush-legacy-includes-baseball-romance/

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - John Dottley got the nickname “Kayo” from his father, who trained fighters.

This is from a Web site…

Dottley ran a 9.7 second 100-yard dash in 1946. Two college coaches attended his high school graduation — Bear Bryant and Johnny Vaught. Both were desperate to sign Dottley. His father wanted him to sign with Bryant; his mother, Vaught. Kayo did what his mother said.

In 1948 at Ole Miss, Dottley rushed for 1000 yards. But he and Vaught had a scare the following summer. Dottley's name came up for the draft. Vaught wasn’t going to hear of his top running back going off to Korea. So the legendary coach let Dottley borrow his car so he could go sign up for the National Guard in his hometown — and stay in the U.S. for the following season. Once at the National Guard recruiting center, the officer in charge of physical fitness tests asked Dottley to do a deep knee bend. He bent down, winced with pain and let out a yelp (he’d injured his knee in practice).

When Dottley returned to Oxford, Vaught asked, “Did you get signed up?”

“No,” Dottley told him, “they said I was unfit for service.”

The following fall, Dottley rushed for 1,312 yards — still a single-season Ole Miss record.

As a rookie running back in the NFL, Kayo led the Chicago Bears in rushing. It’s a little-known fact that he was the first rookie ever asked to play in the Pro Bowl.

Dottley  might very well be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but for a freak accident on a windy Chicago night. As Dottley was waiting for his car outside a Chicago hotel, a drunken valet ran a car up on the curb and pinned Kayo’s legs between two cars.

George Halas, certain Dottley’s career was over, wrote that he was the finest running back he had ever coached.

Credit: http://lemuriablog.com/kayo-dottley-the-greatest-player-youve-probably-forgotten/

(My addition:  John “Kayo” Dottley died this past November 17, at the age of 90.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN “KAYO” DOTTLEY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig…

https://olemisssports.com/news/2018/11/18/ole-miss-football-legend-kayo-dottley-90-passes-away.aspx


*********** QUIZ:  He came out of tiny (population 1,000) Keewatin, in northern Minnesota.

As a single wing tailback at the University of Minnesota, he backed up All-American Paul Giel until his senior year.  As a starter his senior year, the Gophers went 7-2, but despite the fact that he was also an excellent placekicker, he went undrafted by the NFL.

After graduation, he played three years in Canada, with one year off for service in the US Army.

After being cut up North, he spent the 1959 season out of football, but on hearing of the start of the American Football League, he contacted Lou Saban, newly-named coach of the Boston Patriots, and landed a tryout.

He made the team, to say the least.  Ten years later, when the AFL merged with the NFL, he was one of only 20 players to have played in every year of the AFL’s existence;  and he was one of only three players to have played in every single one of his team’s games.

He was extremely versatile.

A good receiver, with his and QB Babe Parilli’s Italian last names, their frequent connections on passes led sportswriters to refer to them as the “Grand Opera Twins.”

He also ran back punts and kickoffs, and put in time as a defensive back. (In one game he intercepted three of Oakland QB Tom Flores’ passes.)

But it was as a placekicker than he really stood out. Between the touchdowns he scored as a receiver and the points he scored as a kicker, he led the league in scoring five times, and he will remain forever in the record books as the AFL’s all-time leading scorer (1130 points on 42 TDs, 176 Field Goals and 342 PATs).

He was a 5-time AFL All-Star and in 1964 he was named the league’s MVP.

He is a member of the Patriots’ Hall of Fame.

An ardent golfer, he once credited the great Arnold Palmer with a tip that made him one of the game’s great kickers:

“I read an article in which Palmer discussed his concentration - head down, eyes on the ball and follow-through.  That seemed to apply to my business as well as his,” he said.

“I had been kicking within 1.3 seconds after the ball was snapped but a stopwatch proved I could kick safely in 1.4 if I wanted to concentrate longer.   So now I black out everything.  When Babe Parilli is holding the ball, I look at it so hard I could count the stitches in the seams.  I don’t even hear the thud of my foot on the leather, but the ball really flies.”

(He is no relation to the Heisman Trophy winner from Penn State by the same name.)



american flagTUESDAY,  DECEMBER 4,  2018  “One should never protest against anything unless it's going to have an effect. None of those marches do. One should either be silent or go straight to the top.” Robert Graves

*********** Nike revealed the Army uniform for this Saturday’s Army-Navy game, and I have to say that for a company that has Colin Kaepernick on its payroll, it’s done a great job.

army uniform

Army’s colors are black, gold and gray, but the Army uniform for this year’s Army-Navy game will contain some red - the red of the Big Red One.

first division

On the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, it honors the First Infantry Division - aka “The Big Red One” - the first US Army Division sent “Over There.” 

It also recognizes a part of the Big Red One, the 28th Infantry Regiment, and its role in demonstrating to the Allies that American soldiers, under the command of American officers, were combat ready.  It was in the town of Cantigny, in France, where American forces first fought, and where the fierce fighting of the 28th earned it the famed nickname, the Black Lions of Cantigny.
black Lions Story

The Big Red One is headquartered at Fort Riley, Kansas. In 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Pat Frank, then Battalion Commander  of the Black Lions, forged a relationship with the Kansas State program that continues today.

Fort Riley



https://www.bigredone.football/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2018%20Army%20Navy%20Uniform%20Release&utm_content=Uniform%20-%20Main%20CTA


http://footballscoop.com/news/video-armys-big-red-one-alternate-unis-navy-game-ton-details/


*********** But what has he done lately?

Mike McCarthy, one of only eight active NFL coaches who have won a Super Bowl, is no longer an "active coach." He was summarily dismissed Sunday following Green Bay’s upset loss to Arizona.

The firing, abrupt as it was,  appears on the surface not to have been done with the sort of class you’d expect from one of the NFL’s oldest franchises, in dealing with a coach who’s served it well for nearly 13 years, who took it to the playoffs nine times, posted a 125-77-2 overall record, and won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2010 season.

But between what was about to be his second straight losing season, and rumors that his   relationship with Green Bay resident quarterback/god Aaron Rodgers were less than cordial, it appeared that he was going to receive the black spot once the season ended anyhow.

This not only gives the Packers a head start on finding a replacement, but McCarthy is also free now to talk with another team about a job. He’s only 55, a proven coach, and he ought to be very attractive to any team serious about getting better. And let’s face it - Rodgers or no Rodgers, the Packers aren’t all that talented, something that no amount of coaching could change.

*********** Louisville is reportedly getting ready to hire Matt Canada, who shepherded the Maryland program through what can mildly be described as a difficult season - which aptly qualifies him to step in and clean up the mess Bobby Petrino left behind.  As f—ked up as the University of Maryland is, it doesn’t surprise me at all that they didn’t make it official and name Canada - a guy who proved he could coach Maryland kids - their head coach before someone else grabbed him.

*********** The so-called Pac 12 championship game was an embarrassment to West Coast football, an exclamation mark on Oregon sportswriter John Canazano’s four-part indictment of the disastrous reign of conference commissioner Larry Scott.

When previous conference championships were played on-campus at one of the participating schools, they drew crowds of 60,000 in Eugene and 70,000 in Tempe.  But what the hell, I can hear Scott saying - let’s play the game in a more prestigious place. How about Levi’s Stadium, where the 49ers (gosh!) play?

Sure, why not?  The SEC plays its championship game in Atlanta, and look at the crowds they draw!  Same for the Big Ten, playing its big game in Indianapolis!

Right there, the commissioner, who flies around in his private jet, revealed how out of touch he is with the people who ultimately pay his salary - the fans.

Driving time to the SEC game in Atlanta: From Alabama, 3 hours; from Georgia, 1-1/2 hours.

Driving time to the Big Ten game in Indianapolis: From Northwestern, 3 hours; from Ohio State, 1-1/2 hours

That means that with both games being held on Saturday, fans of the participating schools could easily have got up game day morning and driven to the games.

Not so with the vast distances of the far-flung Pac-12.  Unless Cal or Stanford happened to be the participants, Levi’s Stadium is a monster of a trip for the conference schools. Even the two “closest”  schools, USC and UCLA, are at least a five-hour drive away.  In this year’s case,  (If they could get the day off from work, the game being on Friday evening), Utah people faced a drive of  11 hours from Salt Lake City, while  Washington fans  were looking at a 13-hour drive from Seattle.

And that’s before factoring in the traffic hell that is the Bay Area.   Forget that Levi’s Stadium isn’t the easiest place to get to at any time - let’s double-down on the traffic issue and hold the kickoff at 5 PM.  Yes, on a Friday.  That’s when the TV people want to do it.  That’s 8 PM back East.  Got to get that big TV audience in the East, so we can’t kick off any later. The local audience - the people that won’t fight Friday rush-hour  traffic to go to the game?  Screw ‘em. Hey - if we can discourage enough local people from coming, we won’t have to open up the upper deck.

Yes, the fans could fly there.  And rent a car and book a room and all that - but the supposed reason the two teams were playing was for a spot in the Rose Bowl.  Now, unless you have the sort of budget - and work schedule -  that lets you make two bowl-type trips within a month of each other, you’ve got a choice:  would you rather blow the budget on a trip to Santa Clara, or would you prefer to save it for the Rose Bowl trip, on the chance that your team might  (or might not) make it?

The crowd was an “announced” 34,000.  That’s about half the stadium’s capacity, but it looked like even less than that.

The result, thanks to the suits who run the conference, was a bush-league look for the Pac-12 that does its players, coaches and fans a disservice.

After reading John Canzano’s exposure ot the Lord High Commissioner,  I’m left suspecting that the main reason for the whole deal was that the commissioner could drive to the game. Actually, his driver could drive him to the game. (I wouldn’t want to have been the guy driving him home from the game, considering the boos that rained down on him as he tried to present the championship trophy.)

*********** The Pac-12 championship game, a 10-3 Washington win over Utah,  was not what I’d call exciting.  Yes, this is what you can wind up with when you pit the two best defenses in your conferences against each other - the one touchdown was a defensive score - but unless you were passionately involved with one of the teams, it was, I have to say,  relatively boring.

Not, that is, until the last play of the game, when a Utah pass into the end zone fell incomplete - and what appeared to me (and several thousand Utah fans) to be pass interference went ignored.

Now, come on:  if there’s doubt, you should call it.  In my mind it’s far worse to let the defense get away with breaking a rule than to call a ticky-tacky foul that might not really have been pass interference.

Suppose they had called pass interference - Utah gets one more play.

Suppose Utah scores - do they go for two, as has become fashionable, or do they send the game into overtime?

Do you see where this is going?  The next day, you may actually have had people talking about the exciting finish of your conference title game, instead of saying that they got tired of waiting for a touchdown and finally decided to go to sleep.

But wake up, all you guys back East.  Remember 2011, regular season,  LSU against Alabama?  Both teams went in undefeated. Final score?  LSU 9, Alabama 6.  Not a damn touchdown scored.

But see, we were told back then , that was  because it was the SEC!  It's so POWERFUL!  It's defenses are so STRONG!

And so, fully aware how easily the American public is duped, the BCS people force-fed us a rematch in the national title game, and Alabama won, 21-0.  Don't tell me about snoozers, SEC guys.

*********** And while we’re on the subject of snoozers, did they still have to pay the offensive players from Jacksonville and Indianapolis after their 6-0 thriller Sunday?

*********** One of the few nice things about giving Notre Dame their own key to the playoffs is that we’ll once again have a REAL honest-to-God Rose Bowl, the Big Ten champion against the Pac-12 champion.

*********** BIG GAME was held Saturday, after being postponed because of poor air quality. Stanford beat Cal and has now won NINE STRAIGHT in the series which began in 1892.

*********** I’m still baffled by the fact that five college athletic directors and - perhaps - their presidents could have agreed to an arrangement that allows Notre Dame to coast into the “playoffs” without having to go through the equivalent of a conference championship game.  In my opinion, I don’t believe Notre Dame would have beaten a single one of the Power 5 conference champions and I’ll throw in UCF, the American Athletic champion as well.  Not sure about Fresno State, App State or Buffalo. 

I say, to hell with this “put the best teams” in there BS.  To hell with this nanny-state business of letting a group of humans decide for us which are the best teams to put in the playoffs.

We were told that we would be given a “true national champion,” determined on the field, and yet we have a bunch of experts and non-experts, people with and without conflicts, who make the subjective decision as to who will actually go out on that field.

Is there a state in the Union where the high school people would tolerate a group of school ADs and principals and celebrities deciding who qualified for their playoffs?

I’m ready for a six-team playoff - all five Power Five champions, plus a sixth spot for the highest-rated Group of Five conference champion.  Or maybe Notre Dame.

*********** With Georgia leading mighty Alabama in the SEC championship game and the excitement building, I doubt that you could have found a script writer in Hollywood good enough to have devised a way to turn the powerful Crimson Tide into a sentimental favorite among those without an Alabama affiliation.

But then Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama’s Heisman-hopeful QB,  had to leave the game with an ankle injury. 

In most places, that would have been enough to bring tears to the eyes of fans, but not at Alabama.

They had Jalen Hurts.

The Alabama quarterback job was once his.

He was SEC Player of the Year in 2016, and in last year’s playoff semifinal, he was the offensive MVP as Bama beat Clemson, 24-6.

But in the final game, with the Tide struggling against Georgia, he was benched at halftime. That’s when Tua came in and led the Tide to an overtime victory and the national title.  Tua became the biggest story of the bowl season, while Jalen Hurts became the subject of speculation as to whether he’d even remain at Alabama after the indignity he’d suffered.

He stayed. Maybe it’s because he’s a coach’s son.  But he never got his starting job back, because Tua continued to play like the best quarterback in the country.  But ever the team man, Jalen Hurts did what he had to do to help his team;  making mostly fourth-quarter appearnces in mop up time, he never showed a sign of being disgruntled.

And then, unexpectedly as it so often does, his chance came.  With Tua out of the game, and Alabama trailing 28-21, it was in his hands.

Unless you were truly a Georgia fan, how could you not want the man who had been through what Jalen Hurts had been through  to save the day for the Crimson Tide?

In an amazing twist on last year’s national championship game, Jalen Hurts, now the guy coming off the bench,  pulled Bama’s chestnuts out of the fire,  throwing for the tieing score and running for the go-ahead score.  Bama’s defense did its job and the Tide went on to win, 35-28.

If he were on my team, Jalen Hurts would be my Black Lion.

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/allen-west/allen-west-alabamas-jalen-hurts-not-colin-kaepernick-qb-we-should-celebrate

*********** The Bill Snyder era is over at Kansas State.  I am saddened, and worried.  I’m saddened because while Coach Snyder was on the sidelines, we were witness to what Barry Switzer called (I paraphrase)  “the greatest job of coaching in the history of college football.”  He did what no man before him had ever been able to do -  take a football program that was as close to hopeless as there ever was, and turn it into a consistent winner.  He did it in a state with a small population that required him to go out of state for much of his talent, and he did it without a hint of scandal.

I'm worried because now comes one of the most crucial hires any athletic department ever made.   Make the wrong hire - something it did over before Bill Snyder arrived -  and, frankly, Kansas State’s future as a viable member of a Power 5 conference could be jeopardized.

I have no idea who his successor might be.  Jim Leavitt, currently the DC at Oregon, was a successful head coach at South Florida and before that coached under Bill Snyder.  He’s made no secret of the fact that he’d be interested in succeeding Coach Snyder, to the point of insisting on a low buyout at Oregon should he be offered the KSU job.  Another KSU guy who’s a potential candidate is Brent Venables, DC at Clemson. Great credentials, other than the fact that he hasn’t been a head coach.

I have also heard that there is interest in Seth Littrell, now head coach at North Texas.  North Texas has not been an easy place to win and he’s won.  And he’s only been a head coach for two years.  But as an Army fan, I’ve seen his team play a few times, and I’ve been impressed.

https://www.bringonthecats.com/2018/12/3/18123916/kansas-state-wildcats-football-coaching-search-bill-snyder-seth-littrell-north-texas-mean-green


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

Thank you for sharing the 2016 story about Army football.  What a great read.

Also, having had a rough season, now that I'm a few weeks away from it I find myself a better coach for sure.  Perspective.  Identifying issues.  Planning.  In the moment it was rough, but in the long-term it will be a blessing.  And next time I will have the perspective necessary to handle things.  You certainly are right that our education as coaches doesn't end.

I hope your Thanksgiving was warm and full of turkey.


It may have been a rough season as you went through it, but I know you’re an experienced enough coach to have found a dozen lessons that you might not have learned from a 13-0 season!

Long-term, as you say, it’s a blessing.  And we’re not really coaches until we start to think long-term.

I had a great Thanksgiving, with a lot to be thankful for, and I hope you did, too.

Have a great Christmas.


*********** Iowa State needed another game and FCS Drake (located in nearby Des Moines) was willing, so on fairly short notice, a game between the two was scheduled for this past Saturday.

Iowa State gave Drake a nice payday and a chance to play in front of a big crowd, and  as expected, they won,  27-24.

That’s not a misprint.  The Cyclones barely outgained the Bulldogs, 298-281.

A friend who coaches in Drake’s conference wrote me, “Our conference is much better than most realize... Drake is the most physical team in it and has the best defense... Not all that surprised.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/drake-bulldogs-at-iowa-state/game-center/sp-id-10401000002101413


***********
Tim Brown, of Florence, Alabama writes...

I asked a NAIA head coach about recruiting.

He said first he looks for defensive linemen because if they didn't work out there they could be moved to the offense.
If the player he recruited as an offensive lineman didn't work out all he had left was a fat videographer.  

*********** Hi Hugh,
I have been watching the division 6 Mass. Super Bowl between Stoneham and Old Rochester, Rochester was undefeated and Stoneham had lost one game. Stoneham ran a classic DW,  the old fashion kind, with Qb leading on SP and only  one  formation. They won the game, 26-20, on a 66 SP that went for 46 yards. One thing they did do different was a QB wedge with the B Back pushing the QB. It was very good and they picked some nice yards on it. Their coach Bob Almada (sp) has coached their 25 years and won his first Super Bowl.

Fun game to watch and Stoneham ran a very nice 88/99 Reach Sweep. They also had some success running our old Red-Red completing it for a couple of big plays.

It sure brought back memories it was classic and with four minutes to go Stoneham recovered a fumble and ran out the clock (66-77 Sp). It was almost enough to push me back into coaching LOL 😂

Anyway thought you would be interested.

Hope you folks are having a great holiday season and our love to you and Connie.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangely, Maine

Hi Jack-

Thanks for the note!

Glad you got to watch that.  My congratulations to Coach Almada and Stoneham.

Funny you mentioned the QB Wedge with the B-Back pushing - I’ve been hammering away at this for weeks now, now that the rules allow assisting the runner!

Watching that kind of stuff gets the blood going again, doesn’t it?


*********** Not saying that Pitt ever had a chance against Clemson, but why help an opponent that doesn’t need help?

Down 21-10, they held Clemson and took over on their own 20, with 1:03 left in the half.

Time to get the hell out of there, right

Wrong.  They threw.  Threw an interception that Clemson returned to the Pitt 10.

Clemson scored on the next play.

28-10 sounds a whole lot worse to me than 21-10.

*********** Fresno State finally found out the formula for beating Boise on the blue turf: make it snow.

Sick of losing to a team with blue uniforms playing on a blue field, Fresno State brought snow, and with their white uniforms on a white field, they turned the tables on the Broncos, winning in OT

*********** Some people insist on calling it “hazing”  but it’s really sodomy -  the sort of thing one associates with prisons, not with high school sports.

Nevertheless, it happens far too often in our schools, and now four “teens” in Damascus, Maryland face trial for their rape of a teammate.  With a broomstick.

(Sorry for the failure to give a trigger alert.)

About 45 minutes northwest of Washington, DC, Damascus was a rural area when I lived near there, some 50 years ago, but as the city and its suburbs have sprawled, it’s transitioned to an affluent Washington suburb, with a median home price of $380,000.

It has, by all accounts, a very good football program.

Since the current coach took over in 2010, Damascus has gone 107-9.  His “worst” season was in 2011, when he went 9-3.  The Damascus Hornets were undefeated state champions in 2015-16-17. They also had undefeated regular seasons in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018.

Evidently the players involved were on the JV team, and according to the Washington Post, suspects and victims both have told authorities that this was part of a “known hazing practice.”  According to a police report, when one victim asked attackers to stop, he was told it was a “tradition.”  When one victim asked three attackers to stop, police said in the charging papers, the assailants replied that it was a “tradition.”

“Hazing?”  “Tradition?”

 “Hazing?”  That’s way too mild a term to describe sexual assault.  “Tradition?”  that implies that it’s been going on for some time.

Get ready, school board.  You’re going to have to explain how  this could have happened to kids, entrusted to your care, if they were properly supervised.

(Which is why, I might add, I would never take a team, even kids a knew and trusted, to an overnight team camp.)


https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/indictments-handed-up-in-high-school-locker-room-rape-case-in-damascus-md/2018/11/30/703f3fda-f498-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html?utm_term=.a1c3a665df6a

*********** I’m a big fan of Tom T. Hall ("A Week in a County Jail") , and it irks me no end to hear his “I Like Beer” serving as the background music while beautiful people sip their post-workout Michelob Ultras.

*********** Don’t know much about geography…

Back in June, a guy named Gavin Clarkson lost a primary election to become a congrressman in New Mexico.  A few weeks ago, he lost out on a chance to become New Mexico’s Secretary of State.

And on November 20, while in Washington, DC to marry his fiancee, who lives in the District, he was refused a marriage license by a court clerk who insisted on seeing his “New Mexico passport.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2018/11/30/couple-was-refused-dc-marriage-license-when-clerk-asked-new-mexico-passport/?utm_term=.0b84d709ca88

*********** A local high school girls’ basketball score from this past weekend: 68-8.  They’re both decent-sized schools, Washington Class 4A.  The losing school has at least 1500 kids in the top three grades.

With Title IX and all that, the girls’ basketball coach is paid exactly the same as the boys’ coach.  For what?


*********** Saturday my wife and I took in some of the Washington state championships - held one right after the other in the comfort of the Tacoma Dome.

It meant getting up early. We left our place in Ocean Shores at 6:45 so we could get to Tacoma in plenty of time to catch the first game, which started at 10 AM.

It was the Class 1A championship game, between Colville and Newport, and it was a major reason why we came.

I wanted to meet Bill Carpenter and see him win a state title.  Bill, the son of a friend, is the DC at Colville, and we’d never met.

(Colville, in the Northeast corner of the state, is about as far from our home in Camas, in the southwest corner, as you can get, so it’s not every day I get the chance.)

Colville is always pretty good, but over on the eastern side of the mountains, there’s one roadblock that stands in the way of anybody who has hopes of winning a state title.  It’s Royal High, in Royal City, in the central part of the state. Royal came into this year’s playofs as three-time defending 1A champion.

Last week, in the state semi-finals, Colville had to slay the dragon. But they were up to it, winning  31-28 and ending Royal’s 53-game win streak.

Saturday, they faced Newport, a team from their own league, and to this observer there was no doubt which was the beter team.

Colville’s kids looked stronger physically, and they probably were - they lift every morning at 5:30, before school starts.

They had a nice looking quarterback, a 6-2, 195 senior named John Knight whom Montana has expressed interest in.  He was also the free safety in Colville’s 4-2-5, but as QB he really shone: he completed seven of 12 passes for 226 yards and two TDs, and he carried six times for 26 yards and two TDs.  Colville,  running a bit of Double-Wing - mostly Super Power - from two or three formations, ran 32 times for 206 yards.

Newport was kept almost totally under control by Bill Carpenter’s defense. They passed for only 94 yards and ran for only 82. But then, they had so few first downs that they ran only 43 plays from scrimmage.

They did manage to score once, after Colville had opened up a 20-0 lead and they ran back the kickoff deep into Colville territory and then quickly scored.  But Colville, thanks to a beautiful 29-yard touchdown pass just before halftime, led 27-7 at the half.

Final score: Colville 48, Newport 7.

Colville shut out Newport in the second half, and scored three more times to invoke a running clock - how many times do you see that in a state championship game?

(After all the hubbub of the trophy presentation and the team photo - below -  the Colville team formed a circle and - omigod - seemed to be praying!  Shhhhh.)

colville team

***********  Rick Steele, who many years ago played for me and then assisted me, won his second consecutive Washington Class 2A state title Saturday when his Hockinson Hawks (regional accent: in most of the West, “Hawk” sounds like “Hock”) beat the Lynden Lions, 42-37.

For the most part, Hockinson has been a passing team - a very good passing team - the past two years, but on Saturday they were down, 17-7 at the half, and when Lynden scored first in the second half to take a 24-7 lead, Rick took extreme action.  He moved Sawyer Racanelli, one of the state’s top receivers, into the backfield and presto - just like that - Hockinson became a running team.  And a damned good running team at that.

Racanelli had accounted for Hockinson’s only first-half touchdown by throwing  (back to the quarterback,) and he wound up with five receptions for 55 yards.  But in the second half, taking a direct snap and running - mostly off-tackle - he mostly ran.  And he ran for six touchdowns, a new state playoff record.

Afterward, Rick said that the run package wasn’t designed for this particular purpose.  Instead, two weeks earlier, he realized after Hockinson almost blew a 35-7 lead in the quarterfinal game that they had to be better at  using the clock.  And that meant running the ball.

“So we really worked on that heavy formation," he said, " and told the kids, ‘hey, we’ve got to gain three yards a pop. And if we do that, get first downs, we’ll never give that ball up.’ Tonight it came in real handy.  They just couldn’t stop us.”

Sounds like a running coach to me.

A guy after my own heart.

*********** It wasn’t until 1995 that a team from our part of the state - Southwest Washington - won a state title.  The next one didn’t come until 2004.  We were an athletic backwater.

But things have swung.  There’s scarcely a year that we don’t have one state champion, and this year we had two - Hockinson and Union - with another team making it to the semifinals.

This year, the best team in the state - all classes - was probably Union High, from Vancouver.  (It’s on the Vancouver-Camas line, and the Camas kids deride it as “West Camas,” but it’s been a power since it opened.)

Leading Lake Stevens 24-20 at the half, the Union Titans, behind a native Hawaiian QB named Lincoln Victor and a native Samoan named Jojo Siofele, scored 38 straight second half points to win the Class 4A title, 62-20.  Victor was 19 of 24 for 327 yards and five touchdowns; Siofele caught 10 passes for 179 yards and rushed for 113 yards, most of it coming on an 80-yard sprint from scrimmage.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - A native of Canton, Ohio, Dan Dierdorff played his college ball at Michigan.  His junior season was Bo Schembechler’s first as the Wolverines’ head coach, and as an offensive lineman, he was named to several All-American teams.

In his senior year, Michigan went 9-1, and he was a consensus All-American.  Depending on the formation, he played “strong tackle,” and Schembechler said he was “as good as any tackle in the country.”

He was drafted in the second round - number 43 overall - by the St. Louis Cardinals, and he spent his entire 13 year career with the club.

During much of that time, he was considered the best offensive lineman in the NFL. He was a 6-time Pro Bowl selection. He was named first team All-Pro five times . In 1975 won the Forest Gregg Award, given to the NFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year. For three straight years - 1976-77-78 - he was named NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year.  For two entire seasons - 1976 and 1977 - he did not allow a single sack.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

After retirement as a player, he embarked on another career as a broadcaster.  For 12 seasons he was on the broadcast team on Monday Night Football (back when it was a very big deal), and then spent 15 years as a game and studio analyst on NFL games.

Dan Dierdorff currently works as a color analyst on radio broadcasts of Michigan  games.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DAN DIERDORFF

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** QUIZ - He got the nickname “Kayo” from his father, who trained fighters.

This is from a Web site  Kayo's last name has been deleted…

Kayo ran a 9.7 second 100-yard dash in 1946. Two college coaches attended his high school graduation — Bear Bryant and Johnny Vaught. Both were desperate to sign Kayo. His father wanted him to sign with Bryant; his mother, Vaught. Kayo did what his mother said.

In 1948 at Ole Miss, Kayo rushed for 1000 yards. But he and Vaught had a scare the following summer. Kayo’s name came up for the draft. Vaught wasn’t going to hear of his top running back going off to Korea. So the legendary coach let Kayo borrow his car so he could go sign up for the National Guard in his hometown — and stay in the U.S. for the following season. Once at the National Guard recruiting center, the officer in charge of physical fitness tests asked  to do a deep knee bend. He bent down, winced with pain and let out a yelp (he’d injured his knee in practice).

When Kayo returned to Oxford, Vaught asked, “Did you get signed up?”

“No,” Kayo told him, “they said I was unfit for service.”

The following fall, Kayo rushed for 1,312 yards — still a single-season Ole Miss record.

As a rookie running back in the NFL, Kayo led the Chicago Bears in rushing. It’s a little-known fact that he was the first rookie ever asked to play in the Pro Bowl.

Kayo  might very well be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but for a freak accident on a windy Chicago night. As Kayo was waiting for his car outside a Chicago hotel, a drunken valet ran a car up on the curb and pinned Kayo’s legs between two cars.

George Halas, certain Kayo’s career was over, wrote that he was the finest running back he had ever coached.

(My addition:  Kayo died this past November 17, at the age of 90.)


american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 30,  2018  "You do not memorize football -- you work with it and it soaks in.”  Homer Smith

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

With Paul Johnson stepping away at Georgia Tech does that mean the option era at GT is over?

Some seem to think that Jeff Monken would be a good candidate.  Frankly, I don't think Coach Monken would even entertain the thought.  He has a great thing going at West Point, and I think the Army would put together a really lucrative offer to have him stay.  What you say?

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

In my opinion, we’ve all seen the last of an under-center option attack at the top levels of college football.  Paul Johnson was successful, but it would have taken more spectacular success than he achieved to turn other coaches on to his offense so that it grew tentacles.  And even then, it probably wouldn’t have been enough to satisfy fans and boosters who expect to see passing or recruits who expect to be a part of something more trendy.

There is no chance that we’ll see Jeff Monken or anyone else ever again run the ‘bone at GT, and very little chance that we’ll ever see it again at the Power 5 level.  A friend, a former Coca-Cola executive with friends close to the Tech scene, tells me that no matter what else you might read, PJ’s “retirement" was about his “boring offense.”

If winning isn’t enough, there’s no answer to that.

It can’t be about Tech “wanting to do better.”

The Tech people can talk all they like about that, but the reality is that Johnson did as well as anyone could have been expected to do. Since the glory days of Bobby Dodd’s teams in the 1950s, Tech has played just a bit over .500 football.

Paul Johnson leaves as the fourth winningest coach in GT history, behind three legends of the past - Dodd, Bill Alexander, and John Heisman.  Of all the coaches that Tech has had since Coach Dodd retired in 1966 (with a .713 win-loss percentage), PJ's percentage of  .585 is second only to that of George O’Leary, who leveraged his success into the Notre Dame job.  (That’s another story.)

Even Bobby Ross, who won a national championship there, posted an overall win-loss percentage of only .543. Bill Curry, a GT legend as a player, could finish no better than .423.

Georgia Tech, like a number of other schools (Army, Notre Dame, Minnesota, for example) is living in a glorious past that will never return.  Just as Army will never again be the team that it was in World War II and the years immediately afterward, just as Notre Dame will never again get its pick of the best Catholic kids in America,  Georgia Tech will never again be THE football team in the South’s biggest city, as it was in Coach Dodd’s day.

Georgia Tech people are saying that they want more than just a winning team that goes to a bowl game every year - they want  ACC championships, and an occasional spot in the playoff.  Well, guess what?  So do other people in the ACC: the people at Clemson, Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech (to note only the ones best positioned to compete for those spots).

The big winners in all this are Army and Navy.  They have coaches they are happy with, and there is next to no chance that those coaches will ever leave for greener pastures, because nobody else wants their offense. (Monken would put a winner on the field at GT, but the fans would really hate watching - he throws even less than Johnson.)

Sorry to sound a trifle down, but I think the grand experiment is over.  Now, I look for the guys on the rules committee to finish the job.  I keep hearing the concussion guys talking about reducing repetitive blows to linemen’s heads by eliminating the three-point stance.  That ought  to about do it.


*********** "I was saddened when Coach Johnson informed me that he was going to step down as our head coach," Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury said.

Yeah, sad.  But happy as hell to get the deep-pocket alumni off my ass.  Now I can go out and hire a guy who’ll run an exciting, wide-open offense the same as everybody else in the ACC and Big 12.  At least then when we finish a hair over  (or under) .500 they can’t blame it on the offense.

*********** It’s almost two years old, but Jeff Monken’s explanation of his plan for turning Army from a 3-9 team into a (now) 9-2 team is still good reading…

https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/12/13/13924292/army-vs-navy-football-game-2016-streak-jeff-monken


*********** Back in 2001, when my friend Greg Koenig was coaching at Las Animas, Colorado, it was a big deal - a VERY big deal - when his kids upset Limon.  Limon is in eastern Colorado, on the plains about midway between Denver and the Kansas line.  Limon has only 135 kids in its school,  below the 150-student cutoff to play 11-man football, but it has been given special dispensation to play 11-man.  It has 32 kids on the football team - roughly half the boys in the school.  It just won another state title - its 18th.  Limon holds state records with 18  titles, six consecutive titles, 50 consecutive wins and 13 unbeaten seasons.

Greg sent me a great article about this little town and its remarkable football tradition:

http://stoutroadsportspage.com/learning-from-limon/?fbclid=IwAR3F1EOGcrhdRy7ZmsLpldhRIonAjl6uBgImZpQay2CdHlrlnUUcQMGpkuY


************* I was doing a little research and got to reading more about Frank Girardi. For 36 years - from 1972 through 2007 - he was head coach at D-III Lycoming College, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

He retired with a record of 257-97-5.  HIs teams made 11 D-III playoiff appearances, and made it to the final game twice.

Very impressive.  But that’s not why I’m writing.  There’s a great story about him that every football coach will understand and relate to.

On the morning of his first game as head coach at Lycoming, his house caught on fire.

As his wife and kids had to evacuate the house, still in their pajamas, he had to leave.  He had a team waiting for him.  They had a game to play.

He would later recall that Lycoming lost that first game, to Albright, 39-0.  "That was the start of my college coaching career,” he said.  “Our house burned down and we were beaten 39-0. I think the 39-0 hurt me more."


*********** Watching Dan Mullen break up an interview to go  put a stop to the clowns on his team trying to plant a Florida flag in the Florida State logo got me to thinking about the need for us to express ourselves in terms that others could understand.

Maybe, to put our feelings about the national anthem protests in proper perspective, we should have just told the NFL kneelers, “Guys, to you  it may be protesting, but to us it's  like dancing on our logo.”


*********** The Headline: ACC suspends NC State, North Carolina players after huge brawl

The Story:  When NC State scored against North Carolina to win in OT,  a Carolina player started lashing out in apparent frustration. And when an NC State player took offense, it was game on.  But truthfully, with the exception of a handful of players - a couple of UNC hotheads who acted like jackasses, and a couple of NC State guys who didn’t take to their antics - it didn’t look to me at all like a “huge brawl.”  Actually, considering the heat of the moment, what impressed me was the number of guys on both teams who stood around and did NOT join in the “huge brawl.”

Typical media sensationalism. (“Film at eleven.”)

*********** I wrote to a coach I know - a very good coach - who had a rough season, and said I tell guys who've known nothing but success that while I wish them no ill, I do sort of wish they could have one tough season so their education as a coach will be complete!

*********** An Iowa “football mom” whose son had graduated decided she wanted to do more than just sit in the stands as watch - so she offered to keep stats…

Being down on the sidelines, she writes, is “indescribable… I see and hear everything. I see how much the coaches are invested in these boys and in this program. We have an absolute great bunch of coaches who know their football. I hear them strategize. I hear them say “atta boy.” It gives me great pride to be a part of this program.”

http://www.nwestiowa.com/independent/football-mom-on-what-it-means-to-be-a-falcon/article_bb487298-ec51-11e8-8a73-57134f33dec9.html

***********  It’s a source of considerable resentment among Army football people that in the recruiting wars, competing coaches have subtly - and sometimes not so subtly - suggested that if a young high school football player were to choose to go to West Point, it would be just a matter of time before his life was in danger, in some godforsaken place on the other side of the globe.

People may not be aware of how West Point cadets wind up in the branch of the Army that they do, but it’s the result of a competitive process.  Certain branches are more highly prized than others, and acceptance into them is determined by class rank.  You might not think so, but the most desired branches of the service are “combat arms” - infantry, armor and artillery - and the number one branch in terms of desirability is the “Queen of Battle” - the infantry.  The infantry means “boots on the ground,” and no decoration in the Army is more respected that the Combat Infantryman Badge - look for it atop all the other decorations on the left breast of a soldier. It can only be awarded to one serving in infantry, as a Ranger or in Special Forces.
CIB

It means that the wearer of the badge has “seen the elephant” - he has been “personally present and under fire” during “active ground combat.”

Navy football recruiters wouldn’t get far with the “we’re safer than the Army” approach because  a number of its players choose infantry duty after graduation, too. Of the 34 seniors on this year’s team, 16 will serve in the Marine Corps.  One of them will train to become a Marine pilot, but the others have selected Marine Corps Ground.

At least four of the future Marines are starters - quarterback Zach Abey, starting fullback Anthony Gargiulo and starting inside linebackers Hudson Sullivan and Taylor Heflin.

How they came to choose the Marines is an interesting story, in the Annapolis Capital Gazette…

the key factor in encouraging Navy football players to pursue a Marine Corps career is exposure. To that end, Green and Walsh have annually taken rising senior football players with an interest to Marine Corps Base Quantico for a week-long training exercise.

Abey said a large contingent of Navy football players were divided into squads and actually played some war games. It was meant to give the prospective Marines an understanding of The Basic School, the six-month training that is conducted at Quantico.

“We spend some time in the field, shoot the rifles and do the whole deal of staying overnight in the woods. We had different squads and game-planned attacks and actually shot blank rounds at each other,” Abey said. “It was really cool, a really fun training. We had all the Marine Corps equipment and got a taste of what will be doing during TBS.”

That introductory training session is known as Camp Leatherneck and is purposefully designed to be difficult. Gargiulo said it rained almost nonstop during the week the football players participated and he joked about cooking food in a bag and eating dried crackers.

“Actually, being out in the woods wasn’t the bad part. It was all the long-distance running and not having a nice Italian meal ready for you after a long day in the field,” Gargiulo said with a chuckle.

Abey had a feeling he wanted to serve in the Marine Corps upon arrival at the Naval Academy and that was only reinforced by talking to numerous former teammates that had already taken that route.

“It’s something I wanted to do coming in here. Just seeing so many members of The Brotherhood choose Marine Corps really influenced me,” Abey said. “Seeing the summer trainings at Quantico, I thought it was really equivalent to Navy football.”

Sullivan initially thought about joining the aviation community, but gradually changed his mind after hearing about the Marine Corps from inside linebacker predecessors such as Cody Petersen and Winn Howard. The northern Virginia native, who did not grow up too far from Quantico, also learned a lot from the summer training session.

“When we were down there they told us about the close resemblance between the Marine Corps and football and it makes a lot of sense,” Sullivan said. “Everything we learned on the football field can be implemented into the Marine Corps.”

https://www.capitalgazette.com/sports/navy_sports/ac-cs-navy-football-marines-20181122-story.html

*********** Coach - As much as I miss coaching, and have strongly considered getting back into it, after reading and hearing about the state of the game I sometimes ask myself if I truly want to coach football again.  Will it ever be worth it...like it used to be??

It is very different.  The things that I saw on the horizon when I started writing and corresponding with coaches 20+ years ago are now right here.

You can still find some good places to coach but now you have to be much more selective about where you decide to do it.

I think the biggest reason is the fact that the Me Generation had  kids, and those kids are now in high school. The word “No” is not in their vocabulary, kids or parents.  Combine that with the increase in the amount of influence even one aggrieved person can have, and with the cowardice of  today’s school and political leaders, who have no qualms about sacrificing a coach if that’s what it takes to get a parent off their ass, and I would venture a guess that in 90 per cent of cases where parents stir up things about a coach - rightly or wrongly - the coach is gone within a year.

In a sense, it mirrors what’s happening in our country.  

It used to be that most places in our country were pleasant and safe.  And even then, many of the places that weren’t particularly pleasant were still safe.  There were bad places, but everybody knew where they were and all you had to do was be smart enough to stay away from them.

But the bad guys (at great risk of being politically incorrect, I include the precious “homeless” in that category) seem more and more to have the upper hand, so that now there are so many more places where you just don’t go.  I once considered downtown Portland to be about the most hospitable of any city I’d ever seen; now, you can go there and trip over bums or step in their sh—.

There are still nice places, but you have to be careful, and to some degree I think that it’s a reflection of their politics. I also think that applies to the way coaches are treated and  the way their schools are run.  

My advice is to look as far from a big city as possible - in a rural area or a smaller city.  Even in a red state, the bigger metro areas are blue, and  the outlying once-rural areas are starting to fill up with members of the Me Generation and their kids.    


*********** Greg Koenig, after more than 10 years in Kansas a K-State fan,  sent me a link to the best article I’ve ever read on what Bill Snyder has meant to Kansas State football, and how the future without him could mean a return to the bleak days before he arrived.

Unfortunately, in all the things I read, there never seems to be even the  slightest  suggestion of a solution.

The author sums up the dilemma facing those charged with replacing Coach Snyder - something which ultimately must happen -  and although a winning Wildcat program must remain uppermost in their prorities, it must happen with grace and dignity and respect for Coach Snyder’s accomplishments:

He’s not a volunteer, entitled to stay as long as he wants. He is compensated handsomely, and he himself surely expects better results than he has been able to achieve in recent years. But neither is he some dispensable rabble to be discarded without a moment’s regret.

Maybe a compromise would be to let Coach Snyder choose his successor (not his son Sean, as Coach Snyder would prefer), with a significant place for Sean on the new staff.

For sure, this presents a wonderful opportunity for the school administration to demonstrate to young, impressionable students how to handle difficult situations with class.

The last thing they can afford to do is to send Bill Snyder off, a bitter man.   A fandom that prides itself on being “family” can’t send dad off into exile.

https://www.bringonthecats.com/2018/11/29/18116530/family-conflict-head-and-heart-collide-over-kansas-state-football-future-bill-snyder?fbclid=IwAR1nA4lp9MoHajK_oHGkyt54SbDiBIYazq1d-xFzlgX9gacgLEv7E_L5zHA

*********** Let’s see, now:  On the offensive side, USC fired the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach (fired him back in October) - and the QB coach left “to pursue other opportunities” (what coach does that on his own?)… On the other side of the ball, they fired the defensive line coach and the defensive backs’ coach.

So tell me again, Lynn Swann,  why you kept a head coach who now has to go out - in the middle of prime recruiting time - and hire half a staff, which then has to go out and tell recruits why they should believe that a coach who just had to fire half his staff will still be there this time next year.

Writes Pete Thamel, yahoo sports…

As the Pac-12 has slipped away from college football’s mainstream, desperately attempting to keep up with the coaching contracts and conference television cash, its flagship school is a mess… The athletic director’s first major decision has backfired spectacularly, as Swann bid against himself this winter to keep Helton and extended him through 2023, showing no feel for the market nor particular care for USC’s budget. Had Swann bothered to do a few simple Google searches, he could have found out that no other Power 5 job was sniffing at Helton.

*********** “The Pac-12 has slipped away from college football’s mainstream.” Ouch.  Those were the words of yahoo.com’s Pete Thamel.

Closer to home, the Portland Oregonian’s John Canzano, whom I consider to be a bit of a pit bull when he gets after something, is after Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.  Big time.  And it’s about time. 

In the first of a four-part series that I personally hope will lead to a housecleaning at the Conference’s San Francisco headquarters, Canzano notes that Lord Larry, a former Harvard tennis player whose previous job as head of the Women’s Tennis Association scarcely qualified him for the Pac-12 commissionership, has built himself quite an empire, mostly at the expense of member schools.

The bastard is paid $4.8 million a year, more than the combined pay of Big Ten Commissoner Jim Delany ($2.3 million) and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey ($1.9 million).  He makes more than any football coach in the conference; contrast that with Sanke, who makes less than any of the SEC’s football coaches, and  Delaney, who makes less than all but two of the Big Ten’s football coaches.

Did I mention that Lord Larry prefers to travel by private jet? The Pac-12 spent $3.1 million on conference travel in the last fiscal year.  By comparison, the SEC spent $788,000 and the Big Ten $542,000.

I mentioned the headquarters.  The Pac-12 chose downtown San Francisco, one of the most expensive places in the United States, and for that they pay $6.9 million a year in rent. (You might want to repeat that.  Slowly.)  Suburban Chicago is good enough for the Big Ten, which pays $1.36 million in rent, and the SEC has gone decidedly low-rent, paying $318,000 rent at its Birmingham headquarters.

What do the league members get as the fruit of Scott's  labors?  Well, each Pac-12 member school received $31 million in revenues in the last fiscal year. But compare that with $41 million for each SEC member (that’s TEN MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR MORE - EVERY F—KING YEAR!) and $37 million for each Big Ten member. 

And that’s not all, folks - while the Pac-12 screws around trying to make money with its own TV network, the Big Ten and ESPN announced a new six-year deal that will mean $50 million a year for each member.  Think about that a minute - every year, every Pac-12 school will start out NINETEEN MILLION DOLLARS behind every Big Ten school!  (Money does have its advantages when you’re building and sustaining a major college football program.)

Instead of serving the conference members, writes Canzano, “the Pac-12 offices have treated itself like the 13th and most important member.”

I can’t wait for the next installment.  So far, this stuff is Pulitzer Prize material.


https://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2018/11/pac-12-larry-scott-leftout-part1.html

*********** Tom Walls, who lives and coaches in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is a native of New York State by way of Delaware, and he sent me this nice article about a Delaware senior named Vinnie Papale.  Vinnie Papale is the son of Vince Papale, on whose pro football career the movie “Invincible” was based.  Loosely, I should add.  The movie story line is that Vince Papale, who after being signed as a free agent by the Eagles became a fan favorite for his balls-out play, was a down-on-his-luck bartender whose football experience prior to the Eagles consisted of playing rough touch with his drinking buddies.

Not so.  Although he didn’t play college ball - he was a decathlete at St. Joseph’s - he was talked into playing semi-pro ball outside Philly.  That’s where I saw him, and when the World Football League got under way I arranged for him to attend a tryout.  His speed, route-running and hands blew our coach away, and I signed him on the spot.

He played two seasons in the WFL for the Philadelphia Bell, and it was on the strength of that experience - and his fierce determination to succeed - that the Eagles took a look at him.  And signed him.

https://www.delawareonline.com/story/sports/college/ud/2018/11/21/delaware-football-papale-overcomes-daunting-injuries/2054232002/

********** Why don’t crappy teams try to run the ball? Simple.  Running the ball requires good linemen, and if there’s one thing that crappy teams don’t have, it’s good linemen.

The reason for that is simple: there are more lean, fast, receiver/defensive back type guys than there are big, strong lineman-type guys, and by the time the big schools have signed all the players they want, there are often some good receivers and defensive backs left unsigned, but there just aren’t enough good lineman left for the also-rans.

*********** A Boston area high school team fought for - and won - the right to play their Thanksgiving Day game on, of all days, Thanksgiving!

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/11/20/braintree-milton-thanksgiving-football-game-outcry/

*********** Washington Huskies’ Defensive Coordinator Jimmy Lake may have an axe to grind with Mike Leach - I don’t know why else he’d say what he said afterward - but he’s not your ordinary, cliche-filled coach. 

Asked if he was surprised that Leach didn’t do anything unexpected in the Apple Cup, he said,“It does surprise me. But knowing what I read about the head football coach here, he does things a little different way, so hopefully he remains here a long time. That would be awesome.”

He went on to say that Leach’s game plan appeared to be “exactly the same” as in previous years.

“It makes it real easy for us,” he said. “Next year, maybe he’ll throw a little curveball. But it makes it very easy when you know what you’re going to get, so it’s awesome.”

“I mean, we know what type of offense we’re playing. They do the same thing, year in and year out. This is five years in a row now, and so it makes it real easy to game-plan."

First of all, I think that if this guy does know what he says he does, he’s dumber than sh— for letting it be known.  When someone breaks the enemy’s code, do they let the enemy know?

But second of all, all you coaches out there should check yourselves - if you heard an opponent boasting like that, would you just be pissed, or would you still be pissed, but think about it a bit and say, “Hey - maybe he’s got a point.” 

See, it could be that by woofing like this,  Lake is actually doing Leach a favor.  He’s telling him something that Leach’s own assistants may not know or, if they do,  may be afraid to tell him. (I admit that I don’t know Mike Leach at all and have no idea whether that could be true.)

Not many guys at the top like to be told unpleasant things.  Their underlings hear them go on about not appreciating “negativity,” and they quickly figure out that  the best way to keep their jobs is to shield the boss from things that might upset him.

It’s a major explanation for  the incompetence we see at the highest levels of our major institutions.

I thought about this a week or so ago when I read in the Wall Street Journal the obituary of a guy who early in his career had grown frustrated working for Reynolds and Company, a large financial services firm.  He wrote a letter of resignation, and when the boss called him in and asked him to explain why he was resigning, he replied that it was a “lousy” company - and went on to tell the boss why.

To show what a rare leader the boss was, he said, “Hmm. Maybe I should make you my personal assistant.”

The guy accepted the  boss’ offer, and when he retired, he was CEO of the firm, Dean Witter Reynolds.


***********  QUIZ  ANSWER - Twice a castoff - sent packing by two different losing NFL teams -  Billy Kilmer was 32 before he finally found the right place and the right coach - and wound up twice being named an All-Pro quarterback.

At UCLA, he was the last of their famous  single-wing tailbacks.  He was the classic triple threat:  in his senior year at UCLA, he passed for more than 1,000 yards, ran for more than 800 yards and eight touchdowns, and did all the Bruins’ punting.

In the NFL, he was the last single wing tailback to make the switch to quarterback (which until fairly recently meant going under center to take the snap).

He was an All-American in 1960, finishing fifth in the Heisman balloting, and in the College All-Star Game the following summer he was named MVP.

He was a first-round draft choice of the 49ers, and in his rookie year (along with John Brodie and Bobby Waters) was one of the three quarterbacks  used in rotation by coach Red Hickey in his direct-snap formation which he called the “shotgun.”

ASIDE: from Red Hickey’s obituary in the New York Times:

The 49ers, with a 4-4 record, were practicing at Georgetown University for their game against the two-time defending champion Baltimore Colts on Nov. 27, 1960, when Hickey called a meeting.
"I asked my players if any of them thought we could beat Baltimore with our regular offense, and not one hand went up," Hickey told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2001.
Hoping to cope with a Colts rush led by linemen Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti and Big Daddy Lipscomb, Hickey scrapped the T formation.
He had his quarterback stand about 5 yards behind the line instead of taking the snap while under center, and he spread his backs to the sides. That alignment, drawing on the double wing and short punt formations previously used in college football, gave the offense an extra second or two to develop a play. The quarterback could run, hand off to a crisscrossing back or throw.
The 49ers upset the Colts, 30-22.
In the locker room, Hickey told reporters that his offense was simply "spread right and spread left."
But moments later, as he related it to The Chronicle in 2001, he came up with something more sprightly. "Well, I'm an old country boy, and I used to go hunting with a shotgun," he said. "How about we call it the shotgun?"
The shotgun excited the 49ers to the point where they traded quarterback Y.A. Tittle - not a very good runner - after the season, but by mid-season 1961 NFL defenses had driven the 49ers back to the “T” (under center) formation, and  Kilmer, who still hadn’t made the transition from single wing tailback to T-formation quarterback, was used mostly as a running back.

He missed one season after being seriously injured in an off-season automobile accident, and spent most of the rest of his time with the 49ers on the bench, until 1967 when he was put on the expansion list and taken by the brand-new New Orleans Saints.

Over four seasons he was the Saint’s starting QB much of the time,  but those Saints really sucked, and when it became apparent that the they were planning to draft sensational Ole Miss QB Archie Manning, he asked to be traded.

That’s when he was acquired by the Redskins’ George Allen, and his pro career really began.  He was 32.

Acquired to be the backup for Sonny Jurgenson, he wound up the Redskins’ starter when Jurgenson was injured in an exhibition game, and he did so well that even when Jurgenson returned, Washington fans were split into two camps, each supporting one of the two quarterbacks.

And even though he appeared to become Allen’s favorite because he was less of a gunslinger type than Jurgenson, there was no such rivalry between the two quarterbacks.  Perhaps it was because they both were known to enjoy a drink now and then.  (Kilmer’s preference for strong drink led his  teammates to nickname him “Whiskey.”)

In 1972 he took the Redskins to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins.

After Allen was fired following the 1977 season,  Allen’s successor, Jack Pardee, replaced him with Joe Theismann, and he ended his career that season as Theismann’s backup.

In 16 years in the NFL, he was twice named All-Pro.  In all, he completed 1585 passes for 20,495 yards and 146 interceptions.  And - the old tailback in him - he rushed for 1509 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Also - from his early days in the League, he caught 27 passes for 288 yards and a TD, and punted 16 times for 598 yards.

Billy Kilmer is ranked among the top 70 Redskins of all time.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILLY KILMER

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


*********** This great article on Billy Kilmer is courtesy of Charlie Wilson, Crystal River, Florida…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1979/05/16/redskins-release-kilmer/1fc2e6d4-d699-420a-8c97-0ba32dd93993/?utm_term=.04ea155ab71d

*********** QUIZ - A native of Canton, Ohio, he played his college ball at Michigan.  His junior season was Bo Schembechler’s first as the Wolverines’ head coach, and as an offensive lineman, he was named to several All-American teams.

In his senior year, Michigan went 9-1, and he was a consensus All-American.  Depending on the formation, he played on either side as the  “strong tackle,” and Schembechler praised him a being  “as good as any tackle in the country.”

He was drafted in the second round - number 43 overall - by the St. Louis Cardinals, and he spent his entire 13 year career with the club.

During much of that time, he was considered the best offensive lineman in the NFL. He was a 6-time Pro Bowl selection. He was named first team All-Pro five times . In 1975 won the Forest Gregg Award, given to the NFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year. For three straight years - 1976-77-78 - he was named NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year.  For two entire seasons - 1976 and 1977 - he did not allow a single sack.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

After retirement as a player, he embarked on another career as a broadcaster.  For 12 seasons he was on the broadcast team on Monday Night Football (back when it was a very big deal), and then spent 15 years as a game and studio analyst on NFL games.

He currently works as a color analyst on radio broadcasts of Michigan  games.


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 27,  2018  “Politically Correct is nothing more than FASCISM pretending to be manners.” George Carlin

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL - THE LAST REALLY BIG WEEKEND

Not that I would bet on games - especially rivalry games - but if I were a betting guy, here’s how I would have made out…

THURSDAY - Mississippi State at Ole Miss.  (State by 12-1/2) I like them both and I rarely root, but I can usually count on a very good game. (NO BET)

FRIDAY -

Texas at Kansas - (Texas by 15-1/2) Jayhawks scored 40 against Oklahoma last week, and lost by 15.  What might they do now that Les Miles is their coach? Texas will win but I’ll take KU and the points. (Texas 24, Kansas 17 - WIN)

Nebraska at Iowa - (Iowa by 9-1/2) I’ll take Nebraska and the points, but Iowa will win the game. (Iowa 31, Nebraska 28 - WIN)

Houston at Memphis - (Memphis by 7) This is for the right to play UCF in the American Athletic title game.  I like Houston with the points. (Memphis 52, Houston 31 - LOSE)

Virginia at Virginia Tech - (UVa by 4-1/2) I’ll not only take VT and the points, but I think the Hokies will win anyhow. (VT 34, UVA 31 - WIN)

Oregon at Oregon State - (Oregon by 18)   On the basis of talent the 18 point spread makes sense, but I’ve seen the Ducks look really soft, and I’ve seen the Beavers play really tough.   And this is called the Civil War for good reason - it’s a fierce rivalry.  I’ll take the Beavers and the points. (Oregon 55, Oregon State 15 - LOSE)

Oklahoma at West Virginia - (Oklahoma by 3) I’ll take the Mountaineers and the points.  As I’ve said before, I’m a trifle suspicious that dark forces may be at play here, but still -  if the Sooners can’t keep Kansas from scoring 40, how are they going to keep West Virginia under 80? (Oklahoma 59, WVU 56 - PUSH)

Washington at Washington State - (Wazzu by 2-1/2) There’s often snow in the Palouse at Apple Cup time, but not this year. I should know better,  knowing how UW dominates this series - Washington State’s longest winning streak is two (!) - and having had enough experience with “Cougin’ it,” but here I go,  letting myself get sucked in again… I think that WSU is better than the 2-1/2 point spread, so I’ll take them - and give the Huskies the points.  (UW 28, WSU 15 - LOSE)

SATURDAY

Michigan at Ohio State - (Michigan by 4) I’ll watch, just in the hope that there’s some way both of those a$$hole coaches can lose.  (NO BET)

Georgia Tech at Georgia - (Georgia by 17) There’s always the chance that GT can play keep away but I’d take Georgia and give the 17. (Georgia 45, GT 21 - WIN)

Florida at Florida State - (Gators by 6-1/2) FSU has been playing a bit better lately but I think the Gators will beat the spread.  I’d give the points. (Florida 41, FSU 14 - WIN)

Syracuse at Boston College - (BC by 6-1/2)  I know that Syracuse laid an egg against ND last week, and I know that BC played Clemson tough for a while, but still.  I would take Syracuse and the points. (Syracuse 42, BC 21 - WIN)

Purdue at Indiana - (Purdue by 4) Tough call.   As if it weren’t a big instate rivalry, the two teams, both 5-6, are fighting for bowl elgibility.  It’s hard to believe that just 3 or 4 weeks ago Purdue was contending for a spot in the Big Ten title game.  I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Boilermakers to break their two game losing streak and win convincingly.  If they don’t I can see their coach leaving for Louisville, a place where it’s a whole lot easier to build a winning team. (Purdue 28, Indiana 21 - WIN)

Navy at Tulane  - (Tulane by 7).  Seven of Navy’s opponents are already bowl eligible, and Navy has gone 1-6 against them.  A loss to the Green Wave would make Tulane bowl eligible and make that record 1-7.  I see Tulane winning but the Mids covering. (Tulane 29, Navy 28 - WIN)

NC State at North Carolina - (State by 7)  Are you serious?  That’s all?  Seven points?  Somebody must know something, because State is 7-3 and UNC is 2-8.  Yes, the Heels did break a six-game losing streak last week.  By overwhelming Western Carolina.  Whoopee-doo.  If form holds, State wins big. (NC State 34- UNC 28 OT - LOSE)

Wake Forest at Duke - (Duke by 11-1/2) Wake needs the win to be bowl eligible.   Duke’s going to win but I’d take Wake and the points. (WTF? Wake 59, Duke 7 - WIN)

Stanford at UCLA - (Stanford by 7)  Stanford had last Saturday off after the Big Game (against Cal) was postponed; UCLA beat USC behind Joshua Kelley’s 289 yards rushing.  Take the points.  I’m calling a UCLA upset here.  (Stanford 49, UCLA 42 - PUSH)

Auburn at Alabama - (Bama by 24) 24 Points?  Really?  I know Alabama is really, really good.  But this is Alabama-Auburn.  This is special, and any Alabama kid - on either roster - has dreamed about playing in this game from the time he was old enough to say “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle.”   I’ll take Auburn and the points. (Alabama 52, Auburn 21 - LOSE)

Maryland at Penn State - (Penn State by 13) Maryland is 5-6 and needs the win, but I think that Maryland’s season ended last week on the Ohio State  three-yard-line when they went for two - and threw incomplete.  In the immortal words of the late Beano Cook, “Penn State will beat Maryland… because Penn State ALWAYS beats Maryland.  And I think they’ll beat them by more than 13.  (Penn State 38, Maryland 3 - WIN)

Pitt at Miami - (Miami by 4-1/2)  This has to be a mistake.  If I were a handicapper, I’d give Miami the 4-1/2 points - and still take Pitt.  (Miami 24, Pitt 3 - LOSE)  And Pitt is going to be playing Clemson in what they call “conference championship game?” The scalpers will be paying people on the streets of Charlotte to take tickets off their hands.

Arizona State at Arizona - (ASU by 2)  The Territorial Cup game is a tossup.  I’ll take Arizona State, because I think Eno Benjamin is one of the best runners in the country. (ASU 42, Arizona 41 - LOSE)

Minnesota at Wisconsin - (Wisconsin by 11) This is Athens against Sparta.  Minnesotans call the ‘Sconnies barbarians.  Wisconsinites call Minnesotans wussies.  This is for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.  Minnesota hasn’t won since 2003 and I think the Badgers will keep the streak going.  I’ll take the Badgers and give the 11 points. (Minnesota 37, Wisconsin 15 - LOSE)

Tennessee at Vanderbilt - (Vandy by 3-1/2)  Until Tennessee gets back to where it once was, I’ll take Vandy and give the 3-1/2. (Vandy 38, Tennessee 13 - WIN)

South Carolina at Clemson - (Clemson by 26) Clemson will win, but should they be 26-point favorites over a  6-4 SEC team?  I suspect so. (Clemson 56, SC 35 - LOSE)

Kentucky at Louisville - (Kentucky by 16-1/2) This is not so well-known as many other rivalries, but it is no less heated.  In this case, Kentucky is good enough to beat Louisville by more than the 16-1/2. (Kentucky 56, Lousville 10 - WIN)

Kansas State at Iowa State - (Iowa State by 13) As a K-State fan, I fear that the Cyclones will beat them badly. NO BET

Colorado at California - (Cal by 12-1/2) Colorado is a dead team walking. Cal will make it seven losses in a row, but their offense isn’t that good, so I’d take Colorado and the points.  (Cal 33, Colorado 21 - WIN)

LSU at Texas A & M - (A & M by 3)  Geaux Tigers!  Glad to take the points. (A & M 74, LSU 72 - WIN).  I’d rather have lost the bet and seen LSU win.

Notre Dame at USC - (ND by 11) It may be on the Coast and it may be at night,  but this is a good Notre Dame team and a poor - by USC standards - Trojan team, and as much as it hurts to do so, I’ll take ND and give the 11 points. (ND 24, USC 17 - LOSE)

Oklahoma State at TCU - ( OSU by 5)  They have identical 3-5 Big 12 records, but the Cowboys have looked very tough the last couple of weeks. I’d take Oklahoma State and give the points.  (TCU 31, Oklahoma State 24 - LOSE)

BYU at Utah - (Utes by 11-1/2) Utah, headed for the Pac-12 final as the South representative,  is one of the comference’s top three teams.  BYU, while bowl eligible, is a shadow of the great teams of Lavell Edwards.  Or Bronco Mendenhall, even.   I’ll take the Utes and give the points.  (Utah 35, BYU 27 - LOSE)

Utah State at Boise State - (Boise State by 2-1/2) Winner goes to the Mountain West championship game against Fresno State.  It’s tough to pick against Boise State on that damned blue turf,  but the Aggies are really good.  They haven’t lost since their opening game, a 37-31 loss at Michigan State, and  I’ll take them and the points. (Boise State 33, Utah State 24 - LOSE)

I won only slightly more than I lost, so don't follow me around Vegas.

*********** Many of you have contacted me about BYU, down on the Utah one-yard line, coming out in double-tight, double-wing, zero line splits, and running Super Power.  The runner walked in.

*********** In the Oregon Class 5A championship game,  Number 7-ranked Thurston High, of Springfield, beat Number 1-ranked Wilsonville, 30-27.

The margin of victory was more than just a field goal - it was a field goal made, and a field goal blocked, and a field goal made, and a field goal blocked.

Wilsonville, down by a field goal, had driven to the Thurston 25 with one second left, and lined up for the tieing field goal.

But it was blocked, and the Thurston kids rushed the field to celebrate the win. 

Unfortunately, the ball was not yet dead when they went onto the field, and the penalty against Thurston (for illegal participation) gave Wilsonville another try, from five yards closer.

This time, the kick was good,  and Wilsonville kids celebrated as they prepared for overtime.

But no….  Turns out the play was dead before the snap - Thurston was offside.

This time - the third time -  from five yards closer, the kick was blocked.  This time, the ball was dead, and Thurston celebrated its win and its first state title in football.

https://www.registerguard.com/sports/20181124/thurston-captures-class-5a-football-title-on-late-field-goal-two-blocked-kicks

*********** If you watched the Memphis-Houston game, you had to be as puzzled as me about why Houston star DL Ed Oliver was standing on the sideline, crying.  For sure, without him in the game, Memphis went through Houston’s defense like, as the old-timers used to say, “a dose of salts.”

*********** Looking at all the wide receivers and defensive backs wearing what look like dorky bicycle shorts, it  appears that the powers that be have decided to give college teams ANOTHER year to comply with the pants-over-the-knees rule, passed before the 2017 season,  with enforcement to be deferred for a year to let teams replace their noncompliant uniforms.  Either that, or they’ve just said ‘to hell with it.”  So why did they pass a rule if they had no intention of enforcing it?  Isn’t it just like so many aspects of our society,  where people who flout the rules make chumps out of those who respect them?

*********** I was really proud of the sportsmanship displayed by the Washington State band, which learned - on the shortest of notices - to play the visiting Washington Huskies’ fight song before Friday night’s game.

The song would normally have been played by the Washington band, but after one of the buses carrying the band slid off the Interstate as it crossed a snow-covered mountain pass Thursday evening, the rest of the band returned to Seattle and missed the game.

Couple of questions:

1. Why, since they’d come that far already - at least halfway - didn’t they simply continue?

2. More to the point - why did they have to send the band on the road the night before, for a game that started at 5:30 the next evening?

*********** The legacy of Frank Beamer: Virginia Tech scored on a blocked punt.

*********** The “Tebow” - the jump pass into a guy in the end zone - is cool and all that, and it often works, but not always.  When Oregon State, behind 14-0,  made it to the Oregon 1 and put in the QB who usually runs, everyone expected him to run off-tackle.  Everyone except an Oregon lineman, who tipped the ball, which was then intercepted.

*********** Nothing unusual about the play on which UCF QB McKenzie Milton was hurt, but the injury to his knee was so severe that there was concern that he might lose his leg, and at the least, his football career may be over.

*********** It’s never easy breaking a long jinx.  A sloppy zone read created a fumbled exchange that ended Virginia’s chance to tie the game in OT, and gave Virginia Tech its 15th straight win in the rivalry.

*********** Considering how quick they are to stop play to review even questionable targeting calls, it’s hard to believe that Oklahoma’s #20 could have gotten away with his hit on WVU’s Marcus Simms.

*********** NFL fans may have raved over all the scoring in the Rams-Chiefs game, but many real football fans (college variety) are having trouble with games such as Oklahoma-West Virginia.  Many Big 12 games look like 7-on-7 with linemen and pads.

*********** Washington State’s vaunted Air Raid got the Cougars within a game of the Pac-12 championship, and then they ran into their traditional, end-of-the-season nemeses, the Washington Huskies.  And, in customary fashion, they Couged it. 

It was almost pathetic, watching WSU QB Gardner Minshew gazing through the giant snowflakes,  trying to spot a receiver.  (But wait - don’t the Air Raid gurus tells us that there’s always a man open?)  Not once did I see him throw to his first receiver.  Instead, he kept looking, and more often than not, he had to throw short, with the result that while he completed his usual high percentage - 26 of 35 - it only got him 152 yards, for a puny 4.2 yards per attempt.

Washington beat the Cougars with the one means of attack that snow (or rain or ice or wind) can’t stop - running the damn ball.  On a field that grew increasingly slushy as the game went on, they rushed for 258 yards, a lot of that yardage on old-fashioned power plays from old-fashioned I formation.

Washington’s Miles Gaskin, playing his final regular season game as a Husky,  rushed for 170 yards and three TDs, making him the first running back in Pac-12 history to rush for more than 1,000 yards all four seasons.

*********** Explain, please…  Texas beats Kansas by one touchdown - 24-17 - but the Horns are in the Big 12 title game.

*********** Ohio State ate Michigan alive.  I don’t like Harbaugh, but I’ve met the Michigan DC, Don Brown, and I like him - but sheesh, it looked as if Michigan had never even bothered to scout the Buckeyes.

If these were the old days and I had been scouting for Michigan, I’d have told them two things - (1) OSU QB Dwayne Haskins is really accurate, and (2) WATCH FOR THE CROSSING ROUTES.

I also would have advised spending extra time on the kicking game.

*********** It was near the end of the first half and Georgia Tech, down 21-7, faced a 4th-and-six at midfield.  Knowing what you know about Georgia Tech’s offense and what it’s geared to do, you’d probably have punted.  Not Paul Johnson, though. He had his QB drop back - not exactly a Tech strong point - and when he got flushed from the pocket, Tech failed to get the necessary yardage.

Uh-oh.  Georgia ball -  and in one play they go the distance.  Just like that, it’s 28-7.  Game over.

*********** Urban Meyer got the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Saturday that he should have gotten last week against Maryland. 

*********** It was Senior Day at Ohio State, and you might have thought that  Meyer would have let some of those backup seniors into the game once it was clear even to you and me that the game was over, but no…

Maybe it was carryover from the Woody Hayes days, when Woody was once asked why, with such a big lead, he’d gone for two after scoring a late touchdown against Michigan.  Said Woody, “Because I couldn’t go for three.”

*********** The fact that a lot of unqualified a&&holes have already voted for the Heisman probably rules out Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.  Which is why - sorry, ESPN, I know you need something to air on the Saturday night after the Army-Navy game, but tough tiddy - they shouldn’t send out Heisman ballots until after the national title game.

*********** It was game time when I realized that, jerk though he may be, I had nothing against Urban Meyer as a coach.

But Harbaugh?  I can’t imagine coaching against the sort of guy who would hold “satellite camps,” tryouts basically, far from his campus… who would hold spring practice on the grounds of IMG Academy.

That’s when it became clear to me that I wanted Ohio State to teach that guy some humility.  Lotsa luck.

*********** Considering how much Harbaugh knows about quarterbacking - and he does - how come he hasn’t been able to develop one of his own at Michigan?

*********** Still on Harbaugh - who else could go 0-4 against Ohio State and keep his job?

*********** Listening to  Harbaugh's post-game nonsense  about taking responsibility, about needing to get better,  and blah, blah, blah, I was reminded of British general Edward Braddock, victim of a disastrous French and Indian ambush in 1755 that drove the British (and American) forces out of the land west of the Alleghenies.

The legend is that as he lay dying, his troops almost wiped out, Braddock’s last words were, “Next time we shall know better how to deal with them.”

*********** I think Gene Chizik does a pretty good job on the SEC Network.

*********** Just think - Pitt lost in ugly fashion to Miami, and yet - the Panthers will face Clemson in the ACC Title Game.  That's the best they got. Fortunately, the game’s in Charlotte,  and Clemson isn’t that far away, so those fanatics in orange will snatch up all the tickets. Otherwise,  scalpers would be standing outside the stadium offering you money to take tickets off their hands.

*********** To his great credit, Florida coach Dan Mullen broke away from his post-game on-the-field interview to stop some of this players who had started to plant a UF flag in the Florida State logo at midfield.

*********** Granted, I wanted LSU to win. But watching the way the officials handled things in the LSU-Texas A & M game, I had the sense that they had come straight from tallying the votes  in Broward County, and now, in College Station, they were going to keep doing their level best to get the outcome they wanted, no matter how long it took. The game was exciting and all that, but the OT should never have happened - A & M should never have been able, after review of a call that the officials originally missed,  to replay a down on which LSU had ostensibly clinched the win with an interception. As pissed as I was, I can only imagine how the folks in Baton Rouge were handling things.

*********** Clemson’s 6-4, 315 pound Christian Wilkins, the modern-day Bronko Nagurski,  lined up at tailback in the I formation and powered it in for a score.  And then, briefly, he struck a Heisman pose.  Kinda funny, right?  Oh, no - he got slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  Give. Me. A. Break.

*********** Minnesota beat Wisconsin - and took back Paul Bunyan’s axe - for the first time since 2003.

*********** Vanderbilt has now won three straight over Tennessee.  How lopsided is this rivalry? Vols lead the series, 75-33-5.  How lopsided is this rivalry? There was a 22-year stretch, from 1983-2004, when Vanderbilt could not beat the Vols. How lopsided is this rivalry? This is the first time since 1926 that Vanderbilt has won three in a row.

*********** Talk all you want about PC and the way our speech is being suppressed, but any football coach who’s ever criticized the high priests of our game - the officials -  can tell you what real speech suppression is.

*********** A Gay played football Saturday night, and in Utah of all places.  Okay, okay.  It was Matt Gay, kicker for the Utah Utes.

*********** After BYU built a big lead over Utah, the Utes stormed back to take the lead for the first time in the game with 3:02 remaining and then punched in one more to win their 8th straight in the series.

***********  BYU,  once known as the passingest team in the country, shocked a lot of us by coming out it a double tight, double wing, zero split formation down on the goal line, and running Super Power.  Not a bad job of execution - we anal types can always find something that could be done better - and the running back walked in untouched.

Check out the video...

https://www.facebook.com/hugh.wyatt.7

*********** POWER FIVE JOBS THAT ARE OPEN:

TEXAS TECH

Texas Tech is not an easy place to win at, and nobody knows that better than Kliff Kingsbury, who played there as well as coached there. His overall record is 35-40, and he had three losing seasons in a row, missing out on bowl eligibility Saturday with a loss to Baylor. His best season in his six years at Tech was 7-6 in 2016.   And now he's gone.

 He’s walking away with a $4.2 million payout and evidence that he can help another program:  the guy can coach quarterbacks.  He’s developed Case Keenum, Patrick Mahomes, Johnny Manziel and - before he transferred - Baker Mayfield.

(Mike Leach, for what it's worth, posted ten straight winning seasons, including eight  seasons with eight or more wins.)

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/25373953/kliff-kingsbury-fired-texas-tech-losing-season

NORTH CAROLINA

What happened to Larry Fedora? The Tar Heels won 11 games in 2015 and made it to the ACC championship game. His final record was 45-43, but just two years ago, going into the 2017 season, it was 40-26.  That worked out to .606, the best winning percentage at UNC since Dick Crum left in 1987. You ready for this?  UNC is said to be ready to take another turn on the dance floor with… Mack Brown.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/mack-brown-reportedly-agrees-to-return-as-north-carolina-coach-to-replace-larry-fedora/

POWER FIVE JOBS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN OPEN:

ILLINOIS

Lovie Smith is 9-27 after three years.  Did I say 9 wins?  Well, yes - but only four of them were against Big Ten teams, and of the four, two were against Rutgers.  That’s the extent of his work as a college coach. Compare that with what a couple of other recent hires in the Big Ten West - PJ Fleck (30-22 at Western Michigan, 11-13 at Minnesota) and Scott Frost (19-7 at UCF, 4—8 at Nebraska) - have done. Compare what he’s done in his three years as a college coach with the accomplishments of the remaining three coaches in the division - Paul Chryst (now 41-12 at Wisconsin), Kirk Ferentz (151-101 at Iowa) and Pat Fitzgerald (91-19 at Northwestern) - and he’s clearly out of his league. Yes, he has taken an NFL team to the Super Bowl, but that was 12 years ago. Today’s recruits were 6 years old when that happened.  Here’s a good one for you - Illinois couldn’t afford his buyout - so they gave him two more years???

https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-spt-illinois-lovie-smith-contract-extension-20181125-story.html

USC

Clay Helton’s Trojans finished 5-7, after pissing away the Notre Dame game with turnover after turnover.  With two NFL teams in town now, and both of them looking strong, USC can’t please the fickle sports fans in the Southland with anything less than a Pac-12 contender.  Lynn Swann, whom I have liked for a long time, sounded foolish when he defended Helton by saying, “We acknowledge and understand our deficiencies in areas that include culture, discipline, schemes, personnel and staff. We agree that changes need to be made, and they will.”  Wait.  Did he get his speeches mixed up, and mistakenly give the one explaining why he fired the coach?

https://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-usc-helton-swann-plaschke-20181125-story.html


*********** WTF??? Wake Forest 59, Duke 7 - How do you explain it? Five of the seven teams Duke beat are bowl-eligible. Two of them, Army and Northwestern, are in the AP Top 25.  And if Virginia Tech beats Marshall next week to get its sixth win, all five of Duke’s losses will be to bowl-eligible teams.

Wake Forest is not bad, and at times has played exceptionally well. Wake was certainly capable of beating Duke. But 59-7?

Something has to be  wrong.

“All we can all do is take an accountability assessment,” Duke Coach David Cutcliffe said. “When you lose a game like that after playing as well as we’ve played, I think we all have to recognize the personal responsibility. I certainly take mine as being the biggest part. But everybody in this program needs to take that same approach.”

https://www.heraldsun.com/sports/article221904625.html#storylink=cpy

*********** The NFHS has been offering streaming telecasts of high school playoff games from around the country.  For a fee.

I bit.  Do you spell “cheesy” with an “s” or a “z?”

The games I’ve seen, in Washington, have been the very definition of the word:

1. One camera, with one zoom setting.

2. There are no graphics although one broadcast did showed the scoreboard as a small picture-in-picture.

3. There is, of course, no replay

4. The “talent” - the announcers - are  hopelessly amateurish (understandable when you realize that with all the college games available on TV, even marginally-talented amateurs have found work).  They display no emotion whatsoever, which is probably okay, because they don’t seem to know the game and even when they appear to represent one of the participating schools, they still know next to nothing about the teams, their coaches, their records, or their players.

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

Hope you and Connie had an enjoyable and blessed Thanksgiving Day!

Can't speak for Oregon 8 man football having never seen a game, but I can tell you that the 6 man game in Texas is something else.  If football fans love offense they will LOVE Texas 6 man football.  There's a good documentary on TV about some of the small towns down here that play that particular version of the game. Also... the 9 man game in Minnesota is every bit as exciting as the 11 man game, and equally important to those who play it and support it.

Years ago I watched a college game where one of the teams (can't remember which one) right before the half faked a knee and threw the ball to a wide open receiver for a long TD.  That TD increased their lead in the game by... 5 scores instead of 4.  Really a bush league move.

I know it's an intense rivalry but the fight that erupted in the Mississippi State-Ole Miss game was a shame to see.

Doesn't matter who they play again in the Big 12 championship... After that Kansas performance Texas will get smoked by either OU or WVU next time around.

Nebraska will be the most improved team in the Big 10 next year.

Memphis is way better than most people think.  They'll give UCF all they can handle.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Oregon has some butt ugly uniforms.

Enjoy the games!

QUIZ:  He was an all-conference linebacker for Ithaca College.  Coached for 40 years (high school, Division I, II, III); spent the last 20 years as the head coach of a D III school in PA turning a struggling program into a perennial conference champ; recording 140-74 record he led his teams to 6 NCAA tournaments; considered one of the best coaches in Division III; recently passed away at age 65.

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Willie Galimore came out of Florida A & M, where he played running back for the legendary Jake Gaither.

NFL teams didn’t pay much attention  to black colleges back then, and the story goes that after a Chicago Bears’ assistant named Phil Handler heard about him from a jockey at Hialeah Race Track, the Bears decided to use a late-round draft choice to get him.

He played seven seasons in the NFL and although he was considered to be one of the most dangerous runners in the game,  he never gained 1,000 yards in a season and he never made All-Pro.

But his name is mentioned along with Red Grange, George McAfee, Gale Sayers and Walter Payton as the greatest of all Bear running backs.

He was only 29 when he was  killed in an automobile accident, along with teammate Bo Farrington, while trying to get back to training camp before curfew.

That was 1964. The Bears were defending NFL champions and were expected to challenge once again, but they finished a disappointing 5-9, and didn’t win another championship  until 1985.

In the long history of the Chicago Bears, only four numbers have been retired by the team.  His is one of them.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING WILLIE GALLIMORE

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOE GUTILLA, AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
DEAN BOURAZERIS - NEW HYDE PARK, NEW YORK
JIM FRANKLIN - FLORA, INDIANA

NOTABLE QUOTES:
“People forget how good Willie Galimore was.  Had he lived and stayed healthy, there’s no telling how good he could have become.”  Mike Ditka

“The Bears could have had Galimore and Sayers in the same backfield.  They would  have been unstoppable… Once Galimore got out beyond the line of scrimmage, the linebackers and secondary were helpless.  Nothing they could do.  Here he comes and there he goes.”  Bill Gleason, Chicago Tribune

*********** Greg Koenig supplied me with these Willie Galimore clips, along with the observation, “it appears that he had some ball security issues.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAiE0P7521U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUQ-33RtDWI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oPX8RO6rik

*********** #28 Willie Gallimore...whether it was a VW or not, my Dad made it his mission to NEVER allow his son to buy a VW...always warning me of that car being a "Deathtrap!"

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

Retired Jerseys for the Chicago Bears:

#3 Bronko Nagurski
#5 George McAfee
#7 George Halas
#28 Willie Galimore

Mike Framke
Green Bay, Wisconsin

***********  QUIZ - Twice a castoff, sent packing by two different losing NFL teams, he was 32 before he finally found the right place and the right coach - and wound up twice being named an All-Pro quarterback.

At UCLA, he was the last of their famous  single-wing tailbacks.  He was the classic triple threat:  in his senior year at UCLA, he passed for more than 1,000 yards, ran for more than 800 yards and eight touchdowns, and did all the Bruins’ punting.

In the NFL, he was the last single wing tailback to make the switch to quarterback (which until fairly recently meant going under center to take the snap).

He was an All-American in 1960, finishing fifth in the Heisman balloting, and in the College All-Star Game the following summer he was named MVP.

He was a first-round draft choice of the 49ers, and in his rookie year (along with John Brodie and Bobby Waters) was one of the three quarterbacks  used in rotation by coach Red Hickey in his direct-snap formation which he called the “shotgun.”

ASIDE: from Red Hickey's  obituary in the New York Times:

The 49ers, with a 4-4 record, were practicing at Georgetown University for their game against the two-time defending champion Baltimore Colts on Nov. 27, 1960, when Hickey called a meeting.

"I asked my players if any of them thought we could beat Baltimore with our regular offense, and not one hand went up," Hickey told The San Francisco Chronicle in 2001.

Hoping to cope with a Colts rush led by linemen Art Donovan, Gino Marchetti and Big Daddy Lipscomb, Hickey scrapped the T formation. He had his quarterback stand about 5 yards behind the line instead of taking the snap while under center, and he spread his backs to the sides. That alignment, drawing on the double wing and short punt formations previously used in college football, gave the offense an extra second or two to develop a play. The quarterback could run, hand off to a crisscrossing back or throw.

The 49ers upset the Colts, 30-22.

In the locker room, Hickey told reporters that his offense was simply "spread right and spread left."

But moments later, as he related it to The Chronicle in 2001, he came up with something more sprightly. "Well, I'm an old country boy, and I used to go hunting with a shotgun," he said. "How about we call it the shotgun?"

The shotgun excited the 49ers to the point where they traded quarterback Y.A. Tittle - not a very good runner - after the season, but by mid-season 1961 NFL defenses had driven the 49ers back to the “T” (under center) formation, and  our guy, who still hadn’t made the transition from single wing tailback to T-formation quarterback, was used mostly as a running back.

He missed one season after being seriously injured in an off-season automobile accident, and spent most of the rest of his time with the 49ers on the bench, until 1967 when he was put on the expansion list and taken by the brand-new New Orleans Saints.

Over four seasons he was the Saint’s starting QB much of the time,  but those Saints really sucked, and when it became apparent that the they were planning to draft sensational Ole Miss QB Archie Manning, he asked to be traded.

That’s when he was acquired by the Redskins’ George Allen, and his pro career really began.  He was 32.

Acquired to be the backup for Sonny Jurgenson, he wound up the Redskins’ starter when Jurgenson was injured in an exhibition game, and he did so well that even when Jurgenson returned, Washington fans were split into two camps, each supporting one of the two quarterbacks.

And even though he appeared to become Allen’s favorite because he was less of a gunslinger type than Jurgenson, there was no such rivalry between the two quarterbacks.  Perhaps it was because they both were known to enjoy a drink now and then.  (His preference for strong drink led his  teammates to nickname him “Whiskey.”)

In 1972 he took the Redskins to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins.

After Allen was fired following the 1977 season,  Allen’s successor, Jack Pardee, replaced him with Joe Theismann, and he ended his career that season as Theismann’s backup.

In 16 years in the NFL, he was twice named All-Pro.  In all, he completed 1585 passes for 20,495 yards and 146 interceptions.  And - the old tailback in him - he rushed for 1509 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Also - from his early days in the League, he caught 27 passes for 288 yards and a TD, and punted 16 times for 598 yards.

He is ranked among the top 70 Redskins of all time.

THINK YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS? Fame and recognition await you if you do!  Maybe money, even. Send your answer to: coachwyatt@aol.com (be sure to include your name and town)



american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 23,  2018  “This is not a business for rational people.”  Mike Leach

*********** How many of you ran into somebody on Tuesday morning who wanted to talk about that exciting NFL game the night before - the Rams’ 54-51 win over the Chiefs?

It really was a heck of a football game.  It’s been called the greatest game ever - by the sort of people who never watch college football.  If they did, they’d know that every Saturday brings a half dozen or so games every bit as good.

What made it the topic of so many conversations?

1. They scored so many points (sorry, aficionados of defensive football - the public wants to see scoring).

2. The lead changed hands several times - the public likes suspense

3. They scored a lot of touchdowns. Between them, the two teams scored 11 touchdowns, as opposed to seven field goals - the public does not buy the idea that field goals are legitimate scores.  Or very exciting.

What made it possible?

Simple.  Two good teams were playing.

Unfortunately, from the NFL’s standpoint, only a fourth of its teams - eight - are what you’d call “good”:
Bears, Chargers, Chiefs, Patriots, Rams, Saints, Steelers, Texans

When two of those teams play each other, there’s a good chance that you’ll see a good game.

You can argue that the Vikings or Redskins or Panthers belong in there, but at this point in the season I don’t think a 6-4 record qualifies a team as “good.”   I’d call them “not very good,”  and consign them to the mass of 24 other teams ranging from “not very good” to downright “bad.”

Sadly, for NFL fans, the formula is simple

Two good teams = a good game

One good team vs one not very good team = a bad game

Two not very good teams = a bad game

Unfortunately for the NFL and its fans, there are a not of “not very good” teams.


*********** Bet you didn’t know this (I didn’t):  With the hiring of Les Miles,  Kansas  becomes the only D-1 school to have both a football coach and a men’s basketball coach who have won  national titles.  Now go win yourself a couple of bets.

*********** THIS IS NOT MY REVIEW. BUT ON THE BASIS OF IT, I ORDERED THE BOOK

 Jeff Riley’s thought-provoking new book, Big Time: The People, The Places, & The Game of Oregon 8-Man Football, provides an intimate journey into the culture of a gritty, impassioned brand of high school football that is played in the small towns of Oregon that are painted into the backdrop of some of the most spectacular landscapes in America: snow-tipped peaks, fog-shrouded forests, and rocky canyons so deep, they reach into your very soul.

The high-scoring, wide-open affairs are played by 16-year-old kids who toss hay bales by day and footballs by night. They are coached by former rodeo clowns named Stub, weather-beaten cattle ranchers, and former standouts crippled by logging accidents — men who doff their caps as the autumn sun drops behind 9,000-foot peaks, look down their line of scrappy players with hands on hearts, and have a moment. “The sun sets behind those mountains on game night, and I mean, wow,” says Joseph coach Toby Koehn, whose field is dwarfed by the 9,839-foot majesty of Sacajawea Peak. “I don’t know where else anybody would want to be in the world at that moment.”

Their fans are mostly a smattering of parents, cousins, and girlfriends. They line the fields in 4×4 pickup trucks and swing their feet below lowered tailgates. They are the working class of Oregon and their sons are the working class of Oregon high school football.

Big Time takes you through the 2017 season: the triumphs of the nation’s winningest 8-man football coach, the grit of the running back who rushes for 300 yards in the state championship game with a broken bone in his foot, the redemption of the quarterback returning from a stint in a youth correctional facility, and the soul of a game that connects them all.

“I’ve heard the comments from the 11-man people, things like ‘Oh, do you guys play with a smaller ball?’ As if our game is less than 11-man,” says Jack Henderson, whose teams have won more Oregon 8-man state championships than any school in the sport’s 47-year history. “Eight-man is more of a game, if you ask me. Besides, it’s like what I tell my kids: The big time is wherever you’re at.”
(Not to take anything away from Coach Henderson, but he really ought to give credit for that line to a great coach named Frosty Westering.)

*********** There’s seconds left and a team lines up in take-a-knee formation.  The ball’s snapped and while every man on the offensive line stays passive, some clown on defense who didn’t get the memo plays as hard as ever, charging into the backfield and smacking somebody. Often, it’s the quarterback.  And somebody on the offense takes umbrage, and it's on...

How many times have we seen something like that come close to starting a brawl?

So there we were at the Colorado State-Air Force game.  CSU had just scored to pull within 17-13 with :26 left in the half.

Following the kickoff, Air Force, on their own 25, lined up in take-a-knee formation.

At the snap, as befits a team that’s saying, “That’s it. Let’s take it in,” every player on the Air Force line - all seven of them, since it’s a tight formation - casually stood up.

And rather than rush hard and cause something that might lead to an incident, the Colorado State linemen did the same: they also stand up as if to accept the offer of a truce.

Meanwhile, though, behind the screen of his linemen, the AF QB didn’t take a knee. Instead, he slipped the ball to one of the up-backs. At about the same time, the AF linemen, who had been feigning nonchalance, suddenly ran to their left, leading the runner on a sweep.   CSU, caught unawares, managed to bring the runner down, but not before he’d gained 23 yards.  Suddenly, Air Force was on the CSU 42, within striking range of the goal, with 16 seconds left.

Cool, huh?

Cool, my ass.  It was unethical and unsportsmanlike.  It took unfair  advantage of an unwritten agreement that’s intended to avoid the sort of ugliness that can lead to injuries and fights. 

Fortunately for all,  the half ended without Air Force benefitting from its cleverness, so we’re unlikely to see the play in SportsCenter, where the blabbermouths would undoubtedly praise it as “trickeration.”

As fate would have it, the game ended with Air Force taking a knee.  No, really. This time they really meant it.

This time, though, the Colorado State linemen charged.  Hard. One of them, unfortunately,   took a late shot at an Air Force player, and was ejected.

Too bad.  It should have been the Air Force coach who got the thumb.

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL - THE LAST REALLY BIG WEEKEND

Not that I would bet on games - especially rivalry games - but if I were a betting guy, I’ll show you how I’d roll…

THURSDAY - Mississippi State at Ole Miss.  (State by 12-1/2) I like them both and I rarely root, but I can usually count on a very good game.

FRIDAY -

Texas at Kansas - (Texas by 15-1/2) Jayhawks scored 40 against Oklahoma last week, and lost by 15.  What might they do now that Les Miles is their coach? Texas will win but I’ll take KU and the points.

Nebraska at Iowa - (Iowa by 9-1/2) I’ll take Nebraska and the points, but Iowa will win the game.

Houston at Memphis - (Memphis by 7) This is for the right to play UCF in the American Athletic title game.  I like Houston with the points.

Virginia at Virginia Tech - (UVa by 4-1/2) I’ll not only take VT and the points, but I think the Hokies will win anyhow.

Oregon at Oregon State - (Oregon by 18)   On the basis of talent the 18 point spread makes sense, but I’ve seen the Ducks look really soft, and I’ve seen the Beavers play really tough.   And this is called the Civil War for good reason - it’s a fierce rivalry.  I’ll take the Beavers and the points.

Oklahoma at West Virginia - (Oklahoma by 3) I’ll take the Mountaineers and the points.  As I’ve said before, I’m a trifle suspicious that dark forces may be at play here, but still -  if the Sooners can’t keep Kansas from scoring 40, how are they going to keep West Virginia under 80?

Washington at Washington State - (Wazzu by 2-1/2) There’s often snow in the Palouse at Apple Cup time, but not this year. I should know better,  knowing how UW dominates this series - Washington State’s longest winning streak is two (!) - and having had enough experience with “Cougin’ it,” but here I go,  letting myself get sucked in again… I think that WSU is better than the 2-1/2 point spread, so I’ll take them - and give the Huskies the points. 

SATURDAY

Michigan at Ohio State - (Michigan by 4) I’ll watch, just in the hope that there’s some way both of those a$$hole coaches can lose. 

Georgia Tech at Georgia - (Georgia by 17) There’s always the chance that GT can play keep away but I’d take Georgia and give the 17.

Florida at Florida State - (Gators by 6-1/2) FSU has been playing a bit better lately but I think the Gators will beat the spread.  I’d give the points.

Syracuse at Boston College - (BC by 6-1/2)  I know that Syracuse laid an egg against ND last week, and I know that BC played Clemson tough for a while, but still.  I would take Syracuse and the points.

Purdue at Indiana - (Purdue by 4) Tough call.   As if it weren’t a big instate rivalry, the two teams, both 5-6, are fighting for bowl elgibility.  It’s hard to believe that just 3 or 4 weeks ago Purdue was contending for a spot in the Big Ten title game.  I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Boilermakers to break their two game losing streak and win convincingly.  If they don’t I can see their coach leaving for Louisville, a place where it’s a whole lot easier to build a winning team.

Navy at Tulane  - (Tulane by 7).  Seven of Navy’s opponents are already bowl eligible, and Navy has gone 1-6 against them.  A loss to the Green Wave would make Tulane bowl eligible and make that record 1-7.  I see Tulane winning but the Mids covering.

NC State at North Carolina - (State by 7)  Are you serious?  That’s all?  Seven points?  Somebody must know something, because State is 7-3 and UNC is 2-8.  Yes, the Heels did break a six-game losing streak last week.  By overwhelming Western Carolina.  Whoopee-doo.  If form holds, State wins big.

Wake Forest at Duke - (Duke by 11-1/2) Wake needs the win to be bowl eligible.   Duke’s going to win but I’d take Wake and the points.

Stanford at UCLA - (Stanford by 7)  Stanford had last Saturday off after the Big Game (against Cal) was postponed; UCLA beat USC behind Joshua Kelley’s 289 yards rushing.  Take the points.  I’m calling a UCLA upset here. 

Auburn at Alabama - (Bama by 24) 24 Points?  Really?  I know Alabama is really, really good.  But this is Alabama-Auburn.  This is special, and any Alabama kid - on either roster - has dreamed about playing in this game from the time he was old enough to say “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle.”   I’ll take Auburn and the points.

Maryland at Penn State - (Penn State by 13) Maryland is 5-6 and needs the win, but I think that Maryland’s season ended last week on the Ohio State  three-yard-line when they went for two - and threw incomplete.  In the immortal words of the late Beano Cook, “Penn State will beat Maryland… because Penn State ALWAYS beats Maryland.  And I think they’ll beat them by more than 13. 

Pitt at Miami - (Miami by 4-1/2)  This has to be a mistake.  If I were a handicapper, I’d give Miami the 4-1/2 points - and still take Pitt.

Arizona State at Arizona - (ASU by 2)  The Territorial Cup game is a tossup.  I’ll take Arizona State, because I think Eno Benjamin is one of the best runners in the country.

Minnesota at Wisconsin - (Wisconsin by 11) This is Athens against Sparta.  Minnesotans call the ‘Sconnies barbarians.  Wisconsinites call Minnesotans wussies.  This is for Paul Bunyan’s Axe.  Minnesota hasn’t won since 2003 and I think the Badgers will keep the streak going.  I’ll take the Badgers and give the 11 points.

Tennessee at Vanderbilt - (Vandy by 3-1/2)  Until Tennessee gets back to where it once was, I’ll take Vandy and give the 3-1/2.

South Carolina at Clemson - (Clemson by 26) Clemson will win, but should they be 26-point favorites over a  6-4 SEC team?  I suspect so.

Kentucky at Louisville - (Kentucky by 16-1/2) This is not so well-known as many other rivalries, but it is no less heated.  In this case, Kentucky is good enough to beat Louisville by more than the 16-1/2)

Kansas State at Iowa State - (Iowa State by 13) As a K-State fan, I fear that the Cyclones will beat them badly.

Colorado at California - (Cal by 12-1/2) Colorado is a dead team walking. Cal will make it seven losses in a row, but their offense isn’t that good, so I’d take Colorado and the points.

LSU at Texas A & M - (A & M by 3)  Geaux Tigers!  Glad to take the points.

Notre Dame at USC - (ND by 11) It may be on the Coast and it may be at night,  but this is a good Notre Dame team and a poor - by USC standards - Trojan team, and as much as it hurts to do so, I’ll take ND and give the 11 points.

Oklahoma State at TCU - ( OSU by 5)  They have identical 3-5 Big 12 records, but the Cowboys have looked very tough the last couple of weeks. I’d take Oklahoma State and give the points.

BYU at Utah - (Utes by 11-1/2) Utah, headed for the Pac-12 final as the South representative,  is one of the comference’s top three teams.  BYU, while bowl eligible, is a shadow of the great teams of Lavell Edwards.  Or Bronco Mendenhall, even.   I’ll take the Utes and give the points.

Utah State at Boise State - (Boise State by 2-1/2) Winner goes to the Mountain West championship game against Fresno State.  It’s tough to pick against Boise State on that damned blue turf,  but the Aggies are really good.  They haven’t lost since their opening game, a 37-31 loss at Michigan State, and  I’ll take them and the points.

***********  Hugh,

I was right about Minnesota-Northwestern.  I was right about Notre Dame-Syracuse.  I was right about Fresno State-San Diego State.

This week:

Minnesota will fail to make it to a bowl game but P.J. Fleck will continue to row the boat.  Notre Dame will play an inspired USC team in LA, but the Irish will pull away and finish the regular season undefeated.  Fresno State will beat San Jose State, and if Utah State doesn't let the blue rug get to them the Aggies will face the Bulldogs in Logan next week for the MWC title.  

Texas will win the Big 12...because...
West Virginia will upset Oklahoma and throw the CFP into turmoil...because...
Ohio State will pull another one out of their ass and squeak by Michigan.
Alabama will get pushed by rival Auburn and will hang on for the win.
Pitt will literally run by Miami and play for the ACC championship.
Clemson will get pushed by rival South Carolina early, but the Tigers will pull away for the win and face the Pitt Panthers for the title (who'd a thunk?).
Georgia Tech's option will keep Tech in the game, but Georgia will pull out the win.

Should be a fun weekend of college football.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving holiday!!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I GAVE MY QUIZ GUY A LONG HOLIDAY - BACK ON TUESDAY


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 20,  2018 “A coach will make his players see what they can be, rather than what they are.”  Ara Parseghian

*********** Happy Thanksgiving.

As the country we were given often seems to hang by a thread, take time to be thankful to God for it, and for the people who settled it, founded it, built it and defended it.

What a damn shame that in their effort to paint America as a racist country, our schools are failing us, depriving our kids of their history, and of the joy which comes with loving one's country.

Yes, we are - to a certain extent - a nation of immigrants (or the children thereof).

It’s hard to imagine the hardships so many of them endured, on the way here, on their arrival here, and in their adjustment to their new lives, but what sustained so many of them was a deep faith in God, and they didn’t fail to thank Him for His blessings.

There are those of us who happen to believe that that's what's made us special.

It’s nice to want to come here, as so many people now do, for jobs and economic opportunity, but in the process,  God seems to have been left out of the picture.

At my college graduation, (back when Yale paid a reasonable respect to its founding as a Godly college), this most meaningful of hymns, honoring our pilgrim forebears, was sung…

O God, beneath Thy guiding hand
Our exiled fathers crossed the sea,
And when they trod the wintry strand,
With prayer and psalm they worshiped Thee.

Laws, freedom, truth, and faith in God
Came with those exiles o'er the waves,
And where their pilgrim feet have trod,
The God they trusted guards their graves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJk1mhOBzos

*********** Several years ago, my wife and I paid a visit to the church in Leyden, Holland where the original Pilgrims worshipped.  It was absolutely awe-inspring to think of them, and of the  ocean voyage that awaited them.

Since 1961, the Wall Street Journal has printed the following…

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

This editorial has appeared annually since 1961.

*********** Good morning Coach -

Hope that you and yours have a great Thanksgiving (one of the things that I am thankful for is your "News")........

All the best!!

Joe Bremer
West Seneca, New York




*********** For several years until his death, I would talk long-distance with my head coach, Ed Lawless who lived outside Philadelphia.

Whenever I could, I would get Ed talking about the post-war years when he played single-wing blocking back at Penn under the great George Munger.  Penn (not to be confused with Penn State) was very, very good back then. In Ed's senior year, 1947, only a 7-7 tie with Army (also very, very good back then) kept the Quakers from going unbeaten and untied.

In one of our conversations, he happened to mention a Penn teammate named Bob Mostertz.  Bob Mostertz, Ed said, was missing all the fingers on his left hand - he’d lost them in some industrial accident when he was a kid. ("Industrial accident?" I thought. ”Wait - when he was a kid?"  Those were, indeed different times.)

When I asked what position he played,  Ed said, "Center."

Right, I thought.  In the single wing.

Single wing centers in George Munger’s system (the same one Ed would later have us run in high school)  had to make four or five different types of snaps, both right formation and left,  depending on whether it was going to the tailback or the fullback,  and what the back’s initial step was going to be. Ed said he never saw Bob Mostertz make a bad snap, including deep snaps on punts.

Rather than make a big story about it, as ESPN would do today, there was very little mention of Bob Mostertz’ “handicap.”

Note the old Penn publicity picture - and where the photo was cropped.

Bob Mostertz

*********** Pretty bad when I have to depend on a guy from Australia to cover the NFL for me, but my son, Ed, writes…

I know you’re not a big NFL guy but here are three quick thoughts:
 
1 Frank Reich is doing a damned good job of coaching in Indianapolis
2 Mark Helfrich has the Bears’ offense doing some good things
3 The NFL continues to show little care for its players. Bears game flexed to Sunday night and then they have to play the early Thanksgiving game on Thursday

My response:
1. I like the guy.
2. I like the guy.
3. "At the NFL, player safety is always uppermost in our thinking."
 


*********** That damned The Ohio State. They barely escape against Maryland, and they fall just ONE PLACE in the rankings.

But let West Virginia get beaten in the final moments by a much better team than Maryland (Oklahoma State) and the Mountaineers drop FOUR PLACES.

*********** Speaking of the Mountaineers, it’s a good thing that our sports are on the up-and-up, just like our elections,  so that, despite all that’s at stake, we can depend on a fair outcome, free of any taint.

Otherwise, when you realize that a West Virginia win over Oklahoma  this Saturday would mean that both the Sooners and the Mountaineers would have two lossses, knocking both of  them - and the Big 12 - out of contention for a playoff spot (and all the money that means) you’d suspect that there might be an awful lot of people with an awful lot at stake who’d um, “prefer” an Oklahoma win.  Just sayin.’

Thank the Lord for honest people.

*********** Two years ago, Mike MacIntyre was Coach of the Year.  His Colorado Buffaloes were 10-4 and ranked 15th in the country after losing to Washington in the Pac-12 title game.

On Sunday, after the Buffs were blown out by Utah, their sixth straight loss, Mike MacIntyre was fired. I feel bad because I like the guy.

Too bad, Les Miles.   I think this would have been a better job for you  than Kansas, but then, Colorado isn’t that great a job either.  In my opinion, I think they’d have been much better off if they’d stayed in the Big 12.  Nebraska, too.  Also Missouri. 

*********** Army’s entire upper deck was empty because they couldn’t get the snow cleared by game time.

*********** Seeing that the score was Maryland 14, Ohio State 3 was enough for me  to move it onto the big screen.  What a great move! Actually, it was worth watching just to witness the  anguish, the suffering, of poor Urban Meyer.  When the Buckeyes  were stuffed on a 4th and one, he threw his head set.  When there was a question about a Maryland touchdown, he was on the field, on the 12 yard line.  You try that and see what happens.  What a schmuck.

meyer on field

*********** Is there no escaping it?  In both the Army-Colgate and the Yale-Harvard games, the bumper music - as they went to commercials - was rap.

*********** I saw a Citadel-Alabama halftime score that I swear read 10-10, but I didn’t bother to check it out. What was the point?

*********** When was the last time you saw a home run in baseball disallowed?  How about a three-point shot in basketball?

Have trouble remembering?

Well, I bet you don’t have to think hard to remember  the last time you saw a touchdown called back because of offensive holding. It might have been five minutes ago.

It’s a plague on our game, and there are two reasons for it: first of all, the rules change several years ago that allowed the use of hands to block,  and the reduction of the penalty for holding from 15 to 10 yards. 

Actually, there’s a third reason: lazy coaching.

Undeterred by a mere 10-yard penalty in exchange for the right to hold, and  the tremendous advantage that goes with it, coaches shamelessly teach their players to hold.  At the very least, they don’t discourage it, much less coach against it.

Bring back the 15-yard holding call.  And enforce it.  Make the coaches earn their millions.

*********** Colgate did a nice job against Army’s offense.  They had a 6-2, 205 pound safety named Alec Wisniewski who is a real hitter, and interestingly enough, he was a teammate, at Maine-Endwell High, in Endwell, New York, of Army’s 5-9, 225 pound fullback, Darnell Woolfolk.    On Saturday, Wisniewski was all over the field making tackles, and Woolfok scored three touchdowns in Army’s 28-14 win.

With two players like those two, it’s no wonder that Maine-Endwell won three state championships while they were there.

Woolfolk and Wisniewski

*********** Well, duh.  Small print on an ad: “Drinking plenty of fluids may reduce your chance of dehydration.”

*********** Did Notre Dame really have to go along with the clown show and wear those goony-ass pin stripe pants?

*********** It was the 50th anniversary of the famed “Harvard Defeats Yale, 29-29” game, but this time Harvard left no doubt.

In a game played in Fenway Park, Harvard outscored Yale 17-3 in the fourth quarter and won going away, 45-27.

*********** Oh, dear.  A Harvard runner had a touchdown called back because of an “inappropriate hand gesture.”  He couldn’t wait until he scored to seem to give the nearest Yale defender the finger.  Oh, no.  He had to do it before he scored and since the penalty for that  is enforced from the spot of the foul, Einstein lost his touchdown.

*********** Few people know more about the passing game than Duke’s David Cutcliffe, who ever since their days together at Tennessee was Peyton Manning’s personal QB coach, and was Eli’s head coach at Ole Miss.

But sometimes, even a man as learned in the passing game as Coach Cut can find a use  for a double tight, full house formation.

In this case, it was so the backs could give the  QB an extra push on his sneak. (He/they made the yardage.)

Duke Full House

*********** I’m glad that Kansas finally decided to hire Les Miles. I was getting a bit weary reading that Kansas, a school that desperately needed a coach, was “moving toward hiring” a guy who’s well qualified and looking for work.

*********** Whoever coaches the Maryland secondary either isn’t a very good coach or  doesn’t have much to work with.  Nothing against Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins, but it appeared that any time he needed a long completion all he had to do was throw the ball upfield.

*********** There it was again - another insane decision by a coach to go for a two-point conversion, rather than go on in  overtime.  Maryland interim head coach Matt Canada coached his ass off and watched his kids play their asses off, but when it came down to crunch time, he as good as admitted that he didn’t have faith in his players to win in overtime.

“I wasn’t trying to be aggressive,” he said afterwards.  “I was just trying to win.”

Um, coach - how can you preach to your kids about fighting to the end, never giving in, blah, blah, blah -  then pretty much admit that you don't think they have enough fight left in them to win?

Do you suppose there’s a coaches’ union that we don't know about  that’s insisting its members be paid time-and-a-half or they won't work overtime?

No matter.  Stupid decision.  But I do think that Canada has earned the right to coach that team.

*********** Lane Kiffin has shown that he can put a good team on the field.  But he won’t be able to skip out on Florida Atlantic this year, not when they’re not even bowl elgible yet.

He’d be much easier to sell to fans if he were just a little bit humble.  You don’t suppose this year’s record  is teaching him that, do you?  Naaa.

*********** Lee Corso said that Bill Snyder has earned the right to stay at Kansas State as long as he wants to.

Agreed. But the real question all along has been: has he earned the right to designate his successor?

*********** Couldn’t listen to FSU-BC because Beth was doing the play-by-play.

*********** Chip Kelly has shown that he’s not all flash and dash.  He can line up and run at you, too, and that’s what he did as UCLA’s Joshua Kelley (with the extra “e”) gained 289 yards on 40 carries and the Bruins beat USC.   Said Kelly (without the extra “e”) afterwards, “I wish he’d carried it 100 times.”

*********** I still think that on any hook slide they should deduct 5 yards from the starting point of the slide.

*********** Purdue blew one in OT to Wisconsin, making it 13 straight losses to the Badgers.

*********** A Michigan kid got hurt on a kickoff and had to be carted off.  It was a questionable, but not clearly illegal,  hit - the injured player was leading interference and an Indiana defender took him on aggressively.

Well.  Cue the analyst, Joel Klatt, to get up on his soap box and pontificate.  The entire time the medics administered to the injured player.  To save you having to listen to everything he said: “They ought to just outlaw the kickoff.”

*********** I like Vandy and I like Ole Miss, but I have to go with Vandy because of grandkids who went there (and one who's still there). I was happy when Vandy won in OT, but I have to admit I don’t understand at all why an Ole Miss touchdown catch was disallowed.  Vandy and Ole Miss are now both 5-6, with Vandy needing to beat Tennessee next week and Ole Miss needing to beat Mississippi State.The latter seems like a tall order, but it is the Egg Bowl.

*********** UCF belongs in the Top 10.   That’s as far as I’ll go.

*********** After a whole day of waiting, Wazzu came on. 

Poor Arizona.  It was 55-14 at halftime.  WSU had 407 yards of total offense.

What do you say when they interview you at halftime and you’re winning like that?

If you’re Mike Leach?  “So far, so good.”

*********** If you want to recruit receivers… tell them you’ll throw them the ball.  And then do it.  In every game so far, Washington State has had at least nine guys catch at least one pass.

*********** Last week, before the Yale-Princeton game, several hundred former Yale football players and coaches and their families gathered outside the Yale Bowl in a large indoor track facility known as the Coxe Cage to pay tribute to the greatest football coach in Yale history, the late Carmen Cozza, who passed away this past January.

I didn’t have the privilege of playing for Coach Cozza, but my friend Lou Orlando  did.  He played center for Coach Cozza, and I often tell him that if I had played for him, my love for the man would have been more than enough to make me still love Yale, despite the disgust I feel at its left-wing turn.

I met Coach Cozza just twice.  The first time was back in the days when alumni could help recruit, and after working fairly closely with Seb LaSpina, the Yale assistant coach who worked the Maryland area,  I accompanied a recruit and his dad on their official visit to New Haven.  We had lunch with Coach Cozza, and I was very impressed - awed, almost - by his total professionalism.  This, I sensed, was exactly the sort of coach I would have loved to play for.

(The recruit didn’t go to Yale.  He wound up going to Harvard.  Nonetheless, there came the time, a few years later, when I, then coaching a minor league team, applied for a head coaching job at a small college, and I asked Coach Cozza if he could write me a letter of recommendation.  He not only could, he did - and what a letter he wrote.  I still have a copy.  I didn’t get the job, but I got an interview, and only, I’m sure, because of Coach Cozza.)

Lou Orlando was kind enough to send me this link to the video of the tribute to Coach Cozza.

http://www.yalebulldogs.com/sports/m-footbl/2018-19/videos/20181113-b8wgte8g

You may not want to take the time to go through the entire video - it goes on for an hour and a half, with numerous former players coming forward to pay tribute to their coach.

One player’s tribute - the one that had the greatest impact on me - comes at :30 on the video, and it’s worth watching.  It was the one delivered by perhaps the greatest player he coached, Calvin Hill, who went on from Yale to a great NFL career with the Cowboys, and whose son, Grant, went on to even greater fame than his father as a basketball player.  Calvin Hill tells of his first meeting with Coach Cozza.  The coach  handed him a book entitled, “The Yale Football Story,” and inscribed it, saying, “I hope you will come here and help us write a new chapter.”

Calvin Hill  noted that no one on any Ivy team is on an athletic scholarship - that he could have dropped out of football and still received the same amount of financial aid -  which meant that everyone was playing because they loved the game of football.

And he reflected on why, when Yale and the rest of the Ivies opted to move down to Division I-AA (now euphemistically called “FCS”), most of the players felt that Coach Cozza, despite opportunities to go to bigger programs, wouldn’t leave Yale: “He enjoyed coaching a program that operated in a manner that was consistent with the academic purpose of the university.”

He lauded Coach Cozza for his values: integrity, fair play, and respect for teammates, rules and opponents.

Calvin Hill was followed by Jack Ford, well-known TV personality and former Yale monster back, who not surprisingly delivers a very professional tribute to Coach Cozza.  He told of having a knee replacement, at age 60 - and learning from one of his nurses that “someone who says he was your coach at Yale” had called to see how he was doing.

And at 43:14 Jack Ford introduced a photo album spanning Coach Cozza’s years before, during and after Yale.  It ends with the playing of the alma mater, “Bright College Years,” which, I’m not ashamed to admit, always brings tears to my eyes.

At 55:30, Brian Dowling talked about coming to Yale as a highly-recruited kid from Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High.  He mentioned that early in his sophomore season, his dad died.  And who showed up at the funeral, in Cleveland, in the middle of football season, but coach Cozza.  (For what it’s worth, Brian Dowling was the “B.D” who played quarterback in  fellow Yalie Gary Trudeau’s “Doonesbury.”)

Following Dowling at 1:04.40 was Steve Skrovan, who went on to become a standup comedian, then a comedy writer best known as a co-writer for “Everybody Loves Raymond.”  He was just a bit crude, but he was funny nonetheless.  And, he asked, “how lucky are we,” at a time when there are few coaches in any sport who aren’t touched with some kind of scandal, “to have played for a man like Carm Cozza?”

At 1:10.10 Gary Fencik came on.  He was defensive captain of the Chicago Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl team, and he was as hard a hitter as there was on a team notorious for its hard hitting. In contrast to so many of the semi-literate mumblers on today’s NFL rosters,  it made me proud to see how well-spoken he was.

*********** Coach, Needless to say Purdue fans are quite nervous about Jeff Brohm. Here's some food for thought. If my numbers are correct, Lou-a-vul (the proper pronunciation of the largest city in Kentucky) owes Bobby Petrino $14.3M for a buyout. Surely that will be negotiated downwards, but Petrino will be paid a LOT of money to "just go away." Brohm's buyout is currently at $4.4M and will go down to $3.3M after December 5, 2018. Remember also that Louisville told its Number One booster John "Papa John" Schnatter to go away as well. Then UofL has to negotiate a contract with Brohm to coach the team.  They are also dealing with the fallout from Rick Patino.  Louisville was built with tobacco money. Now you can't smoke on campus. I truly wonder where all of this money will come from.  And, by the way, Jeff Brohm likes it here. A lot. Purdue is a perfect fit for him. That all said, he's probably gone, unless he can talk his younger brother Brian to take the team.

I met Bill Bergey at the old Downtown Cincinnati Shillito's Department Store. He was signing books. Bill was very friendly to a skinny high school kid who did not buy a book from him. When Paul Brown traded Bergey to the Iggles and he made All-Pro, my dad said, "Bergey was All -Pro here, but now he plays for an East Coast team." I saw him absolutely destroy the rookie Terry Bradshaw, knocking him out of the game.  Great player, maybe the best linebacker to ever play for the Bengals.

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Bill Bergey grew up in far Western New York,  in the small town of South Dayton (2010 population: 620).  He had to go across the state to persuade a college coach from a school halfway across the country to give him a chance.  By the time he was 33, he was the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

A football and basketball star at little Pine Valley Central High School, he seemed to be on his way to earning all-star honors as a fullback and linebacker when he took ill and missed most of his senior season.

Going to New York to a coaches’ convention, he managed to persuade a college coach who’d never seen him play to give him a scholarship.

The coach was Bennie Ellender and the college was Arkansas State.  As a freshman he played fullback and nose guard, but  at the start of his sophomore year he was switched to middle linebacker.  For the next three seasons, he led the team in tackling, and in 1968 he was named first team AP All-American (college division).  And he was named by vote of fans the greatest player in Arkansas State history.

He was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals, up to then the highest pick ever to come out of Arkansas State. He quickly earned the starting spot at middle linebacker and wound up being named Sporting News Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He soon became recognized as one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL, and with the announcement of the startup of the World Football League, he was offered money by the Florida Blazers to sign a “future” contract with them,  meaning that he would play for them as soon as he had played out  his contract - plus the so-called “option year” - with the Bengals.

Cincinnati owner-coach Paul Brown,  not one to put up with that sort of business, traded him to the Eagles for two first-round draft choices and a second-round pick.

When the Florida Blazers - and then the WFL itself - folded, he kept their money, and remained with the Eagles for the rest of his career.

In all, he played 12 seasons in the NFL - five with the Bengals and seven with the Eagles.

For five straight seasons in Philadelphia, from 1974 through 1978, he was either first- or second-team All-Pro.

He was named to the Pro Bowl five times and he was three times named the Eagles’ Most Valuable Player by his  teammates. 

When he signed a four-year contract for a (total) of $1 million, he became the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

Bill Bergey was a major factor in the Eagles’ making the playoffs in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and he retired following the 1980 season and the Eagles’ Super Bowl loss to the Raiders.  At the time, his 27 career interceptions were the most of any active linebacker. And he held the team single-season team record of 233 tackles.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL BERGEY
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JIM FRANKLIN - FLORA, INDIANA
JOE BREMER -  WEST SENECA, NEW YORK
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA


*********** Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana, noted that Bennie Ellender, who took a chance on Bill Bergey without seeing him play, was a Louisiana guy.  True dat, and his next job after Arkansas State was at Tulane.

*********** Thanks to Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9yXTQkPZzw

*********** QUIZ - He came out of Florida A & M, where he played running back for the legendary Jake Gaither.

NFL teams didn’t pay much attention  to black colleges back then, and the story goes that after a Chicago Bears’ assistant named Phil Handler heard about him from a jockey at Hialeah Race Track, the Bears decided to use a late-round draft choice to get him.

He played seven seasons in the NFL and although he was considered to be one of the most dangerous runners in the game,  he never gained 1,000 yards in a season and he never made All-Pro.

But his name is mentioned along with Red Grange, George McAfee, Gale Sayers and Walter Payton as the greatest of all Bear running backs.

He was only 29 when he was  killed in an automobile accident, along with teammate Bo Farrington, while trying to get back to training camp before curfew.

That was 1964. The Bears were defending NFL champions and were expected to challenge once again, but they finished a disappointing 5-9, and didn’t win another championship  until 1985.

In the long history of the Chicago Bears, only four numbers have been retired by the team.  His is one of them.

THINK YOU KNOW WHO THIS IS? Fame and recognition await you if you do!  Maybe money, even. Send your answer to: coachwyatt@aol.com (be sure to include your name and town)


american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 16,  2018 -  "Chance favors the prepared mind."  Louis Pasteur

***********  COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES I WON’T BOTHER WATCHING UNLESS THE CRAWLER INDICATES AN UPSET…

*** It’s fitting that the week following Armistice Day, the SEC would lay down its arms - to do the next closest thing to ending conflict by scheduling opponents who can't give them a fight.

The Citadel at Alabama
Idaho at Florida
MIddle Tennessee at Kentucky
UMass at Georgia
Liberty at Auburn
Rice at LSU (42-1/2)
Chattanooga at South Carolina

*** In the Big Ten, they don’t even have to go out of conference to schedule softies

Ohio State at Maryland
Penn State at Rutgers

*** Remember when these were BIG games?

Miami at Virginia Tech
USC at UCLA

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES I’LL DEFINITELY WATCH (TO SOME DEGREE)

*** Colgate at Army.  Army is looking to go undefeated at home for the second straight season
. This, to me, is a scary game.  The Raiders - no, not the “Red” Raiders - are good.    They’re 9-0, and ranked number six in the FCS standings. After defeating Holy Cross 33-17 in their opener, in the eight game since they’ve given up only one touchdown and two field goals - a total of only 12 points - and they’ve shut out five of their opponents. They’ve outscored opponents in the first half of games, 190-9.  Their defense has allowed only 1.87 yards per rush, lowest in all of FBS or FCS. On the other hand, they haven’t seen a triple option offense, and certainly not one like Army’s, which averages 307.2 yards per game, and 4.57 yards per rush.

*** Northwestern at Minnesota.  The Wildcats are favored by 1.  They’re barely bowl eligible but they’ve locked up their spot in the conference title game: their six wins have all been conference wins.  To become bowl-eligible, Minnesota (5-5) needs to win this one, or to win next week against Wisconsin.  Neither will be easy.

*** South Florida at Temple.  Go Owls.

*** Michigan State at Nebraska. The Spartans are a 1-1/2 point favorite.  I like them, but if they play the dumbsh— way they played last week against Ohio State, the Huskers are good enough to beat them.

*** Pitt at Wake Forest. Panthers are favored by 7.  I like Pitt but Wake is family, so go Deacs - but I don’t expect a repeat of last week’s upset of NC State.

*** NC State at Louisville. Pack is favored by only 17.  Maybe Louisville will play harder now that Petrino is gone, but it’s only been a week and they didn’t suddenly get discipline in that time, so I look for a blowout.  Go Pack.

*** Syracuse at Notre Dame (actually, in Yankee Stadium, a horrible place to play - and watch - a football game).  The Irish are 10 point favorites.   My heart is with the Orange, but I’m afraid that ND will win big.  The weather may be freezing, and the field may be sloppy, and it doesn’t seem to make sense to bet against a team that comes from Syracuse, one of America’s wintriest places, but the Orange has played six of its games indoors (and won them all).

*** West Virginia at Oklahoma State.  West Virginia is a 5-point favorite, but OSU is really tough. The Cowboys blew their chance to beat OU last week - in Norman! - when coach Mullet decided to say “Aaaa, the hell with it!” and went for two at the end of regulation.

*** Boston College at Florida State. The Eagles are only favored by 1-1/2.  After the way they played Clemson, can that be possible? 

*** Wisconsin at Purdue.  This is for the #2 spot in the Big Ten West.  The Boilermakers got hammered last week, but amazingly, they’re 4-1/2 point favorites.  It’s been a disappointing year for the Badgers, but they’re still plenty tough. Is Jeff Brohm headed to Lousville?

*** Virginia at Georgia Tech.  Tech by 6?  That's all?  I think they’ll kill the Cavs.

*** Utah at Colorado.  Utah is possibly the best team in the Pac-12 South.  Colorado is struggling.  I like their coach, Mike MacIntyre, and I like their QB, Steven Montez, and I’d like to see them right the ship.

*** Oregon State at Washington.  Huskies are 33-point favorites.  I’ll only be watching as my preparation for next week’s Oregon-Oregon State and Washington-Washington State games.

*** Duke at Clemson.  Clemson’s favored by 28.  Yikes.  I’m hopeful, but I’m not expecting much. Clemson isn’t going to stumble at this point.

*** UAB at Texas A & M.  Aggies are 17-point favorites, but UAB is 9-1, and I'd love to see them hand it to Jimbo.

*** Stanford at Cal.  Stanford is a 2-point favorite. They still call it the Big Game, as they have for more than 100 years, and they play for The Axe (quite a few stories about that trophy).  Stanford has now won eight straight, but after a horrendous start, Cal has become one of the real up-and-coming teams in the Pac-12.  Justin Wilcox inherited a pass-only team (Jared Goff was the QB)  that scarcely bothered to play defense and turned it into possibly the most hard-nosed team in the conference.

*** Cincinnati at UCF.  This is BIG.  UCF has made noise all season about playoff-worthiness, but they still have to beat Cincinnati to finish first in the AAC East.  And if they don’t?  We’re talking three-way tie: UCF, Cincinnati and Temple (Cinci’s only loss). I have no idea how that would be resolved.

*** Iowa State at Texas.  Of course I’m pulling for the Cyclones.  Can they beat the Longhorns?  Can Matt Campbell really be that good a coach? Can Iowa State keep him?

*** Arizona at Washington State.  Wazzu is favored by 10. Scary, but at least the game’s in The Palouse.  Kevin Sumlin has got Arizona on track,  with an outside shot at the Pac-12 South spot in the conference championship.

*** Arizona State at Oregon.  The Sun Devils have the inside track to the Pac-12 title game. All they have to do is beat the Ducks and then, next week, Arizona.  Oregon is rapidly becoming a shadow of its former self. The Ducks are 3-1/2 point favorites, but I like ASU’s chances.

*** San Diego State at Fresno State. Fresno State is favored by 12-1/2.  I think the Bulldogs will cover.


*********** Needless to say, there are still a few college games left that can upset the Playoff apple cart - Syracuse-Notre Dame, USC-Notre Dame, Michigan-Ohio State, Oklahoma-West Virginia (twice!), Georgia-Alabama for example - and one that could upset the Apple Cup - Washington-Washington State - but taking all that into account, Stewart Mandel went ahead anyhow and put together these very interesting bowl projections for The Athletic…

https://theathletic.com/650368/2018/11/13/college-football-bowl-projections/

New Year’s Six bowls

Dec. 29 | Cotton | Arlington, Texas
Alabama (CFP No. 1) vs. Michigan (CFP No. 4)
Dec. 29 | Orange | Miami
Clemson (CFP No. 2) vs. Notre Dame (CFP No. 3)
Dec. 29 | Peach | Atlanta
West Virginia  (at-large) vs. Penn State (at-large)
Jan. 1 | Fiesta | Glendale, Ariz.
LSU (at-large) vs. UCF (at-large)
Jan. 1 | Rose | Pasadena, Calif.
Ohio State (Big Ten) vs. Washington State (Pac-12)
Jan. 1 | Sugar | New Orleans
Oklahoma (Big 12) vs. Georgia (SEC)

Remaining bowls

Dec. 15 | New Mexico | Albuquerque
Boise State (MWC) vs. North Texas (C-USA)
Dec. 15 | Cure | Orlando
Tulane (American) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt)
Dec. 15 | Las Vegas | Las Vegas
Utah State (MWC) vs. Arizona State  (Pac-12 No. 6)
Dec. 15 | Camellia | Montgomery, Ala.
Appalachian State (Sun Belt) vs. Northern Illinois (MAC)
Dec. 15 | New Orleans | New Orleans
Troy (Sun Belt) vs. UAB (C-USA)
Dec. 18 | Boca Raton | Boca Raton
Memphis (American) vs. Florida International (C-USA/MAC)
Dec. 19 | Frisco | Frisco, Texas
SMU (American) vs. Ohio (MAC/at-large)
Dec. 20 | Gasparilla | Tampa
South Florida (American) vs. Florida Atlantic (ACC/C-USA)
Dec. 21 | Bahamas | Nassau
Toledo (MAC) vs. Marshall (C-USA)
Dec. 21 | Idaho Potato | Boise
Fresno State (MWC) vs. Eastern Michigan (MAC)
Dec. 22 | Birmingham | Birmingham, Ala.
Cincinnati (American) vs. Tennessee (SEC No. 9)
Dec. 22 | Armed Forces | Fort Worth, Texas
Cal* (Big 12 No. 7) vs. Houston (American)
Dec. 22 | Dollar General | Mobile, Ala.
Buffalo (MAC) vs. Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)
Dec. 22 | Hawaii | Honolulu
Louisiana Tech (C-USA) vs. Hawaii (MWC)
Dec. 26 | First Responder | Dallas
BYU* (B1G Nos. 8-9) vs. Middle Tennessee (ACC/C-USA)
Dec. 26 | Quick Lane | Detroit
Western Michigan* (B1G Nos. 8-9) vs. Miami (ACC No. 9)
Dec. 26 | Cheez-It | Phoenix
Oklahoma State (Big 12 No. 6) vs. Stanford (Pac-12 No. 7)
Dec. 27 | Independence | Shreveport, La.
Georgia Tech (ACC No. 8) vs. Army* (SEC No. 10)
Dec. 27 | Pinstripe | New York
Virginia (ACC Nos. 4-6) vs. Purdue (B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 27 | Texas | Houston
Texas A&M (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Texas Tech (Big 12 No. 4)
Dec. 28 | Music City | Nashville
Mississippi State (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Boston College (ACC/B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 28 | Camping World | Orlando
Syracuse (ACC No. 2) vs. Iowa State (Big 12 No. 3)
Dec. 28 | Arizona | Tucson
San Diego State (MWC) vs. Louisiana Monroe (Sun Belt)
Dec. 28 | Alamo | San Antonio
Texas (Big 12 No. 2) vs. Washington (Pac-12 No. 2)
Dec. 29 | Belk | Charlotte
Auburn (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. N.C. State (ACC Nos. 4-6)
Dec. 31 | Military | Annapolis, Md.
Duke (ACC No. 7) vs. Temple (American)
Dec. 31 | Sun | El Paso, Texas
Pittsburgh (ACC Nos. 4-6) vs. USC (Pac-12 No. 5)
Dec. 31 | Redbox | Santa Clara, Calif.
Oregon (Pac-12 No. 4) vs. Maryland (B1G Nos. 5-7)
Dec. 31 | Liberty | Memphis
Missouri (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Baylor (Big 12 No. 5)
Dec. 31 | Holiday | San Diego
Utah (Pac-12 No. 3) vs. Iowa (B1G Nos. 3-4)
Dec. 31 | Gator | Jacksonville
South Carolina (SEC Nos. 3-8) vs. Wisconsin (ACC/B1G Nos. 5-7)
Jan. 1 | Outback | Tampa
Michigan State (B1G Nos. 3-4) vs. Kentucky (SEC Nos. 3-8)
Jan. 1 | Citrus | Orlando
Florida (SEC No. 2) vs. Northwestern (B1G No. 2)


Two quick takeaways…

1. Unlike other years (2015 and 2016) when they needed teams, and they had to resort to comparing graduation rates in order to bestow bowl-eligibility on teams with fewer than the required six wins, this year it appears that there will be more eligible teams than there are bowl slots.

2. If I’m Jeff Monken of Army or Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech, I’ll be damned if I want to have to face my own offense, and I’d make sure my AD knew that.  However, If the Independence Bowl really does go ahead and match Army and Georgia Tech,  two teams that between them might not attempt a dozen passes, that sucker will be over in two-and-a-half hours. You’ll be able to fly in that day, watch the game, and catch the last flight out of Shreveport that night .

*********** Is that MAC unpredictable, or what?  Buffalo brought a 9-1 record into Wednesday night’s game at Ohio (6-4), and was never in the game, going back home on the sore end of a 52-17 ass kicking. 

*********** I’m no Urban Meyer fan, as you may have discerned from reading some of my stuff, but the latest charge of racism against him - actually, against disgraced former Meyer assistant Zack Smith - sure sounds as if it’s baseless, leading to a reasonable suspicion that some of the other stuff written about Smith, Meyer and Ohio State might also be trumped up.  Next:  Julie Swetnick claims she was gang raped in the Ohio State locker room.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2805899-urban-meyer-says-ohio-state-considering-legal-action-over-trevon-grimes-report

*********** Hi Coach - Quick question. High school and/or NCAA rules.  If you slip an extra tackle in at TE (like single wing teams often do) can he remain uncovered as long as he doesn’t go downfield on a pass? Does he have to report eligible?

(Two questions, actually):

Yes to Question Number One. The rules only specify that five players on the line must have ineligible numbers. It doesn’t say where on the line they have to line up. But of the players on the line, only the ones on the two ends are eligible - and then only if they wear eligible numbers.

No to Question Number Two. There is no need for any lineman to “report” as eligible or ineligible because without an eligible number no player can ever be eligible, reporting or not. Similarly a back who wears an ineligible number can play in the backfield - he can fake, block, carry the ball - but he can never be eligible for a forward pass. (I can’t believe that the pros have never junked that stupid, anachronistic tackle-eligible crap that dates back to before 1952 when a quarterback - Otto Graham, specifically - could wear number 60.)


*********** You don’t suppose, do you, that the pros might have suddenly discovered what we practicioners of a “Pop Warner Offense” have long known - that tight splits have their uses?  Oh - and it appears that somebody told them that getting the linemen back off the ball improves their chances of forming a wedge.

eagles splits

Sunday night. Eagles vs. Cowboys. Fourth and short. Yes, they wedged - and got the needed yardage.

Yes, yes, I know - the Eagles’ formation is illegal. They don’t have seven men on the line.    Here, as deep as #61 is (he’s deeper than the QB, which puts him clearly in the backfield),  there’s no way the Eagles can have seven men on the line, as required by the rules.  (There are 10 men on the screen, so even if the split end, who’s out of the picture, is on the line, that still only makes six.)

How's this for  officiating inconsistency: while  the slightest twitch by an offensive lineman is sure to get his team a false start penalty,  the rule stating quite clearly  that the offense must have seven men on the line of scrimmage is routinely ignored. 

49ers splits

Monday night.  49ers vs. Giants.  Fourth and short. Yes, they wedged - and got the needed yardage.

Here’s why the wedge would always work in the NFL:  Yes, you can persuade your youth, or middle school, or high school defensive linemen to take one for the team - try to defeat the wedge by submarining.  But I defy anybody to try to get NFL players to risk their careers by diving into a pile of legs.

*********** I realize that TV is turning college basketball into a pain the ass right now, intruding on what should be the most exciting time of college football with its meaningless scores and meaningless games at the very beginning of a meaningless regular season.

But before it’s all over and the basketball season and the Final Four have come and gone, and this year’s one-and-done phenoms are off to NBA anonymity…

You have got to see this kid Zion Williamson, from Duke.

Actually, he’s not really from Duke.  They’re just borrowing him for the season.

He’s actually from Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he went to a small private high school, and this time next year he’ll be playing for whoever wins the NBA draft lottery - there’s that little doubt about his being the number one draft choice.

He is that good.  And he is a physical freak.

The kid is 6-7 and 285 pounds.  That’s 285.  No, he’s not a football player, although an LSU assistant said he offered the kid a scholarship recalling, "I thought, hell, why not, he's probably the best damn tight end to ever live.”

Even by basketball standards, he is  unusually  big and strong, but somehow, he can jump with the best of them - he has registered a vertical leap of 45 inches. Think about that a minute.

Want more?

Naturally, he can dunk it.  But -  he can take off from the free throw line and dunk it.

*********** After my comments about Bobby Petrino’s getting his comeuppance for running up scores, I came across this, in Paul Dietzel’s memoirs, “Call Me Coach.”

He told how, early in his career at West Point, Army had had three starters injured against Notre Dame, with a powerful Pitt team coming in to West Point.

The next week we played Pittsburgh, which was ranked number three in the nation. The game was played at West Point.  I realized that the Pitt game would be followed by Navy.  There was no way that I was going to let those three players get re-injured and then be unable to play against Navy.  So I held them out and Pitt proceeded as they normally did to steamroll us. Five or six of Pitt’s players including Paul Martha got into the pros the next year.  Their coach was John Michelosen.  They just lined up and ran right over us.  To give you some idea,  at the end of the first quarter they were ahead 28-0. The score was the same when the game ended,  28-0. Pitt could have scored 100 points,  but after the first quarter they backed off.

After the game I walked across the field to Coach Michelosen and said, “Johnny, you know you could've beaten us by a hundred points.  I'll tell you,  I really appreciate your not humiliating us.”

He said,  “Paul, if you coach long enough, sooner or later you're going to be on the other side of the field.  I've been on that side of the field,  too.  It doesn't do you a bit of good to pour it on after you’ve already won the game.”

I said,  “Johnny, I don't know how long I'm going to coach, but I'll tell you one thing: I will never forget this. It was very generous.”

I appreciated it very much.  Johnny Michelisen was a first-class coach, and a very fine guy.

*********** Do you, like me, see that large print on TV that asks, “DIRTY CPAP MAKING YOU SICK?” and say, “Well, yeah,” thinking that you read “DIRTY CRAP?”

*********** In the past month, I’ve observed, dumbfounded,  four instances in which a college coach, faced with sending a game into overtime (or into another overtime period) by kicking an extra point has chosen instead to do or die - to go for two points. 

Only one of those four teams was successful.

The other three teams passed up relatively sure chances to extend their game - and their chances of winning - and went home losers.

To be blunt, I don’t understand their thinking - if that’s what you want to call it. 

Ask yourself: during the course of the game, faced with a fourth-and-three anywhere else on the field, was there even one of those coaches who would have gone for it?

Naaa.  Of course not.  Didn’t the “analytics” say “no?”     After all, what were the chances that they’d make a fourth-and-three?

In their own territory?  Why, conventional wisdom says to punt.  “Don’t give your opponents a short field.”

Near the opponents’ goal?  Why, everyone knows you kick a field goal.  “Don’t come away without points,” goes the cliche.

Then how is it that, with the game - and the team’s entire week of work - on the line, those three yards suddenly become more makeable? 

Here, thanks to knucklehead coaching decisions, are the three losers:

Western Michigan - lost to Ball State, 42-41 (2nd OT)

Oklahoma State - lost to Oklahoma, 48-47

Miami (Ohio) - lost Army, 31-30 (2nd OT)

No doubt reflecting the  “conventional wisdom” that says you’re supposed to go for two when you’re on the road,  all three teams were road teams. 

Some “wisdom.”  With one roll of the dice, they pissed away great efforts by their players and their staffs - efforts that it’s reasonable to believe would have carried over into the next overtime period.

Here, of the four game-end gamblers that I observed, was the lone winner:

West Virginia - beat Texas, 42-41

(WVU actually had to do it twice.  The first time, unbeknownst to them, Texas had called a phantom time out; the second time was the charm.)

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

Beautiful picture of Mt. Hood.  My wife and I are looking forward to taking a trip to the Oregon/Washington coast this summer to soak up some of that scenery.

With Fresno's loss to Boise it appears they need to beat SDSU to "escape" the "reward" of going back to Boise for a bowl game.  Instead, if they beat SDSU it is likely their reward will be a trip to Arizona instead.  I'm sure they will be playing their arses off.

Notre Dame and Syracuse will be playing in the ugly uniform game of the day on Saturday in an iconic baseball stadium.  If you can get by the uniforms it should be a good game to watch...on TV.

Can the Golden Gophers do it again??  Not likely.  Unless Northwestern is still hungover from last week.

Would the "Mad Hatter" Les Miles be a fit at Kansas??

Love the picture of LSU's "Chinese Bandits".  Not only the name, but do you think that pic would fly these days??

Chances are if you mentioned Burke's comment to the geniuses today they would likely ask..."Who?"

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** My friend Greg Koenig and I are Kansas State fans, and at the moment we’re agonizing over the impending end of the Bill Snyder era.

Greg said he heard this on talk radio:

“We used to say KState’s recruiting is in neutral; now it’s in park.”

“The players we talk to are literally not hearing anything back from KSU recruiters. It’s like they’ve gone into bunker mode. Other teams are texting and calling constantly, with 6 weeks to go before signing day.”

The worst thing about this is that it takes only one year of bad recruiting, one bad hire, to blow what it took years to build.

And then it takes years to build it back again.

I cite Nebraska as one example.  Tennessee as another. Washington as a third.  Texas as a fourth.  UCLA as a fifth.  Maybe even USC.

Oregon could be headed in that direction.

And these are all schools with more going for them - money, markets, fan base, national name recognition -  than K-State.


*********** By John Henry in Press Box DFW…

Whoever gave the thumbs up to Shakira concerts on back-to-back October dates at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca and another last week for what sounds like a music festival hosted by Telehit, or some such, obviously didn’t talk to Jerry Jones first.

Jerry could do Paul McCartney on Thursday, George Strait on Friday and reincarnate the Texxas Jam in his own image on Saturday, and the Cowboys would still be ready to kick off at noon on Sunday.

To Jerry, that sounds like a dare.

Instead, the Rams and Chiefs are moving to Los Angeles. Nothing in Mexico has been this messed up since trying to install an Austrian archduke as emperor.

It was quite the dropped pass.

According to the NFL, the game between the Raiders and Texans in Mexico generated $45-million impact on the local economy. In other words, to me, it was money likely stolen by the government and/or cartels.

It’s a good thing that 2026 World Cup bid has come through.

*********** A “WAR STORY” passed along by a West Point classmate of the late Ed Bagdonas, former Army football player who competed as a hammer thrower in the 1960 Olympics…

Long ago when we were learning the trade, war stories – with and without wars – went a long way towards making the intolerable tolerable.
 
One of my favorites took place at the Ranger Training Camp at Fort Benning. Rangers wore fatigues sans insignia of any kind that made equals of all ranks. The Ranger Cadre wore all their badges and stripes with bulging biceps to impress their charges. Deeds alone spoke for the untermenschen, Ranger trainees subjected to endless physical training, harassment and degrading barbs meant to drive out the faint-hearted..
 
One afternoon found us seated in stands before a steep rock face. The subject was Use of the Grappling Hook. The Ranger instructor regaled us on its importance, demonstrating its use slowly swinging the hook in a circular motion about the forearm and  wrist before releasing the hook in a heave that took it well up the rock face. The instructor then seated it with a tug permitting him to climb the rock face.
 
The instructors dared the Ranger trainees to attempt the feat, which was impressive. After no small amount of abuse directed at the miserable state of trainees in general, the instructor bragged that the feat was beyond our strength. He paused for effect and called for a volunteer from the ranks of the trainees. There appeared to be no takers. Why would a sensible trainee volunteer for such a challenge that was sure to prove physically demanding and likely to fail?
 
Following a long pause a Ranger Trainee stood and came down from the bleachers. His name was Ed. In his modest way,  Ed took the grappling hook and the attached rope into his hands and slowly coiled the long rope. Then, ignoring the example of the instructor, Ed grasped the rope near the hook. He spun around and around in the style of an Olympic hammer thrower and launched the hook into low earth orbit at Mach 2. The Hook sailed high above the rock face, disappearing from view and taking the entire rope with it.  It was gone. It was rumored to have landed somewhere in Alabama. We cheered Ed Bagdonas with a loud roar that lifted the spirits of the Ranger Trainees.
 
The instructors were dumbfounded. Their training aid had disappeared. Their class, which was scheduled to last for several hours of trainee humiliation and practice with the grappling hook, was abruptly terminated by Ed’s awesome throw. We were formed up and marched back to the Barracks. Training for the rest of the afternoon was cancelled. It was a proud moment, when a Ranger Trainee stood tall and taught a lesson in humility to our trainers.


*********** It’s always terribly sad, and one more reminder of my own mortality,  to learn that one of my former players has died. I’m no youngster, and a lot of the guys I coached, some of them back in the early 1970s, are now elderly themselves. (Sorry, guys.)   But since I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than 40 years,  I haven’t seen most of my “East Coast”  players in all that time, so in my mind’s eye they’ll always be young guys. I’ve never seen them any other way.

The sad news of the passing of one of “my guys” came to me on Wednesday via longtime Double Winger Russ Meyers, from Annapolis, Maryland:

Coach Wyatt,

It's been a while since I have emailed you and I have sad news for you.  Roy Brown recently passed away.  He played for you with the Hagerstown Bears.  Roy was a good friend of mine and he was a great guy.  I have attached the link to a story from our local paper. His memorial service is today.

https://www.capitalgazette.com/sports/ac-cs-roy-brown-dies-20181106-story.html

That was, indeed, sad news.

Roy Brown was a year or two out of college (Western Maryland) when he played tight end for me in Hagerstown, in the early 70s. He made a great contribution to our club, as a player and as a teammate.

He was the sort of player who didn’t need much coaching from me. He was quite intelligent and figured out his assignments very quickly, and was a good enough football player that he’d just go and get the job done. It didn’t hurt that he was 6-4, 230 and a good athlete.  When the Chicago Bears called about him, I had no problems recommending him. 

He was quiet, but he was deep,  always thinking, and when he did have something to say it was astute, and often humorous.

We lost touch, and although I knew he’d become a coach, I had no idea just how good a coach he’d become -  as head coach at Annapolis High from 1989 through 2002, he won 104 games and lost 47.  His 2000 team made it to the state final game.  He went out on top - his 2002 team went 9-2, losing in the state quarterfinals to the eventual state champions. 

I’m very proud to have known Roy, and although our lives were connected for only a short time, he made a great impression on me as a man.

I’m terribly sad not only to hear of Roy’s death, but to learn that those who knew him best saw him suffer from Alzheimers.

May God rest his soul.


Valley kids

***********  The season came to an end. We got to the semi finals, one game from the valley championship.

Down here in youth football that is a big step.

We ended 7 and 2.
Years prior, in order:
2017 - 1-8
2016 - 2-7
2015 - 0-8

We turned it around. We ended up with a scoring average of 31 points per game which was the league’s best.

Next year I am moving up to 12-14 year olds. And we will install the double wing. Down here we do not have middle school fooball. This would be equivalent to 8th grade ball.

Thank you Coach Wyatt for all the help. We were a success story offensively.

As a final note, anyone that says football does not impact a young man’s life needs to look at the pictures. Defeat hurts and it should. It shows a person cares. And here is where we learn how to take defeat and disappointment and rise back up and go get it the next time.

John Coelho
Turlock, California

Congratulations on a great season! The photo of the two kids consoling each other is beautiful. It is America as it ought to be.  If only every person in America - black, white, Hispanic, Asian - could experience what it’s like to play football with each other, to work together as a team toward a common goal, to win together and lose together, we’d be a lot closer to having the kind of nation our founders wanted us to have!


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:   In the long history of the NFL, just one player from an Ivy-League school - Chuck Bednarik of Penn - has been drafted Number One overall.  (In fairness, although they always played Princeton and Cornell, the Penn of Chuck Bednarik’s time was a cut or so above the rest of the Ivies.   Army,  then a real national power, and Navy were regulars on the schedule.  So was Penn State, though not yet the power that it is today.  Notre Dame was often on the schedule.  As a kid, I saw them play Georgia, with a guy named Zeke Bratkowski at QB.)


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHUCK BEDNARIK
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA

*********** chuck bednarik.....no doubt could still have an impact if he played today.....side bar.....i just finished a two year ordeal getting a finger fixed while from a vicious game of p.e. kickball....going thru several rounds of therapy the conversation turned to worst busted fingers the therapists had seen.....i suggested they google "chuck bednarik's hands"....needless to say that even people who make a living with with injuries were taken aback with the pics of his giant crooked mitts!

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

*********** A COLLECTION OF PHOTOS OF CHUCK BEDNARIK - https://www.si.com/nfl/photo/2015/03/21/classic-photos-chuck-bednarik#20

*********** QUIZ - He grew up in far Western New York,  in the small town of South Dayton (2010 population: 620).  He had to go across the state, to persuade a college coach from a school halfway across the country, to give him a chance.  By the time he was 33, he was the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

A football and basketball star at little Pine Valley Central High School, he seemed to be on his way to earning all-star honors as a fullback and linebacker when he took ill and missed most of his senior season.

Going to New York to a coaches’ convention, he managed to persuade a college coach who’d never seen him play to give him a scholarship.

The coach was Bennie Ellender and the college was Arkansas State.  As a freshman he played fullback and nose guard, but  at the start of his sophomore year he was switched to middle linebacker.  For the next three seasons, he led the team in tackling, and in 1968 he was named first team AP All-American (college division).  And he was named by vote of fans the greatest player in Arkansas State history.

He was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals, up to then the highest pick ever to come out of Arkansas State. He quickly earned the starting spot at middle linebacker and wound up being named Sporting News Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He soon became recognized as one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL, and with the announcement of the startup of the World Football League, he was offered money by the Florida Blazers to sign a “future” contract with them,  meaning that he would play for them as soon as he had played out  his contract - plus the so-called “option year” - with the Bengals.

Cincinnati owner-coach Paul Brown,  not one to put up with that sort of business, traded him to the Eagles for two first-round draft choices and a second-round pick.

When the Florida Blazers - and then the WFL itself - folded, he kept their money, and remained with the Eagles for the rest of his career.

In all, he played 12 seasons in the NFL - five with the Bengals and seven with the Eagles.

For five straight seasons in Philadelphia, from 1974 through 1978, he was either first- or second-team All-Pro.

He was named to the Pro Bowl five times and he was three times named the Eagles’ Most Valuable Player by his  teammates. 

When he signed a four-year contract for a (total) of $1 million, he became the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

He was a major factor in the Eagles’ making the playoffs in 1978, 1979 and 1980, and he retired following the 1980 season and the Eagles’ Super Bowl loss to the Raiders.  At the time, his 27 career interceptions were the most of any active linebacker. And he held the team single-season team record of 233 tackles.


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 13,  2018 -  "Hold on to the Constitution, because if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” Daniel Webster

*********** WHY WE LIVE IN THE NORTHWEST… It was a beautiful day Sunday, clear and cool, and from our deck we could see Mount Hood - some 40 miles , as the crow flies, to the east - with the season’s first coating of snow. (If you look closely, straight down from Mt. Hood's summit you can see the cross atop  the steeple of the Catholic Church just down the hill from us.)

mt hood

*********** SO HOW DID THE GENIUS PROGNOSTICATOR DO THIS PAST WEEKEND?

WIN: Boise State by 2-1/2 over
Fresno State

WIN: West Virginia will beat TCU plus 11-1/2. 

LOSS: Michigan State plus 3-1/2 over Ohio State. 

WIN: Penn State over Wisconsin plus 9

LOSS: Kansas State over Kansas plus 10

PUSH: Army over Lafayette - this one shouldn’t have been scheduled, and the oddsmakers won’t even touch it.

WIN: Indiana by one point over Maryland

WIN: Oklahoma State and 20-1/2 over Oklahoma

WIN: Washington State over Colorado plus 6.

LOSS: Baylor and 14-1/2 over Iowa State.

WIN: Pitt over Virginia Tech plus 3-1/2. 

LOSS: Purdue over Minnesota plus 11.

LOSS: Oregon plus 3 over Utah.

WIN: Georgia over Auburn plus 14. 

WIN: Georgia Tech over Miami plus 3. 

LOSS: Houston over Temple plus 4-1/2. 

WIN: Notre Dame over Florida State plus 16-1/2.

LOSS: Texas Tech plus 1-1/2 over Texas.

PUSH: Boston College plus 20 over Clemson.

WIN: Stanford over Oregon State plus 14. 

WIN: Cal plus 5 over USC. 

WON 12, LOST 7 - Okay, but I'm not ready to fly to Vegas just yet.

*********** OBSERVATIONS…

*** I played two years of minor league (semi pro) ball and coached it for three years.  I’ve seen some rough play.  But I’ve never seen a team - at any level - as undisciplined as Louisville’s was against Syracuse Friday night.   We weren’t midway through the second quarter and they already had nine penalties.

*** In the past, Syracuse’s field has looked ragged and its uniforms have sucked.  Friday night, everything looked really good.

*** Two years ago, Louisville put 62 points on Syracuse; last year it was 56.  Now I know why Syracuse coach Dino Babers had ihis starting QB in there right to the end.

*** Two of the QBs in Friday night’s games should/could have been playing for one of the Northwest's Pac-12 teams.  Marcus McMaryon of Fresno State was basically told by Oregon State a year ago that he wasn’t in the picture.  The Beavers lived to regret it.  Syracuse’s Eric Dungy is from Lake Oswego, Oregon, but none of the local schools offered him.  He isn’t a Mike Leach kind of passer, but he throws well and he is a beast of a runner and I like him more than Oregon State’s QB and at least as much as Oregon’s and Washington’s. 

*** Boise State missed a TD by a split pubic hair.  It was that close. And then the officials spotted the ball on the one-yard line.

*** Passing teams need to get themselves a get-us-just-one-first-down offense. I’ve seen a  number of passing teams who just can’t run down the clock when they need to. Just as every team needs a 2-minute offense for when it’s behind, it also needs one for when it’s ahead.

*** I don’t understand why officials don’t bring out the chains and measure as often as they used to.

*** Kansas and Kansas State put on a hell of a game. Kansas gave it everything it had but it wasn’t enough, and K-State wound up beating the Jayhawks for the 10th straight time.

*** IUPUI is ahead, said the crawler… HEY! WAIT A MINUTE!  THAT’S BASKETBALL, DAMMIT!  WOULD YOU GUYS MIND STAYING OFF OUR SCREENS UNTIL FOOTBALL SEASON’S OVER?

*** If you didn’t see the Ohio State-Michigan State game, it wasn’t a blowout.  MSU found new and innovative ways of handing the game away.  In one, on their own one yard line, a man in jet motion was hit by the snap.  The ball was recovered in the end zone by the Buckeyes.  Backed up like that, Job One is to get TF off your own goal line.  Nothing tricky, nothing fancy, no eye candy.  (Hard to believe that I’m sitting here telling that to an offensive coordinator who’s being paid half a million bucks to know that.)

*** Maryland, down 34-32, was driving with a minute to play when their QB fumbled.  Game Over.

*** Colorado’s Laviska Shenault was out for four weeks with a foot injury and Colorado really missed him.   A real difference-maker,  the kid had the potential to be the best receiver in the Pac-12.  He came back against Washington State and, sadly for the Buffs,  had no impact at all, dropping a couple of passes he should have had.

*** Pitt looked great in their unifoms from the national championship days, and ran all over Virginia Tech. The Panthers rushed for 492 yards, including a 97-yard touchdown run by 6-2, 220 pound Qadree Ollison.  Pitt has had some pretty decent runners over the years, including Tony Dorsett, James Conner, Curtis Martin and LeSean McCoy, but this was the longest run in school history.  Amazingly, after the big guy had run the length of the field, he had enough left to do a flip into the end zone.  (Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Sure looked to me like he started his flip on the one yard line, which means Pitt should have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, with the touchdown erased and the penalty marched off from the point of the foul - the one.)

*** Washington State did not start out sharp, but still they were beating Colorado.  Observed Brock Huard, “Washington State is not Number Eight just because of their offense.”

*** Why do announcers feel the need to tell us how much time is left on the play clock?  Who gives a sh—?

*** A Colorado tackler made a great first-down stop, then stood over the Washington State runner and taunted. FIrst down, Washington State. Noted announcer Brock Huard, “And that’s why you’ve lost four in a row.”  To his credit, Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre gave the guy the thumb.

*** Holy sh—! Minnesota is beating Purdue, 34-7.

*** Oklahoma State keeping pace with OU.  Their favorite play when they need a score or a first down seems to be I Right, off-tackle right. (66-O).

*** At the start of the 4th quarter, with Washington State ahead 24,7, the entire broadcast crew at the WSU-Colorado game - Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Allison Williams - came on camera wearing mustaches, a la Gardner Minshew.

*** Tennessee beat Kentucky, because… Tennessee ALWAYS beats Kentucky.  At least in Knoxville.  Yes, it was an upset, according to the oddsmakers, but this was Tennessee’s 17th straight win over UK in Neyland Stadium.

*** I apologize to Temple for doubting the Owls.  Congratulations on beating Houston, and doing it convincingly.  In Houston.

*** Can shut out USC in the second half. Ahead 15-14 and facing a 4th and one with 2:00 to go, the Bears went for it and got six yards. Cal’s win was its first in the series since 2003.  USC had won 14 in a row.


********** $14 million is a lot of money by anybody’s standards, but Louisville figured - rightly -  that it was worth it to buy out Bobby Petrino. God knows how they’ll get the money and still have enough left over to pay a new coach - a member of the Lousville board said just a week or so ago that the university “is not in a position to buy him out” - but there you are.

Gone from Louisville is Petrino, whom I have disliked ever since the first time he was at Louisville, many years ago, when he secretly interviewed for the Auburn job, unbeknownst to Tommy Tuberville, who at the time was still employed as Auburn’s coach.

Characteristically, Petrino lied about the interview, but finally fessed up.  Auburn was greatly embarrassed and some trustees resigned as a result of their skulduggery. Tuberville, meanwhile, turned things around, beat Alabama, and earned himself a contract extension.

The reason Petrino coveted the Auburn job was that he’d worked there as an assistant to Tuberville (how’s that for loyalty?).  Did I mention that he took that assistant job at Auburn without even telling his former boss at Jacksonville, Tom Coughlin,  that he was leaving? It’s said that Coughlin never spoke to him again.  But what the hell.  Bobby was an offensive genius.

He eventually left Louisville for the Atlanta Falcons’ head coaching job, but lasted less than a season before leaving - “abruptly” puts it mildly - for the head job at Arkansas.

Lying seemed to come easily to him.  He lost his job at Arkansas when he got into a motorcycle accident, and then lied about the fact that he had a rider when he crashed - a young woman whom he’d gotten a job in the Arkansas athletic department. (A young woman with whom he appeared to be romantically attached.)

After all that, though, Louisville had him back a second time.  First he spent a season as head coach at Western Kentucky - evidently the Louisville folks felt that that was sufficient penance or rehab, or what have you, for what he’d done at Arkansas.

Can’t say he didn’t use the Louisville job this time to try to patch things up with his family after the screwing around he did at Arkansas.  Until he got fired on Sunday, he had no fewer than three family members - son, Nick, and sons-in-law, L.D. Scott and Ryan Bears -  on his staff.  As employees of Petrino, Inc. - er, Lousville - they earned a combined  $650,000.

I’d call his firing karma, except with karma, you don’t walk off with Louisville owing you $14 million.

https://sports.yahoo.com/forde-yard-dash-went-wrong-bobby-petrino-louisville-011829476.html


*********** I read an article in which the World Health Organization said that 892 million people worldwide “practice open defecation.”

“Practice?”  Strange word to use.  They make it sound like a religion.

I'd hate to attend one of their services.

*********** With Paradise, California almost completely destroyed by fire, it was awfully gracious of Red Bluff  High (2-8) to offer Paradise High (8-2) a forfeit win in their playoff game last weekend.  Under the rules, it was impossible, because for obvious reasons, Paradise was unable to show up, and instead it had to forfeit.

*********** I WROTE THIS LAST DECEMBER 5  AND I’VE EDITED IT TO BRING IT UP TO DATE…

If I were Commissioner of the Big Ten … I’d be on the phone to my counterpart in the Pac-12.  ASAP.

We’d exchange a few pleasantries, and then I’d get down to business: how the hell do we get out of this Playoff bulls— and get back to the good old days when our conference champions played in the Rose Bowl?

Say what they may, those other three conferences (and Notre Dame),  but without the Big Ten and the Pac-12, their “Playoff” is a joke.   I n most years, their “champion” wouldn’t have as much legitimacy as the ones that the polls used to give us.

Meantime, we’d have real power: we’d have a foothold in four of the top five TV markets - New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. We’d have  six of the top ten markets, and 16 of the top 25.  That’s eyeballs on the TV sets, guys.

You can talk all you like about Alabama and Auburn and Clemson and blah, blah, blah but the fact is that TV calls the shots now, and  those are all small-market teams.  It’s been said more than once that the TV people don’t care about fans in the seats: they only care about eyeballs on the screen. 

We’ll merge our conferences into one giant conference, with Pac-12 and Big Ten divisions.  There’d be no need to play anybody on the outside.  

With 26 teams currently - 12 in the Pac-12, 14 in the Big Ten (I know, I know) - we’d shoot for 32 teams, 16 in each division, with an NFL-type playoff.  The winner of our championship game would play, of course, in the Rose Bowl - on New Year’s Day.


We could invite a few other schools to join us.  Texas and Oklahoma come immediately to mind. Maybe Houston.  That would bring in the Dallas-Fort Worth (#5) and Houston (#10) TV markets.

Maybe Central Florida and South Florida. That brings in Tampa-St. Pete (#13) and Orlando (#19). Maybe BYU, too, simply because it's a national brand.

I’d actually give Notre Dame a call. Give them a one-time-only, take-it-or-leave-it invitation. Let’s see them stay independent with a schedule that doesn’t include any of our teams.  Let’s see how NBC, their network partner, likes that.

We wouldn’t be so arrogant as to call our champion a “national champion,” but there’s no way that without us, the winner of that “other” playoff can legitimately call itself the “National Champion,” either.  Naturally,  we’d entertain propositions to have our champion meet theirs, in a “real” national championship game.

The details still have to be worked out, but I’ll leave that up to my people.  That’s why I pay them the big bucks.

ACTUALLY…

ESPN would never have put up the money it did to buy the broadcast rights to  the “College Football Playoff” if there were the slightest chance that this could happen.  There’s a reason why they have lawyers.  My real anger is directed at the Big Ten and - even more so - Pac-12 leadership, guys in suits who got snookered into allowing the possibility of one other conference having two of the teams in the four-team Playoff, into giving Notre Dame a place at the table comparable to that of an entire conference, and into giving up control of the Rose Bowl, once America’s premier football game and now just another bowl game.  Maybe secession from “The Playoff” could be arranged by giving ESPN a good deal on the rights to “our” championship game as well as the new, “real” national championship.

*********** Big 12 plays its way out of College Football Playoff -  by
JIMMY BURCH - sptspage.com

A golden playoff opportunity, as well as a huge payday for the conference, slips through the hands of Big 12 officials during a split of back-to-back games played by the league’s two best teams within eight days to settle the conference championship. West Virginia knocks off Oklahoma, 41-37, on Nov. 23 in Morgantown, W.V. , to cap the regular-season schedule for both schools in what should have been a winner-take-all battle for an undisputed league title. But because Big 12 officials created a conference championship game to boost conference revenues by $3 million per school and provide a nebulous “13th datapoint” for deliberations by members of the CFP selection committee, the teams are forced into a Dec. 1 rematch at the Big 12 championship game in AT&T Stadium. Oklahoma achieves payback, 51-28, in front of a partisan crowd in Arlington and ends the season with an 11-2 record and the official Big 12 title. West Virginia, also a two-loss team, joins Oklahoma the next day in being left out of the CFP’s four-team playoff bracket. CFP officials, who have yet to award a playoff berth to a two-loss team in five seasons of playoff history, acknowledge that a one-loss champ from the Big 12 “clearly would have earned” a spot in the bracket but that team did not emerge because of the forced rematch in the championship game.

chinese bandits

*********** Nowadays, when you can’t even wear a sombrero on Hallowe’en without being accused of the newly-invited crime of cultural appropriation, it may be hard for some to believe that there was once a  time when a bunch of college players  could proudly pose as “Chinese Bandits.”

Back when  the colleges’ limited substitution rules did away with platoon football, LSU coach Paul Dietzel, a very inventive sort, came up with three distinct teams, each capable of playing two ways.  Sort of. The first was made up of his 11 best two-way players.  He called it the “White team.” (Uh-oh. That wouldn’t fly today, but it was called that simply because its players always wore white jerseys in practice). The second was a mostly-offensive  unit which he called the “Go Team.” (He originally called it the “Gold” team but as he wrote in his memoir, “The press quickly shortened the name.”)  The third was a mostly-defensive unit, and he conferred on its members a name inspired by a once-popular comic strip named “Terry and the Pirates,” in which Chinese Bandits were described as the “meanest, most vicious people in the world.”  

A couple of big-game goal-line stands - combined with their unique name - got the Chinese Bandits national recognition  that not even Paul Dietzel, promoter that he was, could have foreseen. 

***********   "Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation," wrote Edmund Burke.

If so, we are sunk.

In the Foreword of "Football Through the Years," (1940) the author, Dean Hill,  writes that one of the things that occupied the minds of our young men then was football. That and the value of hard work, a belief that a man had to prove himself a man, and a love of country. 

"Football, ” Hill wrote,  “symbolizes team play, discipline and self sacrifice. If our country is to continue to be the America we love, I say let every American be a football player at heart, if not on the gridiron."

The year 1940, of course, was just before we  had to fight - and win - a world war.  

What occupies the minds of today’s young men?

Not, in most of them, the value of hard work.  Certainly not having “to prove himself a man,”  and,  considering the emphasis in our schools, not a love of country.

Instead?  Video games,  rap, drugs, porn, brash show-offishness,  disrespect for rules and for authority. And soccer.

*********** If what I read on its Web site is an indication of its attitude toward our game,  it should be no surprise that Natrona County High, in Casper, Wyoming, is a traditional football power. 

Every Day Is A Great Day To Be A Mustang!

From the earliest games in the 1890's with homemade uniforms to today's sophisticated game with nine uniform combinations...one constant has remained. NCHS has special young men who play smart, play hard and love one another like brothers. Our older players have made our Freshmen football program the best in the country by mentoring and spreading greatness. We have two Freshmen squads (black and orange) along with our Sophomore, Junior Varsity and Varsity schedules that provide the most comprehensive 7-12 football program in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain Region. NCHS has won more football games than any other school in Wyoming but more importantly we have realized the "miracle of team" more than any other school in Wyoming. This "miracle" not only makes for successful teams but more importantly it makes for successful lives, families and communities. Our foundation is love, hardwork, trust, service, academic excellence and character development. We focus on the only two things that any of us can control and that is our Attitude and our Effort. We don't cut players, we simply buy more equipment. If you enjoy working hard and being a part of something bigger than yourself then come play football with the Mustangs. GO MUSTANGS!

This year, the Mustangs went 11-1, and won the state 4A (largest class) championship.  They were also state champions in 2012.  In the last 10 years they’ve had only one losing season, and they’ve had five seasons with 10 or more wins.

*********** What do you suppose happens when two forms of self-expression collide: when one of these guys with a  “JR” or a “III” after the name on the back of his jersey has hair so long it covers the name?

Are the two forms of  exhibitionism self-cancelling?

Is he dishonoring his forebears?

*********** Such is the level of basketball interest and play in the Land Down Under that you can look at almost any college’s roster these days and you’re likely to find an Aussie on it. 

Australia has its own profesional league, the National Basketball League (NBL), and  my son, Ed, has just accepted the position of Marketing, Media & Communications Manager of its newest franchise, its ninth team, in Southeast Melbourne.

The new team, as yet unnamed,  will begin play next season, and gives Melbourne, a city of 4.8 million people,  its second NBL entry.

The other teams in the NBL are Melbourne United, Adelaide 36ers, Brisbane Bullets, Cairns Taipans, Illawarra (Sydney area) Hawks, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats and Sydney Kings.

*********** After the discourtesy the Philadelphia Eagles showed the President in refusing his invitation to the White House, it didn’t bother me  that much to see them lose to the Cowboys Sunday night.

It definitely pleased me to see Dak Prescott get the fans and the media guys off his back, if only temporarily, with a winning performance.

But it especially pleased me to see the way Cowboys’ rookie Middle Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch played.

The announcers were going nuts over the way he made tackles from sideline to sideline, 13 in all, and the way, near the end of the game, he broke through two lead blockers to make a shoestring tackle on a 3rd down play that saved the Cowboys’ win.

I’ve written about him before.  He played at Boise State, but he’s from tiny Riggins, Idaho (population 410).  At Salmon River High School (“The Savages”), he played 8-man football (his class had only 13 kids in it - 11 boys and 2 girls).

A kid from the Mountain West who makes it as a middle linebacker - are we looking at a reincarnation of Brian Urlacher?

(Just in case you might play 8-man football and somebody might try to suggest that it’s not “real football,” tell them watch #55 of the Cowboys.)

(Nice video here) https://www.star-telegram.com/sports/nfl/dallas-cowboys/article221549770.html


*Cole Shaffer's kids
********* Well, we gave it hell, but we fell just short. We lost 21-12. Boys played their hearts out. We came out and over-coached it a bit. We came out blitzing heavy on defense and gave up an easy TD on an off-tackle run. We realized the error of our ways, settled back into our base defense and played tough defense.  Offensively they were huge up front and we just wore down. We ran 5-X, 4-X regular and lead to some early success. But late into 3rd and 4th quarter we just didn't block well enough to move the ball. We did run polecat on a two point conversion. Boys executed it perfectly. They left 6 guys over the center so we threw it to the guy lined up behind the wall. They tackled us at the goal line. Ref ruled he didn't get in, but on the video he crossed. Oh well, the kids were so stoked to have run the play. Which brings me to the greatest thing about 8 year olds. They came off the field sobbing and heads down. I gave them my coach talk about how proud I was of them and how hard they played and that didn't want to see a head hanging. Then I took them over for the trophy ceremony, they got a big old runner-up trophy and you could not have guessed they just lost the championship. They were on cloud 9 with their huge trophy, which even matched our uniform colors, as one kid so astutely pointed out.

Cole Shaffer
Boulder, Colorado

************ QUIZ: Army has a black place kicker named John Abercrombie, a junior from Phoenix.  He’s pretty good - best they’ve had in quite a while.  Interestingly, he spent his first year at West Point playing on the sprint football team (178-pound max).

For some reason, there haven’t been many black place kickers in the NFL.  Gene Mingo was the first.

(PS: Do not be misled by someone who played in the AFL and NFL  but never kicked in the NFL, or someone who played another position and kicked only occasionally. This guy was an honest-to-God kicker. He was a handy guy who could help out at other positions - at a time of 40-man rosters, there was no such thing as a kicking specialist - but wherever he went  he was on the roster because he was his teams' full-time place kicker.)

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GENE MINGO
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA

READ ABOUT GENE MINGO - HIS IS AN AMAZING STORY

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Mingo

http://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2018/01/19/gene-mingo-football-broncos

*********** QUIZ:   In the long history of the NFL, just one player from an Ivy-League school has been drafted Number One overall. NAME HIM.



american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 9,  2018 -  "There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped." G. K. Chesterton

*********** Happy Veterans’ Day.  (Make every day Veterans’ Day.)

At 11 AM on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns were silent.  An armistice - an end to fighting - had been agreed on.  The World War - the War to End All Wars - the bloodiest war mankind had ever known came to an end. 

Well, yes. The shooting was over.

But in many ways, the world has never recovered.

France lost 1.5 million or more of its young men - practically an entire generation wiped out.  How can a nation lose the flower of its young manhood without losing its strength as a nation?

Russia lost more than 3 million men - many in the war, and even more in the bloody revolution that ensued.

The United Kingdom lost a million men.

The United States lost “only” 120,000 men. But then, we were engaged only for the last year and a half or so, after much of the damage had been done to both sides.

Australia, as far from the fighting as a country could be,  lost more than 60,000 men - 1.2 per cent of its population.  Maybe not a lot of people in the global scheme of things, but to the US, that would mean almost 5 million people,  the equivalent of the population of Oklahoma. (For a great movie about Australia’s role in the War, you can’t beat “Gallipoli,” starring a young Mel Gibson.)

And the enemy? The Central Powers - Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (think Turkey) lost anyhere from 7 million to more than 8 million.

Who would not welcome an end to the carnage and suffering and loss?

That’s why nations worldwide celebrate the day.  In the US, it was once Armistice Day, the day on which we celebrated the end of The War.  Unfortunately, it might not have served its intended purpose, because just we Americans have been involved in  another World War and several other bloody conflicts that weren' t called wars but sure looked like them.

In the US, Armistice Day  was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.  Okay. I can’t think of many more important things for Americans to do than to honor men and women who have served us, in time of war or peace.  We also should honor the families who sacrificed so that their children and spouses could serve.

But I can’t help wishing that we had set aside another, separate day to do so - so we could have retained Armistice Day and its original meaning, and used it to impress on the Americans that have never known war just how horrible it can be for everyone  - especially veterans and their families.

*********** Say a prayer if you will for Bob Novogratz, former Army All-American who just a few days after attending the 60th reunion of the 1958 Army team on Saturday, suffered a broken hip in a fall Wednesday and underwent surgery Thursday at NYU Medical Center in New York.  Bob is a great American and his story is a great American story.

*********** And also remember in your prayers General Jim Shelton, who passed away recently.  Jim played football at Delaware under Dave Nelson and Mike Lude, and loved to tell of the time Delaware scrimmaged Army and Don Holleder ran over him.  Jim was quite involved in getting the idea of the Black Lion Award approved by assorted people in the Army, and as honorary colonel* of the 28th Infantry Regiment, the Black Lions, his signature was on hundreds of Black Lion Award certificates.  (*Although he had attained the rank of Brigadier General, in the Army a regiment is commanded by a colonel.)

*********** From John Walters in The Athletic:

The top three schools in the polls before Saturday were located in Alabama, South Carolina and Louisiana. The bottom four states in terms of education, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings, are Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana and New Mexico. The reasonable deduction is that either New Mexico or New Mexico State should be much better in football.


*********** “Hate Messages” Show up on University of Manitoba Campus
"HATE" SIGN

The University of Manitoba is in an uproar over  the poster at left and similar  “hate messages” found around campus, which the school’s president says are part of "a co-ordinated international effort by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

From students came such reactions as "element of fear”… “it’s sickening” … “racist actions.”

Fools, yes. 

But after all, this is Canada, which has never had such a thing as freedom of speech. (Remember when we did?)

But jeez.

Will they stop me at the border when they find my posters that say  ‘IT’S OKAY TO BE MALE?”  “STRAIGHT?”  “CHRISTIAN?”

In Canada is it okay for Kermit the Frog to be green?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/hate-messages-university-manitoba-campus-1.4889084

*********** Paul Dietzel was quite a coach, a national champion at LSU,  and as a young assistant he worked under the best of them - at Cincinnati under Sid Gillman, at West Point under Earl Blaik, and at Kentucky, under Bear Bryant.

In his book, “Call Me Coach,” he tells a story about the Bear - one that all ambitious young assistant coaches should commit to memory…

“Coach Bryant was a real stickler for loyalty. At a Kentucky statewide coaches’ meeting, he asked a high school assistant coach what offense they were running at his school.  This fellow told him they were still running the ‘same old offense,’ and even though he wanted to modernize the offense, the head coach was old-fashioned and would not change.  Coach Bryant was quite disturbed, to say the least, that an assistant coach would speak this way in public about his head coach.  The Bear told the man that he was going to get him fired, and indeed he did.”

*********** I saw the name “WAGUESPACK” on the back of an Air Force player and it interested me.  I’d never seen the name before.

Turns out that AFA linebacker Kade Waguespack is from Gonzalez, Louisiana - roughly midway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge - and evidently the surname is not unknown down there.

I read on…

The only problem in coming to Colorado Springs for Waguespack has been the food. He’s from the “Jambalaya Capital of the World,” and he hasn’t found anything that comes close to meeting his standards here.

He gets by on a recipe that can be made in a slow cooker with smoked sausage from home and white beans. Aside from that, he said his parents generally bring frozen food when they visit, then his mom spends time at his sponsor family’s house cooking Cajun meals that she’ll leave in the freezer.

“That’s kind of how I survive,” he said.

https://gazette.com/sports/louisiana-native-kade-waguespack-adds-spice-to-air-force-s/article_ea11f0de-b945-11e8-81d7-4f31d73a8faa.html

  *********** Jonathan Bales, writing for Rotoworld last week, said, “Small quarterbacks like Russell Wilson are often dismissed by draft analysts, but there is some evidence to suggest that size of a quarterback’s hands is more important.”

Bigger hands help quarterbacks handle the ball and perhaps also help them throw it. Mr. Bales recorded the hand measurements for every quarterback drafted since 2008 and also found data for some older quarterbacks. The average N.F.L. hand size for a quarterback is now 9.6 inches, he said. “Some of the top ‘short’ quarterbacks (6-2 or shorter) of the past decade have ridiculously large hands — Drew Brees (10.25 inches), Russell Wilson (10.25 inches), Brett Favre (10.38 inches),” he wrote. (The average length of a male hand is 7.44 inches.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/upshot/big-hands-small-colleges-and-the-nfl-draft.html?emc=edit_th_20140509&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=23696377&_r=0&referrer=

*********** Quick Open Wing question……when you use Red and Blue protection I made a note that the RB blocks back-side.  However, its a 6 man half-slide protection so against a 7 man front a LB may be un-accounted for.  I would call the protection opposite to my primary receiver so the QB can see the unblocked defender if they send 7…..does that sound right to you?


Typically, when we are throwing to the open side, we want our playside linemen sliding. We want the Back set to the side of the twins because (1) if we want, we have his run fake to the tight side (2) this puts him in a better position to pick up a blitzing inside LBer (3) it sets up a screen to the side away from where the QB’s looking.

If there is ever any need - this has never come up - for extra blocking on the backside, we call “MAX” (MAXIMUM)  and the TE blocks a man ON or to his OUTSIDE.

Honestly, I have never had an issue with this.  Often any “protection” problem lies somewhere else.  I should stress here that making this protection work is as much a matter of timing between the passer and the receiver as it is blocking upfront.  The QB and the receiver need to be drilled on taking the correct number of steps and the QB needs to be drilled on getting the ball out of there, without wasting a lot of time patting the ball or waiting for a receiver to "come open.”

That waiting, I find, is a major problem with inexperienced quarterbacks.  They have to set up, and they have to know what to look for and where and when to throw the  ball without wasting time.


*********** MY COLLEGE FOOTBALL MUST-TAKE-A-LOOK-ATS

THURSDAY -

WAKE FOREST, 19-POINT UNDERDOGS,  GAVE JAMIE NEWMAN, A 6-4, 230 REDSHIRT FRESHMAN, HIS FIRST START AT QB AND ALL HE DID WAS DRIVE THE DEACONS THE LENGTH OF THE FIELD IN 1:09 TO DEFEAT 14TH-RANKED NORTH CAROLINA STATE - ON STATE’S FIELD. 

FRIDAY -

Fresno State is favored over Boise State by 2-1/2.  It’s on Boise’s field, so I’ll take the Broncos

SATURDAY -

West Virginia will beat TCU plus 11-1/2.  It’s in Morgantown, and TCU has been looking bad ever since they had to kick off the girlfriend-beater

Michigan State plus 3-1/2 over Ohio State.  No real reason other than I like the Spartans and I dislike Ohio State’s coach and that damn “THE Ohio State University” attitude.

Penn State over Wisconsin plus 9 - Badgers are in QB trouble with Hornibrook having concussion issues

Kansas State over Kansas plus 10 - K-State may be having their problems, but they’re still more than 10 points better than the Jayhawks - especially in Manhattan.

Army over Lafayette - this one shouldn’t have been scheduled, and the oddsmakers won’t even touch it.

Indiana by one point over Maryland - It’s at Indiana, and as long as there are guys on the Maryland team who’d still rather D. J. Durkin were their coach, it’s hard to pull for them.

Oklahoma State and 20-1/2 over Oklahoma - only because of my grandson Mike, a Cowboy.

Washington State over Colorado plus 6.  Seen how bad Colorado has looked the last couple of weeks? Besides, the Cougs had their close call last week against Cal.

Baylor and 14-1/2 over Iowa State.  My upset call. Actually, I’m pulling for Matt Rhule.

Pitt over Virginia Tech plus 3-1/2.  Pitt, if you hadn’t looked, is in first place in the ACC Coastal.

Purdue over Minnesota plus 11. Purdue is pretty good.  Minnesota is not.

Oregon plus 3 over Utah. Utah may not have its QB.  Ducks usually play well in SLC.

Georgia over Auburn plus 14.  Dawgs have had one slip-up and aren’t about to have another until they meet Bama in the SEC title game.

Georgia Tech over Miami plus 3.  Even when Miami has been good, Georgia Tech has played them well.  Game is in Atlanta.

Houston over Temple plus 4-1/2.  Forgive me, Owls.  Going with my head and not my heart.

Notre Dame over Florida State plus 16-1/2.  Not many times I find myself rooting for Notre Dame, but this is one of them.

Texas Tech plus 1-1/2 over Texas.  It’s in Lubbock, and I think Tech is good enough to take the Horns.

Boston College plus 20 over Clemson.  I’m figuring it’ll be wet, and a lot colder than some of those southern boys have ever experienced on a football field.  Plus, BC is pretty good.

Stanford over Oregon State plus 14.  That’s my guess at a spread. The oddsmakers haven’t posted anything.

Cal plus 5 over USC.  USC is not USC. Cal has been steadily improving.  Their defense nearly shut out WSU’s Gardner Minshew last week.

I’ll watch UNLV at San Diego State and Colorado State at Nevada because they’re both on late, but I have no particular interest (other than that I hear CSU’s Mike Bobo is a pretty good guy.)


*********** How many times have you read about a coach's wife not knowing whIch team to root for - her husband's team, or the opponents, whom her son plays for?

I knew the feeling last Friday night, when LaCenter and Elma met in a “play-in” game to determine which would be one of the 16 teams to advance to the state playoffs.

Many moons ago, I coached at LaCenter.  Those who got my video “Dynamics II” will understand.  The place had no tradition and it was way short on facilities.  But I had great support from the principal (a former football coach), really good kids, and a really good staff. One of the best members on the staff was a young guy named John Lambert.

John had been a student and a player for me at Hudson’s Bay High - smart, bright-eyed, hard-working and enthusiastic, both in the classroom and on the team - and after a playing career at Western Washington, he became a teacher.  There’s where the principal’s support came in - he hired John, and for two years, John was my right hand man, soaking up everything he could and contributing more and more as he learned.

When I left LaCenter after three seasons, I recommended John, despite his youth and his relative inexperience, because I felt that he had the makings of a great coach.  The principal, to his credit, listened - and hired John.

That was 1999.  And there we were last Friday night , and there was John, finishing up his 20th season as head coach at LaCenter.

He has, to say the least, been successful.   His 20-year record is 143-71.

By his third season, he made the state playoffs, and by his fifth season, his Wildcats (for those who don’t know, LaCenter is the reason why I gave the “Wildcat” formation its name) were in the state semifinals.

In all, his teams have made the playoffs 12 times in his 20 years, and in that time he has had only two losing seasons.

Although he now runs more of a single-wing look than double-wing, he’s still a proponent of physical football. “A lot of teams don’t run what we do,” he told Paul Valencia in Clark County Today.  “That in itself is an advantage. A lot of teams are mimicking what they see in college. Four-wide, empty backfield. We want to establish the line of scrimmage. We teach our linemen to be physical, be aggressive, to stay low, and move people off the ball. Not many teams do that.”

John never kicks off deep (sound familiar?) and he seldom punts.  He’s going to make you play defense against him for four downs.  That was his strategy long before guys started writing about it in coaching magazines.

John has had numerous opportunities to go to bigger schools, but he’s turned them all down.  He’s wise enough to  know that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.  At LaCenter, he’s got a solid program with a solid staff of assistants and great community support - much of which is his doing.  And as the LaCenter area continues to grow, he’s got a steady stream of young football players coming up who know the LaCenter system and “want to play for Coach Lambert.”

LaCenter brought a 4-5 record into Friday night’s game.  In fairness, John always arranges to play as tough a non-league schedule as he possibly can: of his four out-of-league opponents, three went on to make the playoffs, one of them in a higher classification.  Their overall record was 25-4.  By the time league play started, the Wildcats were in an unaccustomed 0-4 hole, but the tough pre-season had prepared them well - and they went 4-1 in league play to qualify for the playoffs.

Me and johnJohn Lambert and me

With John Lambert coaching one of the teams, why in the world would I be conflicted?

Well, facing LaCenter Friday night was Elma, about 2 hours northwest of La Center.

Until this season, Elma had gone a long time without a lot of success on the field.  The Eagles won a state title in 1998, but they hadn’t won more than 5 games in a season since 2005. 

In 2017, Ron Clark, an Elma native who’d coached for years at nearby Aberdeen, took over as head coach.  In his first year, the Eagles were 3-7, but this year, going into Friday's game,  they were 7-2.  The two losses were by the skinniest of margins: by one-point to unbeaten Hoquiam, after having both an extra point and a field goal blocked in the last two minutes; and to neighbor town Montesano (Elma hasn’t beaten “Monty” in 13 years) by six points on a touchdown with less than a minute to play.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdg3ZhIWH1k

Elma runs a classic wing-T.  Its bread and butter plays are buck sweep, trap, bootleg (waggle) and weakside belly.

Occasionally the Eagles will line up in shotgun (what we would call East or West formation), mostly to throw but with a bit of zone read thrown in.

Everybody who coaches football babbles about how important the offensive line is (the same way they go on and on about how important blocking and tackling is, blah, blah, blah),  but anyone who has coached a wing-T (or Double Wing) knows that in those offenses,   the line really IS important. 

And Elma’s line is coached by Todd Bridge, whom I coached with for six years at North Beach.  He was the head coach and I was his OC, and he coached the line.  Now the AD at Elma, he also signed on as line coach when Ron Clark needed help, and he’s put together a very physical front.  As a testament to the way they’ve run the ball, in 10 games, the Eagles have rushed for 2980 yards and 44 touchdowns.  Obviously, I’m pleased at how well Coach Bridge has done and very happy for him both as coach and AD.

And I’m happy for Ben Bridge, too.  Ben is Todd’s third son.  I’ve been fortunate to coach all the Bridge boys, but I only got to coach Ben for two years.  Ben’s now a senior, and he plays full-time at center and rotates in on the defensive line.  While not as tall as his older brothers, both of whom are over 6-5, at 5-11 and 230 Ben’s every bit as strong, winning the state powerlifting title last spring.  (He won the center competition when he convinced the coach to let him make the one-handed, end-over-end shotgun snap that he learned at North Beach. Ahem.)  I have yet to see him make a bad snap all season, shotgun or T-formation.

Elma’s leading rusher is their fullback, 5-10, 210-pound Taitum Brumfield, who’s carried 205 times for 1289 yards. His 22 touchdowns represent half the team’s total.

elma group photoCOACH BRIDGE, CODY VOLLAN, BEN BRIDGE, ME

But their second leading rusher is their quarterback, 6-2, 190 pound Cody Vollan.  He’s carried 97 times, and even after deducting yards lost on sacks he’s gained 536 yards - and he’s rushed for 10 touchdowns.  He’s a threat to run on designed plays and on pass plays when he decides to take off.

The passing aspect is where I come in, if I may be allowed a bit of bragging.  Every weekend in the winter and spring, Cody and I worked together, and it has been a delight for me to watch him develop.  His passing has been a key to Elma’s success. (I should point out that I have made a special effort not to be like some gurus I’ve heard of who are slyly - sometimes blatantly - critical of their client’s coach.  Not once have we discussed strategy, and even when I might have seen something in his mechanics that could stand adjustment, I’ve held off, believing that trying to do anything at that point might do him more harm than good - like trying to change a tire while the car’s doing 70.

Much of the time, when Cody’s been called on to throw it’s been in “passing” situations - where the Eagles were in a hole and needed a first down.  Even under those conditions, he completed 43 of 87 for 988 yards and 11 TDs.   He has thrown deep successfuly on numerous occasions, as reflected by his 11.4 yards per attempt, and his ability to take the deep shot at any time has kept defenses from overcrowding the line of scrimmage. His 11 touchdowns work out to an extremely productive one in every eight attempts.

Everyone who coaches quarterbacks knows that the quarterback’s number one job is to protect the ball, and Cody has more than done that: he’s thrown only one interception all season. 

Overall, if Cody were a college QB, his high yards-per-pass, his high percentage of TDs, and his low percentage of interceptions, would give him a passer rating of 184.2.  If he were playing in the NFL, his rating would be an extremely impressive 125.4.   (Source: http://www.primecomputing.com/ 

Cody is a very good athlete - he's point guard on the basketball team - and he has  very good speed - he runs the 400 in track. He is very coachable, always eager to improve.  He is a great competitor who is just as happy playing corner on defense, where he’s college-prospect good, as he is playing quarterback.

So there I was, caught between two loyalties, letting things work themselves out on the field.

It was a hell of a football game, a test between a bigger, more physical Elma eleven and a young, quick LaCenter team with a bag of tricks ready to go.  Elma jumped out to an 14-0 lead and it appeared that we could be looking at a blowout, when LaCenter took back  the following kickoff 93 yards to make it 14-7 at the end of one.

Cody threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7, but with a minute left in the half LaCenter answered.  Sophomore QB John Lambert, John’s son, ran in from 5 yards out to make the halftime score 21-14.

LaCenter took the second half kickoff and drove right in for a score, with Tom Lambert running in from the 10.  The PAT tied the score with 9:00 remaining.

But with 2 minutes left in the third, Cody ran four yards to the left corner to give Elma the lead it needed, and Taitum Brumfield added a score with 4 minutes to play. The Elma defense, meanwhile, shut down la Center the rest of the way, stopping them on downs, recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass.

The final score was 33-21, and Elma moves on to the state playoffs

The game, I should add, was played in LaCenter’s beautiful new nearly-completed stadium.  I have to admit that I never thought, 20 years ago, that it would ever be possible. Actually, without John Lambert, it wouldn’t have been possible.  I’m not one for naming things after people who are still working, and I hope John coaches many more years.  If it's his wish, I hope it’s at LaCenter.   But when he finally does decide to hang ‘em up, they’ve got to name that stadium after him.


*********** Got this from a long-time friend whom I respect as an excellent coach…

Coach Wyatt,

From time to time, I receive emails from coaches asking for assistance.  I received this one over the weekend.  Here is our exchange (his in bold)


Do you have any pwrpoints,clinics,dvds,manuals, for sale?

--Nothing for sale.  What is it that you're looking for?

Actual footage on all your drills. To see how there supposed to be run. Visual learner.

--What age do you coach?  How long have you been coaching?  Are you in NC?

7 to 8 yr olds. 1st year hc. Just did regular season. Went 0-8. We played 9 on 11 players. Fixing to coach select 8u in a couple of weeks. Installing kb first. Then the O. Aggression and confidence is what I seek.  I'm in Tx. Thanks
I have what it takes to be a Disciple. Just need help getting there. For instance. On my rabbit drills i didn't use the fear of another player tackling them from behind. I used good ole fashioned dog sh-- as the motivator. I put some in a clear baggie and chased them to get them moving. It worked. Im all in. 


--You’re kidding....

I sure did.


--Can you explain your thought process behind it?

Getting tackled from behind sucks. Getting sh-- on your back sucks even more. Have a stubborn player that runs outside on 16 power? Stand there with some poo. He'll go inside.

If that's your approach, it's only because you don't know how to teach.  I feel bad for your players.  If you think that's an appropriate way to teach kids, there's little I can say that will convince you otherwise.  I think your approach is way past wrong.  It's a farce.  It's demeaning.  Regardless, you're no "disciple" of anyone, because I don't know of any self-respecting coach that would use your approach.


Coach Wyatt, he "thanked me for my time" and I sent him one followup saying that I was willing to help because he obviously needed it, but that I was blunt and if I think he's wrong then the best way for me to help him was to tell him what I thought.  Of course I didn't get a reply.  I'm sure he thought I was harsh, but sometimes these guys just need to be grabbed by the collar...And I was willing to help, but as with most coaches, they're willing to let their pride get in the way.

I wrote...

I can’t help thinking that guy was pulling your leg.

Demeaning, for sure.  I would call it borderline abuse.  Some, I’m sure, would say it goes way over the border.

I’m not for government interference in sports, but if the local leagues won’t screen and vet and double-check the guys who coach our kids - and then observe them at practices and games - there’s nothing left but the government to do it.

Funny how he describes that “coaching” and then he says he has what it takes to be a “disciple.”  I think I know you well enough by now to know that that couldn’t possibly be further from your approach to coaching.

Not that it will make any difference, but that guy needed to hear what you said.  He also needed (needs) to be hit with a 2 x 4.  Literally.


***********  Hugh,

A good friend of ours has also finished a disappointing first season, but...the ever positive coach told me it was good to get the season over and get back to the serious work of developing his new program in the off-season where true success is made.

After that first drive of the game I thought Army was going to blow Air Force out of the sky.  But AF hung tough with the Cadets, and it took Coach Monken's "muy bolas grandes" decision on that fourth and one to seal the Army win. 

Speaking of Army a few of the cadets did manage to "ground" the Air Force mascot before the game.  From what I understand the "pranks" the academies pull on one another have been going on for a hundred years.  Yet...by the reactions of "civies" to the prank one would think our service academy folks are a bunch of miscreants.  Aurora, the falcon, did recover
Texas...how in the world do BOTH DIVISION I 4-5 STAR safeties, at that point in a close game, let a receiver get behind them for the would be game winner??  Then...how in the world does the corner allow the receiver to cross his face and complete a slant pass in the end zone??  Then...how does the DC not put a "spy" on the QB for the second two-point try??

The current ND team, with its inconsistent play, at best, is probably the 6th or 7th best team in the country.  Even IF they are fortunate to run the table, and get in the playoffs, and continue to pull wins out their butts the way they have, an appearance is about all you'll see from them.  UNLESS...that offense gets cranked up, and that defense has a sudden change of temperament.

Best game on TV this weekend will be Fresno State at Boise State on Friday night.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

I’d rather not even talk about the incredible lack of judgment - in future Army officers - that would lead USMA cadets to think kidnapping a bird was a bright idea. I’d also like to know how they managed to get the bird out of the house of an Army Colonel.  Was the Colonel in on the caper?  Uh-oh.  Did they break into his house?  Uh-oh. 

*********** FROM THE COACH WHO SUGGESTED THAT HE TEACH THE NON-PLAYING KIDS ON HIS YOUTH TEAM A FEW DOUBLE-WING PLAYS… (HIS HEAD COACH GAVE HIM THE GO-AHEAD)…

Got a nice win tonight, 18-16. DW accounted for all of our points and we ran it 80% of the time. The other team didn't even realize we were going unbalanced on our base leads. Kids were pumped...our defense struggles at times so we fell behind a couple of times, but fought back each time, which they hadn't been doing. They had been packing it in when we got behind in the score. Coach was excited as well. Lots to correct and work on but good first effort. We played a wing-T team and you know how easy it is to stop those old fashioned offenses! :)

Will keep you posted....two more games, need to put in 6/7 G-O and 3T2 this week.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - As a high school coach in Middletown, Ohio, Glenn “Tiger” Ellison grew tired of losing games with his running attack, and devised a wide-open passing attack which he called Lonesome Polecat (because, as he wrote, one of his assistants said, “it stinks”).

The Polecat, however, led to his development of a wide-open system heavily oriented to passing which came to be called the Run and Shoot.

He enjoyed great success as a high school coach. He was named Ohio Coach of the Year in 1961 and served as President of the Ohio High School Coaches Association.

Over the years, with certain adaptations to his original system, his offense has met with great success at every level of the game.

He was a graduate of Denison University, where he was an All-Ohio guard, and after retirement as a high school coach, he served for six years on his college teammate, Woody Hayes,’ staff at Ohio State.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TIGER ELLISON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
JOHN IRION - GRANVILLE, NEW YORK
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

*********** Glenn "Tiger" Ellison is my answer!  I just finished the book: Run and shoot football:Offense of the future.  What a great book!   Back in 1991, I worked with a coach who ran the offense.  he called the series, Gangster,  Cowboy, Popcorn, wagon train,  and we even ran some of the lonesome polecat, straight out of the book! 

I always thought he made that stuff up!  I plan to re re-read it a few more times this offseason!

I also loved reading Woody Hayes foreward in the book!  He is one of my all time favorite coaches.

Mike Benton
Colfax, Illinois

*********** I ran Polecat my 2nd year I was a head coach.    Monsoon like weather had me run my "short yardage" offense which morphed into your DW later.      Some of the hits in the polecat would be defenseless targeting now.

John Irion
Granville, New York

*********** Sent me by several coaches -

A nice read about Tiger Ellison’s contribution to today’s football.

http://pistoltripleoptionfootball.com/glenn-tiger-ellison-greatest-innovator-football-history/


*********** The work that best updates Tiger Ellison’s work - bringing all his “Popcorn” and “Gangster” stuff (names I have to admit were way too corny for me) into a form usable in today’s game - is Al Black’s “Coaching Run and Shoot Football.”  Al Black was a very good high school coach in Pennsylvania, winning 149 games against 41 losses. After retirement, he coached some in Europe, and he worked as an OC at some small eastern Pennsylvania colleges. His book, published in 1991, is really good. It’s available, but scarce, so start saving your money.

AL BLACK BOOK

About Al Black…

In 1970, the Springfield Spartans of Montgomery County fielded an extraordinary gridiron team. The smallish suburban Philadelphia school, with 25 returning lettermen, romped through a ten-game schedule and scored 497 points, an average of nearly 50 per game. The Suburban One League championship race was no contest.

Coach Al Black's masterpiece had experience, speed, intelligence and enthusiasm that translated to a blazing offense and a stifling opportunistic defense. Opponents' mistakes were quickly converted into points. Black summed it all when he said, "Hustle and good execution win games. When you combine them with talent, you can't help but have a great season."

Despite its modest enrollment, Springfield had moved from the less challenging Bux-Mont League, after winning the 1968 crown, into the powerful Suburban One to play many of the biggest schools in the area.

After erasing neighbor Plymouth-Whitemarsh, Black's "Big Blue Brigade" faced Upper Merion in their fourth 1970 game. UM was thought before the season to be Springfield's toughest rival. The Spartans won 58-8. Amazing halfback Paul Melzer shredded the Vikings' defense for 319 yards and four TD's. With guard Bruce Williams leading the way, Melzer was sensational all season and was named to the All-State first unit.

The following week against non-league Lower Moreland, deep Springfield dressed 72 players and Black got all of them into the game, a 48-29 romp. The Spartans led 48-8 at the half. Decisive victories followed over defending champion Abington and hopeful Norristown.

Abington dominated the first quarter, had the Spartans on their heels, and led 3-0. The Spartans quickly got the message and blitzed the Ghosts for 26 points in the second quarter and 21 more in the third. No seniors played in the final period as Springfield won 54-3.

In the finale of this glorious season, long before the playoffs were introduced, Springfield overwhelmed Thanksgiving rival Wissahickon, 55-30. The Spartans scored on dives, sweeps, reverses, and long and short passes. Black also employed "junk" plays, as he called them. A double reverse pass went for 16 yards and a touchdown.

Springfield had gained more than 500 yards in every game. The highest scoring team in the nation, the Spartans were nominated by the Philadelphia Inquirer as the best in the state. A championship game against WPIAL AA champion Mt. Lebanon or New Castle's great team would have been something to behold.

Al Black is a native of Northfield, New Jersey and graduate of Glassboro State, now Rowan. Glassboro had dropped football and Black played in the semi-pro ranks during his college years. He started his career as an assistant at Audubon, NJ. He was head coach at Springfield just five years, moving to Coatesville in 1971. Black coached the Red Raiders for 13 years, winning seven Ches-Mont titles.

An attacking specialist, Black later served as offensive coordinator at Widener, Millersville and Delaware Valley (colleges) . More recently, he has worked in various levels of professional football in Europe, coaching, holding clinics and consulting. In 2003, his London Olympians won the "Brit Bowl".

The Spartans'1970 record:

55 UPPER MORELAND 20
42 UPPER DUBLIN 27
41 PLYMOUTH-WHITEMARSH 12
58 UPPER MERION 8
48 LOWER MORELAND 29
56 CHELTENHAM 0
46 METHACTON 8
54 ABINGTON 3
42 NORRISTOWN 22
55 WISSAHICKON 30


************ QUIZ: Army has a black place kicker named John Abercrombie, a junior from Phoenix.  He’s pretty good - best they’ve had in quite a while.  Interestingly, he spent his first year at West Point playing on the sprint football team (178-pound max). 

For some reason, there haven’t been many black place kickers in the NFL.  Can you name the first?

(PS: Do not be misled by someone who played in the AFL and NFL  but never kicked in the NFL, or someone who played another position and kicked only occasionally. This guy was an honest-to-God kicker. He was a handy guy who could help out at other positions - at a time of 40-man rosters, there was no such thing as a kicking specialist - but wherever he went  he was on the roster because he was his teams' full-time place kicker.)



american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 6,  2018 - "The   taxpayer: That's someone who works for the federal government but  doesn't  have to take the civil service examination." Ronald Reagan

*********** After having to forfeit his first two games because of a lack of players, my friend Dwayne Pierce in Washington, DC, managed to put a team together at Coolidge High and managed to finish the season, his first at Coolidge, with his team intact.  That’s quite an accomplishment at a school that was once a District power but hasn’t won more than two games in a season since 2012.  The Colts’ overall record was 1-7, but that’s counting the two forfeit losses. The 14-6 win over Phelps in the next to last game of the season was their first win in more than two years. And now, Coach Pierce, with a season behind him, can continue his rebuild in the off-season.

***********  “I’m back coaching with Jet,” wrote Jeff Murdock, from Piedmont, South Carolina. “We are at a 5A (largest class) school running straight Double Wing. We play for the region championship on Friday. On a 5-0 run since going to the Dwing. The band is back together and can still play!”

This is a long story that starts more than 20 years ago, when two young guys named Jet Turner and Jeff Murdock took over the program in a small South Carolina town called Ware Shoals.  Jet was the head coach and Jeff was the line coach.  They were struggling.  In their first three years there, their record was 5-25.

And then they started running the Double Wing.  They were regulars at my clinics in Durham and Atlanta. And in their next three years at Ware Shoals, they went 27-10.

And then Jet moved on to Clover, South Carolina, a larger school not far from Charlotte that had never been to the playoffs.  By his third year there, Clover made the third round of the state playoffs, and in his 5th year, won the state championship - still running the Double Wing. In his eight years there, he compiled a 70-30 record.

He left to coach at a private school, Wilson Hall, in his home town of Sumter, and in one season he went 13-1, but then he moved back to the big school stage, taking the head job at Broome High in Spartanburg.

Broome had gone 1-10 the year before he arrived, but went 6-6 in his first year and 8-4 - with a region championship  - in his second year. After five years there he was 31-24. 

In spring of 2017 he was offered the head coaching job at Woodmont High, in Piedmont, South Carolina, outside Greenville.  Woodmont had had only one winning season in 13 years, and in the eight seasons since that winning season, had won a total of 17 games.

In 2017, his first year there, Woodmont went 2-9.  But in 2018,  the band was reunited.  Jeff Murdock was back.

Back when Jet left for Clover, Jeff stayed on at Ware Shoals and took over as head coach.  He more than kept the winning tradition going, compiling a record of 71-38 in eight seasons, winning 6 region titles and making it to back-to-back Upper State final games in both 2008 and 2009.

That led him to take a job at a bigger school, Crescent High in Anderson, South Carolina, and in his six years there he had a 36-32 record, making him the third-winningest coach in school history and only the second to post a winning record there.

And then he joined up with Jet.

They opened this season running the veer, but after four losses, and two straight shutouts, they made the decision to go back to the Double Wing.  Why not?  They both knew it, they’d both had success running it, and they  didn’t have to worry about second-guessers.

Their record at this point, after falling to a 10-0 T.L Hanna High last Friday, is 5-5, and they’re in the playoffs.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that Friday they face 9-1 Gaffney, a state power.

No matter.  The worst they will finish is 5-6, and knowing what those two guys know about the Double Wing, and how well they can teach it, I predict big things for them in 2019 and in years to come.



*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL SATURDAY

*** Where TF did Ohio State get those hideous black uniforms?  (I know, I know - Nike pays the fiddler and Nike calls the tune.) There’s no truth to the fact that that was not the real Ohio State team out there in the first half.

*** Army celebrated the 60th anniversary of its unbeaten 1958 team - Coach Blaik’s last team - Saturday, and I swear I saw the Army offense come out in the Lonesome End formation during its opening drive.

*** Army’s opening drive ended in a score at 2:05.  That’s nearly 13 minutes’ controlling the ball. Although the drive was 75 yards in length,  the secret to taking all that time off the clock was penalties - Army had three 15-yard penalties, meaning that technically, they drove 120 yards.

*** By now you have probably seen the Nebraska kickoff man try to kick it short - and whiff entirely.

*** A Maryland defender throws a Michigan State runner to the ground - except he doesn’t go to the ground.  He stays on his feet and picks up 6 more yards, down to the one-yard line.

*** Would the crowd at Maryland have been  any worse if, instead of firing D.J. Durkin, they’d kept him - and then the students had boycotted? 

*** I’m all for player safety but I think pretty soon they’re going to have to put sumo costumes on everybody.  In the Army-Air Force game there were three chop blocks called in the first half.  Two were highly questionable.

*** Maybe it’s because so many of the other studio analysts suck, but Kevin Carter, in the CBSSN halftime studio, was pretty good.

*** Time of possession at halftime: Army- 22 minutes, Air Force- 8 minutes.

*** A nice Air Force play was called back because of an “illegal block below the waist” - an Air Force wingback, coming from the outside-in,  blocked a linebacker at the knees.  Good call. But the uselrss announcers passed it off as "a mental mistake,” and then, later, a “mental error.”

My ass. If that’s so, how come you don’t see more high school kids making that same “mental mistake?”  You don’t suppose it’s because they’re actually coached not to, do you?

*** Leading 17-14 and facing a fourth-and-one at midfield with :17 left, Army coach Jeff Monken passed up a much riskier (in my opinion) punt and called for a quarterback sneak.  And it got the first down.

*** Army and Navy respect each other.  But neither of them seem to have a whole lot of respect for Air Force, and one reason why was made clear at game’s end when several Air Force players chose to confront their Army counterparts at midfield, jawing away and, in the case of one Zoomie, flipping the bird at them. If that kind of crap can happen at a service academy, how can we expect anything different from players at any other college?

*** Baylor gets a win over Oklahoma State with a touchdown with 7 seconds remaining.

*** It’s hard enough as it is  to look really sharp as it is when your colors are old gold and black, but jeez, you don't  have to make things worse by wearing those goofy jerseys that Purdue wore.

*** Do little girls still play with paper dolls?  I thought of that when I pictured  the foo-foo creative types back at Nike headquarters dressing paper dolls shaped like  big, strong football players.

*** The TV people should flip the score graphics at the bottom of the screen so that the score on the right side is the score of the team on the right side of the TV screen, and the converse.

*** West Virginia’s best OL was thrown out of the game on a really lame call for for shoving a Texas player.

*** If Texas-WVU game officials are any indication, Big 12 officials suck.

*** WVU QB Will Grier was injured by a sack from behind that should have been called a horse collar.

*** Basketball has its nose in the tent now, and we can expect to be seeing more and more promos advertising early-season “big games.”

*** Purdue drives and kicks a field goal with :08 to beat Iowa, 38-36.

*** What goes around comes around, Coach Franklin.  Remember Georgia State last year?  Remember calling a time out to keep them from kicking a field goal so you could preserve your f-cking shutout?

Hmm. With 3:00 left and the rout complete, your buddy  Harbaugh called a timeout with 42-0 to challenge a ruling that a Penn State player made a catch.

*** Lots of experts thought that Utah had become the best team in the Pac 12.  And then, in a great back-and-forth game,  Arizona State went out and beat them.

***
Duke went 75 yards for a TD on the first play from scrimmage against Miami. Most of the game was played in the damnedest rain storm I’ve ever seen. 

*** Northwestern was dressed like the Dick Thornton-led, Ara Parseghian-coached Northwestern team that upset Notre Dame back in the 1960s.  That was the end of the resemblance.  Florida State can’t beat the Irish.  Can Syracuse?  Can USC?

*** West Virginia made the winning 2-point conversion but Texas had called one of those obnoxious “who knew?” timeouts.  On the second try, there was no question - Will Grier ran it in for the win, but damned if one of those officious asses in stripes didn’t call him for unsportsmanlike conduct for holding the ball aloft as he crossed the goal line.

*** Best sideline bimbo post-game interview question: “Take me through your mind set.”

*** Did Bobby Petrino ever say or do something to piss off Dabo Swinney? Why else would a coach put 77 points on a fellow coach?

*** What’s with Navy?  Cincinnati shut them out - beat them, 42-0. The Mids had 171 yards of total offense.  They had 47 yrds passing and - are you ready for this? - 124 yards rushing.

*** If players would be taught to actually tackle - to let their hands and arms precede their bodies - and not go for the big hit, there’d be a lot fewer guys ejected for targeting.

*** When an Alabama player tackles you, you stay tackled.

*** With the first half about to end, LSU gave up what could have been a disastrous sack on their own goal line.  Said Gary Danielson, “There’s a difference between aggressive and reckless.”

*** I'll bet the Alabama-LSU game lost a lot of its audience at halftime, with Alabama way in front - 300 yards of offense in the first half - and LSU showing no signs of life on offense.   LSU had 27 plays in the entire first half.

*** You know things are bad in Knoxville when Tennessee beats Charlotte, 14-3.

*** In the lifetime of a coach, you’ll have those games where everything’s going wrong, and no matter what you do, you can't change things. You just know you’re going to lose. And you do.

For Washington State fans,  Cal-WSU seemed like  just such a game. Cal played lights-out defense, and the Cougars made the kind of mistakes that can only happen on a night when you seem fated to lose.

In one case, a Cougar linebacker intercepted a Cal pass and returned it 40 yards to the Cal 5 yard line, where he lost the ball and it went into the end zone. At least two Cougars appeared to be in position to recover for the touchdown, but no - it rolled out of the end zone for a touchback, which meant it was Cal’s ball, first and 10, on the 20. To make it brief (it was late, even on the West Coast),  the game was tied, 13-13,  with 32 seconds left when Gardner Minshew threw his first touchdown pass of the night.  Final (the Cougars missed the extra point) 19-13.

*********** “A bowl game is a reward for our players.  We’re not going to work them so hard that they won’t enjoy the trip.  That’s not what football is about.”  Bobby Dodd, 1960

(I’ve said this more than once before - has anyone ever asked the players what they think of a playoff as opposed to the bowl system? That’s a rhetorical question.  You know damn well they’d never ask it for fear that the players would all vote to pass up two or three more weeks of intense practices and two more “must-win” games, and go to a bowl game instead.  And “enjoy the trip.”)

*********** Writing recently about the Modzelewski brothers, I did a little digging into their high school, Har-Brack High.  In addition to Big Mo and Little Mo, Har-Brack also produced Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist,  so promising a runner that Paul Brown signed him to an NFL contract while he was still in high school.  No matter - Har-Brack closed in 1967.

Har-Brack wasn’t alone.  In 1952, around the time the Modzelewskis were in high school, Pennsylvania had 2506 school districts.  Today,  there are 501.

Declining enrollments, caused by the cratering of Pennsylvania’s mining and manufacturing base, have led to the closing of hundreds of Pennsylvania high schools and, using an “optimum” target of at least 3,000 students, the creation of larger, “consolidated” districts. 

There would likely be even fewer than 501 districts, if there weren’t holdouts over differences in pay scales and tax rates, fear of loss of autonomy from being merged into a larger district, and the (real) fear of loss of the community identity that comes with having a local high school.

This is not unique to Pennsylvania, of course.  All over America, as our country becomes more urbanized and rural population declines, small towns find themselves fighting to keep their high schools.  Do the math - in Pennsylvania, there are at least 2000 communities that no longer have their own high school.

I think it’s a sad situation, destroying local control of schools at the altar of greater efficiency.  The small local high school, once as representative of American democracy as the  New England town meeting, is becoming a dinosaur. Local control of schools is being passed along to county school boards, to state bureaucrats, and, increasingly, to the Department of Education.  And that’s why, no matter what your community thinks about it, your six-year-old will be taught that Heather has Two Mommies.

*********** The late Steve Sabol, whose father started the company that became NFL Films, succeeded his dad as head of the company, and is recognizeable to almost any football fan as the host of countless NFL Films specials.

He played football at Colorado College, where he was known as something of a free spirit.

On one occasion, he had a plaque made and installed in the visitors' locker room that read: "This field is named in honor of Morris Washburn, who died when his lungs exploded due to a lack of oxygen during a soccer match with Denver University in 1901."

*********** Regarding something I wrote recently about General Neyland of Tennessee, it was the great Herman Hickman - whom the General once called “the greatest guard football has ever known” - who said "If Neyland could score a touchdown against you he had you beat. If he could score two, he had you in a rout."

*********** Coaching is teaching.
 
One of the big failings of so many young coaches is that they get an offense or a defense off the internet - or from Madden - and think they’re all set.  They think that coaching football is EASY -  that all they need is some play diagrams and they’re ready to coach.  They don't understand what all good teachers understand:   that the material you want kids to learn is of no use if you don’t know how to teach it to them.
 
I do believe that some of the best teaching in any school takes place on the football field, but unfortunately, I also believe that the converse is true.  I’m amazed at the  bad coaching  I see because the "coaches" simply don't understand and apply the principles of teaching.
 
Coaching is teaching.

*********** It used to be that every school in town was named either for the town itself, or for a distinguished American - a former President, or maybe a general - preferably one from that town.  At the very least, for a local politician or retired educator.

But no more.  Not in a climate in which even George Washington is considered controversial.
 
Now, by a large margin, communities are going in a totally different direction, taking a real estate developer's approach and giving their schools generic names devised by mixing and matching an assortment of geographic features.
 
In the same way that real estate developers combine words such as Spring, Valley, Mount (or Mont or Mountain), Ridge, Dale, Woods, Forest, Estates, Briar, Oak, etc., schools are trending to innocuous, inoffensive names like Sky View, Mountain View, View Ridge, River Ridge, Lake View, Ridge View, ad nauseum.

*********** I do remember the Tom Landry commercial...Ahhh, the good ol' days.
If a commercial like that ran today...people would be screaming RACIST!!!!

Mike Framke
Green Bay, Wisconsin

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

Despite Matt Canada's best efforts to get the Maryland football program turned in the right direction he will likely be somewhere else next year because of what he's been able to do.

Watched the UCF-Temple game last night.  Wow does UCF have some speed or what!?  If Temple had anything resembling a defense, and if they could have sustained more time-consuming drives they could have pulled off an upset.  However, won or lost, UCF was exposed. 

Not making any predictions this week.  Holding my breath instead.

I think the world of Coach Snyder, but his time has come and gone.  However I can certainly understand why he sees his son as his successor.  Could be he's the only one he TRUSTS to get the job done right??

The MAC "experiment" has failed miserably.  They need to cut their losses and get back to Saturdays when college football games should be played.

Enjoy the games, and have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

 

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: A native of Humboldt, Tennessee, Murray Warmath  played  under General Neyland at Tennessee and following graduation he joined the staff at Tennessee. After a three-year time out for World War II service, he returned to  Tennessee and served through 1948.

He believed that the future of football lay with the T-formation, and knowing that General Neyland was committed to running the single wing, he believed that in the best interest of his chances of getting a head coaching job, he needed to learn more about the new offensive system that was sweeping the game.

He couldn’t have chosen a better place to learn it than from a coach who had won three national championships in the past five years - Earl Blaik at Army.

In 1949 he was hired by Blaik to coach the line.  He succeeded Sid Gillman, who had left to become head coach at Cincinnati. Along with him, Gillman had taken a young assistant, one who had played under him at Miami of Ohio, named Paul Dietzel. Joining the Army staff that same year was a new backfield coach named Vince Lombardi.

Following the 1951 season, he was offered the head coaching job at Mississippi State.  To install the split-T offense that was winning championships at Maryland and Oklahoma, he brought in as an assistant a former Oklahoma quarterback named Darrell Royal.

In 1954 he was offered the head coaching job at Minnesota. Prior to World War II, the Gophers had won or shared five national championships and six Big Ten championships, but in the years since, Minnesota football had declined.

He started out well. He finished with a  7-2 record in his first season, then dropping to 3-6 but rebounding to 6-1-2 in his second. But that was followed by a three-year dry spell (4-5, 1-8, 2-7) from 1957 to 1959, and Minnesota fans and boosters were calling for his head.

But along came 1960, and his Gophers swept through the 1960 season with an 8-1 record.  They were named national champions, and he was named Coach of the Year.

Winning the Big Ten title earned Minnesota a spot in the Rose Bowl but in anticlimactic fashion, after having already been named National Champion,  they lost to Washington, 17-7.

The next year, though, they atoned for the Rose Bowl loss, defeating UCLA 21-3.

In his 18 years at Minnesota, his teams won 87 games, lost 78 and tied seven times.  In a time when teams played nine-game schedules, three of his teams won eight games.

At a time when the entire Big Ten was limited to just one bowl game a year, he took two of his teams to the Rose Bowl.  Five of his teams finished either first or second in the Big Ten.   Four of his teams were ranked in the Top Ten; seven of his teams were ranked in the Top 20. 

His 1967 team was the last Minnesota team to finish first - or tied for first - in the Big Ten.

If he were known for nothing else, it ought to be his willingness to break color barriers by recruiting black athletes when other major college schools were still reluctant to do so.  Some of the better known black players he recruited to Minnesota were Sandy Stephens and Bill Munsey, from Uniontown, Pennsylvania,  Bobby Bell from Shelby, North Carolina, and Carl Eller from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MURRAY WARMATH

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** Murray Warmath once helped Bear Bryant get a job. Warmath  was an assistant at Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt’s Red Sanders offered him a job as his assistant.  When Warmath turned him down, Sanders offered the job to Bryant.

*********** Before fall practice started, Army’s Earl “Red” Blaik liked to take a number of his assistants and a few of his chosen sportswriter friends from New York to a lodge on the shores of  Bull Pond, on the huge West Point Military Academy reservation.  There, they would swim, fish, converse, play practical jokes and generally enjoy good company. Meals were a shared responsibility, and while some of the campers prided themselves on their cooking abilities, others weren’t quite so skilled.

Warmath, on sitting down to a meal prepared by one of the lesser-skilled cooks, looked at his food and said, “Am I supposed to eat this or have I already eaten it?”

*********** QUIZ - As a high school coach in Middletown, Ohio, he tired of losing games with his running attack, and devised a wide-open passing attack which he called Lonesome Polecat (because,  he wrote, one of his assistants said, “it stinks”).

The Polecat, however, led to his development of a wide-open system heavily oriented to passing which he called the Run and Shoot.

He enjoyed great success as a high school coach. He was named Ohio Coach of the Year in 1961 and served as President of the Ohio High School Coahes Association.

Over the years, with certain adaptations to his original system, his offense has met with great success at every level of the game.

He was a graduate of Denison University, where he was an All-Ohio guard, and after retirement as a high school coach, he served for six years on the staff of  his college teammate, Woody Hayes, at Ohio State.


american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 2,  2018 - “For what avail the plow or sail,  or land or life, if freedom fail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

*********** We lived in Maryland for 14 years and we loved it.  Three of our children were born in Maryland, and all four of our kids started school there.  My wife graduated from Hood College in Frederick, and  I got my start coaching in Hagerstown. We first moved there (to Baltimore) in spring of 1961, and after moving west to Frederick in 1966 and then farther west to Hagerstown in 1970, we lived in Maryland until we moved to the Pacific Northwest in the spring of 1975. 

Although my wife and I are native Pennsylvanians, and we’ve lived in Washington state for more than 43 years, Maryland remains a special place to us, and we always feel a great sense of nostalgia when we visit.

This is by way of saying how horrible we’ve felt about the tragic death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair, and the resulting atmosphere of irresponsibility and bumbling incompetence displayed by the University of Maryland.

Jordan McNair died back in June, some two weeks after suffering heatstroke during an off-season team workout.  By most accounts, the severity of his condition was not immediately acknowledged and treated appropriately.

Further investigation into the matter indicated that there was a lot of unhealthiness (“toxicity” seems to be the word of the day)  in the Maryland program.  The strength coach who was in charge of the workout was fired. And was paid $300,000 to go away.

I’m not able to do a thorough job of providing a timeline, so I won’t try.  The Baltimore Sun has done a great job, and I’ve attached a link to it at the end of this article.

Meanwhile, this story continues to grow - and to grow weirder.

The Coach, D.J. Durkin, had been on suspension, but he was reinstated. GIven his job back.

The University President had wanted to fire the coach but he was overruled by the Board of Regents, which is appointed by the Governor. The President seemed to go along, but announced he would be retiring next summer.

Just 24 hours later, Durkin was fired. By the President.

When the news broke that he would be returning, there was such an uproar from so many different directions - including Jordan McNair’s parents (his father said he felt as if he’d been “spit in the face”), students and faculty and deans and, finally,  the Governor himself - that the President went ahead and defied the Board of Regents and fired Durkin.

At Durkin’s first meeting with the team on his return, two or three players got up and left.

At Tuesday’s practice, the first that Durkin attended, there was a fight.  The Maryland team has actually played well under its interim coach, Matt Canada. But Durkin’s return yesterday appears to have revealed a schism on the team between Durkin detractors and Durkin supporters. Good luck with that, Coach Canada.

Anyhow, Durkin is gone. Amazingly,  he will be paid some $5.5 million due him for the remainder of his contract, since - for some reason unfathomable to me - he wasn’t fired “for cause.”  He was just “bought out,” as if he simply hadn’t won enough games.

Jordan McNair’s parents rather early announced their intention to sue.  The University, to its credit,  did the right thing and acknowledged, back in August, that it would accept “legal and moral responsibility” for Jordan’s death.  But then, defying all logic, the Board of Regents raised temperatures - and the cost of settlement - by reinstating the coach whom Jordan McNair’s parents blame for their son’s death. 

On Thursday came word that the University of Maryland’s accreditation could be in jeopardy.  This matters because accreditation of an institution is required in order for students to be eligible for federal student loans, and according to the Department of Education, roughly one-third of Maryland’s students receive federal loans.

Personally, I think the disastrous decision to return Durkin to the job would never have been made if there had been just one person on that Board of Regents with an ounce of understanding of how big-time sports works, and what an impossible time Maryland’s football staff would have had trying to convince parents - especially single mothers - to entrust their kids to them.

There's no easy way for me to say this:  if I were selected to serve on a jury - fat chance, as I do have some knowledge of the issue and some strong feelings - you would have a hell of a job trying to convince me that Jordan McNair wasn’t allowed to die, as a result of the liability of people in the school’s athletic department whose responsibility was his safety.

THE BALTIMORE SUN’S “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW”:

https://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/terps/tracking-the-terps/bs-md-umd-football-scandal-faq-20180813-story.html

*********** On one TV we had the Temple-UCF game. Absolutely riveting. On the other, I took a look at Raiders-49ers.  It was 31-3 - the sort of  ho-hum game you'd have to pay me to watch. How bad are things in the NFL when they keep tampering with the game in hopes of juicing up the offense but so many of the teams are in need of resuscitation? (Oh, well.  If the Raiders keep on like this, I'm sure some city will have them. And Gruden can always go back to being a TV expert.  Or has he blown his cover?)

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL WORTH WATCHING THIS WEEKEND:

FRIDAY GAME: Colorado at Arizona - Is Arizona (now 3-3 in conference) finally coming together? Are they as good as they looked against Oregon last week? Did Colorado (now 2-3) really lose to Oregon State last week?

SATURDAY GAMES:

NEBRASKA AT OHIO STATE: Just kidding.  This probably won’t be worth watching for long, but I can hope.

MICHIGAN STATE AT MARYLAND: Believe it or not, Maryland would be bowl-eligible with a win. But will Maryland be able to field 11 players who can get along?  Will the anticipation of something weird happening keep people away?  Or draw a crowd?

AIR FORCE AT ARMY: Air Force is 3-5, but three of their losses were by less than a touchdown and the Zoomies haven’t been beaten badly by anyone.  They’ve already beaten Navy - badly - and if they win, they also win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.  So Go Army!

GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY: Biggest game in Lexington in years. This one is for all the marbles - and the right to get beaten by Alabama in the SEC championship game.

WEST VIRGINIA AT TEXAS: For some reason, the ‘eers don’t get a lot of love from the guys who do the ranking, even though they’ve lost only once. Can’t say they don’t “control their destiny” : they end the season in Morgantown against Oklahoma.

IOWA AT PURDUE: Neither one has better than an outside shot at a spot in the title game,
because they’re both 2 games behind Northwestern in conference standings. But I’ll watch.

KANSAS STATE AT TCU: I’ll watch this one for reasons that I explain below.

PENN STATE AT MICHIGAN: Okay, okay.  This week I’m back to being a Penn State fan. But I would root for Harbaugh if he were playing ISIS.

UTAH AT ARIZONA STATE: Utah is in the lead for the South spot in the Pac-12 title game.

DUKE AT MIAMI: GO DEVILS!

NOTRE DAME AT NORTHWESTERN: Time for the Irish  to go earn their bowl money like all the conference guys.
 
UCLA AT OREGON: Chip Kelly returns to Eugene.  Do the Ducks have any fight left in them?

ALABAMA AT LSU: LSU has more quality wins than any team in America.  I will be rooting for the Tigers to pick up one more.  But I’m a realist.

OKLAHOMA AT TEXAS TECH: Ought to be a good game. Texas Tech lost a tough one to Iowa State last week, but they’re capable of beating the Sooners. Not going to happen, though.  I think Oklahoma is a playoff team.

STANFORD AT WASHINGTON: Hard to say, after UW’s inexplicable benching of starting QB Jake Browning last week.  Stanford almost beat Washington State last week. If Washington wins, and then goes on to beat Washington State, the Huskies would go to the Pac-12 title game.

USC AT OREGON STATE: After the Beavs beat Colorado last week, is two in a row asking for too much?

BYU AT BOISE STATE: Sorry, Cougars.  Boise State might be the best non-Power 5 team.

CAL AT WASHINGTON STATE: Is THIS the week that they “Coug it?”  Nah.  The Cougars are good.

UTAH STATE AT HAWAII:  Utah State isn’t getting enough credit, but they’re 7-1 and their only loss was at Michigan State, 38-31 in their opener.

***********   On Tuesday morning,  Giants’ backup QB Kyle Lauletta was arrested in Weehawken, New Jersey while on his way to practice,  for “various motor vehicle and related disorderly persons offenses” including “eluding police, a third-degree crime, obstructing administration of law, and resisting arrest, which are disorderly persons offenses.”

Aditional charges included “reckless driving, disregarding an officer’s directions, improper turn in a marked traffic lane, and failure to remain in a marked lane.”
The official Weehawken Police Department statement said that Lauletta was driving in a dangerous manner in heavy traffic and almost struck an officer with his 2017 Jaguar.   In addition, Lauletta refused various instructions to produce his driving credentials and exit his vehicle.

Oh,  and evidently he had made the same illegal turn a day earlier.

If you like your irony:   the Giants were rumored to be on the verge of taking the car keys away from Eli Manning and giving them to Mr. Laudetta.   So much for that bright idea.

So there was Kyle Lauletta, a young white guy, driving a 2017 Jaguar.  He commits a few traffic violations, after which he refuses “various instructions to produce his driving credentials and exit his vehicle.”

Coupla questions about young Mr. Lauletta:

1. Who is it that’s been teaching our young people - white and black - not to cooperate with law enforcement?

2. Would it have made the social justice people feel any better if the police had roughed him up a bit?

*********** You have no idea how many times I have heard variations on this theme…

Coach Wyatt,

Our team finished with a 4-5 record this season.  To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement.  I struggled this season feeling like the Head Coach was not supportive of my wishes in running the Double Wing Offense. 

To begin with I was told we needed to run the offense using splits.  I was told that was non negotiable, so I scrapped most of the plans I had for the season.

I was then told we would have a new O-line coach who had coached last year at a big school that ran the spread offense.  It was clear to me that he had no clue about nor did he believe in the Double wing offense, or wing T offense for that matter.  So basically every day, board drills, hands blocking, you know the rest.

What was really frustrating to me was that we knew we would struggle this year with our line as we were undersized and inexperienced.  I even asked at one point if I could coach the line and was told no.

As bad as it was, we still managed to rush for over 2000 yards and scored in every game. 

Our defense was horrible as we decided to run a 3 man front  stack defense in a predominantly run oriented league.  My suggestions were ignored all season about the defense.

I haven't resigned yet.  But I am considering it. 

Coach,

To say that I’m disappointed to hear of your experience would be an understatement.

That someone with your knowledge and experience, someone who has done as much for that program as you have, would be treated with such disrespect is disheartening.

At the same time, though, it teaches me - teaches us both - that human nature will not change.  Very few are the coaches who are intelligent enough, and secure enough, to listen and learn from someone else’s experience.

Something you didn’t mention but which I’m willing to bet on, is that somehow the disappointing season is going to be blamed on you.

Buck up.  There has to be another program in the area that will appreciate what you can do for them.

Thanks for the update and keep me posted.



*********** If you’ve seen any of the mid-week Mid-American Conference games, you’ve seen the near-empty stands.  It’s impossible to hide them from viewers. You get the impression that they’re paying people NOT to attend.

These are pretty good teams, most of them, playing in  important games, some of them, and playing an entertaining brand of football, all of them.  But no matter.  It’s Tuesday night in Bowling Green, or Wednesday night in Toledo, and the football game just isn’t the event that a Saturday afternoon game is.  Besides, it’s late fall, and it gets colder at night.

My question: do the conference members really think that whatever pittance they’re receiving from ESPN… whatever “exposure” they’re getting from being on TV… are worth discarding a major part of the college football tradition in return?

So while we sat there in our warm, comfortable living rooms, watching the MAC on TV this past week -  there is just one single MAC game this Saturday afternoon.  It’s Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan.  Uh-oh.  I saw the “crowd” when Army played at Eastern last Saturday afternoon. 

Never mind.

With its decision to sell its soul to TV, and the resultant drop-offs in live game attendance - a phenomenon that’s begun to affect bigger schools as well -  the MAC may be giving us a look at the future of college football.

*********** I thought the voice on the Toledo-Ball State game Wednesday night sounded familiar.  Thought it sounded like Desmond Howard.  Turned out it was.

Damn, it’s one thing to hear him engaging in conversation on Game Day, but Heisman Trophy or not, that diction of his is hard to listen to on a game broadcast.

*********** I heard some guy on TV - no doubt one of these under-30 geniuses who think that they didn’t start playing football until, oh, the year 2000 or so - say this:

“This (this coming Saturday’s game against Georgia) will be the biggest game in the history of Kentucky football.”

Well, Einstein, nobody expects you to know that a fella named Bryant - first name Paul, but most folks called him “Bear” - once coached at Kentucky, from 1946 through 1953.

During one three-year spell, from 1949 through 1951, he took the Wildcats to three straight bowls. There were no “major” bowls then - there were only the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Gator and Sun Bowls.  That was it.  An awful lot of good teams stayed home back in those days.

Coach Bryant’s 1950 team went 11-1 and went to the Sugar Bowl.

Think they didn’t play any big games?  They beat LSU, Ole Miss,  Florida, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State. Their only loss was to Tennessee, but that’s another story.  If you don’t know your football history, it’s because even good Kentucky teams have always had trouble beating Tennessee. It’s a lot like the way the late Beano Cook once explained why he predicted that Penn State would beat Maryland: “Because Penn State ALWAYS beats Maryland.”

Oh - and behind their All-American QB, Babe Parilli,  they beat Oklahoma, 13-7 in the Sugar Bowl.  That was 10-1 Oklahoma’s only loss and it ended the Sooner’s 32-game win streak.   82,000 people were at the game in the old Sugar Bowl (Tulane) Stadium. 

THAT was a big game.

Yes, the Georgia game Saturday will be a big game for Kentucky football.  But the biggest ever?  Nah.  Maybe the biggest since Bear Bryant coached there.  I’ll give you that.

*********** Looks as though the folks in Kentucky like their Aussie punter!

https://twitter.com/max__duffy/status/1056343449195163655?s=21

*********** Hugh,
 
I agree with you.  Northwestern has what it takes to beat the Irish.  ND has not yet convinced me after their performance against Navy (and most of their opponents) that they are worthy of the playoffs.  I could be wrong.  This week's game will say a lot about what kind of team the Irish are.

I was wrong about the Fresno State-Hawaii game.  The Bulldogs season will be defined in the next two weeks vs. San Diego State and Boise State.

I thought for sure Minnesota was going down vs. Indiana.  But...those young Gophers showed great resilience and pulled out the victory.  In my opinion the backup red-shirt freshman QB the Gophers have is better than their true freshman QB who was injured.  But it still is good news for Minnesota's future.

Nice to hear that Greg and Pete continue their winning ways.  Best of luck to both.

Have a great day!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Some time ago I wrote that the Bill Snyder era wasn’t going to end well.  Coach Snyder, whose remarkable job of turning around the woebegone Kansas State program - twice - has been called by no less an authority than Barry Switzer “the greatest job of coaching in the history of college football,” is not a young man.  Even if his Wildcats were having a great season, the subject of his succession would be wearing heavy on K-State people. 

The problem originates with his insistence that his son, Sean, succeed him.  Otherwise, he isn’t going anywhere.

The Cat Pack is divided.  There are those who believe that after what Coach Snyder has done for Kansas State, he has earned the the right to turn his job over to anyone he wishes.

There are others who argue that Sean Snyder (whom I have met and found to be a very good man) is not qualified, having never been a head coach or a coordinator.

Unfortunately, the Cats are not having a great season.  Not even a good season.  They’re having a bad season, and the future doesn’t look promising.

What to do?  K-State has already lost some good assistants who got tired of waiting for things to work out.  One potential replacement, former K-State assistant Jim Leavitt, has the qualifiations. He did a great job of building the program at South Florida, and he’s bided his time as DC at Colorado and now Oregon.  He’s highly paid at Oregon, but his contract stipulates that he can be released if he’s offered the head coaching job at Kansas State.

But to compllicate things further, Oregon has not been playing well lately, either.  And that includes its defense.


Writes Tim Fitzgerald in GoPowercat.com, The Time has Come.

Saturday’s game was a mismatch, a rout that the score did not honestly reflect because OU coach Lincoln Riley called off his potent offense, electing not to pummel the literally defenseless Wildcats into utter humiliation.

K-State looked much closer to the feeble program Snyder took over in 1989 than the one he built into a power that won a pair of Big 12 championships. The last one came in 2012, and six seasons later the slow erosion is obvious. Snyder’s castle is collapsing in decay.

https://247sports.com/college/kansas-state/Article/Kansas-State-football-Bill-Snyder-2018-retire-retirement-after-loss-to-Oklahoma-2018-123935038/


*********** While most of you back East have fallen asleep on Saturday nights, Washington State’s Gardner Minshew, is establishing himself as a Heisman Trophy runnerup. 

Heisman Runnerup is about all a West Coast player can aspire to, because with the exception of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, no non-USC player has won the Heisman since Jim Plunkett of Stanford won in it 1970.  In fact, it’s been since 2005 when a USC player last won it - and that was Reggie Bush, who had to return it because he was being paid more than most other Heisman winners would ever admit.

In high school, in Brandon, MIssissippi,  MInshew threw for 11,222 yards and 105 touchdowns in the state’s top classification. He was also a 4.0 student.

After going to Troy University for six months, realizing he wasn’t going to beat out the starter, he transferred to Northwest Mississippi Community College and led it to the 2015 National Junior College Athletic Association title.

He then transferred to East Carolina, where he shared the quarterback job.  He got his degree in December, and with a year of eligibility remaining and the ability to transfer and play immediately, he committed to Alabama.  Although  the Crimson Tide had Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts returning at quarterback, Minshew thought Alabama offered him a great chance to learn the game.

Then Mike Leach called and, the story goes,  said something like this: “Hey, you want to come lead the country in passing?”

That evidently sounded good to Minshew, so he cancelled out on Alabama, and  headed to an unlikely place for a kid from Mississippi - Pullman, Washington.

Since he didn’t arrive until after spring practice, he started out in the fall as the number three quarterback.

But by the opening game he was the starter, and after eight games, his stats are eye-popping:

294 completions in 414 attempts - 71 per cent completions… 7.7 yards per attempt… 26 TDs… 6 INTs… 6 sacks…

A Passer rating of 153.4

And, best of all - if any Heisman voter is reading - a 7-1 team record.


*********** A lot of you may not be old enough to remember this great American Express commercial, done back in pre-PC days…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8do9Y1rwQeA&feature=youtu.be

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Bowden Wyatt is one of only three men to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and also as a coach (The others: Amos Alonzo Stagg and Bobby Dodd).

A single wing coach all the way, in the span of just eight years he won conference championships with three different teams, and was named Coach of the Year in three different conferences.

A native of Kingston, Tennessee, not far from Knoxville, he played at Tennessee under  General Bob Neyland.  He started every game for three years, during which time the Vols were 23-5-3, and in his senior year, 1938, he was a consensus All-American end and captain of a Tennessee team that went 11-0. The Vols went to the Orange Bowl his senior year - the first bowl game that Tennessee ever played in - and defeated Oklahoma.

After graduating from college, he coached at Mississippi State for three years, then served as an officer in the Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he spent one more season at Mississippi State before landing the head coaching job at Wyoming.

Patterning his game after that of General Neyland, he coached the Cowboys to a  39-17-1 record in six years.  In 1949 the Cowboys went 9-1 and in 1950 they went 10-0, including a Gator Bowl win, and were ranked 12th in the AP poll. He was named Skyline Conference Coach of the Year.

In 1953 he took over a sorry Arkansas program, one that hadn’t had a wining season since 1947, and by October of his second year, 1954, his Hogs were the talk of the country.  The “25 Little Pigs” were unbeaten after knocking off Texas and Ole Miss on consecutive Saturdays.  They did eventually lose three, including a loss to Georgia Tech in the Cotton Bowl, but they won the Southwest Conference championship. Their 8-3 finish earned him Southwest Conference Coach of the Year honors, a new car - courtesy of the boosters - and an offer to be the head coach at his alma mater.

Just as Bear Bryant would leave Texas A & M for Alabama a few years later because “Mama called,”  he couldn’t turn his alma mater down. He took the Tennessee job, and in his second year at Knoxville, the Vols went 10-1, going unbeaten in the SEC and losing only to Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.  He was named SEC and AFCA Coach of the Year.

But in his final five seasons at Tennessee, his teams went 25-22-3 and he was let go, one game short of his 100th career win.

His overall record at Wyoming, Arkansas and Tennessee was 99-56-1.

He died of viral pneumonia in 1969.  He was just 51.

So far as I can determine, we are not kin.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BOWDEN WYATT

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


*********** Courtesy of Adam Wesoloski

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IxNfKpC2jo

*********** QUIZ: A native of Humboldt, Tennessee, he played  under General Neyland at Tennessee and following graduation he joined the staff at Tennessee. After a three-year time out for World War II service, he returned to  Tennessee and served through 1948.

He believed that the future of football lay with the T-formation, and knowing that General Neyland was committed to running the single wing, he believed that in the best interest of his chances of getting a head coaching job, he needed to learn more about the new offensive system that was sweeping the game.

He couldn’t have chosen a better place to learn it than from a coach who had won three national championships in the past five years - Earl Blaik at Army.

In 1949 he was hired by Blaik to coach the line.  He succeeded Sid Gillman, who had left to become head coach at Cincinnati. Along with him, Gillman had taken a young assistant, one who had played under him at Miami of Ohio, named Paul Dietzel. Joining the Army staff that same year was a new backfield coach named Vince Lombardi.

Following the 1951 season, he was offered the head coaching job at Mississippi State.  To install the split-T offense that was winning championships at Maryland and Oklahoma, he brought in as an assistant a former Oklahoma quarterback named Darrell Royal.

In 1954 he was offered the head coaching job at Minnesota. Prior to World War II, the Gophers had won or shared five national championships and six Big Ten championships, but in the years since, Minnesota football had declined.

He started out well. He finished with a  7-2 record in his first season, then dropping to 3-6 but rebounding to 6-1-2 in his second. But that was followed by a three-year dry spell (4-5, 1-8, 2-7) from 1957 to 1959, and Minnesota fans and boosters were calling for his head.

But along came 1960, and his Gophers swept through the 1960 season with an 8-1 record.  They were named national champions, and he was named Coach of the Year.

Winning the Big Ten title earned Minnesota a spot in the Rose Bowl but in anticlimactic fashion, after having already been named National Champion,  they lost to Washington, 17-7.

The next year, though, they atoned for the Rose Bowl loss, defeating UCLA 21-3.

In his 18 years at Minnesota, his teams won 87 games, lost 78 and tied seven times.  In a time when teams played nine-game schedules, three of his teams won eight games.

At a time when the entire Big Ten was limited to just one bowl game a year, he took two of his teams to the Rose Bowl.  Five of his teams finished either first or second in the Big Ten.   Four of his teams were ranked in the Top Ten; seven of his teams were ranked in the Top 20. 

If he were known for nothing else, it ought to be his willingness to break color barriers by recruiting black athletes when other major college schools were still reluctant to do so.  Some of the better known black players he recruited to Minnesota were Sandy Stephens and Bill Munsey, from Uniontown, Pennsylvania,  Bobby Bell from Shelby, North Carolina, and Carl Eller from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 30,  2018 - “Young men think old men are fools; but old men know young men are fools.”  George Chapman

COLLEGE FOOTBALL ON THE TUBE LAST SATURDAY

*********** EASTERN MICHIGAN VS ARMY - Eastern Michigan’s field is a slate gray.  It looks like a fuzzy parking lot. Maybe that’s what kept the crowd down to what I expect to see at an 8-man high school game.

Can’t imagine how Eastern beat Purdue earlier in the season.  They are very undisciplined - and that includes the coaches.

They had five personal fouls or unsportmanlike conduct penalties, three of them after the play was over.

Damned if they didn’t pick up two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the same play - half the distance followed by half the distance.  One of them was on the “assistant head coach.”  Lemme tell you something, fellas - if you’re an assistant, stay back and stay out of it! It’s bad enough for the head coach to pick up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but it’s absolutely unthinkable - an inexcusable intrusion on the head coach’s business - for an assistant coach to get one. 

Eastern didn’t have a first down in the entire first half.

For some reason, otherwise-effective passers seem to lose their accuracy against Army.  Could the Army defensive guys be operating some sort of top-secret, hand-held anti-missile device from up in the press box?

An Eastern Michigan defensive lineman was called for defensive holding, and damned if replay didn’t show him pulling down an Army offensive lineman by his jersey.

Army had a backup crew of announcers. You could tell they were because they didn’t get the official memo from headquarters: not once did they say “Army West Point” or “Hopkins, Junior.”  One of them was a former NFL lineman named Ross Tucker.  For a Princeton guy, he was pretty good.

After the game - a 37-22 Army win - some Eastern guy named “McGILL JR” came over to Army’s QB, Kelvin Hopkins, and got in his face and started jawing at him.  Very classy.

*********** Navy isn’t good enough to beat Notre Dame, but Northwestern definitely is.

*********** A kid named Rocky Lombardi got the start at QB for Michigan State.  Did a nice job.  Purdue was flat, MSU was fired up.

*********** It doesn’t appear that Mississippi State has a QB controversy after all.   Nick Fitzgerald is still the man.

*********** For the first time in a few years, Florida-Georgia was a game.  For a while. But Florida isn’t ready yet.

*********** Is it time to take Kentucky seriously yet?

*********** Houston sure took the wind out of South Florida's sails.

*********** San Diego State has only one loss - to Stanford; Fresno State has lost only to Minnesota; Utah State has lost only to Michigan State; Boise State may be the best of them all - but the Broncos have lost twice - not only to Oklahoma state but also to San Diego State.

*********** I saw three real, honest-to-God quarterback sneaks this weekend  - with the fullback pushing on the QB - and they all worked: for Michigan State, Army, and Oklahoma State.

But wait - there was a fourth, if you believe the ignoramuses at the AP.  That's what they called it in their stories on Sunday. It was the play that Oregon State’s Jack Colletto scored on  to beat Colorado in OT. But he wasn’t under center.  Looked more like an old-fashioned single wing tailback off tackle play to me. Are you telling me that these jackasses who've turned tailbacks into quarterbacks are now going to turn an off-tackle run into a quarterback sneak? (Ahem. Jack Colletto is from Camas, the town I live in; his dad, Bert, played for me in 1980 at Hudson’s Bay High in Vancouver, Washington. He was a really good football player who went on to play at Eastern Washington.)

COLLETTO QB SNEAK

********** The TV networks need to have a “Mercy Rule” when blowout games go extra long while the game we’ve been waiting to watch has already started. Sheesh. Clemson was winning 59-3 with 6:51 to play - and they were throwing!!!  The only thing that made it bearable was that it was against Florida State and Willie Taggart.

*********** Speaking of Willie Taggart… FSU suffered its worst loss ever, since the days when it first admitted men (it was originally an all-female school) and then took up football.  In the post-game press conference Taggart implied that there were some quitters on his team.  Hmmm. Would a job-hopping coach be a quitter?

*********** Iowa State, leading 33-31, sees nobody in the middle of the field and throws a post, good for a 49-yard touchdown.  Texas Tech drives but with 1:51 throws an interception.  The TT QB stands there with his palms up instead of going after the return man.

*********** Iowa led Penn State early, 5-0.  How often do you see that score?

*********** I tuned in Kansas-TCU to see how the new TCU QB was doing and there it is the second quarter and Kansas is still winning. (7-3)

*********** I think if a QB wants to run he has to be considered a real football player, with none of this sliding sh—, and defenders not sure whether or not to hit him.  If he wants to slide, by all means let him do so - but no more of this getting the first down and then sliding. Instead, once the ball is dead, spot it five yards back from the start of the slide. (I would actually start the negotiating at 10 yards, but I’d settle for five.)

*********** Iowa used a hard count and got Penn State to jump on 4th and one.  Another reason for having a QB under center.

*********** Watching two or more TVs - and only listening to one of them - makes you aware that TV networks could do a much better job on their graphics.  Who was the ball carrier? How much did he gain? 

*********** Holy sh—! Kansas 14, TCU 10 in the third quarter!

*********** Iowa, going for a field goal just before the half, screws around with the signals and the ball is snapped too soon. Penn State recovers and puts on a drive and kicks a field goal of its own. A six-point turnaround.

*********** Kirk Ferentz is now #5 among all Big Ten coaches in conference wins, after Hayes, Stagg, Schembechler and Paterno (assuming the NCAA hasn’t yet erased Joe Paterno’s wins from the Big Ten’s book).

*********** Penn State’s Trace McSorley, taken out of the game earlier with a leg injury, comes back in and runs a 51-yard keeper for a TD. Penn State leads, 24-17.

*********** USC had been leading the whole game, when Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry pulled off an all-time great punt return and the Sun Devils went ahead, 31-28.

*********** Oregon State, after being blown out by Colorado 31-8, scored again to make it 31-28.

*********** TCU, down 27-24, drives to the Kansas 7 yard line with 1:11 left - and fumbles.  Kansas recovers and runs the clock down to 7 seconds, then takes a safety, leaving one second on the clock.  Time runs out on the free kick and Kansas has its first win over TCU since 1997.

*********** Washington takes the field against Cal with fruity-looking purpley helmets, the bright idea, no doubt, of some flit at Nike.

*********** Oregon State scores with :29 left to tie the score at 34-34.  And then THE DAMN KICKER MISSES THE EXTRA POINT!!!  We’re headed for overtime.

*********** Arizona State, up 31-28 on USC, calls a QB keeper on 3rd and 1 and it’s good for  a long TD. Final: ASU, 38-28.  I believe I’ve already said this, but just in case I haven’t - Herm Edwards is putting a well-coached football team on the field.  I still think he’s a blowhard, but I have to give him credit where it’s due.

*********** MIchigan State is definitely good enough to beat Ohio State.

*********** Iowa was driving with 3:15 left when the QB threw an interception.  Actually, it looked like a sure completion but a shallow receiver appeared to let the ball go past him, perhaps thinking it was intended for a deeper receiver. Instead, it landed in the arms of a Penn State defender.  Game over.

*********** Oregon State scores in OT, then stops Colorado, ending the Beavers’ 13-game conference losing streak - and their 22-game road losing streak.

*********** Halftime, Oklahoma State 31, Texas 14. Wow.

*********** Cal scores only one TD, and it’s on an interception return, after Washington mystifyingly replaces its starting QB.  But one’s enough, and Cal wins.  Washington looks flat and uninterested.

Said Huskies’ coach Chris Peterson afterward, “Obviously painful. Painful on offense. Let me start by saying: Pulling Jake (Browning) out, that had more to do with me trying to do something to help this offense way more than it did with Jake. Jake is a competitor. Jake does everything we ask. But, you know, we got to try help this offense out somehow, someway…”

Well, Coach, since you brought it up:  what about a real fullback?  A couple of tight ends?  An off-tackle play?

(I have yet to hear back from them on my suggestion that they stop playing patty-cake on offense and start playing physical football.)

*********** Stanford finally finds an offense and gives Washington State all it wants, but ultimately it’s not enough. Stanford receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside is as good a receiver as there is anywhere.

*********** Oklahoma State takes a knee but a Texas defensive end with a wildass mane of hair and an attitude decides he’s going to go hard, and it nearly starts a brawl.  For a moment it looks as if the two coaches will get into it, but they kiss and make up at midfield afterwards.

That kid down on the field afterwards? The one in the middle of the crowd? The one in the orange tee-shirt?  That was my grandson, Mike Tiffany. 

*********** Washington State wins and Mike Leach says of his QB, Gardner Minshew, “I think he’s the best quarterback in the country.”

He might be right, now that it’s obviously not Oregon’s Josh Herbert.  Herbert, with no running game to take the heat off him, wasn’t at all sharp, and the Arizona Wildcats hammered the Ducks.

To be frank, the Ducks looked as if their season ended last week in Pullman.  Their old coach, Willie Taggart, was a continent away, calling his players quitters.  If he’d stayed at Oregon, he might have been saying the same thing Saturday night.

*********** You could have made a lot of money betting on the underdogs in the Pac-12 Saturday.  (Utah played UCLA on Friday night.)

All five games were upsets:
Oregon State over Colorado
Cal over Washington
Arizona State over USC
Arizona over Oregon
Washington State over Stanford

*********** It would take quite a bit of digging for find out, but I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1975 and I sure can’t remember a Saturday when Oregon and Washington both lost and Oregon State and Washington State both won.

*********** Syracuse beat NC State in the Dome, and the Orange is bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.  Syracuse QB Eric Dungy is an Oregon kid.

*********** A bank of lights went out in Fresno and they sent the teams inside.  Not sure why.  We could see fine on TV.  Maybe somebody saw the word “lighting” problems and  read “lightning” problems.  No matter.  Fresno beat Hawaii handily.  Get this: Washington State is the only Pac-12 team in the Top 25 this week.  But Fresno State is in there. In other words, the Bulldogs outrank 11 of the 12 Pac-12 schools.

*********** NFL miscellany….

Jameis Winston may be the face of the Bucs’ franchise, but Ryan Fitapatrick is the better QB, and he damn near pulled out a win yesterday. 

I really think that the nightclub “brawl” in London started when the four Jaguars’ players found out they were actually expected to pay their entire $64,000 tab - that they weren’t being comped all those $500 bottles of champagne simply because they were star athletes.

Without all the Packer fans in attendance, the Rams, as good as they are, would have had half the crowd they did.

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

I also hope Northwestern can pull off a win against Wisconsin for "personal" reasons.  Go Gophers!

Would like to see Minnesota vs. Indiana tonight but I'll be watching a flag football game instead.
Go Gophers!

Hawaii will give Fresno State a battle.  Should be a good one to watch!  Go Bulldogs!

We spent last weekend in Denver.  You could say we smelled a "Rocky Mountain High" all three days we were there.

Pop Warner was way ahead of his time, and why he is still considered one of the great football coaching minds of all time.

I can vouch for that long-time DW coach and what he says.  As the former HC here we ran the DW and won.  Something that had not been done in the previous 5 years of the school's existence.  After I stepped down the new HC abandoned the DW for the "Air Raid" offense.  They went 3-7.  After that coach stepped down the next HC abandoned the Air Raid for the Spread Option.  They went Ofer.  Those last two years may have killed the football program.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** The Double Wing rolls…

Pete Porcelli, who for five years had been head coach at Hoosic Valley High in the nearly-unpronounceable town of Schaghticoke, New York -  north of Albany -  hung it up after last season.

He’d had a good run - three straight playoff spots at a school that was seriously considering dropping football before he took over.

And then he wrote me to say that he was back in the saddle.   He’d reconsidered, and he’d rescinded his resignation. 

After the first three games, though, he had to have some second thoughts.  His kids were 0-3.

He didn’t panic - he’d been in the same spot last year.  He stayed the course, and his kids kept getting better.

And they began to win, And win.  Now, they’ve won six straight, defeating Whitehall in the Super Bowl semi-final, 22-7.

In next week’s final, they’ll face Warrensburg (7-1). It ought to be VERY interesting - Warrensburg beat them, 34-14 in week two.

Don’t bet against Hoosic Valley:  Whitehall, the team they just beat 22-7, beat them 40-20 back in week three.

*********** The Double Wing rolls… In his second year at Cimarron, Kansas, Coach Greg Koenig has the program on the move.

His Blue Jays are now 8-1, their only loss coming in the opening game after a lightning-caused cancellation when they trailed, 27-20 early in the fourth quarter.

Since then, though, the Blue Jays have run off eight straight. Seven of them were by large margins, including Friday night’s opening-round 52-14 playoff win over Ellsworth.

It was Cimarron’s first playoff win since 1998, and the first time since 2004 that a Cimarron team has won more than seven games in a season

Cimarron made short work of things, leading Ellsworth 22-0 after one quarter and 30-0 at the half.  Ellsworth’s two scores came in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore A-Back Tate Seabolt carried 36 times for 183 yards and two TDs.

Next up: Hoisington (7-2), a 38-13 first-round winner over Sterling.  Cimarron beat Sterling earlier in the season, 74-19.    Hoisington beat  Ellsworth, Cimarron's first-round victim,  48-14.


*********** The Double Wing rolls…

Coach,

Our regular season is done. We used to be called the Junior pride. Now we are the Hornets. We went from 1-8 last year to 7-1. Complete turn around in 1 year. We went from worst offense to number 2 in one year if installing the DW. We have a Bye in first round of playoffs. Our only loss was to the number 1 team. This was achieved using only the following plays. Super Power, Counter, Wedge, reach (we have a 100 meter dash champion) and Brown/Black pass. We once in a while run Criss Cross Counter.

You can use us as a testimonial. We used your new book to educate coaches and implement.

John Coelho
Turlock, California
john coelho standings


Coach,

I appreciate the update and the offer to be a testimonial.

My congratulations to you, your players and your staff.  I’m certainly proud of the job you did and the results that you achieved.  

Best of luck in the playoffs!


*********** The Open Wing rolls…

Cole Shaffer, a former player for me in LaCenter, Washington, and a former assistant of mine at Washougal, Washington, now lives in Northern Colorado, where he owns and runs several NAPA stores. He’s just finishing his first season as a youth coach, running my Open Wing offense, and he sent me this update…

Hi Coach,

Well it was a battle, but we won our semi-final playoff game 13-6. They played us tough and we struggled to move the ball continuously, but we finally broke a 6-G Keep that got us down to the 5. Then I told our kids that we needed the wedge of our lives. You see, the team we were playing has a Nose Tackle that outweighs most everyone on our line by 50 pounds. But as you can see in the photo below, the kids did run the wedge of their lives and we drove the big kid all the way into the end zone for the game winning TD.

It's been a tremendous run, and we have one more game to go. We play the Northern Warriors again, the only team we haven't beat. But our defense is playing the best it has all year, and we have a great game plan on offense. Should be fun. Win or lose, I couldn't be more proud to have the smallest (in numbers and size) team in the league and be headed to the Championship.

So much fun, thanks as always for you help!!

(That’s Coach Shaffer’s team in red. Whether open Wingers or Double Wingers,  readers will recognize the Wedge in the photo below!)

Cole shaffer wedge


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER:  The son of a Polish-immigrant coal miner, Dick Modzelewski (Mod-jel-EFF-ski) was a native of Natrona Heights, in western Pennsylvania, and a three-sport star at Har-Brack High.

He played with his older brother, Ed, on Jim Tatum’s powerful Maryland teams of the early 1950s.

Although at 6 foot, 215, Ed was the smaller of the two,  Ed had already made a name for himself at Maryland as a powerful runner - that name was “Big Mo,” a takeoff on the nickname of the famed World War II battleship, the USS Missouri.  When Dick arrived, although he outweighed Ed by at least 30 pounds, he was dubbed, half-jokingly, “Little Mo.”

During his three years of eligibility, the Terps went 24-4-1, including a 22-game win streak. In the 1951 Sugar Bowl, the third-ranked Terps defeated previously unbeaten (and already-crowned national Champion) Tennessee, 28-13. (Big Mo gained 153 yards and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.)

In 1952 he was a consensus All-American, and he won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman.

A second-round draft choice of the Redskins, he played with four teams during his career: Redskins, Steelers, Giants and Browns.  His best years (1956-1963) were spent on the front line - along with Roosevelt Grier, Jim Katkavage and Andy Robustelli - of the great New York Giants’ defenses of Tom Landry.  Although future Hall-of-Famers Grier and Robustelli got more ink, he was a consistent solid performer in Landry’s scheme.

In 1964, he had the good fortune to be traded to Cleveland, and although intended as a backup on the defensive line, he wound up starting - on the last Browns’ team to win an NFL title.

Dick Modzelewski is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame.

He died last week.  He was 87.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DICK MODZELEWSKI

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
big mo and little mo
BIG MO (LEFT) AND LITTLE MO AT MARYLAND


*********** Ed Modzelewski’s obit - http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/terps/bs-sp-obit-modzelewski-20150301-story.html

*********** QUIZ - He is one of only three men to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player and also as a coach.

A single wing coach all the way, in the span of just eight years, he won conference championships with three different teams, and he was named Coach of the Year in three different conferences.

A native of Kingston, Tennessee, not far from Knoxville, he played at Tennessee under  General Bob Neyland.  He started every game for three years, during which time the Vols were 23-5-3, and in his senior year, 1938, he was a consensus All-American end and captain of a Tennessee team that went 11-0. The Vols went to the Orange Bowl his senior year - the first bowl game that Tennessee ever played in - and defeated Oklahoma.

After graduating from college, he coached at Mississippi State for three years, then served as an officer in the Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he spent one more season at Mississippi State before landing the head coaching job at Wyoming.

Patterning his game after that of General Neyland, he coached the Cowboys to a  39-17-1 record in six years.  In 1949 the Cowboys went 9-1 and in 1950 they went 10-0, including a Gator Bowl win, and were ranked 12th in the AP poll. He was named Skyline Conference Coach of the Year.

In 1953 he took over a sorry Arkansas program, one that hadn’t had a winning season since 1947, and by October of his second year, 1954, his Hogs were the talk of the country.  The “25 Little Pigs” were unbeaten after knocking off Texas and Ole Miss on consecutive Saturdays.  They did eventually lose three, including a loss to Georgia Tech in the Cotton Bowl, but they won the Southwest Conference championship. Their 8-3 finish earned him Southwest Conference Coach of the Year honors, a new car - courtesy of the boosters - and an offer to be the head coach at his alma mater.

Just as Bear Bryant would leave Texas A & M for Alabama a few years later because “Mama called,”  he couldn’t turn his alma mater down. He took the Tennessee job, and in his second year at Knoxville, the Vols went 10-1, going unbeaten in the SEC and losing only to Baylor in the Cotton Bowl.  He was named SEC and AFCA Coach of the Year.

But in his final five seasons at Tennessee, his teams went 25-22-3 and he was let go, one game short of his 100th career win.

His overall record at Wyoming, Arkansas and Tennessee was 99-56-1.

He died of viral pneumonia in 1969.  He was just 51.

So far as I can determine, we aren't kin.



american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 26,  2018 - “People who live inside higher education are masters of words, but not necessarily of clarity.”  Allan Guelzo, history professor, Gettysburg College

*********** Talk about good planning... How could Urban Meyer know, when they put this year's  schedule together,  that he’d be needing a BYE this week in order to recover from the ass kicking his Buckeyes received last week?

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES I’LL WATCH (OR RECORD AND WATCH)

FRIDAY GAMES:

INDIANA over Minnesota - Indiana is a one-point favorite.  When was the last time Indiana was a favorite against a Big Ten opponent?

UTAH over UCLA - UCLA has made a lot of progress, but not that much.  UTAH may be the best in the Pac-12 South.

HEY IVY LEAGUE - Why no game this week?

SATURDAY GAMES:

CLEMSON over Florida State.  Give it to them good, Tigers!

NORTHWESTERN over Wisconsin -  Wishful thinking. I like them both but a Northwestern win will help Iowa - and show that Northwestern could be strong enough to beat Notre Dame

WAKE FOREST at Lousville. Also wishful thinking. A real college against a minimum security football team.

ARMY over Eastern Michigan -  But only if they play better than they did last week against Miami (OH). Eastern is a one-point favorite. The game is at Eastern,  and this is not the old Eastern Michigan that couldn’t beat anybody.

PURDUE over Michigan State -  I really do think that Purdue is that good, but it’s hard to come right back with the kind of effort it required to beat Ohio State last week.

NEBRASKA over Bethune-Cookman - Had to put this one in there so I’d at least get one game right.  And I will check in from time to time.

VIRGINIA over North Carolina - Can’t get the ACC network but I’ll pull for the Wahoos (that’s the Cavaliers, if you didn’t know).

DUKE over Pitt - MIght get this on Watch ESPN. I like Pitt but Duke is family.

TCU over Kansas - I’ll check out the Frogs just to see if Michael Collins gets the start at QB.  Kid’s a three-time all-stater from New Canaan, Connecticut who transferred from Penn. Yes, Penn, as in Ivy League. 

COLORADO over Oregon State - I probably won’t stay with this one very long.

GEORGIA over Florida - I just don’t think Florida is ready to take this step just yet.

IOWA over Penn State - Penn State is a 7-point favorite.  I never thought I’d one day be rooting against Penn State but I tend to root for coaches and I like Kirk Ferentz and I’m beginning to dislike James Franklin.

SOUTH FLORIDA over Houston - Ought to be a good game.  Houston is favored but I'd like  USF and UCF to be unbeaten when they meet.

USC over Arizona State -  But only because it’s in the Coliseum.  USC QB J.T. Daniels may not play.

KENTUCKY over Missouri - Wildcats are a 7-point underdog, but this could turn out to be one of the best seasons in UK history.

WASHINGTON over Cal -  Cal has proven it can beat bad teams. But Washington is not a bad team.

WASHINGTON STATE over Stanford - Yes, yes, I know.  Cougin’ it.  But I’m not at all impressed with this Stanford team. If form holds, Wazzu could blow Stanford’s doors off.

MISSISSIPPI STATE over Texas A & M - Only because it’s in Starkville.  The Bulldogs have a QB controversy going,  It’ll be interesting to see who plays.

SYRACUSE over NC State - State has to be down after Clemson spanked them last week.  Syracuse will be tough to beat in the Dome.

BOISE STATE over Air Force - Beat ‘em up, Broncos. (Air Force plays at Army next Saturday.)

NOTRE DAME over Navy - This is not your usual Navy team.  Mids may hang around for a while but I think ND is too talented for them. Still… GO NAVY!

OKLAHOMA STATE over Texas - My upset pick of the week. 

OREGON over Arizona  - Ducks are a lot better than the Wildcats. Even in the desert.

FRESNO STATE over Hawaii - Fresno State is much better - especially at home. Bulldogs haven’t lost since the second game of the season, a one-TD loss to Minnesota.

SAN DIEGO STATE over Nevada - Aztecs haven’t lost since their opening game against Stanford.


*********** One of the toughest things for me on those occasions when I’ve been back East on a football weekend has been being reminded how f—king late the West Coast games come on the tube.  A 7 PM kickoff back home means a 10 PM kickoff when I’m in Philly or North Carolina or Maryland. 

Living on the West Coast, I’m able to watch college football for 12 or 13 hours straight and still get to bed at a reasonable hour Saturday night. 

The first Saturday college games start at noon on the East Coast, but for us they come on at 9 AM;  and the last games of the day - usually a Pac 12 Game of the Week - come on at 7 or 7:30 at night. 

Now, with LeBron James’ moving to the Lakers, and The Warriors’ remaining as loaded with stars as ever, the concentration of talent on the West Coast is imposing hardships on hard-core East Coast NBA fans, forcing them to make major lifestyle changes in order to follow their favorites.

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

Minnesota lost its two returning 1,000 yard rushers for the season before the season even started.  The backup was lost to an injury for two weeks after the first game.  Also lost a couple of defensive starters.  Their starting QB is a walk-on.  Of the 22 starters they have on both sides of the ball half of them are either true freshmen, or red-shirt freshmen.  They are a very young team overall (only 17 seniors).  They haven't lost both oars, but the one oar they still have is badly damaged. 

I would pay money to see Harbaugh and Dantonio in the same room together by themselves.

In my opinion the game of football continues to slowly wind.  I've noticed that the really good teams are back to utilizing TE's and FB's, and it's just a matter of time before others start to figure out the same.

Thanks for pointing out that 'lonesome polecat' alignment WSU used against Oregon.  Clever little gimmick from the old sage Mike Leach and it paid off.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Thanks for the info on Minnesota.

I'll put my money on Dantonio as my sentimental favorite.  He’s at least semi-likeable.

Plus, he’s more than proved himself against Harbaugh on the field.

Funny how the offensive linemen are now so big and immobile that an awful lot of schools use TE types as H-Backs (or “sniffers”) to do their pulling.  Not a whole lot different from the old single wing blocking backs, except those guys also had to call the plays!

Lonesome Polecat is fun!


*********** I said when they announced the hire that I thought it was just a tiny bit premature of ESPN to take Jason Whitten, who had been a very good tight end, and start him out in his post-football career at the top of the sports broadcasting profession - as the color analyst on Monday Night Football.  I mean, the guy had had absolutely no experience in the booth, and it showed.

MIdway into the season, it’s becoming apparent that the experiment is a failure.  (Taking the third guy from the booth and sitting him in a sideline crane, where he mostly obscures paying customers’ views, hasn’t helped any.)

https://www.sbnation.com/2018/10/17/17986566/jason-witten-monday-night-football-espn-color-commentary-review

*********** Decisions, decisions…

You're an NFL General Manager, and your scouts have just handed you the following information

(1) TCU receiver/return man KaVontae Turpin was dismissed from the team after a 22-year-old woman - his longtime girlfriend - told police that Turpin “dragged her across the parking lot” and “slammed her to the ground.”    This was not, it turns out, the first such incident involving Turpin and the girlfriend.

(2) In his freshman year, Turpin scored four touchdowns against Texas.  He caught six passes for 138 yards and was namd Big 12 Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Last year, his sophomore year,  he was the only player in the country to score a touchdown passing, rushing, receiving, by a punt return and by a kick return, and he was the first-team All-Big 12 return man. Last week,  he scored against Oklahoma on a 99-yard kickoff return, and a 41-yard pass reception. As of this writing,   he was second in the Big 12 in all-purpose yards with 132.7 yards per game.

Your question: Do you sign him to a three-year, $10 million contract or to a one-year, $4 million contract?

https://sptspage.com/everyone-loses-in-turpin-story/

*********** And just in case you thought the pros really checked out their prospects…

The Denver Broncos announced that backup QB Chad Kelly - a young fellow with “a history of misadventure” during his college days - was kicked off the team after being charged with trespassing.

He was found in a stranger’s house, sitting on the sofa, “mumbling incoherently.”  That, after being thrown out of a team party. (How disorderly do you have to be tto get thrown out of a professional football team’s party?)

According to the story,  “Police said they did not find any alcohol in his system.”

Perhaps not, but  - this being Colorado -  wouldn't you think it might have occured to the police that he could have been on something else?

https://www.sbnation.com/2018/10/23/18015294/chad-kelly-trespassing-broncos-arrest-halloween-party

*********** From AZ Central…

The game that looked so made for national TV a week ago is now down to two backups battling each other Friday night when Phoenix Pinnacle plays host to Scottsdale Chaparral.  Pinnacle senior quarterback Spencer Rattler, who is committed to Oklahoma, did not go to practice Thursday morning and won't play in the game.

Coach Dana Zupke confirmed it, but he wouldn't say what happened to Rattler.

Rattler returned a direct message on Twitter, saying, "sprained MCL, out for a while."

Rattler practiced Wednesday evening with the Netflix documentary crew following him for Season 3 of QB1.

Asked Thursday afternoon when the injury happened, Rattler said, "I felt it bugging me Tuesday. Didn’t go to practice this morning.

So Oklahoma commited to a QB from Phoenix before the kid’s junior season.  But here we are, in his senior season and headed to the playoffs, and something came up and  the kid didn’t play in last week’s game.

The kid put out that the story that he’d hurt his knee.

But that, it turns out, was a cover-up.  It’s actually something more, and it’s evidently  pretty serious - he’s been declared ineligible by his school district for the remainder of the season.

As school administrators always do when asked about what happened, these cited the FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act) in refusing to comment.

Somehow, I think that Oklahoma will find out what really happened, if it doesn’t know already.

And if it’s not a felony - or at least not a major one -  the kid will still be more than welcome to come to Norman to get his education.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/high-school/2018/10/18/pinnacle-qb-spencer-rattler-out-against-chaparral-espnu-game-friday/1686856002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/highschool/2018/10/23/oklahoma-commit-spencer-rattler-ruled-ineligible/1746852002/

*********** For those devoted Michigan fans who might not understand why there are some of us out here who despise your head coach…

Remember the pre-game incident in which the Michigan State team walked the length of the field, arm-in-arm - as is their tradition - only to encounter a few Michigan players who refused to get out of their way?

Remember the Michigan lout who displayed his sportsmanship by defacing the Spartan logo at midfield?

Remember Coach Harbaugh afterward, insinuating that Michigan State caused it all and cast aspersions on the character of  the opposing coach, Mark Dantonio?

Perhaps this will help clear things up:

Michigan State's official statement reads:

“Regarding last Saturday’s pregame timeline, both teams were distributed pregame timing sheets and were in communication earlier in the week about Michigan State’s pregame tradition of walking the field upon arrival to Spartan Stadium. There has never been an on-field issue with this tradition in the 12 years under head coach Mark Dantonio. The timing of Saturday’s pregame tradition did not change from previous games, nor did the communication change between both schools.

"MSU was scheduled to leave the Kellogg Center for its walk to the stadium at 9:45 a.m. and left at 9:47 a.m. The team was scheduled to arrive at Spartan Stadium at approximately 10 a.m. and walked the field at approximately 10:02 a.m. As a courtesy, Michigan was granted field access before MSU’s arrival with the understanding from both sides that the U of M student-athletes would leave the field during this tradition. Michigan was on the field prior to 10 a.m. as previously agreed upon, but when multiple MSU staff members asked both U of M student-athletes and staff members to please move off the field for the pregame field walk, this did not occur.”


Michigan State's players said that a member of the MSU staff asked the Wolverines to take to the sideline temporarily until the Spartans left the field.

Harbaugh said  that’s not what happened. Now, he wasn’t on the field at the time, but no matter - he said he learned about the incident from other Michigan staff members.

(So he's absolutely certain he knows  what happened, right?)

A Michigan spokesman named Dave Ablauf said that a Michigan player was "clotheslined" during the pregame walk and another had a pair of headphones ripped from his head.

(Those things can happen when you’re where you shouldn’t be - when you’re asked to get the hell out of the way and you don’t.)

Harbaugh also said Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was walking "five yards behind it all smiling."

(Wait.  Didn’t we ESTABLISH  that Harbaugh wasn’t there?)

Discipline, I once heard Woody Hayes say, is ninety per cent anticipation.  (Ironic that I’d find myself quoting an Ohio State guy to help make my point.)

My point is that if Michigan had a real coach,  he’d have anticipated - he’d have foreseen what would happen with his players still out on the field after 10 AM, and he’d have made damn sure that they were off the field in accordance with the “understanding from both sides.”

That’s what a real coach would have done.

Instead,  Michigan has a professional bomb thrower (for any liberals reading this, that’s just a figure of speech; see, Harbaugh  doesn’t really throw bombs) who knew good and well what was going to happen, and he went ahead and left his players out there just to see what kid of sh— they could stir up.

It’s impossible to come to any other conclusion. Grow up, Harbaugh.

https://247sports.com/LongFormArticle/Michigan-Wolverines-Devin-Bush-New-evidence-suggests-Michigan-started-pre-game-scuffle-at-MSU-123700992/#123700992_6



***********  WISDOM OF THE AGES… POP WARNER ON OFFENSE

My advice to high-school and minor college coaches is as follows: Use a few simple but strong plays perfectly worked up and do not spend a lot of valuable time on a large number of plays which, by reason of the short season and lack of experience of the squad, can only be half-baked and of doubtful value.

From my observation and what I have heard from other coaches and from high-school players themselves, I am convinced that nine out of ten high-school teams are burdened with a much too complicated system of offense.  A good offense is not made up of tricky, complicated plays but of  a few substantial plays perfectly worked up, in which every man, after weeks of practice, knows exactly what to do and how to do it.

High-school boys think that the big university teams are successful because they have wizard coaches who teach their teams elaborate and intricate plays.  But the big university teams are good because they are composed of experienced players who have been coached well in the rudiments - who know how to tackle and block, and who have been taught a few strong plays which their coaches have found, perhaps by many years of experience, to be sure ground gainers when every man does his part in the plays. No team can get anywhere if it depends wholly upon tricks or forward passes. A team to be a winner must have the old punch which puts over a few simple plays with so much speed and so much hitting power that the defense cannot resist its force or the cleverness with which the plays are executed.

I do not mean to say that forward passes should never be resorted to. Every team should have three or four good forward pass plays, and perhaps six can be worked up sufficiently well to be useful; but more than this number is wasted energy and four good passes will be found to be much better than a dozen which can be only imperfectly mastered. Neither do I say that no trick plays should be used, for a good trick play used occasionally makes the opponents a bit wary and nervous; not so great reliance should be put on tricks and only two or three should be taught any team.  One of our most successful university coaches uses only about a dozen or fifteen plays, but these are so perfectly worked up and have such power in them that his teams  always rank near the top at the end of each season.

I think most high-school teams neglect the rudiments and spend too much time in running through signals or plays.  No plays are any good unless the players know how to start quickly, how to charge and block, and how to handle the ball; practice in these things would be of much greater advantage than would a lot of time put in on fancy plays.  Also it should be realized that a good defense is just as important as a good offense, and more time should be put in at tackling than most high-school players devote to this important feature of play.   Eleven good, sure, and deadly tacklers are never going to be beaten very badly even if they have no offense at all.

College and university teams which are composed of fairly experienced players can master a more complicated system of offense than can the school teams, but even with such teams the tendency of many coaches is to have too many plays.  In the minor, easy games a large number of plays are not needed, and in hard games in which the teams are evenly matched a team will have the ball less frequently, and when on offense will want to use only its very best plays because it will probably find that only a select few will prove effective against a very strong opposition.

From “Football for Coaches and Players” by Glenn L. Warner, Director of Football, Stanford University  - Published July, 1927

*********** A long-time Double-Wing coach whose abilities I can vouch for finds himself assisting at a place where he enjoys the coaching and the kids and the guys he works with. But, he says, he misses coaching the Double Wing…

I do miss running a series-based offense the most...it's kind of in my football DNA if you will at this point...I'm always looking for complimentary plays, etc. Our second group gets zero reps on offense so I'm thinking about asking the coach if I can work with them and install a simple DW series.

He went on…

It kind of cracks me up....coaches get such crap about running the DW, but we run the I formation as our base formation, and guess what, our 2-foot splits become 6-inch splits when someone lines up in gaps and ruins our plays. We played another team who ran the straight T against us.  They had better athletes, but weren't well coached so we beat them. I knew that they had run the DW in the recent past so mentioned to their coach, a young guy, that we had also prepared for the DW. His response was, "yeah, the HC used to make me run that, but not this season"....I'm thinking, dude, you're dissing the DW, but you ran the straight T against us (and not very well, no dive fakes, very little misdirection, etc.). Crazy.

I think his idea of installing a simple package for the backups is outstanding.  Just one problem: what will the head coach say when those second-group kids move the ball better than the starters?

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Mick Tingelhoff was a native of Lexington, Nebraska who played college ball at Nebraska.  Although he lettered three years, he didn’t start until his senior year, when he was also named a co-captain.

He was undrafted, but after signing as a free agent with the Vikings in 1962, he became their starting center as a rookie. He held that spot until he retired in 1978.

He was generally considered to be the best center of his time, being named first team All-Pro five times and second team twice.  He played in six straight Pro Bowls from 1964-1969.

He is one of just 11 Vikings’ players to have played in all four of their Super Bowl appearances

When he finally did retire, he had started in 240 consecutive games, second only among NFL players to his  former teammate, Jim Marshall.

He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MICK TINGELHOFF

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA


*********** Still liked Ken Bowman & Jim Ringo better... Lexington is one of those water towers & grain elevators you pass by on I-80... While coaching in Beatrice passed by many times, scouting & playing, on our way to North Platte... Nebraska had 3 "big school" "Class A" conferences...Metro (Omaha), Capitol (Lincoln) & Plains (the rest of us).

I think Lexington was a Class B school.

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

Growing up in North Dakota, we watched the Vikings nearly every Sunday after church; so today's quiz was one that I didn't have to search for. Mick Tingelhoff was a rock for those great Vikings teams.

Greg Koenig

*********** In the mid 60's I was over with my cousins at their gma’s….. This was in Columbus, Indiana....out in the back yard next door was Mick Tinglehoff.... I guess at his mother-in laws ?..... I got to shake his hand and all I can remember is his Vikings t-shirt and my hand disappearing in his.....

Kevin McCullough
Lakeville, Indiana

*********** QUIZ:  The son of a Polish-immigrant coal miner, he was a native of Natrona Heights, in western Pennsylvania, and a three-sport star at Har-Brack High.

He played with his older brother, Ed, on Jim Tatum’s powerful Maryland teams of the early 1950s.

Although at 6 foot, 215, Ed was the smaller of the two,  Ed had already made a name for himself at Maryland as a powerful runner - that name was “Big Mo,” a takeoff on the nickname of the famed World War II battleship, the USS Missouri.  When Dick arrived, although he outweighed Ed by at least 30 pounds, he was dubbed, half-jokingly, “Little Mo.”

During his three years of eligibility, the Terps went 24-4-1, including a 22-game win streak. In the 1951 Sugar Bowl, the third-ranked Terps defeated previously unbeaten (and already-crowned national Champion) Tennessee, 28-13. (Big Mo gained 153 yards and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.)

In 1952 he was a consensus All-American, and he won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman.

A second-round draft choice of the Redskins, he played with four teams during his career: Redskins, Steelers, Giants and Browns.  His best years (1956-1963) were spent on the front line - along with Roosevelt Grier, Jim Katkavage and Andy Robustelli - of the great New York Giants’ defenses of Tom Landry.  Although future Hall-of-Famers Grier and Robustelli got more ink, he was a consistent solid performer in Landry’s scheme.

In 1964, he had the good fortune to be traded to Cleveland, and although intended as a backup on the defensive line, he wound up starting - on the last Browns’ team to win an NFL title.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame.

He died last week.  He was 87.


american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 23,  2018 “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** I was watching two Seattle area schools play on TV last Thursday night. I especially wanted to see Kennedy Catholic’s sophomore quarterback, Sam Huard, who threw for 10 TDs in a game earlier this season.  A tall lefthander, Huard is the son of  a former University of Washington and NFL quarterback, Damon Huard, and the nephew of another former Husky and NFL quarterback, TV analyst Brock Huard.

I was certainly impressed with the kid’s ability, but Kennedy (5-2) seemed unable to put Kentwood (2-5) away.

Finally, though, with under two minutes to play, Kennedy took a 36-35 lead.

But Kentwood drove into field goal range, and with seconds left, called time out and lined up for what it hoped would be the winning kick.

Unfortunately for Kentwood, though, the snap was bad, and the holder, unable to scramble out of trouble, threw incomplete.

With that, the Kennedy Catholic bench emptied and Kennedy players raced to the end zone to celebrate the hard-fought win.

Or so they thought.

Unnoticed by anyone but the officials, it had only been third down, and when the Kentwood holder threw incomplete, there was still time remaining - and it was still Kentwood’s ball.

The Kennedy celebration? The act of players leaving the bench area resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty - and another (and closer) field goal attempt by Kentwood.

This time the snap was good.  And so were the hold and the kick.

Final:  Kentwood 38, Kennedy Catholic 36.

Think about that the next time you wonder about the wisdom of kicking that field goal a down early.

*********** College Football playoff situation - updated

Remember:
1. No team with two losses will make the playoff
2. There are still plenty of teams that will finish with no worse than one loss
3. No team outside the Power 5 conferences has a chance of getting in with one loss.  At present, Central Florida, Cincinnati and South Florida of the American Athletic are still undefeated - but they all have to play each other.
4. Notre Dame, as an independent, has an inside track even with one loss (should it lose to USC) because as an independent it can stay home and watch as other playoff contenders eliminate each other in bogus “conference championship” games.
5. With Notre Dame still unbeaten, the Irish are likely to be one of the four playoff teams, which means only three spots remain for the Power 5 conferences. That also means there is little likelihood of two teams from the same Power 5 conference.  Most importantly, though, it means two conferences - and all their members - will not get a nickel of playoff money, while Notre Dame gets to pocket AN ENTIRE CONFERENCE SHARE. (Who made that deal, anyhow?)

Speaking in terms of Power 5 conferences only…

There are still two unbeaten Power 5 teams:
Alabama and Clemson

My call: “Alabama plays Tennessee in their traditional Third Saturday in October game, but Bama isn’t going to blow this one.” True dat. 

My call: “Clemson and NC State meet Saturday - at Clemson.  The winner has a great shot at taking the Atlantic Division spot in the ACC championship.”  Clemson definitely got the job done.

Last Thursday’s preview: “there are still lots of one-loss teams fighting to stay that way and make it to their conference championships.  Several of them will play in big games Saturday…”

1. Michigan vs Michigan State?  Michigan got the job done

3. Texas vs Oklahoma State? Mea culpa. (Latin for "my bad') Texas played BYE. This week it's OSU.

4. West Virginia vs Baylor?  WVU got the job done.

5. LSU vs Mississippi State? LSU got the job done.

6. Ohio State at Purdue?  “Buckeyes are just too good,” I wrote.  Well.  As I wipe the egg off my face… apologies to the good folks from Purdue whose patience and forebearance was rewarded with one of the most inspired performances you’ve ever seen over an Ohio State team that looked dazed.  This team - the same Ohio State that gave us Archie Griffin and Eddie George and Jim Otis and Bob Ferguson and John Brockington and Ezekiel Elliott and Hopalong Cassidy and Vic Janowicz threw the football 73 times!

7. Vanderbilt at Kentucky?  Kentucky got the job done.

8. Oregon at Washington State? (“So is ESPN Game Day, in recognition of 15 years of the Cougar flag - Ole Crimson - waving at Game Days around the country. The loser will come out of this with two losses and can kiss its playoff chances good-bye.  The Pac-12’s last hope for a playoff spot is for Oregon to win this one and win all the rest. The Ducks’ toughest game the rest of the way is at Utah, and then, of course,  the conference title game.  Washington State? If they beat the Ducks, the Cougars still have to beat Stanford, Colorado and Washington, and - out here it’s called “Cougin’ it” - they can’t possibly win them all.”) The Cougars won, and now - tada - they “control their own destiny.”

9. Duke vs Virginia?  Duke was 5-1 going in, but they’re 5-2 now.

10. Iowa vs Maryland?  Hawkeyes got the job done. They’re now 6-1 - and they’re still ranked below Penn State, who’s 5-2.  They’ll settle that one on Saturday.

*********** My playoff prediction, updated:

1. Alabama.  Best team in the country by far.  Jalen Hurts, their "second starter" at quarterback (he deserves a better title than “backup”) could start for almost any other team in the country.  He appears to have suffered an ankle injury against Tennessee Saturday. The Tide will beat LSU, MIssissippi State and Auburn.  (And The Citadel.)

2. Clemson. The Tigers have had their close call against Syracuse.  They dispatched pretender NC State with such ferocity that it’s obvious they’re in a class by themselves in the ACC.  They will beat Duke and archrival South Carolina.

3. Notre Dame.  Damn, this one pisses me off.  But a deal’s a deal, and evidently the wizards who put together the playoff didn’t have the stones to tell ND to go get in a conference like every other major college team.  Any other year, Northwestern, Florida State, Syracuse or USC would be a significant hurdle - but not this year.  USC’s thumping by Utah Saturday night makes it apparent that USC is still a long way from restoring the glory days.

4. Either Michigan or Ohio State.  This assumes that they will both enter their final-week matchup unbeaten, and that the winner of their game will move on to the Big Ten championship game - and win it.  Even that might not be enough for Ohio State to overcome the embarrassing beat-down that Purdue put on the Buckeyes this past Saturday.

(At the very least, I’d like to see Notre Dame in that #4 spot, so the Irish have to play Alabama in the semi-finals.  But Clemson will beat them just as bad.)

OUTSIDE SHOTS:

Georgia or Florida (or even Kentucky) could slip in with an SEC title-game win over Alabama (or LSU). Despite rankings and all that, I don’t see how Bama could get the nod - this time - over a team good enough to beat it in the conference championship game.

LSU - But they have to beat  Alabama. (The game’s in Baton Rouge.)

Iowa - Only if the Hawkeyes win out. And Wisconsn loses once more. Iowa still has to play Penn State, Purdue and Northwestern.  And even if the Hawkeyes  were to run the table, Wisconsin - the only team to have beaten Iowa - would get the Big Ten West title game spot if the Badgers were to win the rest of their games.

Oklahoma/Texas/West Virginia - It’s quite a job for any of them.  Texas and OU both have to play WVU. And they both have to play Texas Tech.  And when one of them is eliminated,  the two survivors  will have to meet in the conference title game.

Washington State - A Mike Leach team will always put up points. And don’t look now but the Cougs play pretty good defense, too. But they’ve already got one loss and it’s highly unlikely that they’ll win the rest of their games - not with Stanford, Washington and a conference championship game still ahead.

*********** SITUATIONS TO WATCH:

1. PENN STATE.  The Lions are now 5-2 (remember when they were just one bad call away from possibly beating Ohio State?). They play Iowa this week, then they play Michigan at home and then Wisconsin on the road.  That’s three tough games in a row.  Remember a year ago when Georgia State lined up for a field goal with 11 seconds left to play, and Lions’ coach James Franklin called a timeout? Penn State led, 56-0. Franklin at first defended what he did as always keeping his foot on the gas, then after catching heat from some New York sports writers, he denied that he did it to ice the kicker and preserve the precious shutout, and said that he called the timeout to get his second unit in the game.  Right.  That’s why he called it nanoseconds before the kid kicked.  Anyhow, if you believe in karma, three weeks from now Penn State could very well be 5-5 (2-5 in conference play) and playing Maryland - Maryland, for God’s sake! - to stay out of the Big Ten East cellar.

2. OREGON. A week ago the Ducks were riding high. Their convincing win over the Washington Huskies had washed away the pain and stain of their lone loss, a fluky, overtime defeat at the hands of Stanford, and now they had a shot at a possible playoff spot.  All they had to do was beat Washington State. But as one Portland sports writer noted, the game started at 4:00 and the Ducks started at 5:30.  By the time they got serious, the Cougars had put them away.  The Ducks play a suddenly-alive UCLA, then at tough Utah, then Arizona State.  They could lose two more.

3. OHIO STATE. Earlier in the week came the rumors that Urban Meyer might be on the verge of another “health crisis” - you know, like the one that caused him to walk away from the train wreck about to take place in Florida.  And then came the whipping put on the Buckeyes by Purdue. This week, they’re off, and then they’re at Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers have been showing signs of life lately, but the Bucks have too much talent for them.

4. PURDUE. The Boilermakers lost their first three games - including a four-point, opening-game loss against Northwestern - so they’re way out of any playoff conversation. But they’re now 3-1 in Big Ten play, with a decent shot at getting into the title game: they need to win out, and they need someone else to beat Northwestern.

5. NEBRASKA. The Huskers thoroughly beat Minnesota in Lincoln.  And to their fans’ credit, there was no storming the field in celebration.  I mean, this is still Nebraska, right?  With the proud tradition of Nebraska football, ending a losing streak is not celebrated as if it were a national title.  Besides, they have to keep focused on Saturday’s big game against Bethune-Cookman.

6. MINNESOTA. After rowing the boat to wins in their first three games, the Gophers must have let go of the oars, because they’ve lost four in a row.   And they haven’t been close in any of them.  WTF is going on?

7. NAVY. Their offense seems to have lost a step.  Is it me, or  could it be that having to play a full conference schedule - in a very tough conference at that - is beginning to take a physical toll on the Middies?

*********** Harbaugh just can’t seem to resist being an a$$hole,  which explains why he’s got guys on his team like  Devin Bush out there before the game playing the child, scuffing up the Michigan State Spartan logo, and why he defends the guy’s actions afterward.

*********** I sort of wanted to see Cincinnati remain unbeaten, even if it meant beating Temple, but not after I saw the dirty hit that a Cinci player put on a defenseless Temple receiver.  That did it for me.  That was borderline assault and battery.

https://www.12up.com/posts/6201588-video-incredibly-dirty-hit-on-temple-player-results-in-impressive-coach-freakout

*********** The Michigan-Michigan State game was delayed by severe weather for 1-1/2 hours, and once they resumed playing, Fox seemed to think none of us cared to resume watching, shuffling us off to some little-known Fox channel that I have yet to find on either cable or Dish.

*********** You won’t see this happen often, but just before halftime, with one inch to go and one down to score a touchdown, Army - a wishbone team - wasn’t able to punch it in against Miami (OH).

*********** With 17 seconds left to play, Miami scored against Army to pull to within 21-20.  Any chance that the whatever-they-ares-now (used to be Redskins) might have decided to go for the win went out the window, when the receiver who scored the TD just had to spike the damn ball. Just had to do it.  After the penalty they kicked the point and the game went into OT, but Army won. 

*********** Diversity is our strength…  It wasn’t so much that the referee at the Army-Miami game was female.  It was having to listen to that shrill voice. 

*********** Miami (OH) linebacker Brad Koenig (“KAY-nig”) is really good.  Miami had a good scheme against Army, and Koenig was making tackles all over the field.

*********** Maybe these spread teams that don’t even bother to recruit fullbacks any more ought to pay attention:  Michigan ran a fullback, a 6-3, 250 pound horse named Ben Mason, as an I-formation tailback for a score against Michigan State.

*********** Starting to see a lot of flat passes being thrown from shotgun to the running back that was just faked to.

*********** Indiana gave Penn State all they wanted but the Hoosiers just can’t seem to finish the deal.

*********** Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, said Samuel Johnson. 

First Nike aligns itself with Colin Kaepernick, and then it goes and plays patriotic by resurrecting a story of the 1918 LSU team - whose members went off to fight in World War I - as the pretext for putting the Tigers in all-white uniforms with purple helmets.

I’ll bet you could even buy replica jerseys at the LSU book store.

*********** Who else was hoping that Purdue would go for two at the end, just to make it a nice round 50 against THE Ohio State University?

*********** ESPN College Game Day did a very nice feature on Tyler Trent, a young Purdue fan with terminal cancer who basically expressed a dying wish that his beloved Boilermakers could somehow beat Ohio State.  It was quite moving, and if there was any football fan in the United States who had trouble picking sides before watching, the choice was easy afterward.

*********** Purdue was picked to have a good season, but then the Boilermarkers started out 0-3, including a loss to Eastern Michigan. Purdue Coach Jeff Brohm was asked after the Ohio State win what happened to turn things around and he started out, “We were 0-3. We were conservative, and we got our ass - our butts - handed to us…”

*********** Mike Leach has a dry sense of humor, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him smile. (Remind you of Bobby Knight?)

So when he had finished his deadpan postgame explanation that his Cougs still hadn’t played a compete game, the interviewer said to him, “Try to enjoy this.”

*********** Tua Tagovailoa still hasn’t played in the fourth quarter of a game.  He’s thrown 25 TD passes and ZERO interceptions.

*********** Linfield College, a D-III school in McMinnville, Oregon, is now 4-2.  If they beat Pacific Lutheran next Saturday,  2018 will be their 63rd straight winning season.

*********** A few days ago I happened on a great TV feature on Jim Abbott, whom some of you may remember as an outstanding left-handed pitcher at Michigan, and then for a number of major league teams.

In his major league career, he won 87 games and had 888 strikeouts, and in 1993, while playing for the Yankees, he pitched a no-hitter.

But It’s never possible to write about him without mentioning that he was born without a right hand, and I do so in admiration of how, not unlike a great football coach named Mark Speckman (who was born with no hands), he learned to “deal with it.”

His biggest initial challenge was fielding - throwing with his left hand, then quickly putting on his glove to catch the ball, and then just as quickly shedding the glove and grabbing the ball with his hand so he could throw.  His story of how as a little kid he worked and worked to get good enough at fielding is quite inspirational.

He was an exceptionally talented athlete, driven not just to compete, but to excel. “I was tired of being an inspiration,” he said.  “I didn’t want to win the Courage Award. I wanted to be the MVP.”

What was especially interesting to me was that he also played high school football, and rather well at that.   His high school, Flint (Michigan) Central, turned out many good athletes and good teams.

He was a quarterback, of course, but first the coaches had to figure out how he was going to get the ball from center, and one of them recalled how funny it must have seemed to see three coaches kneeling down, watching him take the snap.

He didn’t start a game until the final game of his senior year, when he was pressed into service - and threw four touchdown passes.

Interviewed on the show, his high school baseball coach said,  “playing football made him the baseball player that he became.’


*********** If you didn’t watch the Washington State-Oregon game, you missed this.  Even if you did watch, you might have missed it.

WSU Lonesome Polecat

Washington State, in dark uniforms, is lined up in what would ordinarily be a 3 x 1 spread formation, with trips to the right. (There is also a split end on the left but he’s out of the picture, to the bottom of the screen.)

Just one little matter: that flexed end on the right side (the guy circled) is the “center.”. He’s going to flip the ball to the QB, who’s going to hand off to the running back, who’s going to run a plain old running play to the left.  (But then, he’s going to cut back to the right, break maybe six or seven tackles, and dive in for a Cougar score.)

Nothing at all ingenious about the play itself, but the formation on the right side was an adaptation of the “Lonesome Polecat” as explained by the great Tiger Ellison in his book, ‘Run and Shoot Football” (1965).

Two things to note about the “center”:

1. He doesn’t have to snap the ball between his legs. He can flip it directly back, of course, but he can also throw it, underhanded, to either side.  (In this case, he’s going to throw it to the left, to the QB)

2. Although he may be the “center” in the sense that he’s snapping the ball,  he’s on the end of the line, and he’s wearing an eligible number (17) - which makes him an eligible receiver.

It’s interesting that the Cougars ran what they did, because it was only a couple of weeks ago that I got an email from  Mat Hedger, of  Langdon, North Dakota, who saw Iowa run something similar and asked if I’d ever run from any “special formations” like that.

Why, yes, I told him.  I’ve done stuff like that on occasion - mostly toward the end of a season as a way of having fun and keeping guys interested.

But a few years ago, finding ourselves in a first-vs-fourth first-round playoff game (we were the fourth-place team and we were facing a top-ranked team, one that we knew would blow us out by 50-60 points)  we decided to run some Lonesome Polecat - Credit to Glenn “Tiger” Ellison and his book, ‘Run and Shoot Football” (1965).  It was a very limited package, because the emphasis is on improvisation...
Polecat


We got blown out, as we knew we would, but we had a lot of fun in practice and we actually ran off a few good plays in the game - more than we would have if we’d stayed in our base offense.  Try taking a very good scrambler and lining him up ten yards deep - and see hard it is for two or three defenders to run him down.  (Any more than that and they’ll have trouble covering all your eligibles and defending against the blocking of your five linemen.)

*********** The Web site is named “isgrudengoneyet.com

And the  answer is an emphatic NO

and running counters show:

* the years/weeks/days/hours/minutes/seconds left in his contract

* The amount of money he’s made so far

* The amount of money he’s made just since you logged in

* The amount of money he’s still due

http://isgrudengoneyet.com/

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

Sorry for the late reply.  

What gives Urban Meyer a headache?  BOILERMAKERS!!  That was a flat-out take 'em out behind the shed and give 'em an old-fashioned a** whoopin'!!

Suddenly...Michigan is looming even larger for the Buckeyes.

Mike Leach has a favorite new hobby...Duck Hunting!

Only thing standing between Notre Dame and the National Championship Playoff is Notre Dame.  Each of their remaining games is a trap game.  Any one of them could knock the Irish off.  Navy has the option.  Florida State is steadily improving.  Northwestern has a history of pulling off big upsets.  Syracuse is a sleeper.  USC is a rival.

Some TV talking heads continue talking about Texas as playoff contender.  NOT.  As much as I would like to see the Horns in it their remaining schedule is daunting, and even if they were lucky enough to keep winning they would have to face Oklahoma again in the Big 12 championship.  Sooners will be fired up for that rematch.

I think it's way too early to start predicting the playoff.  Way too many tough conference games remaining, and conference championships.  People keep saying Alabama is a lock, BUT... they still have to play Ed Oregon's fired-up LSU Tigers IN Baton Rouge next week.  Clemson may have the easiest schedule (and the best team).  See above for Notre Dame.  Ohio State may be fading and thus opening the door for either Michigan or Iowa.  The PAC 12 champ will be playing in the Rose Bowl.  Georgia is still a factor.

My alma mater Fresno State continues to impress at 7-1.  Only San Diego State and Boise State (as tough as it gets) stand in their way of being considered for a January 1 bowl game.

Army managed to escape a huge upset at the hands of Miami OH.  Goes to show that even the most disciplined teams can't afford taking anyone lightly.

I thoroughly enjoy seeing those old play sheets from great coaches of the past. 

Talk soon!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe’s joke is pretty good.  I wonder how many younger guys - or guys who didn’t grow up around working men - even know what a boilermaker (the drink) is! The boilermaker is nothing more than “a shot and a beer.”  The shot - usually blended whiskey (once called “rye” in Pennsylvania) - is tossed down neat in one gulp, followed by the beer - usually a short draft or a small bottle because it’s as much about the whiskey as it is about the beer.  I see on Youtube that there are people trying to call it a “cocktail,” but it’s nothing of the sort. It’s a real man’s drink, a “workingman’s special,” and it’s definitely an acquired taste. The guys I once worked - and drank - with wouldn’t have known what the hell to think if they’d heard some millenial refer to it as a “cocktail.”

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Doug Atkins came out of Humboldt, Tennessee and went to The University of Tennessee on a basketball scholarship. He was a great high jumper, finishing second in the SEC track championships.  He played football for General Bob Neyland, and  although he played in the 1950s, he’s still considered perhaps the greatest defensive player in the history of SEC football.

He was so good as a defensive end - big and mean and agile - that he would have been as good today as he was when he played.

At 6-8 and 265, he would be big enough to play in today’s NFL, but by the standards of his day he was huge.

In 1953 he was the first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, but after two years in Cleveland, it was apparent to Paul Brown that he was not Brown’s type of person, and he was traded to the Chicago Bears for a couple of future draft choices.  In his 12 years in Chicago he made eight Pro Bowls.

Said Bears’ owner/coach George Halas years later, “Paul Brown couldn't handle him in Cleveland. I could slough off anything. He didn't give me trouble, except when he'd get stiff and call me up at night."

Because of him, Halas hired a private detective to keep track of players. At training camp, Bears’ coaches refused to check his room at bed-check time because he kept a pit bull named Rebel in his room. Recalled teammate Richie Petitbon, Rebel was “trained to kill.”

He evidently liked a drink. Once, he and fellow defensive lineman Fred Williams had a martini-drinking contest.  They stopped drinking at 21, but Williams conceded that Atkins probably won, since he was able to drive them home.

He didn’t like to practice - he claimed the Bears didn’t pay him enough to play and practice, too.

He loved to try to get under Halas’ skin.  Once, on the first day of training camp, he arrived late to practice, and  proceeded to jog lazily and indifferently around the field. When Halas asked him what he was doing, he said, “Breaking in my helmet.”

For all his distaste for practice, though, he once went 12 straight years without missing a game, and in his 17 years of football he missed only 17 games.

And on the field, he was feared; the word among opposing offensive linemen was, “Don’t make him mad.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Fullback Rick Casares once said: ‘We used to hope that somebody would hold him. The next play you would see guys flying around like King Kong had gotten ahold of them. Awesome. I've seen him grab a tackle by the shoulder pads and just flip him over like a doll, then come in on a back that weighed 225 pounds without breaking stride and hit him in the chest, knock him over on his back, reach over, grab the quarterback by the shoulder pads and throw him down with one arm.’”

Despite his great size, he would often hurdle over blocking linemen on his way to the quarterback, and if sacks had been counted when he played, he would almost certainly be in the record books.

Recalled his Tennessee teammate Jack Stroud, who had a long career with the Giants, “The notion that because those guys in the 50s didn’t lift weights and take steroids they weren’t strong is a crock.  A lot of those guys would have whipped the hell out of these guys today.  Take Doug Atkins. He was 6-8 and 265 and was solid muscle and bones. And he he high jumped six feet.  And he never touched a weight in his life.  With the frame he had, he could have weighed 300 pounds no problem. His arms were 18 inches around.  We measured them in Knoxville.  I told him over to the gym to try to get him to work out (Stroud was a serious lifter). He allowed that that was a lot of extra work he didn’t need.”

He was a team leader - of sorts.  “Doug was a nice guy but you were scared of him," said Mike Pyle, who played center for the Bears. "He nominated me for player representative. He said, 'I nominate Mike Pyle 'cause he's from Yale.' The rest of the players were asked, 'Anybody else?' Doug said, 'Yeah, I move the nominations be closed.'"

At 37 he was sent to the Saints in the expansion draft, but he had enough left in the tank that in the three years he played in New Orleans he played well enough to have his number retired.

Despite Halas’ initial misgivings about his practice habits, he is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His highest salary was $25,000, and at his Hall of Fame induction, he said he once got into a heated argument with Halas over $500.
"Coach Halas said if I give you that money you would only spend it. I said, 'Coach, that's what I want it for'"

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DOUG ATKINS:

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

*********** Great article on Doug Atkins…

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-bears-atkins-appreciation-spt-0103-20160102-story.html

*********** Video of Doug Atkins - thanks to Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MIh8BPLgwI

*********** QUIZ - He was a native of Lexington, Nebraska who played college ball at Nebraska.  Although he lettered three years, he didn’t start until his senior year, when he was also named a co-captain.

He was undrafted, but after signing as a free agent with the Vikings in 1962, he became their starting center as a rookie. He held that spot until he retired in 1978.

He was generally considered to be the best center of his time, being named first team All-Pro five times and second team twice.  He played in six straight Pro Bowls from 1964-1969.

He is one of just 11 Vikings’ players to have played in all four of their Super Bowl appearances

When he finally did retire, he had started in 240 consecutive games, second only among NFL players to his  former teammate, Jim Marshall.

He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.




american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 19,  2018 “For Trump to receive a warm welcome in California, he’d have to come in illegally.” Dennis Miller

*********** College Football this weekend…

By  official proclamation of the owner of this site, it’s time to begin assessing playoff possibilities.

Assumptions:
1. No team with two losses will make the playoff
2. There are still plenty of teams that will finish with no worse than one loss
3. No team outside the Power 5 conferences has a chance of getting in with one loss.  At present, Central Florida, Cincinnati and South Florida of the American Athletic are still undefeated - but they all have to play each other.
4. Notre Dame, as an independent, has an inside track even with one loss (should it lose to USC) because as an independent it can stay home and watch as other playoff contenders eliminate each other in bogus “conference championship” games.
5. With Notre Dame still unbeaten, the Irish are likely to be one of the four playoff teams, which means only three spots remain for the Power 5 conferences. That also means there is little likelihood of two teams from the same Power 5 conference.  Most importantly, though, it means two conferences and all their members will not get a nickel of playoff money, while Notre Dame gets to pocket AN ENTIRE CONFERENCE SHARE. (Who made that deal, anyhow?)

Speaking in terms of Power 5 conferences only…

There are still three unbeaten teams:
Alabama
Clemson
NC State

Alabama plays Tennessee in their traditional Third Saturday in October game, but Bama isn’t going to blow this one.  Bama still has to play LSU, MIssissippi State and Auburn.  Also the Washington Generals. Not really - but they always have a softy down near the end of the schedule and this year it’s The Citadel.

Clemson and NC State meet Saturday - at Clemson.  The winner has a great shot at taking the Atlantic Division spot in the ACC championship except… Clemson still has to play Duke and - big intrastate rival - South Carolina.  Should NC State get past Clemson, the Pack has a fairly easy schedule remaining: Syracuse, FSU, Wake, Louisville, ECU

There are still lots of one-loss teams fighting to stay that way and make it to their conference championships.  Several of them will play in big games Saturday…

1. Michigan plays at Michigan State.  Ohio State may be the big game for Michigan, but Michigan is the big game for State.  The Spartans are tough, especially coming off last week’s win at Penn State. A loss would probably keep Michigan out of the Big Ten championship game, since the Wolverines still have to play Penn State and Ohio State.

2. Oklahoma at TCU.  OU has one loss and even after TCU, the Sooners still have to play Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

3. Texas at Oklahoma State. Texas has beaten Oklahoma, but still has to play Texas Tech and West Virginia.

4. West Virginia plays Baylor.  WVU “controls its destiny” as they like to say.  (Except that if it’s destiny, nobody has any control over it, right?) The Mountaineers still have to play Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.  The season-ending OU game will be in Morgantown.  And then, theoretically, the two teams could meet a week later in the Big 12 title game.

5. LSU plays Mississippi State in Baton Rouge.  The Bulldogs are tough. A loss to State would cook LSU’s goose. Oh - and Bama’s coming up next week. 

6. Ohio State goes to Purdue.  Buckeyes are just too good. After this, though, they still have to play Michigan State and Michigan.  (The Spartans could break my “no team with two losses” rule if they were to win out - giving them wins over Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State - and then win the Big Ten title game.)

7. Vanderbilt is at Kentucky.  While Florida and Georgia take this weekend off before their big one next week, Kentucky continues to fly under the radar.  The Wildcats, who already have a win over Florida, have an outside chance at a playoff spot.  Their schedule the rest of the way: MIssouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and Louisville.  But then, of course, there’s the SEC title game - against Alabama.

8. Oregon is at Washington State. So is ESPN Game Day, in recognition of 15 years of the Cougar flag - Ole Crimson - waving at Game Days around the country. The loser of the game will come out of titwith two losses and can kiss its playoff chances good-bye.  The Pac-12’s last hope for a playoff spot is for Oregon to win this one and win all the rest. The Ducks’ toughest game the rest of the way is at Utah, and then, of course,  the conference title game.  Washington State? If they beat the Ducks, the Cougars still have to beat Stanford, Colorado and Washington, and - out here it’s called “Cougin’ it” - they can’t possibly win them all.

DARK HORSES

9. Duke is playing Virginia in Durham.  Duke - surprise - is 5-1. Virginia, fresh off a win over Miami, will not be easy. Next for Duke: Pitt, Miami, UNC, Clemson and Wake Forest 

10. Iowa hosts Maryland.  Am I the only person who overlooked the Hawkeyes?  They are 5-1 and their schedule the rest of the way is not exactly a killer: Penn State (in Iowa City), Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Nebraska. The Hawkeyes are my pick to face Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

*********** Just a bit more on the Vosean Joseph situation at Florida (where a player was called for unportsmanlike conduct but allowed to remain in the game, without correction or chastisement)…

This is just me, you understand, and I’m not telling anyone else how to coach his team, but anyone who ever played for me knows that anyone responsible for a penalty - encroachment, illegal motion, holding, block in the back - came out of the game.  Immediately.  In most cases, it was just for one play, and the miscreant went right back in.

But everybody on the team knew that if he got his team a penalty, he was coming out of the game. Simple as that. Nothing to negotiate.  It was part of the fabric of the team.

Yes, yes, I know:  But, but, but… embarrassing… humilating… singling him out… blah, blah, blah. 

Look - you don’t want to bring unwanted attention to yourself?  DON’T GET YOUR TEAM A PENALTY!

Who the hell are you that you think you have the right to cost your team a game?

As for the Vosean Joseph sort of misconduct (two unsportmanslike conduct penalties -  in one half of play), a player, no matter how good, would have spent a more significant amount of time on the sidelines, listening to me.  But that was never an issue: I don’t mean to brag, but going back at least to 1993 I can’t remember any player on any team I coached incurring a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  It just… wasn’t… done.

I don’t think any major college or pro coach can say that (but then, neither could I if I had to coach the kind of barbarians that they bring into their programs, in the hope that somehow their good deeds will outweigh the bad).

Very simply - you have to eliminate the things that beat you, and that takes stones, because it means making it a part of your culture that penalties, like turnovers, won’t be tolerated.

I believe it was  Jack Reed, a coach from Northern California,  whom I first heard say it: “What you tolerate, you encourage.”

*********** RIP Jim Taylor, a fullback’s fullback whose block was indispensible in making the Lombardi Sweep a part of football lore…

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/2018/10/13/jim-taylor-dies-packers-hall-famer/1629378002/

*********** Few NFL players have have brought more class and credit to our game than Steve Largent,  all-time Seattle Seahawks’ great receiver and later a four-term Congressman from Oklahoma.

From an interview with Seattle Weekly…

*** I kind of came from a tough background. My parents got divorced when I was 6. My mom remarried when I was 9. And the guy she married was an alcoholic. So there was a lot of friction in the house. It really was football and the people I met through football, particularly coaches, that were real mentors to me. Football was a life-saving event in my life. I’m very thankful.

*** I tell my own grandkids … I encourage them to play. And play hard and have fun. And all that stuff. I don’t think football is any more dangerous than other sports. There is some risk involved, but it’s pretty minimal, especially at a younger age.

https://www.seattleweekly.com/news/seahawks-legend-steve-largent-football-was-a-life-saving-event/

*********** Kimberly-Clark, the giant paper company that makes Kleenex, has caved in to pressure from - who the hell else? - and will “rebrand” (change the name of) its “man-size” tissues.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/kleenex-rebrand-mansize-tissues-gender-complaints-58582322


*********** By any measure, General Robert Neyland of Tennessee was one of the greatest coaches of all time.  He was Nick Saban long before Nick Saban was born.

Tim Cohane, in his  book, “Great  Football Coaches of the  Twenties and Thirties” wrote, “Neyland, by repeated proof and victory, was able to convince his team, as no coach before or after him, that the keys lay in - and in this order, if order there must be - a sound kicking game, a containing defense, and, say, a couple of dozen plays all thoroughly learned, meaning that none of them is run in a game until it has been practiced at least 500 times.”

He was a single-winger.  But he believed in the importance of “position rather than possession.”  His teams were so sound defensively that he didn’t mind giving you the ball - in your end of the field.  He didn’t mind at all punting on an early down if it could get him out of his own end of the field, or if it could pin you deep in your own territory. He would punt on the opponents’ side of the 50, from the 45 to the 35, with strict instructions that the ball should be “angled out or punted dead to the 10 or inside it.”

So thoroughly did he integrate the offense, the defense and the kicking game - long before most other coaches - that it was said that if Neyland could get a touchdown up on you, he had you beaten.  And if he could get two scores up on you, it was a runaway.

As sound a football man as ever lived, the General (he was a West Point graduate who really did earn his star as an Army general) had a well-thought-out reason for everything he did.  For him, nothing happened by chance.

Why did he run a balanced-line single wing when everyone else ran it from an unbalanced line? Why, I was told by Dr. Andy Kozar, who played for the General and then collected and published his notes and journals, he lived to run off-tackle, and he knew that with a balanced line his tailback would get to the off-tackle hole faster. Actually, he told author Tim Cohane in the 1970s, “I was not wedded to the single wing as closely as some thought. I used it because we could get quicker power at tackle.”

Another thing that the General did was position his blocking back in the strongside “A” gap - nowhere near as wide other single-wing coaches (these are the General’s own play diagrams, published in Dr. Kozar’s magnificent book, “Football As a War Game.”)  #10 is his staple off-tackle play.

tenn single wing

One major reason why the General put his blocking back where he did (actually, he was still just as close to the off-tackle hole as the blocking backs in unbalanced lines) was that he was a great admirer of one thing that T-formation (with the QB under center) teams could do that single wing teams couldn’t: a quarterback sneak. In the diagram below, General Neyland has shown a sneak from his punt formation in Play 32. (In Play 35 he has also drawn up a toss sweep.)
tenn punt form


(Dr. Kozar is now dead and his book is out of print.  If you can find a copy, be prepared to pay.  If you bought one back when I first recommended it, hang onto it and leave it to one of your kids in your will.  Or let them fight over it.)

andy kozar book

General Neyland’s respect for the quarterback sneak ought to be enough of a recommendation for anyone, but even now, every Sunday we see genius coaches line up on 4th-and-1 in a shotgun and, already starting four yards deep in the backfield, hand off to the only running back in the backfield (what - you thought they’d have their QB run it?).  Occasionally - you know how the pros are - they’ll even throw the ball on 4th and 1.  Sometimes, they’ll put their quarterback under center, but he’ll hand off to the only running back, who’s lined up seven yards deep! (You do see some of this same crap on Saturday, too, since an awful lot of today’s college coaches are auditioning for the NFL.)

Even when it’s now legal to push the runner from behind, I’m amazed that I don’t see people running a sneak -  with a 300-pound fullback right behind their quarterback as a pusher.

You have to wonder why not.  Michael Salfino, writing on October 10 in the Wall Street Journal, noted that this season, in the NFL, sneaks had been attempted 44 times on either 3rd and 1 or 4th and one, and they’d been successful 42 times - that’s a 95.5% success rate. (Since 2013 - Sneaks in those situations have an 84.9% rate of success.)

For non-sneaks, the success rate is considerably lower - 64.6%

But here’s the kicker: despite the overwhelming odds in favor of a successful quarterback sneak in 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1 situations, teams sneak only 15% of the time!

The "sneakiest" NFL coach is Ron Rivera of the Panthers - he calls sneaks 26.8% of the time. (Of course, he’s got a giant economy-size QB in Cam Newton).

NFL coaches who are most reluctant to sneak:

Pete Carroll: 2% of the time.
Jason Garrett, Mike McCarthy: 3.4 % of the time.

One of General Neyland’s former players, Phil Dickens, did the General one better - he had his QB take snaps and sneak, toss, drop back, and run options to the weak side.  The QB was not exactly under center - he was in the A gap but turned in, facing the center.  From that position, he could take the snap, or he could allow the direct snap to go to the tailback or fullback while he did what a single wing blocking back was expected to do - block. This came to be known as the “side-saddle T.”  He was 29-11-1 running it at Wyoming, and his 1956 team (shown in the photo against Arizona) went 10-0.  That was good enough to get him the Indiana job, but, alas, he got caught cheating and that was his last coaching stop.

wyoming side saddle

WYOMING VS ARIZONA, 1956

John McLaughry ran his version of it at Brown, which I remembered from my college days. I spoke with him not long before he passed away, and he said that his main reason for running it was that it better enabled his QB to spin and lead through on off-tackle plays.  I gathered from that that he was not a single-wing coach trying to acquire some of the deception of the T-formation; instead, he was a T-formation coach trying to acquire some of the single wing’s power.
brown side saddle


FROM YALE SCOUTING REPORT VS BROWN, 1959


*********** Whenever there’s talk about “shutting down” the government, it’s always accompanied by a threat:  they’ll close the national parks.

And when the school board says it has to have more more money, it threatens us: it says that unless it gets the  funds it’ll have to cut sports.

Those government types aren’t dumb. They know what’s really important to us.

So now, all their pleas to save the polar bears and keep the oceans from rising having fallen on deaf ears, the climate change zealots are trying the same tack as the school boards.  They’re threatening to take our fun from us.  You see, unless we change our ways immediately, the world’s supply of barley could be in danger by the end of this century.  And since barley is a major ingredient in making beer, well, you can figure out where this is going.   Help us fight climate change or you’ll be cut off.

PS - The end of the century is still far enough away that anyone reading this who is 18 or over will probably be drinking Ensure by then anyhow - if he’s still around.

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

First I heard about the UCLA win and how bad it was for Cal.

As big a fan I am of ND there is NO WAY the Irish are one of the Top 5 teams in the country.  A Top 5 team should beat everyone they play, and beat each one convincingly to earn that recognition.  ND is a good team, but if they want to be considered Top 5, or a National Championship caliber playoff team, they need to step it up big-time.  Otherwise it will be another January 1 bowl game that could end badly for them.

Apparently I didn't miss much in last week's Army game vs. SJSU.  

Mark my words...after Humboldt State drops football next year, SJSU will be the next California State University to follow suit and join the ranks of the following schools that dropped the sport: San Francisco State, Hayward State, Chico State, Sonoma State, Cal State LA, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal Poly Pomona.  Others: University of the Pacific, Santa Clara, St. Mary's, USF, Loyola, Pepperdine, and UC Riverside.

Speaking of Sonoma State and Gary Patterson.  Gary and I met in 1985 while I was a coach at Sonoma State and he was working an Offense/Defense Camp back there at that time.  He was the coach that introduced me to his 4-2-5 defense concept.  Just a concept at that time.  But it was his concept I took back to high school with me after my short time at SSU and have used it ever since.  I follow Gary's TCU teams from afar because of his defense, and briefly visited him at TCU a few years ago.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

I agree with you on the Irish but only Northwestern and  USC appear to be left with a decent chance of beating them. The big thing they have going for them is not having to play a damned useless  conference championship game.

Sorry to see California dropping all those “small school” programs.  The death knell is going to come when then start dropping JC programs.  Oregon and Washington had them when we first moved out in 1975, and within 20 years they were all gone.  Just having JCs and the realistic goal that going to one represented really helped high school programs.

I think that Patterson has done a remarkable job at TCU, and I respect him for having the good sense to stay there as long as he has.


********** Pro football eats its seed corn… 

Defensive linemen Nick Bosa didn’t even make it halfway through his junior season before declaring that his Ohio State career was at an end.

A team captain, Bosa announced that he’s not going to be coming back from his injury, but instead he’s going to drop out of school (I’m sure he’d really been faithfully attending classes) to devote all his time to rehabbing from his injury - and getting ready for the NFL draft.

From a purely financial standpoint, with tens of millions of dollars on the line, Bosa’s decision makes sense.

But, thinking along those lines, how long will it be before top college players begin to “save their bodies,” starting to take it easy and pay attention to little aches and pains once they hit junior year? (If they aren’t already doing so.)

https://www.si.com/college-football/2018/10/16/nick-bosa-ohio-state-return-2019-nfl-draft-plans-injury-news


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Charlie Justice was a native of Asheville, North Carolina, where he was an outstanding athlete.

After “service” in the Navy (he played football) during World War II he enrolled at the University of North Carolina, where he became the most storied player in Tar Heel football history.

It was while playing at Bainbridge, Maryland Naval Training Center that his running style was compared to a locomotive, earning him one of the most colorful nicknames ever bestowed on a runner - “Choo-choo Charlie.”

In his four years at Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels were 32-7-2 and played in two Sugar Bowls and one Cotton Bowl.

Playing tailback in Coach Carl Snavely’s single wing, he rushed for  3774 yards and threw for 2362 yards and, running and throwing, he was responsible for 64 touchdowns.

He was a four-time All-American, and finished second in the Heisman voting in 1948 (behind Doak Walker) and 1949 (behind Leon Hart).

Following graduation, he was the MVP of the College All Star game, rushing for 133 yards in leading the All Stars to a 17-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

His NFL career with the Washington Redskins was cut short by injuries.

Charlie Justice is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.  His Number 22 has been retired by North Carolina.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CHARLIE ‘CHOO-CHOO” JUSTICE:

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSI
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** Ken Hampton, of Raleigh, North Carolina notes that Charlie Justice’s Number 22 is displayed in Carolina blue at the 22-yard line at Kenan Stadium.

*********** QUIZ: He came out of Humboldt, Tennessee and went to Tennessee on a basketball scholarship. He was a great high jumper, finishing second in the SEC track championships.  He played football for General Bob Neyland, and  although he played in the 1950s, he’s still considered perhaps the greatest defensive player in the history of SEC football.

He was so good as a defensive end - big and mean and agile - that he would have been as good today as he was when he played.

At 6-8 and 265, he would be big enough to play in today’s NFL; by the standards of  his day he was huge.

In 1953 he was the first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, but after two years in Cleveland, it was apparent to Paul Brown that he was not Brown’s type of person, and he was traded to the Chicago Bears for a couple of future draft choices.  In his 12 years in Chicago he made eight Pro Bowls.

Said Bears’ owner/coach George Halas years later, “Paul Brown couldn't handle him in Cleveland. I could slough off anything. He didn't give me trouble, except when he'd get stiff and call me up at night."

Because of him, Halas hired a private detective to keep track of players. At training camp, Bears’ coaches refused to check his room at bed-check time because he kept a pit bull named Rebel in his room. Recalled teammate Richie Petitbon, Rebel was “trained to kill.”

He evidently liked a drink. Once, he and fellow defensive lineman Fred Williams had a martini-drinking contest.  They stopped drinking at 21, but Williams conceded that our guy probably won, since he was able to drive them home.

He didn’t like to practice - he claimed the Bears didn’t pay him enough to play and practice, too.

He loved to try to get under Halas’ skin.  Once, on the first day of training camp, he arrived late to practice, and  proceeded to jog lazily and indifferently around the field. When Halas asked him what he was doing, he said, “Breaking in my helmet.”

For all his distaste for practice, though, he once went 12 straight years without missing a game, and in his 17 years of football he missed only 17 games.

And on the field, he was feared; the word among opposing offensive linemen was, “Don’t make him mad.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Fullback Rick Casares once said: ‘We used to hope that somebody would hold him. The next play you would see guys flying around like King Kong had gotten ahold of them. Awesome. I've seen him grab a tackle by the shoulder pads and just flip him over like a doll, then come in on a back that weighed 225 pounds without breaking stride and hit him in the chest, knock him over on his back, reach over, grab the quarterback by the shoulder pads and throw him down with one arm.’”

Despite his great size, he would often hurdle over blocking linemen on his way to the quarterback, and if sacks had been counted when he played, he would almost certainly be in the record books.

Recalled his Tennessee teammate Jack Stroud, who had a long career with the Giants, “The notion that because those guys in the 50s didn’t lift weights and take steroids they weren’t strong is a crock.  A lot of those guys would have whipped the hell out of these guys today.  Take —— —— He was 6-8 and 265 and was solid muscle and bones. And hhe high jumped six feet.  And he never touched a weight in his life.  With the frame he had, he could have weighed 300 pounds no problem. His arms were 18 inches around.  We measured them in Knoxville.  I told him over to the gym to try to get him to work out (Stroud was a serious lifter). He allowed that that was a lot of extra work he didn’t need.”

He was a team leader - of sorts.  “(He) was a nice guy but you were scared of him," said Mike Pyle, who played center for the Bears. "He nominated me for player representative. He said, 'I nominate Mike Pyle 'cause he's from Yale.' The rest of the players were asked, 'Anybody else?' (He) said, 'Yeah, I move the nominations be closed.'"

At 37 he was sent to the Saints in the expansion draft, but he had enough left in the tank that in the three years he played in New Orleans he played well enough to have his number retired there.

Despite Halas’ initial misgivings about his practice habits, he is 
in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His highest salary was $25,000, and at his Hall of Fame induction, he recalled getting into an argument with Halas over $500:  "Coach Halas said if I give you that money you would only spend it. I said, 'Coach, that's what I want it for'!"


american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 16,  2018 -   “If you have a bad temper, employ it for a purpose.”  Vince Lombardi


*********** It seemed only days ago that we Portlanders learned that Paul Allen’s cancer had returned, and then today came the sad news that Mr. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks, had died.  He was 65.

Strange and somewhat reclusive, Mr. Allen was one of the wealthiest men in the United States, and he invested his wealth in a wide number of areas besides sports. I can only imagine how many people he and his many companies employed, but just as one example, his 400-foot yacht, the Octopus, carried a crew of 57. He actually lent the yacht - which had a deep-diving submarine - to governments for use in major salvage and rescue operations.

What a job it’s going to be to sort out all of Mr. Allen’s many and varied holdings.

I suspect that fans in Portland and Seattle may never again have it as good as they did with him, one of our own, owning our major sports franchises.

*********** Hard to tell which was more painful for Cal fans Saturday - the thumping that their Golden Bears got from UCLA, or their loss of first place to UCLA in Times Higher Education’s rankings as the Top Public University in the US.

*********** If you’ve ever been in a spot where the wolves were howling for your job… I’ll bet you didn’t have a guy standing behind you the way Donald Trump stood behind his nominee for the Supreme Court.

*********** John Walters, in The Athletic, asks, “How does a kicker come to be known as “Bubba?’” (Miami’s Bubba Baxa.)

*********** Tua Tagovailoa has yet to play in the fourth quarter this season.

*********** I got so tired of hearing announcers say “Hopkins-Junior” this and “Hopkins-Junior” that as if that’s the last name of Army QB Kelvin Hopkins that I turned off the volume.  And then I tuned in an Air Force game and it was even worse: “Hammond-the-third” this and “Hammond-the-third” that.

*********** What does a spread team do when it’s 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1 and it has to go for it?  Why, first it snaps the ball back to a guy who’s four yards deep…

*********** A holding call in the Vandy-Florida game prompted this bit of professional analysis: “He might have got a LITTLE bit of jersey…”   Yeah, it was just a little bit of jersey.  "Penetration, however slight..."

*********** I would have enjoyed listening to some of the Iowa-Indiana game, but no-o-o-o-o.  Not once I heard that it was Beth Mowins on play-by-play.

*********** Indiana’s secondary appears to be incapable of covering receivers without interfering.

*********** Oklahoma State was on the Kansas State one, third-and-one.  The one-FOOT line, actually.

So what do they do?  Why, they run a jet sweep.  And lose five yards.

*********** A Florida linebacker named Vosean Joseph - more from him later - picks up a Vandy runner and pile-drives him, earning a richly-deserved unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  And the Florida staff did absolutely nothing about it. Didn’t bat an eye.  Just as if it was business as usual, he was still on the field for the next play. What the hell kind of coaching is that?

*********** The brand… the brand… the brand.  We hear this sh— from the marketing guys at the colleges as if they really have an understanding of what branding is all about… And then they send their product out into the marketplace in a package that’s unrecognizeable. 

What, exactly, is the reason for all the all-black uniforms on teams whose colors have never included black?  This past weekend it was Tulsa and Iowa State.

Maybe it’s all part of the Death of Normal.

*********** A Florida player puts a dirty hit - blind-side, helmet-to-helmet - on a Vanderbilt player and as the Vandy player lies motionless on the ground, his coach, Derek Mason, has words with Florida coach Dan Mullen.  Florida DC Todd Grantham seems to forget that he’s not the head coach, and flaps his mouth, too.

Meanwhile, Vosean Joseph - remember him? - picks up his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty IN THE SAME HALF and now he has to leave the game.

But not without a tantrum.  The mother, I would say, of all tantrums.  Hmmm.  Maybe that’s why nobody on the Florida staff had the stones to pull him out of the game for a little “coaching” after that first unsportmanlike conduct penalty.

New coaching staff.  Same old Florida.

*********** 4th and 18 and a great fake punt catches Vanderbilt flat-footed.

*********** Nebraska takes a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.  Could this be the Huskers’ day?

*********** Vanderbilt’s deep snapper hustles downfield and  catches the punt in the air.

*********** How an option team takes itself out of its offense…

Georgia Tech, down 14-7 to Duke, fumbles and - like that - Tech is down 21-7.

Georgia Tech, down 21-7 to Duke, fumbles and - like that - Tech is down 28-7.

And now, Georgia Tech is forced to play Duke left-handed -  throwing the ball.

*********** Speaking of playing left-handed… Two very sketchy grounding calls that should have been called against Northwestern. One of them is so bad that the Northwestern QB is “throwing” the ball left-handed.

*********** This is how it happens when you’re going down the gurgler…

There’s 2:02 left. Nebraska leads, 31-24, and Northwestern is on its own one yard line. 99 yards to go.

And then a Cornhusker lineman is called for a blow to the head, and Northwestern is out of the end zone and on its way to the last-second score that will send the game into OT.

*********** Free timeouts for incomplete passes.  Since when do we reward failure?  It’s making a farce of the game.

*********** Pitt comes out wearing its Dorsett-era uniforms - sunflower gold helmets and pants.  All that was missing was the talent they had on those teams.

*********** Derek Mason and Dan Mullen seemed quite cordial in their post-game meeting at midfield.

*********** The Oregon-Washington game saw a targeting call against a UW linemen who couldn’t possibly have made a more beautiful form tackle on the Oregon QB.

*********** Proof that there’s a God - Washington’s kicker missed what would have been a game-winner as time expired, and the game went into OT.  What a sin it would have been if the game - a real classic - had ended, like most NFL "thrillers,"  on a f—king chip shot kick.

*********** For the 1,000th time… coaches should not be calling time out.  Ever,

*********** Washington scored in the top half of OT to lead, 33-30.

In its first series, Oregon was stopped on 3rd and 1, and now faced 4th and 1.

But wait - Oregon was called for holding. What to do?

Take the play and force the Ducks to decide whether to kick or go for it?

Or take the penalty and bet that they can’t make 3rd-and-11?

Washington took the penalty, but Oregon made the first down - and went in to score the winning touchdown.

*********** UCLA 37, Cal 7 - It was that bad an ass-kicking.  How’s that QB demotion working out? Well, since you asked, Cal had FIVE turnovers, all by the QB.

*********** Is there no end to the stupid play?  Virginia, leading Miami 16-13 with :30 left to play, kicks a field goal to go ahead 19-13.

But not so fast - a Miami player roughed the kicker.  Take the penalty and it’s an automatic first down. Miami has no timeouts left, which means GAME OVER.

*********** Lotsa Field Storming on Saturday…

Iowa State
LSU
Oregon
UV

*********** Lost in the crowd?  More like the crowd lost in the seats?

For some reason, San Jose State chose to play Army in Levis Stadium.  You can imagine what 15,627 (announced) looks like in a stadium that seats 68.000

AND THIS IS WHAT SAN DIEGO STADIUM LOOKED LIKE WHEN AIR FORCE AND SAN DIEGO STATE RETURNED AFTER A 1-1/2 HOUR LIGHTNING DELAY

AFA VS SDSU AFTER STORM

*********** I watched Tom Brady score a TD against Kansas City when he ran out of the grasp of a Chiefs’ defensive lineman. Are you kidding me?  Brady breaking a tackle?  I swear it looked to me as if the defender, afraid of throwing Brady to the ground and getting called for roughing, let up.

I suspect we’re going to be seeing more of this,  and it threatens to make a travesty of the game.

At the very least, in return for the cosseting of the QBs, there should be some tradeoff.  How about when he’s “in the grasp” (remember that?) the play is dead?

There.  That way we’ll find out if this no-roughing garbage is really about the quarterback’s safety… or if it’s about goosing the offensive stats.

*********** Bowling Green didn’t wait until the end of the season to fire Mike Jinks, letting him go roughly at the mid-point of his five-year, $2.1 million contract.

He had to go.  Losses were mounting.  Crowds were dwindling.  Boosters were bailing.

And all because of an AD who had no f—king idea how to hire a football coach.

Back in 2015, coming off a MAC championship and needing to replace his coach, the AD did what any sharp AD would do.  No, he didn’t go to a list of potential hires he’d begun to compile back when it became obvious that his current coach (Dino Babers) was so good that somebody was bound to lure him away.  No, that’s what old-time ADs did.

This digital-age AD went to Google.  No lie.  He searched for the team with the most productive offense, which Google said was Texas Tech.  And then he zeroed in on the top Tech assistant that he could afford.

That turned out to be a running backs coach named Mike Jinks.  So Jinks had never so much as been a college coordinator. So Jinks had never even been in the state of Ohio.

So Jinks was so unready he didn’t even have a list of assistants to hire if he ever got a head coaching job. (His first staff wound up consisting of seven assistants who had never previously coached at the Division 1 level, and had, in toto, zero ties to Ohio.

What could possibly go wrong?

(For what it’s worth, the AD in question, a guy named Chris Kingston, worked at West Point under one of the world’s worst ADs, a guy named Kevin Anderson. Kingston is no longer at Bowling Green.)

https://www.toledoblade.com/sports/college/2018/10/14/college-football-bowling-green-state-university-mike-jinks-david-briggs/stories/20181014165?abnpageversion=evoke


***********  Hugh,

You may be right about the option.  While I never miss an Army game now I can see how the cut block downfield has limited the offense's effectiveness on the perimeter.  I completely disagree with it, and my point is this:  If a defender is allowed to take the legs away from the blocker, how is THAT not considered as dangerous as a blocker taking the legs away from a defender??  Or...if defenders are allowed to leave their feet on a tackle below the waist...why isn't that considered dangerous to both the ball carrier and the defender??

While I briefly watched some of the Yale-Dartmouth game last Friday I couldn't help but notice the crowd in the venerated old Yale Bowl. 

Speaking of crowds, and Andy Kerr, and Stanford...is there a possible connection that crowd sizes at Yale and Stanford last week may have something to do with the progressive mindset on both the east coast and left coast???

Glad to have you back!  Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe-

I am actually seeing calls of cut blocking against defenders who take on blockers at the knees.  Coaches on the sideline act incredulous.

What pisses me off about what’s happening with the spread guys ganging up on the option is that it’s like Amazon and Wal-Mart and Target favoring legislation that may sound great on the surface ($15 minimum wage!)  but is actually designed to crush the little guys.

As for the Yale Bowl (dear to me because it’s where my wife and I first met)...

The Bowl was once the largest stadium in the United States.  Even adjusted for the greater width of modern-day asses, it still seats close to 70,000.  To see even 20,000 in that big old bowl looks like those incongruous scenes on TV of high school playoff games being played in NFL stadia.

Ivy League football is long gone as a spectator sport. We were borderline big time  when I went there, at least by the measurement of attendance.

To give you an idea of how Yale once drew…

In 1956, my freshman year, Yale played SEVEN home games. They drew 243,825 - and average of 34,800.

Compare that with
ALABAMA - 6 games - 154,000 - 25,700 per game
ARKANSAS - 6 games - 161,000 - 26,800
AUBURN - 5 games - 120,000 - 24,000
FLORIDA - 7 games - 233,662 - 33,400
GEORGIA - 4 games - 110,000 - 27,500
OREGON - 4 GAMES - 55,000 - 13,500
PENN STATE - 4 games - 107,030 - 26,750
SYRACUSE - 5 games - 157,480 - 31,500
TCU - 4 games - 104,000 - 26,000
WASHINGTON - 6 games - 190,000 - 31,700

College football has undergone a sea change since then.

At Yale, we would routinely draw crowds in excess of 50,000 for “big” games.

At that time, that meant Princeton, Harvard or Dartmouth.  For those games, we could make decent money selling our tickets to rich New York alumni who wanted to impress client with good seats (our seats were on the 40). We didn’t consider it scalping because we didn’t pay anything for them. Those rich alumni were the students of the 30’s, when Yale football was a national power.

Nowadays, I think the quality of the play is probably better than when I played,  but the interest is gone. The fan base has eroded.  The old alumni are dead. Today’s students don’t give a sh— haven’t in years, and when they graduate they become alumni who don't give a sh—.  This process has been going on since about the time they admitted women (hmmm.). Soon, there will be no alumni at all who care. Only parents and girlfriends of players will be at games.

It may be a coastal thing, but I believe it’s also a tribal thing - members of the leftist/feminist/LGBTQ tribe don’t care much for football.  Certainly not for glorifying something that reeks of testosterone and male toxicity.

(This appears to be a small but dangerous first-stage cancer even at real football schools, where students party in the tailgate area instead of going to the actual game.)

Thanks for getting me going on this.

Hugh

PS— Thought you might enjoy this, from June, 2001—


*********** Hi coach, Just a couple of things to note. We installed the DW this past week at Benilde-St. Margaret's School in Minneapolis. I was thrilled at our turnout, (over 60 players grades 7 through 12) but more importantly, the players picked it up quickly and they're really fired-up about it. The coaching staff can't wait to get going! Your installation tape, and attending the Chicago clinic made the installation that much easier. I'll be in touch with you periodically to let you know how things are going for the "Red Knights".

 Also, I'm very interested in the "no-huddle" and "new play" information you described on your website "news" and would greatly appreciate anything you can send. Look forward to hearing from you, and again, thanks for all your help.

 Joe Gutilla Head Football Coach

P.S. By the way, my "star" TB I told you about when I first contacted you about running the offense (he was very skeptical about the change) watched the Dynamics video and took part in the installation. He's now convinced there isn't anyone we'll face that will be able to stop him at B back. I may have created a monster.

*********** The Law of Unintended Consequences…

You wonder why our language is going to hell?

My daughter passed this along to me some time ago…

A friend of hers said a speech therapist she knows told her that it has become more and more difficult for her to motivate kids to improve their speech, because now that it's no longer acceptable for others to make fun of the way they speak (“bullying?”), there's no incentive for them to learn to speak properly.

The intended consequence of “tolerance” was to keep kids from feeling bad about themselves. After all, we didn’t want them all committing suicide, right?  But what we got instead was a growing cohort of people who, if they even speak English at all , speak it poorly.

*********** Number one-ranked Mater Dei, of Santa Ana, California, fell to St. John Bosco, of Bellflower on Saturday.

Mater Dei doesn’t lose often.  Bruce Rollinson has been the Mater Dei head coach 1989, and during that time, he’s coached a number of state championship teams, including  last year’s team that was also named the national champion.  Among his better known players are Matt Barkley, Colt Brennan and Matt Leinart. And USC’s current true-freshman QB,  J. T. Daniels, was Mater Dei’s QB just last season.

There’s a nice article in the latest AFCA publication about Coach Rollinson and his approach with parents, which he decribes as “brutally upfront.”

Here’s why: Even after winning the national championship last year, Rollinson said nine different players transferred from Mater Dei to other programs.
A major reason was playing time or “getting their share of the spotlight.”

Said Rollinson, “I was disappointed because they did have potential but I was never going to make their parents happy anyway.”

*********** I have a theory that kids who stare at screens - who never read and never listen to stories - never develop their imaginations.  With everything done for them from the time they’re old enough to hold an iPad, they’re basically unable to create pictures in their minds. 

In popular entertainment, this manifests itself in primitive humor that lacks subtlety because its audience simply can’t put the pieces together. Why take the chance that they won’t be able to figure out for themselves why that guy is doubled over in pain?  Why not simply show him being kicked in the balls?

Matt Groening, whom we can all thank for giving us “The Simpsons,” referred to this recently in recalling the early days of the show. “Our original concept was a little coarser and a little more risque.  We went in that direction and it didn’t feel right. It felt too easy. There are words you can use that will automatically get a laugh.  But it’s more fun to skirt the edge.”


*********** Just checking to verify that Frontier is enrolled for the Black Lion Award.

We’re having another good season despite having just 4 seniors on the squad.

We lost our opening game to a ranked opponent and had the lead at half but couldn’t finish. We lost momentum when we didn’t score in the closing seconds of the half and had a thin 6-0 lead. (We took the kickoff at the start of the game marched right down the field -textbook DW) Since then we 3 straight and average over 30 points per game.
66/77 average over 8 yards per carry. I’ve also worked in a freshman at A back for some carries. He shows real promise and contributes to the rushing stats. Despite the bruising rushing attack a few “Dads”can be heard on the sidelines calling for us to “open it up”.  Yeah right.  Besides running 66/77 the usual way we will run 66 with Liz motion with the QB reversing like on a 56c.  We call it LIZ 66 INSIDE POWER or RIP 77 INSIDE POWER. Our sweeps also look pretty good this year. Something we lacked the past few seasons. 88/99 G-REACH and we sometimes offset the FB play side or flank the FB to play side about 8 yards and have him crack on the outside LB.

Works pretty good - especially after pounding off tackle for a few plays. We continue to practice openwing as well.   Havent unleashed it yet other than in preseason scrimmage but it’s there if we need it or just want to mess with next weeks opponents scouting. It might placate a few of the Dads. lol

Only 3seniors starting on each side of the ball tonight. Wish us luck.

BTW I enjoyed the Army vs Oklahoma game - got to watch it via YouTube.

Don Gordon
Frontier Regional School
Deerfield
Peoples Republic of Massachusetts

PS   Did I read somewhere you’re working on another playbook focusing onformation adjustments?

Coach-

You did read correctly.  But first on my list of projects is the next installment of the Open Wing playbook.

Keep enjoying your season.  I’ve enjoyed watching your team.



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

I hope you are feeling better. I saw on your NYCU that you had been under the weather.

I wrote to you back at the beginning of the season regarding my fumbling problems and you gave me some excellent advise, but we still kept fumbling. Some of the players had improved, but others were not able to really get better, and with play time rules in effect I made a switch after our 3rd game. We had a bye week and I decided to install the Open Wing. In examining my skilled players I came to realize I had 2 guys who are excellent runners (put them at BBack)and a pretty good QB that throws well and can run a little. Since the installation we have put up 42 and 29 points in the 2 games and we have won both games. The transition was pretty seamless for the Oline other than I decided to flop them using an open and tight side, and my center had no trouble with the short snap. The biggest improvement is we have only fumbled once( in the first game in the Open Wing) and the kid got the message real quick when I benched him for the rest of the half. As for the other guys that continued to fumble, well they get to play X and Slot and never have to see the ball. I do have a kid at X that I throw to, and a slot player that is lightning quick so I run him on reach plays, but other than those two no one else out there gets a whiff of the ball.

I do have a question about the Open Wing, I have the videos and maybe I need to look at them again, but when would I use Over, Eastern, or Western? Especially if I am sticking with the G-O's, X-O's, and the traps. When would be a good time to change the formation that may be advantageous to the play calls I hope this makes sense.

Thanks Coach

John Guebara
Craftsbury, Vermont

Glad you’ve been able to make use of the Open Wing.

A brief answer to your question would be that you might use Eastern and Western (moving your slot to the Tight Side) when a defense that’s normally a 3-deep covers your slot back with its safety (and therefore there's no one in the middle).  That means that it’s playing your running game 9-on-9. (TOP)

By moving your Slot Back to the other side ("Western") , you can force the secondary back into its base 3-deep, and  make it an 8-man box. (BOTTOM)

western


Otherwise, unless you have some plans to throw, there’s no advantage to you to go Western or Eastern. (If you can throw, you have trips to the tight side, and almost certainly one-on-one coverage on the split end.)

Hang tight until I send out playbook pages for “Strong” backfield.

Good Luck!


*********** Hugh Freeze joins Rick Neuheisel!

1. https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/former-ole-miss-coach-hugh-freeze-hired-as-offensive-coordinator-in-new-aaf-league/

Uh-Oh.

2. Have you felt the Push for Notre Dame as NatChamps this year? "It's the feel good story of the 2018 college football season..."  CBS Sports on the 'Net is the worst: A  picture of the ND QB with high cheek bones and a chin carved from a rock from Mount Rushmore appears for a few seconds with whatever story you're reading.  This guy is ready to star in a Superman  movie.  Get ready for another "Fifth-to-First"  year, even with a Playoff System.

Think there aren't strings being pulled for some people?

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

*********** Don’t you just love Politial Correctness?

Came across this…

The mascot of Flint Central High School since 1928 was the Indian. In 2001 the Flint Board of Education voted to phase out school mascots that made reference to Native Americans in all of Flint's schools. This affected other school mascots as well including the Pierce Elementary School Arrows (although the mascot name is a reference to the automobile model, not the weapon),

Did you get that?  There was once a car called the Pierce Arrow.  And a very prestigious automobile it was. Therefore, it being Michigan and autos and all that, what a clever nickname for Pierce Elementary School.

But ooooooo. Arrows bad.

*********** I go back a long way with Gil LeBreton, a long-time sportswriter and columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Back in the days of the World Football League, Gil, an LSU guy,  was the PR man for the Birmingham Vulcans, and I served in the same capacity with the Portland Thunder.  We hit it off pretty well and in return for his hospitality when I visited the Magic City, I reciprocated when he came out to the Northwest.

After a long career with the Star-Telegram, Gil has embarked on a new venture, a subcription-only site devoted to Dallas-Fort Worth sports.
In one of his most recent columns, Gil wrote about Gary Patterson’s losing both of his parents in the past year, and how his upbringing has been responsible for making him the man - and the coach - he is…

Patterson left tiny Rozel, Kan., in 1978, first to Dodge City Community College and then to attend Kansas State, but in a lot of ways Rozel has never left him.

Rozel is smack dab in the middle of central Kansas, 137 miles from Wichita, 135 miles from the Nebraska state line and 150 miles from Colorado. There’s a grain elevator, a water tower and a few dozen houses, but no signal light or even a stop sign on the town’s main street.

The population of Rozel is listed as 156. Patterson’s final year at Pawnee Heights High was the school’s last season to play 11-man football.

*****
“People say, ‘Well, why are you so driven?’” Patterson reflected Tuesday. “You’re driven because you have parents that drove you, and you want to make sure that you paid them back for all the hard work they did.”

Patterson’s father Keith, who died in January, leveled farm land for a living so area farmers could find irrigation. His mother was a career nurse.
His parents valued the necessities of hard work, Patterson said.

“I went back to see her last Sunday after the Iowa State game, and it was the last time,” he said. “Most people, if they knew a parent was going to pass away, would have stayed a couple of days.

“But she was one of those [who said], ‘Now, I don’t want you to get beat by Texas Tech, so you need to get back and get prepared.’

“That’s just the way we do things. That’s the way they brought me up.”

His mom died quietly on Thursday, Oct. 4, four days after Gary visited.

*****
From his parents, Patterson continued, he inherited his zealous drive.

“They were a couple who knew what they were and how they did things,” he said. “They worked hard. The reason myself and my brother and sisters turned out way we did was the simple reason that they pushed us to be that.

“We never knew we didn’t have anything. We didn’t have anything but we didn’t know that. They always found a way to make sure we had an education, clothes, everything.”

When Patterson returned in January to see his then-ailing father Keith, he received a similar scolding as the one his mother would later give him – get back to work.

“If you lose a recruit because you’re back here . . . ,” the elder Patterson told his son.

https://sptspage.com/a-game-then-a-sad-flight-home-to-kansas/

Gil’s BIO: Gil LeBreton's 40-year journalism career has seen him cover sporting events from China and Australia to the mountains of France and Norway. He's covered 26 Super Bowls, 16 Olympic Games (9 summer, 7 winter), 16 NCAA Basketball Final Fours, the College World Series, soccer's World Cup, The Masters, Tour de France, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup finals and Wimbledon. He's seen Muhammad Ali box, Paul Newman drive a race car and Prince Albert try to steer a bobsled, memorably meeting and interviewing each of them. Gil is still the only journalist to be named sportswriter of the year in both Louisiana and Texas by the National Sportsmedia Association. A Vietnam veteran, Gil and his wife Gail, a retired kindergarten teacher, live in the stately panhandle of North Richland Hills. They have two children, J.P., a computer game designer in San Francisco, and Elise, an actress in New York City.

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER- JIM SWINK was born in the small town of Sacul, Texas, but when his parents fell ill, he was taken in by a childless couple in nearby Rusk.  At Rusk High School he was an outstanding high school athlete, and he chose  TCU partly because it agreed to  let him play both football and basketball.

In 1955 he gained 1,283 yards on just 157 carries and scored 18 touchdowns as the Horned Frogs went 9-2 and finished with a No. 5 national ranking.  His 8.2 yards-per-carry average led the nation and is still the school record.

An electrifying runner, a threat to go all the way on any play,  he was nicknamed the  Rusk Rambler.

In his career at TCU, he had three great performances against Texas. (Perhaps he saved his best for the Longhorns because they hadn't recruited him.) In TCU's 47-20 trouncing of Texas in 1955, he carried 15 times for 235 yards and four touchdowns. The night before, thousands of Texas fans had gathered for a candle-light vigil, hoping to put a hex on the Frogs. "Heck," said TCU Coach Abe Martin, "if a candle can beat us, we ain't very good."

In the final game of his career, a historic Cotton Bowl matchup with Syracuse and the great Jim Brown,  he scored the winning touchdown in a 28-27 victory. (Brown scored 21 points by himself, but missed the extra point that proved the margin of victory.)

He was named first-team All-America running back in both 1954 and 1955, and finished second in the Heisman voting in 1955.  He was on the covers of numerous football magazines, and at least twice on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

“He was one of the five best players in TCU history and should have won the Heisman,” said Dan Jenkins, the famous TCU alum, football historian and writer.

“He was a guy basically, with Davey O’Brien and Sammy Baugh, that put TCU on the map,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson.

But he passed up the NFL to go to medical school.

“The Bears drafted me, and it was tempting” he told the Star-Telegram years later. “George Halas used to call me up and talk for an hour. He’d say, ‘I need someone up here who doesn’t fumble the ball.’ But I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule.’

In 1966 he was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam as a medic - as the Black Lions’ Battalion Surgeon - returning home in 1968 as a captain with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

For 35 years  he was an orthopedic surgeon in Fort Worth, but in 2006 after a stroke, he returned to Rusk, where he grew up, and continued to practice. He died in 2014.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000.

“Much of what we accomplished didn’t seem such a big deal at the time,” he told the Star-Telegram in 2000 before his induction into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. “It was just a part of the overall experience of getting a college education. It was also a more innocent time, and we were mostly kids from small towns who hadn’t seen much of the world. It was also the one-platoon era, where you could build a competitive program with a lot fewer people than it takes today.”

At the time of his death in 2014, his wife told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that of all the things he had accomplished,  “He was most proud of being an Academic All-American. He was proud of all of his accomplishments, but he was especially proud of that.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM SWINK:

KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS


*********** QUIZ: He was a native of Asheville, North Carolina, where he was an oustanding high school athlete.

After “service” in the Navy (he played football) during World War II he enrolled at the University of North Carolina, where he became the most storied player in Tar Heel football history.

It was while playing at Bainbridge, Maryland Naval Training Center that his running style was compared to a locomotive, earning him one of the most colorful (and alliterative) nicknames ever bestowed on a runner.

In his four years at Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels were 32-7-2 and played in two Sugar Bowls and one Cotton Bowl.

Playing tailback in Coach Carl Snavely’s single wing, he rushed for  3774 yards and threw for 2362 yards and, on the ground and in the air, he was responsible for 64 touchdowns.

He was a four-time All-American, and finished second in the Heisman voting twice:  in 1948 (behind Doak Walker) and 1949 (behind Leon Hart).

Following graduation, he was the MVP of the College All Star game, rushing for 133 yards in leading the All Stars to a 17-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

His NFL career with the Washington Redskins was cut short by injuries.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.  His Number 22 has been retired by North Carolina.


american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 12,  2018 -   “Once the party of the working man, Democrats have become the party of the screaming woman.” Robert Stacy McCain, The American Spectator

*********** The latest Sports Illustrated contains a couple of very deep football articles, neither of which will please someone who dislikes the way the game is headed.

One, “The NFL’s Unfixable Problem,” by Tim Layden, deals with the newest definition of roughing the passer, and how offenses have taken advantage of the near-untouchable status of the quarterbacks  and the added protection of “defenseless” receivers to put up numbers less related to the skills of the players than to the laxity of the rules. It’s part a concern for  player safety, true, but it’s also business-driven, because spectators pay to see offense. (Next:  baseball moving the pitcher’s mound back to 90 feet, and giving the batter four strikes - and saying that because so many pitchers are throwing in the 90s now, it’s for the safety of the batters.)

Jack Lambert drew laughs back in the 70s when Howard Cosell asked him if he could think of any rules change to protect quarterbacks and he answered, “it might be a good idea to put dresses on all of them.”

We are almost there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=15&v=IxDUCaUYhnw

The other article, “The Option,” by Ross Dellinger, does a nice job of giving an overview of the various forms of options and how  option football appears doomed. Even its practitioners agree, and most of them seem to feel - as I do - that the rulesmakers “have an agenda.”  The latest attack on option play has been an outlawing of below-the-waist blocking downfield. Passed as a “safety measure,” I have yet to see the data to support it.

There’s no question in my mind that there is an “agenda” to do away with option football.  Non-option coaches are a great majority, and their influence on the rules committee reflects it.  If with just one rule they could outlaw option football overnight, they’d do it, but realizing that that’s impossibile, they’re settling for one bite at a time.


*********** Downtown Vancouver, Washington used to be a fairly rough place, known mainly for its dives, card rooms (legalized poker) and - a sure mark of a place where people live on the edge - pawn shops.

Gentrification is making its inroads.  The cardrooms were sent packing long ago, the dives are being replaced by brewpubs and wine bars, and with the closing of a major pawn shop, only two remain from what was not long ago seven.

The reason for the pawn shops’ demise doesn’t seem to be as much a factor of an improved downtown as it is a result of peoples’ ability to sell things online.

But at least one guy isn’t worried about the future of  pawn shops in Vancouver.

Said Dan Maks, co-owner of still-in-business Lucky Loans, “As long as people still spend more money than they make, there will always be pawn shops.” 

*********** KC Smith, of Walpole, Massachusetts, brought to my attention an NFL player/MD whom I’d overlooked.  And shame on me because he was an Ivy Leaguer.

He’s Dr. Archie Roberts, a native of Holyoke, Massachusetts who played at Holyoke High and then Deerfield Academy before going on to Columbia.

He got his MD at Case-Western Reserve, and became a cardiac surgeon.

By the time he retired, he had performed more than 4,000 open heart operations.

(Actually, he missed the list because he’s not  a former NFL player - he was an AFL player (Jets and Dolphins) and barely one at that, appearing in only one game.)

KC Smith wrote with some amount of personal interest: Archie Roberts played at Deerfield Academy for his dad, Jim Smith.

So did KC.  And so did KC's  four brothers, Mike, Danny, Jimmy and Patrick.

In his 36 years at Greenfield, Jim Smith coached the Deerfield Big Green to a 175-88-12 record.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archie_Roberts_(American_football)
 
https://deerfield.edu/athletics/news/2012/10/smith-football/10198455/

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

Everyone down here is gearing up for the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma in Dallas this weekend.  I like Texas' chances and will take the points! (Honest - I got this email before the game! HW)

I think the guy having the tough season is the same guy we both know.  A ton of injuries to his starters, and the drop-off at each position is significant.  He still has great support because his boys are learning a lot about character this year.  Just a matter of time before they start winning.

It's apparent Todd Bridge has a plethora of football knowledge as a player and a coach, and I'm happy to hear he landed a good job.

Sounds like Coach Pierce is facing the same challenge as our head coach here.  Lack of numbers.  He only has 16 healthy bodies including 6 freshmen and 4 sophomores.  They're 0-4 and have cancelled 3 games with only two remaining...provided they have 20 players eligible by decree of our school administration.  The chances of the football program surviving are slim.

Sometimes you have to wonder wtf some coaches are thinking when they don't supervise their athletes.  Likely they aren't thinking, and why we hear and read about those asinine stories.

An old mentor coach of mine (RIP) was the one who advised me on becoming a head coach to always strive to be different than your opponents.  He knew what he was talking about.  While everyone back then was running some form of triple option, or power football he was throwing the ball all over the field and winning championships.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Coach John Coelho, in Turlock, California, sent me this classic “10 men in the box” shot…

TURLOCK

Mustn’t have been too successful, because his Hornets are now 5-1, second in their league, and they lead the league in scoring,

(Remember - the closer defenders get to the line of scrimmage, the more committed they become to that side, and the less of a threat they are to plays run in the other direction.)


*********** Coach - I actually enjoy this Friday Night Ivy League  Game thing ESPN has got going , who ever came up with that concept  should be promoted.  What I would actually like to see is ESPN dedicate a Night  - Wed Night or Thurs Night OR even a time slot on Sat - on one of their Channels for a 1-AA (FCS) Game of the week. I actually think that would catch on. Plenty of good 1-AA conferences
 
John  Muckian
Ipswich, Massachusetts

John,

It’s a great concept and the Ivies have been putting on a good show.

The Ivy has a chance at getting viewers because they are nationally-known colleges with great reputations that turn away large multiples of the numbers of kids who apply.
I’m not so sure that there would be that kind of BIG-MARKET interest in many other FCS (D-IAA) leagues except maybe Colonial (Maine, NH, Nova, Delaware, W & M, Richmond, etc.). 

I actually would prefer something every week like this past Tuesday night’s Arkanas State-App State game.  The non-Power 5 FBS conferences play football that's good enough that the average fan couldn’t distinguish it  from the SEC if they were to switch uniforms with SEC teams. And this would be their chance to shine on a national level.

And don’t forget, it’s almost time for the MAC to start playing two or three nights a week. (Sure hope it’s good for MAC football to be totally turning their backs on Saturday afternoon football.)


*********** In the AFCA Coaches’ Top 25 weekly poll, the top five in the less-publicized classifiations
 
FCS
1. North Dakota State; 2. Kennesaw State; 3. Eastern Washington; 4. Wofford; 5. South Dakota State

DIVISION II
1. Minnesota State; 2. Grand Valley State; 3. Ferris State; 4. West Georgia; 5. Ouachita Baptist

DIVISION III
1. Mount Union; 2. Mary Hardin-Baylor; 3. St. Thomas; 4. Brockport State; 5. Wisconsin-Whitewater

COMPLETE RANKINGS...

https://www.afca.com/fcs-poll-elon-upsets-james-madison-to-shuffle-top-5-in-afca-fcs-coaches-poll/?utm_source=AFCA+Insider&utm_campaign=8a96b6388d-AFCA_Weekly_100317_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_343e846137-8a96b6388d-147880073

*********** Think the fans in Pittsburgh haven’t noticed?

Michael Salfino in the Wall Street Journal noted that  over the last nine games of the 1976 season, the Steelers’ defense allowed opponents a grand total of 28 points.

This year’s Steelers’ defense has given up 21 points in one quarter - against the Chiefs in game #2.


*********** I consider Charlie Wilson of Crystal River, Florida to be as knowledgeable  about the wishbone and/or the belly as anybody I’m aware of, and I knew I’d hear from him after Georgia Tech’s demolishing of Louisville:

GT VS LVL BONE

Look at the Attachment.  It's a good ol' WT-6 with the Safety at 6 over C and the OLBs out of the picture.  That oughta' work.  So..."Whadya' run against THAT, CPJ?"

Of course!  "I'm gonna Double the DT by reaching the C to the right and Blocking my Right T down whilst I Pull my G around...".  The Louisville D is still looking for TaQuon Marshall who reversed Counter Clock Wise, took a step or two and then cut straight up-field.  Just gashed 'em.

Remember what I've said through the years?  "All Defenses of the Wishbone/Flexbone/Spread Option go back to the Wide Tackle Six and the Defense the Option Team most wants to face is the WT-6."

I may not get to sleep tonight.

Hope yer OK.


*********** With the recent deaths of George Taliaferro and John Gagliardi, the world of football lost two giants in the space of just a few days.  Ironically, they’d both been featured during the past year as subjects of my quiz. (No, I don’t see myself as “jinxing” them in any way.  Don’t forget, the men I write about - if they are still alive - are already well up in their years as it is.  I’m just glad that I happened to bring them to some people’s attention before they passed away.  We need to treasure men like that while they’re with us. God rest their souls.

BACK IN FEBRUARY…..

***George Taliaferro  spent six years in the pro football, with four different teams in two different leagues.

He  was a native of Gary, Indiana. In 1945, as a 17-year old freshman playing with returning war veterans such as Pete Pihos, who would become a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer, and Ted Kluszewski, who would go on to baseball fame with the Cincinnati Reds, he was the starting tailback on Indiana’s undefeated Big Nine  championship team.  (Michigan State wouldn’t become the conference’s 10th member until December, 1948). At the end of the season, he was named All-America - quite possibly the youngest player ever to be so honored.

He was the only black player on his team, at a time when at least one football publication referred to him quite unselfconsciously as a “spectacular Negro back."

He was a twice named All-Big Ten, and named on various All-America teams over three different seasons.

In 1948, he was his team's leading rusher, passer and punter.

Although he  was the first black player ever drafted by an NFL team (Chicago Bears - 13th round - 1949),  he was not the first black draftee to play in the NFL (that was Wally Triplett of Penn State) because he signed, instead, with the Los Angeles Dons of the All-America Football Conference.

He carried 62 times for 330 yards and caught 25 passes for 246 yards, but the Dons went 4-8 in 1949, and they folded following the season. That would be the first of a number of poor seasons he would experience, as his career took him from one bad  team to another.

In 1950, following the AAFC's "merger" into the NFL, he wound up with the New York Yankees. They went 7-5 in 1950 - the only winning season he would experience -  but in 1951, after they finished 1-9-2,  they were moved to Dallas and renamed the Dallas Texans.

After sparse crowds at their first four home games, the Texans' owners gave up and returned the team to the league, and the Texans became vagabonds - officially, a "road team.”  They played the remainder of their schedule on the road, using Hershey,  Pennsylvania as their home base,  but rarely stopping there long enough to do much practicing. They finished the 1952 season a woeful 1-11.

In 1953, after NFL Commissioner Bert Bell persuaded a wealthy Baltimorean named Carroll Rosenbloom  to head a group to buy the Texans and move them to Baltimore,  he went along. Those early Colts’ teams were not yet the team that would win back-to-back NFL titles in 1958 and 1959.  In each of his two years there, the Colts were 3-9.

He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the 1955 season and spent a final year there, playing sparingly on a team that finished 4-7-1.

In college and in the pros, he was a Mr. Everything - in his NFL career, he rushed 436 times for 1936 yards, and caught 70 passes for 1054 yards.  He returned 27 punts for 251 yards and 67 kickoffs for 1415 yards. He punted 93 times for an average of just over 37 yards, and he’s third in the NFL record books for most punts per game, with 14.  He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1951, 1952 and 1953.

Sadly, he played before free agency.  Nowadays, star players shop around for the team that gives them their best chance at a Super Bowl ring, but in his six seasons in pro football - playing on five different teams in two different leagues - he experienced just one winning season.

His teams won a total of only 23 games - 11 of them in his first two seasons - and in 1951-1952 he experienced back-to-back one-win seasons.

In 1972, he was named assistant to the President of Indiana University, responsible primarily for minority recruitment.

In 1981, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, and in 1992 he was elected to Indiana University’s Hall of Fame.

At age 91, George Taliaferro is one of the oldest living former NFL players.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GEORGE TALIAFERRO:
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI - WISCONSIN
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS

LESS THAN A MONTH AGO…

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - In 64 years of coaching college football, John Gagliardi (Gal-ARR-dee) coached at only two colleges -  both of them small Catholic schools -  spending the last 60 of those years at one of them.

One of nine children of an Italian immigrant coal miner in Trinidad, Colorado, he first became a head coach in 1943, at the age of 16 -  when his high school coach went off to war and there was no one else to coach the team.  It was during that time, as he had to learn on the fly, that he began to question - and reject - many of the rituals and practices thought sacred among the football coaching fraternity.

While attending Colorado College,  he didn’t play football. Instead, he coached a local high school team the entire time.

At 22, he got his first college head coaching job, at Carroll College in Helena, Montana (where Bob Petrino’s father would later become the coach). In four years there, his record was 24-6-1.

That led to the head coaching position at St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he would stay for 60 years.

His coaching philosophy, at which coaches of all levels marveled,  was, to say the least, “different.” He came to call it “Winning with NO,” which meant no titles (such as “Coach”), no whistles, no hollering at players, no blocking sleds, no tackling in practices, no slogans or signs in the locker room, no playbooks, no grading films - that’s a sample.  The list of his “No’s” was long and impressive.

His practices were 90 minutes - no practice on Sundays or Mondays - and just 45 minutes on Fridays.

All his seniors were captains (“that way they can all put ‘captain’ on their resumes”).

“Calisthenics” might consist of “One perfect jumping jack.”

How did it all work out?

Well, first of all, how many other guys can you think of who lasted 60 years at the same place?

When he retired in 2012, he was the winningest coach in college football history.

At St. John’s, from 1953-2012, he was 465-132-10, with 27 conference titles

His Johnnies won national titles - NAIA 1963 and 1965 and NCAA D-III in 1976 and 2003.

In his entire career he had just two losing seasons - 3-4-1 in 1956 and 3-5 in 1967.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame - he and Bobby Bowden were the first active coaches to be inducted

Since 1993, a Trophy in his name has been awarded annually to the outstanding player in Division III.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN GAGLIARDI
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOSH COLE - ODESSA, NEW YORK
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - “Nice Polish kid”
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

*********** At the end of the Civil War, there were 112,000 undergraduate students in the US.  Today, 150 years later, the Department of Education estimates that number to be 20,000,000.  Looking at just one measurement of education:  the quality of writing  -  compare  the literature and the newspapers of 150 years ago (even the letters written by Civil War soldiers) with what passes for writing today. Then tell me where the hell all today’s “educated” people are hiding.

*********** Don Gordon, of Deerfield, Massachusetts, wrote me last week:

Since there are few good college games this week might enjoy some of this.

https://youtu.be/evei1dpwREA?list=PL97Cp8D5oEfliAiLms3BYAedUUtn_Pvga

It’s a week late, but no matter - it’s a nice look at his kids at Frontier Regional High running his Double Wing.  Coach Gordon is my kind of guy - he coaches his kids well, he runs what works, and he doesn’t do dumb things.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL -

FIVE GAMES INVOLVING RANKED TEAMS THAT ARE WORTH MY WATCHING:
1. Michigan 9-1/2 over Wisconsin - I’d like to take my chances with the Badgers but that loss to BYU scares me off. Got to go with UM.
2. Washington 3-1/2 over Oregon - It could be a Ducks’ upset, but it could be a Huskies’ blowout. I’d take the points.
3. Georgia 7-1/2 over LSU - Georgia may be even better than the spread, but my heart says LSU will beat the spread. (My heart rules my head.)
4. USC 7 over Colorado - The Buffs had to go and pick Saturday night in the Coliseum for their first tough game and I’m afraid they’ll get it. This could be the Trojans’ team their fans have been waiting for, so I’d take USC and give the points.
5. Penn State 13-1/2 over Michigan State - I like the Spartans and it’s hard to believe the Lions are two TDs better -  but I believe it.

OTHER GAMES THAT I’LL TAKE A LOOK AT - AND STAY WITH UNLESS THEY SUCK
1. Georgia Tech 2-1/2 over Duke - I love Duke and Coach Cut and I know how much he dislikes the wishbone but what the Jackets did to Louisville last week was scary. Still, I’ll take Duke and the points
2. Northwestern 4-1/2 over Nebraska - This could be the Huskers’ best chance at a win. I’ll take Nebraska and the points
3. Iowa 5 over Indiana - Only 5? Can Indiana be that tough? Nah.  I’ll take the Hawkeyes.
4. Boston College 13-1/2 over Louisville -  Louisville admitted it doesn’t have the money to buy Petrino out, but otherwise I’d say he was going down the gurgler. I’ll go with BC
5. Temple 7 over Navy - Sounds about right.  This is not a good Navy team. Air Force crushed them last week in a way few teams - even teams  like Ohio State and Notre Dame  -have ever done. I’ll take the Owls.
6. Cal 6 over UCLA - I think that Cal blew their chances for a decent season when they made a bonehead decision to bench the QB who’d been their starter all last season. Pick of the week: Bruins finally win
7. BYU 11 over Hawaii - I don’t get it.  A BYU team that’s lost two in a row? Blown out in one loss  by 28, the other by 25? If I were in Vegas right now I’d actually bet money on this one.  It’s a lock.
8. Miami 6-1/2 over Virginia - I think the Canes will kill UVa.
9. Virginia Tech 5-1/2 over North Carolina - Not so fast. In their sleep, the Hokies are two touchdowns  better than the Heels.
10. Army over San Jose State - there’s no point spread posted, but if I had to do it, I’d take Army and give 10. San Jose hasn’t seen this sort of an offense.


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - ANDY Kerr -  was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but his family moved back East when he was young and he went to high school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and then to  Dickinson College in the same town.

After several years coaching high school football, he got a job at Pitt as track coach and basketball coach, and as an assistant football coach under the legendary Pop Warner.

In 1922, Warner agreed to accept the head coaching job at Stanford, but because he was contractually bound to Pitt for two more years,  he sent our guy out to “hold his place.” (As a sign of the high regard in which Warner was held, Stanford agreed to the arrangement.) For two seasons, until Warner could arrive and  take over, our guy was Stanford’s head coach, and he  went 11-7. He then returned to being an assistant under Warner for two more years, at which point he accepted the head coaching job at Pennsylvania’s Washington and Jefferson College.

In three years at W & J, he was 16-6-5, which earned him the head job at Colgate, then something of a football power.

That was 1929, and he stayed at Colgate for 18 years, compiling a record of 95-50-7.

His 1932 team, which went 9-0 and didn’t give up a point, was named national champion. But despite its record, it wasn’t invited to represent the East in the Rose Bowl, as would normally have been the case, and writers conferred on that team the nickname “Undefeated, untied, unscored on - and uninvited.”

He finished his career  close to home, at Lebanon Valley, in Annville, Pennsylvania, where he went 15-8-2.

ANDY Kerr is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

A little known fact is that he was also a college head basketball coach.  In one year at Pitt and four years at Stanford he compiled a record of 54-26.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ANDY KERR

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN

*********** MORE ON ANDY KERR…

Most of the “research” I do for my QUIZ subjects is rather cursory since I normally need just a few salient facts about a guy.  And, to be frank, I’m often in a bit of a hurry.  But every so often I see something that makes me want to dig deeper, and when I do, I’m always amazed at the things I  discover.  (I take a little pride in pointing out that the research I’m taking about is not synonymous with “googling.”  The material I’m talking about digging through is old-fashioned print-on-paper.  Books, they used to call the things.  And if you don’t have access to the books, you don’t have access to the information that’s in them.

As I did my Internet research on Andy Kerr, it occurred to me that there had to be a lot more to the guy’s story. Book research - two books on the history of Stanford sports, two on the coaches of the early 1900s, one on the history of Pac-10 football, and one on the history of college football - showed me there was quite a bit more.

Some important things you ought to know about ANDY  Kerr.

1. He will forever live in football lore as ANDY Kerr.  Andy, not Andrew  Never at any time during his career or afterward was he referred to as “Andrew.” If someone today were to refer to a “William” Belichick or “Nicholas” Saban, you would wonder if he’d just arrived from another planet.  I can only assume that those of you who identified him as “Andrew” Kerr drew your information from the sometimes-fallible Wikipedia, where evidently for some time and  for some unknown reason Andy Kerr has been called “Andrew.”  I apologize on behalf of Wikipedia, which by and large does a good job, and with my ability to edit its entries I have already made what changes I could to his entry.  It sure would be a sin to see somebody named Andrew Kerr get the credit that’s due to Andy Kerr. 

2. Andy Kerr’s story offers hope for those of you who might be coaching in high school but still aspire to a job at a college.  After graduation from Dickinson College, Andy Kerr taught at a business college in Johnstown, Pennsylvania while coaching high school football there,  and he didn’t get his first college coaching job until he joined Pop Warner’s staff at Pitt in 1915.  He was 36 years old.

3. On the Pitt teams he coached  were two future coaches who would, like him, also carry on Warner’s legacy:  Jock Sutherland, who would go on to become a coaching legend himself at Pitt and then with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Claude “Tiny” Thornhill, who would later serve on Warner’s staff at Pitt with Kerr, and would accompany Kerr to Stanford to coach the line. He would remain at Stanford  for 11 years as Warner’s line coach, and when Warner left to go to Temple, he became the Indians’ head coach. In his first three years, Thornhill took Stanford to three straight Rose Bowls, and for almost 80 years - until David Shaw did so (2011-2013) -  he was the only Stanford coach to take a team to three straight bowl games.

4. The Stanford football program that Kerr arrived to take over wasn’t exactly big time, and he had to start almost from scratch.  Following a long spell (1906-1918) of playing rugby instead of football, Stanford had only three years earlier resumed playing college football. And after three straight losses - the last two of them blowouts - to hated Cal, Stanford’s leaders decided to do something about it.  They went after the best coach possible - Pop Warner.  So badly did they want him that when he expressed interest in the job but when he informed them that he had two years remaining on his contract at Pitt (people didn’t get out of contracts in those days), they agreed to go along with his proposal to send Kerr and Thornhill west to install his system. 

5. All Stanford people  owe a debt of gratitude to Andy Kerr as the coach who brought Ernie Nevers to Stanford.  One of the greatest players in college or pro football history, Nevers is forever identified at Stanford with Pop Warner, but he actually arrived at Stanford the same year as Kerr, and then played his first year of varsity ball as a sophomore under Kerr. (Part of the Ernie Nevers legend is that, as a native of Superior, Wisconsin, he’d hoped to get a scholarship from the Badgers. When no offer came,  he approached the coaches at Cal, who looked at his size and said they’d be interested in him - as a lineman.  Andy Kerr was smart enough to recognize what he had with Nevers. The big guy remained in the backfield and went on to football immortality.)

6. There were many who said that Kerr and Sutherland were actually greater practitioners of the Warner system than Warner himself.  For ten years their careers overlapped,  from 1929 - when Kerr took over at Colgate - through 1938 - when Sutherland resigned in protest of the university’s lack of support of his program -  and during that ten-year period their combined record was 147-32-8.   Despite their common roots under Pop Warner, there doesn’t appear to have been any particular closeness between them, socially or professionally.  In fact, it was Sutherland’s 1932 Pitt team that got the Rose Bowl bid that Colgate was denied.

7. Andy Kerr deserves some credit for making the forward pass an integral part of the game, and not just a surprise tactic. From a site devoted to the 1932 Colgate team:

one of his biggest accolades was the normalizing of the forward pass. Within a pass happy game these days, it is hard to remember that the forward pass was frowned upon early in the formation of football, and was only seen as a desperation play.  If you could not be manly and tough by gaining yards by running the ball, then you had to resort to the less-masculine concept of passing the ball.  However, Kerr saw past this negative stigma and saw how this had the potential to change the game forever. He saw the forward pass as a vital part to an offensive game plan, meaning that if a team was not expecting a pass, then the ability to pass the ball successfully increases significantly. 

(This is a great site,  including video highlights of the Red Raiders’ game against Brown.)
https://sites.google.com/a/colgate.edu/sharaczy/andy-kerr

8. The same site credits Kerr with popularizing what we now call a play-action pass:

"Without directly saying so, Kerr popularized the concept of a 'play-action pass"' whereas the offense fakes a run play followed by a downfield pass."

9. Probably more than anyone in the history of the game, he incorporated the lateral, long a staple of rugby (where forward passing is prohibited), into all aspects of his offense. 

Allison Danzig,  in his great book “History of American Football: Its Great Teams, Players and Coaches (1956),” called by a New York Times critic "without doubt, the most ambitious and best book ever published on the subject of college football."[ tells of a letter he received from Kerr in 1951 in which Kerr wrote, “I believe my development of the lateral pass is one of my greatest contributions to football.  In the development of lateral passes I put great stress on ball handling.  For this phase of the game I received information from rugby coaches and players at Stanford University as well as from one outstanding Canadian rugby coach.  Our ball handling was perfected to the point where the boys could handle multiple passes with accuracy and precision under tremendous pressure…

“We have made a great deal of use of down-field laterals. Some of these are definitely planned and other are optional. On most of our double wing plays we have a back who is faking taking the ball from the fullback (what he called the player in position to take the direct snap. HW). He continues down field and in many cases he is in a position to receive a lateral pass.”

In 1934, Ohio State  narrowly beat Colgate. Later, Buckeyes’ coach Francis Schmidt told the Saturday Evening Post, “Colgate offers one of the most modern offenses in the country, and they don’t think any more of tossing a lateral pass than they do of taking a shower after the game… Colgate has a squad of ball handlers and they fired the pigskin around like a major league baseball team during the infield practice.”

In 1931 Warner, his season over, sat on the sideline during a game in which Colgate struggled to beat Brown, 13-7.

When the game was won, Warner said to him, “Those touchdowns come hard, Andy. Good thing you had those laterals.”

When Kerr responded, “I suppose you think you could have done better with straight power, Pop?” Warner said, “No. Seriously, Andy, I’m tinkering with this lateral business.”

10. From 1932 until 2001, Colgate was known as the Red Raiders.  Andy Kerr was the reason.  In 1932, he introduced bright maroon uniforms for his team, and as Colgate’s record built (that was the year of Colgate’s famed unbeaten, untied and unscored-on team), so did its reputation.  Just as a sportswriter years later would refer to Army as the Black Knights of the Hudson, Dexter Teed, a young instructor of journalism at Colgate coined the term “Red Raiders of the Chenango Valley.”  The nickname caught on, and Colgate’s teams began to be known as the Red Raiders. Unfortunately, although the nickname  originally had absolutely zero racial connotations, over time there grew some “references to Native American caricatures and mascots,” and the “red” had to go.

In 2001, the University Board of Trustees made the following statement:

The Colgate University Board of Trustees, upon the recommendation of the President, Director of Athletics and the members of the campus Committee on Athletics, has announced that the University will drop the "Red" from its nickname Red Raiders. The change will be initiated immediately.

Colgate adopted the name Raiders to move away from the racial stereotype, which is indeed not the true origin of the nickname for Colgate but may nonetheless be offensive to the general public in ways that undermine the institution's values and commitments.

RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, the nickname Red Raiders was originally coined by Dexter Teed as a reference to the new maroon uniforms of the 1932 football team, but later associations for many years created references to Native American caricatures and mascots,
AND WHEREAS, though Colgate dropped the Native American references in the 1970s, sentiments connected to the old mascot linger and there has been pressure to change the nickname,
AND WHEREAS the on-campus Committee on Athletics - comprising students, faculty and staff - has recommended that "Red" be dropped from the Red Raider nickname to remove any possible inference of a racial stereotype,
AND WHEREAS, the State Education Department is encouraging high schools throughout the state to change nicknames and mascots that signal a racial stereotype, and "Red Raiders" is on that targeted list,
AND WHEREAS Colgate recruits students from those schools and seeks to be a model for them,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Colgate teams henceforth shall be known as the Raiders, and further, that as new uniforms, equipment and publications are phased in, they will incorporate the new name.

(QUESTION: Is this retroactive?  Must we change history? Must we now go back in time and take away the glory earned by Colgate’s teams as the Red Raiders?  Do I, in the manner in which many modern “journalists” refer to the Redskins as “The Washington Team,” have to adhere to university policy?  Is there a Red Raider statue somewhere that needs to be torn down?

http://patriotleague.org/sports/2016/6/13/genrel-081501aaa-html.aspx


*********** Adam Wesoloski sent along a great highlights video of the 1932 Colgate team against Brown.  It is a great exhibit of Andy Kerr’s version of Pop Warner’s unbalanced-line double wing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mocPdc1es3A

*********** QUIZ - He was born in the small town of Sacul, Texas, but when his parents fell ill, he was taken in by a childless couple in nearby Rusk.  At Rusk High School he was an outstanding high school athlete, and he chose  TCU partly because it agreed to  let him play both football and basketball.

In 1955 he gained 1,283 yards on just 157 carries and scored 18 touchdowns as the Horned Frogs went 9-2 and finished with a No. 5 national ranking.  His 8.2 yards-per-carry average led the nation and is still the school record.

An electrifying runner, a threat to go all the way on any play,  he was nicknamed the  Rusk Rambler.

In his career at TCU, he had three great performances against Texas. (Perhaps he saved his best for the Longhorns because they hadn't recruited him.) In TCU's 47-20 trouncing of Texas in 1955, he carried 15 times for 235 yards and four touchdowns. The night before, thousands of Texas fans had gathered for a candle-light vigil, hoping to put a hex on the Frogs. "Heck," said TCU Coach Abe Martin, "if a candle can beat us, we ain't very good."

In the final game of his career, a historic Cotton Bowl matchup with Syracuse and the great Jim Brown,  he scored the winning touchdown in a 28-27 victory. (Brown scored 21 points by himself, but missed the extra point that proved the margin of victory.)

He was named first-team All-America running back in both 1954 and 1955, and finished second in the Heisman voting in 1955.  He was on the covers of numerous football magazines, and at least twice on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

“He was one of the five best players in TCU history and should have won the Heisman,” said Dan Jenkins, the famous TCU alum, football historian and writer.

“He was a guy basically, with Davey O’Brien and Sammy Baugh, that put TCU on the map,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson.

But he passed up the NFL to go to medical school.

“The Bears drafted me, and it was temptIng,” he told the Star-Telegram years later. “George Halas used to call me up and talk for an hour. He’d say, ‘I need someone up here who doesn’t fumble the ball.’ But I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule.’

In 1966 he was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam as a medic - as the Black Lions’ Battalion Surgeon - returning home in 1968 as a captain with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

For 35 years  he was an orthopedic surgeon in Fort Worth, but in 2006 after a stroke, he returned to Rusk, where he grew up, and continued to practice. He died in 2014.
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000.

“Much of what we accomplished didn’t seem such a big deal at the time,” he told the Star-Telegram in 2000 before his induction into the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. “It was just a part of the overall experience of getting a college education. It was also a more innocent time, and we were mostly kids from small towns who hadn’t seen much of the world. It was also the one-platoon era, where you could build a competitive program with a lot fewer people than it takes today.”

At the time of his death in 2014, his wife told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that of all the things he had accomplished,  “He was most proud of being an Academic All-American. He was proud of all of his accomplishments, but he was especially proud of that.”


american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 9,  2018 -   “If it weren't for Columbus, the Italians would have had to invent the tomato."  Hugh Wyatt

I wish I could say that the absence of a page today is my way of observing Indigenous Peoples Day.  I wish.  Since Saturday night I've been sick.  How sick? 
I've been on my back most of the time since then.  How sick? I went two days without shooting pool.   How sick?  I couldn't even drag my sorry ass down to the sauna - usually a sure cure for what ails you - until this afternoon.  How sick? It's now 5:30 PM Monday, and I just got back from walking my dog, Lainey,  for the first time in two days.   If you knew Lainey, and how insistent she is about getting her three walks a day, you'd understand how painful it's been to have to reject her advances. Anyhow, as the oldtimers used to say, I'm now able to sit up and take nourishment. 

See you Friday, if not before.



american flagFRIDAY,  OCTOBER 5,  2018 -   “The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department." Thomas Sowell


As everybody with a cause or a project seems to be doing these days, I started a Gofundme page with a hard-luck story about needing enough money to keep me in beer for the next  couple of months; I'm happy to report that with donations now in excess of $450,000 (I had no idea there were so many chumps out there) , I could afford to turn down the extremely generous offer made to me by an Indian casino to provide college football tips to their high rollers, and to continue to publish this page twice a week.

*********** (The following is written by someone who can remember (1) when there was NO college football on TV (mainly because there was no TV); (2) when the NCAA limited  college football on TV to one game a week, and spread the wealth in such a way that it was rare to see teams other than Notre Dame or Michigan or Texas more than once a season.   Now that he’s able to watch maybe 50 or 60 different game on an average Saturday, you’d think, wouldn’t you, that such a person would be grateful as hell,  the last person in the world to gripe about the quality of this Saturday’s offerings?  Well, you’d be wrong.  That’s what happens when you spoil someone…)

Guys, if ever there was a fall Saturday that you could go shopping with your wife, or rake leaves, or watch little kids play soccer, this is it.

Okay, okay - just kidding about the little kids playing soccer.

But damn - with some 50 games on TV Saturday, there’s precious few that you’d call must-see.

How about this: there are just three game between two ranked teams:

#19 Texas vs #7 Oklahoma in Dallas (OU favored by 7-1/2)

#5 LSU at #22 Florida (LSU favored by 2)

#6 Notre Dame at #24 Virginia Tech  (ND favored by 6-1/2)

(To me, they’re all interesting games.  For what it’s worth, although Florida scares me, I would take the favorite in all of them.)

***

Otherwise, there are very few games that anyone  but a football fanatic  would call “compelling.”  Most of the ranked teams are in stinker matchups:

You like #1 Alabama?  You can watch them for a quarter or so and then take your wife out to lunch and not miss much.  They’re 35-point favorites over Arkansas.

#2 Georgia? The Bulldogs play Vanderbilt.  I like Vandy - got a granddaughter who goes there.  Couple of weeks ago, Vandy almost beat Notre Dame. Now, Georgia is a 27-point favorite.

#3 Ohio State?   They’re 26-point favorites over Indiana.

#4 Clemson?  They had trouble with Syracuse last Saturday.  This week it’s Wake Forest.  I like Wake - got a grandson who goes there.  But sheesh. Clemson is favored by 20.

#9 West Virginia?  28-1/2 points over Kansas

#10 Washington? 21-points over UCLA

#15 Michigan?  17-1/2 points over Maryland

#16 Wisconsin? 17-points  over Nebraska

***

MY TEN MOST INTERESTING GAMES

Boston College at #23 NC State - (NCS by 5-1/2) Don’t look now, but State is still unbeaten  STATE

Missouri at South Carolina - USC by 1-1/2 - The Battle of the Columbias. USC has been a BIG disappointment. I’m going out on a limb at taking MIZZOU

Navy at Air Force (Navy by 3)  — Air Force is down this year - NAVY

#8 Auburn at Mississippi State (Auburn by 4) —- AUBURN seems to have State's number

Arizona State at #21 Colorado (Buffs by 2-1/2) — We’ll find out if Colorado really is the best in the Pac-12 South - COLORADO

#13 Kentucky at Texas A & M  (A & M by 6) — Seriously? The Aggies are favored? BY 6 points? KENTUCKY

Florida State at #17 Miami (Miami by 13-1/2) - This one scares me, but - MIAMI

California at Arizona - (Cal by 2-1/2) - Wildcats have to win this one ARIZONA

Iowa at Minnesota - (Iowa by 7) - What happened to that boat, anyhow?  IOWA

Utah at #14 Stanford - (Stanford by 5-1/2) - Both teams have been disappointing.  STANFORD


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

Notre Dame surprised me.  I thought they had what it takes to beat Stanford, but I didn't think it would turn out the way it did.  Ian Book now makes the ND offense consistent, and the defense is getting better each week.  This week's game vs. VA Tech is a definite 'trap' game for ND. They'll need to play extremely well to beat the Hokies in Blacksburg.

I'm with you on the Army West Point stuff.  Really annoying.

My alma mater Fresno State is now 3-1.  Only loss a last minute one to a young, injury riddled and slumping Minnesota Golden Gopher team.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

***********   I remember Steven Montez's dad. I was coaching at Las Animas, CO, when he was making headlines for tiny Granada, CO. If you haven't seen this, I think you'll enjoy it.

https://www.ralphiereport.com/2016/10/8/13167122/steven-montez-colorado-buffaloes-football.

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas


*********** A coach I’ve known for quite some time, a guy whom I’ve seen grow into a really good coach, is off to a rough start.

Lest you think that God picks favorites, it can happen any time  to any of us who don’t have control of where and how we get our athletes and who’s on our schedule.

For what it’s worth, once you’ve coached long enough, a bad season doesn’t diminish you in any way as a coach.  In my case, after I’d been through an 0-9 season, I figured I’d been through the worst thing that could happen in terms of  win-loss record, and that seemed to give me added strength in my dealings with anything that might come my way.

If others thought less of me as a coach because of that season, that was their problem.  I knew I could coach and it didn’t affect my self-confidence in the slightest.

In my opinion, you’re not really a coach until you no longer allow wins and losses to define you as a coach; unfortunately,  sometimes that means you have to take a beating to get to that point.

It might help any coach who’s suffering right now  - even a first-timer - to keep in mind that in Chuck Noll’s first three years as a head coach, he went 1-13, 5-9, 6-8. He went on to establish himself as an all-time great.

Tom Landry’s start as a head coach was even worse. In his first FIVE seasons he was 0-11-1, 4-9-1, 5-8-1, 4-10, 5-8-1.


*********** My former head coach, Todd Bridge, played offensive line for the Washington Huskies back in their glory days under Don James. Not once did I see him wear any of the rings he’d earned while at Washington.  Monday, he wore four of them.  He’s now the AD at Elma, Washington High, and this being Homecoming Week, he was prevailed on for some reason to wear them: (From left to right) National championship; Rose Bowl; Rose Bowl; Pac-10 championship.

todd bridge rings

*********** Although his family moved to Rochester, New York when he was a boy, Don Holleder was born in Buffalo, and that city has begun to realize that it, too, plays a part in the Don Holleder story.

https://www.wgrz.com/video/news/don-holleder-a-buffalo-born-hero/71-8268776

*********** TIMING IS EVERYTHING DEPT…

At a time when the fate of a Supreme Court nominee was being fought over an issue of alleged sexual misconduct, UMASS head coach Mark Whipple, after losing at  Ohio U, 58-42, chose an especially inappropriate time to say,  in his postgame remarks,  that the officials “raped us.”

And in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, of all places.

He was suspended without pay for a week.

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/09/30/mark-whipple-umass-football-suspended/

*********** Baseball’s overall average attendance per game continues to decline.

It was down 4 per cent this season, and  Baltimore, Chicago (White Sox), Minneapolis, Miami and Pittsburgh all experienced their lowest average attendance since opening new ballparks.

So what’s baseball doing about it?  Why, they’re going to try to appeal to the “younger” audience - the one that’s been conditioned to expect the sort of antics they see in other sports.  The antics that baseball has long frowned on, such as  taunting and  bringing undue attention to one’s self by - you know, flipping the bat, pausing to admire one’s home run, flexing and pulling off the Clark Kent shirt and tie.

As a start, Major League Baseball is running a promo on TV showing the antics in question and suggesting that it’s time to do away with the game's “unwritten rules” against buffoonery.

Yeah. That’ll get the kids out to the Old Ball Game.

Once, maybe.  Until they get tired of watching batters stepping in and out of the batter’s box and repeated changes of pitchers,  and managers walking out to the mound - and games taking three hours to play.

And no amount of bat flipping or flexing will get them to come back.

*********** My friend Dwayne Pierce split last Friday: he won one and lost one.

He lost when his Coolidge High team fell to Cordozo, 18-0, in a Washington, DC high school varsity contest.

But he also won - simply by fielding a team.  If he hadn’t been able to field the required 19 eligble kids by game time, Friday,  Coolidge’s kids, who had already had to forfeit their first two games, would have had to sit out the rest of the season.

(More likely, the handful of dedicated kids  who really wanted to play football would have transferred elsewhere, driving a stake into any hopes Coolidge would have had to revive the program next year.)

It took Coach Pierce weeks of recruiting.  At one point, he thought he had a deal with the soccer coach who had a similar numbers problem and proposed a swap of players: if Coach Pierce would “lend” him some players for a soccer match - which he did - the soccer coach would return the favor.  But when it came time to do so, he didn’t. 

Coach Pierce endured repeated turndowns by basketball players, good athletes but third stringers on the basketball team, with little chance of ever playing. They  told him that they were going to stick with basketball because they were going to play in the NBA some day. 

Somehow, he pulled it off  I didn’t ask him how.  All I did was tell  him that my wife and I were praying for him and his kids.  It couldn't have hurt. .

After the game several kids came up to Coach Pierce and asked if it was too late for them to come out.

Never too late, he told them.


*********** If what a Gunnison, Utah mother claims is true, there are some sick boys in their high school’s football program.  And some irresponsible coaches.

What is it that goes on in kids’ minds when they - allegedly - pin a kid down while one of them squats and presses his junk in that kid’s face?

And - assuming that this happened as the mother charges - what kind of coaches would allow kids to be unsupervised to the point that this ugliness could take place?

I wish we could say that this has nothing to do with football, but football was the reason why those kids were associating with one another, and any act like this reflects badly on our game.  Those coaches - if this is true - have let us all down.

Let this be a lesson to all coaches who have ever left kids unsupervised - at camp, on buses, in locker rooms:

Utah has lawyers, too, and if this happened the way it’s described,  those coaches could pay dearly for their failure to supervise the kids entrusted to them.

https://usatodayhss.com/2018/utah-football-mom-gunnison-valley-details-alleged-in-practice-sexual-abuse-of-son


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

Hope all is well.

I love reading the news and a few things came to mind this week.

When you were at Eagles Mere I hope you at least hiked the waterfall trails at Red Rock, its a pretty impressive thing to see.   Other than that I agree that there isn't much to do there.  My wife's family cabin is nearby.  We happened to go to HersheyPark yesterday, it was extremely crowded but we had free tickets and only stayed for a couple hours.

I thought you might find this interesting.  The local paper did a piece on high school team mascots.  I graduated from and coached wrestling and football at Hempfield High School, I'm a little more proud of the mascot now than I ever was before.

https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/what-s-the-origin-history-of-high-school-mascots-in/article_a049d366-c1a8-11e8-9711-6310d9d900cf.html

I know you are interested by school mascots.

On a side note, I reffed a youth game on Saturday and noticed the coach had a play drawn up out of double wing.  He didn't know much about it so I directed him to your website.  I hope he contacts you, he seemed interested.  I recommended the new playbook.

Thanks

Dave Kemmick
Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

Coach Kemmick’s high school:

Hempfield: Black Knights

District spokeswoman Shannon Zimmerman found the answer in a speech given several years ago by Don Emich, a 1955 Hempfield graduate, at his induction into the district’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

According to Emich, former Intelligencer Journal sports editor Marvin Miller wrote about Hempfield athletes as the “Red and Black of Hempfield” or “the boys from Landisville” in articles in the early 1950s. By the mid-’50s, the student council decided they needed an official name.

They solicited names from the student body, pared entries down to five and asked students to vote. The Black Knights were victorious.

Emich said the name was submitted by classmate Ken Bowers, who told him he chose the name to honor the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, whose athletes were “at the pinnacle of college football” in the late ’40s and early ’50s.

Their official name was the Cadets but they were fondly known as “the Black Knights of the Hudson,” Emich said. (The Army formally changed its team name to the Black Knights in 1999, some 44 years after Hempfield adopted the name.)

*********** Remember C. J. Fuller from Clemson?  A few years ago, he was a key part of their national championship team.  This past February, he announced that he planned to transfer; the next month, he was arrested and charged with armed robbery.

He was found dead Wednesday of as-yet known causes.  He was 22.

*********** A coach I know was advised that he “needed to make more efforts to get our best athletes more attention by incorporating offensive concepts that they would use at the ‘next level.’”

The irony is that he’s been highly successful. But in our society, everybody wants more, more, more.  It’s not enough to win games - you have to “showcase” your athletes.

He basically told them to shove it.

*********** On the subject of running a spread offense at the high school level, there are certainly some points in its favor:

One of the most significant is that  because so many top college programs are running a spread offense of some sort, you have access to the offensive thinking of some of the brightest people in the game.

But to me, the most significant is that it gives you immunity as a strategist.  There can’t be anything wrong with your thinking, can there, if you’re doing the same stuff they’re doing at Alabama… or Clemson… or Ohio State… or Penn State…? It gives you cover, because (for the Alabamas, the Clemsons, the Ohio States) it works!

But there is a problem.  A HUGE problem. 

If you’re going to do what everybody else does, you’re going to have to do it at least as well as they do.

You’re going to have to have the people… the knowledge of the schemes… the people… the ability to coach the techniques… the people… the savvy to call the plays… the people.

People?  If you’re a high school coach who has to deal with the kids who get off the bus every morning, you can’t depend on having the people.

There’s something else, too. When you run what everybody else runs, you don’t create any special problems for opposing defenses.  They’re used to seeing your offense, and they think they have a way to stop it.  An old football saying covers it: “Familiarity breeds defense.”

There’s a lot to be said for being different: for being the only guy in your league who uses a tight end - two tight ends, even;  the only guy who runs option; the only guy who has a lead blocker; the only guy who runs misdirection; the only guy with a QB under center.

You get the idea - when you choose to be different, you don’t have to be better than everybody else at what they’re doing.  In fact, if you can become good enough at what you’re doing, you will create huge problems for opponents because they can’t possibly be as good as you at running your offense.  What that means is the even the best teams will have trouble trying to simulate your offense with only a week to do it.

***********  A few weeks ago, on national TV, Jets’ running back Isaiah Crowell scored a touchdown, then “celebrated” by wiping his rear end with the ball before throwing it  into the Cleveland crowd. (He’d once played for Cleveland.)

Jets' coach Todd Bowles was not amused.  Nor was the NFL, which fined him $13,000.

Hey, he said afterwards. he was just havin’ fun. You know how that goes, he said:  “You gotta have fun. If you're not having fun with what you do, you might as well stop doing it. That's how I feel about it."

Yeah. I mean, if it gets to the point where you can’t score a touchdown and celebrate by wiping your ass, you might as well give up football and get a job at the car wash.

In the meantime - only in America - it appears that Mr. Asswipe has been signed to an endorsement contract by something called Dude Wipes.

I’m amazed, given Mr. Crowell’s past  (an arrest for multiple firearms offenses that got him thrown off the team at Georgia) that Nike let Dude Wipes get to him first.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER -  Bill McColl was a four-sport star as a high school athlete in San Diego, and at Stanford, at 6-4, 225 (a giant for his time) he was a 2-time All-American.  Playing both ways, he was an outstanding pass receiver as an offensive end and a terror on defense at either end or tackle.

He, along with a quarterback named Gary Kerkorian, were the main reasons why new coach Chuck Taylor took the Indians (as they were then called) to the Rose Bowl in his first season on The Farm. Taylor realized that his best chance of success was to stress the passing game - something for which Stanford became noted over the years, as it turned out great quarterback after great quarterback.

He was a third-round draft choice of the Bears, and in his eight years in Chicago, playing as a tight end and then as a slot back,  he played in all 96 games. For his career, he caught 201 passes for 2800 yards and 25 touchdowns.

He could throw as well as catch.  In 1956, he was on the throwing end of a 79-yard pass play, the longest in the NFL that season, against the Giants.

All the while he played with the Bears, he was studying medicine at the University of Chicago, and after retirement from football he became an orthopedic surgeon.


Bill McColl  and his wife had six children, two of whom, Duncan and Milt, also played football at Stanford.

He and Duncan are the only father and son team in Stanford football history to be named All-American.

Milt McColl played in the NFL for the 49ers and Raiders and is now a physician in suburban Chicago.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BILL MCCOLL

JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA


*********** Besides Bill McColl, there have been a handful of other former NFL players who became medical doctors.

One current player,  Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Chiefs, is already an MD, a graduate of McGill University Medical School

Others:

Tony Adamle - Browns - Ohio State, Western Reserve Med School

Dan Fortmann - Bears - Colgate, U of Chicago Med School

John Frank - San Francisco 49ers - Ohio State (undergraduate and med school)

Bill McColl - Bears - Stanford, U of Chicago Med School

Dave Middleton - Lions, Vikings - Auburn, Tennessee Med School

Myron Rolle - Titans - Florida State, FSU Med School - now a resident in neurosurgery at Harvard

Mike Sommer - Redskins, Colts - George Washington University  (undergraduate and medical school)

*********** QUIZ - He was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but his family moved back East when he was young and he went to high school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and then to  Dickinson College. in the same town

After college, he got a job at Pitt as track coach and basketball coach, and as an assistant football coach under the legendary Pop Warner.

In 1922, Warner agreed to accept the head coaching job at Stanford, but because he was contractually bound to Pitt for two more years,  he sent our guy out to “hold his place.” (As a sign of the high regard in which Warner was held, Stanford agreed to the arrangement.) For two seasons, until Warner could arrive and  take over, our guy was Stanford’s head coach, and he  went 11-7. He then returned to being an assistant under Warner for two more years, at which point he accepted the head coaching job at Pennsylvania’s Washington and Jefferson College.

In three years at W & J, he was 16-6-5, which earned him the head job at Colgate, then something of a football power.

That was 1929, and he stayed at Colgate for 18 years, compiling a record of 95-50-7.

His 1932 team, which went 9-0 and didn’t give up a point, was named national champion. But despite its record, it wasn’t invited to represent the East in the Rose Bowl, as would normally have been the case, and writers conferred on that team the nickname “Undefeated, untied, unscored on - and uninvited.”

He finished his career  close to home, at Lebanon Valley, in Annville, Pennsylvania, where he went 15-8-2.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

A little known fact is that he was also a college head basketball coach.  In one year at Pitt and four years at Stanford he compiled a record of 54-26.







american flagTUESDAY,  OCTOBER 2,  2018 -   “A man always has two reasons for what he does--a good one, and the real one.” J. P. Morgan

*********** A SPECIAL NOTICE TO ALL MY FAITHFUL READERS…

In case you weren’t paying attention, I was 9 of 10 on my Top Ten picks last week. The only game I missed was Utah by 1-1/2 over Washington State. That's big-time pickin' folks.

Such a shocking performance by a heretofore relative unknown came to the attention of a Northwest Indian nation which has made me a generous offer to provide college football tips (for a fee) for large players at its casino.

Once I sign the contract, all my work over the years will have been  repaid many times over, and I will be independently wealthy.

I’d like to thank all you Little People out there  for your support over the years. Without you, I’d never have stayed around long enough to make it to the Big Time.

All that’s left now is for my legal people to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s.”

It saddens me somewhat to have to tell you that this will be my last “free” web page, which for some of you means “adios.”  From now on, access to my page will be by subscription or special permission from the tribe.

(Just on the outside chance that the Chief and the Tribal Council might not immediately agree to all my demands, I plan on preparing one last “free” page for Friday.)

*********** For the third week in a row, Army went up against an unbeaten team, and after those three weeks, the Black Knights came out 2-1.  Two weeks ago it was Hawaii, last week it was Oklahoma, and this past Saturday it was Buffalo.

Maybe it’s the Army ball control offense - against Buffalo they held the ball for 37-1/2 minutes to Buffalo’s 22-1/2 - but whatever the reason, their opponents have not played their best offensively.

Just as with Hawaii a couple of weeks ago, Buffalo started out with a quick score - and then wilted. So inefficient was their QB, so ham-handed were their receivers, so foolish were their penalties that you had to wonder how they’d managed to win all four of their games.

I think it has something to do with the fact that a ball-control team forces on its opponents a sense of urgency that they’re not used to. Pass-first teams often appear willing to roll the dice in the sure belief that even if they go three-and-out they’ll get the ball back soon enough, a mindset that doesn’t work well against an opponent that can put on 19-play drives.

After five games, Army is now 3-2, and three things are certain - they’ve found a quarterback in Kelvin Hopkins, a junior from Charlotte, North Carolina’s Independence High; they’ve got three or four big, bruising fullbacks; and, after a slow start in the opening game against Duke,  the Army offensive line is more physical than any defensive line they’ve faced since.

*********** Kill me or the Army broadcast crew.

They must have received orders from the brass to say “Army West Point.” To any longtime Army fan who cheers for the guys who go to the US Military Academy, aka West Point, “Touchdown, Army West Point!” sounds like fingermails on a chalkboard. (It's not the fact that “Army” scored that's annoying  - it's the way those clowns insist on shoving “Army West Point” down our throats.

And God knows when the “Junior” that players more and more affect became an actual part of a player’s last name, but it sounds weird as hell to hear announcers say, “Hopkins Junior back to throw… Hopkins Junior keeps… Hopkins Junior hands off…”

(If it’s really a part of his last name, and not just a tag, wouldn’t a son named after him become “Hopkins Junior, Junior.”)

For what it’s worth (not that most of those talking heads can read):  The suffix “Junior” is an explanation of the first name, not the last. "John Doe Jr." means he is John, the son of John.

*********** Although it would be nice if things worked that way, there’s no truth to the rumor that as disaffected Seahawks’ safety Earl Thomas  was being trundled off the field Sunday,  Seattle management finally agreed to renegotiate his contract.  Downward.

(That would, though,  explain his giving the finger to the Seahawks’ sideline.)

*********** After weeks of acrimony and requests to be traded, after holding out during training camp then returning to the Seahawks a week ago, still missing meetings and practices, safety Earl Thomas broke his leg in yesterday’s game against the Cardinals.

Let that be a lesson to the Steelers, hard-up as they seem to be right now: it’s important to train and to practice.  If high school kids have to be in shape to play their sport, pros, who play the game against much bigger, faster and harder-hitting people, do, too.

Watch the Steelers  give Le’Veon Bell the moon and the stars - and then  watch him get hurt.

*********** A few weeks ago, the adoring father of UCLA freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson had some crude, derogatory things to say about his son’s coach, Chip Kelly.  Among them: Kelly's  play-calling was “lousy,” and his success at Oregon was “a fluke.”

It’s never easy when you’re looking for your first win, and it’s not made any easier when you have a&&hole daddies with pipelines to the media, but to Kelly’s credit, he didn’t say anything in return.

Instead, he started young Mr. Thompson-Robinson (why can’t people make up their minds which name to use?) against Colorado, and let the kid’s play speak for itself.

That it did.  What his play  (17 of 35 for 138 and 1 TD) said was “lousy.”

*********** Friday night’s Ivy League game was Princeton against Columbia. Princeton QB John Lovett is a rare fifth-year senior in a league that prohibits red-shirting (he missed all of last season with an injury, but dropped out of school spring semester so he’s still a senior), and he’s a good-looking athlete.  He’s 6-3, 230, with good speed and moves - and he throws well.  He is, truly, a throwback to the days of the great single wing tailbacks.

*********** Meantime, Steven Montez will never get mentioned for the Heisman because Colorado plays too late for eastern viewers and besides that, he doesn’t play for a sexy West Coast team.  But Montez, the Buffs’ QB, is the real deal.  Friday night, against UCLA, he threw for 237 yards and ran for 81 more.

*********** Wow. Tulane beat Memphis.  That hadn’t happened in years.  I like the Tulane helmets - it’s always a challenge to depict a “green wave.”

Suddenly, Navy’s earlier win over Memphis doesn’t look quite so remarkable.

*********** For the first time this year, Purdue looked like the Purdue everyone had expected. QB David Blough and WR Rondale Moore looked really good, and Nebraska is still looking for its first win under new coach Scott Frost.

*********** Told ya Duke shouldn’t have been favored over Virginia Tech.

*********** Northwestern took it to Michigan for the better part of the game, but took a snooze on offense in the second half.  MIchigan DC Don Brown pulled Harbaugh’s chestnuts out of the fire once again.

*********** Ohio State is a QB away from being a great team.  Penn State lost the game, and likely any hopes it had of being in the playoffs.

Penn State coach James Franklin went blah, blah, blah afterward about what they had to do to take the program to the next level, blah, blah, blah, using his talk as the bright shiny object that distracted reporters from asking the question most people wanted answered:  what was with that play call?

I’d have asked, “Coach Franklin, your QB was responsible for 461 yards of total offense - 286 yards passing and 175 running - and an awful lot of the running yardage came either from running out of the pocket or from called QB draws.  So  on the final play, 4th and 4, with the game on the line - you run a power read?  It’s always easy for people to second-guess, by why make it easier for them?”

*********** Interestingly, while being one inch across the line of scrimmage was enough to get Penn State QB Trace McSorley called for throwing an illegal forward pass,  on Ohio State’s first TD, a “screen” pass - with linemen downfield, permitted if  the ball is completed behind the line of scrimmage - the ball was caught a full yard past the line of scrimmage

If you recorded the game, check it out.

It was an easy call that the officials inexplicably missed.  Not a f—king word about it from the announcing crew, and not a word from the Penn State sideline either, despite their having a small army of coaches up in the press box.

*********** Wish I could say I called the Syracuse-Clemson game, but all I did was question the point spread.  If you bet the “Cuse, you’re welcome.

There was a lot of talk about the way Dabo Swinney escaped intact after demoting his starting QB earlier in the week - prompting the deposed starter to announce his intention to transfer - and then seeing the new QB go down.

Meantime, not much talk about Syracuse QB Eric Dungey, who almost pulled off his second consecutive upset of Clemson.  He was 26 of 41 for 250 yards in the air.

*********** There was a nice feature on ESPN GameDay about Syracuse offensive lineman Koda Martin, a graduate transfer who started out at Texas A & M.

(He’s married to Syracuse Coach Dino Babers’ daughter.)

*********** Syracuse is now 4-1, after a narrow loss to highly-ranked Clemson.  So what does the Orange have to do to get ranked?

************* Greg Hansen, in the Arizona Star, wrote a scathing column about Saturday night’s USC game…

Pac-12 referee Steven Strimling performed Saturday’s pregame coin toss in Spanish. He referred to Arizona as Gatos and to USC as Troyanos and used a lot of other words I didn’t understand.

At the conclusion of the toss, won by the Gatos, I could swear Strimling said “buena suerte, muchachos, lo necesitares.”

Good luck, guys, you’ll need it.

He went on…

It was truly a game neither team seemed deserving to win.

After being scorched by the Troyanos on Saturday, the most daunting news is that Arizona must still play Oregon, Colorado, Washington State and a lot of other teams before coach Sumlin’s first season reaches an end.

Saturday’s loss was sobering on two fronts: First, the Gatos weren’t really competitive until mop-up time. As USC built a 17-0 lead, the Troyanos accumulated a 238 to 52 edge in total offense. Second, only 43,573 showed up at Arizona Stadium. That’s far below the Arizona Stadium average of 52,532 fans for UA-USC games in their Pac-10/12 history.

It was barely more than the 41,493 that showed up two weeks earlier to watch Arizona play Southern Utah.

Is that how far UA football has fallen from grace in this community? It can’t even draw 50,000 fans for the USC game?

https://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/football/greg-hansen-wildcats-need-a-milagro-after-another-dud-of/article_688c44a6-af3b-50f6-b0f8-9240c0150fef.html

*********** I have it on pretty good authority that despite rumors last spring, Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo was NOT in the running to beome Arizona’s head coach.  Nonetheless, the rumors were enough to prompt Arizona QB Khalil Tate to tweet “I didn’t come to Arizona to run the tripple (sic) option.”

The irony is that Tate's play has been such a disappointment  this season that he might actually have done better as a wishbone quarterback.

*********** Adam Hu
nsucker of the Monroe News-Star is good for at least one good laugh every week.  This week he's got  Penn State in 16th place in the Football Writers Poll.  Ohio State, a one-point victor over Penn State,  is at #4.  Hunsucker,  you telling me there was that much difference between the two teams Saturday?

Fortunately, there are enough intelligent voters in the poll to offset Hunsucker's idiocy to put Penn State  in 8th place.

*********** Arizona State running back, Eno Benjamin, carried 30 times against Oregon State for 312 yards and 3 TDs.

He’s from Wylie, Texas, where, we were told, he was a 3.9 student, and in his post-game interview, he was unusually well-spoken.

*********** Washington State actually “Un-couged” one Saturday, pulling out a come-from-behind win with an 89-yard pass-and-run from Gardner Minshew (East Carolina graduate transfer) to Easop Winston with under five minutes to play.

MInshew was 31 of 56 for 445 yards and 3 TDs.
A MIssissipi native who has really caught on with the Wazzu crowd, Minshew  wears a mustache, which has led to many Cougar fans sporting fake mustaches.

It was definitely the Ugly Game of the Week.  Nowhere to be seen were the usual cool red Utah helmets; gone was any trace of crimson on the Wazzu uniforms.  Worst of all were the Utah socks (or lack of same) - some Utes wore full-length black sox, some wore short black sox, some wore no sox at all.  And one clown - how can a coach let a team take the field looking like this? - wore a long black stocking on one leg and no stocking at all on the other.

Many years ago, when I was selling packaging, one of my customers was the Parks Sausage Company of Baltimore. Its President, Henry G. Parks, was at the time one of the most successful black businessmen in America, and part of the reason was the fact that he ran a tight ship.  Mr. Parks expected his employees to look sharp and to wear the company uniform.  When he would encounter an employee who wasn’t appropriately dressed, he would ask, “Do you know the definition of the word ‘uniform?’”

*********** Oregon once again seemed to be unsure how to put a game away.  With the nation’s top passing quarterback, Justin Herbert, having another good night (16/22 for 222 yards and 2 TDs) , the Ducks took the foot off the gas and almost let Cal back in the game.

Fortunately for the Ducks, Cal and their QB tandem were charitable enough to give them five turnovers, two of them - a fumble return and an interception return (no way you can get me to say ”scoop and score” or “pick six”) - resulting in 14 Ducks points as Oregon won, 42-24.

It was the Bears’ own damn fault because they got greedy.  A couple of weeks ago, with the idea of “taking it to the next level,” they decided to bench QB Ross Bowers, who started every game and threw for more than 3,000 yards last year, and go with a pair of youngsters, Chase Garbers and Brandon McIlwain. With the two QBs alternating, they beat BYU and - hold your breath - Idaho State.  Saturday, as Bowers sat, the dynamic duo went 4-for-13 for 43 yards in the first half, and 15-for-30 for 172 overall.  And, of course, their contributions to the seven turnovers (four interceptions and a fumble).

FULL DISCLOSURE: Ross Bowers is a Washington kid who took his high school team to a state title; his dad is a former college coach who grew up in Hagerstown, Maryland, and as a kid used to watch my team, the Hagerstown Bears, play.  So yes, I'm biased.

*********** Cal QB Brandon McIlwain, in carrying 15 times for 123 yards, became the first Cal QB in 60 years to rusn for more than 100 yards.  The last to do it? A guy named Joe Kapp, in 1958. (In fairness, the quarterback position itself has changed quite a bit since Kapp - and most other college QB’s - were under center.  For those who remember what a hard-nosed QB  Kapp was when he played with the Vikings, if he had been playing what they now call “quarterback” (in actuality what is really single wing tailback), he’d have easily run for 200 yards a game - every game.

*********** Washington looked really tough, nearly shutting out BYU, 35-7.  Husky QB Jake Browning completed his first 11 passes and was 23 of 25 for 277 yards and a TD. Five Husky runners combined to carry 36 times for 189 yards and 4 TDs.

BYU threw for 161 yards, but the Husky defense held the Cougars to just 35 yards on 27 carries.

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

With all this political news flooding the airwaves, and the fact that I don't watch much ESPN anymore (except for college football games), I had no idea that Tommy McDonald and Jack McKinney had passed away.

While I have really liked Stanford football and HC David Shaw, my heart is always with Notre Dame.  Gotta go with the Irish in a close one.

Thanks to Mark Hundley for sharing that Blade article.  Profound.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** John Muckian, longtime friend and reader from Ipswich, Massachusetts, wrote to remind me that Angelo Bertelli’s High School,  - Cathedral High in Springfield, Massachusetts, also produced pro greats Nick Buonoconti and Joe Scibelli.

Yes, and it also produced the late Bill Tunstall.  Bill, a World War II Navy vet, used to walk around our track when I was coaching at Madison High in Portland, and he’d often stay around after practice to chat.

Bill, who passed away a few years ago,  was very proud of his wartime service, as well he should have been, but he was also proud of his home town and his high school, and of the fact that it had produced Angelo Bertelli.

(Fortunately, I knew who Angelo Bertelli was.)

AN INTERVIEW WITH BILL TUNSTALL AND HIS WIFE…

http://www.eaavideo.org/detail/videos/most-recent/video/3157562822001/timeless-voices---dorothy-and-bill-tunstall

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Kermit Alexander was born in New Iberia, Louisiana, but he grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles and went on to become a star football player at UCLA. 

A first-round draft choice in 1963 of the NFL 49ers and the AFL Denver Broncos, he signed with San Francisco, and wound up playing seven years with the 49ers, and two each with the Rams and Eagles.

As a cornerback, he was a solid performer but with the 49ers he was overshadowed by the other corner, Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Johnson.

He was a Pro-Bowler in 1968.

It was his tackle that caused the knee injury that effectively ended Gale Sayers’ career as a breakaway running back.

After retirement, he served as President of the NFL Players’ Association.

In 1984, his mother, his sister, and his sister’s two children - his 8- and 13-year old nephews - were assassinated, slaughtered in cold blood, in their Watts home by two members of the “Rollin’ 60 Crips” who had been commissioned to conduct a paid killing and had gone to the wrong address.

He at first considered seeking revenge, but was persuaded by the mayor and police chief to let the system work.  He did so, and became dislllusioned at the state’s failure to carry out the sentence given to his family’s killer. (The killer was sentenced to death, but in the face of California’s refusal to carry out a death sentence, he remains, 32 years later, on Death Row.)

His memoir, “The Valley of the Shadow of Death,” written in 2015, was described in the Los Angeles Times as “a must-read for anyone concerned with how drugs and gangs ravaged Los Angeles, how the criminal justice system seemingly tortures the families of crime victims, and how California's death row is a world apart with its hateful logic and propensity for violence.”

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING KERMIT ALEXANDER

JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA


*********** MORE TO READ ABOUT KERMIT ALEXANDER

https://www.sfgate.com/opinion/saunders/article/Kermit-Alexander-s-life-sentence-6630535.php

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/lethal-injection/ex-nfl-star-kermit-alexander-sues-have-familys-killer-executed-n307436

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-kermit-alexander-20151004-story.html

*********** QUIZ -  He was a four-sport star as a high school athlete in San Diego, and at Stanford, at 6-4, 225 (a giant for his time) he was a 2-time All-American.  Playing both ways, he was an outstanding pass receiver as an offensive end and a terror on defense at either end or tackle.

Along with a quarterback named Gary Kerkorian, he was a major reason why new Stanford coach Chuck Taylor took the Indians (as they were then called) to the Rose Bowl in his first season on The Farm. Taylor realized that his best chance of success was to stress the passing game - something for which Stanford became noted over the years, as it turned out great quarterback after great quarterback.

He was a third-round draft choice of the Bears, and in his eight years in Chicago, playing as a tight end and then as a slot back,  he played in all 96 games. For his career, he caught 201 passes for 2800 yards and 25 touchdowns.

He could throw as well as catch.  In 1956, he was on the throwing end of a 79-yard pass play, the longest in the NFL that season, against the Giants.

All the while he played with the Bears, he was studying medicine at the University of Chicago, and after retirement from football he became an orthopedic surgeon.

He and his wife had six children, two of whom, Duncan and Milt, also played football at Stanford.

He and Duncan are the only father and son team in Stanford football history to be named All-Americans.

Milt played in the NFL for the 49ers and Raiders and is now a physician in suburban Chicago.

american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 28,  2018 -   “You probe with bayonets: if you find mush, you push. If you find steel, you withdraw.” Vladimir Lenin

*********** Philadelphia sports took two severe hits this week with the losses of Tommy McDonald and Jack McKinney.

*********** Tommy McDonald, a New Mexico native, never lost a college game.  Oklahoma, in the midst of its all-time record 47-game win streak, was  31-0 during his three years.

Small (5-9, 170) and fast, he was a halfback in OU’s split-T, which didn’t feature a lot of passing, but his college coach, Bud Wilkinson, suggested that he would have a better future as a flanker.

In 1956, he finished third in the Heisman voting behind the undeserving Paul Hornung and the deserving Johnny Majors of Tennessee.

He did win the Maxwell Award and the Sporting News Player of the Year award.

Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer did an excellent job of telling Tommy McDonald’s story, especially what he meant to Philly (good video in there, too)

http://www2.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/tommy-mcdonald-philadelphia-eagles-pro-football-hall-of-fame-dies-obituary-20180924.html

NFL Films feature on Tommy McDonald

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAgqtx0cTO8

Tommy McDonald in later life reflects on his career

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

*********** MY "CONNECTION": I knew of Tommy McDonald when he played at Oklahoma, but I really got to know him when he played with the Eagles.

My wife really loved him.  He was good-looking. He was a very good football player. He had tons of personality, and the way he played seemed to reflect it.

We first got to see him in a roundabout sort of way.

We started out our honeymoon in a place in upstate Pennsylvania called Eagles Mere.  Beautiful spot.  Boring as hell.

After a couple of days, we bailed, and headed south, destination unknown.  (Sort of a metaphor for the way our lives would go thereafter.)

Somewhere along the way it hit me - Hershey!  From the time I was a little kid at summer camp, where once a year we’d spend a day at Hershey, touring the chocolate factory and then enjoying the rides and attractions at Hershey Park, Hershey had always been a magical place for me.

We headed for Hershey.

We found a motel in nearby Palmyra and it had a swimming pool. (Still a big deal back then.) We found a nearby restaurant that advertised “Dutch smorgasbord” (that would be Pennsylvania Dutch food, than which there isn’t much better), and we found, when we drove into Hershey, that the Philadelphia Eagles were training there! Migod, we had everything!

In those days, practices were open.  Really open. We sat on the sidelines at practice and hobnobbed with some of the players when a ball would go out of bounds, and we heard the back-and-forth chatter between the players.  This, we observed, was a bunch of guys who were having fun, and Tommy McDonald, running everywhere, bouncing up and down and obviously having a great time, was in the middle of it all.

That was 1959. The team was coming off a 2-win season, but that was 1958, Buck Shaw’s first year as their head coach, and Norm Van Brocklin’s first year as their QB. In 1959, hopes were high.  As it turned out, they would finish 7-5. The next year, 1960, they would win the NFL title.


*********** Jack McKinney - from his hometown (Delaware County, PA) paper

https://www.delcotimes.com/sports/st-james-and-saint-joseph-s-great-jack-mckinney-dead/article_a901df7e-c137-11e8-824b-83e97e6d8879.html

*********** MY "CONNECTION": Gaston, Oregon, about 30 miles west of Portland in the foothills of the Coast Range, is now a part of Oregon’s famed Wine Country, but 42 years ago, it was rural. Gaston High School was my first high school teaching and coaching job. It was a 60-minute drive - exactly - from our home in Vancouver, Washington, but as a relocated Easterner I was used to long commutes, and in those days it wasn’t a difficult drive. (Now, given Portland’s tremendous growth, it would take me close to two hours.)

Near the end of the school year our basketball coach, Dick Kastberg, asked me if I’d be interested in working as a coach at a basketball camp at Pacific University, just up the road in Forest Grove.

Dick told me not to worry about my having zero experience as a basketball coach.  He said they’d make sure I coached the little kids.

I accepted.  First of all, it would pay a little something - I forget what - and my son could attend camp for free.

But second of all, it was “Jack Ramsay’s Blazer Camp.”  And Jack Ramsay had just coached the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA championship. 

And in those days, coaches actually worked their own camps. What a chance to see a real big-time coach at work!

Jack Ramsay and his right-hand man, Jack McKinney, were Philly guys. Coach Ramsay had coached at Philly high schools and at St. Joseph’s College (“Saint Joe’s” if you’re really Philly) before embarking on a career in the NBA (Philadelphia, Buffalo, Portland, Indiana) and Jack McKinney had played for him at St. Joe’s, then after assisting Ramsay,  had succeeded him as head coach there.  He was quite successful in his nine years at St, Joe’s, but after a falling out with the president, one Father Blee, he was abruptly fired.

That was 1974. I was working in Philly at the time, and I well remember the furor over the firing.  I have to confess that having just returned to Philly after having been away  for more than ten years, I was out of touch with the local sports scene and I didn’t even know who Jack McKinney was.  All I knew at the time was that everyone I spoke to or listened to said what a good man he was and what a fool this “Father Blee” guy was and what an injustice had taken place.

Which brings me to the camp.  I managed.  After all, I had  played a lot of basketball, and to a certain extent, a coach is a coach, right? I had a great time with the other coaches, and I really enjoyed getting to observe two great coaches - Ramsay and McKinney - in action.

Jack Ramsay won my wife over when he met her at a social gathering held for the coaches and their wives at The Oasis, a popular hangout in Forest Grove.  He must have detected her trace of a Philly accent, and when he asked where she was from, she told him. “Abington.”

“Abington,” he said.  “The Galloping Ghosts.”

That took both my wife and me aback. Only insiders knew Abington’s unique nickname.  “How did you know that?” I asked.

“Don’t forget,” he said, “I coached at St. Joe’s and recruited in the Philadelphia area for eleven years.”

But Jack McKinney and I really hit it off.  I’d grown up around Philly Irish, and Jack was Philly Irish.  Actually he was from nearby Chester, where his father had been  the police chief, and he went to St. James High School there.

Jack had a couple of his own sons at the camp, and possibly because I was older than most of the other coaches, or possibly because I was a fellow Philadelphian, he asked me to take his youngest son on my team. Talk about flattered.

At the time of the camp, I’d applied for a job at another school in the area - Banks High, a larger school with a bigger budget than Gaston - and a real stadium with lights - and one evening after the camp was over for the day and all the coaches were milling around outside, a car drove up and parked and the Banks superintendent got out.  Banks’ coach had just left rather suddenly for another job  and they were in a hurry to fill the position. The Supe  happened to live in Forest Grove, and  knowing that I was working at the camp,  he thought it might expedite things if he were to  drive over and interview me informally.  We chatted for about ten minutes and then he said good-bye and got back in his car.

Jack McKinney asked, “Who was that?” and I told him.

Meanwhile, the Supe’s car wouldn’t start.

I was about to head over to see what I could do to help, when Jack McKinney put out his arm to hold me back, and said, “Wait a minute.”

He grabbed Jack Ramsay and the two men - now the greatest sports heroes  the Portland area had ever known - got together with the Supe under the now-raised hood of his car, seemingly helping him get it started.

It finally did start, and as the Supe drove off, the two Jacks returned to where I was standing, and Jack McKinney said to me, “We got you the job.”

True dat.

*********** Jack McKinney’s life took a tragic turn shortly after he was hired to coach the Lakers, when he flew over the handlebars of his bicycle and suffered serious brain injuries.  He was in a coma for a lengthy time, and was replaced on an interim basis by his chief assistant, Paul Westhead.  His recovery took so long that he never returned as head coach of the Lakers.

He coached again at Indiana, where he won NBA Coach of the Year honors, but the great tragedy is his never getting to coach the Lakers.

His first year there was Magic Johnson’s rookie year.

Only recently did I read that he had experienced “neurological issues” the rest of his life.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS WEEK

*********** Will this be the week that either Chip Kelly or Scott Frost gets his first win?

Kelly and UCLA are at Colorado - I don’t think so.

Frost and Nebraska host Purdue - I don’t think so.

*********** Preparing for legalized betting on football, I’m auditioning for a job with any sports book that might open at one of the area’s Indian casinos…

MY TOP TEN GAMES: (IN ORDER OF THEIR KICKOFF TIMES)

WEST VIRGINIA AT TEXAS TECH - WVU  is a 3-1/2 point favorite. I’m going with West Virginia because I like their logo.  And Will Grier.

PURDUE AT NEBRASKA - PURDUE is a 3-1/2 point favorite.  I’m going with Purdue.  The Boilermakers are a lot better than they’ve shown so far; the Cornhuskers may be worse.

FLORIDA STATE AT LOUISVILLE - FSU is a 6 point favorite. The NOSE BOWL.  Featuring two “less than truthful” coaches,  the winner takes home the coveted Pinocchio Trophy.  I’ll take Louisville and the points.

UTAH AT WASHINGTON STATE - UTAH by 1-1/2.  If you saw last week’s loss to USC and if you’ve heard of the term “Cougin’ it,” you’ll understand why I’m reluctantly taking UTAH

VIRGINIA TECH AT DUKE - DUKE by 5.  Both teams are without their original starting quarterbacks.  VT has to rebound from last week’s monumental upset by Old Dominion, and they always play Duke tough.  I can’t go against Duke, so I won’t bet on this one.

OHIO STATE AT PENN STATE - OSU by 3-1/2.  Yes, I know - Urban Meyer is back.  The captain of the ship is once again at the helm. But I think the loss of Bosa’s pass rush will hurt the Buckeyes more than the addition of Meyer’s leadership will help them.  I’ll take Penn State and the points.

STANFORD AT NOTRE DAME - ND by 5-1/2.  The spread may seem excessive, but not if you saw Stanford’s win over an Oregon team that dominated them right down to the last minute, when it decided to give the game away.  Notre Dame, with new QB Ian Book, looked really good against Wake Forest (25 of 34 for 325 and 2 TDs - running for 3 TDS.  I want Stanford to win but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Irish romp.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT KENTUCKY - KENTUCKY - KENTUCKY, FOR GOD’S SAKE - BY 1-1/2.  Remember when SC was considered a possible threat to Georgia in the SEC East?  Remember when everybody was shocked by Kentucky’s win over Mississippi State? On the chance that they really are this good, I’ll take them and give the points.

OREGON AT CAL - OREGON by 2-1/2.  Oregon could have beaten Stanford bad last week but elected to give the game away.  Cal has just one quality win - over BYU.  Oregon has the best QB in college football in Justin Herbert while Cal has bet the ranch on a freshman QB, benching the returning starter in his favor. If I were a tout, I’d call this one a mortal lock. Take Oregon and give the points.

USC AT ARIZONA - USC by 8-1/2.  USC started to look good last week against Washington State.  Arizona QB Khalil Tate, a southern California native, has yet to beat USC, and this year he has yet to play up to his potential.  I’d take a chance with Arizona and the points.

*********** Beyond the Top Ten, there’s a whole lot of dog games this weekend, with large point spreads (three touchdowns or more) reflecting the quality of the match-ups. What’s sad is that several of them are conference games and couldn’t have been avoided. To be truthful, I can’t see a single game - except maybe Syracuse at Clemson - where I wouldn’t take the favorite and give the points.

Louisiana at Alabama - 48-1/2
Tennessee at Georgia - 31-1/2
Central Michigan at Michigan State - 28-1/2
Bowling Green at Georgia Tech - 28-1/2
Southern Miss at Auburn - 26-1/2
Rice at Wake Forest - 26
Syracuse at Clemson - 25
Baylor at Oklahoma - 23-1/2
Oregon State at Arizona State - 21-1/2
Arkansas at Texas A & M - 21

*********** Still on betting… The highest Over/Under this week  (The Over/Under bet is  whether the total combined points scored by both teams will be under or over the specified number)  is West Virginia-Texas Tech (75.5).  That, given the wide-open offenses and less-than-granite defenses of the Big 12, is understandable.

The second-highest - Penn State-Ohio State (71) - is not so understandable.

*********** Norm Van Brocklin hated soccer-style kickers. He coached (the Vikings and the Falcons) during the time when foreign-born soccer-stylers began taking over the kicking game - some would say the game itself -  and after one particularly tough loss when a reporter asked how he felt about losing on a last-second field goal,  he said, ”They ought to change the goddamned immigration laws in this country.”

*********** The latest Sports Illustrated tells of a deep rift on the Seahawks that developed between those who believe that Pete Carroll has pampered Russell Wilson and shielded him from criticism, and those who side with Wilson and Carroll.

The strongest charge that the anti-Carroll, anti-Wilson players make is at the same time outrageous and plausible.  Remember the Super Bowl fiasco in which, with the Seahawks on the goal line and Marshawn Lynch,  the toughest runner in football, in their backfield,  Carroll inexplicably decided to throw the ball - and it was intercepted?  (I predicted at the time that it would cost Carroll his team, which it may have - and I still can’t believe that Carroll has been spared the media ridicule his decision merits as one of the game’s all-time blunders.)

The players’ charge?  Carroll wanted Wilson - and not Marshawn Lynch - to be the Super Bowl MVP.

*********** Saw Pete Carroll on TV pushing “shoulder tackling” (but not “Hawk Tackling”).  Why, he claims that they can even teach it without pads!  Imagine!  I’ve only been teaching it that way for 30+ years, and showing it on video for 20 years.

*********** Online wisdom…

This recently, has turned into a woman’s world. I’m not sure why... not sure how the left women got a strong hold on men and society. Men are afraid of them... most are afraid of them. So they get their way.. which makes them more daring and more attacking and angry at everyone.. proudly braggng about their power.

The world has been turned upside down by Obama’s fundamentally changing America over to what he wanted.. bad and more bad.. destruction of what we once had! The older you are, the more you see what is going on and what we are losing.


*********** Tackle football should wait, says a study.  Until high school. Sure.  Great idea.  Wait until all the good athletes have been identified by all the coaches of soccer/baseball/basketball/lacrosse travel teams as future professionals, conning their parents into invested countless dollars and hours in hopes of college scholarships and pro careers.  Sure - wait until those kids with years invested in other sports turn 14 and enter ninth grade and then - just like that  - expect them and their parents to just walk away from their sport of choice and start all over with a new one -  football, a sport that’s hard to learn and physically demanding.

https://coachad.com/news/study-suggests-tackle-football-should-wait-until-high-school/

*********** I truly believe that teams do more to stop themselves than opposing defenses do.

The four main ways they do so is through (1) turnovers; (2) stupid penalties; (3) blown assignments; and (4) dumbass calls.

Points 1-2-3 are on the kids; we practice to eliminate those things, and then we depend on the kids to play the way they’ve been taught.

But Point 4 is totally on the coach, and I’m constantly shocked at how lightly some coaches seem to take their responsibility not to do something stupid and cost their kids a game.

Over the last several weeks I’ve seen some pretty amazing examples of the way  coaches’ play calling seems always to be motivated by a death wish.  Without being overly specific, let’s just say I’ve seen teams run the same basic play on first and second downs, picking up four yards or so a play, and then,  faced with a third-and-short, they run something out of the blue, something they hadn’t run before. Maybe it’s an option, or a pass or a reverse.  But in the cases I’ve seen, the result isn’t a first down.  In fact, it’s either been a big loss (there goes the chance to go for it on fourth down)  or, in some cases, a turnover.

Play-calling is not an exact science, of course.  But there’s plenty of advance planning and plenty of poker-type calculated thinking that go into making a smart call.   Obviously, third-and-two at midfield in the first quarter requires different thinking from third-and-two at midfield with 1:14 left to play and you’re down by six.  But always uppermost in the playcaller’s thinking has to be “what do we need to accomplish on this down, and what call has the greatest chance of success?”

A military and business axiom is that the best predictor of future performance is past peformance, which means that in the case of the team that has gained a total of eight yards running off tackle on first and second down, there’s a good likelihood that running off-tackle again will get you the first down, and keep your drive going.

I suspect too many coaches are calling plays to show the crowd how clever they are.   And in doing so, they commit the football version of redneck suicide: “Hey y’all - watch this!”

In breaking out of your play-calling pattern in order to call a special play - something you may have been saving for the right  moment - you always have to keep  two simple questions in mind: (1) what is the potential downside? (2) is the potential benefit worth the risk? Anybody who reaches into his grab bag without asking himself these questions - and answering them honestly - is playing with his kids’ chips.

One great thing that running the Double Wing does is bring discipline to your play-calling,  which I suspect might be another reason why Madden-taught coaches don't like it - they see it as "restricting" them.

*********** The National Football Foundation (NFF) has released the names of the 179 semifinalists for the 2019 William V. Campbell Trophy.

To me, it’s a lot more meaningful - and a hell of a lot more reflective of what we’d like people to think about our sport - than any damn Heisman Trophy.

It’s named in honor of the late Bill Campbell, former chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal. The Campbell Trophy is a 25-pound bronze trophy and provides a postgraduate scholarship of $25,000. This year's postgraduate scholarships will push the program's all-time distribution to more than $11.5 million.

Nominated by their schools (which are limited to one nominee each) candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of playing eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.

Past recipients of The William V. Campbell Trophy include: Air Force's Chris Howard (1990); Florida's Brad Culpepper (1991); Colorado's Jim Hansen (1992); Virginia's Thomas Burns (1993); Nebraska's Rob Zatechka (1994); Ohio State's Bobby Hoying (1995); Florida's Danny Wuerffel (1996); Tennessee's Peyton Manning (1997); Georgia's Matt Stinchcomb (1998); Marshall's Chad Pennington (1999); Nebraska's Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000); Miami (Fla.)'s Joaquin Gonzalez (2001); Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.)'s Brandon Roberts (2002); Ohio State's Craig Krenzel (2003); Tennessee's Michael Munoz (2004); LSU's Rudy Niswanger (2005); Rutgers' Brian Leonard (2006); Texas' Dallas Griffin (2007); California's Alex Mack (2008); Florida's Tim Tebow (2009); Texas' Sam Acho (2010); Army West Point's Andrew Rodriguez (2011); Alabama's Barrett Jones (2012); Penn State's John Urschel (2013); Duke's David Helton (2014); Oklahoma's Ty Darlington (2015); Western Michigan's Zach Terrell (2016); and Virginia's Micah Kiser (2017).

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

Bunch of good college games on TV this week.  Notre Dame vs. Stanford will be my highlight.  Should be a good game depending on which two teams show up.

Regarding this Kavanaugh thing:  Aside from the political ramifications, I'm thinking that all of this may eventually lead to a complete deterioration of trust between males and females, and have an even worse effect on the social side of things.  Relationships.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Makes you wonder how many different ways the Left can find to slice us up - by income, by age, by race, by gun ownership, by religion, by sex.  What’s next?

Joe replied…

Next is already here, and has been for a while.  Political affiliation.  According to the left It's not ok to be a conservative, or a libertarian, or a Republican.  We're deplorables.


*********** Just a thought found on the Internet

A lot of our current crop of libs were Ritalin kids (I remember the articles in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s which questioned what these kids would be like as adults after spending a childhood on mood-altering drugs. Maybe now we have some idea.)


*********** Sent to me from Coach Mark Hundley, a coach in the Columbus, Ohio area…

Written by Matt Markey in the Toledo Blade, it very articulately nails the dishonesty and hypocrisy of Colin Kaepernick’s act.  It’s by far the best description I’ve read of every facet of this misguided “protest” that the NFL has enabled and Nike has now monetized.

http://www.toledoblade.com/MattMarkey/2018/09/08/The-NFL-season-starts-but-I-won-t-be-watching/stories/20180909049


*********** A Florida woman…

No, this is not the usual Florida bizarro story.  It’s about a Florida school teacher who was fired for refusing to lower her standards. 

Newly hired and therefore on probationary status, she put her job on the line when she refused to go along with her  school’s “No Zeroes” policy - a policy which required her to give no grade lower than a 50, even to students who didn’t turn in any work.

https://www.wptv.com/news/region-st-lucie-county/port-st-lucie/teacher-pens-whiteboard-goodbye-to-students-over-no-zero-grading-policy


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER- Calvin Hill was an outstanding college running back. He was big (6-3, 230), fast and very athletic, but since he played at an Ivy League school, the question was, "how good?" Was he really worth a first-round draft choice? Turned out, he was worth that and more, as he made NFL Rookie of the Year, twice rushed for over 1,000 yards, and made the Sporting News All-Pro team in 1973. His team made the playoffs all six years he played with them and he earned one Super Bowl ring.

His only child became a well-known professional athlete,  even more famous than he.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this story but this is how I remember it... He was a Baltimore kid, and Jim Parker, former Colts' offensive lineman (and Hall-of-Famer) was a sales rep for a major distilling company. The company had a scholarship to award to a deserving young man to attend New York City's prestigious Riverdale Country School. He came to the attention of Mr. Parker, he won the scholarship, and off he went, an inner-city black kid mingling with the sons of the wealthy.

He excelled in sports and academics, and came to the attention of colleges. He chose Yale. There, he not only played football, but was a 26-foot long-jumper on the track team.

His coach at Yale, Carm Cozza, recalled, “Calvin  was the one player I had in thirty-two years who probably could have been a star at any position on the team... People forget that he was a quarterback in high school…. I'm sure he  knew he was good enough to be the quarterback here, but he came in and made the adjustment with no questions asked. He knew he could contribute in so many ways from the tailback position. And he threw the ball as much as some quarterbacks."

He graduated from Yale with a B.A. in history, and as the first-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys, won Rookie of the Year honors in 1969. He had a distinguished career with the Cowboys, twice making All-Pro and playing in four Pro Bowls and two Super Bowls. He played a year in the World Football League with The Hawaiians, and when the WFL folded, he returned to the NFL and finished up with the Redskins and Browns.

For all his accomplishments, he may be better known now as the father of  NBA great Grant Hill.

A committed Christian,  he had considered the ministry before being drafted by the Cowboys, and studied at the SMU school of theology while playing with the Cowboys. In 1998, Grant and his wife donated $100,000 to Duke Divinity School in his name.

He has served as Vice-President of the Baltimore Orioles and has been employed by other organizations to counsel younger athletes.

Asked by sportsparents.com about which made him prouder, his own Super Bowl victory or his son's two NCAA titles, he answered, "I thought when the Cowboys won the Super Bowl and I was a member of that team, that was it. But I think anything your child does has more meaning for you than anything you do. Each generation should be a little better, and if your child experiences things you didn't experience, or has success that you didn't have, then you feel things are progressing in the right way. I can't imagine a parent not getting more enjoyment out of his child's success than he got out of their own."

As Grant Hill was being introduced before his final college game at Duke, the student cheering section paid tribute to his father and his mother, Janet, who were in attendance, by chanting, "One More Son! One More Son! One More Son!"

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING CALVIN HILL

GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
RAY HOLZ, CANTON, NEW YORK
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** QUIZ - He was born in New Iberia, Louisiana, but he grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles and went on to become a star football player at UCLA. 

A first-round draft choice in 1963 of the NFL 49ers and the AFL Denver Broncos, he signed with San Francisco, and wound up playing seven years with the 49ers, and two each with the Rams and Eagles.

As a cornerback, he was a solid performer but with the 49ers he was overshadowed by the other corner, Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Johnson.

He was a Pro-Bowler in 1968.

It was his tackle that caused the knee injury that effectively ended Gale Sayers’ career as a breakaway running back.

After retirement, he served as President of the NFL Players’ Association.

In 1984, his mother, his sister, and his sister’s two children - his 8- and 13-year old nephews - were assassinated, slaughtered in cold blood, in their Watts home by two members of the “Rollin’ 60 Crips” who had been commissioned to conduct a paid killing and had gone to the wrong address.

He at first considered seeking revenge, but was persuaded by the mayor and police chief to let the system work.  He did so, and became dislllusioned at the state’s failure to carry out the sentence given to his family’s killer. (The killer was sentenced to death, but in the face of California’s refusal to carry out a death sentence, he remains, 32 years later, on Death Row.)

His memoir, “The Valley of the Shadow of Death,” written in 2015, has been  described in the Los Angeles Times as “a must-read for anyone concerned with how drugs and gangs ravaged Los Angeles, how the criminal justice system seemingly tortures the families of crime victims, and how California's death row is a world apart with its hateful logic and propensity for violence.”


american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 25,  2018 -     "Our guys don't flinch."  Army coach Jeff Monken

*********** The greatest game you never saw took place Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma, where Army, a 31-1/2 point underdog, took Number Five-ranked Oklahoma into overtime before finally falling, 28-21.

Army twice drove 75 yards in 16 plays in the first half to stay close, 21-14 at the half, and in the third period  drove 85 yards in 19 plays - taking 10:47 off the clock - to tie the score at 21-21.

Still knotted at 21-21 early in the fourth quarter, Army held Oklahoma on a fourth-and-goal at the one, then ate up clock and drove  into OU territory before throwing an interception at the 38.  

The Army performance was not a fluke.   Army ran off 87 plays to Oklahoma’s 40, and had the ball for nearly 45 minutes (44:41 to Oklahoma’s 15:19).

OU fans, to their great credit, gave the Army team a standing ovation as they exited the field.

No matter which team you rooted for, it was a game for the ages, as nerve-wracking for Oklahoma’s fans as it was exhilarating for Army’s.

It was a vivid example of how a total system - one that brings together institutional and team culture, offensive scheme and coaching - can sometimes offset a great disparity in talent.   Given that Army has good - if not great - players and is well coached in what they do, and given that the institutional atmosphere at West Point assures that Army football players are unusually tough both physically and mentally, I attribute their performance Saturday to their  ball control offense, one that Oklahoma never sees, but most of all to the fact that Army linemen actually block with pads.  Oklahoma’s defense, on the other hand,  like every other major college defense,  is used to being blocked with hands.  Oklahoma’s defensive linemen, used to seeing zone blocking and pass blocking week after week, couldn’t possibly have been prepared for the way Army’s linemen fire out and drive into them. Having to absorb body blows, play after play after play, can wear even a great defense down.

I worry about next week’s game - at unbeaten Buffalo, which is fresh off a crushing (42-13) win over Rutgers - but for the moment, like Army fans everywhere, I’ll revel in this win for a while.  Since I really started following Army football closely, in the late 1990s, the Cadets have suffered a lot of down seasons.  They went more than a decade without beating Navy.  And while they had a few decent wins against decent clubs, I’d never, until Saturday, seen them go toe-to-toe with a top team.  It’s a hell of a feeling to think that your team can go out on the field and play with the best, and I’m excited.

As for that “greatest game you never saw” line, I’m still trying to find out why the hell this game wasn’t on free-to-air TV.  Good Lord, you look at the menu of games this past weekend and you say, wait - Kent State at Ole Miss? Akron at Iowa State?  Western Michigan at Georgia State? UNLV at Arkansas State? 

They were all on TV, and good for them. But Oklahoma, the Number Five team in the nation, wasn't?

Well, yes it was.  But not for free.  It was available on Pay-per-view.  At $40.

Now, I could maybe see it if you were a Sooner fan.  Maybe.  But not me. Go ahead and blame me if you want, but I figured that the Vegas guys know better than I do, and I didn’t want to spend 40 bucks to witness the unpleasantness of my team getting worked over.

So there you go.  I found the radio broadcast on the Army network, and listened to the game online on a Colorado Springs radio station.  I gather that many, many Army fans did roughly the same.

The only people more pissed off about the TV gouging than Army fans who didn’t pay the $40 and missed the game had to be the Oklahoma fans who did pay - who spent $40 expecting to see their Sooners run wild and beat the spread.  It must have been sheer agony for them to watch Army on offense for 44+ minutes.

*********** Army coach Jeff Monken’s first post-game statement:

“Our guys don’t flinch.  That’s the toughness that is a part of this program and built into the fabric of the culture that is Army football and that’s West Point and that’s the United States Army. I promise you there’s not an American soldier out there that would flinch in the face of adversity either. We have a bunch of soldiers on our team and I’m proud of them.”

Coach Monken’s tribute to the winning team:

“What a football game and congratulations to Oklahoma.  What a great football team and an unbelievable football program. I read the press release before the game and I marvel at the success that the Oklahoma program has had over decades.  I read where they’ve won 11 Big 12 championships in the last 19 years,  in that same stretch only lost 10 home games. That’s an incredible statistic to me. To be a part of a football team to come in here tonight and about pull off victory against a great football program, I’m just incredibly proud to be a part of this team. I’m proud of our players.”

*********** I was extremely proud of the effort of the Army team Saturday, and appreciative of the sportsmanship of the people of Oklahoma for recognizing and applauding  what they’d just seen - a remarkable effort by a tough, well-prepared Army football team that very nearly overcame seemingly insurmountable odds.

Army’s defiance of the odds made me think about the importance of competitive sports.

For years, enlightened parents and public school “educators” have done their best to insulate our children from the trauma of failure by eliminating competition.   See, competiton means somebody has to lose, and losing means unhappiness.  So to shield children from the heartbreak of losing, we shield them from competition.  Unfortunately, this not only prevents them from learning how to deal with life’s setbacks, but it creates a false sense of entitlement - a belief that they’re owed success.

I think of the Army near-win and I think of the  2016 election.

All signs pointed to an Oklahoma mauling of Army.  Oklahoma is football royalty.  The Sooners were justifiably ranked Number Five in the country.  In reality, there may not have been a single player on the entire Army team who would have been recruited by Oklahoma.

But Army put it all out on the field Saturday.  They risked everything.  But despite a heroic effort, they came up short.

In the fashion of true competitors, though, they handled the bitterness of the loss with grace, then put it behind them and set their sights on the next game.

I have no doubt that had Oklahoma lost - a most unforeseen and unhappy prospect for Sooner fans - their people would have handled the defeat with similar aplomb.

That’s what competitive athletics teaches.

Contrast that to 2016, when everything indicated a Clinton win.  Polls “showed” that Trump had no “path to 270”  (electoral votes.)

Except that Hillary didn’t win.  And in the aftermath, "progressives,” sheltered from the pain of losing when they were kids, still haven’t come to terms with their loss.  (Sniff) They were owed.

*********** American sportsmanship on display…

There’s Army football…

https://twitter.com/kirkherbstreit/status/1043867992235409409?s=21

And then there are Oregon fans..

https://twitter.com/chanteljennings/status/1043708350393774080?s=21

*********** The Yiddish word “chutzpah” means gall. Or what the old-timers used to call “crust.”

It’s best explained in a little story about the guy who killed his parents,  then asked the court to take it easy on him because he was an orphan.

Another definition is guys who played professional football so well that they’re in the Hall of Fame demanding that the NFL pay them a lifetime salary - $300,000 sounds about right, they say - or they will boycott the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.  (Not all Hall of Fame members, it should be said, have joined in the demands.)

Chutzpah?  These guys should certainly be able to capitalize on their fame
as Hall of Famers. They all receive decent pensions as it is, and they were all well paid when they played. (Their main spokesman, Eric Dickerson, was also well paid when he went to SMU, for those who aren’t familiar with the death penalty he helped earn the Mustangs.)

Besides, most of these guys are college graduates, whose educations have prepared them for real jobs in the real world, right? (Just kidding.)

What pisses me off is that instead of asking for “more, more, more” for themselves, these guys should be asking for more for some of the real old-timers who played back in the days when they were paid so little they had to have other jobs in the off-season.


*********** For several years now, I’ve been in locker rooms and listened to coaches I respect as they spoke to their kids.  They’ve offered the kids lots of good advice on how to be good workers, good students, good sons, good husbands, good parents.  I’ve been impressed.

And I’ve often heard them speak to their players about the importance of “treating women with respect.”

I’m all for that. My wife was raised by a man who was the kind of father every girl should have, and  I tried to emulate him in that regard in helping raise our three daughters.  Our girls all married men who treat them with respect,  and those men have all done a great job of helping raise my four granddaughters.

Of course our young men should learn that we expect them to treat women - girls - with respect.

But - just wondering -  do you suppose the coaches of girls’ teams are also talking to their players about “treating men and boys with respect?”

(That’s a rhetorical question.  I already know the answer.)


*********** Wow.  The Cowboys are really bad. The Seahawks - the Seahawks, for God’s sake - beat them.  Dak Prescott is not looking like the QB  of a few years ago - he was 19 of 34 for 168 yards (that’s a puny 4.9 yards per attempt) with two interceptions and only one TD.  In fairness to Prescott, he doesn’t seem to have much in the way of receivers.  Or in the way of protection: he was sacked five times. 

One apparent TD pass was called back because the receiver, genius Ezekiel Elliott (educated at THE Ohio State University), doesn’t seem to know that you can’t step out of bounds and then return to the field of play as an eligible receiver. 

And on the next-to-last play of the first half, a knucklehead Cowboy defender named Randy Gregory shoved a Seahawk in the face mask - right in front of an official - incurring  a penalty that moved Seattle into position to kick a 47-yard field goal. As he came off the field Gregory wasn’t exactly showing signs of remorse and he seemed to blow off head coach Jason Garrett. As one of the announcers noted, “he’s spent the majority of his career suspended.” So ask yourself: how good a player would he have to be  for you to put up with his act.

*********** Not to spend too much time on the NFL, but what exactly is going on when the Bills beat the Vikings, 27-6 - in Minneapolis?  The game summary I read indicated that Kirk Cousins wasn’t very sharp, which caused me to ask, “Then WTF was he doing throwing 55 times?”

The Vikings ran exactly SIX times, and two of those runs were by Cousins.

*********** All the time and effort Cody Vollan put in last winter and spring are paying off.  I’ve mentioned Cody, a junior QB at Elma, Washington who’d been handed the varsity QB job as a sophomore, despite his never having played the position.  He did a decent enough job running coach Ron Clark’s wing-T offense but the Eagles, very young, finished 3-7.

Washington’s stupid rules prohibit members of a school’s coaching staff from working with players during other sports seasons, but since I wasn’t a member of the Elma staff, I was able to do so.

Cody’s a three-sport athlete - he’s 6-3, 190, a starting guard on the basketball team and a sprinter on the track team. That meant that the only time available for us to work was Sundays.

That was a bit of a sacrifice because he is an outdoorsman and likes to hunt.

He put in the time.  He was always 15 minutes early. He had the physical talent and the smarts and a burning desire to get better. He was extremely coachable and he worked hard. It took a few weeks for things to click  for him - he was a bit frustrated because he just couldn’t throw a consistent spiral - and then things just took off.

By the start of football, he was ready. He could make just about any throw.  He could drop back and throw deep, and he could bootleg and throw on the run.

Elma is now 4-0. They haven’t scored less than 40 points in any game, and they’ve outscored opponents 178-47.

The Eagles have a solid running game, and they don’t throw that much, but in the past two weeks, Coach Clark has been letting Cody throw a bit more.

Two weeks ago, in a 42-0 win over Aberdeen, he was  5 of 9 for 208 yards and three TDs. 

Last Friday, against Castle Rock, he was responsible for four first-half touchdowns as the Eagles won, 47-21. In the air, he was 8 of 10 for 188 yards and 2 TDs, and on the ground he carried the ball 10 times for 94 yards and 2 TDs.

Pride may be a sin, but I confess to being proud.

Here's a nice video of Cody against Aberdeen.

https://www.hudl.com/video/2/32372/58df578ae97ab70e64ccf630

*********** College football’s fashionistas continue to show us their bare knees.

Just to clarify the issue for those of you who might not be aware, here’s a poster that the NCAA circulated to help educate coaches and players…

http://www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/JUL2018MFB_NCAA_Uniform_and_Equipment_Rules_20180716.pdf

*********** Oregon lost to Stanford because of a dumbass call and a stupid turnover.  The Ducks were leading the Cardinal by 3 with just under a minute to play.  It was their ball, and they faced a second and two.  One first down and it was Game Over.

But wait. Stanford had one time out.  If Oregon takes a knee  they’d have to use that time out. Two more take-a-knees and Stanford is left with precious few seconds to do anything.

But Oregon went for the first down - and a rookie running back “trying for extra yardage” (as they always explain these things afterward) fumbled the f—king ball.

Stanford, with that one timeout still available, drove into field goal range, made the field goal to send the game into overtime, and then won it in OT.

*********** Now why would Virginia Tech, the standard of excellence in Virginia college football, step down in class to go on the road to play at Old Dominion, an instate school that’s only been playing football for ten years but has big-time ambitions?

Why else except to put on a dog and pony  show  for the folks in the Tidewater (Norfolk- Newport News-Hampton-Portsmouth- Virginia Beach) Area of the state,  a talent-rich region that’s produced such Virginia Tech legends as Michael Vick and Bruce Smith?

Why, when those recruits in that area come to the game and see what a REAL football team looks like, they’ll practically crawl the 300 or so miles to Blacksburg for the honor of being a Hokie.  Or so the thinking went.

Except - uh-oh -  Old Dominion beat the Hokies.  Beat ‘em bad.  And to make things worse, VIrginia Tech lost QB Josh Jackson.  It was announced Monday that he would require surgery to repair a broken fibula.

*********** Scott Frost had to really want to coach at his alma mater, because he had a very good team coming back at UCF, and I can’t believe that he didn’t know what kind of talent Mike Riley had left him at Nebraska.

*********** If I’m wrong I'll  admit it, and I may have been wrong about Herm Edwards.  I still don’t have to like the guy or his schtick, but it does appear that he is putting a competitive team on the field.

*********** Lotsa bummer matchups this past weekend.

*********** Lovie Smith looks like he’s 75 years old.

*********** What’s with Virginia Tech, whose colors are maroon and orange, wearing what looked like scarlet jerseys?

*********** Minnesota better get rowing that damn boat.  How do you explain Maryland thumping them like that?

*********** Lane Kiffin’s scheme to falsify a quote in order to fire the guys up did just that - except it was the guys on the other team.

*********** SMU went for 2 after scoring in the first OT - and beat Navy.

*********** The Grand Final, the Super Bowl of Australian Football if you will, is going to take place this Saturday, between the Collingwood Magpies, a traditional Melbourne power,  and the West Coast Eagles, from 3,000 miles away, in Perth. The game would draw a sellout crowd of more than 100,000 to “the G,” short for the “MCG,” which is short for Melbourne Cricket Grounds, under any conditions. But this year, because Collingwood has probably the largest following of any footy club, and West Coast fans travel well, tickets are especially tough.

My son, who lives in Melbourne, tells me that people are up in arms over the fact that air lines, reflecting the spike in demand,  have greatly jacked up air fares between Perth and Melbourne, to the point where it’s actually more expensive than flying to London. Such is the Australian sense of humor that it’s led to numerous jokes about saving money by flying to London instead and watching the game in an English pub.

*********** Friday night my wife and I went across the street to watch the Camas High game.  Camas football is good - they won the state 4A (largest class) championship a few years ago - and has been for some time.

Their head coach is Jon Eagle, whom I coached with back in the late 80s at a high school in Vancouver. Jon is an exceptional coach who runs the kind of program I could never see myself running - he has 17 assistants.

Friday night, the Camas Papermakers hosted Bellevue High - yes, the same Bellevue HIgh that won 11 state Class 3A titles between 2001 and 2013; the same Bellevue High that ended the longest win streak in US high school history - DeLaSalle’s 151straight wins; the same Bellevue that’s posted wins against Honolulu’s St. Louis Prep, California’s Long Beach Poly, and Texas’ Euless Trinity.

Bellevue came into Friday’s game 3-0.  They’re still a Wing-T team at base, but they do line up occasionally in shotgun.  Not to pass, though.  They’d thrown only three passes in their first three games.  They just line up in shotgun and direct-snap it to a kid who’s 6-2, 215 and can run with power.

I personally thought they were much more effective Friday night  when they ran  from the Wing-T (using the big kid as a halfback), but they persisted in alternating the two packages.

Camas is a spread team. In my estimation their running game is lacking, but they have some nice-size receivers and they throw fairly well.

Camas built a 28-14 lead after four quarters, and I had seen enough.  The way they were playing, Bellevue wasn’t likely to score again - certainly not twice more - and Camas seemed in control.

So we left.  Went home and got something to eat. When I went online to check all the scores, I damn near choked when I saw the final - Bellevue 38, Camas 35.

As near as I can figure out (the writing  in our local paper is  so bad that it can scarcely be believed), Bellevue scored and onside-kicked successfully, then scored twice more  after intercepting Camas passes, then drove into range to kick the winning field goal with 0:00 on the clock.

They didn’t throw a single pass.

*********** One of my former players now runs his own business elsewhere in the country.  He now has an 8-year-old son, and he’s become involved in coaching youth football.

He wrote me during the summer:

The head coaches, board members in this league that I respect are old school, power formation, line it up, simple blocking rules and they are adamant that you cannot have pulling linemen at young ages. I don't believe them and I'm going to show them. So any thoughts or suggestions you can lend there would be greatly appreciated.

At my suggestion, he bought my Open Wing video set, and my new Playbook. He wrote:

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

Once into the actual coaching, he found, as we often do, that he had to adjust to his personnel:

Need some advice. So my team of 8 year olds is very small in numbers - just 13 kids. It's youth football so I need to play everybody. I am struggling mightily to put together an o-line with some of kids being insanely green and still learning contact. I can get to a 5, maybe even a 6 man decent line(I'm including Ends in that.) So I'm thinking the best thing I could do is run out of spread formation. So I wanted to get your thoughts. Do I run just everything out of spread? Or would you run open wing? I always remember you telling me you could line a guy up at receiver with no arms and the defense would still cover them. Well I got a couple that might as well have no arms!

I wrote him back:

My suggestion in this case is that you go to Open Wing, and use the Twins to get “must-play” players into the game.  That means that you now only need nine bona fide players.  There is always the chance that defenses will cover both of them, making it a 9 on 9 game, and they might even drop a safety back, making it 9 on 8 in your favor.

(If they don’t cover your twins with two people, and you have a player who can throw, you can always sub in a couple of better players at the twins for a play or two  and throw a bubble or smoke to that side.)

Now, if you need to “hide” yet a third kid, you can  widen your wingback as a “wide wing” - a flanker - to his side.  Now, you’re playing with only 8, really - and you may find the defense facing you with 7 (3 cover guys and a safety).

This is all predicated on keeping the line of the Open Wing - five offensive lineman and a tight end - intact.

You’d be surprised at how much running  you can do with only two backs.  Obviously, your QB now has to be a runner.

The only thing preventing you from doing this would be your center’s ability to make the snap, which I’m sure you can deal with.

The rest of the exchange shouldn’t be an issue. I believe that it’s easier for a little guy to catch the direct snap of the Open Wing than to take the under-center snap.

I don’t think you’ll find it difficult to teach this, and I think you’ll have fun doing it.

Monday, I got a report from him:

Hey Coach!

Hope all is well. Wanted to give you an update.

After dropping our first game, we have won 3 straight games. We even beat the team we lost to in a rematch 59-25. We are running Open Wing 100% of the time. 6-G-O is absolutely the bread and butter of what we do. The criss cross counter scores about 75% of the time we run it, no matter where we are on the field.

The one change we did make is rather than have the QB ride the 6-G-O play side and run outside on the fake, we have him bootleg away from play outside. Once we get them recklessly pursuing into the back field on 6-G-O the QB fakes and keeps it outside. It's become a big play for us. All in all we are running 2 wedge, 6/7G-O, 4/5 X-O, XX 45/54C and an 88/99 G-O Reach play. We also run a quick swing pass to the B back on the open side that is great for 2 point conversions(2 for pass and 1 for a run).

We are going to install the trap today. We are playing a team with that runs a 5-3 eagle look. They stand those two tackles(biggest kids they have) up in the A-gap and try to get penetration. I think we can pull that off and make that kid look both ways when he's penetrating. We will see how the practice goes.

Anyway, love the Open Wing. It's been great for the kids. Parents think it looks cool, I don't tell them we are a power running football team, hahaha.

Thanks for everything and take care!


********** QUIZ ANSWER: Angelo Bertelli was a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, home of the Springfield Armory where the standard-issue Army rifle of World War I was made,  so it was only  matter of time before his passing earned him the nickname “Springfield Rifle.”

He was Notre Dame’s first T-formation (under center) quarterback, and the reason why famed Irish coach Frank Leahy changed from the hallowed Notre Dame box  made famous by Knute Rockne.   In 1941, as a tailback in the Box, he was good, leading the nation his sophomore year with a 56.9 completion percentage.  But after being converted into a  a T-formation quarterback, he was outstanding: in his junior season, he threw for 1039 yards and 10 touchdowns, high numbers for those times.

Having enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, he was called up to active duty six games into his senior season - 1943.  In those six games, he completed 25 of 36 passes, 10 of them for touchdowns, and that, combined with his great junior year performance (and perhaps a bit of patriotic fervor thrown in) was evidently enough for the Heisman voters - he won the 1943 Heisman, the first of many Notre Damers to be so honored. (He had finished second in 1941 and sixth in 1942.)

He was the All-American QB in 1942 and 1943, and during his time at Notre Dame, the Irish lost only three games.

In 1944, he was shipped off to the South Pacific, where he fought on Iwo Jima and narrowly escaped death from a Japanese mortar shell.

After the War,  he played for three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Rockets of  the AAFC.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING ANGELO BERTELLI
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KC SMITH - WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** Video about Angelo Bertelli courtesy of Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFP1bkFvG-o

*********** QUIZ - He was an outstanding college running back. He was big (6-3, 230), fast and very athletic, but since he played at an Ivy League school, the question was, "how good?" Was he really worth a first-round draft choice? Turned out, he was worth that and more, as he made NFL Rookie of the Year, twice rushed for over 1,000 yards, and made the Sporting News All-Pro team in 1973. His team made the playoffs all six years he played with them and he earned one Super Bowl ring.

His only child became a well-known professional athlete,  even more famous than he.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this story but this is how I remember it... He was a Baltimore kid, and Jim Parker, former Colts' offensive lineman (and Hall-of-Famer) was a sales rep for a major distilling company. The company had a scholarship to award to a deserving young man to attend New York City's prestigious Riverdale Country School. He came to the attention of Mr. Parker, he won the scholarship, and off he went, an inner-city black kid mingling with the sons of the wealthy.

He excelled in sports and academics, and came to the attention of colleges. He chose Yale. There, he not only played football, but was a 26-foot long-jumper on the track team.

His coach at Yale, Carm Cozza, recalled, “——  was the one player I had in thirty-two years who probably could have been a star at any position on the team... People forget that he was a quarterback in high school…. I'm sure (—)  knew he was good enough to be the quarterback here, but he came in and made the adjustment with no questions asked. he knew he could contribute in so many ways from the tailback position. And he threw the ball as much as some quarterbacks."

He graduated from Yale with a B.A. in history, and as the first-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys, won Rookie of the Year honors in 1969. He had a distinguished career with the Cowboys, twice making All-Pro and playing in four Pro Bowls and two Super Bowls. He played a year in the World Football League with The Hawaiians, and when the WFL folded, he returned to the NFL and finished up with the Redskins and Browns.
 
For all his accomplishments, he may be better known now as the father of a great NBA basketball player.

A committed Christian,  he had considered the ministry before being drafted by the Cowboys, and studied at the SMU school of theology while playing with the Cowboys. In 1998, his son and his wife donated $100,000 to Duke Divinity School in his name.

He has served as Vice-President of the Baltimore Orioles and has been employed by other organizations to counsel younger athletes.

Asked by sportsparents.com about which made him prouder, his own Super Bowl victory or his son's two NCAA titles, he answered, "I thought when the Cowboys won the Super Bowl and I was a member of that team, that was it. But I think anything your child does has more meaning for you than anything you do. Each generation should be a little better, and if your child experiences things you didn't experience, or has success that you didn't have, then you feel things are progressing in the right way. I can't imagine a parent not getting more enjoyment out of his child's success than he got out of their own."

As his son was being introduced before his final college game at Duke, the student cheering section paid tribute to his father and his mother, Janet, who were in attendance, by chanting, "One More Son! One More Son! One More Son!"


american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 21,  2018 -     "He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still."  Samuel Butler

*********** I don’t give a sh— about the NFL, and I wouldn't drink a Bud Light if you gave me a truck load of it, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t excited about watching the Cleveland Browns - and Baker Mayfield - win a football game Thursday night.

*********** It’s official. Nike is at war with the NFL. Why else would they dress the Cleveland Browns in uniforms so ugly that Colin Kaepernick would refuse a contract with the Browns before he’d wear one?

*********** Happy Birthday to Charlie Conerly, longtime New York Giants’ quarterback and still, in the words of the late Wellington Mara,  “The Greatest Player Not in the Hall of Fame.”

Yesterday, I was reading to my wife from the book, “Backseat Quarterback,” an inside look at Pro Football written in 1963 by his wife, Perian.

(Mrs. Conerly knew her football - she was the first female member of the Football Writers Association of America and wrote a weekly column for the New York Times. And she knew her football players.  After every Giants’ game she and her husband would go out on the town with teammates like Frank Gifford and Pat Summerall.  Those were the days before the tell-all book, or she could have made a fortune letting the New York public in on the escapades of their heroes.)

The passage I was reading dealt with Charlie’s age.   World War II service in the Marines interrupted his college career after the 1942 season, and when he retutned to Ole Miss for the 1946 season, they simply took the program info from when he’d last played and added a year to his age.  Problem was, he’d been away at war  and missed three three seasons.

Wrote Mrs. Conerly, “Now Charlie has never made  secret of his age. It was just that nobody ever asked him what it really was. Several years ago in a locker-room interview session, somebody did.  A reporter who had written a recent article headlined, “Conerly - Amazing Old Pro at 33!” evidently intended to write a follow-up. “Charlie, “ he inquired, “just exactly when will you be thirty-four?”

“Been there,” Charlie said casually. “I’ll be thirty-six on September 19.”

“Holy sh—!”  I shouted to my wife.  You do know the date, right?   We both looked at each other.  She said, “You’ve got to call Mrs. Conerly.”

Mrs. Conerly is a wonderful lady of the South, with one of the most beautiful accents you can ever imagine, and talking with her is a delight, even though, in her 90s, she’s slowing down a bit.  She thanked me for calling, as she always does, and confessed that she didn’t realize it was her Charlie’s birthday.

charlie Conerly rookieI was sent the photo on left  of Charlie Conerly by Don Shipley, who knows how much I admire the guy.  Don, who lives in Falls Church, Virginia, is the son of the late Dick Shipley, who was my coach when I played semipro ball in Frederick, Maryland.

It may have been taken his rookie year - 1948.  Note the red leather helmet. (If he looks a bit older than your usual rookie, it’s because he was already 27 years old.) 

The number 42? On a quarterback?

From “Backseat Quarterback”...

“In the early 1950s, the general practice of designating specific numerals to certain positions was made compulsory - presumably to make player identification simpler for the spectator… Players already wearing numerals contrary to the system when the ruling went into effect were allowed to retain their old numbers.  For this reason, Charlie’s uniform bears No. 42 instead of the low numbers assigned to present-day quarterbacks. (He brought number 42 from Ole Miss, where he was a passing halfback.”

(Mrs. Conerly  knew her football well enough to know what position he played, but I guess it was easier for her simply to say “passing halfback” then to have to explain “single wing tailback.”)



*********** With all the bulls— going on over something that a Supreme Court nominee may or may not have done when he was 17 years old, I have yet to hear anyone make a convincing argument that - assuming that he even did what he has been accused of doing at a high school party - what Brett Kavanaugh did 36 years ago as a 17-year-old kid offsets everything he’s done since then, and disqualifies him to serve on the Supreme Court.

If you are old enough, like me, you have lived to be amazed at the complete transformation of  at least one person you once knew  as a wild and crazy kid into someone entirely different - an accomplished,  distinguished adult.  So distinguished is that person now, so respected for his many accomplishments over the years, that if someone were to say, “But, but… he once got drunk and tried to pull a girl’s pants off at a party back in high school,”  you’d say, “Come on, man.  That was years ago. That was in another life.”

As this whole thing continues to unfold, two guys come immediately to mind: Ken McAdams and Alex Kroll.

Ken McAdams was two years ahead of me at Yale.   He was one of the reasons I joined the fraternity I did.  Proudly bearing the name “McAnimal,”  he loved to party, and do so unpredictably.  He wore motorcycle boots (this was tweedy Yale, mind you), rode a motorcycle and could easily have ridden with a gang and held his own. I admired him and aspired to be like him. The idea of his flying an airplane one day never occurred to me, but if it had, I’d have thought it was one of the craziest things that ever passed through my brain.

But he did fly airplanes, and he made it to old age intact.

Not, I should add, as Ken McAnimal.

As Ken McAdams, Marine Corps officer and fighter pilot, then pilot for Pan Am, then Chief Pilot, flying the airline’s founder, Juan Trippe and his successor, Najeeb Halaby, and dignitaries such as the legendary Charles Lindbergh.

When Pan Am failed, he formed his own air charter service, flying 747s, then joined Korean Air as a check pilot and lobbyist, and finally retired after serving as CEO of Kiwi International Airlines.

After the death of his wife of 35 years, he remarried, and he and his second wife now live in France.  He has written several books, the last, Bon Courage. He describes how it came about:

It was like I’d hit a wall and reached the point of wondering if my life was over, or at best hardly worth living. Three years widowed, with the two airlines I’d served for thirty years gone. It was as if there would be no more sunrises ahead ... until I met Bing, an artist, who was also alone. We had chemistry, we married.

We sold what had been ours before to begin again, start anew. We bought a tired old house in Connecticut and started rebuilding it. As time passed, lots of time passed, the house was finally done and we thought we were done too. “NEVER AGAIN!” we shouted from our rebuilt rooftop.

The honeymoon we never had was finally booked into a tiny French village, far far away. Our new lives of writing and painting would begin there, in earnest.
Then we fell in love with the village, its people and … (oh no!) an ancient, very tired old house … all over again.
BON COURAGE is the Déjà vu story of our NEVER AGAIN, but this time in French!

It is funny, sad, scary, combative, conciliatory, loving and fun. Bottom line, I think it is a hell of a story.

Yes, but… but… he was such an animal.

Alex Kroll’s is an another amazing story.  He was a class ahead of me at Yale, but I never knew him.  I was on the freshman team and he was a varsity player.

He was a big kid, from a small town in Western Pennsylvania called Leechburg, where his father was a laborer in a steel mill.  He was a very good football player, and somehow he found Yale or Yale found him, and as a sophomore he was the starting center/linebacker (two way football) on Yale’s 1956 Ivy League championship team. 

But sometime during that winter, Alex Kroll disappeared.  Vanished.  Dropped out of sight.

Even at Yale they were able to keep football players’ names out of the papers. But eventually, we all found what had happened. 

There had been some sort of minor automobile mishap on one of the streets that go through the campus, and whatever happened and whether it was abetted by alcohol, the fact is that at some point, Alex Kroll dropped a guy.  Who turned out to be an associate professor. Which led to Alex Kroll’s expulsion from Yale.

After serving two years in the Army, he entered Rutgers, where he quickly earned the  spot as starting center,  led Rutgers to a 17-1 record in his two seasons there, and captained the first unbeaten team in Rutgers’ history.  He was a near-consensus All-American his senior year.

He played one year in the AFL with the New York Titans (predecessors to the Jets), then embarked on a career in the advertising business as a trainee with Young and Rubicam, then one of the world’s largest agencies.

In 1970, at the age of 33, he was made Executive Vice-President and Creative Director, and in 1985 he was named CEO, a post he held until his retirement in 1994.
In his ten years as CEO, Y & R’s billings (sales) more than doubled, and  the number of its offices worldwide more than doubled, to 331.
 
He has received the Horatio Alger Award, the NCAA Silver Medal and the Walter Camp Distinguished American Award. He is a member of the College Football Hall of fame and the Advertising Hall of Fame.

 Yes, but… but… he was kicked out of Yale.

*********** Just wondering…  Why is it that back before women became empowered - I Am Woman Hear Me Roar, and all that - they could deal with guys who were a$$holes instead of being traumatized?

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

For the second week in a row we stayed away from the double wing and worked on open wing concepts.  The linemen (and myself as the coach) have really learned some ins and outs that occur when the fullback is pulled from the formation.  Our quarterback is getting very comfortable in both the running and passing games.  As always, thank you for sharing this aspect of the offense.

Starting this week we plan on sprinkling double wing back in as we move to the meat of our schedule.  The goal is to be prepared while also giving our opponents lots to look at. 

The Trojans won last week 56-13.  We are playing well on both sides of the ball right now. 

I hope all is well.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

*********** Burgerville is a decent-sized fast food chain headquartered in Vancouver, Washington.  Its food is good and fresh and it’s a good corporate citizen. And it pays its employees well above the minimum wage.

Nevertheless, this past year, Burgerville became the first fast-food chain in America to have to deal with  a union,  when employees at two of its Portland locations voted to unionize. (Forget the fact that the average fast food worker stays on the job less than a year.)

Now, sure as hell, Burgerville is dealing with its first strike ever. The employees at those two stores walked out after the company told them they couldn’t wear buttons that read “ABOLISH ICE” and “NO ONE IS ILLEGAL.”

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

Thought you would find this interesting:

http://footballscoop.com/news/brian-kelly-derek-mason-going-media/

Still trying to determine exactly what they're describing but it sounds to me like Kelly is complaining about what we always complain about.  That a defender outside of the tackle box is taking the legs out of a blocker (puller or kick-out) especially if the cut is taking place toward the original spot of the ball, which by rule is illegal.

I lost a B back once because of it, and I spoke with the crew before the game to warn them that on scout film our opponent did that to another team.  They said they would watch for it.  Of course it happened, injured player, no flag, and I lost my mind with the officials over it.  I had my rules book (as you always encouraged) and pointed it out to the Umpire..again.  He went over to the opposing coach to let him know it's illegal and that they would flag it, and then that coach lost his mind!  We beat them but it didn't diminish the fact that my starting B back was out for the season.

What do you think?

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

There’s a pissing contest going on right now between ND’s Bryan Kelly and Vandy’s Derek Mason, and I’d have to say Kelly has the wind at his back.   Normally, I couldn't imagine myself siding with Notre Dame against Vanderbilt, but here I am.

We Double Wingers constantly have to deal with defenders (coming from the outside) attacking our blockers at the knees  and rightly so.  It’s illegal, it’s unethical and it’s dangerous as hell, but it’s hard to get officials to pay attention to it.

This, as shown, is an easy call , and much as I like Vandy, Kelly is right and Mason is wrong.  Stop teaching dirty football, Mason.  It's hard enough to win at Vanderbilt as it is without getting people pissed off at you.


***********  Confession from a friend: Hugh, I hope your weekend went well. I know I told you we lost a very tough game in the sense that my guys gave up before we even started. Yes the team was very good, and half the kids on their team should be at our school. Transfer rules and the losing syndrome I inherited. Anyway the lack of fight really had me pissed after the game and I was showing it openly on bus ride back to school and in locker room. Well here comes the learning experience and I believe God had  a big hand in it. Anyway my son calls me and I tell him I will call him back in a few minutes, and always, with all my sons, I finished with, “I love you son!” That’s when one of my players said “I would give anything to have my dad tell me he loves me. “

That was a hell of a gut punch to me. So while I am reeling from that one of my players needs a ride home and as I pull up to an intersection outside of school a drunk runs a red light, hits a car in front of me and as the car that gets hit spins around it ends up literally inches from my car.  I have my other son and the player inside.

Then the third thing was at mass last night when the homily was on what you pick up your cross for.

So just to share with you it was a wake up call to really why I am there. We will work hard to get better.

*********** My friend, Greg Koenig, wrote this on his team’s Facebook page, for the benefit of parents as well as players…

Since I've been asked twice this week about eye black, here is what the NFHS Football Rules Book 2018 says:

Other Illegal Equipment:
3. Eye shade (grease or no-glare strips or stickers) that is not a solid stroke or includes words, numbers, logos, or other symbols with the eye shade (pp22-23).

This rule came into effect several years ago. What is allowed is a single black stroke or a strip/sticker under each eye that does not extend beyond the edges of the eye. Anything else (painted designs, thick strokes, words, numbers, logos, or other symbols) is illegal.

As I suggested at the parent meeting when I discussed visors, arm bands, etc., ask yourself why you want to wear the item. If it is to bring attention to yourself, don't wear it. Instead, get attention by playing harder than anyone else on the field and being the best teammate on the field. If you really believe that eye black (or a visor, arm bands, head band, etc.) will make you run faster or block and tackle better, please tell me why you aren't wearing it for all practices and all games.

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

How are you doing? I am back to coaching again with a U19 Jr. Team.  I am the OC and I am running the straight DW. I wanted to do the Open Wing but they say go with the normal and I can add it maybe next year when the team understands the DW better.

The question I have for you is that I like the motion on the super power. It really works well for me. I have always taught the Wings to catch the on the pitch and run to Green Grass between the blocks. First looking at the 6 hole. Is that okay or have you found the way you do it to be better?

I am just a little afraid to try this way because I have never done it this way before and it does not go with the motions I like to run to do play actions.

Should I go with what I know or yeah trust and teach it the new way you explained in the new 3.0 version? Just trying to be sure. Remember I am in Europe!
 
Thank you for all the new stuff. I really do enjoy it very much!

Hope you are well and God Bless!

You are always welcome to come over and visit. Season Starts the end of March. We can provide the room and Board if the is what you are worried about. Just a thought.

Anyways thank you again for all the years of advice and great info!
Coach,

I am not dogmatic and I certainly don’t want people to think I'm  telling them that they HAVE to do things my way.

My intention is to state that this is what I have found to be the best way to do this or that, and if people wish to run things the way I do, it’s best for them to stay as close to the book as possible.

If you’re having success doing things your way, that’s proof enough that mine is not the only way to do it.

I would say just two things:

(1) I have found that eliminating motion works best for me for all the reasons I enumerate in the book, and other coaches with whom I’ve worked closely have found the same thing to be true;

(2) If I have to defend against you and you are using motion to run Super Power, you are giving me an advantage.

Of course you should always know and believe in what you teach - but not necessarily what you’re comfortable with.  Comfort can make us complacent, and sometimes we need to give up momentary comfort in order to grow.  My advice would be that this would be the ideal time for you to make the change.

I personally think that you will soon enough grow comfortable with it.

I appreciate the invite.  That is very enticing, and I will consider it carefully if you promise to keep reminding me!

Best always!


*********** We won again this week by one touchdown. We had an official that would blow the wedge dead sooner then last 3 weeks. Also tell me if you have had this, we wanted to run the Reach as we were on far hash and because of our tight formation all the defense was loaded between our tight ends. We call run a kid in - our speedster. He rushed in got to the line and ran the reach.  Our guard did not do a good job blocking in space. However our kid juked the corner and took the ball 40 yards for the score. A flag is thrown. Equipment violation. Kid did not have mouth piece in. Not sure if he just forgot as we rushed him in or what happened. I have never seen a run called back on that. Usually official gives a warning. Or sends the kid out. Have you had a “mouthpiece” penalty.

I have seen it called, although not after the play.  They are really on equipment violations this year, possibly because of all the bare-knee fashion models.  But they should just send the kid out.  (A player from Bowling Green refused to leave the game against Oregon and got his team a 15-yard penalty.)

I would suggest that because stupid penalties are one of the things that can kill even a good team, and therefore one of the things that you have to work against, you work agains this by first warning your players - tell them that you will call a penalty ANY TIME you see this at practice and you will penalize the TEAM - five up-downs for everybody.  And then be sure to be rigorous in enforcing it, because no rule is any better than your willingness to enforce it.

Congratulations and Good luck!

*********** My, how times have changed.  It was maybe 50 years or so ago but it seems like yesterday that people told ethnic jokes,  making fun of one nationality or another, based on unfortunate stereotypes.  Jokes developed around the popular image of this particular group or that as lazy, stupid, dirty, cowardly - you get the idea.  (Interestingly, for the benefit of those who today decry something they like to call “white privilege,” these groups were all composed of white people.  Some privilege.)

In this age in which making fun of anything (except Donald Trump, Christians,  and white male southerners) is off-limits, one particular joke will almost certainly never be told again, combining as it does both ethnic and sexist insensitivity:

A young woman went to a police station to report that she’d been raped by a (fill in the ethnic group here) man.

“How do you know he was (ethnicity)?” asked the desk sergeant.

“Because,” said the young woman, “I had to help him.”

How did members of such groups feel about ethnic jokes? 

Well, one fellow spent a great deal of his time and treasure trying to do something about it.  He was a wealthy Philadelphian named Ed Piszek, and he was sick and tired of what were then known as “Polack jokes.” He’d made a bunch of money in the frozen food business, and he spent a bunch of it in an effort to combat joke-inducing stereotypes of Polish, founding the Copernicus Society (“for the support and advancement of the Polish culture and heritage”) and purchasing - then donating to the National Park Service -  the Philadelphia house where Thaddeus Kosciusko, a Polish nobleman who assisted the American Revolution, lived.

Another approach, less subtle than Mr. Piszek’s, but possibly at least as effective,  was demonstrated to me one day by Jerry DiPaolo, the sales manager at the Baltimore brewery where I worked.  He came up to me and asked, “What’s black and blue and floats in the harbor?”

When I told him I didn’t know, he happily provided the answer:

“Next son of a bitch that tries to tell me an Italian joke.”

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  In the 1960 Rose Bowl the Washington Huskies trounced the Wisconsin Badgers, 44-8;  a year later,  despite Minnesota’s having already been voted National Champion, the Huskies defeated the Gophers, 17-7.

Bob Schloredt, the  Huskies’ QB, was named MVP of both games, making him the first player ever to win the award twice. (Charles White, Ron Dayne, and Vince Young have since matched his feat.)

He was named first team All-American and outstanding football player on the Pacific Coast.

And he played defense, too:  In an era of two-way football, he seldom came out of a game.

Not bad, eh?

Well, as the late, great radio commentator Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story:

As the result of an accident while playing with firecrackers when he was seven years old,  Bob Schloredt was legally blind in one eye.

Bob SchloredtHusky QBs


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BOB SCHLOREDT
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - Defeated my Badgers with Jerry Stalcup (my coach of the Rockford Rams $250/game the year before the WFL) & Dale Hackbart...the 1st year I really paid attention to football...also the 1st game I saw on a color TV...TV shop owner rented the HS gym & showed the parade & game...I'm sure it stimulated sales in little Hillsboro, WI.
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON - Go Huskies.  They were my heroes growing up in Renton.

*********** Great Rose Bowl reminiscences by Bob Schloredt and Don McKeta, thanks to Greg Koenig

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8vMa952L0o

*********** Nice story from SI about Bob Schloredt

https://www.si.com/vault/1960/10/03/585172/one-eye-on-the-rose-bowl

*********** QUIZ: A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, home of the Springfield Armory where the standard-issue Army rifle of World War I was made,  it was only  matter of time before his passing earned him the nickname “Springfield Rifle.”

He was Notre Dame’s first T-formation (under center) quarterback, and the reason why famed Irish coach Frank Leahy changed from the hallowed Notre Dame box  made famous by Knute Rockne.   In 1941, as a tailback in the Box, he was good, leading the nation his sophomore year with a 56.9 completion percentage.  But after being converted into a  a T-formation quarterback, he was outstanding: in his junior season, he threw for 1039 yards and 10 touchdowns, high numbers for those times.

Having enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, he was called up to active duty six games into his senior season (1943).  In those six games, he completed 25 of 36 passes, 10 of them for touchdowns, and that, combined with his great junior year performance (and perhaps a bit of patriotic fervor thrown in) was enough for the Heisman voters - he won the 1943 Heisman. (He had finished second in the Heisman voting  in 1941 and sixth in 1942.)

He was the All-American QB in 1942 and 1943, and during his time at Notre Dame, the Irish lost only three games.

In 1944, he was shipped off to the South Pacific, where he fought on Iwo Jima and narrowly escaped death from a Japanese mortar shell.

After the War,  he played for three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Rockets of  the AAFC.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.





american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 18,  2018 -        “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” Mark Twain

*********** I’m not coaching this year.  From my standpoint, there are plenty of bad things about that, but there is one good thing - I get to do some things that I haven’t had time to do in previous falls.

I just got to do one of those things.  I spent the weekend with three other guys at the Montana home of one of them.  I hadn’t been to Montana in 20 years, and I’d never been to this part  - the northwest part of the state, around Kalispell and Whitefish and Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park.  My God, you talk about gorgeous country.

Friday, I flew to Spokane - otherwise, a six-hour drive with nothing particularly exciting or interesting along the way -  then rented a car in Spokane and drove the remaining 4-1/2 hours to Whitefish. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was so gorgeous that the drive was fun and easy.

It was an entire weekend of good companionship, good food,  and good talk.  The other guys were very well-read and well-informed on any number of subjects.  In fact, it was hard to find a topic that at least one of them didn’t know a great deal about.

From Friday until Monday night I didn’t read a single newspaper and I never took my computer out of my bag.  (I can’t remember the last time that happened for even one day.)

While I didn’t gorge on college football as I usually do, I more than made up for it by watching games with these guys.  They’re all West Pointers, which made watching the Army game especially enjoyable.

(We watched exactly ZERO pro football.   The subject never even came up.  I have no idea what happened on Sunday and my life is not diminished in the slightest.)

*********** As for the rest…

TCU’s “sleeper” kick return against Ohio State

https://www.google.com/search?q=TCU+kick+return&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab

North Texas’ fake fair catch against Arkansas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MiD6no269s

 (Lest you deride North Texas for trickery, try getting one of your players to act as well as the NT did. That takes some coaching!)

*********** BYU, Troy and North Texas all came into the big guys’ houses and all walked away with wins - and BIG checks. 

*********** In their last opportunity to get a win before starting conference play, four Pac-12 teams lost to outsiders.  USC lost to Texas, Arizona State lost to San Diego State, and Oregon State lost to Nevada.  With one exception, the rest of the teams won, but they won over FCS opponents. Washington’s win over Utah in Salt Lake City was the conference’s only significant win.

*********** Remember that clown from Monroe, Lousiana, the pollster who left West Virginia and Misissippi State off his Top 16 list last week??

Well, this week he’s got Michgan State at 15 and Boise State 16. 

Wait -

Michigan State? After not being in last week’s top 16, the Spartans earned their  spot in this week’s poll by - having a bye. 

And Boise State?  Oklahoma State just beat Boise, and Oklahoma State ain’t on jokerboy’s Top 16.  But Boise State is????

Last week he had Miami in 16th.  They won this week, but dropped off his list. 

He moved Stanford, despite an unimpressive win against FCS Cal Davis, up six places in one week - from 12th to 6th.

https://footballfoundation.org/documents/2018/9/17//Super_16_Poll_Week_3_IV_09_017_18_.pdf


*********** If cheating - particularly illegal recruiting - seems out of control in your state and you wonder why your state assocation does nothing about it, this may help explain… (actually, it sounds like the kind of sh— you run into in so many cities these days, where you call the police about something that requires attention and they tell you to call “code enforcement.”)

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/high-school/heres-why-the-wiaa-the-body-governing-state-high-school-sports-often-cant-investigate-recruiting-and-other-allegations/


*********** In this day and age, with Pete Carroll pushing Hawk Tackling and USA Football bludgeoning various associations into making their coaches undergo training in tackling, it’s hard to believe there are still cretins like this being entrusted with the care of young men - and the welfare of our game.

You wonder why football is under attack?  Name me another sport where  sh— like this takes place.

https://thespun.com/news/troubling-video-surfaces-from-high-school-football-practice-drill

*********** “Soccer is the sport of the future - and always will be.”

There's still plenty of truth in that old joke,  according to an article in the New York Times, which claims…

Over the past three years, the percentage of 6- to 12-year-olds playing soccer regularly has dropped nearly 14 percent, to 2.3 million players, according to a study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, which has analyzed youth athletic trends for 40 years. The number of children who touched a soccer ball even once during the year, in organized play or otherwise, also has fallen significantly.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/14/sports/world-cup/soccer-youth-decline.html


*********** Once largely confined to an area on the East Coast between Long Island and Baltimore,  plus an assortment of New England prep schools, lacrosse has begun to spread rapidly westward, as evidenced by recent NCAA championships won by Denver and Notre Dame.

Notes the New York Times…

It is among the fastest growing sports in the United States, according to a recent Sport & Fitness Industry Association report, with participation increasing nearly 10 percent in 2017 and by 25 percent since 2012.

It would seem to me to be a major beneficiary of the attack on football,  satisfying  boys’ urge to play a strenuous team sport requiring hand-eye coordination and a certain amount of contact and their parents’ wishes to steer them away from football, and some of the creeps who infest our game.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/sports/lacrosse-ivy-league-growth.html

dartmouth female*********** Dartmouth people must be so  proud.

The headlines announced that the School Formerly Known as the Indians has hired the “first full-time female football coach in Division I."

Wow.  That’ll pack ‘em in at the next Dartmouth game.

I see a coupla problems, though, with all the hype.

(1) This person, named Carrie Brownson, is NOT a coach.  Carrie Brownson is an “offensive quality control coach,” which technically means an “analyst,’ a staff  member who doesn’t count against the NCAA limit on coaches (Saban has lots of analysts) and isn’t allowed to coach players.

(2) Female? If you say so.  But based on the picture, I’d say that if Carrie ever wakes up in the morning and feels like identifying as a male, it wouldn’t take any more than a change of clothing.

 https://sports.yahoo.com/dartmouth-makes-callie-brownson-first-full-time-female-football-coach-division-000108358.html


*********** While waiting for a flight in the Portland airport Friday, I heard some clapping, and as it got louder and the woman next to me began clapping, I asked her what was going on.  She pointed to one of the doorways, where World War II vets - some walking but many in wheelchairs - were returning from a trip to Washington, DC.  As the ovation grew louder, the entire crowd of waiting passengers rose to their feet  and applauded until the last old soldier was wheeled out.

I marveled at the thought that this was Portland, for God’s sake - hipster capital of America, where protest is the highest form of patriotism.  And then it occured to me that half the people in the room were probably from someplace else.

*********** Mike Tomlin is definitely catching heat from two prominent sports columnists for  the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

He needs to be held accountable for this sloppy mess of a football team, writes Paul Zeise.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/zeise-is-right/2018/09/16/Paul-Zeise-Mike-Tomlin-needs-to-be-held-accountable-for-this-sloppy-mess/stories/201809160227

The Steelers stink and that falls on him, writes Joe Starkey.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/joe-starkey/2018/09/16/Joe-Starkey-The-Steelers-stink-and-that-falls-on-Mike-Tomlin/stories/201809160251

*********** Adam Carolla is one funny guy. I didn’t know that he once played football, and you (if you know him) probably didn’t, either, but in this piece from the National Football Foundation he talks about what high school football meant to him.  It's a nice endorsement of our game.

You might know Adam Carolla from The Man Show; or maybe you’re a fan of his wine cocktail, Mangria; but most likely you know him from his Guinness World Record breaking podcast. Where you never saw him was in a high school football playoff game, because, in Carolla’s own words, “Our team stunk.”

Carolla played linebacker and guard at North Hollywood High School in Southern California.

“We knew we were playing in a pretty good league and we knew we were going to lose, but that never stopped us from trying to win,” Carolla says. “To be honest, I always found it motivational. I knew we were going to lose to Canoga Park or Van Nuys, but my mindset was that I wanted to whip the guy in front of me the whole game.”

His mental toughness came from, of all things, riding the pine his sophomore year.

“I sat on the bench in the tenth grade and it was very humbling,” he says. “I dedicated myself to being a starter after that. I had to work very hard to overcome whatever physical shortcomings that I had. When I finally made varsity it felt great, but most games we ventured into we knew we were going to lose.”

Carolla says that since team victories were so few and far between, he chose to motivate himself personally by taking each play as if it was an individual battle.

“It is a team sport, but I wanted to walk away feeling like I won my battle while the other guy felt like he lost his. It was a personal victory for me,” he says.

But Carolla did have some standout moments with his teammates, one of which followed what he considers his most memorable high school football sequence.

“We managed to win one game against Hollywood High School. At the end of the game, they were punting and I got called for roughing the kicker and my teammates were not happy,” he says. “Everyone’s looking at me because we thought we were getting the ball back and now they still have it. It was a long walk back to the ball for everyone on our team. But on the following play I intercepted the ball. That was a great feeling because I had screwed up, but after the interception all was forgiven.”

In contrast to his high school team, Carolla grew up in the shadow of some great University of Southern California squads, so he watched players like Ricky Bell and Pat Haden when he could. On the NFL front, he hated the Pittsburgh Steelers and loved the Los Angeles Rams.

“I loved Jack Youngblood and Jim Youngblood,” he says. “Two guys with the last name Youngblood on the same team. What are the odds of that?”

But even more than the on-field play, Carolla loved the meritocracy aspect of the game that promoted grit and work ethic.

“Playing football taught me a lot about discipline and teamwork,” he says. “I learned about being humble and being able to swallow your pride and get to work. I learned about pushing through pain and the delayed gratification that the two-a-days we did in one hundred degree heat would pay off in a game months away. The lessons about teamwork and overcoming adversity that come with football are really strong.”

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

The E/B Trojans had a good time last weekend on a field made muddy and sloppy from storms pushed our way as a result of the recent hurricane.  It was one of those rare nights where you can't tell the numbers on the jerseys because of the sheer mass of mud covering them.  Good times.

We forced ourselves out of the double wing despite the conditions to test ourselves against an opponent that was vastly inferior.  A lot of open wing, double wing from gun, etc.  Even with a bad snap and a couple of fumbles I was still very happy with the performance and how well we handled the adverse conditions.  Had we stayed in double wing, as evidenced by the two drives in which our second group throttled the ball up and down the field, the game would have been a yawner.  Instead we had to stay engaged and really work on things.

Defensively we were outstanding again.  On forty offensive attempts by the Peoria Heights Patriots we allowed -7 yards.  It was a good day.

The Trojans won 38-0.  Lots of kids played.  We improved in a number of areas.

This week, on a beautiful evening and a dry field, we play the Havana Ducks.  Again I am going to force us out of the double wing.  I think the conditions will allow us to get a legitimate look at what we can do.

Have a great weekend.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

*********** Still on the Double Wing front - Greg Koenig’s Cimarron, Kansas Blue Jays trounced Stanton County, 66-8. Tate Seabolt had 96 yards on just nine carries and Coach Koenig pulled his starters with 6 minutes remaining in the first half. Monday night , the Cimarron JVs downed Stanton County, 48-0

*********** On the subject of Greg Landry, Charlie Wilson of Crystal River, Florida sent in a story of the time when - briefly -  Landry led NFL rushers (mainly after running a quarterback sneak for 76 yards).

https://www.nytimes.com/1970/09/27/archives/quarterback-sneak-of-76-yards-makes-landry-a-top-rusher.html


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - In 64 years of coaching college football, John Gagliardi (Gal-ARR-dee) coached at only two colleges -  both of them small Catholic schools -  spending the last 60 of those years at one of them.

One of nine children of an Italian immigrant coal miner in Trinidad, Colorado, he first became a head coach in 1943, at the age of 16 -  when his high school coach went off to war and there was no one else to coach the team.  It was during that time, as he had to learn on the fly, that he began to question - and reject - many of the rituals and practices thought sacred among the football coaching fraternity.

While attending Colorado College,  he didn’t play football. Instead, he coached a local high school team the entire time.

At 22, he got his first college head coaching job, at Carroll College in Helena, Montana (where Bob Petrino’s father would later become the coach). In four years there, his record was 24-6-1.

That led to the head coaching position at St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he would stay for 60 years.

His coaching philosophy, at which coaches of all levels marveled,  was, to say the least, “different.” He came to call it “Winning with NO,” which meant no titles (such as “Coach”), no whistles, no hollering at players, no blocking sleds, no tackling in practices, no slogans or signs in the locker room, no playbooks, no grading films - that’s a sample.  The list of his “No’s” was long and impressive.

His practices were 90 minutes - no practice on Sundays or Mondays - and just 45 minutes on Fridays.

All his seniors were captains (“that way they can all put ‘captain’ on their resumes”).

“Calisthenics” might consist of “One perfect jumping jack.”

How did it all work out?

Well, first of all, how many other guys can you think of who lasted 60 years at the same place?

When he retired in 2012, he was the winningest coach in college football history.

At St. John’s, from 1953-2012, he was 465-132-10, with 27 conference titles

His Johnnies won national titles - NAIA 1963 and 1965 and NCAA D-III in 1976 and 2003.

In his entire career he had just two losing seasons - 3-4-1 in 1956 and 3-5 in 1967.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame - he and Bobby Bowden were the first active coaches to be inducted

Since 1993, a Trophy in his name has been awarded annually to the outstanding player in Division III.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN GAGLIARDI
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
JOSH COLE - ODESSA, NEW YORK
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - “Nice Polish kid”
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

*********** I enjoyed this book about him and the program: The Sweet Season: A Sportswriter Rediscovers Football, Family, and a Bit of Faith at Minnesota's St. John's University

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000Z4JQPG/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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

I remember a number of years ago reading The Sweet Season and learning about Coach John Gagliardi. It was a great read.

"Saint John" - The  film on John Gagliardi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4cU73z8Jdg

*********** I met Coach Gagliardi back when I was a head coach in Minnesota.  My staff and I took a trip up to Collegeville with one of his former players who got us in to meet Coach Gagliardi.  One of the great moments of my coaching career.  He invited us as his guests to their game the following Saturday, and the experience of watching a St. John's game at home in October is something special.  The gorgeous setting of the football stadium was spectacular.  And about the calisthenics...it's all true!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** I was listening to a pod cast the other month with the OL coach at Rice. He played for Coach Gagliardi. He said, "I learned very quickly there is only one John and you have to find your own coaching style."
Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** JOHN GAGLIARDI’S “WINNING WITH NO”

THE PREFACE
- No single way to coach football
- No worrying about being different or unique
- No "Mission Statement"

THE OVERALL PROGRAM
- No athletic scholarships
- No recruiting off campus
- No problems or obstacles can stop us
- No creating bust work. Eliminate the unnecessary
- No goals. Just high expectations
- No Hall-of-Fame
- No big staff
- No freshman or junior varsity program
- No discipline problems
- No insisting on being called "Coach"
- No pampering athletes
- No one persuaded to come out or stay out
- No hazing tolerated
- No depending on good luck. Only bad luck can hinder us
- No being inflexible
- No surviving without humor


THE SEASON
- No traditional captains (All Seniors share this honor)
- No rules, except the Golden Rule
- No staff meetings
- No player meetings
- No compulsory film sessions except Monday
- No grading films
- No dress code
- No special diet
- No training table. Team eats with other students
- No special dormitory
- No signs in the dressing rooms
- No slogans
- No superstitions
- No playbooks
- No statistics posted
- No newspaper clippings posted (ours or theirs)
- No excuses


THE PRACTICES
- No resemblance to a BOOT CAMP
- No long practices (90 Minutes Tue, Wed, Thur and 45 minutes on Fri)
- No tackling
- No practice pants issued (shorts or sweat-pants worn at ALL practices)
- No agility drills
- No lengthy calisthenics
- No pre-practice drills. Players do what they want or need to do
- No practice apparatus or gadgets
- No blocking sleds
- No blocking or tackling dummies
- No laps
- No wind sprints
- No special staff uniforms
- No use of the words "hit," "kill," etc...
- No clipboards
- No whistles
- No practices on Sunday or Monday
- No traditional football drills
- No yelling or screaming at players
- No spring practice
- No practice in rain, extreme heat or cold
- No practice if mosquitoes, gnats etc...are bad
- No practice under the lights (to get ready for night games)
- No water or rest denied when players want it
- No practice modules
- No insisting on underclassmen carry equipment other  than their own


THE OFF-SEASON
- No dwelling on bad things
- No meetings
- No between season practices or conditioning
- No captains' practices
- No study or tutoring program necessary
- No compulsory weight program necessary
- No football, conditioning, or weight classes


THE GAMES
- No "Big" games pointed to
- No big deal when we score (we expect to score)
- No scripting plays
- No Gatorade celebrations
- No trying to "kill" opponent
- No trash talking tolerated
- No tendency charts
- No player unsuited at home
- No player NOT played in a rout (many games with over 160 played)
- No spearing allowed
- No cheap-shots or foul play tolerated
- No belief aggressive teams get penalties
- No counting individual tackles
- No precision pregame drills
- No precision huddles
- No special pregame meals
- No special post-game meals
- No computer analysis
- No cheerleaders


THE RESULTS
- No player has not graduated (Most graduate in 4 years)
- No discipline problems
- No player lost through ineligibility
- No graduating class has NOT had at least one prospective pro football player
_ No graduating class has NOT had players attend graduate, law and/or medical school
- No Division 3 college has larger crowd support (more than many D2 teams)
- No other NCAA team ever scored more points in a season (Averaged 61.5 per game in 1993)
- No wider point margin in national play off history
- No team has fewer injuries
- No college coach has won more games

https://sites.google.com/site/coachjohngagliardi/home/list-of-no-s




*********** QUIZ:  In the 1960 Rose Bowl the Washington Huskies trounced the Wisconsin Badgers, 44-8;  a year later,  despite Minnesota’s having already been voted the National Champion, the Huskies defeated the Gophers, 17-7.

The Huskies’ QB was named MVP of both games, making him the first player ever to win the award twice. (Charles White, Ron Dayne, and Vince Young have since matched his feat.)

He was named first team All-American and outstanding football player on the Pacific Coast.

And he played defense, too:  In an era of two-way football, he seldom came out of a game.

Not bad, eh?

Well, as the late, great radio commentator Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story:

As the result of an accident while playing with firecrackers when he was seven years old,  he was legally blind in one eye.




american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 14,  2018 -        “If it's a disaster and the Waffle House is closed - it's bad.” FEMA manager

*********** Mark Twain was fond of a quote which he attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli:

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

And so, the Portland Oregonian chose to take the third route in an article this week.  Here was the front-page headline:

FOOTBALL PARTICIPATION DOWN 600 IN OREGON

Almost gleefully, the article on participation in Oregon high school sports noted that participation in football continues to decline.

And, yes, it’s true that football participation was down  - from 13,041 in 2016-2017 to 12,473 in 2017-2018. Not quite 600, but we’re writing headlines, so who cares?

After taking their shot at football, they tried to deliver some good news: “Numbers are up for boys and girls’ track and cross country.”  Well, yes they were - but over a 10-year period.  From 2008 to 2017, they all showed growth.

But let’s compare apples to apples.  In the last year, just like football, they were all down.  And percentage-wise, girls’ cross-country was down even more than football.

Those damn statistics.

Actually, the only sports to show an increase in participation in the past year were girls’ swimming (to 2685 from 2512), “cheer” (to 2822 from 2767) and - get ready for this - wrestling (to 4819 from 4810).  Despite all the efforts to kill it off, wrestling just won’t die. After a 10-year  decline, it’s actually shown an increase the last two years, from 4542 to 4819).

Interestingly, even in Soccer City, USA, as Portland often styles itself, participation in soccer - both boys and girls - was  “relatively flat.”  There go those statistics again. Actually,  if we want to be precise, their numbers were down, too.  Not much, but down nonetheless.

I’d have suggested a different headline - “OREGON KIDS SHOWING SIGNS OF SLACKING OFF”

*********** Remember the Nike ad campaign of 20+ years ago, when a series of little girls related all the good things that would happen to them - and bad things that wouldn’t - “If you let me play sports?”

If only we’d let those little girls play sports.

Although Title IX has been the law of the land since 1972,  recent statistics on sports participation in Oregon high schools show that where participation in girls’ sports is concerned, there may be something more to it than just “letting them play.”

Check out these 10 year drops in participation in three popular girls’ sports:

Softball (2007-2008) 4936 —————— (2016-2017) 4568   -7.5%
Girls’ Basketball (2007-2008) 6278 —————— (2016-2017) 5924    -5.6 %
Volleyball (2007-2008) 7426  —————— (2016-2017) 7086  -4.6%

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

***********  Would Larry Fedora have popped off about owing America’s greatness to football if he’d known there were coaches like this one, who (allegedly) head butted one kid, blew snot on another, stood on a toilet seat and pissed on a kid in an adjoining stall, and told one to commit suicide?

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/09/12/florida-high-school-football-coach-told-player-to-commit-suicide-head-butted-another-report.html

*********** More Yale freshmen identify as LGBTQ than as conservatives.

Nine percent thought of themselves as “somewhat conservative,” with only one per cent viewing themselves as “very conservative.”

A full 22 per cent place themselves somethere on the LGBTQ scale.

Somebody in admissions is in for an ass-chewing for letting in all those conservatives.

https://www.thecollegefix.com/more-yale-freshmen-identify-as-lgbtq-than-conservative/

*********** Before anyone complains about how much Ohio State pays Urban Meyer  they should consider this…

Coach Meyer doesn’t cost the taxpayers of Ohio a single cent. The Ohio State athletic department is self-sustaining.

On the other hand, THE Ohio State University employs 88 “diversity-related” administrative employees, at an annual cost to Ohio taxpayers in salaries and benefits of some $7.3 million.

https://www.thecollegefix.com/ohio-state-employs-88-diversity-related-staffers-at-a-cost-of-7-3m-annually/

*********** We have a new principal this year. He has been in for a week and he is suggesting a change in one of our policies. Our school is one of the few schools in the city that does not allow hats to be worn inside. You can imagine that this is a challenging rule for some teachers to enforce. The principal is suggesting that we do away with the rule and allow individual teachers to decide whether hats are appropriate within their classrooms.

I am not in support of the change.

Besides the logistical reasons of when I see a kid with a hat on, I know they are not from our school (this is actually a safety issue, as we have many rival gangs in town), I also have an issue with this because of its optics. My dad used to say “Outdoors covered, indoors uncovered.” I think we are losing a sense of proper decorum by allowing kids to wear hats indoors. I just don’t know how to say it. It would be one more thing to causualize the school setting.

Can you help me word-smith this, so I can provide a reply to his proposal?

Decorum is all but shot anyhow, and I suppose I could go either way if the faculty decided as one to go all hats or no hats.  

But I can tell you from experience that the surest way to split a faculty is to allow each individual teacher to do as he or she pleases on the subject of hats in the building.

It will create an everyday nuisance for the no-hat teachers, because they will be constantly dealing with the laxity of the let-them-wear-hats teachers.  They’ll constantly have to deal with kids coming into their rooms still wearing hats from the previous class, and they will face year-long, never-ending resistance to their rules, abetted by their fellow faculty members.

As a no-hat teacher, I resented the fact that I was being imposed on by other teachers, whose permissiveness was forcing me to take time and effort away from my teaching in order to uphold my classroom rules.



*********** THOUGHT:  Could this whole Nike-renews-Kaepernick thing be a ploy to get money from the NFL to Kaepernick to get him to drop his lawsuit?

*********** I was looking for something in a book called “Born at Reveille. Memoirs of an American Soldier,”   by Red Reeder.  I can’t describe Red Reeder and do him justice, but in brief: the son of an Army officer, he attended West Point and played on the Army football and baseball teams.  He served as an assistant coach at Army, and at the outbreak of World War II served on General George George Marshall’s staff.  In 1944, on D-Day, he led his 3,000-solder regiment onto Utah Beach, where a shrapnel wound resulted in his losing a leg. Much decorated for his bravery in combat, he received the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. He served for 20 years as AD at West Point, and after retirement he wrote several books, one of which inspired a TV series “Mackenzie’s Raiders.”

In his memoirs he tells of a trip the Army coaching staff took to the West Coast at the invitation of Stanford coach Pop Warner  to watch Stanford’s spring practice.

Pop was getting old, and although at Stanford in 1929 he had some of the best players in the game, his mind often went back to the days when he was coach of the Carlisle Indians. “They were the greatest,” he said, at a dinner with Ellinger, Sasse and me.  “Thorpe and his crew. Those Indians taught me a lesson: never swear at a player. Once during a sloppy practice I cursed them.  They picked up the football and walked to the goal post, forty yards away, and held a pow-wow.  Then they walked off the field. One of ‘em, I think it was Little Boy, came back and said, ‘If coach swear at us, no more practice.’ I haven’t so much as said ‘darn’ at a player since."


***********  As usual, the Win-10 computer I'm forced to use is not suitable for man nor beast. You MAY be able to get the attachment viewable but I offer no guarantees.  It's a picture of the Sales Force at Bowden-Bishop Realty in Birmingham, Al, circa mid-60s. My Mom and Dad are front and center.  Over dad's left shoulder is a man and behind him is Bobby Bowden's Father, Jack, I believe.  You can see the family resemblance.

Bobby didn't seem destined for greatness.  Stints at Samford College and eventually West Virginia.  Bobby wasn't "one of them" at WV and he had the "For Sale" signs in the front yard to prove it.

Darrell Mudra was expected to rebuild Florida State and turn it into a Power.  I was listening to the game on the radio when FSU had Alabama reeling late in the fourth quarter, 7-3.  Fourth down, deep in their own territory, FSU...takes a Safety!.  Alabama has just enough to get in field goal range...Bama wins, 8 - 7!!!

So, FSU brings in Bobby Bowden.  Only, Bobby has a Franchise Formula that he will use to map the players he gets into this Formula.  When FSU beats mighty Pitt, the rest of the world finds out about it and there's nothing they can do about it.  Wally Woodham and Jimmy Jordan are the twin QBs who manage the Show, being just good enough to put the ball in the right place at the right time.

Bear Bryant was the first Coach whose teams would win at least 10 games a year for ten years and I believe FSU was right behind.  If FSU had a FG keeker who could've kicked a touchdown or two in critical games (with Miami), they'd have a coupla' more NtChampionships.  Bear stated that he wasn't gonna schedule a game with FSU anytime soon.

I got to talk to Coach Bowden some at Spring Practices and found him very likable.  Hell, we grew up in the same neighborhoods.  He had his Standard Answers to frequent questions - "The Option is the best play in football but you have to throw out everything else to perfect it" - but if he played some things close to the vest, he wore other feelings in bright garnet and gold letters on his chest.

I understand the unease that people feel about those Bowden years, esp. when he was abruptly shown the door.  Whenever people look at Phenom Coaches, they ask questions like, "Whatever happened to Mike White?"  They don't ask that about Bobby Bowden.

Besides, my parents worked for his dad...

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida


*********** I read a great article in The Athletic (subscription-only, but a pretty good site) about a promising 18-year-old Finnish hockey player named Jesperi (“YESS-per-ee”) Kotkaniemi, taken number three overall in the NHL draft by the Montreal Canadiens.

The story dealt with the culture shock he’s sure to experience.

On the surface, his hometown of Pori, a small city of 85,000 on the West Coast of Finland, and Montreal, with a metro population of 4 million, would seem to be as far apart as the could possibly be.

Perhaps not.

Yes, in Montreal, hockey is everything.  But in Pori, it is, too.

Montreal’s arena seats more than 20,000; Pori’s seats 6,400.  Some 40 per cent are sold as season tickets; there’s an entire section of 2,000 behind the players’ benches called the “standing section,” because although there are seats, no one sits.  It is, needless to say, raucous.

Pori is a workingman’s town whose hockey team represents them against teams from bigger, more sophisticated cities.  During Finland’s long, dark winters, hockey is the only thing going on, and people live for hockey. Described as the sort of place where “everybody knows you,” that sort of familiarity can be hard on a player when he doesn’t measure up to expectations.

“Pori, if you don’t play well, it’s a very negative place,” says Kotkaniemi.

It hasn’t been very negative with Jesperi Kotkoniemi playing, but he’s ready.  “If we don’t play well I try to just ignore those newspapers and that kind of thing,” he says.  “I think everything is just about the hockey, so I try to focus on that. I always say that everywhere I go, it’s just hockey. Of course, if we don’t play well people are upset, so then we just try to do better. Every day is a new day to be better. So I try to think about it like that.”

As with most Finns, he speaks English rather well, and in preparation for life in the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, he’s studying French.  (Will someone please tell our Latin-American baseball players about that?)

The arena has a VIP section (Finns pronounce it “WEE-EYE-PEE”) which even has a sauna. (No, NOT “SAW-nuh.” It’s “SOW(as in how now brown cow)-nuh.”)  There, spectators combine two pleasant experiences - hockey and sauna.  Yes, sauna is in the nude (always), but the sauna is high enough up in the rafters that while the bathers can see down to the rink, no one can see them.
port sauna



https://theathletic.com/502669/2018/09/05/a-boy-and-his-rink-jesperi-kotkaniemis-childhood-and-how-it-prepared-him-for-montreal/


*********** WORTH WATCHING THIS WEEK (I'll be out of town, but these are the ones I'm recording.)

9 AM PACIFIC
HAWAII AT ARMY
FLORIDA STATE AT SYRACUSE
RUTGERS AT KANSAS
TEMPLE AT MARYLAND
9:30
GEORGIA TECH AT PITT
11:30
VANDERBILT AT NOTRE DAME
12:30 PM
BYU AT WISCONSIN
LSU AT AUBURN
DUKE AT BAYLOR
SOUTH FLORIDA AT ILLINOIS
1:00
COLO STATE AT FLORIDA
1:15
HOUSTON AT TEXAS TECH
3:00
EASTERN MICHIGAN AT BUFFALO
4:00
ALABAMA AT OLE MISS
OREGON STATE AT NEVADA
4:30
NORTH IOWA AT IOWA
5:00
OHIO STATE AT TCU
USC AT TEXAS
EASTERN WASHINGTON AT WASHINGTON STATE
7:00
WASHINGTON AT UTAH
7:30
ARIZONA STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE
FRESNO STATE AT UCLA

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

Enjoyed reading your news today.  Just so you know I was one of those Americans who was furious, still am, and will ALWAYS remember.

Notre Dame was terrible on Saturday.  If Ball State finds a running game they could be real tough in the MAC.

Fresno State found out what happens when you give the ball to a fullback to throw a pass from the 4 yard line instead of giving him the ball to either run it in, or block for the guy who does.  Fresno gave an ND performance on offense, but give credit to Minnesota though, they're young and talented, and hung in there even after losing their best RB.


Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Greg Landry is a native of Nashua, New Hampshire, where he played high school football, and he played his college football at UMass.   As the QB of the Redmen (since changed to the Minutemen) he led the team to records of 7-2, 6-3 and 7-2 and was named All-Yankee Conference QB in his junior and senior seasons.

He was the first draft pick of the Detroit Lions, the eleventh pick overall and the first quarterback chosen in the 1968 draft.

He started two games his rookie year when starter Bill Munson was injured, but by his fourth year 1971, the starting job was his, and in his first year as the Lions’ full-time starter, he threw for 2237 yards and 16 TDs and a league-leading 16.4 yards per completion. He was big and strong and fast, and he ran for another  524 yards and 9 TDs.  That season earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl.

In 11 seasons as the Lions’ QB, he completed 957 of 1747 for 12,451 yards and 80 TDs.  He ran 389 times for 2502 yards and 19 TDs.

His record as the Lions’ starter was 40-41-3.  His passing yardage ranks third all-time among Lions’ QBs, and his 80 TDs rank second.

The Lions made the playoffs in 1970, 1971 and 1972, but those were the days when Minnesota dominated the division, and the Lions couldn’t get past the Vikings.

After being traded to Baltimore to serve as a backup and mentor to Bert Jones, he was pressed into service in 1979 when Jones was injured, and started 12 games. Those Colts were bad, and he wound up  throwing 457 times - the most by far of any season in his career.  He completed 270 passes for 2932 yards and 15 TDs, but  to no avail:  the Colts lost 10 of those games, and in the process he was sacked 42 times.

After the Colts’ Frank Kush let him go, he spent two years in the USFL and then returned to finish up with the Bears. In his final game, he threw a touchdown pass to Willie Gault.

In his 15 year NFL career, he completed 1226 of 2300 passes for 16,052 yards and 98 TDs. He rushed 430 times for 2655 yards and 21 TDs.

After retiring as a player, he coached for 12 years with the Browns, Bears and Lions as a QB coach, and five years with the Bears and two years with the University of Illinois as offensive coordinator.

Despite his French-Canadian surname, his maternal grandparents were Polish immigrants (his mother’s maiden name was Felixia Worsowicz) and he is in the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.


********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GREG LANDRY
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - “Nice Polish kid”
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** MORE ON GREG LANDRY

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

http://www.nflplayerengagement.com/next/articles/where-are-they-now-greg-landry/

CATCHING UP WITH FORMER COLTS

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/nfl/bs-sp-catching-up-landry-20170907-story.html

*********** QUIZ - In 64 years of coaching college football, he coached at only two schools -  both of them small Catholic colleges -  and spent the last 60 of those years at one of them.

One of nine children of an Italian immigrant coal miner in Trinidad, Colorado, he first became a head coach in 1943, at the age of 16 -  when his high school coach went off to war and there was no one else to coach the team.  It was during that time, as he had to learn on the fly, that he began to question - and reject - many of the rituals and practices long thought sacred in the football coaching fraternity.

While attending Colorado College,  he didn’t play football. Instead, he coached a local high school team the entire time.

At 22, he got his first college head coaching job, at Carroll College in Helena, Montana (where Bob Petrino’s father would later become the couch). In four years there, his record was 24-6-1.

That led to the head coaching position at St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he would stay for 60 years.

His coaching philosophy, at which coaches of all levels marveled,  was, to say the least, “different.” He came to call it “Winning with NO,” which meant no titles (such as “Coach”), no whistles, no hollering at players, no blocking sleds, no tackling in practices, no slogans or signs in the locker room, no playbooks, no grading films - that’s a sample.  The list of his “No’s” was long and impressive.

His practices were 90 minutes - no practice on Sundays or Mondays - and just 45 minutes on Fridays.

All his seniors were captains (“that way they can all put ‘captain’ on their resumes”).

“Calisthenics” might consist of “One perfect jumping jack.”

How did it all work out?

Well, first of all, how many other guys can you think of who lasted 60 years at the same place?

When he retired in 2012, he was the winningest coach in college football history.

At St. John’s, from 1953-2012, he was 465-132-10, with 27 conference titles

His Johnnies won national titles - NAIA 1963 and 1965 and NCAA D-III in 1976 and 2003.

In his entire career he had just two losing seasons - 3-4-1 in 1956 and 3-5 in 1967.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame - he and Bobby Bowden were the first active coaches to be inducted.

Since 1993, a Trophy in his name has been awarded annually to the outstanding player in Division III.




american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 11,  2018 -        "We've seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with." Hillary Clinton,  Sept. 14, 2012

*********** September 11, 2001 is one of those dates that you’ll remember all your life.  The events of that day were so powerful, so moving, so emotion-evoking that they’ve enabled you to remember even tiny details associated with what you were doing when you first heard the news.

I’m still angered by it, and I remember how, from the very first, it was called a “tragedy.” 

Tragedy, my ass.  A tragedy is when a flash flood sweeps away a family’s loved one; when a young couple learns that their baby is terminally ill. 

This was no “tragedy” - it was an act of war.

I remember asking, “Where’s the rage?” We’d been attacked on our own soil - and nobody in authority seemed pissed.  Just sad. 

Google “9-11 Quotes” some time, and it’s all about sadness and tragedy and unity and blah, blah, blah. No “Remember the Alamo.” No “Remember Pearl Harbor.” 

Just crap like this:

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

I voted for George Bush - like I was supposed to vote for Al F—king Gore? - but I was expecting him to sound pissed, and instead what we got was a plea not to take out our anger on the Muslim community. And a pledge to get the people behind it all and “Bring them to justice.” (Right, George.  In today’s United States that would have resulted in their being put on probation and given community service.)

No sense making Americans mad, right?  Remember the video of the Palestinians dancing in the street at the news of the attack?  Has anyone seen it, even once, in the 17 years since?  Wait - you say that it showed originally on CNN?  That explains everything.

Maybe if we can no longer get pissed about the World Trade Center, we can still summon up a bit of rage over Benghazi and  those lying bastards in Barack Hussein's administration ("that awful Internet video...").

*********** Four weeks before the official start of football practice, a local Washington high school, Ridgefield,  hired a new AD.  Two weeks later, now just two weeks before the start of practice, the new AD fired the head coach.

Too late to conduct a search for a new head coach, she installed one of the current assistants as the interim head coach.

I’ve taught and coached in Ridgefield, and I know the place.  But it’s undergone a lot of change since I was there. Ridgefield is now the fastest growing district in the entire state, and its growth has mainly been due to an influx of relatively affluent Portlanders, bringing with them all the high expectations for their entitled children that that connotes. It has become a notoriously bad place to coach - unreasonably demanding parents with an administration known to, shall we say, “listen to them.”

Ridgefield has gone through five coaches in the last ten years.  The one just fired had lasted two years, going 4-5 and 1-8. HIs predecessor stayed for four years and went 19-19 during that time. He certainly could have stayed longer, but after going 8-2 in 2015, he decided to wash his hands of it all and walk away from the job, blaming parental interference.

So I had my Ridgefield story all written, deploring the situation and predicting a train wreck.

The fired coach had been a Wing-T guy, and, I figured, that was part of the problem.  I imagined a community, no doubt led by the father of a quarterback, wanting him to spread it out and throw the damn thing. 

So now, with a new guy promoted from the staff, we should expect four wides and a gun, right?

But then I read an interview with the interim coach - who happens to be the father of a player on the team - and he sounded like a knowledgeable sort. And a sensible one - to his credit, he didn’t badmouth the previous coach.  And he was close-mouthed about the offense he intended to run, other than saying that he didn’t feel he knew enough about the Wing-T to stay with it.

A little over a week ago,  they played their first game - and shocked everyone.  They defeated a neighboring school, one which consistently fields good teams, and shut them out, 19-0.

The coach’s 5-9, 200 pound son carried 30 times for 193 yards and two touchdowns.

What’s going on here? I thought.  I had to take a look at the video.  That I did, and damned if they weren’t running from I formation,  with the coach’s son at tailback.  Most of the time they had a wingback, and often they had two tight ends. They were playing pure power football.

The second game, this past Friday, was against a city school, with a much larger enrollment but very little talent.  The result was a second straight shutout, 42-0.

This time, the coach’s son ran the ball 19 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns.

Next week comes a real test, against a larger school with a great football tradition.  It’s off to a 1-1 start, but its loss was to an even bigger program, a regional lower.

That article I’d written?  I trashed it.

http://blogs.columbian.com/high-school-sports/2018/08/20/q-and-a-catching-up-with-ridgefield-interim-football-coach-chris-abrams/

http://www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/ridgefield-spudders-(ridgefield,wa)/football/home.htm

*********** I’m sorry, she might be a very nice person, but if the NFL intended to pursue political correctness at the expense of its TV audience, it’s certainly done that, forcing on it the harsh, abrasive voice of Beth Mowins.

*********** Amid all the football this past Saturday, I “allowed” my wife to watch the women’s final of the US Open Tennis on one of our sets; so I got to see all of Serena Williams’ tirade against a tennis official who’d made a controversial call against her.

And sure enough, one of the commentators said something along the lines of “you don’t make that kind of call at a time like this, with so much at stake, blah, blah, blah.”

Which got me thinking - how many times have you heard an announcer say.

“You don’t make a call like that in a game/match of this importance…”

or

“You don’t make a call like that this late in the game…”

How many times have you thought, “Why not?”

Is it a game, where the rules are applied consistently, or is it a scripted play, where things play out the according to design?

Well if you don’t “make a call like that” under certain conditions,  and it becomes known that that’s policy... wouldn’t that knowledge be factored into a team’s strategy?

Wouldn’t you call time out and remind your team, “Okay, guys - just like we discussed… it’s the last two minutes of the Game of the Century, and everybody knows they’re not going to call things close... so __________.” (You fill in the blank: FOUL, HOLD, INTERFERE)

For the good of a game’s integrity, it seems to me we shouldn’t expect officials to officiate differently depending on the conditions. Instead, we ought to turn this back on the players and coaches and tell them:

You don’t DO something like that in a game/match of this importance...

You don’t DO something like that this late in the game...

*********** With Florence appearing to take dead aim at the Carolinas and Virginia, and heavy rain expected way up the coast - how many games are going to get rained out this weekend?

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS PAST WEEKEND


PREDICTED BLOWOUTS THAT WEREN’T-
NOTRE DAME OVER BALL STATE — But not by much.
OLE MISS OVER SOUTHERN ILLINOIS - Rebs had all they could handle.
FLORIDA STATE OVER SAMFORD - In the fourth quarter. Willie, try being a little humble. You might need it.
TEXAS OVER TULSA - Barely. The  narrow win is not exactly an encouraging result for Longhorns fans.
EASTERN MICHIGAN OVER PURDUE: Boilermakers now 0-2.  At home.  Scary start.


OTHER GAMES I WAS WATCHING
(IN ORDER OF TV APPEARANCE)
MISSISSIPPI STATE OVER KANSAS STATE - With NIck Fitzgerald at QB, the Bulldogs are really good; with OC Dana Dimel gone, Cats looked anemic on offense
ARMY OVER LIBERTY - Liberty has a QB named Buckshot Calvert;  It sort of described his accuracy
VANDERBILT OVER NEVADA  - Vandy showed that it might give Notre Dame a game on Saturday
HOUSTON OVER ARIZONA - Glad I picked Houston. Arizona looked bad, played worse. Houston is good.
DUKE OVER NORTHWESTERN - Duke is real, but lost QB Daniel Jones to a broken collarbone
SOUTH FLORIDA OVER GEORGIA TECH - Couldn't get this on TV for some reason and sorry I missed it.  Bulls proved once again that Tech can’t win on offense alone
FLORIDA ATLANTIC OVER AIR FORCE  - Hmmm. Air Force isn’t as tough as Oklahoma, and Lane Kiffin is now 1-1.
KANSAS OVER CENTRAL MICHIGAN - Could there be a streak in the making? KU hosts Rutgers Saturday.
GEORGIA OVER SOUTH CAROLINA - Definitely not the test I thought it might be.
COLORADO OVER NEBRASKA - One of the best games of the day. Cancellation of their opener meant this was the Huskers’ first game.
NAVY OVER MEMPHIS - Navy’s great second half and closing-minutes win shows that the Mids are tough
EAST CAROLINA OVER NORTH CAROLINA  - The Pirates OWN the shoe peddlers
IOWA OVER IOWA STATE - Kirk Ferentz has now won four straight over the Cyclones
MARYLAND OVER BOWLING GREEN - Maryland is now 2-0 and looking good
CLEMSON OVER TEXAS A & M - Tigers went into College Station and beat Aggies in front of 100,000+
MISSOURI OVER WYOMING - No upset as I’d hoped.  Mizzou may be a bottom SEC team, but they're still an SEC team.
KENTUCKY OVER FLORIDA - What should have been a big win for the Gators was a HUGE win for the Wildcats.
INDIANA OVER VIRGINIA - Hoosiers are now 2-0, with Ball State coming in this week
COLORADO STATE OVER ARKANSAS - Hogs led 27-9 in the third quarter, but Rams scored 26 straight to win 35-27.
MINNESOTA OVER FRESNO STATE - Gophers had to come from behind, then interecept Bulldogs in the end zone at the end.
PENN STATE OVER PITT - It was close for a half but the driving rain and the powerful Lions sent Pitt fans home in the second half.
STANFORD OVER USC - Trojans could manage only a single field goal as USC’s freshman QB took a pounding. What happened to all the great tailbacks they used to have?
CAL OVER BYU - Cal changed QBs and played great defense to down the Cougars.
ARIZONA STATE OVER MICHIGAN STATE - Hard to say how much of a role the heat (103 at kickoff) played in the upset. Good news for MSU: they held ASU to just 44 yards rushing; bad news for MSU: they rushed for only 63 yards themselves.
WASHINGTON STATE OVER SAN JOSE STATE - Cougs now 2-0 after the shutout. Eastern Washington next Saturday could be tough
HAWAII OVER RICE - Unless you stayed up late - Hawaii won 43-29 to go 3-0.  Quarterback Cole McDonald is getting well-deserved attention, and slot receiver John Ursua, a native Hawaiian who played his high school ball in Utah and has served a two-year LDS church mission, is really good.  NEXT WEEK: AT ARMY.


SPECIAL MENTION
NICHOLLS STATE AT TULANE - CAN THE COLONELS MAKE IT TWO IN A ROW AGAINST FBS TEAMS? NO

*********** With South Florida’s win over Georgia Tech,  East Carolina’s over North Carolina, Houston’s over Arizona and Colorado State’s over Arkansas, I think it’s time to take a shot at the monopoly of the so-called Power Five conferences on the big TV money.

I propose a European-type relegation system, but not for teams - for conferences.

For example, the weakest of the Power Five conferences would drop out, and the strongest of the Group of Five - in all likelihood either the American Athletic or the Mountain West - would move up and take its place (and its share of next year’s TV revenues).

*********** Think big-time football isn’t a heartless business?

After starting every game last year and throwing for more than 3,000 yards, then starting in this year’s opening-game win over North Carolina, it appears that Ross Bowers is done as the starting QB at Cal.

Saturday, former backup Chase Garbers threw for two TDs as the Bears defeated BYU Saturday night, 21-18.

“This is nothing Ross hasn’t done,” said Cal head coach Justin Wilcox.  “He’s disappointed and it’s tough. I don’t blame him one bit. He’s handled himself extremely well. It’s not the easiest position to be in.”

*********** Maybe it’s global warming - maybe not - but an awful lot of high school teams in various parts of the country had to cancel or curtail practices this past preseason because of extreme heat. Player safety and all that.

Now, I don’t know whether you would consider 103 degrees to be “extreme heat,” but I would, and that was the temperature in Sun Devil Stadium when Arizona State and Michigan State kicked off Saturday night.  It was 110 down on the field. 

But evidently, when TV says to play, you play.  What was that you were saying about player safety?

Could the effect of the heat have had anything to do with the fact that Arizona State outscored Michigan State 13-0 in the fourth quarter, kicking a last-second field goal to upset the Spartans, 16-23?????

*********** When was the last time Michigan got more votes in the weekly poll than Michigan State?

*********** Gee - I wonder where I got that idea not to kickoff deep  (haven't done it since 1980)…

Last Friday night, Union High of Vancouver was down in the San Francisco Bay Area playing El Cerrito High.

El Cerrito scored late to take a 23-20 lead.

And then they kicked off.  Deep.

And the Union return man brought it all the way back.  Final score: Union 27, El Cerrito 23.

*********** Adam Hunsucker needs to get out of North Louisiana once in a while.

I took a look at this week’s Football Writers’ Super 16 Poll, sponsored by the National Football Foundation,
and as I looked through the balloting, I noticed the listing - “Others Receiving Votes” - that followed the Top 16.  And I’ll be a son of a gun if I didn’t see “USC” in there.  And “Miami.”

Hold everything - you mean to tell me that after they managed just three points in a loss to Stanford, there was a “football writer” somewhere in the United States so clueless that he’d give the Trojans a place in his Top 16?  And what about Miami?  Did somebody see their impressive 77-0 score against mighty Savannah State and forget the way LSU abused them two weeks ago?

Fortunately, the National Football Foundation not only shows its ranking, but it shows how every one of its participating “football writers” votes.

And damned if it wasn’t one guy - one Adam Hunsucker, of the Monroe (LA) News-Star - who was responsible for both of those farcical votes. Not only did he have Miami in 16th place (West Virginia,  Mississippi State, UCF were nowhere to be found on his ballot) but he had USC in 15th place.  And in 12th place, just three places higher, was Stanford, the team that had just waxed USC Sunday.

And to think that there are people in Monroe who read this guy’s stuff in the News-Star and take it seriously.

*********** IS THIS A BAD LOOK OR WHAT?

janikowski bad look


*********** QUIZ - Joe Greene (“Mean Joe”)  is one of the greatest defensive linemen ever to play the game and is considered to be the key building block  in turning the Pittsburgh Steelers from an NFL joke into one of the most dominant dynasties in league history.

Not heavily recruited out of high school in Temple, Texas, he wound up attending North Texas State.

As a defensive tackle there from 1966 through 1968, he was a three-time All Missouri Valley Conference selection, and in his senior season, despite playing for a lesser-known school,  he was a consensus All-American.

Drafted first by the Steelers - the fourth player overall - in 1969, he and a new head coach, Chuck Noll, arrived in Pittsburgh at the same time.  They would both have Hall-of-Fame careers.

He didn’t initially like the idea of being drafted by a loser - the Steelers were really bad, then - but Noll saw in him the foundation of the strong defense. 

Noll was correct.  Although Pittsburgh was only 1-13 in his first year, his new defensive tackle was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and earned a spot on the Pro Bowl.  He would go on to play on four Super Bowl champions… he went to TEN Pro Bowls… He was chosen  first team All-Pro five-times, and second team All-Pro twice…He was the NFL Man of the Year in 1979… He was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year… He was named to the NFL 1970’s All-Decade Team.

He became a team leader,  demanding the best from teammates who feared displeasing him.

From Wikipedia: He is widely considered one of the greatest defensive linemen in league history.His durability allowed him to play in 181 of a possible 190 games, including a streak of 91 straight to begin his career. The Steel Curtain defense is consistently ranked among the top defensive groups of all time.

Many people who didn’t even now him as a football player remember him for a famous Coca-Cola commercial in which a little kid offers him a drink of Coke after a game and he repays the kid by taking off his game jersey and throwing it to him. (KID: “Gee, thanks, Mean Joe.”)

At some point in his career, he earned the nickname "Mean Joe," a nickname that he didn’t particularly care for, saying years later, “I just want people to remember me as being a good player and not really mean.”

********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOE GREENE
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
RODNEY LUNSFORD - WESTFIELD, INDIANA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVE KEMMICK - MT. JOY, PENNSYLVANIA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** QUIZ - He’s a native of Nashua, New Hampshire, where he played high school football, and he played his college football at UMass.   As the QB of the Redmen (since changed to the Minutemen) he led the team to records of 7-2, 6-3 and 7-2 and was named All-Yankee Conference QB in his junior and senior seasons.

He was the first draft pick of the Detroit Lions, the eleventh pick overall and the first quarterback chosen in the 1968 draft.

He started two games his rookie year when starter Bill Munson was injured, but by his fourth year, 1971, the starting job was his, and in his first year as the Lions’ full-time starter, he threw for 2237 yards and 16 TDs and a league-leading 16.4 yards per completion. He was big and strong and fast, and he ran for another  524 yards and 9 TDs.  That season earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl.

In 11 seasons as the Lions’ QB, he completed 957 of 1747 for 12,451 yards and 80 TDs.  He ran 389 times for 2502 yards and 19 TDs.

His record as the Lions’ starter was 40-41-3.  His passing yardage ranks third all-time among Lions’ QBs, and his 80 TDs rank second.

The Lions made the playoffs in 1970, 1971 and 1972, but those were the days when Minnesota dominated the division, and the Lions couldn’t get past the Vikings.

After being traded to Baltimore to serve as a backup and mentor to Bert Jones, he was pressed into service in 1979 when Jones was injured, and started 12 games. Those Colts were bad, and he wound up  throwing 457 times - the most by far of any season in his career.  He completed 270 passes for 2932 yards and 15 TDs, but  to no avail:  the Colts lost 10 of those games, and in the process he was sacked 42 times.

After the Colts’ Frank Kush let him go, he spent two years in the USFL and then returned to finish up with the Bears. In his final game, he threw a touchdown pass to Willie Gault.

In his 15 year NFL career, he completed 1226 of 2300 passes for 16,052 yards and 98 TDs. He rushed 430 times for 2655 yards and 21 TDs.

After retiring as a player, he coached for 12 years with the Browns, Bears and Lions as a QB coach, and five years with the Bears and two years with the University of Illinois as offensive coordinator.

Despite his French-Canadian surname, his maternal grandparents were Polish immigrants (his mother’s maiden name was Felixia Worsowicz) and he is in the Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.




american flagFRIDAY,  SEPTEMBER 7,  2018 -   “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”   Steve Martin

*********** At press time... Falcons 6, Eagles 3... Could the NFL have scripted a duller, more inept performance to kick off their season?

This is what you get when you don't play your precious starters in preseason games:

17 penalties between the two teams... The Eagles averaging 4 (FOUR!) yards per pass attempt, the Falcons  averaging just more than 5.

Two of the supposed best teams in the NFL  and between them, in one half of football, they can't score ONE F--KING TOUCHDOWN.

Could it be?  Could  the players be boycotting us?

("We'll show those damn Republicans.  They think that just because they buy tickets  they can make us play hard.")

*********** Went out Tuesday and bought me a “couple pair” (as they may still say in Philly) of New Balance shoes.

*********** I once worked with a guy who said to a kid on the scout team who didn’t want to carry the ball, “don’t be such a little vagina.”

That was a key  piece of evidence in the guy’s firing.

If only he had said, “don’t be such a little front hole.”
That’s what the folks at a health website called Healthline have used interchangeably with “vagina,” in  something they put out called the LGBTQIA Safe Sex Guide.   Their explanation was that in addressing members of the “trans community,”   they found it preferable to use the term “front hole.”

What a bunch of backholes.

https://www.healthline.com/health/lgbtqia-safe-sex-guide/response

************ GOT THIS FROM A FRIEND…

Coach I hope you guys had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend. And we got pummeled pretty bad 55 to 13.  We showed our youth and inexperience. More missed assignments that I can remember and as you know with this offense it’s the little things. I’m watching the film made me feel both better and worse. Better because  I can fix a lot of the problems. Worst because it’s hard to watch the team play that bad twice. I don’t think we’re going to be very good this year, I already kind of knew that. However I think I can help this team improve tremendously as the season goes on and a lot of these guys will be back next year. We found one great wing back  Just a sophomore. I have a few other young kids who I think are going to wind up taking over for my seniors as the season goes on. Still a good group of kids as they almost always are at this school.  We will get better.

Coach-

I saw the score and was disappointed.

You’re right that the beauty of what we’re doing is that you can identify most of what’s wrong - and then fix most of that!

And fortunately you’ve been through enough of this that you know that and can get at it.

As I enter old age, I am totally convinced that being able to coach football is a blessing, and that while some season’s records are better than others, with good kids, it’s always a good season.

You’ll make it a good season.


*********** When Oregon State travelled to Columbus to play Ohio State last weekend, Portland newspaper columnist and radio guy John Canzano ran into former Ohio State coach John Cooper, got him on his radio show and came away with some interesting observations.

"Why in the world,” asked Cooper,  “would Oregon State come 2,000 miles back to Columbus and play a game against Ohio State and not get a return game? Get beat that bad? You must need the money."

Well, in fact, they do.

Wrote Canzano in his column, back when it  agreed to the game back in 2014, “Oregon State was still paying off fired basketball coach Craig Robinson, (Michelle Obama’s brother) who was owed $4.2 million when he was fired in May of 2014. Also, fundraising fell short on the athletics building projects. Also, the Pac 12 Network windfall wasn't as lucrative as expected.”

Ohio State made it a payday game by paying the Beavers $1.7 million.

Never again, says Oregon State AD Todd Barnes.

From now on, they’ll follow the lead of his predcessor,  Bob DeCarolis.  Wrote Canzano,

I'll admit, I used to roll my eyes when former Oregon State athletic director Bob De Carolis would lay out the master plan for sustainability in his athletic department.

Now, I realize he was a genius.

De Carolis wanted the Beavers to be bowl eligible. That's it. Be bowl eligible and the OSU machine would run well because playing in the postseason boosted season-ticket sales and helped grease the gift-giving wheel. It's why De Carolis designed his football coach's contract to add one additional year of job security every time Mike Riley qualified for a bowl game.

The Ohio State game, said Barnes, was “a one-off, payday against a perennial top-five team.  That's not our philosophy. Our philosophy is that we'll play the middle of the Big Ten, the middle of the Big 12, we'll play a group of five team and a FCS team... building momentum means everything right now."

https://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2018/09/canzano_oregon_state_football_5.html

*********** My friend, Mike Lude, who as AD at Washington and Auburn has seen his share of coaches who could have run up scores and didn’t, said he was “really pissed,” (he’s not given to gratuitous swearing) at the Ohio State coach for putting 77 points on Oregon State.

*********** Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida, sent me a link to a very good article in the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine about Dartmouth’s head coach, Buddy Teevens.

Coach Teevens, a Dartmouth alumnus, has been very successful lately, but it hasn’t always been that way.

This is his second go-round as head coach at Dartmouth, the Ivy League school  once known - before it admitted females in the late 1970s - for its drunken rowdyness and - in the days before Interstate Highways - for its remoteness. 

In his first time there, he put together two 7-2-1 seasons,  enough success to earn him a shot at a bigger-time school - Tulane.  He wasn’t succcessful there (11-45 in five seasons), but that didn’t seem to matter to the AD at Stanford, who hired him anyway. (Perhaps it will help to explain the hiring if I mention that the AD at Stanford had previosuly been his AD at Dartmouth).

He was no more successful at Stanford than he’d been at Tulane, going 10-33 in a dreary spell at The Farm between the successful stays of Tyrone Willingham and Jim Harbaugh.

And although he was rehired at Dartmouth, his second coming did not get off to an auspicious start.

In four years there, he went 2-8, 2-8, 3-7 and 0-10.  That’s 7-33 in four years. At most places, he’d be gone.

But Dartmouth isn’t “most places.”  Dartmouth can afford to do things differently.   From the article in the magazine:

Dartmouth did what institutions often do when they need to fire someone they don’t really want to fire.

The College hired a consultant.

His name was Rick Taylor. An assistant coach at Dartmouth in the 1970s, he’d had a long career as a football coach and athletic director, finally retiring from Northwestern.

Taylor’s report noted improvements to facilities and in admissions. But Dartmouth’s nonconference schedule was too difficult. The team needed more money for recruiting. And Teevens, who also served as quarterback coach and offensive coordinator, needed to relinquish those duties and concentrate on being head coach.

In other words, the College didn’t need to fire Buddy. It needed to help him. The team lured two longtime Ivy League assistants to Hanover by offering them better salaries: Don Dobes came from Princeton to be defensive coordinator, and Keith Clark came from Yale to coach the offensive line. Teevens, who admits he can be “a micromanager,” says being forced to step back from a more hands-on role was “frustrating at times, professionally.” But it also freed him to focus on his strengths: recruiting and fundraising. “I was very, very fortunate to be allowed to continue,” he says. “If it wasn’t my alma mater, and if people didn’t look deeply in terms of what we were doing, I would have been unemployed.”

Teevens remained, and he changed.  In the first year post-Taylor, Teevens and the Big Green went 2-8, but in the eight years since then, they’ve gone 52-28.

They went 8-2 in 2014, went 9-1 and won the Ivy Title in 2015, and went 8-2 last season.

Good for Dartmouth for making the effort to turn their coach’s career around.  Not many schools would have done that, and he recognizes that his being an alumnus was a major reason why they did it.

The article is about more than Teevens’ resurrection, though.  It’s about his approach to tackling.  He doesn’t practice live tackling - ever. (The entire Ivy League now prohibits it except during spring and pre-season.) 

One of his innovations that you may be aware of is the MVP - the Mobile Virtual Player. Essentially a remote-controlled robot tackling dummy, it’s the result of a collaboration between Teevens and a Dartmouth classmate of his who was then a research engineer at Dartmouth.

The  MVP shows promise, for sure, but…

So sad that things that could make our game safer - helmets with chips in them to measure impact... robot tackling dummies… artificial turf (the robot dummies won’t work on grass)… are all way beyond the budget limitations of most high school programs.

Not to spoil Dartmouth’s - and Teevens’ - party, but I have to ask… didn’t somebody - I’m thinking youth, middle school and high school coaches - have to teach those Dartmouth kids how to tackle in the first place?

https://dartmouthalumnimagazine.com/articles/how-buddy-teevens-79-transformed-football-forever


*********** Most national college fraternities have met and agreed that beginning Sept 1, 2019, their 6,100 individual chapters (on 800 college campuses) will no longer serve hard liquor.

This means a lot less alcoholic candy - fewer sweet, fruity, go-down-easy drinks.

Since those are the kind of drinks mostly  imbibed by women, it’s going to be tough on the ladies at first.

They still won’t drink beer.  They’ll still drink sweet-tasting sh—, like hard cider and wine coolers and malt beverages made to taste like cocktails, but at least those drinks won’t have the wallop of the hard stuff they’ve been drinking.

In the long run, that’s going to be good for them.

Anything that results in fewer drunken women is likely to mean fewer “rapes.”


*********** Hugh,
 
How are you? Hopefully all is well…
 
Kaepernick  the revolutionary… sacrificing it all to sell out to corporate America for the all mighty dollar. And hypocrisy of Nike being so concerned with  “human rights”, when their shoes are made in low wage sweat shops in Asia, it’s extremely comical.   
 
And I rarely pay attention to anything coming out of Hollywood but it’s nice to see the liberal D-bags can take a break from sexually assaulting each other to make a movie on the moon landing & rewrite American history in process by not showing the planting of the American flag on the moon. It’s also refreshing to hear some Canadian actor refer to it as a “human achievement” rather than an American one.  
 
As I’m sure NASA’s research & development for those missions were funded with that “human achievement” currency & not  US taxpayer dollars. So we might look at it just a little differently.
 
Just my two cents,
Sam DuMond
Philadelphia

Sam,

I’m well and I hope you are, too.

Some “sacrifice” when it turns out that all this time he’s been on Nike’s payroll.

And Hollywood deliberately belittling the idea of American exceptionalism by depicting  the moon landing as a “global achievement” is just one more shot at us.

Nice to hear from you. 

DEER ON THE BEACH AT OS
ON THE BEACH AT OCEAN SHORES WEDNESDAY...


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

It’s been awhile, I hope you and Connie are doing well. I went to my first Penn State game this week and it was a good one. The best part for me, though, was the pregame atmosphere. I loved watching the lion run out just before the band. The band was fantastic, it’s a shame they don’t show that on TV. Listening to 105,000 sing Sweet Caroline was just awesome.

I can honestly say that my favorite part of the game wasn’t the game. I love the way McSorley plays but I would be more interested in the football if they put a fullback in there, or even lined up with a running back on either side of Trace.

While at the game I told my friend that the TV timeouts were awful, then I read your news from last week and you were spot on about how they ruin the pace of the game.

I definitely need to go again, maybe a night game next time. My friend had season tickets - very good seats in the corner of the end zone, opposite the student section.

Hope all is well

Dave Kemmick
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Coach,

Great hearing from you.  That’s a game experience I’d love to have.

There’s nothing like a college game, and I think that’s one reason why a game at Green Bay is such an experience - the pregame atmosphere on the way to the stadium and outside Lambeau are a lot like a college game.

(Actually, with more and more noon  kickoffs,  thanks to TV,  the college atmosphere isn’t what it used to be at a lot of places either.)


*********** I think the Nike decision to feature Kaepernick in its newest ad campaign is just part and parcel of the divide in our culture between traditional old and brainwashed young.

In fact, I believe that this is - figuratively - the Shot Heard ‘Round the World: the start of the Revolution.    

It’s not black vs white, as it would appear to be, with all the Nike-endorsed black athletes who’ve been popping off lately - Curry, Serena, LeBron. (You don’t suppose Nike coordinated this, do you?)

No, it’s young vs old - look how many young white people (Mollie Tibbetts, for one), profess to hate whites, when what they’re really saying is that they hate us old, conservative (they prefer “racist, fascist”) whites. Interestingly, older black people for the most part don’t seem to have a dog in the fight.

I think that Nike knows exactly what they’re doing.  They’re aligning themselves with those who see us as the enemy.  They’re giving Trump and the Deplorables the finger.

Yes, Nike stock will take a small hit in the short run, but I suspect it will roar back as the Revolution gains momentum. 

NIke has no qualms whatsoever about blowing us oldsters off, in favor of a younger demographic that hates us and our politics.   I’m sure they’ve calculated that for every one of us who burns his Nikes, there will be two members of the 15-34 age group that will buy more Nike products, whether or not they need them, just to support The Cause.

And those people will be around to buy Nike products a lot longer than we will.

As long as the public schools do their job and keep turning out mindless social justice warriors, Nike’s strategy will hold up.

Soon enough, the Nike swoosh on one’s shoes will be the badge of membership that allows one safe passage through much of urban America.  The old “which side are you on?” business. 

Soon, it may be dangerous to wear a pair of non-Nike sneakers in public.  And since I don’t plan to wear Nikes, maybe I ought to go get a pair of Florsheim wingtips.

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND

LOTS OF BLOWOUT GAMES THAT ONLY A DEVOTED FAN OF EITHER TEAM WOULD WATCH
AKA - "YOU MAIL US THE WIN AND WE’LL MAIL YOU THE CHECK"
(IN ORDER OF TV APPEARANCE)
NEW MEXICO AT WISCONSIN
WESTERN MICHIGAN AT MICHIGAN
GEORGIA STATE AT NC STATE
UCLA AT OKLAHOMA - COULD BE UGLY
WILLIAM AND MARY AT VIRGINIA TECH
PORTLAND STATE AT OREGON
ARKANSAS STATE AT ALABAMA
RUTGERS AT OHIO STATE - HARD TO BELIEVE THIS IS A BIG TEN GAME
BALL STATE AT NOTRE DAME
WAGNER AT SYRACUSE
LAMAR AT TEXAS TECH
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT OLE MISS
EAST TENNESSEE AT TENNESSEE
NORTH DAKOTA AT WASHINGTON
YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT WEST VIRGINIA
SC STATE AT CENTRAL FLORIDA
SAVANNAH STATE AT MIAMI
SE LOUISIANA AT LSU
BAYLOR AT UTSA
SAMFORD AT FLORIDA STATE - THE HOKIES ARE GONE; YOU CAN GO BACK TO YOUR SWAG SURFIN’ NOW, SEMINOLES
ALABAMA STATE AT AUBURN - ARE YOU SERIOUS?
SOUTH ALABAMA AT OKLAHOMA STATE
TULSA AT TEXAS
SOUTHERN UTAH AT OREGON STATE
UCONN AT BOISE STATE - HOPE YOU ENJOY THE SIGHTS, HUSKIES; THE GAME WILL BE BAD

DISH PIP
WATCHING FOUR GAMES AT A TIME WITH DISH P-I-P


GAMES I’LL BE WATCHING - (at least in part)
(IN ORDER OF TV APPEARANCE)
MISSISSIPPI STATE AT KANSAS STATE
LIBERTY AT ARMY - MY UPSET PICK OF THE DAY
NEVADA AT VANDERBILT
ARIZONA AT HOUSTON - I’M PICKING HOUSTON
DUKE AT NORTHWESTERN - BOTH TEAMS COMING OFF GOOD OPENING GAME WINS
GEORGIA TECH AT SOUTH FLORIDA
AIR FORCE AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC - LANE KIFFIN COULD BE 0-2 BY SATURDAY EVENING
KANSAS AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN - I’M BETTING ON THE CHIPPEWAS
GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA - COULD BE A REAL TEST FOR THE BULLDOGS
COLORADO AT NEBRASKA - HUSKERS GOT RAINED OUT; BUFFS OPENED WITH A BIG WIN
MEMPHIS AT NAVY - NAVY IS STILL STRONG OFFENSIVELY, BUT CAN THEY STOP MEMPHIS?
NORTH CAROLINA AT EAST CAROLINA - ONLY BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE UNC GET BEATEN
IOWA STATE AT IOWA - A RIVALRY THAT’S UNDERAPPRECIATED ELSEWHERE; ALWAYS A GREAT GAME
MARYLAND AT BOWLING GREEN - JUST TO SEE IF EVERYBODY ON BOWLING GREEN IS PROPERLY EQUIPPED
CLEMSON AT TEXAS A & M - HOPING THAT DABO CAN PUT ONE ON JIMBO
WYOMING AT MISSOURI - AN UPSET PICK
KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA - SHOULD BE A BIG WIN FOR DAN MULLEN
VIRGINIA AT INDIANA - TWO HALFWAY DECENT POWER FIVE  PROGRAMS TRYING TO RISE
ARKANSAS AT COLORADO STATE - I THINK THAT THE RAMS WILL GIVE THE HOGS A GAME
FRESNO STATE AT MINNESOTA - GOPHERS MAY BE VERY GOOD
PENN STATE AT PITT - THEY’RE PLAYING IN PITTSBURGH, AND I THINK PITT WILL FIND A WAY
USC AT STANFORD - AWFULLY EARLY IN THE SEASON FOR THIS LONG-TIME RIVALRY - GO CARD!
CAL AT BYU - CAL BEAT UNC, BYU BEAT ARIZONA - I’M GOING WITH CAL
MICHIGAN STATE AT ARIZONA STATE - MARK DANTONIO, A REAL COACH, BEATS HERM EDWARDS, A CEO
SAN JOSE STATE AT WASHINGTON STATE - CAN THE COUGS AND THEIR NEW QB OPEN THE SEASON 2-0?
RICE AT HAWAII - YES, THIS WILL BE A BLOWOUT, BUT HAWAII’S OFFENSE MAKES IT WORTH WATCHING


SPECIAL GAME
NICHOLLS STATE AT TULANE - CAN THE COLONELS MAKE IT TWO IN A ROW AGAINST FBS TEAMS?

*********** RIP Burt Reynolds.  I’m not what you’d call a movie goer, but damn, I loved his films:  Deliverance… Smokey and the Bandit… Cannonball Run… and, best of all, The Longest Yard - that rarest of all creations, a good football movie.

Will there ever be another like him? A likeable movie star, a man’s man who the whole time he was acting seemed to me to be ready at any time to turn to us, his audience, and laugh and say, “Can you believe they pay me to do this sh—?”

And never forget, he did play football at Florida State - well before it became a football power.  His roommate there, the legend goes, was Lee Corso.

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

Had a great time in South Bend this past weekend.  The pep rally on Friday night was pulsating and put Irish fans in a festive mood.  Tailgating Saturday afternoon got them feisty.  And by game time they were in a downright fervor!  I've attended 5 ND games in the past, and in this one the Irish fans were the loudest and more into the game than I've ever seen before.

It was great to see the Irish beat Michigan but they still have work to do.  Michigan on the other hand needs to get back to what Michigan teams have done best over the years...run the dang ball.  In the second half I saw more of it but for some reason they didn't stay with it.  It cost them the game.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Mater Dei of Santa Ana, California, the top program in Southern California - and perhaps in the country - is back at it.  Last week, it beat national power Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, 42-0, and  it’s outscored its three opponents 133-14. 

But its record is just 2-1  after it had to forfeit its opening game, a 42-14  win over Bishop Amat,  after discovering - and reporting - that it had used an ineligible player  in the game.

Cryptically, a news release from the school attributed the player’s ineligibilty to a misunderstanding of “transcripts from his native country (not the United States).”

Hmmm.  This is not soccer.  Or basketball.  And it’s not like the kid was a Dominican, here to play baseball.  So where TF do you suppose he came from?

The worst part of it is, as usually happens in these case, the kid probably got in at the end of the game, when - or should I say “if”? -  the coach cleared the bench.

WHY I DON’T REFER TO THIS FEATURE AS “TRIVIA” AND why I WISH YOU WOULDN’T, EITHER.

(I wrote this back in 2000, when I started “A Look at Our Legacy” and it still bears repeating.)

I sat down with my Board of Directors* and decided that the word "Trivia" in association with the sort of people I've featured here was doing them a disservice.   Since it’s my hope that this feature might interest coaches in the rich history of our game, it seemed to me that "trivia", a word associated with normally useless but occasionally interesting facts, was undercutting my intentions.  I definitely  don’t consider the people I write about, or their contributions to our game,  to be trivial. 

*No such thing; it’s just play-acting on my part.

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - John Merritt was known in the coaching profession as “Big John.”

He spent his entire career coaching HBCU (look it up) programs, and in head-to-head meetings with the great Eddie Robinson, he was 11-9-1.

He was a native of Kentucky and a graduate of Kentucky State, where he played his college football, and his first head coaching job was at Jackson State. In 11 seasons there, he compiled a record of 63-37-5; his best-known player there was future all-pro Willie Richardson.

But he’s best  remembered for his accomplishments in a 21-year career at Tennessee State, from 1963 through 1983, where he won 172 and lost only 33, with 7 ties.

Tennessee State tried hard to entice him to leave Jackson State, and when he finally accepted their offer, he took along with him both offensive coordinator Alvin Coleman and defensive coordinator Joe Gilliam, Sr. "It was probably the biggest move in black collegiate athletics," he later recalled. "Never before had an entire coaching staff left a (black) school and gone to another."

At Tennessee State he had five undefeated seasons and five one-loss seasons. His “worst” season was 1975, when the Tigers went 5-4.  He produced such standout pro players as Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Eldridge Dickey, Richard Dent, Waymond Bryant, Cleveland Elam, "Jefferson Street Joe" Gilliam, Jr., Claude Humphrey, Joe "Turkey" Jones, James Marsalis, and Israel Lang. (Richard Dent would become the first player from a historically black college to be named Super Bowl MVP.)

He was a legendary PR man, who spent countless hours out in the community promoting his program. His work took him into the white community as well, where he was well liked and respected; the Mayor of Nashville and the Governor of Tennessee were regulars at Tiger games.

In 1982, Centennial Boulevard, which runs through the Tennessee State campus, was renamed to honor John Merritt.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

When he retired, he was ninth all-time in career wins at all levels of college football, with 235.


********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOHN MERRITT
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** In his book "Black College Football" (1992), Michael Hurd relates the oft-told story  of the time coach Merritt was at Jackson State, and the bus was about to pull out on a road trip. Trouble was, star receiver Willie Richardson wasn't on board; now Coach Merritt was on the spot, because he had threatened the team earlier in the day, "The bus is leaving at 7:30, and I don't care who's not on it." Suddenly declaring that he had forgotten his cigars (he was rarely seen without one, even on the sidelines), Coach Merritt ducked inside his office, where for the next several minutes players watched him peeking out through the drapes until finally he saw Richardson board the bus. Then he emerged from the building, got on the bus himself, and barked out to the driver: "Let's go! I don't give a damn who's not here!" No one ever said Coach Merritt was stupid. Forgetful, maybe, but not stupid.

*********** QUIZ - He is one of the greatest defensive linemen ever to play the game and is considered to be the key building block  in turning the Pittsburgh Steelers from an NFL joke into one of the most dominant dynasties in league history.

Not heavily recruited out of high school in Temple, Texas, he wound up attending North Texas State.

As a defensive tackle there from 1966 through 1968, he was a three-time All Missouri Valley Conference selection, and in his senior season, despite playing for a lesser-known school,  he was a consensus All-American.

Drafted first by the Steelers - the fourth player overall - in 1969, he and a new head coach, Chuck Noll, arrived in Pittsburgh at the same time.  They would both have Hall-of-Fame careers.

He didn’t initially like the idea of being drafted by a loser - the Steelers were really bad, then - but Noll saw in him the foundation of the strong defense. 

Noll was correct.  Although Pittsburgh was only 1-13 in his first year, his new defensive tackle was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and earned a spot on the Pro Bowl.  He would go on to play on four Super Bowl champions… he went to TEN Pro Bowls… He was chosen  first team All-Pro five-times, and second team All-Pro twice…He was the NFL Man of the Year in 1979… He was twice named NFL Defensive Player of the Year… He was named to the NFL 1970’s All-Decade Team.

He became a team leader,  demanding the best from teammates who feared displeasing him.

From Wikipedia: He is widely considered one of the greatest defensive linemen in league history.His durability allowed him to play in 181 of a possible 190 games, including a streak of 91 straight to begin his career. The Steel Curtain defense is consistently ranked among the top defensive groups of all time.

Many people who didn’t even now him as a football player remember him for a famous Coca-Cola commercial in which a little kid offers him a drink of Coke after a game and he repays the kid by taking off his game jersey and throwing it to him.

At some point in his career, he earned a nickname by which everyone knew him - one that he didn’t particularly care for.  Years later,  he said, “I just want people to remember me as being a good player and not really mean.”







american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 4,  2018 -   "All that I know I learned after I was thirty."  Georges Clemenceau, French Prime Minister


*********** Props to Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana a Nicholls State grad who picked Nicholls State to beat Kansas.  I had my doubts, but he persisted.

Meanwhile, a professor at the KU School of Law is proposing that KU give up football.  There are those who will say that they already did so, unofficially, years ago.

*********** COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRAP-UP

OPENED AGAINST A POWER 5 OPPONENT AND WON

ALABAMA (Louisville)  - Alabama is in a class all its own
AUBURN (Washington) - If they can get their offense up to the level of their defense, they'll be very tough
BYU (Arizona) - Surprised an Arizona crowd expecting big things from the new coach
CAL (North Carolina) - Bears could be good.  UNC missing a lot of shoe salesmen
CINCINNATI (UCLA) - Cinci rode the horse - Michael Warren rushed 35 times for 141 yards and three TDs
LSU (Miami) Unspectacular QB play - it is, after all, LSU - but great defense and a decent running game
MARYLAND (Texas) - An inspired performance by the Terps + a great coaching job by interim head coach Matt Canada + a classic Texas underperforming by the Longhorns = two straight Maryland opening game wins over Texas
NOTRE DAME (Michigan) - Irish looked good
OHIO STATE (Oregon State)  - Buckeyes are very good. Beavers are not.  Yet.  For what it’s worth, though, Oregon State’s Artavis Pierce rushed for 168 yards on 11 carries and two TDs (of 80 and 78 yards).
OLE MISS (Texas Tech)  - An upset and a convincing win for Matt Luke in his first season as the head coach with the “interim” removed.  Especially after MIchigan poached his QB, Shea Patterson.
VIRGINIA TECH (Florida State) -  a Top Ten performance on both sides of the ball
WEST VIRGINIA (Tennessee) - The ‘eers are a scoring machine

*********** GOT EVERYBODY’S HOPES UP, THEN LAID AN EGG

ARIZONA - Loss to BYU a huge disappointment for Zona fans who’d been promised new and spectacular things with QB Khalil Tate and new HC Kevin Sumlin
FLORIDA STATE - Couldn’t have happened to a nice guy than new Seminoles coach Willie Taggart
LOUISVILLE - Not sure why Bobby Petrino thought it was a good idea to talk trash beforehard.
MIAMI - And Mark Richt thought his QB postion was settled and solid.
MICHIGAN - A Bo Shembechler or Gary Moeller or Lloyd Carr team that can’t run the ball? Unthinkable.
TEXAS - Tom Herman can’t be resting easy in Austin.
UCLA - A big letdown for Bruins’ fans who’d been expecting to see offensive fireworks, if not a win

*********** SPECIAL MENTION: PENN STATE, which had to score with :42 remaining to go into overtime against Appalachian State.  Yes, the Lions won, and no, this wouldn’t have been as big an upset as App State’s historic win over Michigan. Back then, App State was an FCS school - now it’s an FBS member.

*********** EXTRA SPECIAL MENTION: FCS power Villanova, the suburban school, beat FBS Temple, the city school, in the Philadelphia college football championship.  BIG win for the Wildcats, after four straight losses to the Owls.

*********** MEH - Auburn-Washington was not a classic.  It was more like a pro game - a lot of passing, very good defense, not much rushing.  God, I hate to watch a “running” game that doesn’t have a Tight End… or an H Back… or a “Sniffer”… or a Fullback.   (Will somebody please pass that along to Washington coach Chris Peterson?)

*********** BOY AM I HAPPY - I never have liked Florida State - not entirely sure why - but I definitely dislike their new coach, slickster Willie Taggart, who so graciously consented to spend one whole, entire season at Oregon before bailing to take the Seminoles’ job.  He’s the definition of a snake oil salesman.

So as I type this I’m taking great pleasure in watching Virginia Tech dominate Mr. Taggart’s new team and embarrass (if that’s possible) Mr. Taggart.

*********** WHO’S DOING THE COACHING? AWARD - To whoever is coaching the Michigan QBs.  It can’t be Jim Harbaugh, because the guy can coach quarterbacks, and I believe that if he had been coaching Shea Patterson, the much touted QB transfer from Ole Miss, Patterson would have had two hands on the ball, and he wouldn’t have fumbled, killing the Wolverines’ final drive with :45 left.

*********** GOLDEN KNUCKLEHEAD AWARD - To the player from Bowling Green whom I’d rather not name - he knows who he is - who to my knowledge was the first college player whose fashion sense was so strong that he simply had to challenge the rule - one year old but only now being enforced - that players must wear knee pads and the knee pads must cover their knees.

But in challenging the rule, he  had to go and compound his offense by adding in a bit of the anti-authority attiude that’s all too common today.

I damn near split a side when I heard the official announcing an unportsmanlike conduct penalty against him (and Bowling Green) - for “Refusing to comply with official’s instructions to leave the game.”

There he was, caught being illegally equipped, and when he was told he had to leave the game because he was improperly equipped, he had to go and cop an attitude.  What the hell - isn’t that the way everybody responds to authority thse days?

Not that Oregon needed any help, but the penalty kept a Ducks’ drive going.

*********** HAWAII is real… The Warriors (is it still “Rainbow” Warriors?) jumped out to a 28-0 lead over Navy at the end of the first quarter, and they had them 38-14 at the half.

The Middies did fight back, but when you’re a running team, you can’t afford to get behind like that.

(More about the Warriors’ run and shoot on Friday.)

*********** I was very disappointed with Todd Blackledge’s comments on the ABC telecast of the Miami-LSU game when the officials were reviewing whether a Miami defensive back was guilty of targeting.

To me, it was clearly targeting, and I’m all for throwing guys the hell out until they and their coaches get serious about eliminating it.

But Blackledge, who saw the same thing I did, had to play defense attorney and show the hardship card: “Sure would be a shame to have him ejected from his first start.”

Shame, my ass. I say it sure would be a shame to see him get away with a shot like that.  Guaranteed, if he did he’d do it again.

What you tolerate, you encourage.

I still think that football needs a penalty box.  Watch how fast coaches clean this sh— up when they have to play with 10 men for two minutes.

*********** If there’s such a thing in the world of sports as a Deep State, the apparel companies have got to be at the very bottom of it.

It’s really hard to think of anyting that a single one of them has done for the good of sport itself.

Now come strong rumors, as yet unconfirmed by Nike,  that Colin Kaepernick has been signed to a new contract with the shoe giant that will feature him in an ad campaign, create his own an apparel line, and make donations to something called a Know Your Rights “charity.”

The ad campaign slogan:
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Right.  Sacrificing everything.  So how much of all that NFL money he made do you suppose Mr. Kaepernick put away before voluntarily ending his NFL career?

Would he be of any interest at all to the sh— disturbers at Nike if he’d just decided to remain a relatively unknown (and uncontroversial) backup quarterback, instead of  “sacrificing everything” to put on his side show?

I have no idea whether there’s any truth to the rumors, but knowing Nike, it makes sense.  I’ve worn Nike for years - support the local company and all that - but if this is true,  I’ll go barefoot before I’ll wear anything made by those turds.

https://www.sltrib.com/sports/2018/09/03/nike-gives-colin/

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

A slow start to our first game last Friday, but we got things rolling as the double wing kept pounding.  It was 6-6 with three minutes to go in the half and we put on a great end-of-half drive.  Capped it with bootleg for a touchdown with :04 on the clock.  The second half was all Trojans football, and the final score was 40-6. 

Offense is great, but defense is what won the game for us.  We allowed 4 yards on 24 rushes.  Less than 75 total yards.  This against a team that had 22 seniors and had projected this to be a "statement" game for them. 

We have loads of work to do, but none of it is effort.  Fine tuning.  And we have kids who will do just that.  I love coaching these guys.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

That’s a great start, especially on defense.

I hope you continue to get better

Have  a great game tonight!



*********** Friday night there was good football -

Northwestern and Purdue put on a good show in front of a good crowd at Purdue.  The Wildcats’ 31-27 win gives them a 9-game win streak.

Wake Forest, led by a true freshman named Sam Hartman, scored at the end to force overtime, then beat Tulane 23-17 in OT.

Stanford avenged last year’s loss to San Diego State.

Then there was the  Army-Duke game. 

I was conflicted.  I have a daughter and son-in-law who are Duke grads, and after suffering with the Devils’ football program over the years I greatly admire Coach David Cutcliffe for what he’s done there, and for the kind of man he is.  But I have also suffered for years along with other Army football fans, and I was awaiting a good showing from the Army team, and a good game,

I didn’t get either.  I left at halftime to go watch a high school game, then came home and watched the remainder.

Sheesh.  It was an ass-kicking. The boys in blue took it to the future soldiers.

Duke had superior receivers, an outstanding running back, a solid quarterback and a good offensive line and they pretty much stayed vanilla.  I think that they could have put a score on Army if it weren’t for "Coach Cut’s” sense of sportmanship.

As for Army’s offense (or lack thereof - Duke actually outrushed them) I can’t understand how a team that runs the triple option and knows its unique needs and can choose from among dozens of good high school option quarterbacks just can’t manage to find - and then prepare - two of them. (Navy seems to be able to.)  Or even just one.   It was great to have Ahmad Bradshaw the last couple of years, and they made great use of him, but everybody in the world knew that they were going to have to replace him - and when they had to, it turns out they didn’t.

Their new QB throws well enough, but so what? He’s playing on a triple-option team.  His passing is only going to help augment a strong running game, which wasn’t in evidence.

I’ve heard a lot about how strong the fullback position is - it really is -  but I don't see how having four good fullbacks is a particular strength, in an offense that only uses one of them at a time.

The problem is quite likely the offensive line.

Duke certainly did have a good defense and a good scheme - but Army did not look to me like a potential 10-3 team.  Not with Hawaii, Oklahoma, Air Force and Navy left to play.  Actually, Liberty, the next opponent, will not be easy.

One final quibble: why, when you’re a ball control team as Army is, and you’re playing a quick-strike passing team, as Army usually does, do you win the toss and defer?????

*********** A youth team in Western Pennsylvania filed false papers so that a kid who was too old - and also lives outside the team’s assigned boundaries - could play.

As a result, the kid, who’s 14, had been playing with mostly 10- and 11-year olds. And injuring several of them.

Oh - and not that anyone would have been suspicious of wrongdoing, but  in addition to being three years older than the other kids, he’s 6-2 - and he weighs 275.

https://triblive.com/local/regional/14031897-74/west-mifflin-youth-football-team-banned-after-falsifying-forms-for-too-old-player

*********** I watched a high school game Friday night and came away as convinced as ever that one of the major ways a team beats itself - besides turnovers, stupid penalties and poor tackling - is stupid play calling.

Two examples:

(1) 3rd and 1 - You’re at midfield.  You’ve just made nine yards on two running plays.  So what the hell - why not throw a bubble screen? (Brilliant call.  It fell incomplete.)

(2) On your own 20, 4th and long, wind at your back, 20 seconds left until the end of the quarter.  CALL A TIME OUT IF YOU HAVE TO!!!  But, no-o-o-o-o.  Let’s let the clock run out so we can change ends - and punt INTO the wind. (The punt travelled 14 yards.  Set up with good field position, the opponent scored in four plays.


*********** On the August 24 page I included the following correspondence from a former player who’s now coaching his son’s youth team…

Need some advice. So my team of 8 year olds is very small in numbers - just 13 kids. It's youth football so I need to play everybody. I am struggling mightily to put together an o-line with some of kids being insanely green and still learning contact. I can get to a 5, maybe even a 6 man decent line(I'm including Ends in that.) So I'm thinking the best thing I could do is run out of spread formation. So I wanted to get your thoughts. Do I run just everything out of spread? Or would you run open wing? I always remember you telling me you could line a guy up at receiver with no arms and the defense would still cover them. Well I got a couple that might as well have no arms!

Also should say that we had our first scrimmage yesterday, and despite huge pressure from wherever I hid these kids on the line we moved the ball against a really good experienced team. But once they found my weak kids they blitzed them the whole time and penetration killed us. My thought is if we can bring it down to 9v9 or better yet 9v8 we can really do well.

Thank you Coach!

Welcome to adaptive coaching!   I would venture to say that 90 per cent of whatever “innovating” I’ve done over the years was simply adapting to the talent on hand.  (Several years ago a couple of disaffected kids quit the team on the Tuesday before Homecoming, leaving us with only one running back. And running from Stack formation, that one running back ran for more than 250 yards - and we won the game.)

Your thinking is spot-on.

My suggestion in this case is that you go to Open Wing, and use the Twins to get “must-play” players into the game.  That means that you now only need nine bona fide players.  There is always the chance that defenses will cover both of them, making it a 9 on 9 game, and they might even drop a safety back, making it 9 on 8 in your favor.

(If they don’t cover your twins with two people, and you have a player who can throw, you can always sub in a couple of better players at the twins for a play or two  and throw a bubble or smoke to that side.)

Now, if you need to “hide” yet a third kid, you can  widen your wingback as a “wide wing” - a flanker - to his side.  Now, you’re playing with only 8, really - and you may find the defense facing you with 7 (3 cover guys and a safety).


West Wing



The first results are in…

Coach Wyatt,

We went on the road for our first game ever last night. 3 practices in the Open Wing under our belt. We fought like hell, but came up a PAT short, lost 20-18.

Despite being dramatically smaller in size and numbers we physically took it to them with the wedge. It demoralized the other team and fired our guys up. 3 times they had to change nose tackles, because they left the game. Then we scored all 3 touchdowns on XX45C. I set it up time and time again and it worked every time. Tons of things to work and improve, but we have a strong game to build on.

Thank you for your help!!


*********** Read this on the Internet: I can’t believe Trump is going to run for a second term in 2020 with McCain’s funeral not finished yet.

*********** I could actually support some parts of Shariah Law that called for cutting off the hands of the damned speech coaches and all the TV  types they've taught to use their hands when they talk.


*********** Can't wait till  the next time the Seahawks play at home…

Paul Allen, whose $20 billion net worth makes him one of the richest owners in all of pro sports, owns teams in two of the most f—king left wing cities in the United States - the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks - and it’s just become known that back in July he donated $100,000 to help elect Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Seattleites, especially the multitude of them who’ve moved in from elsewhere in the last 20 years, will ignore the fact that in 1996 he stepped up to buy the franchise to keep it from being moved to Southern California.

Even those who love the Seahawks  and know what he did to keep them in Seattle will now automatically hate him because he donated money to those fascist Republicans.

Expect protests and demands that he sell the team.  Now.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seahawks-owner-paul-allen-gives-100000-to-help-republicans-keep-control-of-u-s-house/



*********** Good afternoon Coach,

I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I am just giving you an update of our game last night. It was not good. We were able to move the ball at anytime. We had over 250 yards rushing, completed 1 of 4 passes. Honestly Coach, we should have won. We had 6 turnovers, the QB either fumbled the snap, or the backs would drop the pitch or muff the Super XX handoff. Those 6 turnover led to all of their touchdowns. I am super frustrated with the turnovers. I tried 3 different QB's and went through every single A and C back I had, and the results were all the same. I am not sure what I am going to do. During practice the backs spend anywhere from 20-30 minutes in group time before spending another 20 minutes in team. What am I doing wrong? I wish I could send some film your way but our youth league doesn't allow us to film. I have thought about punishing the kids in practice for the the fumble snaps and dropped exchanges, but I don't want to run them off.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Coach,

I hope it’s not too late, but this is something that should start on day one, as a part of team culture. You have to start out eliminating the ways that any team - even a good one - will beat itself, and the first one on the list is turnovers.  

I am always amazed at the number of practices I watch where people - coaches as well as players - accept fumbles casually.

This tells me that they are not addressing this major cause of losses.

Fortunately for you, it’s still early in the season. And following a game which demonstrates how fumbles can destroy a good team effort, this is a perfect time to institute your  brand-new Zero Tolerance for Fumbles policy.

You have to instill in your team the idea that turnovers are repugnant and won’t be tolerated.

That means that you must convince anybody who carries the ball that he’s privileged to carry the TEAM’S ball - that there are plenty of others on the team that would love to have that chance, but they have less glamorous jobs. They have grunt work to do - they have to block for him. Until it’s drilled into them, ball carriers have  to be reminded - often - that they owe it to their teammates to protect “the team’s ball,” that that is their Job One, and that it is selfish of them not to do so. Say it until they get sick of hearing it. And then say it some more.

ANY time the ball falls to the ground, coaches have to pitch a fit. It is not something that you ever accept casually and then go on about your business as if nothing happened. You have to deal with it RIGHT NOW.  Do not be casual and accepting. It will not cure itself. I don’t normally want players getting on each other but I make an exception where fumbling is concerned. I don’t mind at all when teammates get on a guy who fumbles. That runner simply must move “Don’t Fumble!” to the front of his brain, ahead of anything else that might be going on in there.

When there is a fumble, pitch a fit - then  remind everyone on your team of how serious you are and how serious fumbles are by having everyone on the team do five up-downs or five pushups ANY time there is a fumble of ANY sort in practice. The point is that the entire team suffers when someone gets careless with the ball.

Convince your running backs that you are serious by making it an absolute , consistently enforced rule that if anyone fumbles, he comes out of the game - for a time that’s up to you to decide.

No runner is so good that he’s earned the right to fumble. I once pulled my star running back, a 1000-yard rusher, from the last game of his senior year and sat him down for the rest of the game after he’d fumbled for the third time. How could I face my team if I’d let him stay in and he’d fumbled again and we’d lost? He was pissed, of course, but just as I preach, the team comes first.  My obligation was to the team. We didn’t fumble again. We won.

That’s the mental part of it. Never let up on this, because even veteran players can get complacent. Condensed: you have to be willing to be anal and tough. It’s an unpleasant but sometimes necessary part of being a leader.

After work on the attitude toward fumbles  comes work on the mechanics.

You have to teach the proper way for the center to snap and for the QB to take the snap and to protect the ball and make the handoff or toss. And you have to rep these things until they’re almost automatic. And then continue to rep them.

Any time you run a play, even in group work, you need to have a center snapping to the QB. For the center, making a consistent  snap is far more important than blocking drills. Occasionally, put a nose man on the center.

For the exchange, handoff and toss mechanics, you can refer to  my new playbook.  It’s also covered in my QB Hockey Stick video...

You have to teach the running backs to take handoffs, catch tosses, carry the ball in traffic (both hands covering both points of the ball until they’re in the clear) and in the open field (the four points of contact: hand covering the point, ball touching forearm, biceps, ribs).  The coaches have to be insistent on their carrying the ball in the outside arm. Runners have to be drilled on being able to hang onto the ball when someone’s trying to pry it from their grasp.  And they have to learn how to fall without letting go of the ball or trying to break their fall with the arm that’s carrying the ball.

For fumble-prevention drills, look at my Practice Without Pads video.

In my opinion, 20 minutes is way too much group time when you’re only spending 20 minutes on team time. I wouldn’t know what to do with backs only for 20 minutes.   Spend way more time in team work.

In sum:  not nearly enough coaches devote nearly enough effort to prevention of fumbles, when they’re a major cause of losses.

Old football truism: First avoid losing - then win.

Good luck as always and let me know how it goes.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER :  Len Dawson is a great example of the importance of persistence, and of   being in the right place at the right time.

He played 19 years as an NFL quarterback for three different teams, but he failed with the first two teams and didn’t experience success until he landed with the third one - and once he did, he spent 14 years with them. 

In high school in Alliance, Ohio, he was the outstanding back in the state his senior year, but he passed up Ohio State - “That wasn’t me - I was a passing quarterback!” he would say years later -  to play college ball for Purdue, where they threw the ball.

In his three years at Purdue, playing both ways, he led the Big Ten in passing.  It was also while at Purdue that he met an assistant coach named Hank Stram whom he would join up with years later, to their mutual advantage.

He was a first-round draft choice of the Steelers, the fifth player taken overall, but after the Steelers acquired Bobby Layne, he became expendable, and he was traded to the Browns.

His luck was no better in Cleveland, and after two seasons, they released him.

That’s when he reunited with Stram, by then in his third year as head coach of the Dallas Texans in the American Football League.

And that’s when things turned around for him.  In his first season with them, the Texans defeated the Houston Oilers to win the AFL title, and he was named League MVP.

In all, in his 14 seasons with the team - most of them after the franchise moved to Kansas City - he led it to three league championships and a Super Bowl victory, in which he was named the MVP.

He was twice named first team All-AFL and twice named second team All-AFL.  He led the AFL in passing touchdowns four times, and six times led the league in passer rating.

He was named quarterback on the All-Time AFL team.

In 1973, he was named NFL Man of the Year.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

For years after he retired as a player Len Dawson was a TV sports guy in Kansas City, and served as a color commentator for the Chiefs’ radio network.

********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LEN DAWSON
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - Another great Strat-O-Matic card Len Dawson
DENNIS METZGER - RICHMOND, INDIANA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON

*********** What a guy!

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/just-because-len-dawson-enjoys-a-sweet-cig-during-super-bowl-i/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9iGf0DMpwA

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

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

I still find this picture hilarious.  Years ago, when I competed in olympic weightlifting, there was an old masters lifter at one meet.  Great guy.  Just before we started warming up, he was outside in the parking lot, smoking a couple of Marlboros.  One of the guys called out to him "Hey Don, time to start warming up"  Don casually stubbed out his last cigarette and replied "Ok".  He won his division.

Mike Framke
Green Bay, Wisconsin

LEN DAWSON SMOKING
Len Dawson catching a puff on the sidelines

Coach-  Those were different times, as this photo of me (the guy with the ’stache) from 1971 will attest.

Me smoking on sidelines

And,  back before they let the TV cameras in the locker room, here’s Chuck Bednarik celebrating the Eagles’ 1960 NFL championship game win over the Packers - after having played every down on both offense and defense…

Bednarik smoking

WHY I DON’T REFER TO THIS FEATURE AS “TRIVIA” AND I WISH YOU WOULDN’T, EITHER.

(I wrote this back in 2000, when I started “A Look at Our Legacy” and it still bears repeating.)

I sat down with my Board of Directors* and decided that the word "Trivia" in association with the sort of people I've featured here was doing them a disservice.   Since it’s my hope that this feature might interest coaches in the rich history of our game, it seemed to me that "trivia", a word associated with normally useless but occasionally interesting facts, was undercutting my intentions.  I definitely  don’t consider the people I write about, or their contributions to our game,  to be trivial. 

*There's no such thing; just play-acting on my part, pretending to be big-time.

*********** QUIZ - He was known in the coaching profession as “Big John.”

He spent his entire career coaching HBCU (look it up) programs, and in head-to-head meetings with the great Eddie Robinson, he was 11-9-1.

He was a native of Kentucky and a graduate of Kentucky State, where he played his college football, and his first head coaching job was at Jackson State. In 11 seasons there, he compiled a record of 63-37-5; his best-known player there was future all-pro Willie Richardson.

But he’s best  remembered for his accomplishments in a 21-year career at Tennessee State, from 1963 through 1983, where he won 172 and lost only 33, with 7 ties.

Tennessee State tried hard to entice him to leave Jackson State, and when he finally accepted their offer, he took along with him both offensive coordinator Alvin Coleman and defensive coordinator Joe Gilliam, Sr. "It was probably the biggest move in black collegiate athletics," he later recalled. "Never before had an entire coaching staff left a (black) school and gone to another."

At Tennessee State he had five undefeated seasons and five one-loss seasons. His “worst” season was 1975, when the Tigers went 5-4.  He produced such standout pro players as Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Eldridge Dickey, Richard Dent, Waymond Bryant, Cleveland Elam, "Jefferson Street Joe" Gilliam, Jr., Claude Humphrey, Joe "Turkey" Jones, James Marsalis, and Israel Lang. (Richard Dent would become the first player from a historically black college to be named Super Bowl MVP.)

He was a legendary PR man, who spent countless hours out in the community promoting his program. His work took him into the white community as well, where he was well liked and respected; the Mayor of Nashville and the Governor of Tennessee were regulars at Tiger games.

In 1982, Centennial Boulevard, which runs through the Tennessee State campus, was renamed to honor him.

He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

When he retired, he was ninth all-time in career wins at all levels of college football, with 235.


american flagFRIDAY,  AUGUST 31,  2018 -   “When a coach starts talking about why he did a certain thing, why he installed a certain play, that's when I perk up and start listening.  Not how he did it, but why." Darrell Royal



YEE-HAW! - THE LONG WAIT IS OVER!   FOOTBALL - REAL FOOTBALL  - IS BACK!


*********** Hi Coach.
 
Just curious to know how much of your offense is now “Open Wing” compared to “Double Wing?”
 
Would you say it’s about 80% Open Wing and 20% Double Wing????
 
Just curious.

Mike,

This is not going to help, but…

It depends entirely on the personnel - and on the opponent.

We have gone some games 90-10 Open Wing and the next week 90-10 Double Wing

We could go a whole season of 90-10 Open Wing or 90-10 Double Wing.

I think its beauty is its adaptability to what you’ve got and what you’re facing.



*********** Washington, thanks in large part to the heavy concentration of its population in the Seattle-Tacoma area, is a left-leaning state. (I refuse to use the “red” and “blue” business because I grew up in the “better dead than Red” days, when “Red” meant communist, going all the way back to 1917 and the Russian Revolution.)

There’s so much about living in the Northwest that I love, but living among the lefties can cause me to shake my head excessively.

Take “our” Governor, Jay Inslee.  Please take our governor.

Of course, he’s a Democrat.  He’s a big states-rights guys when it comes to Washington deciding on its own to legalize pot, not so much when it comes to other states having the right to exercise control over emissions from coal-fired power plants within their borders.

See, he’s also a big climate-change guy, and he really, really knows his science.

As evidence, there he was recently, as smoke from wildfires enveloped the Northwest and fouled our air, talking to reporters about smoke, and about coal-fired power plants.

Our state’s air, he told them,  was being fouled. From the outside.

Well, yeah, from British Columbia.  But from Mississippi?

Yes, Mississippi.

“We’re breathing smoke from Mississippi,” he told them.  “We’re breathing smoke from the rest of the United States.”

I don’t know why His Eminence chose to pick on Mississippi, but in defense of the Magnolia State, Jim Camden, a reporter from the Spokane Spokesman-Review, noted that weather patterns in general go from west to east, so that “for Washington to get smoke from Mississippi, it would have to make its way to the East Coast, travel across the Atlantic, across Europe, across Asia, and across the Pacific.  At that point, there would be at most a few molecules of Mississippi smoke in Washington air.”

This was confirmed by a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, who told Camden, “We clearly are not breathing air from Mississippi. I don’t think coal burning over the U.S. has any impact on us.”

Realizing that the Governor’s credentials as a climate scientist were endangered, a spokesman for The Great Man tried mightily to save the day, saying that the governor didn’t mean that we were literally breathing smoke from Mississippi.  He was just trying to make a point: “air pollution doesn’t stop at state borders.”

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

You've created "a disturbance in the force" by telling me of Michigan Football's visit to Normandy.

I loathe Michigan Football, and especially their fans. As a Purdue fan I'm supposed to loathe IU, but I attended Indiana University South Bend for an entire month, so I have just a little IU in me. Yes, I want Purdue to beat IU, but that's to win the best trophy in the Big Ten, The Old Oaken Bucket. However, I grew up in Kentucky and used to be a UK basketball fan. Trust me, there are very few Kentucky Football fans!  But I will not root for Kentucky Basketball as long as their current coach remains in Lexington.

Now, in the same way, I will not root for aO$U* as long as their current football coach remains in Columbus, and for many of the same reasons. As UK Basketball is bigger than the university, so also is aO$U Football bigger than its university. Maybe someday both schools will get me back.  But my money and my son went to Purdue, so they have my loyalty.

It took Jim Harbaugh, JIM HARBAUGH for crying out loud, to bring me to this conclusion. Oh the shame of it!

Have a great day, Coach.

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

*NOTE: The term aO$U needs a bit of explanation. It comes from Hammer and Rails, the Purdue Sports blog. The "a" is for "an." They argue that THE Ohio State University is one of many Ohio state universities such as Wright State, Kent State, Cleveland State, etc. Some state community colleges also have "state" in their names. The "$" needs no explanation. Ohio State football is a cash cow, even more so than Michigan and Penn State.

Jim, as you no doubt know from reading my page, I’m not disposed to favor Jim Harbaugh, but given a choice between a team coached by a guy I don’t particularly care for who’s done a patriotic thing and one coached by a guy I don’t care about one way or another who’s a liar, it’s an easy call.  Go Blue.

I do like Purdue, in large part because like other schools I favor that wear the the black and gold - Army, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest - they share the unenviable task of competing against people whose academic standards don’t align with theirs.  And I do like the job that Coach Brohm is doing.

I sure do like that “aO$U”

*********** Speaking of Ohio State, whose idea of a "suspension"  of their head coach is letting him coach all week long as if nothing had ever happened, then sit back on game day and turn the game over to his assistants…

Why do you suppose someone there chose to drag Texas coach Tom Herman into the mud along with the now-notorious Zach Smith?  Unless it was to deliberately besmirch Herman, why would they have made public the fact that he was the “other coach” who accompanied Smith - and, allegedly, some high school coaches - to a strip club in 2014?

*********** From time to time I’ve watched the tennis at the US Open, in New York.

It’s been hot as hell, and humid on top of it all, and it’s brutal on the players.

They are sweating profusely, and their outfits, provided by different apparel companies, droop and sag on them.

So here’s my question: Underarmour, isn’t the ability of your “performancewear” to keep athletes warm when it’s cold out and cool when it’s hot out  the reason you got your start in the business?

And what about the rest of you apparel makers?  Is it really good for your business to have those high-priced models out there wearing your sweaty clothing and dropping out from the heat?

***********  We are getting a great illustration this week of the old proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Liberals are not noted for their adoration of our armed forces,  and once derided the late Senator John McCain when he ran for President against the much-adored Barack Hussein Obama.  But to show how quickly they can turn, his fierce opposition to their bete noire*, Donald Trump, earned him a place in their (relatively empty) Pantheon of War Heroes.

*An object of intense dislike… a major annoyance… (In French, it means “black beast.”)


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

Finally caught a little bit of a break this morning!  Been pretty busy.  After four years of being called the Assistant Principal I'm actually doing the work of an Assistant Principal this year.  At least I can go out knowing I made a contribution after all.

Mike sent me a picture of the ring.  I can't imagine how proud he and Cielo must be of their son.

I can only echo the sentiments of Brad Knight.  If we ever needed our fellow conservatives to get out and vote it would be this November.  And unbeknownst to most liberals there are a helluva lot more of us out there than they think.

Yes...that Hawai'i - Colorado State game was as exciting as it gets.  Hopefully the game I'm going to this Saturday will have that same kind of excitement.

We are having our own St. Frances controversy down here:

https://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/high_school/high_school_football/article/Cornerstone-asks-to-be-released-from-TAPPS-sports-13172995.php

https://www.expressnews.com/sports/high-school/article/Cornerstone-brings-in-Booty-family-to-boost-12869879.php

They have dropped four of their originally scheduled football opponents for this year (including us) and picked up a few higher caliber teams from Texas and Mississippi to replace them.  Won't be surprised to see St. Frances, or IMG Academy on their schedule next year.

One of the toughest parts of coaching the DW is teaching the O Linemen to not chase defenders.  Especially the Center and the uncovered linemen.  That is why I never left the O- Line coaching responsibilities to an assistant.  I preferred to coach the O Line.

Have never had a conversation with a crustacean so I have no idea what PETA is talking about.

Gonna miss tomorrow's news.  Will be kicking off the college football season this year in grand style. 

My eldest daughter and I will be traveling to South Bend tomorrow at O Dark Hundred.  Going to the pep rally on Friday night, get to tailgating and TRY to get up close to the Game Day stage on Saturday, and have tickets for the ND-Michigan game on Saturday night.  Will be sitting about 12 rows up from the ND band.

She was able to score the tickets through the Austin ND Club of which she is a member, and officer.

QUIZ:  Hook 'em!  That would be none other than Darrell K. Royal of the University of Texas Longhorns, and that 100,000 seat stadium is affectionately known as "DKR" 'round these parts.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

I’d say that that earns you a pass on the news! You are granted a dispensation.

Have a great time, and if you want to get on TV, get near the guy(s) with the WSU flag(s).



*********** You think you’re the only one who has problems with today’s young people wanting instant success without paying the price?

Fender, the guitar maker, sells almost half of its instruments to new guitar players. Within a year, 90 per cent of them have given up guitar playing.


*********** When he was asked Sunday about his friendship with President Trump, Tiger Woods said,  “He’s the president of the United States. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”

Oh, dear. On Monday, a guy named Kellerman, who’s described as an “ESPN commentator,” went off on Woods for saying that, in a rant worthy of a high priest of Antifa.

"It either holds in contempt the intelligence of people who hear it or else it’s just a stupid thing to say,” Kellerman said of Woods’ comments.


Now, if you’d asked me four days ago who the hell Max Kellerman was, I couldn’t have told you.  Maybe that’s because I only watch ESPN for the games they televise, and not for their (leftist) political commentary, including the old liberal concept that all black people must think the way ESPN thinks.

Keep digging your hole, ESPN.


https://townhall.com/tipsheet/laurettabrown/2018/08/28/espn-host-angered-over-tiger-woods-calling-for-respect-for-the-president-n2513779


*********** My God.  The lefty weenies have established a beachhead in one of the last places you’d have expected it -  Alabama!

Physical education teachers in Alabama should avoid such recess staples as tag, dodgeball and Duck, Duck Goose due to the games' lack of physical stimulation and high chance of embarrassment for students, according to a guidance document from the Alabama State Department of Education.


https://www.al.com/expo/news/erry-2018/08/00d517d6fe1227/tag-kickball-red-rover-musical.html



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

Spent time with you at Chippewa Falls, Wi. Ran the offense for six years in Blackduck Mn

After retirement other coaches moved on to other systems. This yr. former jr high coach
Convinced new head coach to talk to the old man’s staff. Switched and won their first game 34 to 12.

Still keep up with your website. I find it ironic that you have run and shoot integrated.  Mouse Davis sent me his Denver playbook and I ran that for yrs prior to double wing. Keep up the good work.

Jerry Sonnek
Blackduck, Minnesota

Hi Coach-

Great to hear from you!

I well remember you from the first time Paul Herzog told me about the great job you were doing with the Double Wing up in Blackduck!

Sure hope that whoever’s running the show now is taking advantage of your know-how.

Thanks for writing - please keep in touch!

(Coach Sonnek refers to a Double Wing camp we ran in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin in 1998 - hard to believe it was 20 years ago.  There were about eight schools at the camp.  It was during the state’s “dead period” prior to the official start of fall practice when coaches couldn’t coach their own teams, but - since everybody there was running the same system, and using my terminology, coaches just swapped teams.  A few coaches came with just a handful of kids, so we combined them into one team - a motley crew - and they were coached by a Double Wing coach from Iowa named Don Capaldo. I should add that the host coach, Chuck Raykovich of Chippewa Falls, High, ran the Double Wing to a place in the Wisconsin High School Coaches Hall of Fame, located in the atrium of Lambeau Field.)


*********** I came across a youtube video in which a high school coach named Joe Daniel, whom I’ve spoken with on his podcast, does a nice job ranking the top play drawing apps.

His top 3:

1. Playmaker Pro
2. Go Army Edge
3. Hudl

I have no experience with Hudl in that regard, but I have a LOT of experience with Playmaker Pro and Go Army Edge, and I concur.  Playmaker Pro, the work of a Michgan guy named Bruce Williams whom I’ve gotten to know over the years, is the gold standard in my book; In fairness, Go Army Edge, which I was privileged to help beta test, is not strictly a play drawing app -  its primary function is to enable you to show your players, in fairly realistic video game format and from several different  perspectives and camera angles, the on-field execution of the plays you’ve drawn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d_zEFUSikI.


*********** (You wrote) After years of pushing that obnoxiously pretentious “THE” Ohio State University on us, Ohio State and the people who ostensibly run things had to go and let Urban Meyer pull a Hillary, you know - with problems remembering, and all that…

Meanwhile, on ESPN2, there’s Jim and Dad Jack Harbaugh, with the MIchigan team at Normandy, placing a wreath at a memorial to the brave Americans who gave their all…

No need for me to explain why I’ve made the switch to Michigan.

Welcome aboard!

John Zeller
Tustin, Michigan


***********  If you like to watch two diametrically opposed offenses - and if you can stay up late enough to watch it - the best game of the weekend might very well be Saturday night when Navy plays at Hawaii. 


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER- Darrell Royal was born in Hollis, Oklahoma.  His family moved to California during the Dust Bowl, but when his high school coach told him he was too small to play, he returned to Oklahoma to play high school ball.

After service in World War II, he played football at the University of Oklahoma, where he was a very good defensive back, setting two records - 18 interceptions in a season and three in one game - that still stand. He shared time at quarterback in Coach Bud Wilkinson’s split-T offense.  Several of his teammates, including Dee Andros, Jim Owens and Wade Walker, would go on to become college coaches.

After college he spent three seasons as a college assistant, then was hired as head coach at Edmonton in the CFL.

He left after one year to take the head job at Mississippi State. In two years at Starkville, he went 12-8 and in one year at Washington he went 5-5.

He’d moved around, he hadn’t stayed long in any one place, and his overall record as a college head coach was an undistinguished 17-13.

But the big Southwest Conference school, coming off a 1-9 season, was desperate.

It turned out to be a great hire.  He finished 6-4-1 in his first season, and in 20 years there, he never had a losing season.

He won three national championships, and won or shared 11 SWC titles. 

He was twice named AFCA Coach of the Year.

Darrell K. Royal Texas Stadium is named in his honor.


********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DARRELL ROYAL
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA - Went to a NIU clinic when Pat Culpepper was coach in the late 70s…an evening full of Darrell Royal stories!
DENNIS METZGER - RICHMOND, INDIANA
MIKE BENTON - COLFAX, ILLINOIS
SHEP CLARKE - PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON


*********** There may never have been a better writer of football - at least Texas football - than Dan Jenkins, and it took a little digging, but I found it: a piece he wrote for Sports Illustrated many, many years ago. 

In honor of Sports Illustrated's 60th anniversary, SI.com is republishing, in full, 60 of the best stories to ever run in the magazine. Today's selection is "The Disciples Of St. Darrell On A Wild Weekend," by Texas native Dan Jenkins. Though he had joined SI just the year before, Jenkins was already building a reputation as the nation's finest college football writer. In this piece he returns to his home state and tags along with some die-hard fans of the Longhorns -- some of whom just happened to be high school friends of his -- as they engaged in a weekend of partying and pigskin. It originally ran in the Nov. 11, 1963 issue.

You probably have to be of a certain age to remember when many Catholics had little statues of the Virgin Mary on the dashboards of their cars. 

Jenkins used that image to show that the Longhorn fans he writes  about are, to say the least, worshipful.

But they worship “St. Darrell.”  The hero of his piece jokes about having Royal's statue on his dashboard, and sings, as he drives to the game,  “I don't care 'bout my gas and oil,/Long as I got my Dare-e-ull Royal,/ Mounted on the dashboard o' my car…”

https://www.si.com/college-football/2014/10/17/si-60-disciples-st-darrell-wild-weekend-dan-jenkins

*********** Sent by Greg Koenig - a beautiful gesture to honor Coach Royal

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=util9KJPfYk

*********** Coach Royal, in “Darrell Royal Talks Football,” had some very interesting things to say, including ways to make the game better.

He talked about watching the 1953 Orange Bowl game as a spectator, and noticing for the first time how time outs ruin things -  “Just when the game got to a fever pitch, when a team got on the move, and the band was playing and everybody yelling - somebody would call a time out. The most thrilling part of the game would be soused in a bucket of water.”

His suggestion? Do away with time outs.

“I had never  realized what an injustice (it is)  to spectators, when you cut right into the most exciting part of the game with a two-minute interruption when nobody does anything.

“In boxing, when you have an opponent a little groggy and on the ropes, he can’t blow a whistle and say, wait a minute - you have the advantage now.  Stop. I want to rest and regroup.”

“Basketball is the same way.  A team gets going strong and a player pumps in a couple goals and suddenly there’s a time out, which kills all the action.

"I believe a rule eliminating time outs would liven up our game.”

He said that in 1963, before the advent of the damnable TV timeout, so his comments are more appropriate than ever.

*********** QUIZ :  He is a great example of persistence, and of the importance of being in the right place at the right time.

He played 19 years as an NFL quarterback for three different teams, but he failed with the first two teams and didn’t experience success until he landed with the third one - and once he did, he spent 14 years with them. 

In high school in Alliance, Ohio, he was the outstanding back in the state his senior year, but he passed up Ohio State - “That wasn’t me - I was a passing quarterback!” he would say years later -  to play college ball for Purdue, where they threw the ball.

In his three years at Purdue, playing both ways, he led the Big Ten in passing.  It was also while at Purdue that he met an assistant coach named Hank Stram whom he would join up with years later, to their mutual advantage.

He was a first-round draft choice of the Steelers, the fifth player taken overall, but after the Steelers acquired Bobby Layne, he became expendable, and he was traded to the Browns.

His luck was no better in Cleveland, and after two seasons, they released him.

That’s when he reunited with Stram, by then in his third year as head coach of the Dallas Texans in the American Football League.

And that’s when things turned around for him.  In his first season with them, the Texans defeated the Houston Oilers to win the AFL title, and he was named League MVP.

In all, in his 14 seasons with the team - most of them after the franchise moved to Kansas City - he led it to three league championships and a Super Bowl victory, in which he was named the MVP.

He was twice named first team All-AFL and twice named second team All-AFL.  He led the AFL in passing touchdowns four times, and six times led the league in passer rating.

He was named quarterback on the All-Time AFL team.

In 1973, he was named NFL Man of the Year.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

For years after he retired as a player he was a TV sports guy in Kansas City, and served as a color commentator for the Chiefs’ radio network.



american flagTUESDAY,  AUGUST 28,  2018 -   “There are no boring subjects - only disinterested minds.”  G. K. Chesterton


*********** A little-known fact: the concept of the class ring was born at West Point, the United States Military Academy, in 1835.

Randy Foristiere, son of Kansas high school coach Mike Foristiere, is about to become a first classman (senior) at West Point,  and this past weekend he and his classmates got their class rings.

The West Point class ring, bearing the class’ distinctive seal, is a VERY big deal.  

It symbolizes the wearer’s membership in the “Long Gray Line,” the centuries-long chain of West Point graduates, and one of the ways it does so is through a tradition begun for the Class of 2002, the 200th anniversary of the Military Academy’s founding.

It’s known as the ring melt.  Every spring, in a foundry in Rhode Island,  class rings donated by older graduates - or, more often, by the survivors of deceased graduates - are melted in a crucible and formed into an ingot of pure gold.  This “memorial gold” will be melted again along with “new” gold, and made into this year’s rings.

A small amount of the gold from each year’s melt is retained and used the following year, so that all new rings contain gold from all the rings that have been donated.

This year, there were 69 rings donated, a record number.  As each is placed into the crucible, a biography of the donor is read.

In all, 520 rings have been donated so far, including  rings from 10 four-star generals, one Medal of Honor recipient, one U.S. Congressman, one member of the National Basketball Hall of Fame.  One ring was worn in  space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.  When the Class of 2019 put on their rings recently, the gold on their fingers came from rings worn by West Point graduates in battle in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, and the War on Terror.

https://www.westpointaog.org/ring-memorial-program-class-of-2019

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2017/02/28/class-rings-from-west-point-grads-are-melted-for-new-rings/


*********** Before going into alcohol rehab, a Pendleton, Oregon guy and his buddy were on a “last hurrah” tour  of national parks.  Something on the order of a bachelor party,  except no wedding.

The tour came to an unplanned ending in Yellowstone, where the guy was pinched for waving his arms to try to get a bison out of the road.  Uh- oh.  (That’s “harassment of wildlife,” if you didn’t know).

Turns out he’d already had a few drunken run-ins with the law at a couple other national parks, as a result of which he was out on bond for public intoxication and interfering with police officers.

When the police nabbed him in Yellowstone they found an open container in his car - and one of the conditions of his bond was that he not consume alchohol.

So he was sentenced to five years’ probation, among the conditions of which are that he is banned from three national parks and - get this - he’s not allowed to drink alcohol. For FIVE YEARS.

Good luck with that one.

If that idiot judge (but I repeat myself)  really thinks that’s going to work, maybe we should just send all our problem drinkers to him and he can order them not to drink for the rest of their lives.

The bison botherer is going to have the last laugh, though - he was going to go into rehab anyway, presumably at his own expense,  and now it looks as if the taxpayers - you and I - are going to be paying for it.

*********** After years of pushing that obnoxiously pretentious “THE” Ohio State University on us, Ohio State and the people who ostensibly run things had to go and let Urban Meyer pull a Hillary, you know - with problems remembering, and all that…

Meanwhile, on ESPN2, there’s Jim and Dad Jack Harbaugh, with the MIchigan team at Normandy, placing a wreath at a memorial to the brave Americans who gave their all…

No need for me to explain why I’ve made the switch to Michigan.

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

As an Iowan and a Republican I am angry.  Very angry.  Our immigration system is PUTRID.  ONE GIRL would not be dead (brutally murdered, stabbed several times after being abducted and who knows what) at the hands of an ILLEGAL ALIEN who had no right to be in our country.  The Liberal crowd says it is about human decency, this man had none, and several legal citizens in the US do not either.  I agree, citizens of the US can and often do bad things as well, and I am not forgiving that, but THIS GIRL is dead because our immigration system is non existent.  It failed to protect HER.  ONE death of an American Citizen is ONE DEATH TOO MANY (and she is not the first).  It is time to Build The Wall, DEPORT EVERY ILLEGAL, AND FIX IMMIGRATION.  You can bet your sweet a$$ I am voting for EVERY TRUMP AGENDA SUPPORTER in the upcoming elections so we can FIX THIS ISSUE.

Hope you are well, I'll end my rant and wish you and Connie the best.  Can't wait to see you soon!  Been way too long.

Brad Knight
Clarinda, Iowa

Knighter,

I am a Washingtonian, and I, too, am angry.

It’s always been something of a comfort to me, living in the liberal-infested West Coast, to think that there was always the Heartland - there was always Iowa, with its small towns like Holstein and Clarinda, where little kids could ride their bikes to the pool, and young women could go running - with never a worry about their safety.

In those small Iowa towns, people could still do the things that, thanks to our liberal friends and their attitudes toward borders and punishment of criminals, we haven’t been able to do on either coast for years.

And now, evil has been brought to those lovely little towns.

It's so sad and so wrong on so many levels, and maybe the worst thing of all is what it’s done to places like Holstein and Clarinda  that will never really be the same again.

That REALLY pisses me off, because small town America was just about all that was left of the old America that I grew up in - an America that was GREAT because of AMERICANS that made it great.

Love to you all and hug your girls!



*********** The NFL doesn’t have enough problems, between its ongoing feud with the President of the United States, the perception among many of its core followers that its players don’t like them or our country, and the empty seats at pre-season games.

On top of that, they’ve a problem that’s at least as unfixable as the national anthem issue: their product is dull.  Tune in an NFL game and you’re surprised when it’s a good one.  Tune in a college game and you’re surprised when it’s not.

Saturday, with the college season not yet even officially under way,  Hawaii and Colorado State drove that point home, with a game that the NFL will be hard put to match in an entire season of play.

Hawaii, with QB Cole McDonald executing their run and shoot offense to near-perfection, seemingly had the game in hand with a 37-7 second half lead.  And then, behind the throwing of K.J. Carta-Samuels, a graduate transfer from Washington, the  Rams began a stunning comeback, driving 99 yards in four plays to make it 37-20 after three quarters. (Carta-Samuels wound up throwing for a school-record 537 yards.)

The Rams scored twice more, with a Hawaii field goal in between,  to make the score 40-34 with 4:42 remaining.

Suddenly, though, Hawaii came alive again, and drove into range to  kick another field goal and put the game out of reach at 43-34 with only seconds remaining.

Here’s the scary thing about Hawaii: think of all the great run and shoot quarterbacks and all the huge numbers they put up - throwing the ball.  Now think of how dangerous they could have been if they could have run even a little.

Hawaii’s QB, Cole McDonald, can run, either when flushed from the pocket, or when running a read-option.  He rushed for 96 yards and two TDs.

In a post-game interview, he sounded like a good kid, humble enough and eager to spread the credit around.

Seems to me that makes Cole McDonald the (very) early leader in the Heisman race.  Besides his 96 yards and two TDs rushing,  he threw for 418 yards and three touchdowns, and Hawaii beat Colorado State in Fort Collins for the first time in 30 years.  If that ain’t a “Heisman Moment,” what is?

So what the hell - Cole McDonald for the Heisman.

*********** In two weeks we play a team that has had three kids ejected in two games. They are not very good or well coached, so I don’t see this trend changing by time they face us. If fact, it may be worse, as they may act out in frustration to losing. You had a drill in the Practice Without Pads video which simulated taunting scenarios. Can you walk me through that? Telling kids to walk away is like telling them not to fumble. It has to be practiced.

We call it the “Walk Away” drill.  At first, we show it to kids by having one player shove another (who knows that he’s about to be shoved), perhaps accompanied by an insult of some sort.  The person who’s been shoved is required to back up,  put his hands up in the air, and turn and walk away, saying nothing.  We accompany this demonstration with the time-tested information that more often than not it’s the person who responds who gets caught.  We point out that retaliation is a selfish act, and we remind them, as always, that no one has the right to do something selfish that can hurt the team.

As we go on, from time to time we’ll take a player aside during practice and tell him to instigate something.  Nothing dangerous, but we’d like it to be realistic - like after another guy has just blocked or tackled him or knocked down a pass.

(Once, a guy who’d been accepted to the University of Washington, shoved a teammate from behind and delivered the ultimate insult, “You’re going to WSU!”)

I’ve always heard that you know you’re running the right drills when you see them in games, and I guarantee you’ll see this one!


*********** Very interesting article on football oddities, sent me by Tom Walls, of Winnipeg.

  https://www.google.ca/amp/s/wlogblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/15-strange-things-that-can-technically-happen-in-football/amp/

Tom writes,

I liked the section in today’s NYCU about “They Also Play Football”. We are taking a road trip to Fargo on Sept. 22nd to see #16 Delaware take on #1 North Dakota State. It is a sold out homecoming and the tickets were quite pricey.

However, we are excited to be the four blue specks in a sea of green.

It would also be neat to see the DIII rankings. You know DIII, where the starting quarterback is majoring in civil engineering and the opposing linebacker is an aspiring chemist?

(Yes - D III, where it’s still football the way it was meant to be played.  No need to apologize for the brand of football played in Division III. HW)

*********** I am familiar with the issue with St. Frances Football, their coach and the MIAA. St. Frances has built a power by recruiting kids from out of state and overseas. They resemble a college team and don’t follow the league rules. They have no academic standards and will take anyone who can play football. In addition, they take senior transfers unlike the rest of the teams they play.  It’s a complete joke! The rest of the coaches in the league were well aware of the recruiting violations that were taking place at St. Frances and decided collectively to drop them. Every coach knew they would be accused of racism because St. Frances is a predominantly black school.  It had nothing to do with the make up of the school. It had to do with a coach that is financially wealthy with a huge ego who didn’t think the rules should apply to him.  He decided he wanted to build a national power with top players from Maryland and the surrounding states without following the league rules and policies.  This issue actually came to light  because the St. Frances coaches were trying to pluck all the best players from the public schools in the Baltimore area. The public school coaches began to complain to the private school coaches regarding St. Frances and their recruiting.  As you can Imagine, they were violating all kinds of MIAA recruiting rules. They were way over the top with text messages to recruits, giving away gear and making crazy promises to kids. I saw some of the text messages and it was crazy to say the least. It’s a shame and not what high school sports should ever be. The league was smart to break ties and move on. No one within the MIAA was willing to respond to the media’s request for their side of the story because of fear of lawsuit.

NAME WITHHELD

*********** I love to walk along the beach in Ocean Shores, Washington.  It’s still fairly rough and rugged, never the slghtest bit crowded, and the action of the tides and winds and currents makes it a different beach every time I see it.

I really enjoy the wildlife I see, especially  the sandpipers.  They’re some of the damnedest things I’ve ever seen.

There are some great examples of teamwork in the animal world  - ants, bees, geese, wolves come to mind - but I can’t think of any better than sandpipers.

They tend to cluster together near the surf as they busily peck away with their long, pointed bills at whatever it is in the sand that provides nourishment.  They’re careful to avoid having to swim, so they race away from any incoming waves as fast as their spindly legs can take them, then, just as fast, they chase the wave as it recedes.

But every so often, suddenly, someone - I suspect it’s God - gives a signal, and they’re off the beach and in the air.  All together.  Every single one. Not one outlier saying, “You go ahead - I think I’ll stay here on the beach.”

And off they go, flying in a huge swarm, all close together, all going in the same direction at the same speed.

Then suddenly, as if God’s out in front of them conducting a wave drill,  arms over his head to send them in the opposite direction, whoosh - just like that - the entire flock, every single bird, swerves and turns as one. And there’s never a collision!

They do some more of the sort of coordinated aerobatics that would put Blue Angels or Thunderbirds to shame until someone - perhaps still God - decides it’s time to land. That  they do.  Again, as one, every bird with its own landing spot.  There’s not a single collision, not a single instance of one bird landing on top of another. It’s as if it had all been rehearsed.

And then, as if they’d merely stepped away for a moment, they’re back to pecking away in the sand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpAxz2xkhrs


*********** A long-time friend and Double Wing coach - one of the best in the business - texted me to say that while his Super Power looks good both ways, he has been having trouble getting his center to stay home when his assignment is to block “area away.”  He was making contact and chasing the defender, which as we know creates a big hole for the defense to run through.   He asked if I’d ever run into this issue.

Oh. boy, have I - which is why there is a distinction between blocking “Area Away” and “Man Away.”

The first thing we tell the center to do is not to go after anyone - to stay in his area and block anyone who tries to come through.

We tell the center  to keep his heels on the ground and his head up and tail down before, during and after the snap. He should be in the same stance throughout. That reinforces the idea that “Area Away” is not an aggressive move.

As he snaps, he jabs anyone to his backside with his backside hand and arm; he steps, slightly back, with his butt pointed to playside. (It’s not unlike hinging - “Ass to the pass.”)

As we texted, my friend said, “I’ve been texting him about it this afternoon as he's watching film. He said, ‘I get so excited to hit. I just have to slow down and think.’”

That’s when the coach got an idea.  He texted me, “Hugh, the pictures in your playbook are priceless. I just sent page 48 to our center.”

The center’s reply to page 48: "That's what I needed. Now I see what I have been doing to our backfield. It won't happen again.”

Said my friend: “I’ve never had a center this aggressive. I'll reward him by running more Wedge.”

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

Really appreciated your description of the research process Mr. Maraniss used for his book They Marched Into Sunlight.  It really brings home the difficulty he faced and gives me another level of appreciation for dedicated writers of history. 

Also, please keep including more youtube links like the ones you did for Jim Parker.  I'm only 36 so my first real memories of the NFL start around Super Bowl 25 when I was 8.  I love hearing about and seeing footage of the guys that dominated the game before today's era of "superstars."  I do think it would make the game more interesting if lineman today had to play back like they did in the early days. 

Thanks for your time and effort in putting together the blog.  It's also a great read and something I look forward to on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Joel Mathews
Independence, Missouri


*********** The early-season high school games on TV have one thing in common: commentators obsessed with telling us how many  college offers this kid or that kid has.  Almost invariably, the kid in question is an underclassman.

Funny, I hear college coaches bitch about the influence of the NFL - they complain about their guys leaving early for the pros, and they go to great lengths to keep their players from talking with agents. They don’t like others interfering in “their” programs.

All the while, they’re out offering high school players before they’ve even played a high school game.

So there are the college coaches, blowing smoke up high school kids’ asses, while the kids’ high school coaches try to convince them of the importance of team play.

Tell me that isn’t interfering with high school programs.


*********** PETA Puts Up Billboard Telling Marylanders to Stop Eating Crabs

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) put up a billboard in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor featuring a picture of a blue crab with the message “I’m ME, Not MEAT. See the Individual. Go Vegan.”

“Just like humans, crabs feel pain and fear, have unique personalities, and value their own lives,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman commented. “PETA’s billboard aims to give Charm City residents some food for thought about sparing sensitive marine animals the agony of being boiled alive or crushed to death in fishing nets simply by going vegan.”

However, Twitter users and locals reacted pretty much as could be expected to PETA’s efforts to get them to stop eating the Maryland specialty.

“I thought it was fake, honestly,” Tony Minadakis, owner of Jimmy’s Famous Seafood told the Baltimore Sun of the billboard. “I was shocked. It was pretty tone-deaf.”

They probably decided to try their stuff against  Maryland and its trademarked hard shell crabs (damn, they’re good) before moving on to the big time - South Louisiana and crawfish boils.  Surely those folks in Cajun Country would appreciate being informed that, just like blue crabs,  crawfish “feel pain and fear, have unique personalities, and value their own lives.”

Personalities you say? Crabs and crawfish? What about clams?  Maybe a legendary Philadelphia sports writer named Stan Hochman meant something different from what I thought when he once wrote that Bill Arnsparger had all the personality of a cherrystone clam.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/laurettabrown/2018/08/24/peta-puts-up-billboards-telling-marylanders-to-stop-eating-blue-crabs-n2512772


 fisher bunnies
COACH: When you are the Fisher Bunnies I guess you find ways to embrace your mascot name.  I thought you might get a kick out of these decals… I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the Carrot Sticker for positive reinforcement.  

Regards,

Bill Lawlor
Palatine, Illinois

Bill,

That’s making lemons out of lemonade.

If Oregon can do it with the Ducks, you can do it with the Battlin’ Bunnies.

The carrot is hilarious!

Good Luck!



************ Pine-Richland High, a defending Pennsylvania state champion, opened up against IMG Academy - and got dismembered.

Pre-game…

A roster from IMG lists the hometowns of every player. IMG has players from — get this — 18 different states and also from Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. Consider that Florida State’s roster this season has players from only 17 states.

Only 12 of IMG’s players are from Florida. Among the Ascenders’ other players, five are from California, three from Washington, four from Texas, six from Georgia and one each from Oklahoma, Nevada, Colorado and Delaware.

IMG does not have a player from Pennsylvania.

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/high-school-football/2018/08/23/img-academy-football-pine-richland-wpial-2018/stories/201808230169

Post-game…

IMG 42, Pine-Richland 0)

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/high-school-football/2018/08/24/Pine-Richland-Rams-blown-away-by-IMG-Ascenders-42-0/stories/201808240180

IMG IN NO WAY RESEMBLES A CONVENTIONAL HIGH SCHOOL, WHOSE TEAMS ARE MADE UP OF THE KIDS WHO LIVE IN THE AREA (THAT INCLUDES THE DREADED CATHOLIC SCHOOLS)…

SO WHY ARE CONVENTIONAL HIGH SCHOOLS CONFERRING LEGITIMACY ON IMG BY SCHEDULING IT?

*********** The PAC 12 is using Virtual Reality as part of its concussion protocol

https://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/08/23/pac-12-trialing-new-concussion-protocol-involving-virtual-reality-goggles/


QUIZ ANSWER:  The most fortunate NFL franchises are blessed with the halcyon days of a luminary like Tom Brady, Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas. The Bengals are cursed with the myth of  Greg Gook, the kind of transcendent talent every offensive mastermind hopes to find once in a lifetime.

A local hero drafted No. 5 overall out of the University of Cincinnati in 1969, Cook  shook off a Week 3 muscle tear in his throwing arm to author the greatest rookie quarterback season in pro football history, leading the AFL in completion percentage, passer rating and yards per attempt -- while playing for an expansion team in its second year of existence. His 9.411 yards-per-attempt figure and 17.5 yards-per-completion mark are rookie records that remain unsurpassed in the NFL. In fact, among veteran quarterbacks since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, only Kurt Warner (9.9, 2000) and Chris Chandler (9.6, 1998) have bested Greg Cook in yards per attempt, and only Craig Morton (17.8, 1970) has topped him in yards per completion.

Driven by the swashbuckling young quarterback, Cincinnati knocked off the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in that Week 3 game and handed the Oakland Raiders their only defeat of the regular season a couple of months later. The newly founded Bengals were off and running -- until  Cook was struck down by the football gods.

It turned out Cook had played most of that year with a rotator-cuff injury suffered against the Chiefs. Though it was similar to what Drew Brees overcame in 2006, early-1970s medical technology had no answer for it, and Greg Cook attempted just three more passes after his rookie season.

"I think Greg Cook would have been mentioned, had he had a full career, with the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league," said Sam Wyche, Cook’s backup and eventually the Bengals' head coach. "He had everything. He had size, a rifle arm, he had a Terry Bradshaw kind or release. ... He had running ability, he was good-looking. He would have had the endorsements."

Wyche might actually be underselling that unique talent. Greg Cook was viewed as Football Adonis. Sports Illustrated's Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman once described him as a "blond-haired football god." Legendary Dallas Cowboys talent scout Gil Brandt casually refers to  Cook as "the golden boy from Chillicothe, Ohio."

“Greg Cook was, I believe, the greatest talent to play the position," Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh once said. "He was Steve Young, but bigger."

Bengals owner Mike Brown -- Paul's son -- believes his organization, and not the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, would have been the team of the '70s if not for Cook’s tragic injury.

Greg Cook ’s success had contributed to a palpable sense of excitement. The Bengals could boast back-to-back AFL Offensive Rookies of the Year (Paul Robinson and Cook), the AFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (Bill Bergey) and the reigning AFL Coach of the Year (Paul Brown). Baseball's Reds were set to open the sparkling new Riverfront Stadium and host the 1970 MLB All-Star Game. The "Big Red Machine" would go on to dominate the National League just as "WKRP in Cincinnati" ruled television's airwaves.

"He gave us hope -- we went from the expansion team to a team that could beat anybody," Brown told Cincinnati's City Beat after Cook’s death in 2012. "Then you had the story of recovery, getting better and not getting better. He was prominent in the news for four or five years and then it faded it away, and the myth never faded away. People still had him in their minds.

"He was the prince who never became king."

Former Bengals teammate Bob Trumpy, a four-time Pro Bowl tight end, captured the lost opportunity on NFL Network's "Top 10 One-Shot Wonders": "I don't know what he would have done if he'd have played 10 or 12 years. I think my fingers would have been filled with Super Bowl rings."

There are moments when the fortunes of an NFL franchise can pivot on one play. The Bengals had tied their future to a generational player, only to see their window for greatness slammed shut on a routine quarterback sack.

"What a great, great talent," a nostalgic Walsh expressed to Zimmerman in 2001. "What a terrible shame."

But Greg Cook’s legacy isn't limited to his unofficial status as the best there never was. He is forever intertwined with Walsh, with his fate serving as the impetus for the misnamed West Coast offense.


When Walsh first arrived in Cincinnati as Paul Brown's assistant in 1968, he was steeped in the vertical stretch offenses of Sid Gillman and Al Davis, two of the most influential minds of the era. Greg Cook’s ability to "throw the ball from one end of the field to the other" was ideal for that downfield attack.

The architect of the West Coast offense acknowledged years later that his famed scheme would have been "completely different" if not for Cook ’s injury.

"It would have started with the deep strike," Walsh said, "and everything would have played off that. It would have set records that never would be broken."

Read the entire Greg Cook article from NFL.com (it’s really good)

http://www.nfl.com/ohioriveroffense?campaign=Ext_Email_1st10_20150522&cvosrc=Ext_Email.Epsilon.1st10_20150522

*********** Courtesy of Greg Koenig, Cimarron, Kansas

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

********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GREG COOK
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
DENNIS METZGER - RICHMOND, INDIANA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON

*********** QUIZ - He was born in Hollis, Oklahoma.  His family moved to California during the Dust Bowl, but when a local high school coach told him he was too small to play, he returned to Oklahoma to play his high school ball.

After service in World War II, he played football at the University of Oklahoma. He was a very good defensive back, setting two records - 18 interceptions in a season and three in one game - that still stand. He shared time at quarterback in Coach Bud Wilkinson’s split-T offense.  Several of his teammates, including Dee Andros, Jim Owens and Wade Walker, would go on to become college coaches.

After college he spent three seasons as a college assistant, then was hired as head coach at Edmonton in the CFL.

He left Edmonton after one year to take the head job at Mississippi State. In two years at Starkville, he went 12-8 and in one year at Washington he went 5-5.

He’d moved around, he hadn’t stayed long in any one place, and his overall record as a college head coach was an undistinguished 17-13.

But a big Southwest Conference school, coming off a 1-9 season, was desperate, and it hired him.

It turned out to be a great hire.  He finished 6-4-1 in his first season, and in 20 years there, he never had a losing season.

He won three national championships, and won or shared 11 SWC titles. 

He was twice named AFCA Coach of the Year.

The school’s stadium is named in his honor.



american flagFRIDAY,  AUGUST 24,  2018 -   "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen Covey

*********** For someone like me who hates hot weather, this has been a bitch of a summer in the Portland area. 

Tuesday was the 28th day this year in which the temperature reached 90 or more, breaking the century-old record of 27, set in - 1906! And just to put an exclamation mark on it - Wednesday’s temperature made it to 90 degrees, too, making it 29 days. 

Thursday didn’t make it to 75, though, and we may not see another 90-degree day the rest of the year, so 29 will have to be it.  At least until next year.

*********** After watching the Browns' stirring 5-0  win over the Eagles, in front of a lot of  orange-clad empty seats in Cleveland, it's time for me to do what the slavish  sports media won't do, and that's mention all the empty seats I've seen at  all "pre-season" games that I've watched.   I can come to one of only two conclusions: either (1) those seats were already purchased as season-ticket packages, and their owners just couldn't find anybody to give their tickets to, or (2) season ticket sales are way, way off.

Either way, it's a sign of a serious problem that the haughty NFL has brought on itself, and either way, it pleases me.

*********** Todd Hollis’ question about a “favorite book list” (which, I confessed, I don’t have), led me to do a little thinking on the subject…

Along with David Maraniss’ “When Pride Still Mattered,” I include “They Marched Into Sunlight” on my literary summit,  partly because I’ve come to know David himelf as well as some of the soldiers in the Vietnam action that he writes about, the 1967 Battle of Ong Thanh;  but also because of what I know about how he researched it.  He had to talk to the primary sources - the men who fought, and survived the battle.  To do that, he first had earn the trust of those men, many of whom had spent years trying to forget it. 

Years later, those soldiers - Black Lions - were still reluctant to talk with anyone about the horrors they’d witnessed and experienced in an ambush which had cost the lives of dozens of their friends and fellow soldiers. 

After countless interviews,  David,  a master of the writer’s art,  was able to make the battle understandable to the reader.  Imagine yourself having to write  a story about a long-ago football game that no one had ever written about and you hadn’t seen yourself. Trust me - an offensive tackle’s description of a game differs greatly from that of the safety.  Imagine piecing it together from interviews with players from both sides - allowing for the toll that has taken on memories, and for the fact that many of the people you needed to talk to were no longer alive.  Take that situation and then add dense jungle, heat, the deafening clater of automatic weapons fire, exploding hand grenades and RPGs, smoke, fire, and the screams of the wounded and dying, and you’re beginning to approach author Maraniss’ assignment. Imagine interviews with participants whose experiences and exposure to the fighting may have varied greatly from one to another, and who have spent years trying to avoid talking about those experiences, and making the battle come alive.

I’ve come to know many of those Black Lions and they pay David the ultimate compliment -  he treated them fairly and did his best to tell the truth as he found it,  and he didn’t betray their trust.

Now throw in a literary device he uses, alternating chapters between living and dying with the grunts in the jungle in Vietnam, and then with scruffy, anti-war, quasi-anarchists at the University of Wisconsin. At the same time that American boys  were fighting an implacable, cruel enemy, privileged, protected college kids were plotting to blow up an on-campus laboratory.  Jumping back and forth as he does, from one extreme to another, David has recreated a time that even now, 50 years later, stirs up deep feelings or resentment among the soldiers. (I have no idea how the “activists” feel, nor do I care.)  The irony, of course, is that it’s the rich, privileged kids who are the malcontents - the ones attacking the establishment, and not their less privileged counterparts sent to suffer and die for a cause they know next to nothing about.  It’s an irony that we now see acted out daily, an on a scale far greater than anything we ever imagined in the 1960s.

In fiction, I like anything by John Irving, and I like Philip Roth. One of my all-time favorites is his “The Great American Novel,” a hilarious work which can loosely be described as a story about a fictional baseball team (and league) during World War II, when able-bodied men were away at war and organized baseball had to make do with the less than abled. I like anything by John O’Hara because much of his work was set in the Northeastern Pennsylvania coal regions, and area that has always interested me.  He had a keen eye for the finest details and a keen ear for dialogue. Very few even good writers can do dialogue - and dialect - well.

Speaking of dialogue and dialect…  One of my favorite novels is “A Confederacy of Dunces,” by John Kennedy Toole. It’s hard to say what it’s “about,” really, other than to say that it’s set in New Orleans in the 50s or 60s and it's about a bizarre character named Ignatius Reilly, who is… well, it’s impossible for me to describe him, except to say that the author knew his New Orleans and knew his New Orleans dialects, and brings it all alive in his characters.

Behind the book is a sad story.  Briefly, author O’Toole grew so distraught at the rejection of his novel by various publishing houses that he committed suicide.  Years after his death, his mother brought his novel to the attention of an author named Walker Percy, who agreed to read it.  And after reading it, he wrote,

… I read on. And on. First with the sinking feeling that it was not bad enough to quit, then with a prickle of interest, then a growing excitement, and finally an incredulity; surely it was not possible that it was so good.

Percy finally managed to persuade the Louisiana State University press to publish a small press run.  In sum,  the book was a success, and In 1981, Toole was awarded - posthumously - the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

*********** The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said,  “No man ever steps in the same river twice,  because it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

In that vein, I get great enjoyment from reading a good book more than once.  If you’ve never done it, try it some time.  It’s like returning to a place you haven’t been to in years: you’re delighted by things that you remember fondly from before, you find yourself looking differently at some of them, and you  notice new things - things that you didn’t remember from your first reading.

*********** THESE GUYS PLAY REAL FOOTBALL, TOO...

FCS TOP 25D-II TOP 25 

*********** Washington will open the season next Saturday against Auburn in Atlanta, in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

There’s a lot at stake - for Washington, which has been picked in the Top Ten in most pre-season polls, and for the Pac 12, which made a mess of things in last year’s bowl games and desperately needs to regain some credibility.

Should the Huskies lose, and then dominate play in the Pac 12, the loss would almost certainly be used against the Huskies and the rest of the conference at playoff time.

Should they win, Auburn is down, blah, blah, blah.

So why would they do this?  Why wouldn’t they just open at home against, say, Montana State?

The cliche answer, of course, is, “We want to play the best.  If you’re going to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”  Yak, yak, yak.

The real answer is: “For the same reason why Montana State would have come to play at Washington.”

Translation: Money.

The only difference: Montana State would get maybe $600,000 to play the Huskies in Seattle.

Washington is going to get $4.1 million to play Auburn in Atlanta.

*********** Think they don’t want you to know what really happened?

This was the headline in the Portland Oregonian (on Page 16, I might add):

MAN ADMITS KILLING IOWA COLLEGE STUDENT

“Man,” eh?

And this was the first sentence of the AP story that followed:

“A man from Mexico living in the U.S illegally has confessed to killing college student Mollie Tibbetts.”

“A man from Mexico living in the U.S. illegally,” eh?

What is half truth, but fake news?

*********** Next time you take a break from trying to save our planet… did you ever think how much fossil fuel has to be burned, spewing noxious fumes into the atmosphere, in order to produce the electricity consumed by schoolkids’ texting and videogames?

*********** I’m still trying to figure out what went on at Ohio State.

Urban Meyer got a three-game suspension.  For what? 

From what I could read in the AP story it was because investigators determined that Meyer and the AD  “seemed to misunderstand their obligation to tell compliance officials about alleged misconduct.”

WTF?  “Seemed to misunderstand?”

Wait.  If I’m correct,  those “compliance officials” being referred to are Title IX compliance officials.  Those people are tough.  They’re dealing with federal regulations.  I went on to read that Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy requires reporting, and that violating that policy could be grounds for firing Meyer with cause - meaning he don’t get none of the $38 million remaining on his contract.

But not to worry.  Coach Urbs and his AD got a pass, because they “seemed to misunderstand their obligation to tell compliance officials about alleged misconduct.”

Yeah, and Hillary didn’t remember.

Give me a break.  Those two guys were fully aware of their obligations.  Every college athlete and administrator is.  It’s part of their orientation.  Title IX violations - including the possibility of sexual misconduct among  “student-athletes” on major-college football teams - are of such concern to college athletic programs that it’s beyond my ability to believe that there is a single big-time college coach or AD that isn’t aware of his or her obligation to report.

(You do remember, right,  that Joe Paterno, who DID inform his AD about Gerry Sandusky, was reviled - his statue torn down - because he didn’t do MORE?)

Interesting.  Let’s suppose, you’re a $60,000-a-year school teacher who “seemed to misunderstand” your reporting obligations in a matter such as this - let’s say that you’ve been told that one of your players slugged his girlfriend, but you didn’t tell anybody - do you think they’d give you a pass on your obligation to report?

So!  The double standard in American justice applies in the world of football, too.

Oh - and if you’re such a Buckeye Believer that you buy that “seemed to misunderstand” argument, then I guess you have no problem believing Meyer when he says he wasn’t aware of text messages that his assistant’s wife sent to Mrs. Meyer.

Again, this kind of crap is bad for all of football - even ours - and I say that the further we can distance high school football, where coaches are still teachers, from lowlifes like this the better our chances  of surviving the coming collapse.

*********** Matt Brown, in The Athletic, writes,

“Since 1989, 21 of 33 national champions have started the season ranked in the top five in the pre-season AP poll.”

(This year’s Top Five: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Wisconsin, Ohio State.)


*********** Boy, talk about the Welfare State - if you wondered where the normalization of the single-parent (okay - fatherless) household was taking our country, check this out…

52 per cent of kids 18 and under live in households that take some kind of “means-tested assistance” from the government.

That includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (EBT, or food stamps), Medicaid, public housing, Supplemental Security Income, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National School Lunch Program.

That last one’s the one that still gets me.   They qualify for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch, right?  But wait - doesn’t their family also qualify for food stamps?  They already get paid to feed their kids, right? So how come they’re still sending their kids to school hungry?  How come our schools are now expected to feed their kids even in the summer?  Hmm.  Now, what do you suppose those taxpayer-paid “SNAP” benefits, intended to keep little children from going to bed hungry, are actually being used to buy?

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/terence-p-jeffrey/521-percent-kids-live-households-getting-means-tested-government

*********** One Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic opponent of Ted Cruz in the race for the US Senate in Texas has made absolutely sure that there will be no fence-sitting in Texas on election day.

Asked about NFL players kneeling for the national anthem, he said, “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee for your rights anytime, anywhere, any place.”

Yeah, Beto.  And protesting is the highest form of patriotism.

(By the way, what “rights” is he talking about? Did I miss something in the Constitution about a  right to disobey your employer?)

*********** Good God.  Can it get any worse?

cfl screen shot

Yeah.  Diversity is strength.  Guess they have to put this on CFL telecasts to try to catch those who didn’t have it driven into them in public school.

Coming Up: War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. (1984)

Arbeit Macht Frei  (Auschwitz)

(Screen shot sent to me by Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington)

*********** A former Texas A & M player who transferred to Arizona when former A & M coach Kevin Sumlin was hired there is hoping to get a waiver on the usual requirement that he sit out a year.

Much of his argument is based on his accusations that new coach Jimbo Fisher and his staff have committed recruting violations and held illegal out-of-season practices.

Who to believe?  A kid who wants to transfer or a coach making upwards of $6 million a year?

Easy call. I'll take the kid over an apologist for Jameis Winston.

http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/08/21/former-texas-am-linebacker-alleges-recruiting-practice-violations-by-jimbo-fishers-staff/


*********** NINE MILLION DOLLARS to watch two has-beens play golf?

Phil Mickelson versus Tiger Woods?

On Pay-per-view?

On Thanksgiving weekend?

Who TF is going to pay to watch that?

http://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/24448692/tiger-woods-phil-mickelson-set-nov-23-date-9-million-match-play-event-las-vegas

***********  Good morning coach,

Need some advice. So my team of 8 year olds is very small in numbers - just 13 kids. It's youth football so I need to play everybody. I am struggling mightily to put together an o-line with some of kids being insanely green and still learning contact. I can get to a 5, maybe even a 6 man decent line(I'm including Ends in that.) So I'm thinking the best thing I could do is run out of spread formation. So I wanted to get your thoughts. Do I run just everything out of spread? Or would you run open wing? I always remember you telling me you could line a guy up at receiver with no arms and the defense would still cover them. Well I got a couple that might as well have no arms!

Also should say that we had our first scrimmage yesterday, and despite huge pressure from wherever I hid these kids on the line we moved the ball against a really good experienced team. But once they found my weak kids they blitzed them the whole time and penetration killed us. My thought is if we can bring it down to 9v9 or better yet 9v8 we can really do well.

Thank you Coach!

Welcome to adaptive coaching!   I would venture to say that 90 per cent of whatever “innovating” I’ve done over the years was simply adapting to the talent on hand.  (Several years ago a couple of disaffected kids quit the team on the Tuesday before Homecoming, leaving us with only one running back. And running from Stack formation, that one running back ran for more than 250 yards - and we won the game.)

Your thinking is spot-on.

My suggestion in this case is that you go to Open Wing, and use the Twins to get “must-play” players into the game.  That means that you now only need nine bona fide players.  There is always the chance that defenses will cover both of them, making it a 9 on 9 game, and they might even drop a safety back, making it 9 on 8 in your favor.

(If they don’t cover your twins with two people, and you have a player who can throw, you can always sub in a couple of better players at the twins for a play or two  and throw a bubble or smoke to that side.)

Now, if you need to “hide” yet a third kid, you can  widen your wingback as a “wide wing” - a flanker - to his side.  Now, you’re playing with only 8, really - and you may find the defense facing you with 7 (3 cover guys and a safety).


west wing

This is all predicated on keeping the line of the Open Wing - five offensive lineman and a tight end - intact.

You’d be surprised at how much running that you can do with only two backs.  Obviously, your QB now has to be a runner.

The only thing preventing you from doing this would be your center’s ability to make the snap, which I’m sure you can deal with.

The rest of the exchange shouldn’t be an issue. I believe that it’s easier for a little guy to catch the direct snap of the Open Wing than to take the under-center snap.

I don’t think you’ll find it difficult to teach this, and I think you’ll have fun doing it.



*********** KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THIS LONG-OVERDUE NCAA RULES CHANGE...

Explanation by Roger Redding, national coordinator of College Football Officiating,

 
Uniforms: Knee Pads and Pants
 
Over the past several years, we have seen a trend in players' pants getting shorter. This has a safety component as exposing the knees without padding means a risk of knee injuries and lacerations, and it is detrimental to the look of the game. In 2017, the rules committee declared that beginning this year, the legal uniform will include knee pads in the pants with the knee pads and pants completely covering the knees. Officials are mandated to enforce this rule strictly by not allowing players to be in the game with pants that do not completely cover the knees. Uncovered knees indicate illegal equipment: players must leave the game for at least one down, and they may not return until the equipment is legal.
 
*********** When our kids were small and my wife would take them grocery shopping, she’d buy them Animal Crackers (technically, “Barnum’s Animals”), never thinking for one minute that she was promoting the cruelty of keeping wild animals in cages.  (As opposed, I guess, to turning tigers loose on the streets once it was time for the circus to leave town.)

From now on, though, thanks to our friends at PETA, there will be no cages on the boxes of Animal Crackers.

Not in the real circus, either:  thanks to assorted do-gooders, including PETA, there is no more real circus.

https://canadafreepress.com/article/finally-peta-frees-animal-crackers-from-the-cages-on-their-box-yes-really


*********** GOOD ADVICE FOR ANY YOUNG ATHLETE (OR, FOR THAT MATTER, ANY ATHLETE.  ACTUALLY, ANY PERSON, PERIOD)

“If you’re on Twitter, please spend the next 5 minutes it takes to scrub your account of anything you wouldn’t want plastered next to your face on the front page of a newspaper. Better yet, don’t say stupid things in the first place.” 

Tweeted by Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs’ pitcher


*********** THE FRAGILE GENERATION:

Bad policy and paranoid parenting are making kids too safe to succeed

By  Lenore Skenazy & Jonathan Haidt

One day last year, a citizen on a prairie path in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst came upon a teen boy chopping wood. Not a body. Just some already-fallen branches. Nonetheless, the onlooker called the cops.

Officers interrogated the boy, who said he was trying to build a fort for himself and his friends. A local news site reports the police then “took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy’s parents.”

There’s more - lots more…

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2018/02/02/the-fragile-generation/

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Jim Parker is a member of the Ring of Honor of both the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens -  although he never played for either team.

He played on a national champion in college and on two NFL championship teams.

He made All-Pro at two different positions.

And he was the first “pure” (full-time) offensive lineman inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He was born and raised in Macon, Georgia, but he played his senior year of high school ball in Toledo, Ohio.

At Ohio State, he was a two-time All-American, playing on both sides of the ball.  In his sophomore year, the Buckeyes won the national title.  In his junior year, his blocking helped Hopalong Cassidy win the Heisman Trophy, and in his senior year he won the Outland Trophy and finished eighth in the Heisman voting.

He was a first round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts, the eighth player taken overall, in 1957.
Jim Parker played ten years and a part of another with just one team - the BALTIMORE Colts, and was best known  for the outstanding job he did protecting Johnny Unitas

He was a nine-time All-Pro, making it at two positions, first as a tackle, and then as a guard

He was selected to five Pro Bowls as a Tackle, and three as a guard.

The story goes that he agreed to move to guard as a favor to his college coach, Woody Hayes, to allow another Buckeye, Bob Vogel, to play tackle.

He said that while he didn’t like all the running required of a pulling guard, he did prefer to deal with the bigger, stronger defensive tackles - who in those days lined up on the guards - than to have to block the quicker defensive ends.

A very big man for his time - 6-3, 275 - a time before linemen were permitted to use hands, he is still considered by many to be perhaps the greatest offensive lineman of all time.

In 1999 he was on Sports Illustrated’s College Team of the Century.

In 1994, Jim Parker was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and in 1999 the Sporting News ranked him Number 24 on its list of the 100 Greatest Pro Football Players ever.

********** CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JIM PARKER

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - CIMARRON, KANSAS
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA (Actually I had to look up his first name.  But I knew who you were talking about and figured Ravens because they stressed the honor of the original Baltimore team when they took over.  And I knew the Irsays needed some type of history when they slunk out of Baltimore so they just took the Colts.)
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA

*********** Big Jim Parker….one of the few that could handle all my heroes -  Henry Jordan, Hawg Hanner, Willie Davis, Bill Quinlan, Lionel Aldridge & Ron Kostelnik

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

Jim Parker was quite a football player. Just looking at the few clips available below makes me think that he would have been the prototype DW lineman.

By the way, were the Baltimore Colts running the Wing T back then?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhXQPF9ADqk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIV4lkBaqE0 -

Greg Koenig
Cimarron, Kansas

You look at those videos and you see him putting on a clinic for Double Wing linemen.  I doubt that there is an offensive lineman in today’s NFL  who could do the things he’s shown doing on those films - drive block, drop back, trap, kick out, pull and lead. God, he was good.

What you saw the Colts running was the standard pro set, with the split end to one side, the tight end and flanker to the other (the strong side). It was definitely what we’d call a “wing -T backfield,” though, with the fullback behind the QB and the halfback set behind the weakside tackle.  The only thing missing is the “wing.”



QUIZ:  The most fortunate NFL franchises are blessed with the halcyon days of a luminary like Tom Brady, Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas. The Bengals are cursed with the myth of __________ , the kind of transcendent talent every offensive mastermind hopes to find once in a lifetime.

A local hero drafted No. 5 overall out of the University of Cincinnati in 1969, __________  shook off a Week 3 muscle tear in his throwing arm to author the greatest rookie quarterback season in pro football history, leading the AFL in completion percentage, passer rating and yards per attempt -- while playing for an expansion team in its second year of existence. His 9.411 yards-per-attempt figure and 17.5 yards-per-completion mark are rookie records that remain unsurpassed in the NFL. In fact, among veteran quarterbacks since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, only Kurt Warner (9.9, 2000) and Chris Chandler (9.6, 1998) have bested __________  in yards per attempt, and only Craig Morton (17.8, 1970) has topped him in yards per completion.

Driven by the swashbuckling young quarterback, Cincinnati knocked off the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in that Week 3 game and handed the Oakland Raiders their only defeat of the regular season a couple of months later. The newly founded Bengals were off and running -- until __________ was struck down by the football gods.

It turned out __________ had played most of that year with a rotator-cuff injury suffered against the Chiefs. Though it was similar to what Drew Brees overcame in 2006, early-1970s medical technology had no answer for it, and __________ attempted just three more passes after his rookie season.

"I think __________ would have been mentioned, had he had a full career, with the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league," said Sam Wyche, __________’s backup and eventually the Bengals' head coach. "He had everything. He had size, a rifle arm, he had a Terry Bradshaw kind or release. ... He had running ability, he was good-looking. He would have had the endorsements."

Wyche might actually be underselling that unique talent. __________  was viewed as Football Adonis. Sports Illustrated's Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman once described him as a "blond-haired football god." Legendary Dallas Cowboys talent scout Gil Brandt casually refers to __________ as "the golden boy from Chillicothe, Ohio."

“__________  was, I believe, the greatest talent to play the position," Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh once said. "He was Steve Young, but bigger."

Bengals owner Mike Brown -- Paul's son -- believes his organization, and not the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, would have been the team of the '70s if not for __________’s tragic injury.

__________ ’s success had contributed to a palpable sense of excitement. The Bengals could boast back-to-back AFL Offensive Rookies of the Year (Paul Robinson and __________), the AFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (Bill Bergey) and the reigning AFL Coach of the Year (Paul Brown). Baseball's Reds wer