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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 topics, usually - but not always - related in some way to coaching or leadership.  It contains news and views often (trigger alert!) highly opinionated but intended to be  thought-provoking.  Subjects cover but aren't limited to coaching, leadership, character, football history and current football happenings, education, parenting, citizenship and patriotism, other sports, and even, sometimes, my offense.)

Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  APRIL 7,  2020  “Don’t be ashamed of enthusiasm. A man without it is a man without a purpose.”  Walter Camp


WASHINGTON PRAYING AT VALLEY FORGE

PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY

***********
*********** Man, 100 years from now,  history teachers  (if there are any) are going to have a hell of a time explaining
to their students (if there are any) all this sh— that’s been going on.  For sure, the political leanings of the people writing the text books are going to make all the difference, and there isn’t any doubt in my mind what those leanings are going to be.  Orange Man Bad, Speaker Pelosi good. And so on.

Meanwhile,  something is fishy.

We keep hearing about the Spanish Flu  of 1918-1919, how horrible it was, how deadly, etc., so I’m going to make a confession.  I went to a good private high school and I was a history major at an Ivy League institution.  I was a teacher for 22 years, and for much of that time I taught United States history.

And I’ll be a sonofabitch if I ever came across anything in any textbook about the so-called Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919.

Yes, I’d read things about it, and I don’t for one minute believe that it didn’t happen, so my main takeaway was always, “Why didn’t I ever hear about this in any course in American history?”

I’ve been through my collection of a dozen or so textbooks and I can’t find a single mention of any world-wide epidemic that killed millions.  I’ve even checked through their bibliographies.  Nothing.

Nothing in my Pennsylvania or Washington histories (this was nationwide, wasn’t it?). Nothing in “A History of England and the British Empire.” (Young Americans and Englishmen had a lot of contact with each other during the War.)  Not in “A Global History of Man.” (Worldwide, they tell us, the Spanish Flu killed 20 million people.)

Granted, there was a lot going on at the same time - the World War, to begin with, and following that, President Wilson’s crusade to get the US to join the League of Nations, the “Red Scares” tracing back to the Russian Revolution of 1917, the labor unrest and the economic disruption of tens of thousands of American men discharged into the economy by the end of the War, and the amendments that gave women the vote and at almost the same time gave America Prohibition.

But still, how does something that (they tell us) killed 20 million people not even get a mention?

It makes me think of the Soviets and their rewriting of history - to make persons and events vanish. From life and from the history books.

Can a sort of Soviet-like coverup explain why we never heard anything about the Great Spanish Influenza Epidemic?  If so, it would appear to be a conspiracy that has lasted for quite some time, and extended far beyond our borders.
I checked Wikipedia (I know, not the best of all possible references) and what I found under “citations” for “Spanish Flu”  were a number of writings, most of them quite recent and none of them earlier than 2000.  Nothing about it prior to that?  Not even fiction?

Surely, with our colleges and the NFL wondering whether they'll have a 2020 season, I could find something about it in my football books! With people dropping over right and left, they couldn't possibly have played football, could they? 

First was “The History of American Football,” by Allison Danzig.   It’s as thorough an account of the college game from its founding until the mid-20th century as anyone could hope for, astounding in its detail and in the personal accounts of the key figures in the game - and there’s not a mention of the Spanish Flu.  Not one.
 
In Tim Cohane’s history of Yale football, I did notice that there was no 1918 Yale football season.  But with no mention as to why, The World War  seems the most likely explanation.   Notre Dame played a short (six-game) schedule.  Michigan played only five games, but did manage to get in games against Michigan State (then called “Michigan Aggies”) and Ohio State. The Buckeyes played six games.

In both 1918 (before the flu hit) and 1919 the Rose Bowl was played between service teams.  “The Big Bowl Football Guide,” (1974) told about the 1918 game between Mare Island (California) Marines and Camp Lewis, Washington.

“With the nation at war and few college teams available,” the book says, “Rose Bowl officials decided to pit two service teams against each other in the 1918 classic.” In 1919, with the world still at war - and the Spanish Flu presumably going around - they did the same. (There were no other bowls then. The Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl both were played for the first time in 1935, the Cotton Bowl in 1937.)

In Dr. L. H. Baker’s “Football Facts and Figures” (1945) there was no All-American team for 1917, only an All-Service team, with the notation, “At a conference that Walter Camp had with his publishers (Walter Camp at that time selected the All-American team), it was decided to omit the usual All-America selections for 1917 because of war conditions.” There was one, however,  in 1918 and 1919.

In Tom Perrin’s “Football- A College History” (1987), the author writes of the 1918 season , “With the nation geared for war, many schools did not field a team, or they played an abbreviated schedule. In the Ivy League, Cornell and Yale had no team at all.  The Army-Navy game was cancelled, and Army’s lone game was a 20-0 win over Mitchell Field. In the South, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana State, North Carolina and Tennessee did not have teams. No crown was awarded in the Southwest or Pacific Coast conferences because most games were played with questionable freshmen or military personnel.”

Evidently Pitt was quite strong, although playing just a four-game schedule. The Panthers won them all, outscoring the opposition 118-6, and I came across an account of their 1918 game with Georgia Tech. Pitt was coached by Pop Warner, and Tech was coached by John Heisman. As Heisman was exhorting his troops, pre-game, to leave the Panthers for dead, Warner, on the other side of the thin wall separating the two locker rooms, had his players lean their ears against the locker room wall and listen in.   Heisman wound up inspiring the wrong team, and Pitt won, 32-0.

Hard to say what role the flu played in any of the “abbreviated schedules,” but there is this mention:  “The Rose Bowl Game was almost cancelled because of the flu epidemic in the fall, but by Armistice Day (November 11) it vanished as quickly as it came.”

WTF?

The 1919 season was another matter. “World War I was over, and the veterans returned from places in France they could hardly pronounce.  After two years of empty stadiums and short schedules, campuses were engulfed by a flood of manpower, and  most teams rebuilt with returning servicemen.”

I did find one rather interesting reference to the Spanish flu in a book called “75 Years With the Fighting Hawkeyes” (1964). (Obviously, it’s about Iowa football.)

A month before, Iowa and Coe college clashed behind locked gates in front of which there were armed guards stationed to keep spectators away. An epidemic of Spanish influenza had spread over the state earlier in October, and in order to reduce the possibility of further illness Iowa authorities were advised by the War Department  that if the game were to be sanctioned it would have to be played with all doors padlocked. A number with powerful field glasses attempted to watch the play from the Iowa River bridges and from the high hills on the west side of the river, but all nonplaying personnel were barred from the field itself. Accounts of the battle were sketchy, but the bigger more experienced Hawkeyes apparently triumphed 27 to 0.

That appears to be the only game to be played before empty stands. Iowa played the full 9-game schedule, going 6-2-1, and beating Minnesota for the first time ever.

My contention holds that there was nothing about the Spanish flu in the histories most of us have  access to.  So considering what we’re now hearing about all those bodies in the streets of our big cities, was the real story hidden from us - given the Kennedy assassination treatment? How could that have happened?  Or have the recent writers been massaging the facts to advance an agenda,  feeding the fires of sensationalism?

As I once heard a guy in a Baltimore saloon say, “One a’ youse is a f—kin’ liar.” (In his best Bawlamorese, he pronounced that last word “lahr.”)

*********** As I write this, our worthless governor has announced that our school year is officially at an end.
I suppose that all the news about Washington’s curve having flattened  out caused him to panic at the realization that it could mean the end to his autocratic rule.

This latest hard-ass announcement would seem to preclude any possibility of a return to normal before June 1, since it would be sheer idiocy to end shelter-in-place policies and effectively turn all those kids loose to socialize, as kids will.

*********** Bob Zuppke, longtime head coach at Illinois, was one of the giants of our game. (I shouldn’t say too much about him because he’s long overdue as one of my QUIZ subjects, but let’s just say that he was a great innovator - many give him credit for devising the huddle - and he was the coach of one of the greatest and most important football players in the history of the game, Red Grange.)

Take a look at what he called his “T formation” - in 1930 - and you can see the ancestor of today’s pistol. You’ll notice that he’s running from an unbalanced line, and the guy taking the direct snap (he calls him his “fullback”) is offset one man.
zupppke play

As Coach Zuppke explained, the fullback was at 3 yards depth, directly behind the strong side guard, the tailback directly behind him at 4-1/2 yards. The wingbacks are a yard off the line; the ends are split “one half yard from their nearest teammate.”

In doing a little research on Coach Zuppke, I came across his advice on deciding what to run on offense:

1. Tailor your offense to your talent:

It is folly to develop a style of offense not suited to the material. The system must be suited to fit the men, and not vice versa. It would have been folly to have Grange tied up to a two wingback formation. What was suitable for Grange was unsuitable for Nevers. (That would be Stanford star Ernie Nevers, who, while not as elusive as Grange, was more of a bull. HW)

2. Better to run a few plays well than a lot of plays half-assed:

For obvious reasons it is advisable whenever possible to use a different style of offense than that used by other teams in your section. It is better to have a few well developed plays for each formation than to have many but partially developed ones. Too often valuable time is wasted learning too many plays. The plays of the offense should be of both the power and deceptive varieties, quick and delayed.

3. Simplicity builds confidence.  Complexity creates indecision and leads to mistakes, and mistakes lead to a loss of confidence.

The coach should stress simplicity and avoid coaching complex methods of team play, or that will develop indecision on the part of the individual and destroy decisive action and the necessary positive mental attitude. The individuals using a complex offense and defense will make more mistakes than the individuals of a more simple system, and the more mistakes a man makes, the greater the tendency to lose self-confidence.

*********** The New York Times (ugh) ran an article about how Finland isn’t worried about masks.  That’s because, being Finns, they were thorough, they planned ahead, and they stockpiled things, such as masks, that might be needed in an emergency such as this one.

Finns are almost the polar opposite of Americans. They value doing things well. They would rather do one thing correctly than a dozen things half-ass.

They pride themselves on being one of the most literate nations on earth, and their teachers occupy important roles in society.

People know what their roles are and they know they will be held accountable. They respect and live by the rule of law. There are no second chances.

They are honest and they expect nothing less from others - including their government and their leaders.

They are people of their word. They take great pride in being the only nation ever to repay war debts to America in full.

Geography, as the article points out, has played a role in developing their character.  They know that they’re isolated and dependent on foreign trade so they are all multilingual, but they also realize how easily they can be cut off. They learned that in WW II when no one - including their “friends” the Swedes would come to their aid.

Sharing a long border with Russia, they despise the Russians but they   know not to poke the bear. But they maintain a fairly strong army so that the Russians know that aggression against the Finns will be costly - as they learned years ago in The Winter War - but so as not to stir the Russians,  they stress that their Army is purely for their defense. (Finns call the army  “Puolustus Voima” which means “defense force”).

There is one important thing that enables the Finnish system to work: Finland is one of the most homogeneous countries on earth, which helps reinforce the idea that they are all in it together. They resent anyone who would try to “get over” or “get around” the Finnish way. I have heard Finns many times deplore “those f—king Gypsies - they lie, they cheat, they steal. And (saving the worst for last) they don’t teach their children how to read.”

Something that I think motivates them to do things well - they have a national inferiority complex. They are very proud of their country and they seem to worry about what others think of it.

Hyvää Suomi!  (Hurrah Finland!)

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/05/world/europe/coronavirus-finland-masks.html?referringSource=articleShare


*********** Passover is an important Jewish holiday,  the celebration of the escape of the Israelites from slavery. It starts tomorrow (Wednesday) and lasts for a week.

A Jewish friend posted this photo of a “Passover Mask” on Facebook.

Passover mask

 (It’s made of matzo, the unleavened bread of the Jewish people which is traditionally a part of Passover.)

*********** Max Emfinger was a rating service before there were rating services. He started out on his own, rating high school seniors (back in the days when colleges were still recruiting seniors), and he was sort of the model for all the rivals.coms and scout.coms and whatnot that are on the scene today.  He was pretty good, too.  But nobody’s perfect,

And it’s not fair to judge him by one mistake he made in misjudging a certain high school kid from Pensacola, Florida.

But it WAS a pretty big mistake.

“Emmett Smith isn’t big or fast and he can’t get around the corner, “he wrote in 1987. “I know all the folks in Pensacola will be screaming and the Florida fans will be writing me nasty letters, but Emmett Smith is not a franchise player. He’s a lugger, not a runner. The sportswriters blew him out of proportion. When he falls flat on his face at Florida, remember where you heard it first. “

*********** Paul Dietzel, who won the national championship at LSU, spent three tours of duty at West Point, his third as Army’s head coach.  In his second tour there, he was offensive line coach in 1953 and 1954, at  time when Army’s coach Earl “Red” Blaik was struggling to return Army football to the greatness it had known before the so-called “Cribbing Scandal” (concerning the exchange of information that was on tests) resulted in the dismissal of virtually its entire starting roster) turned it into a JV-type operation.

Back in 1951, on my first tour of duty at West Point as a line coach, we were assigned a house in the Army Athletic Association Circle, where most of the coaches lived. In this pleasant area of the post were eight or nine two-story, four bedroom duplexes. There was a very nice play area for children and a little creek that flowed through the grounds. As we were moving in, Anne asked me if I had met the guy next-door. I said “yes, that’s Doc Blanchard. “ She replied, “have you seen him? He’s out there unloading the car, and he’s got on shorts. I have never seen anyone with such big legs. “

Well, Doc Blanchard did have a set of legs under him. Doc was my next-door neighbor, and he had been hired to coach the plebes. As we were getting ready to play Navy that year, we were still having a hard time rebuilding after that cribbing scandal.

Navy, on the other hand, had a really good team that year. They were coached by Eddie Erdelatz and employed a 5-3 defense with the front five linemen stunting either left or right. Their stunt was really flat, so they would entertain the man they were lined up over and then would actually stunt into the man next to him.

Basically you couldn’t get to their linebackers, who were making all the tackles. The rest of the Army staff was convinced that you couldn’t run against them – it just seemed impossible. But in studying Navy’s films, I observed that their linemen would take the first step in their stunt or slant and, if the play was going the other way, would plant their feet and come right back out of the stunt.

Our coaches thought that Navy had inside information on what we were planning to run against them, and with their speed, we’d be stopped cold. Well, I just knew there had to be a way to run on them. So I devised a zone blocking scheme in which the center and the right guard charge off to their right, shoulder to shoulder, and the right tackle and end charge to their left, shoulder to shoulder, and create a funnel-like hole. If one of our linemen didn’t make contact with one of their linemen, he would continue right on and block the linebacker.

We had two running backs, Pat Uebel and Tommy Bell. They were both in the 200 pound range, both straight-ahead runners, but very tough. All we did in that game was run right through the funnel created by our blocking scheme.

One of Doc Blanchard’s favorite phrases was “Holy doodad.“  I’ve never known where he came up with that but I decided to name this zone blocking scheme, “doodad blocking” We just handed the ball off on a dive to one of those two running backs,  and he would squirt right through the hole that had been created. Navy couldn’t take the ball away from us. We went up and down the field and beat them handily. I was so proud! 

The thing that made me most proud was that I was so thrilled for Colonel Blaik. He had stayed the course. He had vindicated himself. He never lost his desire to bring West Point back. When we beat Navy, it was the indicator that we had come back. I was proud of myself because I had invented something new that had never been thought of before. I felt that I had contributed something good to the game that I love so dearly and that had given me my chance in life.

The next Monday, Colonel Blaik asked me to come to his office. The Colonel was at his desk, with General MacArthur‘s picture hanging on the wall right behind him. Several of the young assistant coaches referred to him as “El Rojo Grande," the Big Red. El Rojo invited me in and said, “Well, Paul, since you’re a line coach, I thought you might like to have this little book, written by Pot Graves, who was the Army line coach many, many years ago.“ I said, “Thank you, Sir.” And I immediately wondered why he was giving me this.

There was a paper clip about halfway back in the book, and so as I sat at my desk, I opened the book at the paper clip. There in detail was my “doodad blocking,“ diagrammed many years ago by an Army line coach by the name of Pot Graves. I thought to myself, “Well, so much for something new in football.” I learned a great lesson that day. There is nothing new in football, just a rehashing of things that have been done before. Zone blocking is now universally used by college and pro teams.

From “Call Me Coach,” by Paul Dietzel (and there's no “as told to.”)



*********** There are things football people can learn from the case of the Navy captain who commanded the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.  The guy wrote a letter to Navy higher-ups “pleading”  (the very unmilitary word that most headline writers used) for them to do something about the fact that there were cases of Chinese Virus on board his ship, and shortly after the letter was made public, he was  relieved of his command.  Many Americans, mostly those who oppose the President and know absolutely nothing about how an Army or a Navy operates are raising hell, incorrectly calling the captain a “whistle blower” - a “hero,” even -  acting as if all he did was write a letter to his superiors because he felt they weren’t doing what he wanted done.

What these people obviously don’t understand is that there is something in the military - and in most well-run organizations - called the Chain of Command.  Smooth and effective operations depend on the organization’s members observing its protocol, and in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the chain of command, violations are treated harshly.  The higher the violator’s rank, the harsher the treatment.

The instant I read that the guy had sent out a letter to people higher-up in the command, instead of taking his concerns to his immediate superior-  as anyone who has attained the rank of captain knows is the way to handle them - I thought, “This guy’s career is over.”

And sure enough, it was.

What can this teach us? Next time you get a chance:  be the assistant coach who bypasses the head coach to complain to the AD; the head coach who bypasses the AD to take his concerns to the principal; the AD who bypasses the principal and deals directly with the superintendent; the principal who bypasses the superintendent and goes to the school board.

And if they don’t fire you, that’ll be your sign that you’re working in a sorry-ass  organization.

eat mor chikin

*********** I’m fortunate enough to have a copy of “The Herman Hickman Reader,” a collection of stories and poems published in 1953.

The foreword - introduction - was written by Charlie Loftus, who was the Sports Information Director at Yale when I was there. Charlie and Herman became fast friends.  Like Herman, Charlie was a very large man, and like Herman he was a very jovial person, a lover of literature and quick with a story.  And, like Herman, he was impossible to dislike. I’ll never forget him because my junior year, he saw me in Ray Tompkins House, the athletic department headquarters, and asked me if I was going home for Thanksgiving.  When I told him that I was, he said, “You’re from Philadelphia - how’d you like to go to the Army-Navy game?”  Before I could even answer “YES!!!” he handed me a pair of tickets.  Holy sh—!  A Philadelphian born and raised, I’d never been to the game.  I didn’t even know anybody who’d been to the game. It was something people with connections got to go to. My dad and I went, and it was an unforgettable experience for both of us. And Army won.

INTRODUCTION

It was in 1950 – a short time before Christmas. Herman Hickman was whittling away at a stack of greeting cards on his desk. One was from the board chairman of a vast American industrial enterprise. Another was from the counter man of a quick-order lunch room in an isolated section of North Carolina.

There were others. From the president of a major television network. From boys, and from parents of boys, who had played football under him. From newspapermen and hotel bellhops. From factory workers and famous educators. From clergymen, store clerks, Army generals, delivery boys. From some of the most glamorous names in the tinsel world of show business, to Broadway characters that Damon Runyon could have immortalized.

Although I had known this mountain of a man for many years, it was the first time that I grasped the full significance of what a truly giant figure he is. I realized that he knew kings, but remembered his friends, and that both kings and friends remembered him.

I learned early that Herman Hickman was a native of Johnson City, Tennessee. Playing with charming guile on my innocence, he had me believing, for a long time, that he had been born in a tree, been raised in the backwoods, and roamed with a rifle until someone lassoed him, shod him, and introduced him to civilization as a lineman with the University of Tennessee. It was three years before I knew that he was the son of an attorney and that his family background includes some of the citizens of which Tennessee is the proudest.

If radio had been more than an experiment at the time Herman was seven years old he might very well have been the original Quiz Kid. At any rate, he was a literary expert at an age when the proudest accomplishment of most Muppets is that they can tie their own shoelaces.

Johnson City kinfolk must have suspected that the Herman Hickman of some 35 years and 250 pounds ago was no ordinary individual. They became sure when the state militia from the community was activated for service in World War I. A tearfully protesting six-year-old Herman had to be dragged forcibly from the train by an early day platoon consisting of his two grandfathers. He had wanted to go to war.

Not too long after, Herman decided on a legal career. One day a factory representative enthusiastically called at his residence to see the “Mr. Hickman who has written us about furniture and filing cabinets for the law office he is going to open.”  It had been Herman‘s practice to read everything – including catalogs.

It was a little wonder, then, that within a short time this apple – cheeked zealot was winning oratorical contest with renditions of patriotic pieces. After all, he had tried to be both a soldier and a lawyer before he was 10.

I had often wondered just how good a football player Herman was. The first thing I learned back in my cub days of reporting was to take nothing for granted, so I checked. Grantland Rice told me he was the best guard he had ever seen. Newspaper clips of the games in which he played proved it. When the Associated Press, a few years ago, was naming its all – time football squad for the first half of the 20th century, Herman was voted a place on it.

Herman tells a lot of stories about his coaching and playing days. In all of them he is the goat. But one story he doesn’t tell is a yarn that Chick Meehan once related to me.

Meehan was then coach of a powerful New York University team that was playing Tennessee in a postseason game at the Yankee Stadium for the benefit of the unemployed.  NYU had a first down on the 4 yard line. Meehan sent in instructions to run it through the “fat boy.“  His quarterback was a very literal young man, and four plays were run right at Hickman. The series of downs ended with NYU back on the 14 yard line.

After the game, Meehan asked his captain, Ernie Concannon, if Hickman were really that tough. “I didn’t want to find out, “was Concannon‘s reply. “All I know is that he called me a damn Yankee, and I pretended I didn’t hear him. “

How good a football coach was Hickman? I am virtually certain that the lines he developed at West Point  were the finest ever molded in gridiron history. Yale gave him an unprecedented 10 year contract. When Hickman resigned to accept a long term television contract, the astute Lou Little, dean of  Ivy coaches and head man at Columbia termed it “a major loss the game can ill afford. Men such as Herman Hickman are not only good for, but are needed by, college football. He was one of the great coaches.”

No man ever loved football more. He loved his football players, but he loved them as boys first. He loved every minute of his work at Yale, just as he had when he coached at West Point, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. I have often thought of what a lot of pondering went into his decision to retire from the game. When he left Yale he made certain that he expressed his gratitude to everyone who had worked with him. More than that, he meant it.

But those who knew him well were not surprised at his decision. He had done the unexpected before. After he was graduated from Tennessee, he became a wrestler. He was, Jimmy Cannon once wrote, the only professional wrestler ever admitted to the human race.

“Just why, “I asked Herman years later, “did you ever wrestle?” Herman, a practical poet, gave a practical reply.

“I was graduated, “he said, “in 1932. Things were mighty tough at that point in the depression. I just didn’t know where else I could make a couple of hundred dollars a week. “

I have often thought, especially when listening to this man reciting poetry, that as a wrestler he was a remarkable paradox. Try to imagine Hickman by night, obliterating pachyderms with his “flying tackles,” and, by day, browsing in book shops, attending ballets, memorizing poetry, and discovering all of the nation’s fine eating places.

In the fall of those years he played professional football with the now-defunct Brooklyn club. He played for three years, and was an all-league guard. He then coached at Wake Forest and North Carolina State. His Army and Yale assignments followed.

Hickman could no more have avoided television than Romeo could have escaped Juliet. It was about 1949. TV was just beginning to creep. The perceptive Fred Friendly, producer of the Edward R. Murrow “See it Now” show, was packaging a quiz vehicle called “Who Said That?”

It was a panel show in which questions were based upon current news events and famous quotes from history. He suggested Herman as a guest. I shall never forget Herman‘s TV debut. As fast as the moderator could pose the questions Herman was waving his hand in the air with the enthusiasm of a fourth grader who just had to go to the bathroom.

Whether he realized it or not, Herman was in show business. Twice more he was invited back as a guest. The audience reaction each time was the same. The demand was for more Hickman. More Hickman they got, too, as a regular member of the “Celebrity Time” show. As Herman provided answers to even the most difficult questions, the letters poured in. People in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and a lot of way stations in between, suddenly realized football coaches and football players could be pretty intelligent men.

“Bless you,” wrote a mother in Iowa. “My son loves football, but never wants to study. After watching you on television, he is now an honor student.” There were many more like this. It’s safe to assume that Herman Hickman did a lot to increase the study habits of the nation’s youth. At least he provided parents with encouraging ammunition.

With the possible exception of a presidential nominee, I doubt if anyone has addressed more meetings in the past few years than has Herman. The range here is great - conventions, educational conferences, sales meetings, convocations, literary groups, alumni meetings, athletic banquets – and any other reason for which people gather.

“Automatically,” Herman says, “when I see you have a grapefruit or a fruit cup, even if on the breakfast table at my own house, I just stand up and start to speak.”

This is the Herman Hickman that audiences see. But what is the private-life Herman Hickman like?  First of all,  he is the most kindly man I have ever known. In the 10 years we have been friends, I have never heard him say one acid word about anyone or anything. Scientists have never weighed his heart, but if they ever do they might find it comprises the major portion of his 300 and some pounds. He has an enormous capacity to enjoy everything – not only food, but also people, literature, and life itself. Reciprocally, everyone who knows Herman enjoys him, and when you get to know him in this book, I’m sure you will, too.

*********** Not so very long ago, the elite private universities in power 5 conferences seemed to have figured out how to play winning football just like knucklehead schools.

WAKE FOREST  8-3
DUKE  4-7
STANFORD  4-7
VANDERBILT 3-8
NORTHWESTERN 2-9

Uh-oh.  Last  season, only Wake Forest went to a bowl.

What the hell happened?

*********** My daughter, the one that ran track for the Gamecocks, works for Novartis a half hour away from Franklin...The future of her company, for the short term, seems bright as they have the patent for the now generic hydroxychloroquine

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

First, I hope you and Connie are doing well weathering this storm.  

I would include teachers on your list of MVP's because I wonder how many parents who are now also learning what it's like to be a teacher on a daily basis will be more supportive of teachers on a daily basis when all of this is over.

Garcetti, Newsom, Pelosi, Feinstein, and their ilk have virtually destroyed California.  Nothing will ever take away the state's beauty, and weather, but what's left has been ravaged by democrat politics.  Little wonder why there are more people moving out of the state than are moving in.

Don't be surprised to see a re-birth of drive-in theaters.  With today's vehicles, technology, and food consumerism future drive-ins would not resemble anything like their predecessors.

As I mentioned in Tuesday's news this crisis will change the face of sports in America as we have known it because it has also changed the way we live our lives.  Maybe there will be less games played in a season to enhance the chance of the body's ability in effectively fight off injury and disease.  Maybe the seasons won't last as long.  Maybe the shortened seasons and less number of games will spark more fan interest, and encourage kids to play other sports.  Maybe specialization will decrease.  

Our society today is but a reflection of absent fathers in the home.  But before anyone gets their hair on fire there I must say that there have been many single mothers who have done a remarkable job of raising their children.  My point is how many more valuable lessons would have been learned if those kids had a loving, caring, responsible paternal role model in their home on a daily basis?

Enjoy the weekend! 

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Agreed on the many single mothers who in spite of the odds against them are doing a wonderful job of raising their kids.  They are special people.  And there are lots of grandmas who deserve our applause, too.  Sadly, though, they are outliers, and we can’t continue to dodge the reality that a lack of a father in the home is a major reason for the problems that beset urban America.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Doug Dickey was born in South Dakota, but went to high school in Jacksonville, Florida.

He played quarterback and defensive back at Florida. His head coach, Bob Woodruff, called him “one of the brainiest quarterbacks I ever saw.”

After service in the Army, he assisted at Arkansas years for seven years, until in 1964 he was hired as head coach at Tennessee - by Bob Woodruff,  his former college coach, who was by then the UT athletics director.

While at Tennessee (1964 through 1969) he was twice named SEC Coach of the Year.

He won SEC championships in 1967 and 1969, and his 1967 team finished second in the nation.

He went 4-5-1 his first season, but then followed with five straight seasons of eight wins or more, and five straight bowl appearances (back in the days before “a bowl for everybody”).

In six years at Tennessee, his record was 46-14-4.

While the UT coach, he is credited with putting the “T” decal on the Tennessee helmets, having the orange-and-white checkerboard pattern painted in the end zones at Neyland Stadium, and getting the Tennessee band to form a “T” through which the team runs onto the field.

He also recruited the first black player to play at Tennessee, although he actually had to do it twice. He first recruited Albert Davis, a running back, but Davis couldn’t qualify academically. Next, he recruited Lester McClain, who did qualify and became Tennessee’s first black player - and a very good player at that.

As the end of the 1969 season drew near and rumors circulated that he might return to his alma mater to replace Ray Graves, Tennessee wound up playing Florida in the Gator Bowl.  Tennessee lost both the game, 14-13, and - when he did leave for Florida - their coach.

In his nine seasons at Florida (1970 through 1978), he was 58-43-2, but he was 0-4 in bowl games and he never won an SEC title.  After a 4-7 season in 1978, he was replaced by Charlie Pell.

His overall record in 15 years as a head coach in the SEC was 104-58-6.

In 1985, he returned to Tennessee, succeeding Bob Woodruff as Athletics Director - and served until he retired in 1983.  During his term as AD, Neyland Stadium’s capacity was increased to over 100,000.

In 1985, his son Daryl became the Vols’ starting quarterback, and led them to a Sugar Bowl win over Miami.

Doug Dickey is in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame,  the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.



CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DOUG DICKEY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** Anyone who’s been to one of my clinics has heard some of Doug Dickey’s philosophy, although I may not have mentioned his name: “AVOID LOSING, THEN WIN.”  I came across it very early in my coaching career and it’s stuck with me so long that it’s become my philosophy, too. But I first heard it from Doug Dickey.

Football’s like that - you learn by seeing and doing. And by seeing and hearing  things that other people are doing.  Most of them, you reject immediately. Most of the rest, you try and then you reject.  But some are pure gold, and you just know that they’re going to help you become a better coach.

This was the guidance I got from a Doug Dickey clinic talk, back in 1975 (it’s from the Kellogg’s Coach of the Year Clinic Manual):

“I’m going to give you a lot of philosophy. A 42-year-old’s philosophy. Now, I’m a third generation Bob Neyland student. By that I mean that my head coach at college played for Bob Neyland at Tennessee. So, much of his philosophy was passed on to me. “AVOID LOSING, THEN WIN” was one of the things that was always on our blackboard before a game. The first thing that went up there was, ‘The team that makes the fewest mistakes, wins. 

“Avoid losing by eliminating the mistakes - then you have a chance to win.”

In tennis, they say basically the same thing when they say, “there are more points lost than won.”

I have heard Lou Holtz say it, in a different manner, many times, but the point is the same:  there are ways that teams - even good teams - beat themselves, and if you put your coaching stress on those areas - if you avoid beating yourself - you vastly improve your chances of winning.

It’s not sexy, but it works.

1. Eliminate turnovers
2. Eliminate stupid penalties
3. Eliminate blown assignments
4. Eliminate dumbass calls
5. Tackle well
6. Don’t give up the big play
7. Play great goal-line defense
8. Don’t get beat on special teams

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

Quiz answer: Doug Dickey. He was also the coach during a game where Florida allowed Miami to score with three minutes left. The Florida quarterback was a few yards away breaking the record for most yards during a final regular season game. The Miami coach refused to shake hands after the game. Coaches refusing to shake hands has become more common place today, but in 1971, I am sure it was a big deal. Check out the Gator Flop at :37.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_Uzu-wPFmc
 
Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** QUIZ: He went to high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan graduating in 1926. He was all state in both football and basketball his senior year. He attended the university of Michigan from 1926 through 1931, playing for Coach Ted Wieman. In his first game, in 1927, Michigan played Ohio Wesleyan in  brand new $1.2 million, 84,000 seat Michigan Stadium. On the receiving end of a touchdown pass, he scored the first touchdown in the new stadium. But two weeks later, against Wisconsin, he broke his neck, ending his playing career. As a result, he graduated a year after his original class.

In 1929, during the Depression and still in college, he was hired by his former high school coach to teach grade school PE classes and assist him in football, basketball  and baseball. Although his pay was only $1000, it enabled him to complete his college education.

After he graduated from Michigan he was hired by Ann Arbor to teach and coach football and basketball at the high school. After five years as an assistant at there he became the head football coach in Hammond Indiana where the school hadn’t won a football game in four years. His 6-year record there as head coach was 29 and 20, and in 1939 he was offered the head coaching job at Ann Arbor High School. He coached  at Ann Arbor through the War years,  and in his six years there his teams won four state 5A titles and went 37-4-5.

In 1946 he was hired by Biggie Munn as an assistant at Syracuse, joining other assistants Forest Evashevski and Duffy Daugherty. The next year the staff moved to Michigan State but in 1949, finding Munn “difficult to work with,“ he took the head coaching job at Oregon State when it was offered.  A week later, he was offered a job on the Michigan staff by former teammate Benny Oosterbaan, but he had already committed to Oregon State.

The Michigan influence on his staff at Oregon State was strong: two of his assistants were  the Elliott brothers, former Wolverine stars Pete and Bump.

In his first year at Oregon State the Beavers went 7-3, including an upset of Munn and  8th-ranked Michigan State. Alas, that would be his last winning season.  He was there six years (see a pattern here?) and he did beat Oregon five times, but in the sixth and final year of his contract he went 1-8 - and lost to Oregon - and he was gone.

He never coached again.

He had a somewhat unusual nickname. When he was a youngster he and his friends in Ann Arbor used to catch punts during the summer for a Michigan All American named Harry Kipke. “Harry Kipke was my idol during my high school years,” he said.  “I talked about him incessantly, much to disgust of my friends. Eventually my friends started to call me Kipke to annoy me and as the time went by they shortened it. As a result, I have carried the nickname the rest of my life - and with pride, I might add.”


 

Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  APRIL 3,  2020  “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin

*********** One thing  about this sh— that we're going through is that it might help us realize what fools we’ve been - how distorted we'd allowed our values to become...

Which one is really more valuable...

The nurse or the wide receiver?

The power plant worker or the power forward?

The farmer or the quarterback?

The truck driver or the shortstop?

*********** Given the number of people nowadays who've never read a newspaper, never read a book, never played cards  - can you imagine Americans having to go through this without the Internet?

*********** The Mayor of Los Angeles is offering rewards for people who turn in businesses who shouldn't be operating right now. He can't even keep bums from sh--ing in the streets, but just give him a call and he'll get right on it.
 
*********** Maybe the only way people will ever go back to theatres again -  My friend Tom Hinger tells me that where he lives in Florida they've still got drive-in movies.

*********** I’m tentatively planning on a brief ZOOM clinic next Tuesday evening, at 5 PM Pacific (8 PM Eastern).  I want to talk a bit about how I’ve been able to run a Double Wing attack for the last few years without anybody realizing it.  It won’t go more than an hour.  Those of you who have purchased a Dynamics III playbook or an Open Wing DVD set will receive an email invitation by Sunday.  If that's you and you don't get an  invite, or if you don’t fit into either category but you’d like to be included - send me an email: coachhw@mac.com  Again, this is tentative, but then, these days, isn’t just about everything?

*********** Andy Staples, in The Athletic, predicts that there WILL be a college football season.
Dear Andy,

I hope you and your family are doing well during this pandemic. I heard an interview earlier today on Paul Finebaum that college football administrators are terrified that a lost college football season in 2020 could sink 75 percent of the FBS. How true do you think this is, and why? I actually think all sports will be canceled in 2020, so this makes me very nervous for the future of college athletics. — KC,  Phoenix


I don’t know if it would cause all the athletic departments to go under — a few have strategic reserves that could be tapped in this kind of emergency — but a school year without a football season would wreak all manner of havoc. Departments have spent decades trying to spend every penny they make (so they don’t have to give more to the players or any to Uncle Sam), and most aren’t equipped to handle a year with no football season ticket revenue, no football booster donations and no football TV money.

Employees would get furloughed — or outright laid off — and sports would get cut. Some of those non-revenue sports wouldn’t come back. Football would come back, but not without considerable damage to each athletic department and a constriction in the number of available jobs.

Because of this, the people who run college sports will do everything within their power to get this season played. If it means moving the season to start in October, November, December or January, they’ll do it. If it isn’t safe at any point between now and next April to have huge crowds gather, they’ll play in front of no fans to get the TV money. That still would require massive budget cuts, but it probably would at least keep Power 5 programs afloat. They would have to find a way to play a season between September and the end of April 2021. The economic model they’ve created simply cannot function without a football season.

If there is no way to stage football games in empty stadiums by next spring, then the world would have much bigger problems than some college athletic departments going belly-up. Our economy would have collapsed by that point, and nations across the world would be in a full-scale depression. My guess is that won’t be allowed to happen. A return to something resembling normal would happen before that.

Which means the season probably will get played. When? We don’t know.

Be wary of anyone at this point who makes definitive statements. In my business, people are often afraid to say “I don’t know.” But “I don’t know” is the correct answer to a lot of questions these days. There is a point in the next few months when college sports leaders will have to make a decision whether the season can start on time. That hasn’t happened yet, so let’s see what the world looks like in — say — early June. Ohio State announcing Wednesday that summer school classes (which run until August) will be offered online doesn’t give me a ton of confidence the season will start on time, but it also doesn’t preclude the season starting a little later than usual.

We don’t know right now. Not just about college football, but about a lot of things much more important in the grand scheme than college football. And that’s incredibly scary. But we don’t need to panic. To paraphrase the most boring coaches I interview, we need to take it one day at a time and process information as it becomes available.
 
*********** Other guys, far better informed than me (think Kirk Herbstreit),  have predicted that there will NOT be a college football season this year.

I disagree.  I predict that one way or another there will be a season. Maybe they’ll have to make it happen without players - using avatars created by AE Sports (paying players for their names, images and likenesses, of course) -but there will be games.  On TV at least.

There may not be people in the stands, and that’s going to mean a significant drop in revenue, but the one thing they can’t do without is the TV dollars, so they’ll play.

That’s because if they don’t play,  the loss of revenue will undoubtedly mean having to eliminate many non-revenue sports which for most colleges means any sportf other than football and men’s basketball.  (Yes, there are some places where baseball, women’s basketball, ice hockey and wrestling are revenue sports, but those places are outliers.)

No people in the stands,  did you near me say?  Have I got an idea (I’ve mentioned this in the past).  

Enough of this painting the empty seats so that from a distance it looks as if they’ve got people sitting in them.

Instead -   virtual crowds! The technology already exists.  We’ve all seen the ads on football fields, ads that the people in the stands can’t see because they’re superimposed digitally, just for the TV audience.  And they have chroma-key - the “green screen” ability to replace a background, or a portion of it, with something else.  So paint the damn seats green, and then superimpose video footage of a “live” crowd.  Pump in the crowd noise as needed. Customize the crowd so it’s wearing crimson for a Bama game, orange for a Tennessee game, white for Penn State “white out.”

As long as they’re at it, they could come up with packed houses at perennial bottom feeders!

They probably wouldn’t be able to zoom in on the crowd, catching the shirtless guys with letters painted on their chests, or the screaming fool holding up the “Number One” finger, but I don’t see that as a loss.

*********** There are plenty of those types out there who’ll tell you that fathers aren’t necessary, or that marriage is just a social construct.

So why is it, then, that every time our local newspaper prints photos and short biogs of area kids who’ve made Eagle Scout - this most recent time there were 22 of them - every damn one has a mother and a father with the same last name?


*********** Based on annual per capita consumption of alcohol, Australians are second only to Czechs.

Retail Drinks Australia (the national trade organization that represents the country’s liquor stores)  has announced a voluntary national initiative to place temporary limits on the number of liquor products shoppers can purchase in one transaction.

Retail Drinks CEO Julie Ryan said the move is to address the Government’s concerns on how some customers could change their purchasing behaviours and cause supply interruptions in alcohol.

“We know that consumers like to feel certainty of supply during times of crisis, and our members want to do their part to encourage people continuing to purchase alcohol responsibly as they normally would. Our suppliers in breweries, wineries, distilleries and the wholesale and distribution of drinks continue to be fully operational and this means there are no issues of supply,” said Ryan.

“However, it was clear that uncertainty on the impact of supply following the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants last week caused some people to purchase differently. We want to now send a clear message bottle shops remain an essential service and there are no issues of supply. These temporary measures will ensure that all consumers can continue to access their favourite drinks when they decide to make a purchase.”

Okay, okay.  I get it.  They are limiting the amount of alcohol an individual can buy. If you call this “limiting”:
“shoppers can purchase only two cases of beer, cider, pre-mix spirits/ready to drink; 12 bottles of wine”
That’s “one transaction,” mates.

https://insideretail.com.au/news/retail-drinks-australia-announces-temporary-limits-on-alcohol-purchases-202003

*********** You’ve probably never heard of Slim Dusty.  But then, you’re probably not an Australian.  You probably didn’t know that Australia has country music, either, but it does, and Slim Dusty, who died in 2003, was the king of Australian country music, as a singer and songwriter. He was something of a national icon: In 1981, when space shuttle astronauts played his recording of “Waltzing Matilda,” it was the first music transmitted from space; he was the final singer at the  closing ceremonies of the 2000 Olympics, in Sydney.

I love listening to his music. My favorite Slim Dusty song (it sold more than 5 million copies) almost foretold the kind of times we’re going through - “The Pub With No Beer.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E0aZ387M_I

*********** Oregon schools have been closed since March 13.  Wednesday - April 1- the state ordered its schools to begin distance learning on April 13.  That’s two weeks from now.  That’ll be a month since the shutdown.  Nothing like being prepared for such a contingency.

*********** I guess I’m “elderly.” Anyhow, I’ve lived a great life. I hope that doesn’t sound as if I’m ready to go - I’d prefer not to die just yet - but I admit to being somewhat embarrassed that our nation has been virtually shut down, our economy trashed and our children and grandchildren on the hook for another $2 trillion in national debt, pretty much to protect us "seniors."

I’ll leave it to a retired newspaperwoman named Angela Rocco DeCarlo, writing recently in the Wall  Street Journal, to put it another way:
“My friend John R. Powers, a Chicago novelist, was supposed to fly to Los Angeles in 1979 but decided to skip his flight. It crashed on takeoff at O’Hare International Airport, killing everyone aboard. He told a reporter his death hadn’t been averted, only postponed.” 


FRANKLIN NJ*********** Franklin, New Jersey is a town of about 5,000 people in the rural far northwest corner of the state.  Yes, rural.  In New Jersey!  In 2019, hunters killed 85 bears in Franklin’s county, Sussex.

Franklin was first settled a long time ago -in the 1600s - and named Franklin Furnace because of the iron ore deposits found there. It’s far enough away from the big cities of the East that it never got swallowed up by urban sprawl. Never grew big.  It’s a bit of the heartland, just an hour and a half from New York City (in Coronavirus-type traffic).

Back in the 1800s, zinc deposits were discovered there, and small mines cropped up. In 1897,  the New Jersey Zinc Company acquired all of the area mines, and as the company grew, it recruited workers from Eastern Europe.

I first learned about Franklin because I’d heard of a semipro football team named the Franklin Miners.  They were good.  At one time, when they had aspirations of being a professional minor league team, their coach was former Philadelphia Eagles’ great Steve Van Buren.

More recently, I heard a lot about them from the late General Jim Shelton, who helped me start the Black Lion Award.   Jim was a native of Franklin.  After high school he went on to play football at Delaware (Mike Lude was his line coach), and then to a long career in the Army.  Jim was very proud of his hometown and of the history of the Franklin Miners, even confessing to me once that while he was at Delaware, he’d played in a couple of their games.

In 1999 they held a reunion of all Miners’ players still living, and Jim, knowing my love of football history, was kind enough to send me a copy of a book presented to all the attendees, a game-by-game history of the team.

In the book’s Dedication, the author, Richard Fletcher, wrote,

“This history is dedicated to the memory of all those who in some way made it possible for the model mining town of Franklin, N.J., to field a football team that became known as the Green Bay of the East. The Old Fight, Zinctowners, Pick and Shovel Gang, Zinc Slabs and Zincos gave the residents of Sussex County thrill after thrill for many years.”

Fletcher’s research showed that in the early years of the twentieth century the town had a football team, but it wasn’t until many years later, in the depth of the Depression, that the Miners got their start.

“Sometime prior to Thursday, October 10, 1935,” Fletcher wrote,  “a group of Franklin residents, mostly young miners, got together to discuss whether or not they could get ready in time to field a competitive football team for that season…the team name was certainly not an issue since everything related to sports (in the town) seemed to take on the name Miners.

Ten days later, they played their first game.

Sunday, October 20, 1935, at 2 PM, the Miners surprised and delighted their fans with a 13-0 win over Netcong A.A.
They finished their first season 3-1-1,  and by the end of the 1941 season, they’d compiled a record of 40-4-8.  Along the way, they had four undefeated seasons.

But then came December, 1941.

As team president Roy Lent wrote at the time…

“The Miners had to cancel their last game in 1941 due to several members being too hurt to play and several others being inducted into the service. 

“As the uniforms are packed in mothballs and the “Old Fight” dies over Beaver Lake Mountain a feeling of satisfaction comes over us all. When the 1942 season dawns and the Miners again take up the fight we hope to have you all behind us.”

But then, as most of us know, came December 7 and the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the world was at war. And there was no Franklin Miners’ football for FIVE YEARS!

Wrote Fletcher, “Little did Roy Lent  know when he made the preceding statement that those uniforms would be stored for five long years.  The next game the Miners would play would have to wait until 1946.  The “Old Fight” would be running different types of plays in the European and Japanese theaters of war.”

All that was by way of setting up the following poem, "My Pals”, written by Roy Lent during World War II.  The Franklin Miners were off to war, and, although no threat to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, he did a pretty good job of expressing nostalgia for the good old days, and looking forward wistfully to their return.

(Bear in mind that most of the guys he’s talking  about worked in the zinc mines, then practiced football after their day’s work.)

“My Pals”   
 
Oft' times when I am thinking,
I go back to those pre-war days.
And wish I could live all over again
Those happy but old-time ways.
 
When I'd drop over to Moxie's,
After the day was through,
In would come Remus and Sabo,
And probably Yokie and Poo.
 
Then we'd talk some football -
About the team we'd have in the Fall.
Whether we could beat Dover or not -
How well I remember it all.
 
Then in would come Bob Hulbert,
Or Fred Phillips with Paolo Swetz.
Cubby'd be looking for Emro.
No more do we hear their footsteps.
 
Next we'd go to the diner -
Eddie Selems would great us there.
Now, a lot of the stools are empty -
My pals have gone elsewhere.
 
The happy voices at the quarry,
As swimming they would go,
Or gather in groups at the Neighb. -
It seems it must ever be so.
 
The happy smiles at noontime,
As to lunch we all would go -
Cokie would pull a wisecrack,
And then the whistle would blow.
 
Then football practice would roll around -
There was Bodnar, Kubo and Pep.
Doug Pollard and Andy Swetz were there,
Trying a block or a new side step.
 
Jackie Dobbins would be throwin' to Kelly,
And Shon would be trying a kick.
Teddy Lapotka would get some water,
And Red Trichine would throw it at Vic.
 
Then Emro would drive off-tackle,
Hezzy Lozaw would clear the way.
Buffy would get out his papers,
And show us a new trick play.
 
Then Itchy would yell, "The Old Fight!",
As he'd snare a touchdown pass.
Bud Schroeder would take out the safety man,
And his helmet would roll on the grass.
 
Then Sabo would kick the extra point,
Over the bar straight and true.
In five years he kicked fifty-one,
A good record for any one shoe.
 
Then the practice was over -
To the showers they would go.
Cubby would get some soap in his eye,
And someone would step on his toe.
 
Then I'd announce the Camptown game -
I must have had doubt in my eyes.
But they'd all yell, "The Old Fight, Gang!"
Nothing too tough for those guys.
 
And so I could name a hundred or more,
That I would like to see.
And it gives you a funny feeling inside,
When you think how things used to be.
 
The memory of their faces,
Will ever remain so clear.
Pals who wouldn't let you down -
And friends I loved so dear.
 
But somewhere they are doing a job,
For all of us - you and me.
And I'll put my bet on every guy,
To bring us victory.
 
They don't worry about sugar,
Or an extra gallon of gas.
All they want is to be home again,
And sack on their own green grass.
 
I live for the day when they return,
And parade down old Main Street.
Nothing's too good for those guys,
In victory or defeat.
 
Oft' times when you are thinking,
Don't you long for those pre-war days -
And wish you could live all over again
Those happy but old-time ways?

I’ll bet there are a lot of football coaches out there who have poems like this inside them right now.

*********** “How Football Died,” by Samuel Yellen

Unlimited substitution in football has been the normal case for so long that there are fewer and fewer of us alive who remember a time when substitution - how much of it to permit, and when - was constantly debated.  In the immediate post-war period (1946-1950), the idea of “platoon” football, introduced by Fritz Crisler at Michigan and given its name by Earl Blaik at Army, began to take over the game.   Many smaller schools found the costs too high, and many dropped the sport. Two-way football, enforced by limiting substitution  was seen by many as a way to save the game.  Back and forth the argument ran, as some predicted that unlimited substitution - platoon football -  would ultimately mean that only a handful of football schools would remain.  I happened to come across this fantasy inspired by the topic, written for the November, 1949 issue of The Atlantic Monthly Magazine.

(PART TWO)

The new stadium was completed for the opening of the 1959 season. On the first Saturday in October, Michigan was to play both Stanford and Wisconsin. As one might have predicted, these schools like others, had been reluctant to sign up under the Worthington plan, since it gave them the appearance of second-rate teams which Michigan could take on two at a time. However, such was Michigan’s prestige and perhaps more significant, so alluring the share of the gate offered them that they were prevailed upon. The eyes of the college world were on Ann Arbor for this initial test of the plan. Of course, bungling was unavoidable on that Saturday; and although Michigan beat Stanford, the Wisconsin game was lost through faults in planning and timing. But toward the close of the season, things were running like clockwork.

Nevertheless, complaints were heard, both from the other schools and from the fans  The visiting teams felt that they were somehow being used. Notwithstanding the larger share they were given, they could not forget that it had come from a single gate; whereas Michigan’s came from a double gate. Moreover, chagrin set in as they begin to comprehend what an unsurpassable lead they had allowed Michigan to attain. For, obviously, not every school could undertake to build a second stadium and schedule double games. Simple arithmetic was against it. There were not enough teams.

The fans, too, caused difficulty. They displayed a reluctance to come to Ann Arbor for the less important game. A kind of Gresham's Law in reverse came into operation. Thus on the Saturday when Michigan played Illinois and Syracuse, the first stadium was packed, the other only half filled. And when Michigan played Notre Dame, the other stadium, where the opponent was Princeton, had a handful of spectators. Worthington, appealed to for help, came up with the daring suggestion that Michigan schedule a double game with Notre Dame in 1960. The idea was that both schools with shuttle back-and-forth, taking the offensive in one stadium while on the defensive in the other.

To relate  the melancholy events of the fatal Saturday just a month ago seems hardly necessary. They are only too well-known. The day began fine, the crowds were colorful. The 200,000 rabid fans who had descended on Ann Arbor were getting their money’s worth. For the first three quarters, the games went off with exceptional smoothness. The score was tied at 14 all in the old stadium, and Michigan led 21 to 20 in the new. Then, during the fourth quarter, through some caprice of fortune or some momentary tangle in the weary brain of one of the coaches, the irrevocable mistake was made. The Michigan offensive team shuttled from the new stadium to the old at the same time that the Notre Dame offense of team shuttle from the old to the new. This brought Michigan’s offense against its own defense,  and put Notre Dame in a like predicament.

A number of factors prevented the teams from noticing the blunder until it was too late. A drizzle had started to come down in the second half, the fields had been turned to mud, and the uniforms had become unrecognizable. Furthermore, dusk having fallen, the light was poor. And, perhaps most important, the teams had grown so big, with 200 men on each squad, that a player did not know half of his teammates even by sight unless they happened to be associated with him in particular operations. Whatever the reasons, thanks to a special trick play, really a brilliant and thrilling maneuver, held in reserve for this very moment, Michigan scored against itself. Only then, after the extra point had been kicked, was the mistake discovered.

Chaos settled over the old stadium. The gridiron was a darkling plain swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight. The players wrangled. The referees could make no decision.

The snarl never was untangled. Both schools claimed the victory, and some of the Michigan alumni raised a fund to carry the case to court.

But cooler heads quickly understood that something far more serious than the score – namely, the future of football itself – was at stake. What would be the reaction of the fans? Michigan waited anxiously. On the following Saturday, the worst fears were realized. Across the entire country the stadiums were deserted, and have remained so ever since. Most of the schools have not even bothered to play the scheduled games. A stupor of bewilderment overwhelmed the fans. Apparently their firm faith in football had toppled and they would have no more of it. Although a few schools have gone ahead halfheartedly to draw up a schedule for a 1961, it is certain now that intercollegiate football is as dead as falconry or dueling. Most of the big schools have announced that they are quitting the game. With its usual hardheadedness and resourcefulness, Michigan has already put its best mind to work devising uses for the two stadiums at Ann Arbor, so that it need not default on the bonds. Plans are afoot to hold a festival of Greek drama in the new stadium next spring, opening with Euripides’ Hercules Distracted.

***********  Just consider one extremely  significant aspect of this economic disaster that I haven’t seen mentioned yet:  For a lot of Americans,  what little “wealth” they have is tied up in real estate - their home. But what's happening to that “wealth?” Once this shutdown is over, and people get out and about again, who the hell is going to have the money or the optimism  to buy a home?  Real estate prices are sure to crater and with them, the wealth of a lot of Americans - ordinary people who saved,  and paid off their mortgages, and never played the stock market.

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

I agree with Brad Knight about learning to use turn signals on their cars. I think people in my hometown don't know that they come with the car!!

I am  glad that I don't live in your nanny state. I went fishing Tuesday and caught a nice stringer of crappie. If some clown tried to enforce something that stupid, a fight would ensue. That would not fly in Kentucky.

I misspoke on Monday. We had a 60 year old man die Monday night from the wuhan virus. Notice that I am not being politically correct for the name of the virus.

Stay safe.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky


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

I can see the day when the NCAA loses its luster.  The Power 5 schools will create their own governing body, while the Group of 5 schools will be forced to decide between the NCAA or the new group.  The less financially stable Group of 5 schools will be faced with making the decision to remain in the NCAA as FCS scholarship, or possibly FCS non-scholarship, or DII, and then adjust to the new rules, OR, eliminate football altogether.  The smaller schools wanting to maintain some scholarships would likely move over to the NAIA.  Division III will remain the same unless the NCAA decides to go back to how things were done in the past where some Division I schools chose to play football in Division III.

As a huge foodie I've been watching 3D's for a very long time.  In fact my wife and I have eaten in a number of the places Guy Fieri has visited.  One, here in Austin, the Noble Pig, quite often.

Back to college football.  I don't believe we'll ever see the two-platoon rule get thrown out, but I do believe we'll see more Group of 5 schools with great basketball traditions choose to play football at the FCS level.  Some, who want to save their programs and cut way back on expenses may join in with the Ivy League and the Pioneer League and not offer scholarships.  The Patriot League could also fall into that category eventually because currently only some of the Patriot schools offer scholarships.

Have a great week.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Herman Hickman was truly a marvelous man - a great football player, a warm, jovial person with folksy good humor and legendary southern charm -  and a love of poetry that enabled him to cite verse for almost any occasion.

He was born and raised in Johnson City, in East Tennessee, and went to the Baylor School, a private school in Chattanooga. He was always big - he weighed 185 as a 14-year-old, and he starred as a fullback.  He also wrestled, and won the Tennessee State constitutional oratorical contest.

In 1928 he entered the University of Tennessee, where he earned fame playing guard for the legendary General Robert Neyland. So good was he that when  a reporter said that he was "the best guard the South ever produced," Coach Neyland replied, “(He) is the greatest guard football has ever known."

After graduation from Tennessee, he played three years with the NFL Brooklyn Dodgers, earning all-league honors as a guard, and then he spent five years as a professional wrestler.  Wrestling as "The Tennessee Terror,” he had five hundred matches. “When you consider how pro wrestling is operated,” he said later, “it’s astonishing a fellow could work in some five hundred matches and escape being named champion. I guess I was just lucky.”

He then spent two years at Wake Forest and three years at North Carolina State as a line coach before he was hired at Army.

When Army coach Earl Blaik first met him, he was sitting outside the Colonel’s office, reading a book of poetry.

“I see you like poetry,” the Colonel said.

He replied,  “I’ve always had a fondness for it. I took a Bachelor of Arts course at Tennessee, and I reckon next to public speaking. English always was my favorite subject.  Down at North Carolina State I’ve lectured the senior class on the poetry of Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Lee Masters.”

Coach Blaik had decided that Army needed to switch from the single wing to the T-formation, and asked him how he felt about the T.

“Well,” he replied, “I’ve always been a single wing man. But I expect I could get to learn about the T. After all, Colonel, I think you can make just about any system go, if you’ve got the right kind of boys.”

He was indeed a character. Wrote Randy Roberts in “A Team for America,” “There really was no one quite like him in the game. Dubbed ‘The Poet Laureate of the Little Smokies, the son and grandson of Tennessee lawyers, he could outtalk, outdebate, outrecite, outplay, outwrestle, outeat, and outlaugh virtually anyone inside and outside the game. Certainly, no one in the world had his resume. It was almost as if the dour Blaik had searched America for the football coach most unlike himself.”


But Coach Blaik was convinced that despite his rotund appearance (Blaik would later call him an “Gigantic Iron Beach Ball”), his folksy nature and his back-country drawl, this was the man he needed to teach his linemen the ins and outs of T-formation blocking.

Wrote Tim Cohane, in Gridiron Grenadiers, “(His) jolly disposition, his friendly rotundity, his penchant for reciting a stanza or two of classic poetry to fit a situation, and his kinfolk stories won him immediate popularity at West Point. Blaik didn’t have to watch him at work very long before he realized he had come up with what he’d hoped for…

“The players took to (his) way of teaching line play. He minimized the drudgery without eliminating any of the hard work.  They were shocked first by his strength and surprised at his catlike speed for 270 pounds. They concluded that he must be one of the strongest men in the world, and they weren’t wrong. At hand wrestling, for one thing, he has never met his match.”

In his five seasons coaching the Army line, he coached six All-Americans: Center Cas Myslinski; tackles Dewitt “Tex” Coulter and Al Nemetz; and guards Joe Stanowicz, Jack Green and Joe Steffy.

And he did more than his share to help Army get “the right kind of boys.”  His country ways and East Tennessee drawl were a tremendous asset in recruiting an unusually large number of southerners to West Point, all of them good football players.  One of them, Steffy, also had attended the Baylor School, and he played one year at Tennessee before transferring to Army in an unusual wartime deal prearranged  with Tennessee.

All in all, he was quite content at West Point. But in 1947, he had confessed to a reporter, “I do believe there’s only one job that might tempt me to leave here. That would be Yale.  Since I was a kid, I have always liked the school. But I don’t expect they’d ever be interested in me.”

A year later,  the Yale job came open, and they were interested.  After much deliberation, he accepted.

Fred Russell, legendary sports editor of the Nashville Tennessean, wrote, “On an evening back in the spring of 1933, what would have been the odds that the sweating round man grappling the Indian, Blue Sun Jennings, in the ring at Nashville’s Orpheum Theatre, would some day be Yale’s football coach? About a million to one, I guess.”

He spent four years at Yale and went 16-17-2, but, in great demand as an after-dinner speaker and a frequent guest on TV shows, he was offered a TV job that was too good to pass up, and - pressed to make a hasty decision - he reluctantly asked to be released from his Yale contract.

While  its head coach, he coached Yale’s first black player, Levi Jackson; in 1949, his second year as Yale's coach, the lettermen elected Jackson captain.

For the next several years, he did TV commentary and with the launch of Sports Illustrated in 1954 he was hired as its college football expert.

Herman Hickman died in surgery in 1958.  He was just 46.

He left us this rather melancholy, autobiographical poem…
I’m mountain bred and I’m mountain born,
I came to town, but I’m still forlorn,
The folks up here have been nice to me,
But  I long for my home, back in Tennessee.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HERMAN HICKMAN

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY



*********** I’m fortunate enough to have a copy of “The Herman Hickman Reader,” a collection of stories and poems published in 1953.

The foreword - introduction - was written by Charlie Loftus, who was the Sports Information Director at Yale when I was there. Charlie and Herman became fast friends.  Like Herman, Charlie was a very large man, and like Herman he was a very jovial person, a lover of literature and quick with a story.  And, like Herman, he was impossible to dislike. I'll never forget him because my junior year, he saw me in Ray Tompkins House, the athletic department headquarters, and asked me if I was going home for Thanksgiving.  When I told him that I was, he said, “You’re from Philadelphia - how’d you like to go to the Army-Navy game?”  Before I could even answer “YES!!!” he handed me a pair of tickets.  Holy sh—!  A Philadelphian born and raised, I’d never been to the game.  I didn’t even know anybody who’d been to the game. It was something people with connections got to go to. My dad and I went, and it was an unforgettable experience for both of us. (And Army won. )

INTRODUCTION

It was in 1950 – a short time before Christmas. Herman Hickman was whittling away at a stack of greeting cards on his desk. One was from the board chairman of a vast American industrial enterprise. Another was from the counter man of a quick-order lunch room in an isolated section of North Carolina.

There were others. From the president of a major television network. From boys, and from parents of boys, who had played football under him. From newspapermen and hotel bellhops. From factory workers and famous educators. From clergymen, store clerks, Army generals, delivery boys. From some of the most glamorous names in the tinsel world of show business, to Broadway characters that Damon Runyon could have immortalized.

Although I had known this mountain of a man for many years, it was the first time that I grasped the full significance of what a truly giant figure he is. I realized that he knew kings, but remembered his friends, and that both kings and friends remembered him.

I learned early that Herman Heckman was a native of Johnson City, Tennessee. Playing with charming guile on my innocence, he had me believing, for a long time, that he had been born in a tree, been raised in the backwoods, and roamed with a rifle until someone lassoed him, shod him, and introduced him to civilization as a lineman with the University of Tennessee. It was three years before I knew that he was the son of an attorney and that his family background includes some of the citizens of which Tennessee is the proudest.

If radio had been more than an experiment at the time Herman was seven years old he might very well have been the original Quiz Kid. At any rate, he was a literary expert at an age when the proudest accomplishment of most Muppets is that they can tie their own shoes laces.

Johnson City kinfolk must have suspected that the Herman Hickman of some 35 years and 250 pounds ago was no ordinary individual. They became sure when the state militia from the community was activated for service in World War I. A tearfully protesting six-year-old Herman had to be dragged forcibly from the train by an early day platoon consisting of his two grandfathers. He had wanted to go to war.

Not too long after, Herman decided on a legal career. One day a factory representative enthusiastically called at his residence to see the “Mr. Hickman who has written us about furniture and filing cabinets for the law office he is going to open.”  It had been Herman‘s practice to read everything – including catalogs.

It was a little wonder, then, that within a short time this apple – cheeked zealot was winning oratorical contest with renditions of patriotic pieces. After all, he had tried to be both a soldier and a lawyer before he was 10.

I had often wondered just how good a football player Herman was. The first thing I learned back in my cub days of reporting was to take nothing for granted, so I checked. Grantland Rice told me he was the best guard he had ever seen. Newspaper clips of the games in which he played proved it. When the Associated Press, a few years ago, was naming its all – time football squad for the first half of the 20th century, Herman was voted a place on it.

Herman tells a lot of stories about his coaching and playing days. In all of them he is the goat. But one story he doesn’t tell is a yarn that Chick Meehan once related to me.

Meehan was then coach of a powerful New York University team that was playing Tennessee in a postseason game at the Yankee Stadium for the benefit of the unemployed.  NYU had a first down on the 4 yard line. Meehan sent in instructions to run it through the “fat boy.“  His quarterback was a very literal young man, and four plays were run right at Hickman. The series of downs ended with NYU back on the 14 yard line.

After the game, Meehan asked his captain, Ernie Concannon, if Hickman were really that tough. “I didn’t want to find out, “was Concannon‘s reply. “All I know is that he called me a damn Yankee, and I pretended I didn’t hear him. “

How good a football coach was Hickman? I am virtually certain that the lines he developed at West Point  were the finest ever molded in gridiron history. Yale gave him an unprecedented 10 year contract. When Hickman resigned to accept a long term television contract, the astute Lou Little, dean of  Ivy coaches and head man at Columbia termed it “a major loss the game can ill afford. Men such as Herman Hickman are not only good for, but are needed by, college football. He was one of the great coaches.”

No man ever loved football more. He loved his football players, but he loved them as boys first. He loved every minute of his work at Yale, just as he had when he coached at West Point, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. I have often thought of what a lot of pondering went into his decision to retire from the game. When he left Yale he made certain that he expressed his gratitude to everyone who had worked with him. More than that, he meant it.

But those who knew him well were not surprised at his decision. He had done the unexpected before. After he was graduated from Tennessee, he became a wrestler. He was, Jimmy Cannon once wrote, the only professional wrestler ever admitted to the human race.

“Just why, “I asked Herman years later, “did you ever wrestle?” Herman, a practical poet, gave a practical reply.

“I was graduated, “he said, “in 1932. Things were mighty tough at that point in the depression. I just didn’t know where else I could make a couple of hundred dollars a week. “

I have often thought, especially when listening to this man reciting poetry, that as a wrestler he was a remarkable paradox. Try to imagine Hickman by night, obliterating pachyderms with his “flying tackles,” and, by day, browsing in book shops, attending ballets, memorizing poetry, and discovering all of the nation’s fine eating places.

In the fall of those years he played professional football with the now-defunct Brooklyn club. He played for three years, and was an all-league guard. He then coached at Wake Forest and North Carolina State. His Army and Yale assignments followed.

Hickman could no more have avoided television than Romeo could have escaped Juliet. It was about 1949. TV was just beginning to creep. The perceptive Fred Friendly, producer of the Edward R. Murrow “See it Now” show, was packaging a quiz vehicle called “Who Said That?”

It was a panel show in which questions were based upon current news events and famous quotes from history. He suggested Herman as a guest. I shall never forget Herman‘s TV debut. As fast as the moderator could pose the questions Herman was waving his hand in the air with the enthusiasm of a fourth grader who just had to go to the bathroom.

Whether he realized it or not, Herman was in show business. Twice more he was invited back as a guest. The audience reaction each time was the same. The demand was for more Hickman. More Hickman they got, too, as a regular member of the “Celebrity Time” show. As Herman provided answers to even the most difficult questions, the letters poured in. People in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and a lot of way stations in between, suddenly realized football coaches and football players could be pretty intelligent men.

“Bless you, “wrote a mother in Iowa. “My son loves football, but never wants to study. After watching you on television, he is now an honor student.” There were many more like this. It’s safe to assume that Herman Hickman did a lot to increase the study habits of the nation’s youth. At least he provided parents with encouraging ammunition.

With the possible exception of a presidential nominee, I doubt if anyone has addressed more meetings in the past few years than has Herman. The range here is great - conventions, educational conferences, sales meetings, convocations, literary groups, alumni meetings, athletic banquets – and any other reason for which people gather.

“Automatically,” Herman says, “when I see you have a grapefruit or a fruit cup, even if on the breakfast table at my own house, I just stand up and start to speak.”

This is the Herman Hickman that audiences see. But what is the private-life Herman Hickman like?  First of all,  he is the most kindly man I have ever known. In the 10 years we have been friends, I have never heard him say one acid word about anyone or anything. Scientists have never weighed his heart, but if they ever do they might find it comprises the major portion of his 300 and some pounds. He has an enormous capacity to enjoy everything – not only food, but also people, literature, and life itself. Reciprocally, everyone who knows Herman enjoys him, and when you get to know him in this book, I’m sure you will, too.

***********  I laughed at the story about his line at Yale being so small that he nicknamed them “the Seven Dwarves.” Apparently one day they came out with the name of each dwarf on their helmets. Levi Jackson’s helmet read Snow White.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Seven Dwarfs story is a Yale Legend.

I really wish I had the time and resources to do a biography of Herman Hickman. I do remember him.  I was just old enough to know who he was, but not old enough to understand how special he was.  Truly an amazing man.  Had he been the stereotypical southerner of the time, Levi Jackson’s experience might not have been what it was.  Instead, there was a genuine affection  and admiration between them.

*********** QUIZ - He was born in South Dakota, but went to high school in Jacksonville, Florida.

He played quarterback and defensive back at Florida. His head coach, Bob Woodruff, called him “one of the brainiest quarterbacks I ever saw.”

After service in the Army, he assisted at Arkansas years for seven years, until in 1964 he was hired as head coach at Tennessee - by Bob Woodruff,  his former college coach, who was by then the UT athletics director.

While at Tennessee (1964 through 1969) he was twice named SEC Coach of the Year.

He won SEC championships in 1967 and 1969, and his 1967 team finished second in the nation.

He went 4-5-1 his first season, but then followed with five straight seasons of eight wins or more, and five straight bowl appearances (back in the days before “a bowl for everybody”).

In six years at Tennessee, his record was 46-14-4.

While the UT coach, he is credited with putting the “T” decal on the Tennessee helmets, having the orange-and-white checkerboard pattern painted in the end zones at Neyland Stadium, and getting the Tennessee band to form a “T” through which the team runs onto the field.

He also recruited the first black player to play at Tennessee, although he actually had to do it twice. He first recruited Albert Davis, a running back, but Davis couldn’t qualify academically. Next, he recruited Lester McClain, who did qualify and became Tennessee’s first black player - and a very good player at that.

As the end of the 1969 season drew near and rumors circulated that he might return to his alma mater to replace Ray Graves, Tennessee wound up playing Florida in the Gator Bowl.  Tennessee lost both the game, 14-13, and - when he did leave for Florida - their coach.

In his nine seasons at Florida (1970 through 1978), he was 58-43-2, but he was 0-4 in bowl games and he never won an SEC title.  After a 4-7 season in 1978, he was replaced by Charlie Pell.

His overall record in 15 years as a head coach in the SEC was 104-58-6.

In 1985, he returned to Tennessee, succeeding Bob Woodruff as Athletics Director - and served until he retired in 1983.  During his term as AD, Neyland Stadium’s capacity was increased to over 100,000.

In 1985, his son became the Vols’ starting quarterback, and led them to a Sugar Bowl win over Miami.

He is in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame,  the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  MARCH  31,  2020  “Our Country won’t go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won’t be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!”    Lt. Gen. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, USMC

***********  A MODEST PROPOSAL (With apologies to Jonathan Swift, for stealing the title of his satirical essay in which he suggested that the poverty of the poor-but-prolific Irish might be eased if they were to sell their babies to the rich - as food. )

Once a week or so, I talk with an old friend named Mike Lude.  Mike is 97 now, but sharp as a tack with a memory that I envy.  As an assistant to Dave Nelson, he was a co-inventor of the Delaware Wing-T; he was head football coach at Colorado State;  and he was AD at Kent State, Washington and Auburn.  Mike is still active with NACDA - the College AD’s association.

Mike notes that while the Power 5 conferences for the most part are okay financially, bolstered as they are by huge conference TV packages,  other FBS schools - many of them reasonably big programs such as Memphis, Tulsa, Boise State, Cincinnati, struggle to compete.

Every year, the NCAA helps member colleges by distributing a large portion of the revenues that it rakes in from its basketball tournament. But as we all know, there is no tournament this year, and as a result the NCAA announced last week that it would be distributing $375 million less this year than it anticipated. That bad news comes at a time when colleges are facing the possibility of declining enrollments, and the 2020 college football season - even if played in front of empty stands - is by no means a sure thing.

The result is that colleges, many of them mortgaged to the max to pay for facilities that they “needed” to keep up with the football arms race, may have to eliminate some sports - including football.  At the very least, they are going to be scrambling to find ways to save money.

The football arms race that drives athletic departments deeply in the red includes enormous labor costs:  at the FBS level, it means up to 85 scholarships (tuition costs vary, but the athletic department has to pay the university for every one of them). 

Then there is the coaching staff - NCAA rules allow FBS teams a head coach, 10 assistant coaches and four graduate assistants (GA’s).

Head coaches are paid king’s ransoms.

Assistants don’t do too bad, either.  At the end of last season, there were more than 500 college assistants being paid $250,000 a year or more.

At the Power 5 level,  total payroll for the assistants ranges from the low 3 millions (Arizona, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Oregon State, Rutgers) to upwards of $6 million (Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Texas).

The ten NCAA-authorized assistants and the four GA’s are the only ones permitted to work “hands-on” with players.

But there is a lot of work that can still be done, work that can be handed off to paid staff members, many of them former head coaches who are currently out of work.  Some are called “analysts.”  Some are called “quality control” staff members.  (Some schools have a dozen of them.) There is a  recruiting coordinator, and he may have reporting to him a “Director of Player Personnel,” (who may have a couple of underlings  himself) and a Coordinator of On-Campus Recruiting. Clemson has had a  “Director of Football Coaching Technology,”  assorted “Player Development” assistants, and a “Coordinator of Football Recruiting Communications.”

Whatever they’re called, they can provide quite an edge - for the schools that can afford them.

Asked how his program could benefit if he could afford such undercover assistants,  a head coach at a lower-budget Power 5 school began ticking off the ways:  “’I’d like you to go study the NFL red zone for me. Go take 16 games and give me a report on them. I’d like you to go look at all the recruits in the Tampa-Orlando area that are 6-5 and 240 pounds or bigger. Bring me a report on that. I want you to take all the North Carolina 2019 kids and write a report for me.’ When you’ve got 50 guys instead of five, it’s different, right?”

The labor costs alone make major college football a more and more expensive game to play, and only the Power 5 schools have the TV revenue to continue at the current level.  The  “Group of Five” teams (those FBS schools not in Power 5 Conferences) for the most part have staff payrolls at or under $2 million, but most of them still operate in the red.  In many cases, colleges have had to use student fees to make up the difference between expenses and revenues, and student activists have been catching on - and raising hell.

This all points, Mike suggests, to a consideration of a return to two-way football.

The immediate result would be a need for fewer players, which would mean fewer scholarships - maybe 55 or 60. 

The savings in scholarships could actually be multiplied times two, because a reduction in men’s scholarships would allow an equal number of scholarships for women’s sports to be cut without violating Title IX “guidelines.”

The need for fewer players would mean lower recruiting budgets… And fewer coaches, to recruit and to actually coach… And reduced team travel…  And reduced equipment budgets… And reduced medical expenses… And reduced costs of food and lodging.

A side benefit:  simple mathematics (the lower numbers), and the fact with fewer scholarships colleges would have to become more selective in their recruiting, should result in fewer problems with the law.

It wouldn’t be all positive. Simply because offensive players would also have to spend time practicing  defense,  offensive play would be less spectacular.  And that could  result in lower attendance. But facing the possibility of no attendance at all, that may be academic anyhow, and this may be the only way to save football at some schools.

In the long run, the NFL would be a big loser. There would go all the benefits that the colleges have been providing free of charge, as its de facto minor league.  NFL scouts would have to evaluate talent even more carefully to determine on which side of the ball a player would be most useful.  With 32 teams still needing talent, and a shortage of talent coming out of the colleges, the  League might have to spend some of its own money developing players - a minor league, maybe?

I can actually see the NFLPA endorsing the idea of two-way football at the college level, because at least at first,  fewer qualified players coming out of college would mean less competition for pro jobs, making  its members’  jobs more secure.   (Isn’t that one of the aims of any union?)

Yes, there would be fewer college opportunities for high school kids,  but then,  as more and more “student-athletes” leave school before graduation - the entire concept of the athletic scholarship is becoming more and more difficult for colleges to justify. 

Perhaps next up for consideration by all but the Power 5 schools is a look at the Division III model - no athletic scholarships at all.   If a player can meet a school’s admissions criteria, if he/she is demonstrably capable of doing college work, there ought to be a financial aid package similar to the one I had in college - part gift, part loan, part job -  whether or not he (or she) plays a sport.

I haven’t even mentioned the health aspect: if linemen were to have to play both ways, there’s no way that we would see the number of 300-pound guys that we do in this age of specialization.  How can that not be good?  How can it be healthy to force-feed a big guy to the point where he will have to lose 50 to 60 pounds once his playing days are over,  just to live a normal, healthy life?

*********** My friend Brad Knight, in Clarinda, Iowa asks...

"Now that we've mastered washing our hands can we move on to using turn signals?"

*********** I'll bet you thought that you could get away and go fishing.  Think again, pal. Not in Washington.

https://mynorthwest.com/1791573/fishing-banned-coronavirus/?


*********** WHILE SHUT IN… I normally like to watch news, but these days, there’s only so much “World is Coming to an End,” “Trump is Going to Kill Us All” news that I can take.

Sports is out, and I rarely find myself able to sit in one place long enough to watch a movie.

That means a lot of Barnwood Builders, Mountain Men, Man-Fire-Food and… Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Especially Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It features a “guy” - Guy Fieri - who visits restaurants of all sorts, all over the country, and engages in banter with the owners and cooks (often one and the same) as they prepare their signature dishes.

My son-in-law put me onto it several years ago,  and now I look forward to Friday nights, when the Food Channel is non-stop “Triple D.”

I like Guy Fieri. I hate actors with a passion, but Guy Fieri is not an actor.  He’s real.  He plays himself.  And while watching news Monday - there I go -  I heard him making an impassioned request for assistance for all the restaurant workers now out out of work by the current shutdown.

Noting that Mom and Pop Shops are “the Fabric of our communities,” (he never reviews chain restaurants) he asked that we go to   https://rerf.us/    (Restaurant Employee Relief Fund)  and make a donation.

He assured us that 100 per cent of the money goes to restaurant workers. I believe him.  My wife and I donated. 
 
The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have demonstrated being financially impacted by COVID-19, whether through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. These grants will be made on a first-come first-served basis, subject to availability of funds. 100% of the Fund’s proceeds will go to providing grants to restaurant workers. This Fund is operated by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, whose mission is to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workers.


Once again... 
https://rerf.us/


*********** Rudyard Kipling is one of the few writers and poets able to appeal to children and adults alike.

This poem was written as advice to his son, John, in growing up to be the sort of man the world needs more of, and it has  been quoted over the years as a template for manhood

IF, by Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you  
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,  
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;  
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;  
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;  
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,  
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,  
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,  
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


And then I found this...
IF - FOR COACHES

By H. V. Porter


If you can train a team for many seasons
And point them for some game and see them lose
By some small break without apparent reasons
And never bow your head to fans’ abuse;

If you can see the best pass on to college
Just when they have reached the very peak
And start again anew but not acknowledge
That heart and nerve and seen you have grown weak;

If you can keep your poise when you are winning
Or see a lead wiped out by one wild toss
And lose, and start again at your beginning
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can be a sportsman every minute
And stamp fair play on everything that’s done;
Yours is the school and all the boys that’re in it
For you’re some coach, my son.


ABOUT THE POET: (from Wikipedia)

Henry Van Arsdale "H. V." Porter (October 2, 1891 – October 27, 1975) was an American educator, coach, and athletic administrator. He served as the executive secretary of the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations from 1940 to 1958, and prior to his appointment managed several Federation projects while still working for the Illinois High School Athletic Association. Porter was involved with several sports but had special influence on basketball.

He served with Oswald Tower on the National Basketball Committee of the United States and Canada for 26 years and was instrumental in the development of the rules films, the fan-shaped backboard, and the molded basketball, which replaced the earlier laced model. He is also credited with popularizing the term "March Madness" through an original essay he wrote in 1939 and a later poem distributed to the various state high school associations and widely republished. In 1960 Porter was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in its second class.

While he was editor of the IHSAA's magazine, Porter often included some of his own poems and short pieces on athletic topics. Many of these compositions were later published in an independent volume named H.V.'s Athletic Anthology. In 1939, near the end of his run with the IHSAA, he penned an affectionate essay about fans of the state's high school basketball tournament, which had grown significantly in popularity during the 1930s. "When the March madness is on him," Porter wrote, "midnight jaunts of a hundred miles on successive nights make him even more alert the next day."

Two years later, while in his first year at the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations, Porter wrote a poem entitled "Basketball Ides of March," which he included in the National Press Service, the Federation's monthly journal, with a suggestion to state associations to republish the poem during basketball tournament time The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association was the first to do so, in its March 1941 edition.[8] The Illinois High School Association and the Ohio High School Athletic Association published the poem a year later, in March 1942.

"Basketball Ides of March" ends with the final stanza:

With war nerves tense, the final defense
Is the courage, strength and will
In a million lives where freedom thrives
And liberty lingers still.
Now eagles fly and heroes die
Beneath some foreign arch
Let their sons tread where hate is dead
In a happy Madness of March.

*********** Sign in a Tennessee distillery visited on “Barnwood Builders.”

Whiskey... Because no good story ever started with a salad.

*********** Imagine the heartbreak of building your restaurant and then having to close it - overnight.

Once you're
allowed to reopen - if you can afford to - it  will be a while before you’re ever back to normal.

If you're lucky, you’ll be able to round up all the employees that you once had - at least the best ones.

When you do reopen, you’ll have to deal with customer’s fears.

Even if it’s longer required,  “social distancing” will likely be customer-enforced, which means that at least 1/3 of your seats will be unoccupied.

Oh - and in more and more places, you’ll have to pay your employees $15.00 an hour.

It will be tougher on non-chains.

It will be really tough on full-service, sit-down restaurants.

https://marker.medium.com/tom-colicchio-spent-19-years-building-a-restaurant-empire-coronavirus-gutted-it-in-a-month-6c08cdc8cc05

*********** Unlimited substitution in football has been the normal case for so long that there are fewer and fewer of us alive who remember a time when substitution - how much of it to permit, and when - was constantly debated.  In the immediate post-war period (1946-1950), the idea of “platoon” football, introduced by Fritz Crisler at Michigan and given its name by Earl Blaik at Army, began to take over the game.   Many smaller schools found the costs too high, and many dropped the sport. Two-way football, enforced by limiting substitution  was seen by many as a way to save the game.  Back and forth the argument ran, as some predicted that unlimited substitution - platoon football -  would ultimately mean that only a handful of football schools would remain.  I happened to come across this fantasy inspired by the topic, written for the November, 1949 issue of The Atlantic Monthly Magazine.

“How Football Died,” by Samuel Yellen


Given the hindsight we have now in 1960, there was a moment 13 years ago when one might have foretold the recent debacle at Ann Arbor and the nationwide collapse of intercollegiate football. That moment occurred very early in the opening game of Michigan’s 1947 season. Oddly enough, the scene then was also the stadium at Ann Arbor. I cannot recall who the opposing team was. However, having elected to receive, it had just failed to gain on three attempts and, in the orthodox manner, had punted on fourth down. The complete Michigan team then retired from the field, a full fresh team trotted out, and football fans saw a School use two entirely different teams – one for the defensive, the other for the offensive.

As the “Michigan System“ spread, the resulting demand for football material became a serious drain on the country. Each year a number of the smaller colleges, like Wabash, Hiram, and Amherst, had to give up football. There simply were not enough players to go around.

The next fateful step leading to the ultimate catastrophe was taken by Notre Dame. It was in 1952 that the Irish came up with the specialized unit trained to execute one, and only one, particular play. So well was the secret kept that the opposing teams did not catch on until the season was well along. Of course, even during the 1940s one could have foreseen the specialized unit in the development of the specialist came out on the field to kick the point after touchdown and then return to the bench until his educated toe was again needed. The new unit was made up of four, five, or six key men  and was plugged into the offensive team whenever its specialty was required - that  is, for an off tackle plunge, an end run, a dive through center, a short screen pass, and so on. Similarly, units perfected in breaking up particular place could be plugged into the defensive team.

Offhand one might have thought that the specialized unit would be at a disadvantage, since it’s very appearance on the field practically called the play coming up. Nevertheless, so thoroughly expert did each unit become in its specialty, such machine precision was drilled into it, that rarely could it be stopped, except by a defensive unit which had specialized in the same play. Nor was there any lack of deception and surprise, as can be seen by considering the variations possible in a standard play like the end run. While the “Notre Dame system” had limitations, it had the basic strength and subtlety of draw poker; whereas the older system was more like playing poker wild. In 1953, all of the Big Ten and at least 20 other schools introduced the specialized unit.

The spread of the Notre Dame system meant a further drain on the already depleted football resources of the nation. In the years before 1947, a top-ranking school could get along with a squad of 60 or 70. After the Michigan System came into use, squads jumped to 100 or 120. Now, however, the development of specialized units made it necessary to have a squad of at least 150 and often 200. The coaching staff, too, had to be increased. Furthermore it was not enough to collect simply 150 or 200 players. For no longer were men interchangeable parts on a team. Scouts had to locate not merely a good lineman or back, nor even a good tackle or fullback, but rather a good defense of screen pass tackle or offensive and run fullback.

It remained for the original offender, Michigan, to take the final step. Equipment, additional coaches and trainers, travel, and a network of scouts had made of football a major financial operation. Meanwhile, the revenue from football remained approximately stationary.

The trouble lay, everyone readily agreed, in the limited capacity of a stadium seating only 100,000. Yet it was extremely doubtful that the game could be made visible to 200,000 spectators. Already, half the spectators found it impossible to see clearly what was happening out on the field. Most of them had to rely on the loudspeaker to learn what the microscopic organisms off on the distant field were up to.

An impasse had been reached, but deliverance came suddenly, and from a most unexpected quarter, in the fall of 1957. The deuce ex machina  was an assistant  professor in the Department of English Literature by the name of J. T. Worthington. The saving idea flashed upon him one evening as he was frowning over the cryptic reference in Milton‘s Lycidas  to “that two-handed engine“ and dreaming of renown one by unraveling a riddle which had puzzled scholars for so long. He little realized how soon he was to shine in a blaze of fame. The idea itself had all the simplicity of genius. What Professor Worthington proposed was that Michigan build a second stadium holding another 100,000, and then play two games simultaneously. At any one time, while the offensive team was playing in one stadium, the defensive team would be playing in the other. An underground tunnel was to connect the stadiums. The team was the two handed engine.

TO BE CONTINUED

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

Are you or any of your readers out there aware that COVID-19 is an acronym for "China Originated Viral Infectious Disease" but the number 19 origination is disputed.  Some say that the number represents the 19th virus to come out of China, others say it is due to the date it originated, but all agree with the COVID acronym.   I guess all those PC "journalists" and "politicians" who chastise the President for calling it the Chinese virus need to do their research.

I think all of us would agree with Raymond Berry's dad. 

Can't imagine what damage this virus would cause if everybody lived in the mega-sized cities, and we didn't have suburbs or small towns.

Thank God for Army football.  I've said many times before I would be willing to hand out towels to be a part of that program, working with guys like Mike Viti on a daily basis.

If today's doctors were in charge during WWII we would be speaking Japanese on the left coast, and German on the right coast.

As a former journalism major I can say without hesitation that "burying leads" in a story comes from editors, or really uninformed writers.

College football should have left good enough alone.  By bowing to the almighty dollar they may have made the financial face of college football better, but historically they definitely changed the face of college football, and at the same time ruined some programs, and some conferences, and some great rivalries.

Buzkashi.  Seriously??  Unbelievable.

Have a great weekend.

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER -  Doak Walker was one of the most famous football players of the 20th Century.

A Dallas native, he was a teammate of legendary NFL quarterback Bobby Layne at Highland Park High School.  He decided to attend SMU when his high school coach, Rusty Russell, was hired as the Mustangs’ backfield coach,  and Russell made him the tailback in his wide-open “Y” formation.

There is so much that has been written about him - he was a three-time All-American and a Heisman Trophy winner. He was a hero on a national scale, on the covers of all the magazines, and in Dallas, he was larger than life. So great was the demand for tickets to the Texas-SMU game his sophomore year that in anticipation of the crowds to come in his next two seasons, they added an upper deck to the Cotton Bowl Stadium.  And the crowds came.

Instead of a laundry list of his accomplishments, I’m going to yield to the great Dan Jenkins, who probably knew more about Texas football than any man who ever lived, for the following, from his great book “I’ll Tell You One Thing.”

To start with, anybody with good sense who ever saw him play more than once would say he was the greatest college player who ever lived. That’s right. Ever lived. Pound for pound, sinew for sinew, fiber for fiber.

Doak Walker played both ways in an era of free substitution. He ran, passed, received, returned, punted, tackled, blocked, place kicked, and intercepted in the three seasons of 1947, 1948, and 1949 when he was a consensus all America tailback.

At 5:10 and 165 pounds, Walker was a graceful, winning, do-everything athlete who looked even more streamlined in the new low-quarter shoes. He was the first player I ever saw wear low-quarters. He seemed to thrive on the suspense, the drama of a close game. He was movie-star handsome, incredibly photogenic, which has something to do with him becoming the magazine cover king – Life, Look, Collier‘s, etc. – easily the most publicized college player ever.

For three full years, mind you. And yet his modesty never let all the acclaim move him. His teammates adored him, always looked to him for leadership, for one more miracle on the field, which he usually provided. Even his rivals admired and respected him. 

Doak Walker was the ideal post war hero.

The more devout fans of  Walker, which includes your typist, like to argue that he should’ve been the first – and perhaps the only – two time winner of the Heisman. He won it in ’48, of course, and was third in the voting in ’47 and ’49 what  Walker fans argue is that ’47 was his best season. He just didn’t have the lore strength of Johnny Lujack or Bob Chappuis which is to say  SMU didn’t have the lore strength of Notre Dame or Michigan.

Walker did win the Maxwell award in ’47 which shows at least a certain group of people weren’t swayed by South Bend or Ann Arbor.

Little-known fact: in leading SMU to a 9-0-1 season in '47,  Walker averaged 57 minutes a game, going both ways in that area of platoon ball.

Week by week, here’s all he did:

*Ran 97 and 44 yards for touchdowns in the 22 to 6 win over Santa Clara in San Francisco.

*Ran 76 and 57 yards for touchdowns in the 35 to 19 victory over Missouri.
 
*Had a 30 yard run, ran 3 yards for one touchdown, passed 15 yards for another touchdown and place kicked all three extra points in the 21 to 14 win over Oklahoma A&M. (Now Oklahoma State.)

*Had a 35 yard run, plunged 1 yard for a touchdown and kicked both extra points in the 14 to 0 win over Rice.

*Ran 3 yards for the touchdown and kicked the extra point in the 7 to 0 win over UCLA in Los Angeles.

*Caught a 54 yard pass that set up a touchdown and kicked the winning extra points that beat Texas 14 to 13 in the “Game of the Year.“

*Played brilliant defense and combined with Gil Johnson to complete 16 of 18 passes in the aerial assault that beat Texas A&M 13 to 0.

*Intercepted two passes, ran 17 yards to set up his 2 yard touchdown run, and kicked both points in the 14 to 6 win over Arkansas.

*Had dazzling runs of 76, 65, and 59 yards in his “greatest game“ as he kept bringing the Mustangs back from certain defeat to gain a last-minute 19 to 19 tie with TCU.

While Lujack and Chappuis were great players, to be sure, nothing they did that season came close to matching  Walker's exploits. It should also be stated  SMU’s schedule in ’47 was far stronger than Notre Dame’s or Michigan’s, not that it counted for anything. Seven of SMU’s 10 opponents played .500 ball or better, mostly better, and won a total of 52 games. Chappuis and Michigan met teams that won only 34 games. Lujack and the Irish went up against nine teams that won only 29 games.

As Dan Jenkins’ daughter Sally, now a sportswriter herself, remembered her father saying many times when she was growing up, “I could be wrong… but I'm not."

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DOAK WALKER

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** QUIZ - He was truly a marvelous man - a great football player, a warm, jovial person with folksy good humor and legendary southern charm -  and a love of poetry that enabled him to cite verse for almost any occasion.

He was born and raised in Johnson City, in East Tennessee, and went to the Baylor School, a private school in Chattanooga. He was always big - he weighed 185 as a 14-year-old, and he starred as a fullback.  He also wrestled, and won the Tennessee State constitutional oratorical contest.

In 1928 he entered the University of Tennessee, where he earned fame playing guard for the legendary General Robert Neyland. So good was he that when  a reporter said that he was "the best guard the South ever produced," Coach Neyland replied, “(He) is the greatest guard football has ever known."

After graduation from Tennessee, he played three years with the NFL Brooklyn Dodgers, earning all-league honors as a guard, and then he spent five years as a professional wrestler.  Wrestling as "The Tennessee Terror,” he had five hundred matches. “When you consider how pro wrestling is operated,” he said later, “it’s astonishing a fellow could work in some five hundred matches and escape being named champion. I guess I was just lucky.”

He then spent two years at Wake Forest and three years at North Carolina State as a line coach before he was hired at Army.

When Army coach Earl Blaik first met him, he was sitting outside the Colonel’s office, reading a book of poetry.

“I see you like poetry,” the Colonel said.

He replied,  “I’ve always had a fondness for it. I took a Bachelor of Arts course at Tennessee, and I reckon next to public speaking. English always was my favorite subject.  Down at North Carolina State I’ve lectured the senior class on the poetry of Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Lee Masters.”

Coach Blaik had decided that Army needed to switch from the single wing to the T-formation, and asked him how he felt about the T.

“Well,” he replied, “I’ve always been a single wing man. But I expect I could get to learn about the T. After all, Colonel, I think you can make just about any system go, if you’ve got the right kind of boys.”

He was indeed a character. Wrote Randy Roberts in “A Team for America,” “There really was no one quite like him in the game. Dubbed ‘The Poet Laureate of the Little Smokies, the son and grandson of Tennessee lawyers, he could outtalk, outdebate, outrecite, outplay, outwrestle, outeat, and outlaugh virtually anyone inside and outside the game. Certainly, no one in the world had his resume. It was almost as if the dour Blaik had searched America for the football coach most unlike himself.”


But Coach Blaik was convinced that despite his rotund appearance (Blaik would later call him an “Gigantic Iron Beach Ball”), his folksy nature and his back-country drawl, this was the man he needed to teach his linemen the ins and outs of T-formation blocking.

Wrote Tim Cohane, in Gridiron Grenadiers, “(His) jolly disposition, his friendly rotundity, his penchant for reciting a stanza or two of classic poetry to fit a situation, and his kinfolk stories won him immediate popularity at West Point. Blaik didn’t have to watch him at work very long before he realized he had come up with what he’d hoped for…

“The players took to (his) way of teaching line play. He minimized the drudgery without eliminating any of the hard work.  They were shocked first by his strength and surprised at his catlike speed for 270 pounds. They concluded that he must be one of the strongest men in the world, and they weren’t wrong. At hand wrestling, for one thing, he has never met his match.”

In his five seasons coaching the Army line, he coached six All-Americans: Center Cas Myslinski; tackles Dewitt “Tex” Coulter and Al Nemetz; and guards Joe Stanowicz, Jack Green and Joe Steffy.

And he did more than his share to help Army get “the right kind of boys.”  His country ways and East Tennessee drawl were a tremendous asset in recruiting an unusually large number of southerners to West Point, all of them good football players.  One of them, Steffy, also had attended the Baylor School, and he played one year at Tennessee before transferring to Army in an unusual wartime deal prearranged  with Tennessee.

All in all, he was quite content at West Point. But in 1947, he had confessed to a reporter, “I do believe there’s only one job that might tempt me to leave here. That would be Yale.  Since I was a kid, I have always liked the school. But I don’t expect they’d ever be interested in me.”

A year later,  the Yale job came open, and they were interested.  After much deliberation, he accepted.

Fred Russell, legendary sports editor of the Nashville Tennessean, wrote, “On an evening back in the spring of 1933, what would have been the odds that the sweating round man grappling the Indian, Blue Sun Jennings, in the ring at Nashville’s Orpheum Theatre, would some day be Yale’s football coach? About a million to one, I guess.”

He spent four years at Yale and went 16-17-2, but, in great demand as an after-dinner speaker and a frequent guest on TV shows, he was offered a TV job that was too good to pass up, and - pressed to make a hasty decision - he reluctantly asked to be released from his Yale contract.

While  its head coach, he coached Yale’s first black player, Levi Jackson; in 1949, his second year as Yale's coach, the lettermen elected Jackson captain.

For the next several years, he did TV commentary and with the launch of Sports Illustrated in 1954 he was hired as its college football expert.

He died in surgery in 1958.  He was just 46.

He left us this rather melancholy, autobiographical poem…
I’m mountain bred and I’m mountain born,
I came to town, but I’m still forlorn,
The folks up here have been nice to me,
But  I long for my home, back in Tennessee.



Betsy Ross Flag
  Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  MARCH  27,  2020  “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” H. L. Mencken

***********  Not sure how the global climate changers are going to handle the fact that the same population density - people packed tightly into close quarters in big cities - that they have been promoting as an answer to saving the planet is now a major culprit in the spread of the Red Chinese virus in densely-populated New York City.

*********** An old coaching expression has stuck with me for most of my coaching career:  “Winning conceals; losing reveals.”

It’s true in business, too. Success can breed a sort of complacency that conceals your flaws, lulling you into thinking you’re doing everything just fine; failure, on the other hand, forces an introspection that reveals things that need fixing. (Or, as Pennsylvanians used to say, “need fixed.”)

In his autobiography, Hall-of-Famer Raymond Berry, the son of a Texas high school coach, said basically the same thing:

“The significance of the Texas playoff system in my day was that at the end of the football season there would be only a few unbeaten teams in the entire state. My dad said that meant that you learned most of your football from getting beat.  That stuck with me. He stressed that the lessons you really soak in are the ones that come from defeat. I applied all of the lessons that I learned from my dad throughout my career.”

*********** The very governors and mayors who have spent most of President Trump’s term harboring and enabling illegals, openly defying Federal immigration laws and putting up roadblocks against ICE,  are the ones now pleading loudest for Washington’s help.  They saw nothing wrong with stuffing their cities and states with illegals from every disease-infested place on the planet,  and now they’re adding insult to injury by depriving law-abiding U.S. citizens of their liberties.

*********** The past few editions of this page, I’ve mentioned the old-fashioned concept (as old as the game itself) of players (usually quarterbacks) calling the plays, and I came across an interview with Richie Lucas in a book called “Lion Country: Inside Penn State Football,” by Frank Bilovsky. Lucas,  Penn State quarterback from the late 1950s, was good enough to finish second to Billy Cannon in the 1959 Heisman voting. (SMU’s Don Meredith was third.)

Rip Engle was still the Penn State head coach then, and his quarterback coach was a young guy named Joe Paterno.

Wrote Bilovsky (this was 1982), “By the time Lucas's varsity career was over, it must have seemed like he had spent 10 years with Paterno. Break down the films, offensive play by offensive play. Why this call here? Why not the option there? Down and distance. Field position. Paterno the professor and Lucas the student.”

Lucas takes it from there…

“I played football for a long time before I came to Penn State and I never understood why I  did certain things,”  Richie recalled. “Joe has a quarterback manual that was highly requested by a lot of schools. It was essentially why you did certain things at certain positions on the field. He broke it down into three categories – punting on third down, punting on fourth down and going for it on fourth down.

“After a ball game, at the Monday meeting, Joe would always ask me why I did certain things. You could always vary from Joe’s quarterback manual if you had a good reason for it, or if you were using the element of surprise. As I remember it, we would give the ball to each of our halfbacks about the same number of times. In other words, seldom would I give the ball to one halfback 21 times and to the other seven times.

“Well, on one particular series, I forget our opponent, it was third down and a yard to go and we were in four-down territory. I decided to give the ball to Andy Macony. He was a nice guy but he was kind of spindly-legged, not really a power runner even though he was a fullback. And he didn’t make it on third and one. So I gave the ball to Andy again on fourth and one, figuring, well he missed the chance for that self satisfaction of being responsible for something positive. I’ll give him a chance to make it up.

“He didn’t make it again and Joe asked me about it on Monday. ’Why did you give the ball to Andy in that position, knowing his lack of power?‘ I said, ‘Well, I thought the element of surprise would get them.’  He was satisfied by that explanation, but he said, ‘Okay  Richie, but when he didn’t make it on third and one why would you give it to him on fourth and one?‘ And I said ’If they didn’t think I’d give it to him on third and one they sure as heck didn’t think I’d give it to him on fourth and one.‘ The answer satisfied him.“


*********** International Virus Update (Internet Humor)

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to the recent virus threat and have therefore raised their threat level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, the level may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”

The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

The virus has been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let's Get the Bastard.” They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its alert level from “No worries” to “She'll be right, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

*********** Back in the good old pre-Chinese Virus days, when coaches were allowed to go to clinics and sit, shoulder-to-shoulder, while listening to expert coaches pass along their wisdom, Coach Matt Ford, a Black Lion coach from Bath, New York, told me he was going to a clinic where Army running back coach Mike Viti was speaking.  Wow, I said. Make sure to introduce yourself and get a picture with him!

mike viti matt ford

Coach Ford sent me a photo, and the following note:
 
As promised, here’s a pic of me and Coach Mike Viti.  I told him that you are one of my mentors- that my offense and practice schemes mirror a lot of what you preach.  He had a huge smile when I said, hey, I’ve been inspired by Coach Hugh Wyatt, Black Lion Award, double-wing etc. What an amazing person coach Viti is.   He talked about setting a culture- the right way.   To this day, his most coveted and proud achievement he tells me is receiving the Black Lion Award.  An amazing honor!
mike viti runningmike viti afghanistan
(LEFT) Mike Viti getting tough yardage  (note the Black Lion patch on his jersey)
(RIGHT) Captain Mike Viti  escorting Secretary of Defense Gates in Afghanistan



Mike Viti was an Army fullback and team captain, and a Black Lion Award winner. He served in Afghanistan where he earned a Bronze Star, and after retiring from the Army  in 2014 he hiked 4400 miles across the United States to honor Gold Star Families. Starting in Washington state and finishing at the Army-Navy game in Baltimore, the 4,400 miles of Mike’s Hike for Heroes worked out to 7,100 kilometers - one for every service member killed in action in the “global war on terror.”

Many Army fans agree with me that it’s a damn shame Army wasn’t running its current offense when he played there, but we got the next best thing:

Since 2016 he’s been coaching Army’s fullbacks. In recognition of the job he’s done, in 2019 he was named the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Assistant Coach of the Year.


*********** The President would like the country to resume relatively normal activity as soon as feasible, lest our economy goes to hell. On the other hand,  medical experts advising him are said to prefer that the country be shut down entirely until the Coronavirus completely disappears.

That shouldn’t surprise football coaches.  Is there one of them who hasn’t yet seen what happens when a kid turns an ankle and Mom takes him to a doctor?

The kid shows up for practice the next day with a note from the doctor saying, in as many words,  “No football for two weeks.”

Actually, it almost doesn’t matter what the “injury” is. The note could be pre-printed: “No football for two weeks.”

The answer to all our pains: just stay off it. Shelter in place.

Coaches can be forgiven for suspecting that if it were up to most doctors, no football player who comes to them would ever play football again.

There’s no truth to that, of course. The truth,  I believe, is that if it were up to most doctors, there wouldn’t even be any football.

*********** Have you noticed how the Coronavirus Crisis and the numerous press conferences it’s spawned have been serving as a full-employment act for sign-language interpreters?  Sure are some strange-looking dudes.

*********** Sent home from campus, without access to their schools’ million-dollar facilities and carefully prescribed strength and nutritional programs, college football players are facing some serious obstacles as they try to build or at least maintain their strength.

Here’s how one college - North Carolina - employs every bit of ingenuity at its disposal to help its players remotely.

https://www.si.com/college/2020/03/20/college-football-spring-coronavirus-impact-unc

*********** Challace McMillan died recently at 77. Who? you say.  His name may not have bee well known to most people, but it deserves to be.

He  built a college football program program from scratch.

It wasn’t until 1966 that Madison College, as it was then known, admitted men.

And it wasn’t until six years latter that Madison had a football team.  McMillan, a former Tennessee High School football coach, was the school’s track coach when in 1972 he was given the task of starting the school’s  football program.

In its first season, Madison, playing mostly “B” squads from other small Virginia colleges, finished 0-4-1.

In its fourth season, the team went 9-0-1, and the following year, it  began playing under a new name:  James Madison University (JMU).

In 1980, now awarding scholarships, JMU moved to NCAA Division I-AA (now called FCS).

When he retired in 1984 after 13 years, he had a 67-60-2 record and the knowledge  that he had built a program with a strong foundation.

Today, JMU is a perennial  FCS power.

http://jmusports.com/news/2020/3/8/jmu-mourns-the-passing-of-hall-of-fame-football-coach-challace-mcmillin.aspx

*********** In journalism it’s called “burying the lead”:  emphasizing something of lesser importance in the beginning of the article, while hiding   something much more important (the real “lead”) further down in the story.

Woody Widenhofer died recently.  Talk about burying the lead…

The guy who wrote the obituary started out like this…

Former Missouri and Vanderbilt coach Robert "Woody" Widenhofer has died at the age of 77 due to a stroke.

With a resume that spanned college and pro football, Widenhofer was the coach at Vanderbilt from 1997-2001 and Missouri from 1985 to 1988, though he compiled just a 27-71-1 record as a head coach at those programs. However, Widenhofer's 5-6 record at Missouri in 1987 matched the program's highest single-season win total between 1984 and 1996. Additionally, his defenses at Vanderbilt were consistently some of the best in the SEC.

Yes, it certainly was significant that he’d coached at two major colleges, (although not with a great deal of success.)

But further down in the story, there was this...

In addition to his time in college, Widenhofer was a linebackers coach and later defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1973-83. He was a part of four Super Bowl-winning teams and one of the leaders behind the famous Steel Curtain defense.

Are you kidding me? 

The guy was the Steelers’ linebacker coach for six seasons - 1973 through 1978. He coached two Hall-of-Famers  (Jack Ham and Jack Lambert) and one should-be Hall-of-Famer (Andy Russell).

And then, succeeding Bud Carson as defensive coordinator, he was the DC when they won their fourth Super Bowl.

Personally,  taking the entirety of  Coach Widenhofer’s career -  putting being the coach of one of the greatest defenses in the history of the game (and three of its greatest linebackers)  up against coaching at Vanderbilt and Missouri - I’d call that burying the lead.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/former-missouri-vanderbilt-football-coach-woody-widenhofer-dies-at-age-77/


*********** “Football is what you’re doing now - but it’s not your life’s work.” That was Hall of Fame coach  Chuck Noll, reminding his players that there was a lot more to life after football.

His words ring hollow these days, when in one year a player can earn 10-20 times more than most wage-earners will earn in their lifetimes.

I was reminded of Coach Noll’s words as I was browsing through the Baltimore Colts’ 1967 Media Guide, noticing that in addition to the usual personal and professional info about the players, there was frequently a mention of their “off-season” activities.  In comparison with the rest of us working stiffs, those guys were being paid well, but certainly not well enough to set them up for the rest of their lives, as is the case with today’s pro football players.  Most of those guys, the veterans anyhow,  were already at work at - or in pursuit of - the careers that awaited them when their football days were over.

Here, listed alphabetically by player’s name, were those guys’ off-season pursuits.

Teacher  (Gerald Allen)
Insurance Sales (Bob Baldwin)
Speaker, coaching (Raymond Berry)
Sales, Canada Dry-Frostie Root Beer (Ordell Braase)
Student, Emory Law School (Bill Curry)
Real Estate Sales (Mike Curtis)
Sales Engineer (Dennis Gaubatz)
Attends Southern University (Alvin Haymond)
Forestry Service (Jerry Hill)
Ranching (Jerry Logan)
Sales - Brown & Williamson Tobacco (Lenny Lyles)
Radio & TV Sportscaster (John Mackey)
Real Estate Sales (Tom Matte)
Operates Bar (Lou Michaels)
Operates Cocktail Lounge (Lenny Moore)
Stockbroker (Jimmy Orr)
Operates Liquor Store (Jim Parker)
Owns Fast Food Restaurants (Glenn Ressler)
Christian Work (Don Shinnick)
Stockbroker (Billy Ray Smith)
Insurance Sales (Andy Stynchula)
Engineer, Bethlehem Steel (Dan Sullivan)
Sales, Canada Dry-Frostie Root Beer (Dick Szymanski)
Promotional Work (John Unitas)
Promotional Work, Allied Chemical (Bob Vogel)
Stockbroker (Jim Welch)
Teacher (Butch Wilson)

*********** “Without winners there can be no civilization, and without heroes there can be no winning. I can see a conscious or subconscious effort in our country to tear down heroes, and yet I ask: what achievements could there have been without heroes?”  Woody Hayes

*********** How have Power 5 conference teams done since switching conferences?

Of the 12 schools, 10 have done poorer in the years since switching than in a comparable number of seasons before doing so.

Rutgers, TCU and West Virginia have taken the deepest dives since switching.

Only Syracuse and Texas A & M have done better  (Syracuse only barely - from 34-52 before to 37-49 since.)

COLORADO
Realigned: from the Big 12 to the Pac-12 in 2011
Performance in nine seasons prior to moving (2002-10): 50-63 (44%)
Performance in nine seasons since moving (2011-19): 39-73 (35%)

LOUISVILLE
Realigned: from the Big East/American to the ACC in 2014
Performance in six seasons prior to moving (2008-13): 46-30 (61%)
Performance in six seasons since moving (2014-19): 44-33 (57%)


MARYLAND
Realigned: from the ACC to the Big Ten in 2014
Performance in six seasons prior to moving (2008-13): 32-43 (43%)
Performance in six seasons since moving (2014-19): 28-46 (38%)

MISSOURI
Realigned: from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2012
Performance in eight seasons prior to moving (2004-11): 68-35 (66%)
Performance in eight seasons since moving (2012-19): 58-44 (56%)

NEBRASKA
Realigned: from the Big 12 to the Big Ten in 2011
Performance in nine seasons prior to moving (2002-10): 73-44 (62%)
Performance in nine seasons since moving (2011-19): 65-50 (57%)

PITT
Realigned: from the Big East to the ACC in 2013
Performance in seven seasons prior to moving (2006-12): 50-39 (56%)
Performance in seven seasons since moving (2013-19): 49-42 (53%)

RUTGERS
Realigned: from the Big East/American to the Big Ten in 2014
Performance in six seasons prior to moving (2008-13): 45-32 (58%)
Performance in six seasons since moving (2014-19): 21-52 (29%)

SYRACUSE
Realigned: from the Big East to the ACC in 2013
Performance in seven seasons prior to moving (2006-12): 34-52 (40%)
Performance in seven seasons since moving (2013-19): 37-49 (43%)

TEXAS A&M
Realigned: from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2012
Performance in eight seasons prior to moving (2004-11): 54-46 (54%)
Performance in eight seasons since moving (2012-19): 68-36 (65%)

TCU
Realigned: from the Mountain West/C-USA to the Big 12 in 2012
Performance in eight seasons prior to moving (2004-11): 82-19 (81%)
Performance in eight seasons since moving (2012-19): 63-40 (61%)

UTAH
Realigned: from the Mountain West to the Pac-12 in 2011
Performance in nine seasons prior to moving (2002-10): 84-28 (75%)
Performance in nine seasons since moving (2011-19): 73-44 (62%)

WEST VIRGINIA
Realigned: from the Big East to the Big 12 in 2012
Performance in eight seasons prior to moving (2004-11): 78-24 (76%)
Performance in eight seasons since moving (2012-19): 56-45 (55%)

https://fbschedules.com/college-football-conference-realignment-2010-14-how-have-programs-performed-since-moving/


*********** Australians are eager punters (bettors), and they will bet on just about anything. They are also nuts about sports, so it follows that they love to bet on sports, so it’s a good thing that betting on sports has long been legal Down Under.

My son, Ed, works in marketing for SportsBet, an Australian online bookmaker, and as you can imagine, with most sports closed down worldwide, they’re pressed for action to offer their clients.

Right now, with Australian Rules Football and Rugby both shut down, they’re down to horse racing (still going on in Oz, but without spectators).  Aussies are hungry for action, and as a result Sportsbet has seen a surprising amount of betting on the weather. (Over/Under high temperatures for capital cities!)

Down the line, they’re gearing up for a LOT of action on the US presidential campaign.

But as for sports, other than perhaps the odd game of Buzkashi, about the only other action they’ve been able to find is the Belarus Premier League (soccer).

 Belarus soccer   

Personally, I like Slutsk over Dinamo, but what the hell do I know?

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

The quiz answer is Joe Bellino, but in researching this I can across Winchester Osgood. He played at both Cornell and Penn, was the Head Coach of Indiana, and volunteered with the Cuban army during the Cuban War of Independence. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1970. Interesting guy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winchester_Osgood


I read the Energy Bus this winter. There were lots of ideas that good football coaches already know: be positive, inspire your players, have a clear plan that leads to a vision. However, the part that got my attention, was how the author made it very clear that you have to get the “energy vampires” off of your bus. Explain that you would love to have them, do it clearly and without ambiguity, but if they do not agree, both in words and actions, open the doors and kick them off. I’ve made the mistake of keeping too many assistants and/or kids who have been energy vampires. It never worked out. I am sure I would have won, or lost, the same amount of games without them. They only caused me to second guess my decisions.

Have you ever thought about doing a coaching webinar?  I think it would be very popular while we are all at home. I have done the webinars before and they are not very hard. You could do it for fun, profit, or even as a fundraiser for your program.

What do you think?


Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Very Interesting guy, that Osgood. Killed by a sniper bullet from 1100 yards away.  Hell of a shot.

Thought about a webinar.  I was planning on doing some remote clinics as I’ve done in the past, but I put the idea on hold.  Any particular topic? I’m not particularly interested in the money.


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

I found today’s blog (March 24) one of your best. Lots of good stuff in it but the piece on woman coaching football got my attention. Without question Connie would be a great coach and she probably knows more about the DW then anyone. What most of your readers probably don’t know she has filmed more DW games, practices, and skill sessions then anyone alive. Then while coaching with you in North Beach you may remember I had to return home on a personal matter. Kathy, by phone, did a play by play for me of the game I was missing. She also did a play by play analysis and I thought to myself at the time what a great coach this girl would be. I have so many fond memories and stories from that season.

We are well and decided to stay here in Calabash North Carolina through April,  after our cruise was cancelled. The golf courses and beaches here are still open but everything else is shut down. We do our shopping at Publix from 7 to 8 AM the designated old folks time, make sure our golf cart is wiped downed and only go out as a twosome , and practice “Social Distancing” at the beach. Everything in Rangeley is shut down,  they have a foot of snow on the ground and the weather here is good so here we stay.

I hope you and Connie are safe and will remain so!

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangeley, Maine

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

Out of an abundance of caution we should quarantine all the democrat politicians!

California is experiencing a similar situation as Washington and New York.  The San Francisco Bay Area and the LA Basin have large Chinese/Korean populations.  They are part of the Pacific Rim business world and air travel between China/Korea and those two cities is huge.  Only a few counties in and around those cities are showing large numbers of infection from the virus.  My family lives in the Central Valley where the numbers are significantly lower.  Same with New York City.

One of the great regrets in my life is not having read more books about things other than football.  Started doing it since retirement and kick myself for not having done it sooner.  It could have enhanced my overall career knowledge, and knowledge of life in general.  Hindsight IS 20-20.

One of the best QB's I coached in high school was not the most talented, but was the most knowledgeable about our offense.  He was the only player I trusted to call plays, and I gave him that opportunity often.  I clearly remember one instance In one very close game where we were on a crucial drive toward the end of the game to win it when the QB came to me during a timeout and told me he had noticed the DE continued to crash hard on 6G and that if he could ride the FB a little tighter to make the DE bite, get the pulling G to climb to the ILB instead of kicking out, have the BSWB in motion block the corner, and have the PSWB block the FS he could keep it and outrun the others to the end zone and score.  I checked the D&D, checked with the guard and WB's, and told him to give it a shot.  He scored easily and we won the game.  After the game I told him I was afraid he was going to ask me if he could throw it.  He told me, "Coach, never crossed my mind, we just needed to run the dang ball to win it, and go home."

Ironically, the lack of a great RB lately has kept Notre Dame from being a serious contender in the national championship picture.  We've had a couple of good backs in the last few years, but they didn't have the pedigree of those mentioned in that article.

Stay well, and have a good week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas



*********** QUIZ  ANSWER- As a 5-9, 180-pound running back (with the biggest calves, proportionately, you’ve ever seen) Joe Bellino  was the Naval Academy’s  first Heisman trophy winner.
 
In the long history of Navy football, his number  (27) was the first ever retired,  and it is displayed on the field at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium - on the 27-yard line.

A native of Winchester,  Massachusetts, his great speed (he was once  called “the player who was never   caught from behind”) led his Navy teammates to nickname him  the “Winchester Rifle.”

At Winchester High he starred in  football, basketball and baseball. In his three varsity seasons, the football team lost only two games. The basketball team, with him playing point guard, won two Eastern Massachusetts championships.  As a catcher on the baseball team, he was offered a major league contract right out of high school.

Recruited by Notre Dame and a number of Big Ten schools, he chose Navy, even though it meant spending a year at a prep school first. Playing for the prep school, he led it to a one-point win over the Navy plebes (freshmen). 

In his plebe season, he was sensational.

"Had Joe been able to play on our varsity team when he was a plebe, I think we'd have been very close to winning a national championship," recalled Tony Stremic, an outstanding senior guard on the 1957 Navy team that came close, indeed,  finishing a 9-1-1 year with a 20-7 Cotton Bowl victory over Rice.
  
The next spring, playing on the Navy baseball team, he batted .428 and led the Eastern Intercollegiate  League in stolen bases.  He was team captain his senior year.

As a junior, he scored three touchdowns against Army, including a great 46-yard score.  The performance was noted by a young high school quarterback in Cincinnati named Roger Staubach. He watched  the game, and said, years later,   "Watching Joe Bellino dominate that '59 Army-Navy game helped me decide I wanted to go to the Naval Academy.  I idolized him.”

In the Army-Navy game his senior year, with Navy leading 17-12, he intercepted a pass in the end zone to seal the Navy win. After the game, the school’s sports information director told him, “That interception won you the Heisman Trophy!”

He replied, “that interception prevented me from being the goat of the game - because just prior to that interception I had fumbled the ball on our own 17-yard line, and Army was going in for a score!”

He did win the Heisman, more than doubling the number of votes for Penn State’s Richie Lucas. In his senior season he rushed for 834 yards and 18 touchdowns, and completed three touchdown passes. In all, he accounted for 1497 all-purpose yards. During his three-year career at the academy, he scored 31 touchdowns, rushed for 1,664 yards on 330 carries, returned 37 kicks for 833 more yards and altogether set 15 Naval Academy football records.

Following graduation, he spent four years of active duty. Following that, he spent three years with the Boston Patriots, but he was hampered by ankle injuries, and he went on to a career as a businessman in the Boston area.

Right after he had won the Heisman Trophy, a sportswriter asked him if there was anything else he would like to accomplish.

He said, “Another guy from Massachusetts did pretty well this year, President-elect Kennedy, so I would like to meet him.”

The next day, a headline in The Washington Post   read “Bellino  wins Heisman Trophy; now wants to meet President-elect Kennedy.”

A day later, he received a telegram from JFK saying, “Congratulations, I will send a limousine to the Naval Academy next Saturday, and I want you and all the other boys from Massachusetts to come and have lunch with me at my residence in Georgetown.”

They went, and for the rest of his life he kept a photograph from that day.

Asked what other leaders he admired, he said, “Bill Belichick, whom I have known since he was 5 years old when his dad, Steve, was my assistant coach at the Naval Academy… By knowing the weaknesses and strengths of his own team – and accentuating the strengths – Bill changes his game plan depending on who he is playing. The key is making people believe their leader will help them win the game by being prepared, having a plan and executing the plan.”


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING JOE BELLINO

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA

***********At the age of 9, I have clear memories of family gathered around the round B&W TV screen Thanksgiving Weekend, in Milwaukee, watching his heroic efforts...My Dad & his 4 brothers, 3 Navy (1 active) & 2 Army, good-naturedly, ripping on each other!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa


*********** QUIZ - He was one of the most famous football players of the 20th Century.

A Dallas native, he was a teammate of legendary NFL quarterback Bobby Layne at Highland Park High School.  He decided to attend SMU when his high school coach, Rusty Russell, was hired as the Mustangs’ backfield coach,  and Russell made him the tailback in his wide-open “Y” formation.

There is so much that has been written about him - he was a three-time All-American and a Heisman Trophy winner. He was a hero on a national scale, on the covers of all the magazines, and in Dallas, he was larger than life. So great was the demand for tickets to the Texas-SMU game his sophomore year that in anticipation of the crowds to come in his next two seasons, they added an upper deck to the Cotton Bowl Stadium.  And the crowds came.

Instead of a laundry list of his accomplishments, I’m going to yield to the great Dan Jenkins, who probably knew more about Texas football than any man who ever lived, for the following, from his great book “I’ll Tell You One Thing.”

To start with, anybody with good sense who ever saw him play more than once would say he was the greatest college player who ever lived. That’s right. Ever lived. Pound for pound, sinew for sinew, fiber for fiber.

(— —) played both ways in an era of free substitution. He ran, passed, received, returned, punted, tackled, blocked, place kicked, and intercepted in the three seasons of 1947, 1948, and 1949 when he was a consensus all America tailback.

At 5:10 and 165 pounds, (— —) was a graceful, winning, do-everything athlete who looked even more streamlined in the new low-quarter shoes. He was the first player I ever saw wear low-quarters. He seemed to thrive on the suspense, the drama of a close game. He was movie-star handsome, incredibly photogenic, which has something to do with him becoming the magazine cover king – Life, Look, Collier‘s, etc. – easily the most publicized college player ever.

For three full years, mind you. And yet his modesty never let all the acclaim move him. His teammates adored him, always looked to him for leadership, for one more miracle on the field, which he usually provided. Even his rivals admired and respected him. 

(— —) was the ideal post war hero.

The more devout fans of  (— —), which includes your typist, like to argue that he should’ve been the first – and perhaps the only – two time winner of the Heisman. He won it in ’48, of course, and was third in the voting in ’47 and ’49 what  (— —) fans argue is that ’47 was his best season. He just didn’t have the lore strength of Johnny Lujack or Bob Chappuis which is to say  SMU didn’t have the lore strength of Notre Dame or Michigan.

 (— —) did win the Maxwell award in ’47 which shows at least a certain group of people weren’t swayed by South Bend or Ann Arbor.

Little-known fact: in leading SMU to a 9-0-1 season in '47,  (— —) averaged 57 minutes a game, going both ways in that area of platoon ball.

Week by week, here’s all he did:

*Ran 97 and 44 yards for touchdowns in the 22 to 6 win over Santa Clara in San Francisco.

*Ran 76 and 57 yards for touchdowns in the 35 to 19 victory over Missouri.
 
*Had a 30 yard run, ran 3 yards for one touchdown, passed 15 yards for another touchdown and place kicked all three extra points in the 21 to 14 win over Oklahoma A&M. (Now Oklahoma State.)

*Had a 35 yard run, plunged 1 yard for a touchdown and kicked both extra points in the 14 to 0 win over Rice.

*Ran 3 yards for the touchdown and kicked the extra point in the 7 to 0 win over UCLA in Los Angeles.

*Caught a 54 yard pass that set up a touchdown and kicked the winning extra points that beat Texas 14 to 13 in the “Game of the Year.“

*Played brilliant defense and combined with Gil Johnson to complete 16 of 18 passes in the aerial assault that beat Texas A&M 13 to 0.

*Intercepted two passes, ran 17 yards to set up his 2 yard touchdown run, and kicked both points in the 14 to 6 win over Arkansas.

*Had dazzling runs of 76, 65, and 59 yards in his “greatest game“ as he kept bringing the Mustangs back from certain defeat to gain a last-minute 19 to 19 tie with TCU.

While Lujack and Chappuis were great players, to be sure, nothing they did that season came close to matching  (— —) exploits. It should also be stated  SMU’s schedule in ’47 was far stronger than Notre Dame’s or Michigan’s, not that it counted for anything. Seven of SMU’s 10 opponents played .500 ball or better, mostly better, and won a total of 52 games. Chappuis and Michigan met teams that won only 34 games. Lujack and the Irish went up against nine teams that won only 29 games.

As Dan Jenkins’ daughter Sally, now a sportswriter herself, remembered her father saying many times when she was growing up, “I could be wrong… but I'm not.”



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  MARCH  24,  2020  “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”   William Pitt

***********  President Trump said on Monday that in the fight against the Virus, “The cure may be worse than the problem itself” - that there is the possibility that we could come out of this current crisis with the virus defeated but an economy in ruins, a classic pyrrhic victory.

A Greek general named Pyrrhus (“PEER-us”) defeated the Romans in a battle that cost him heavily.  After being congratulated on the victory, he supposedly said, “One more such victory and we shall be utterly ruined.” 

From that comment came the term “pyrrhic (PEER-ick) victory” - one achieved  at so great a cost that it may well not have been worth it.

*********** You may have read that in Italy and elsewhere, the Coronavirus is going after men more than women - 70 per cent of deaths have been men.

I’m smarter than you think.  I’m going to trick that damn Virus by identifying as a woman.

*********** The showboating governors loved their time in the spotlight, and they had their fun playing Tsar, but their chickens are about to come home to roost once  they realize how their shutdowns have shut off their state’s tax revenues.

*********** They were still playing Australian Rules Football Friday night (their Saturday night), but they were doing it in front of empty stands, and the talking heads were practicing proper social distancing (but not, apparently, the folks in the background.)
afl interview


*********** “Out of an abundance of caution” – An overused phrase that explains a lot of what’s wrong with our culture

July 22, 2015

By Tara Kirk Sell and Crystal Boddie

Last October, when fear about Ebola was at its height in the US, we saw the phrase, “out of an abundance of caution” being used to justify just about anything under the sun.  Want to ban kids from schools because they shared a continental land mass with Ebola victims?  Go ahead and do it out of an abundance of caution. Want to confine anyone who gets sick on an airplane to the bathroom for a whole flight?  Go ahead and do it out of an abundance of caution.  In fact, out of an abundance of caution, we should really plan to never read anything online again, so that we can be sure that the phrase never takes hold in our brains.

Now that the fear around Ebola has died down, it’s a saner moment to think about what that phrase really does.  It allows businesses, schools, leaders in the government, and others in charge to enact policies that are scientifically unfounded but potentially irrational and, sometimes, to infringe upon the rights of others.

We are hardly the first to complain about over-reaching policies set out of an abundance of caution, but it’s a recurring problem worth considering.


Making decisions in a responsible way means weighing potential outcomes with the chances that those outcomes might occur.  The phrase, “out of an abundance of caution,” is often used when explaining an action that isn’t necessary, but is going to be done anyway because you want to be extra careful.

Unfortunately, this throws the whole decision making process for a loop, because it assumes that there are no consequences for overly cautious and unnecessary actions.  Yet these actions always have a cost – in money, resources, time and, sometimes, civil liberties.


Further, using the phrase undermines the science-based messages surrounding risk.  During the Ebola outbreak, public health officials repeatedly cited science-based messages that the disease could only be transmitted by people experiencing symptoms of the disease and that there was no science-based rationale for putting asymptomatic individuals in quarantine.  The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals highlighted these points in a manual on Ebola (the link to the document has since been removed from the website) then noted that quarantine would be used in Louisiana regardless of risk category.


What the phrase really suggests to the public is that these actions were actually needed, otherwise they wouldn’t be done.  Either something is necessary, and should be done, or is unnecessary and shouldn’t be done. One justification for acting out of an abundance of caution is calming public fears.  But do these actions actually calm public fears, or do they make a threat seem bigger than it really is? A better approach is to be transparent about what we know about risks, what science says we should do to minimize those risks, and maybe most importantly, be clear about what we don’t know. A transparent approach to communicating risk has been shown again and again to be more effective than trying to obfuscate the facts and make one sweeping decision “out of an abundance of caution.”


Using the phrase to justify our actions is tempting, especially when we are a little scared and not sure what to do. But let’s be honest with ourselves and others about the risks we face and act accordingly, rather than out of an abundance of caution.


It would be crazy to think that thousands of Americans could be rounded up, out of an abundance of caution, to spend the next few years in the middle of our country in internment camps.  Yet, that happened to thousands of Japanese-American citizens during World War II.  So let’s avoid falling into the “out of abundance of caution” mindset.  It’s often used to justify actions on the margins of advisability, and in reality it usually serves to signal a dangerous combination of fear and rashness.

http://www.bifurcatedneedle.com/new-blog/2015/7/22/out-of-an-abundance-of-caution-an-overused-phrase
 
*********** Now that you’ve seen what it looks like when our economy takes a severe shot to the gut, raise your hand if you’re willing to go through it all again on the word of some scientist whose computer model insists it’s our only chance to save the Planet.

*********** I keep hearing stories about Washington being, along with California and New York, one of the three states “hardest hit” by the Virus That Must Not Be Named, and  our Governor, Jay Inslee, who revels in his ability to shut down an entire state, is sure to capitalize on that unenviable status.

But taking a closer look, one sees that it’s not  “Washington” that’s hardest hit.  It’s Seattle and a couple of adjoining counties.

Why Seattle? Well, for what it’s worth - this virus having originated in China, or so they tell me - Seattle  is about as hooked-up to China as any North American city. Its tech industry, Microsoft especially, has long had strong connections with Chinese businesses and the Chinese government.  For some years now, the University of Washington, based in Seattle, has aggressively recruited Chinese students (who, unlike the instate students whom they crowd out, pay full tuition). And when Canada placed a surtax on real estate purchases by foreigners, wealthy Chinese looking for places in the US trained their sights on Seattle. As a result of so many close connections,  SeaTac Airport (which Seattle shares with Tacoma) had until the past few days a great number of flights to numerous places in China.

Maybe there’s no connection at all, but where there’s smoke…  If you take a look at the most recent stats, you don’t have to be a genius to see that of all the Washington counties reporting cases of the Virus That Must Not Be Named, only three have hit triple figures - and they’re all part of the Greater Seattle Metro Area.
1. King County (Seattle’s home county) with 1,036 cases
2. Snohomish County (bordering King County on the north) with 480
3. Pierce County (bordering King County on the south) with 107
Those three counties by themselves have accounted for 1,727 of the 1,996 cases of Virus reported statewide. That’s 86.5% of the state total!

(As of Monday, March 23, eight Washington counties had reported only one case, and another eight had not reported a single case)

Of the 95 “Washington” deaths from  the Virus That Must Not Be Named, those three Seattle-area counties have accounted for 86 of them.  That’s 90.5% of the state total!

(Actually, one nursing home in King County has accounted for 35 deaths, or 36.8% of the state total)

Put another way, those three counties, which make up just 8.2 per cent of the state’s area, represent 86.5% of the cases, and 90.5% of the deaths.    But, hey - “out of an abundance of caution,” let’s shut down the other 91.8 per cent of the state. 

After all, you can never be too safe.

https://www.heraldnet.com/news/virusupdate/

*********** In a great article in The Athletic on former Washington coach Chris Petersen, the subject of his being a reader comes up…
 
This is no secret — there’s a reason UW athletic director Jen Cohen included “best book recommender” in her opening remarks at Petersen’s farewell news conference. Several titles I’ve heard or seen Petersen recommend or reference, many of them more than once:

• “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t,” by Jim C. Collins

• “The Slight Edge,” by Jeff Olson

• “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business,” by Patrick Lencioni

• “The Energy Bus,” by Jon Gordon

• “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin

• “Legacy: What the All Blacks Can Teach Us About the Business of Life,” by James Kerr

• “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin

• “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” by Daniel Pink

• “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers,” by Timothy Ferriss

• “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen Covey

• “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation For Failure,” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

As you can see, Petersen is big on topics of leadership and organizational health, and is endlessly intrigued by how successful people became the way they are. He is a fan of Gordon, in particular, and he’s not alone in the sports world. Gordon is tight with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, and has consulted with numerous college and pro sports organizations over the years. Petersen recommends “The Energy Bus” to his players, and actually brought Gordon in to speak with the team during preseason camp before the 2018 season. When Petersen wore his “Stay Positive” shirt to a news conference after UW’s loss to Cal that season, it was at Gordon’s urging (the man did, after all, write a book called “The Power of Positive Leadership”).

“They’re very intentional about what they’re there to do and create,” Gordon told me over the phone last year about his visit to UW. “And then the kind of student-athletes they bring to their program — like, off-the-charts character. Incredible conversation. I don’t think I ever received so many questions in Q-and-A from a team before — almost like an Ivy League kind of mentality in terms of just awareness and understanding and willingness to want to talk and share. Just really sharp guys. (I was) really impressed with the way they were thinking and asking, and the critical thinking they were doing.”

*********** One of the books I’m currently reading is “All the Moves I Had - A Football Life,” by Raymond Berry, with Wayne Stewart.  Raymond Berry, part of the Baltimore Colts’ famed Unitas-to-Berry passing combination, remains, in my opinion, one of the greatest receivers in the history of the game. (As a resident of Maryland from 1961-1974, when the Colts were NFL royalty, I saw many of his games first-hand, and I confess to a form of hero worship.)

Raymond Berry was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, “before we moved to Paris, Texas.”

HIs father was a high school football coach, and,  “As is the case with all football coaches, the move was not voluntary, but you get fired every four, five years, so you move.”

But Coach Berry, the dad, beat the odds - he coached in Paris for 25 years before retiring. “In all,” wrote Raymond, “he coached thirty-five years and only got fired once.”

Having mentioned Babe Parilli on the subject of quarterbacks’ calling their own plays, I was astounded to read about Coach Berry’s approach to signal-calling:

My dad had a policy he followed through most of his coaching career. It was to put the play calling in the hands of the boy he felt had the best instincts for the game and for directing the offense-the player who had the best grasp of leadership. It didn’t make any difference what position he played.

In one of his best years, he had his center, Luke Abbett, call the plays. When I was a senior, he had me call the plays. We had only about 12 plays, so I guess he figured I could handle it. No signals from the sideline, either. My dad had a philosophy that the players had a better feel of what was happening. In that particular stage of the evolution of football, coaches weren’t into calling plays so much.

In his first game he ever coached in Paris, he deliberately did not name the player he wanted to call the plays. They were a very young and inexperienced team, so you can imagine the scene the first time they got in the huddle that night. I’m sure it was the first time they realized that nobody had been put in charge of the play calling responsibilities. After the game, my dad asked who wound up calling the plays. It was Barney White who had called the plays, a natural leader who had great football instincts. My dad had figured Barney would take charge, and Barney had done what needed to be done. This incident was typical of my dad – he had greatest confidence in his boys being able to think on their own, and he believed in doing things that encouraged it.

Granted, in those days, when players had to play both ways, offenses were not nearly so complex.  Neither were defenses.  But it is cool to contemplate a return to a game where coaches prepared their players - then let them play.

Fat chance.  Today’s kids seldom have the opportunities to develop leadership and organizational skills that we old farts had. It’s not their fault.  Most of them have never grown up getting together with other kids to play games on their own.  They’ve never ridden their bikes to the field, chosen up sides, and decided on the ground rules. Instead, from the time they were first strapped into car seats, they’ve been totally  dependent on parents and coaches to get them to practices and games. If most of today’s kids were playing on one of Coach Berry’s Paris, Texas High School teams, they might never have come out of the huddle with a play.

*********** Raymond Berry’s relating how his dad, a high school coach, let his sharpest player call the plays, whatever his position, reminded me of our college head coach, Jordan Olivar, who as an offensive tackle called the plays for his Villanova team.  

Coach Olivar was an amazing man.  You might want to read what I wrote about him…

http://coachwyatt.com/FOOTBALL%20HISTORY/jordanolivar.htm

*********** This was sent to me by Coach Sean Murphy, who’s now head coach and AD at John Paul II Catholic High School, in Greenville, North Carolina.  When we first met, it was many years ago, and he was head coach at Baltimore’s Archbishop Curley High School.  On his staff were some really good Double Wing guys. One of them, Brian Mackell, worked closely with me on some projects, and gave the Open Wing its name.

deonte harris TDsean and deonte

Coach,

This is Sean Murphy, hope you are doing well and staying busy. Since I am home from school because of the Coronavirus scare, figured I would send you some information about one of my former DW players that I thought you would enjoy.

If you get a chance, google Deonte Harris and check out his highlights from high school and college. He was my C- back at Archbishop Curley HS. His senior year we went 11-0, won the conference championship and finished in the top 10 in the state of Maryland. Deonte was my leading rusher, receiver (11 receptions) lol!  and scored 30 plus touchdowns. A great player with speed and the ability to make people miss in space. During his senior year, I couldn’t get any D1 or FCS schools to offer him. Deonte was only 5’6” /150 pounds but ran a legit 4.4. All the big schools passed on him because of his size and concerns of his durability. However, several D2 schools jumped on him immediately.  He choose to attend a little Catholic College in Worcester, Massachusetts- Assumption College. Assumption offered him a 90% scholarship and their new head coach at the time, Bob Chesney (Holy Cross HC) did a great job recruiting him. Assumption had an average at best football program, but were very strong academically. One of the things I admired about Deonte was the maturity he displayed when it came to his college choice. He  wasn’t influenced by what others thought. He was his own person and saw the advantages of attending a small Catholic college with a solid academic reputation and the chance to play right away. He chose a place that really wanted him and didn’t allow his ego or D1 aspirations to play a role in his decision. His goal was to play college football and get as much of his education paid for as possible.

Anyway, Deonte goes to Assumption and tears it up! He is a four year starter in the slot along with being their kick and punt returner. He leads them to the D2 playoffs his sophomore and junior years and they go as far as the  semifinals in 2017 losing  22-27 to IUP. He was named All Conference (4 years), All American, (3 years) and the Conference player of the year his junior year and set an NCAA record for punt and kick returns touchdowns in a career.

As the draft neared, several NFL teams stopped by Worcester to work him out. Again, he ran consistently a low 4.4 and even hit a high 4.3 mark. However, everyone was afraid of his size, 5’6”/165. The draft comes and he is passed, but gets a call about 20 minutes after it concluded by the NO Saints. He signs with them and the rest is history.

This past season, he returned 3 punts for td’s. One was is in the preseason vs the Jets that cliched his roster spot. He returned one for a td vs Seattle and had another called back during the regular season. He was named first team All Pro and played in the Pro Bowl as a return specialist. If you watched the playoff game vs the Vikings, he had a big catch for 50 yards on a post route before halftime.

It’s crazy, I must have told 15-20 college coaches and a couple of NFL scouts that his size was actually an asset. Because he is small with great speed and change of direction, it’s very hard to get a clean shot on him. He is the smallest player in NFL and in some ways reminds me of one my favorite All Time Small College players, Billy Johnson from Widener and the Houston Oilers. Both were small, fast with great change of direction!

Deonte is the perfect example of the saying, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog!”  This kid always had the fight and the determination to be the best he could be and never stopped believing in himself! What’s funny, he would  tell you first hand that DW offense made him a better football player!  He learned how to be tough and physical from this system!

Finally, I see him after their game vs the Carolina Panthers. I ask his mom how he is doing with the money he is making? Mom tells me he likes looking at his paychecks more than he likes spending. He was in need of a car, instead  of buying a $70,000 or $80,000 dollar Range Rover or BMW, he purchases a $25,000 Honda Accord!  It’s Smart, practical and a reliable vehicle! As I said, he is his own man!

Check him out when you have a chance. Stay safe and avoid listening to the media when it comes to this Coronavirus! They sensationalize everything for ratings and most of the time are full of BS!

Sean Murphy
Athletic Director
Head Football Coach
John Paul II Catholic HS
Greenville, North Carolina


*********** I stand by my comments that I do not believe that in hiring a female to coach its quarterbacks, Brown University could not possibly have hired the most qualified person for the job.

It’s not that the person was a female. It’s that the hiring was forced - made to happen - by these “prep camps” that the NFL and other do-good organizations have set up to advance affirmative action.   Affirmative action - hiring someone of a specific race or sex in order to bring about a social outcome - is a zero-sum game.  When a job is given to someone for a social reason, it means somebody else was denied the opportunity.  And in the case of Brown, that “someone else” may very well have been a gifted young football coach - a black man possibly - who’s put in his time and paid his dues and would have given his left nut for the chance to coach at the college level.

My daughter, Cathy, is a volleyball coach.  She’s also coached basketball. She knows her football, too.  If I ever needed a coach and she was available, I’d hire her in a heartbeat, because she checks all the boxes: she’s hard working, she’s organized, she’s loyal, she’s good with kids, she can work with the other people on a staff, she’s willing to handle whatever assignment I’d give her.  And after coaching with me for a couple of years, she might even be able to move on to a college job.  But if and when she does, she’ll have earned it.

Actually, I’ve often felt that my wife would be a great assistant.  As with my daughter, she checks all the boxes, and on top of all that, she’s not afraid to tell me when she thinks I’m wrong.  (But I would have to step in at the point where she considered leaving me to take a college job.)

And then there was Nancy Fowlkes.  Back in 2004, I was working with a team in Virginia Beach.  It was Frank W. Cox High School, and its coach, Steve Allosso, was a think-outside-the-box coach. (Of course he was - why else would a guy run the Double Wing at a big school in a very competitive league?)  Coach Allosso was late to the game as a teacher-coach - he’d spent most of his adult life in business -  and he wasn’t constrained by conventional thinking. 
One of the unconventional moves he made was to hire Nancy Fowlkes as an assistant. But he wasn’t hiring her because she was a woman. She was a coach!  For years, she’d been the school’s field hockey coach.  She’d won 394 games and 13 state championships (!) and was five times Virginia Field Hockey Coach of the Year. So she could coach. And as a PE teacher at the school, she knew the boys and  had their respect.  I worked with her and admired her work and I’m sure she proved to be a good football coach.

(After a few more years in Virginia Beach, Coach Allosso moved back to his native Massachusetts, and recently moved again to take a head coaching job in Maine.)

*********** Not exactly ready for the end times, you understand, but I watch what’s going on and I can’t help thinking of these lines from a T.S. Eliot poem…
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

*********** Walking the dog around the neighborhood, I’m reminded of the novel “On the Beach, “ by Nevil Shute.  As I recall,  nuclear war has wiped out most of the earth, except for Australia.  As I walk, the absence of traffic and people gives me the feeling that we’re the only survivors of a nuclear war that killed all the people but left all the buildings intact.

*********** The Globalization of American sports (from Axios)
.
The NBA (491 players) has the highest percentage of Americans, but also the greatest global reach, despite being the smallest of the three leagues:
    •    U.S.: 363 players (73.9%)
    •    Canada: 21 (4.3%)
    •    France: 13 (2.6%)
    •    Australia: 7 (1.4%)
    •    Serbia, Germany, Croatia: 6 (1.2% each)
    •    Turkey, Spain, Latvia: 4 (0.8% each)
    •    Slovenia, Nigeria, Italy, Greece, Brazil: 3 (0.6% each)
    •    11 countries: 2 (0.4% each)
    •    20 countries: 1 (0.2% each)
    •   
MLB (1,192 players) just barely trails the NBA in terms of American representation:
    •    U.S.: 822 players (69%)
    •    Dominican Republic: 150 (12.6%)
    •    Venezuela: 91 (7.6%)
    •    Cuba: 28 (2.3%)
    •    Puerto Rico: 23 (1.9%)
    •    Mexico: 16 (1.3%)
    •    Canada: 11 (0.9%)
    •    Colombia: 9 (0.8%)
    •    Japan, Panama: 8 (0.7% each)
    •    Curaçao: 6 (0.5%)
    •    South Korea: 4 (0.3%)
    •    Four countries: 2 (0.2% each)
    •    Eight countries: 1 (0.1% each)
    •   
The NHL (731 players), as you could have guessed, has by far the largest non-American contingent:
    •    Canada: 305 players (42%)
    •    U.S.: 201 (27.5%)
    •    Sweden: 83 (11.4%)
    •    Russia, Finland: 35 (4.8% each)
    •    Czech Republic: 32 (4.4%)
    •    Switzerland: 10 (1.4%)
    •    Denmark: 8 (1.1%)
    •    Germany: 6 (0.8%)
    •    Latvia: 4 (0.5%)
    •    France, Austria: 3 (0.4% each)
    •    Six countries: 1 (0.1% each)
   
 
*********** Look, I know people are dying.  But I still find this, from Axios, on the impact of the Shutdown on Sports Bars, to be interesting (and depressing)

In San Francisco:

    •    On the timing: "Being a sports bar is very seasonal. During the lean winter months, we just have to make it through. But come March, that's where we start to actually make some profit. With St. Patrick's Day leading into March Madness, this week was supposed to be one of the busiest of the year."
    •    On closing the kitchen: "We were hoping to still do to-go food, but as a sports bar, we're not top of mind when people are ordering takeout. Unfortunately, we've had to close the kitchen and throw out lots of perishables."
    •    Big picture: "We have to keep our electrical on because we have freezers full of food and kegs full of beer. We pay $1,500 a month for every sports package known to man and we have lots of other bills. I don't think many businesses, especially in the service industry, can last a whole month like this."
    •   
In New York:

    •    On the timing: "March is one of our two busiest months of the year. This past weekend when we were still open, we probably lost 80% of our business that would be there on a normal weekend in March. So that seemed like a lot at the time, but of course now we're shut down entirely, so it's even crazier."
    •    On the other "storms" he's weathered: "During 9/11, we stayed open to give people a place to congregate. But this is weird, because you can't congregate with anybody!"
    •    On being more than just a bar: “(Our place) is a lot of people's living room. Being in New York where apartments are smaller, it acts as an extension of their living room. And now they don't have that."

*********** Told you that ESPN was getting hard-up for content…

7-hour special: ESPN will air a seven-hour special on Sunday highlighting Tom Brady's 20-season career with the Patriots. The marathon will consist of all six Super Bowl wins and more memorable games, all condensed for time.

*********** You can tell the people in Tampa are excited…
Tampa and Brady

*********** Found an interesting study entitled “Running Back U”, by a sports historian named John Baranowski. Doing some impressive research, he’s ranked colleges according to the total yards gained in the NFL by their graduates (okay, okay - by guys who played there):

Which school has gained the most yards rushing all-time in the NFL you ask? The answer might surprise you. Looking at schools that have produced many professional running backs, and then starting with the lowest number of yards to the highest (for suspense purposes), they are listed below. I listed, for the sake of article length, only those running backs for that school that gained 3,000 yards or more in their pro career.

 
https://johnbaranowski.wordpress.com/

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

We still have relatives on my wife's side who live in Sicily, and my sister-in-law stays in touch with them.  She recently received an email from them and they tell her they are doing fine.  They don't go out much anyway, only to the market to pick up dry goods, and fresh meat because they still grow their own vegetables.  Their only concern is how long this will last because traditionally every summer they spend a few weeks at the "lago" for some relief from their hot Sicilian summers.

Cooped up inside has forced us to alter our "dinner night out" routine.  Instead, we've been ordering out and last night had some really great Chinese food.  Oops!  Is it racist to call it that?

A good friend who lives in Georgia emailed me to let me know he had to cancel his family's annual spring break vacation to the Red Neck Riviera.  In jest I told him he better not use that phrase anymore.

In today's PC world football players who aren't tough are called "soft".

Your friend Doc Hinger is a walking miracle, and a blessed man.  May he live another 15 years.

Great to hear from John Rothwell again!  I knew he moved away from Austin, but didn't know he ended up in Corpus.  John would make time to see a few of my games, and had an occasional drink with me.  Good guy.  I wish him well.

Notre Dame people are concerned.  I belong to the ND Club of Austin and football recruiting is a hot topic.  According to a good source the staff is doing a great job of staying connected using technology, and praying this will all end sooner than later.

I can't help but think about what the fallout will be at Brown if they have another losing season.  

Wonder how many of those millionaires in pro sports will become philanthropists and use their money to help those in their communities who are hit hard by this crisis? 

Hope you and Connie stay healthy, and have a great weekend.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

 

********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Tom Matte grew up  in Cleveland, the son of a former French-Canadian professional hockey player who had spent most of his career knocking around the minors until he retired at his last stop.  He grew up playing hockey but started playing football in ninth grade. In high school he was a very good football player, he averaged 15 points a game in basketball,  and in track he ran a 47-flat 440  and pole-vaulted 13 feet (when the best vaulters in the world were struggling to clear 15 feet).

At Ohio State, he was moved from halfback to quarterback late in the opening game of his junior season.   He led the Buckeyes to the game-winning touchdown and earned the quarterback job for the rest of his career.

Coach Woody Hayes, in his book, “You Win With People,” wrote, “In 1960 (his senior year) he was a great quarterback.  In running the option play we never had a better one.” He could pass, too (but not often, in Hayes’ offense) and, said Hayes, “gave our offense a versatility it had not had.”

In the 1961 NFL draft he was taken as a halfback by the Baltimore Colts in the first round, the seventh player taken.

He played 12 seasons, all with the Colts.

Although overshadowed a good deal of the time by Hall-of-Famer Lenny Moore, he made himself invaluable in many ways:

He rushed 1200 times for 4646 yards and 45 touchdowns…

He caught 249 passes for 2,869 yards and 12 touchdowns…

He threw 42 passes and completed 12 for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns.

He returned 62 kicks for 1,367 yards.

His best season statistically was 1963, when he rushed for 541 yards, caught 48 passes for 466 yards, and returned 16 kickoffs for 331 yards (in a 14-game season).

He was first team All-Pro in 1969, and was named to the Pro Bowl twice, in 1968 and 1969.

During the Jets’ historic upset the Colts in Super Bowl III, he rushed 11 times for 116 yards.

It was in 1965 that he earned lasting football fame when, nearing the end of the season with a shot  at making the post-season, the Colts lost their two quarterbacks, Johnny Unitas and Gary Cuozzo.  As was the case with the smaller rosters of that time, they had no number three.

The Colts immediately signed two out-of-work veteran quarterbacks, but the league ruled they would not be eligible for the post-season.

“I looked down the roster,” Colts’ coach Don Shula said, “and saw that four years earlier, Matte had played quarterback at Ohio State.”  Shula says that he called Hayes about him; Hayes said that he called Shula to tell him.

Either way, with just a week to prepare, the Colts made him their quarterback,  creating an entirely new (and highly abridged) offense stressing a running  game and rollout passes. His assignments were put on a wristband, the first well-known use of a device now common in the game.

In his first game as the QB, he rushed for 99 yards as the Colts defeated the Rams, 20-17. That tied the Colts with the Packers in the NFL West, both with 10-3-1 records, setting up a playoff the next weekend.

In that game, he rushed for 47 yards and completed 5 of 12 for 40 yards, and the Colts led, 13-10, with 1:58 remaining when the Packers’ Don Chandler attempted a field goal. Everyone in America thought it was wide - everyone but  the single official who stood in the middle of the goal posts and signaled it good.  As a result of the blown call,  the game went into overtime - it turned out to be the longest game in league history -  and the Packers won. As a result, before the next season the uprights were raised another 10 feet -  the so-called “Baltimore extension” - and from that point two officials were assigned to the goal posts, one under each upright.

At that time, the two second place teams in each division took part in a sort of consolation game called derisively the “Runner-up Bowl.” In this case it was the Colts  against the Cowboys, and to their credit, the Colts put some effort into it, beating the Cowboys 35-3.  The key to the win was the play of their Number Three quarterback, who threw for two touchdowns.

After the game, Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry said, “they knew exactly what to do against our Flex defense.”

Shula laughed when he heard that, saying “Matte  didn’t have the faintest f—king idea what the Flex defense was.”

Tom Matte's wristband? It’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING TOM MATTE

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL SPRINGS, FLORIDA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


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

The answer is Tom Matte.

I watched him play at Ohio State for coach Hayes.

I also watched the game with the Packers and nearly put my foot thru the tv screen when that kick was called good.

My mother was watching with me and said that the game was fixed. She always believed that the gamblers controlled pro football games. She said that the gamblers would lose too much money if the Colts won the game. She also said that she better not ever hear of me betting on pro football games.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** The story of the first wrist band was a cool read. Not many people can be connected to two football innovations.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

*********** Chandler’s kick was good from my seat...

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

(A$$hole Cheesehead!)

*********** From Kevin McCullough, in Lakeville, Indiana

hope all is well....no school here until May 1st...missed sending in a few quiz answers...I met Lamar Lundy several times at the Indiana Football HOF in Richmond....there used to be a Run n Shoot clinic held there every spring...Mr. Lundy was a spokesperson for the HOF and was there every time I was there...A very gracious and humble man , you would never have known he was a famous athlete...I'm glad you picked Tom Matte for the Quiz...back when the Colts were being called the greatest team ever... one of the magazines...Life?...Look?....did a feature on them...this included some poems about some of the players..Jimmy Orr...Billy Ray Smith...Bubba Smith and Tom Matte...for some reason I memorized the one on Tom Matte...
Is there a Baltimore fan alive
That will forget Tom Matte in 65
The Colts by crippling injuries vexed
Twas Unitas first and Cuozzo next
What would become of the Colts famed pass attack
And then in stepped Matte at quarterback
He beat the Rams to their great dismay
He did and he damned near beat Green Bay
If you need a man who can run or block
Matte's the one who can roll and rock
In Tokyo they call it Karatte
In Baltimore they just say Tom Matte!
had not thought of this for awhile thanks for motivation!

Great stuff. I’m well aware of it. Lived in Baltimore at the time.

It was in Life Magazine, and the poetry was by Ogden Nash, a noted poet who lived in Baltimore and loved the Baltimore teams. (Check out his "You Can't Kill an Oriole.")

How about his concise guide to courtship:
Candy is dandy,
But liquor is quicker.
He's also the one who gave us "A  dog is a man's best friend."
 

https://explore.baltimoreheritage.org/items/show/270


*********** QUIZ - As a 5-9, 180-pound running back (with the biggest calves, proportionately, you’ve ever seen) he  was the Naval Academy’s  first Heisman trophy winner.

In the long history of Navy football, his number  (27) was the first ever retired,  and it is displayed on the field at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium - on the 27-yard line.

A native of Winchester,  Massachusetts, his great speed (he was once  called “the player who was never   caught from behind”) led his Navy teammates to nickname him  the “Winchester Rifle.”

At Winchester High he starred in  football, basketball and baseball. In his three varsity seasons, the football team lost only two games. The basketball team, with him playing point guard, won two Eastern Massachusetts championships.  As a catcher on the baseball team, he was offered a major league contract right out of high school.

Recruited by Notre Dame and a number of Big Ten schools, he chose Navy, even though it meant spending a year at a prep school first. Playing for the prep school, he led it to a one-point win over the Navy plebes (freshmen).
In his plebe season, he was sensational.

"Had (—) been able to play on our varsity team when he was a plebe, I think we'd have been very close to winning a national championship," recalled Tony Stremic, an outstanding senior guard on the 1957 Navy team that came close, indeed,  finishing 9-1-1 year with a 20-7 Cotton Bowl victory over Rice.
  
The next spring, playing on the Navy baseball team, he batted .428 and led the Eastern Intercollegiate  League in stolen bases.  He was team captain his senior year.

As a junior, he scored three touchdowns against Army, including a great 46-yard score.  The performance was noted by a young high school quarterback in Cincinnati named Roger Staubach. He watched  the game, and said, years later,   "Watching — dominate that '59 Army-Navy game helped me decide I wanted to go to the Naval Academy.  I idolized him.”

In the Army-Navy game his senior year, with Navy leading 17-12, he intercepted a pass in the end zone to seal the Navy win. After the game, the school’s sports information director told him, “That interception won you the Heisman Trophy!”

He replied, “that interception prevented me from being the goat of the game - because just prior to that interception I had fumbled the ball on our own 17-yard line, and Army was going in for a score!”

He did win the Heisman, more than doubling the number of votes for Penn State’s Richie Lucas. In his senior season he rushed for 834 yards and 18 touchdowns, and completed three touchdown passes. In all, he accounted for 1497 all-purpose yards. During his three-year career at the academy, he scored 31 touchdowns, rushed for 1,664 yards on 330 carries, returned 37 kicks for 833 more yards and altogether set 15 Naval Academy football records.

Following graduation, he spent four years of active duty. Following that, he spent three years with the Boston Patriots, but he was hampered by ankle injuries, and he went on to a career as a businessman in the Boston area.

Right after he had won the Heisman Trophy, a sportswriter asked him if there was anything else he would like to accomplish.

He said, “Another guy from Massachusetts did pretty well this year, President-elect Kennedy, so I would like to meet him.”

The next day, a headline in The Washington Post   read “———  wins Heisman Trophy; now wants to meet President-elect Kennedy.”

A day later, he received a telegram from JFK saying, “Congratulations, I will send a limousine to the Naval Academy next Saturday, and I want you and all the other boys from Massachusetts to come and have lunch with me at my residence in Georgetown.”

They went, and for the rest of his life he kept a photograph from that day.

Asked what other leaders he admired, he said, “Bill Belichick, whom I have known since he was 5 years old when his dad, Steve, was my assistant coach at the Naval Academy… By knowing the weaknesses and strengths of his own team – and accentuating the strengths – Bill changes his game plan depending on who he is playing. The key is making people believe their leader will help them win the game by being prepared, having a plan and executing the plan.”

 

Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY
,  MARCH  20,  2020  “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell

*********** Something to consider…

Of the coronavirus*** patients who died in Italy, OVER 99 PER CENT suffered from other, pre-existing health issues, according to a study by the country’s health officials.

Only three  had NO prior medical conditions.

Nearly half suffered from AT LEAST one of the following conditions: high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.

More than 75% reported high blood pressure, while 35% had diabetes and 33% had heart disease, according to the study.

The average age of the victims was 79.5

*** aka Chi Com Virus, aka Kung Flu

https://nypost.com/2020/03/18/over-99-of-coronavirus-patients-in-italy-who-died-had-other-illnesses/

***********  With schools closed and coaches forbidden to work with their kids...the GOARMY EDGE app is a way for coaches to make use of all this dead time by "working" with your kids online.

I’s free, and so are its support services. I have been in on the beta testing and I have worked with the developers, and this app is the real deal.

(If you don't believe me, ask LSU!) On Facebook: goarmy edge football


*********** I really don’t have a lot of respect for many of the quarterbacks in today’s game.  At one time quarterbacks were among the toughest players on the team, enduring tremendous blows to all parts of the body, many of them well after they’d thrown a pass, while today’s quarterbacks are the “perfumed princes” of the game, to use a term the noted military writer Colonel David Hackworth used in referring to high-ranking military men who were not respected as warriors.  Today’s quarterbacks aren’t coached so much as they are groomed, like thoroughbred horses.  The extent to which the rules now protect them - cosset them - sets them apart from the rest of football players.   The word “pussies” comes to mind, and it’s hard to resist the temptation to use it.

Besides that, according to a longtime NFL QB, they’re robots.

“I quarterbacked 16 years in the pros,” Babe Parilli said, “and I called my own plays for 15 of them. That one year I played for (Paul) Brown, I felt like a robot, like most quarterbacks are today. Young pro quarterbacks now don’t want to call their own plays. They didn’t in college. Ask them if they’d like to call them now, and they’ll say, ‘No way. I got enough to think about.’ But the best ones are good at checking off at the line, though the decisions they make there are still programmed by the coaches - (If you see this, this, this or that, you may do this, this, this or that.) To be honest with you, I was kind of programmed by Bear Bryant at Kentucky. We met every day after practice to play this little game of his, ‘down and distance,’ on a board. When the real game started, he never sent me a play, but I always knew exactly what he wanted. I remember once, we’re playing at Georgia Tech, and it comes down to a fourth and one. If we make a first down, we’re going to win the game. He sends a fullback in, and I asked the kid, ‘What did he say Tom?’ ‘Nothing.’ OK. So, I called the play, the kids slips and falls, and we don’t get the first down. We lose the game. 10 years later, at a Bear Bryant reunion, I said, ‘Coach why didn’t you send me a play in the Georgia Tech game?’ When you don’t lose many games you tend to remember the ones you did. ‘Bear looked at me and smiled. “Babe, he said, I did send you a play. I sent you the one you called.”

“I knew exactly what he meant.”

(The quote is from “Johnny U,” by Tom Callahan.)

*********** Remember the early days of ESPN, when you’d tune in late at night and the only thing on would be Australian Rules Football?  Talk about things going full circle:  here’s ESPN desperate for “content” (stuff to put on the air for viewers to watch), and I’ll be damned if the AFL (the Australia Football League) isn’t still playing.  Problem is, they might be playing in front of empty houses, which they estimate will cost them in the neighborhood of $110 million (Australian). 
Come on, ESPN - spend some money and buy the TV rights to the AFL!  You’ll get some live sports for your viewers, and at the same time you’ll save a sport that’s very important to a lot of blokes Down Under.

*********** Hi Coach!

I am constantly amazed by your depth of knowledge & associated connections/trivia! How in the heck did you ever know about "45 Minutes From Broadway"?

New Rochelle is known for a few other things:
1. The Dick Van Dyke show, his fictional "home"...
2. ME! (I graced the halls of Iona prep as a freshman/9th grade).
3. The home of Jeff Ruland - one of the original "Bruise Brothers"...
4. Now... the coaching home of...wait for it....*gasp*...Rick Pitino!

Be well Coach!

J. Rothwell, DC
Corpus Christi, Texas

I heard the song and liked it, and thought it was based on a cool premise - the idea that (at that time, more than 100 years ago) there was a sleepy town full of “Rubens” (Rubes, or hayseeds) - just 45 minutes by train from Broadway, then the heart of Urban America.

*********** Speaking of books...Finally got to read “The Supe"  which you recommended a long time ago..
also read "Don't Call Me General"too.  Liked both
Thx

Jerry Gordon
Hamilton, Virginia

“The Supe” and “Don’t Call Me General” are two in a series of action novels by John Vermillion.  John is a reader of the NEWS and a big sports fan, and he and I have become friends through numerous shared interests. (There’s no truth to the rumor that I have paid him generously to include “Coach Wyatt” as a character in some of his novels.)

***********  My friend Tom “Doc” Hinger earned his nickname as an Army medic in Vietnam, where he saw intensive and extensive combat.  In the Battle of Ong Thanh, Major Don Holleder died in his arms. For his bravery in that battle, Doc was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest decoration any soldier can earn.

Several years ago, Doc  was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  All cancer is terrible, but what makes pancreatic cancer one of the deadliest forms is that by the time it’s diagnosed it’s usually spread too far for anything to be done.  As a result, only 6 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients survive for five years after diagnosis.

There is, however, a surgical procedure for which, based mainly on the extent and the location of their particular cancer, roughly a fifth of pancreatic cancer patients qualify. It’s called the Whipple Procedure, after the Columbia University surgeon who first performed it. The “Whipple,” as surgeons refer to it, is very complex surgery. It can take hours on the table, and if the surgery is successful - 25 per cent of those who undergo a “Whipple” survive for five years - recovery is long and can be very painful.

Doc lives in Winter Haven, Florida, and at the VA Hospital in Tampa, where it was determined that he was eligible for the Whipple, the surgeon outlined  very carefully the risks that the surgery entailed.  He explained Doc’s options: decline the surgery and in a matter of weeks, his system would shut down; or choose surgery - and all the risks and pain attendant to it - on the chance that it could give him a few more years. 

The surgeon told him that full recovery would take at least a year. And one other thing: “When you come out of the anaesthesia,” he said, “You’ll feel like you’ve been run over by a truck.”

Doc’s operation took close to nine hours.

His wife, Jane, said that his first words, when he woke up, was, “It was a Peterbilt.”

That was 2005. It will be fifteen years this July. He is a medical miracle.

https://www.webmd.com/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/whipple-procedure#1

*********** Recruiting dead time and the way it affects Notre Dame especially…in The Athletic

By Ari Wasserman Mar 18, 2020

Located in northern Indiana, Notre Dame doesn’t have the geographic fortune of being in a talent-heavy state, so it has used its history, tradition and academic prowess to recruit every corner of the country. Notre Dame can’t escape how reliant it is on prospects finding a way to visit campus — which almost always involves a long drive or an airplane ticket.

With the precautions being taken with the COVID-19 pandemic, nobody is going anywhere. And that’s hurting Brian Kelly’s program.

Consider who was supposed to visit Notre Dame this weekend: five-star running back Will Shipley of Matthews (N.C.) Weddington, five-star offensive tackle Nolan Rucci of Lititz (Pa.) Warwick, four-star defensive end Aaron Armitage of Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy and four-star defensive end David Abiara of Mansfield (Texas) Legacy, among others. Expected to visit in early April were four-star offensive tackle Landon Tengwall of Olney (Md.) Good Counsel and four-star guard Rocco Spindler of Clarkston (Mich.) High. That’s six players from six states, with four of them (all but Abiara and Armitage) national top-50 prospects.

*********** I must have been  busy scouting out the local supermarkets for toilet paper when the big news broke:

*** Brown (Brown University of the Ivy League) made college football history Monday by promoting Heather Marini to quarterbacks coach, making her the first female position coach in Division I history.

Be still, my beating heart.

*** Said Brown coach James Perry, "Promoting Heather to our quarterbacks coach makes us a stronger program and I know she will be a pioneer in the expanding roles women have in collegiate football."

The upshot: there evidently being no qualified men available, Brown chose a woman as its quarterback coach.

*** “I can say without equivocation that Heather is only getting better,” Perry said. “She’s not just going to break ground with Brown and coaching our quarterbacks. That’s a cool thing for her to be a pioneer, but she’ll be having a whole bunch of firsts. I mean, she’s going to be calling plays next. She’s going to be a head coach.  The sky’s the limit.”

It’s no use, fellas.  When Belcihick decides to hang ‘em up, Heather’s going right to the front of the time.

*** Marini, a native of Australia, earned a Bachelor's degree in Emergency Health from Monash University and a Bachelor's degree of Exercise and Sport Science at Deakin University -- both of which are in Australia. She played quarterback for the Gridiron Victoria Women's Tackle Football team, as well as the Monash Warriors Women's Gridiron club.

*** Marini previously worked for the New York Jets as a summer scouting specialist. She joined the Brown staff last year after participating in the Women's Careers in Football forum. It's the next step for a program that has been dedicated to providing opportunities for women in football.

Well, it’s not as if she doesn’t have a strong coaching background.  I mean, having been coaching since 1970, and having worked with quarterbacks for years now, who am I to challenge those credentials?

As for “Made history?” Well, maybe.

As for “Division 1?”  Brown? Barely.

Consider…

In 2017, Brown was 2-8, with wins over Bryant and Rhode Island.
In 2018, they were 1-9, beating only Georgetown.
In 2019, they were 2-8, with wins over Bryant and Columbia
In fact, Brown is barely Ivy League: over the last three years, they are 1-20 in Ivy League play.

So what the hell - how can she hurt?

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/brown-staffer-heather-marini-makes-history-in-becoming-first-female-division-i-position-coach/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2020/03/16/college-football-browns-heather-marini-first-female-position-coach/5062739002/

***********  Not accusing anybody of inciting  panic or anything, but I do question the advisability (not to mention the accuracy) of this description of the Chicom Virus, by Mike Bianchi, an otherwise solid writer for the Orlando Sentinel:

“A deadly virus spreading like a forest fire throughout our country.”


*********** Just got the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview.

Tsk, tsk.  Sure was a whole lot of work for nothing.

No sympathy on my part, though.  They’re the ones who decided to publish once a month.

For more than 60 years, until this past January, they were a weekly magazine.

But to save money (ever notice how, when businesses cut back on something, they say it’s “to better serve you?”), they went to publishing monthly.  As a result, while they spent an entire month producing an issue,  it become  irrelevant.

***********  At a time when some Americans are taking great risks, many are taking heartbreaking economic hits,  and nearly all the rest (except for a$$hole spring breakers) are making sacrifices of one sort or another, am I the only one who thinks that it’s the worst possible judgment for NFL teams to be throwing tens of millions of dollars at f—king free agent quarterbacks?

At the very least Big Football should give the appearance that it, too, is taking part in the shared sacrifice.


*********** Greg Hansen is a sports columnist for the Tucson paper, the Arizona Daily Star, and he’s a good one. He and I are mutual friends of Mike Lude, who now makes Tucson his home, and just the other day Greg wrote a wonderful article about Mike, especially his take on the current state of affairs…

On Senior Day at McKale Center on March 7, the loudest ovation wasn’t for a departing Arizona ballplayer. It came during a first-half TV timeout as Tucsonan Mike Lude walked to center court wearing his Marine Corps cap and T-shirt.

For a full minute, Lude was engulfed by the ovation. He stood on the A at midcourt and gave a military salute to 13,604 fans.

Before leaving the court, Lude nodded toward the Washington bench. It was sort of a “remember me?” moment.
Lude was the Huskies’ athletic director from 1976-91, a period in which he was widely viewed as the league’s most effective AD, turning a $400,000 deficit into an $18 million surplus, becoming chief of the league’s most profitable organization; the Huskies played in five Rose Bowls, won the 1991 national co-championship, set Pac-10 football attendance records and established the template for building modern athletic facilities before Nike spent a dime at Oregon.

Monday afternoon, Lude wasn’t into building $12 million football scoreboards, as the Ducks are, or lamenting the cancellation of March Madness. He was looking for solutions.

https://tucson.com/sports/greghansen/greg-hansen-after-dealing-with-crisis-after-crisis-in-the/article_60f1058b-3a70-54b7-8eec-f0822bce888d.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share


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

This past season we gathered as a team prior to the start of the season, and at that gathering we embraced an "All In" mantra.  It was even adopted by the parents.  Everything we would do during the season we would be reminded of being "All In".  Our HC even provided everyone on the team, coaches and parents included, a poker chip attached to a key chain that reminded us of being "All In" no matter what the season would bring.  Unfortunately, in time, a few boys quit, a few others did not get along with one another, a few others used minor injuries as excuses for them to avoid playing, and even some parents became vocal critics during the 0-9 season.  Now, President Trump has asked us to be "All In" to fight, and stop the spread, of the Coronavirus.  After what I experienced this past season I'm not convinced that during tough times all Americans will BUY IN.  As for my wife and I we will BUY IN to being ALL IN.

While I'm not a big book reader (I know, I should be), I have read some good football books.  Unfortunately some of the books I read also became movies.  The books were better.  But my wife and I did watch a really good movie (based upon a book) last night.  It wasn't a football story.  It was a fictional account of a pro golfer.  "Seven Days In Utopia" takes place in Texas in a little hamlet in the Hill Country called Utopia.  The town actually exists!  The film had a much deeper meaning than just the game of golf.  I'm going to read the book.

Joe Biden has announced his running mate will be a female.  Sorry to say, but NONE of the females representing the democratic party qualify.  Only one other I can think of that brings "something" to the table.  God help us all if it's her.

We're finding out the hard way that becoming a "global" society also brings all the global "crap" that goes along with it.  Open borders?  Just ask Italy, and other European countries how that's working out for them.

We won't be able to go to restaurants for awhile, but Grub-Hub, Uber Eats, Favor, and apps like them will spawn more groups like that to help alleviate the inconveniences we all are experiencing.  Americans are an industrious lot.

Best to you!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Frank Sinkwich is the first Georgia Bulldog to win the Heisman and the first Heisman winner to be born outside the United States.

Born Oct. 10, 1920, in Zagreb, Croatia, he was an outstanding high school star at Cheney High School in Youngstown, Ohio. He came to Georgia and led the freshman team of 1939 to an unbeaten season and the reputation as the “Point-A-Minute” Bullpups.

In 1940, he was so outstanding in the season’s final two games against Georgia Tech and Miami, United Press International picked him on its All-Southern first team.

As a junior in 1941, he set an SEC rushing record with 1,103 yards which stood for eight years, and gained 713 yards passing for a new SEC total offense record of 1,816 yards. He led Georgia to a 40-26 victory over TCU in the Orange Bowl New Year’s Day in 1942 with a performance still considered by many as the best in all bowl history. He gained 139 yards, completed 9 of 13 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns — a total offensive effort of 382 yards. And he accomplished all that despite playing from the third game on with a broken jaw protected by a custom-made facemask. For his efforts, he was almost a unanimous All-America selection.

In his record setting senior season with the Bulldogs, he gained 795 yards rushing and set the SEC passing record with 1,392 yards, a mark that stood for eight years. He set the SEC total offense record of 2,187 yards that same season. He led Georgia to another SEC record — 4,725 yards of team total offense. Although playing with two sprained ankles, he scored Georgia’s only TD in its 9-0 victory over UCLA in the Rose Bowl game at Pasadena. At season’s end, he was named a unanimous All-America choice and chosen as Georgia’s first recipient of the Heisman Trophy awarded annually to the nation’s outstanding player by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York.

In his three-year career, he rushed for 2,271 yards, passed for 2,331, and accounted for 60 touchdowns—30 rushing and 30 passing.

He was a two-time All-Pro selection with Detroit in 1943-44 but a knee injury in 1945 essentially ended his professional football career. He served as head coach of an Erie, Pa., professional team in 1949 and as head coach at the University of Tampa in 1950-51. He was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame in 1954 and into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1967.

Frank Sinkwich was inducted into the University of Georgia Circle of Honor in 1996 and is one of only four Bulldog football players to have his jersey retired.

He passed way on Oct. 22, 1990.

THE PRECEDING IS HIS HEISMAN BIOGRAPHY

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRANK SINKWICH

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** QUIZ:  He grew up  in Cleveland, the son of a former French-Canadian professional hockey player who had spent most of his career knocking around the minors until he retired at his last stop.  He grew up playing hockey but started playing football in ninth grade. In high school he was a very good football player, he averaged 15 points a game in basketball,  and in track he ran a 47-flat 440  and pole-vaulted 13 feet (when the best vaulters in the world were struggling to clear 15 feet).

At Ohio State, he was moved from halfback to quarterback late in the opening game of his junior season.   He led the Buckeyes to the game-winning touchdown and earned the quarterback job for the rest of his career.

Coach Woody Hayes, in his book, “You Win With People,” wrote, “In 1960 (his senior year) he was a great quarterback.  In running the option play we never had a better one.” He could pass, too (but not often, in Hayes’ offense) and, said Hayes, “gave our offense a versatility it had not had.”

In the 1961 NFL draft he was taken as a halfback by the Baltimore Colts in the first round, the seventh player taken.

He played 12 seasons, all with the Colts.

Although overshadowed a good deal of the time by Hall-of-Famer Lenny Moore, he made himself invaluable in many ways:

He rushed 1200 times for 4646 yards and 45 touchdowns…

He caught 249 passes for 2,869 yards and 12 touchdowns…

He threw 42 passes and completed 12 for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns.

He returned 62 kicks for 1,367 yards.

His best season statistically was 1963, when he rushed for 541 yards, caught 48 passes for 466 yards, and returned 16 kickoffs for 331 yards (in a 14-game season).

He was first team All-Pro in 1969, and was named to the Pro Bowl twice, in 1968 and 1969.

During the Jets’ historic upset the Colts in Super Bowl III, he rushed 11 times for 116 yards.

It was in 1965 that he earned lasting football fame when, nearing the end of the season with a shot  at making the post-season, the Colts lost their two quarterbacks, Johnny Unitas and Gary Cuozzo.  As was the case with the smaller rosters of that time, they had no number three.

The Colts immediately signed two out-of-work veteran quarterbacks, but the league ruled they would not be eligible for the post-season.

“I looked down the roster,” Colts’ coach Don Shula said, “and saw that four years earlier, (——) had played quarterback at Ohio State.”  Shula says that he called Hayes about him; Hayes said that he called Shula to tell him.

Either way, with just a week to prepare, the Colts made him their quarterback,  creating an entirely new (and highly abridged) offense stressing a running  game and rollout passes. His assignments were put on a wristband, the first well-known use of a device now common in the game.

In his first game as the QB, he rushed for 99 yards as the Colts defeated the Rams, 20-17. That tied the Colts with the Packers in the NFL West, both with 10-3-1 records, setting up a playoff the next weekend.

In that game, he rushed for 47 yards and completed 5 of 12 for 40 yards, and the Colts led, 13-10, with 1:58 remaining when the Packers’ Don Chandler attempted a field goal. Everyone in America thought it was wide - everyone but  the single official who stood in the middle of the goal posts and signaled it good.  As a result of the blown call,  the game went into overtime - it turned out to be the longest game in league history -  and the Packers won. As a result, before the next season the uprights were raised another 10 feet -  the so-called “Baltimore extension” - and from that point two officials were assigned to the goal posts, one under each upright.

At that time, the two second place teams in each division took part in a sort of consolation game called derisively the “Runner-up Bowl.” In this case it was the Colts  against the Cowboys, and to their credit, the Colts put some effort into it, beating the Cowboys 35-3.  The key to the win was the play of their Number Three quarterback, who threw for two touchdowns.

After the game, Cowboys’ coach Tom Landry said, “they knew exactly what to do against our Flex defense.”

Shula laughed when he heard that, saying “(———) didn’t have the faintest f—king idea what the Flex defense was.”

His famous wristband? It’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.




Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  MARCH 17, 2020  “When you talk to these young people, you have to teach them the reason why CEOs make big money is because they are the Lebron James of business.  They have a skill set that other people do not have.” Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars

MAYBE  SAINT  PATRICK  CAN  PULL  OFF  A  MIRACLE  AND  KILL  A  VIRUS, BUT  EVEN  IF  HE  CAN'T, I'LL  STILL TOAST HIM  WITH  A  TALL BLACK-AND-TAN  - AND  I INVITE  YOU  TO  JOIN  ME!


*********** "It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good…”

It's an old expression, meaning that even in times like these, someone can still find a way to benefit.

One example could very well be Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha, whose Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. had $128 billion in cash stockpiled at the end of 2019, and who sees opportunity in a distressed stock market:

“Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, it’s imperative that we rush outdoors carrying washtubs, not teaspoons.” 

*********** I had a nice talk this past weekend with Mike Lude, whom I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions.  Mike was AD at Kent State, Washington and Auburn, and he remains active in national athletic director (NACDA) functions, so he’s well versed on the issues of our day.

One of the things we discussed was the NCAA’s allowing this year’s spring sport seniors another year of eligibility.

It's not going to be as easy as it sounds, Mike said.

Since most big-time colleges have already committed to this year’s high school seniors, allowing the college seniors to return for another year means that the NCAA’s almost certainly going to have to increase the number of scholarships it’s permitted to give out.

And even though there aren’t that many full scholarships for spring sports, it’s still going to mean more money.
 
Here comes the problem:  The NCAA depends on March Madness  TV revenues for 75 per cent of its annual income.

And a large portion of that money is disbursed to all member schools.

But with no March Madness this year - and the TV people almost certainly having put something about “acts of God” in their contracts, allowing them to get out -  it’s likely that there will be no money for the NCAA, and therefore no disbursement to the schools.

For many of them, without that money from the NCAA, there’s no telling where the money’s going to come from for the scholarships already committed to, much less any additional scholarships for this year’s group of seniors.


*********** WITH NO PLACE TO GO AND NOTHING TO DO…

There’s always reading.  You know - books and all?

Give it a try!

I lean toward non-fiction - biographies and historical stuff, mostly.

Folloiwing are a few  football-related  books I’ve read recently that I could recommend. 

Your library may have them - if it’s open, that is.  (Portland area libraries aren’t open, but even if they were, they’ve become daytime hangouts for the homeless.)

PRESENT AT THE CREATION by Upton Bell with Ron Borges.  Upton Bell and I were contemporaries: we never knew each other, but he was at Philadelphia’s Malvern Prep while I was at Germantown Academy, and we competed against each other in track.  We all knew who he was - he was Bert Bell’s kid.  Bert Bell was Commissioner of the National Football League, the man who brought the league out of the Dark Ages and into the Age of TV.  Upton Bell had a very interesting career of his own, starting out as a gofer in the Baltimore Colts’ organization, then advancing to become a scout and then the Colts’ Director of Player Personnel. From there, he moved on to become General Manager of the Boston Patriots, then the most dysfunctional of all NFL franchises. In his final football position, he took control of the World Football League’s New York Stars, and moved them to Charlotte, where they became the Hornets.  Maybe it’s because I knew all about his dad, and maybe it’s because I was fascinated to learn some of the inner workings of those Colts, but I couldn’t put the book down.  I found it to be a really good look inside the pro football of the 60s and 70s.

WHEN ALL THE WORLD WAS BROWNS TOWN, by Terry Pluto.  This was a second reading, and I enjoyed it as much the second time.  I go back again to a restaurant I like (when Governor Inslee allows it to open for business, that is) and if there were still records, I would wear them out listening to music I like, so why shouldn’t  I return to a book I’ve liked?  Terry Pluto, a Cleveland sportswriter, has written some great stuff, including “Loose Balls,” recollections of guys who played in the A BA.  This one, the story of the 1964 NFL champion Browns, much of it told by the men on the team, is great reading.

SON OF BUM, by Wade Phillips with Vic Carucci.  Most of you know who Wade Phillips is.  He is what you would call a career coach, with a career that has spanned 51 years.  He’s coached at one high school, three colleges, and ten different NFL teams. He’s been head coach of six NFL teams, although three of those were interim assignments.  In his three actual head coaching positions - Broncos, Bills and Cowboys - his overall record was 79-53. (Think Buffalo isn’t a screwed-up franchise?  They fired him after he went 8-8, with a three-year record of 29-19).  Many of you might remember his dad, Bum Phillips. Bum was a Texas legend as a high school coach, a college coach, and an NFL coach.  He spent 12 years as a high school coach, five years as a college coach, and 18 years as an NFL coach.  There is great affection between dad and son, and son tells some good stories about both of them.  In my opinion, the book could have dug deeper into the clashes that I know take place on coaching staffs, but Wade Phillips, no doubt realizing that if he did he’d never get another NFL job, chose not to go there.  Bum was full of folksy wisdom and Texan sayings, one of the most famous of which is ”There's two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired."  That’s probably the biggest takeaway I got from the book: damn, those guys sure move around a lot in that business!

SUNDAY’S FOOLS, by Tom Beer with George Kimball. This was really a trip into the past.  I knew Tom Beer from our dealings in the World Football League, when we both served as directors of player personnel - he in New York and I in Philadelphia.  That was 1974, and I recall his telling me that he’d written a book that had just gone to print.  As the title suggests, the book is not about heroes.  It’s a tale of the other side of professional football - his days in the AFL-NFL as a marginal player, a tight end for two of the most poorly-run teams in the history of pro football,  the early Denver Broncos, and the Boston Patriots of the early 1970s.  It’s well told, and there are some very funny stories of life on run-down teams. His career did take a brief - very brief - upturn near the end when he found himself picked up on waivers by the Dolphins - The Dolphins! The defending NFL champions! This was my first read of the book, and I found it a bit sad, because it ended with his retirement as a player to embark on another career in pro football - one he sounded very excited about. He had just been hired as Director of Player Personnel for the New York Stars - of the World Football League!

***********  Publically: “Were in it for the kids…” Privately: “Screw the kids.”

All of Washington’s schools will be closed for six weeks.

And spring sports, obviously, have been cancelled statewide.

So with all those kids out of school,  coaches can at least get together with their kids, right?

Wronggg.

During that time, no school exercise or athletic facilities will be available to students.

Coaches are not to have contact with their athletes.

So I guess I'll see you kids in the Fall - if the libs haven’t outlawed football by then.

*********** I watched the Odd Couple “debating” on Sunday night and I shook my head in amazement that a political party that could boast of tens of millions of adherents could do no better than those two.

During one of the breaks there was that damned commercial in which Ronnie Reagan, the light-in-the-loafers son of the late great President, brags about being an atheist and tells us that he’s not afraid to burn in hell.
(You can’t say the atheists  don’t know their audience.)

Now, Ronnie and I do disagree.  I happen to believe in God and His word.

Let’s suppose that Ronnie Reagan is right, and I’ve been wrong all along. I don’t believe that’s possible, or course, but even so,  what has it cost me?

On the other hand, as the late Johnny Unitas once said, “We’re a long time dead.”

And if it turns out that I’m correct,  Ronnie’d better get his ass ready for the Mother of All Hot Spells. 

*********** While Our Fearless Leaders outdo each other in their efforts to cloister us, it’s important to take a little trip down Memory Lane…

During World War II, the powers that be believed that it was important for the morale of people on the home front to still have baseball.  (Pro football then was nowhere near as popular as it is today.)

Especially in the early stages of the War, when things weren’t going all that well for our side, President Roosevelt was masterful in his realization that with all that he was going to be asking of the American people in the way of sacrifice,  it was extremely important to do things for the sake of their morale.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, on January 15, 1942, President Roosevelt answered the question of whether major league baseball should still  be played while the country was at war:  “I honestly feel,” he wrote baseball commissioner Landis,  “that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going.”

A Gallup poll taken shortly afterward showed that 67 per cent of the American public agreed with him.

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/wwii-polls/roper-polls-major-league-baseball-world-war-ii


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

Here in COS all schools will be closed from March 16-27, and the CHSAA has suspended spring sports through April 6. It's surreal. We're seeing the result of our nation's victim mentality which has led to lawsuit after lawsuit. The schools and the CHSAA know that they have to protect themselves from potential lawsuits, so here is the result.

It will be interesting to see how our country recovers from the stock market falling. At this point I'd say that the overreaction will do more damage than the virus.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

It starts with the lawyers, but the word is passed down to the schools from the insurance companies.

It should be football’s biggest concern, I think.  Once the insurance companies say they won’t cover football-related injuries, it’s all over.



*********** I’ve heard for years that those damn Harvards are the reason why the football field isn’t wider than it is,  and I finally found something to substantiate it…

From the New York Times…

Built in 1903, the stadium has a significant place in the history of the game. Not long after its construction, there was a movement to widen every football field in the land to induce a more wide-open game. The idea had wide support until someone measured the grounds at Harvard Stadium and saw it could not accommodate the proposed new field. Harvard Stadium was too important, so the field was not widened. It remains 160 feet (53 and one-third yards). The rules committee instead adopted the forward pass.

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/28/sports/football/early-patriots-were-a-comical-traveling-sideshow.html?referringSource=articleShare

From the Harvard athletics Web site…

The close proximity of the stands to the field at the Stadium led to one of the most successful innovations in football history. In 1906, debate raged about the sport’s roughness and several colleges had dropped football in favor of rugby. When the football rules committee met to discuss changes, Walter Camp proposed widening the field by 40 feet. However, that idea would require considerable alterations to the Stadium. Ultimately, the committee adopted the forward pass.  And to this day, the field remains 160 feet wide.

https://www.gocrimson.com/information/facilities/harvardstadium

*********** Will “social distancing” require us to open up our splits to three feet?

*********** Will huddles be outlawed?

*********** New Rochelle, New York’s being a coronavirus hot spot immediately brought to my mind its only other claim to fame:   The great songwriter George M. Cohan (“Over There,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy”) wrote a Broadway musical about New Rochelle, called “Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway.”

The title song was a longtime standard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0uW5ycJDoM


*********** The NCAA built a tournament safety net of nearly $400 million - and then spent it.

Reported by Steve Berkowitz in  USA TODAY

The NCAA saw this coming more than 15 years ago.

Not the outbreak of a deadly virus that would become a global pandemic and force the association to cancel its Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

But the NCAA did have the foresight to begin planning for an unknown catastrophic event that would threaten its biggest and most lucrative event.

The NCAA depends on the basketball tournament for nearly all of its annual revenue, more than half of which gets distributed directly to Division I schools and conferences. The money comes mostly from a multi-billion-dollar media and marketing contract with CBS and Turner, but it also comes from ticket and merchandise sales.

By 2014, the association had accumulated a nearly $400 million cushion as a hedge against a massive loss of revenue from the tournament. However, at the direction of its governing board of college presidents, the NCAA distributed that money to schools to help them with increasing costs and spent it on their behalf in other ways, including a $208.7 million legal settlement.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2020/03/14/march-madness-ncaa-built-tournament-safety-net-then-spent/5038279002/

*********** Interesting writeup on Coach Jags, who now has another booster.

Ditto on every comment about the XFL. If they don't fix some of their incipient problems, they might be doomed to take the path their predecessor leagues took. I watched "the game that ended early" and it hurt seeing such a glaring error, so glaring it did feel bush league.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** Have you, like me, been wondering why Italy has been uniquely affected by the Coronavirus?

I’ve heard all sorts of explanations in the Main Stream Media - aging population, Chinese tourists, etc. 

But not this…

The community of Chinese people in Italy has grown rapidly in the past ten years. Official statistics indicate there are at least 320,794 Chinese citizens in Italy, although these figures do not account for illegal immigration, former Chinese citizens who have acquired Italian nationality or Italian-born people of Chinese descent.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_people_in_Italy

Or this…

Many of Italy’s garment factories are owned by Chinese entrepreneurs, and employ low-paid Chinese workers, many of them in Italy illegally…

Prato, which lies 25 km (16 miles) from the Renaissance jewel of Florence, is also a thriving hub of illegality committed by both Italians and Chinese, a byproduct of globalization gone wrong, many people in the city say.

Up to two thirds of the Chinese in Prato are illegal immigrants, according to local authorities. About 90 percent of the Chinese factories - virtually all of which are rented out to Chinese entrepreneurs by Italians who own the buildings - break the law in various ways, says Aldo Milone, the city councilor in charge of security.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-italy-sweatshop-insight-idUSBRE9BS04D20131229

*********** I’m a longtime fan of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, all the more so now that it reminds me of those bygone days when we lived in a free country and could go anywhere we pleased, even in large crowds, and ambitious, hard-working people with a great idea and a bit of capital and a lot of guts could open up a restaurant and work at it 60 hours a week or more and maybe realize success.

I can only imagine how heartbreaking it must be to own a restaurant or tavern and build up a staff of good people, only to be forced by a government edict to close and have to let those people go.  Those workers of course have to look out for themselves, which could mean getting another job, or even relocating, which is going to make re-starting the business all the more difficult.


*********** Now, with  our noble governor’s closing of restaurants and bars and such, will that apply to food trucks and food carts, or do they come under the take-out exemption?

Seems to me the restaurant shut-down is made to order for Papa Murphy’s Take ’n’ Bake Pizza, the locally-owned company that’s now spread out into 37 states.  They’re not a restaurant. The food still has to be cooked - by you.

(As long as they don’t allow crowds of more than 50 at a time in their stores. Or is it now 25?)

https://order.papamurphys.com/locations


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

With all of this Coronavirus hysteria being heaped on us by the media there has been no mention if churches have suspended their gatherings.

The US women's soccer team got their way.  The president of the US Soccer Federation (or whatever it's called) resigned over his "mysoginistic" statements regarding the girls' game compared to the mens game.  The ladies want to be paid as much as the men.  They're pros.  My feeling is that both the men's AND women's teams should be paid the same based upon the number of tickets they sell to their games.  Wanna bet the men will still make more than the women?

What Mack Brown is doing at NC is the same thing he did at Texas.  He did a great job of reclaiming the borders and hauling in the best talent in the state.  UT let him go and is now regretting it.

Just want to clarify that I was ok with having signing days for D3 kids (that's where most of my guys ended up!), but I scratch my head over the walk-on thing, and placing individual pictures up on the wall for second team and honorable mention All-State selections.  A sign with their names on it ok, but photos??

Soldier Field in Chicago was at one time on the list of National Historic places but it was pulled in 1997 when the city renovated the stadium into the spaceship it looks like today.

Have a great weekend, and don't be afraid to venture out of your bunker!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Ben Davis never played high school football - he played in the band - and yet he enjoyed a solid ten-year career in the NFL.

He was born in Birmingham, the son of two college graduates. Attempting to get him away from the racial strife that plagued Birmingham at the time, his parents sent him north to live with relatives, and he graduated from high school in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

Young (he graduated at 15) and small, he didn’t play football in high school, instead playing in the band.

After graduation he attended prep school - Bridgton Academy in Bridgton, Maine - until he was old enough for college.  The college he chose was Defiance College, a small, NAIA (now D-III) school in Ohio.  "I went to Defiance because I was looking for the same type of environment as the prep school," he said years later. "I was in the band in high school, but I decided to go out for the football team in college. By the time we were seniors, we were undefeated."

He was fast, and he became a very good small college running back, playing well enough to be drafted by the Browns.  But just barely: he was taken in the 17th round - the 439th  player taken.

He made the team, and as a rookie he led the NFL in punt returns.  He also led the team in kick returns.

Approaching his second year, with the talent the Browns had at running back and receiver, coach Blanton Collier advised him that his best chance of playing was in the secondary - this despite the fact that he had never played there.  He credits Collier, the Browns’ head coach, with showing him how to play the position, and in 1968, his first year in the secondary, he led the Browns with eight interceptions. He set a team record that still stands - seven straight games with an interception.

In his ten-year career - two of them with the Detroit Lions - he had 19 interceptions, and was a solid defensive player and return man.

After football, he had a successful career in business, and at one point he owned a radio station in Tulsa.

Ben Davis also enjoyed some unwanted publicity during his playing days as a result of the activities of his sister, Angela Davis, a radical Communist who was a fugitive from justice - wanted for capital murder - and  only the third woman to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

He stuck by her, and a result of their relationship, he recalled, “Some people didn't think I should've been allowed to play in the NFL. There were some opposing coaches that motivated their team by saying the Browns had a Communist. On the positive side, I received letters from opposing players who said Angela deserved a fair trial. I have to give it to the people of Cleveland for supporting us during those difficult times."


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BEN DAVIS

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** ONLY BECAUSE WE’RE STILL ON BEN DAVIS…
In Vancouver, Washington a black former teacher is suing one of the local school districts, alleging that she was the victim of racist behavior on the part of her co-workers.

Haynes also alleges that between 2017 and 2018 white staff made comments about her hair, attire, appearance and food. On occasions when she wore her hair in an Afro or wore a black suit, white staff joked that it was “Angela Davis Day, “a reference to the revolutionary black activist, according to the lawsuit. Some also raised their fists and yelled “black power,“ referred to her as an “angry black woman,“ or called her “Little Miss Black Panther,” the suit states.

*********** Angela Davis to this day is an avowed Socialist (former Marxist) who is a professor emeritus at UC Santa Cruz.  Can't even imagine what drivel she is feeding her students on a daily basis.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** Had I been Ben, sister or not, I would've kept my mouth shut, "no comment (ed)" every question. Yet, she's still out there proselytizing away in the halls of academe.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** Two quizzes in a row about old Browns.
I am glad that you’re taking it easy on my old brain. No thinking required for me on the old Browns.

I knew that one when you said his sister Angela the communist.

Ben did take a great deal of heat because of his worthless sister. The city of Cleveland stood by Ben. All Ben wanted was a fair trial for his sister and the FBI not to kill her. Ben and his wife organized a rally for her to receive a fair trial. Thousands of Clevelanders turned out to support Ben. Ben and his family were very moved by the support that the people of Cleveland showed to him.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** QUIZ - He is the first Georgia Bulldog to win the Heisman and the first Heisman winner to be born outside the United States.

Born Oct. 10, 1920, in Zagreb, Croatia, he was an outstanding high school star at Cheney High School in Youngstown, Ohio. He came to Georgia and led the freshman team of 1939 to an unbeaten season and the reputation as the “Point-A-Minute” Bullpups.

In 1940, he was so outstanding in the season’s final two games against Georgia Tech and Miami, United Press International picked him on its All-Southern first team.

As a junior in 1941, he set an SEC rushing record with 1,103 yards which stood for eight years, and gained 713 yards passing for a new SEC total offense record of 1,816 yards. He led Georgia to a 40-26 victory over TCU in the Orange Bowl New Year’s Day in 1942 with a performance still considered by many as the best in all bowl history. He gained 139 yards, completed 9 of 13 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns — a total offensive effort of 382 yards. And he accomplished all that despite playing from the third game on with a broken jaw protected by a custom-made facemask. For his efforts, he was almost a unanimous All-America selection.

In his record setting senior season with the Bulldogs, he gained 795 yards rushing and set the SEC passing record with 1,392 yards, a mark that stood for eight years. He set the SEC total offense record of 2,187 yards that same season. He led Georgia to another SEC record — 4,725 yards of team total offense. Although playing with two sprained ankles, he scored Georgia’s only TD in its 9-0 victory over UCLA in the Rose Bowl game at Pasadena. At season’s end, he was named a unanimous All-America choice and chosen as Georgia’s first recipient of the Heisman Trophy awarded annually to the nation’s outstanding player by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York.

In his three-year career, he rushed for 2,271 yards, passed for 2,331, and accounted for 60 touchdowns—30 rushing and 30 passing.

He was a two-time All-Pro selection with Detroit in 1943-44 but a knee injury in 1945 essentially ended his professional football career. He served as head coach of an Erie, Pa., professional team in 1949 and as head coach at the University of Tampa in 1950-51. He was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame in 1954 and into the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1967.

He was inducted into the University of Georgia Circle of Honor in 1996 and is one of only four Bulldog football players to have his jersey retired.

He passed way on Oct. 22, 1990.

THE PRECEDING IS HIS HEISMAN BIOGRAPHY



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  MARCH 13, 2020  "There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free." Walter Cronkite (Todays' quote was submitted by Tom Brown, of Florence, Alabam

(Todays quote was submitted by Tim Brown, of Florence, Alabama)

xfl standings

*********** XFL WEEK 6 GAMES

SATURDAY’S GAMES

HOUSTON (5-0) AT NEW YORK (3-2)
HOUSTON FAVORED BY 6.5
HOUSTON NEARLY BLEW IT AGAINST SEATTLE LAST WEEK - I’M TAKING THEM AND GIVING THE 6.5


ST. LOUIS (3-2) AT TAMPA BAY (1-4)
ST. LOUIS FAVORED BY 3.5
ST. LOUIS DID NOT PLAY THEIR USUAL GAME LAST WEEK.  I THINK THEY’LL BOUNCE BACK AND COVER

SUNDAY’S GAMES

DALLAS (2-3) AT DC (3-2)
DALLAS FAVORED BY 4
DC PLAYED THEIR TAILS OFF LAST WEEK; DALLAS HAS A NEW OC BUT UNLESS HE MAKES A QB CHANGE (ERIC DUNGEY?) DC WILL WIN

LOS ANGELES (2-3) AT SEATTLE (1-4)
LOS ANGELES FAVORED BY 3
I EXPECT SEATTLE TO FINALLY GET THE JOB DONE SO I’LL TAKE THE POINTS
IF THIS GAME IS PLAYED, THAT IS
BY UKASE OF JAY “SNAKE” INSLEE,  TSAR OF ALL THE WASHINGTONS, IT WILL BE PLAYED IN AN EMPTY STADIUM

*********** Interesting writeup on Coach Jags, who now has another booster.

Ditto on every comment about the XFL. If they don't fix some of their incipient problems, they might be doomed to take the path their predecessor leagues took. I watched "the game that ended early" and it hurt seeing such a glaring error, so glaring it did feel bush league.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida


*********** TO MY FAITHFUL READERS, ESPECIALLY THOSE UNDER SELF-QUARANTINE:
Vulnerable as I am, a senior citizen, to this latest scourge of the planet known as the coronavirus, I’m writing  from the confines of my virus-proof bunker.   My prayer is that those on high will permit the Internet will to remain in operation through this dark time, or at least long enough for me to dispense my twice-weekly pearls of essential wisdom.

*********** Say this for old age: it does give one a sense of perspective.

I’ve lived through World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, and through the assassination of  President John F. Kennedy…  I was in a black tavern in Washington, DC  on the night of Dr. King’s assassination, and I was in Baltimore during the riots that followed…  I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, thinking, “Is this it?” … And I’ve seen one health crisis after another (our parents didn’t allow us to swim in public pools because of “polio scares”) come and go.

You’re probably all old enough yourselves to remember the once-unimaginable acts of 9-11 (remember our wussy politicians and news media calling it a “tragedy?”) and their aftermath.

So as the hysteria mounts… as leaders of government, educational institutions and sports leagues hasten to one-up each other with this cancellation or that closure… count me among those referred to by the great statesman Joseph R. Biden as being “overly dismissive.”

*********** Once we started to see our schools being closed at the mere mention of a snowstorm, we should have been able to foresee the current  reaction to the news of The Killer Virus From Across the Sea.

*********** Actually, we could have seen this coming when we saw them removing the slides from playgrounds and the diving boards from swimming pools.  It’s all out of fear of being sued, and God knows nobody wanted to take a chance and be the only commissioner to let his conference play in the NCAA tournament.

*********** Josh Montgomery, staff Cajun, writes, “The NBA let Magic Johnson play with HIV, but shut down for the coronavirus.  Interesting.”

To which I would add, Good point. How about this: It’s been 10 years since the H1N1 (Swine Flu) “pandemic.”
That one, according to the CDC, resulted in an estimated 60.8 million Americans infected, and 224,000 hospitalizations.

Remember that?  I didn’t think so.

Maybe that’s because  life went on.  But that was a different America.

Ah, those were the days.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-h1n1-pandemic.html

*********** Considering the possible after-effects of the Great Coronavirus Shutdown:

Wait till college administrators look around at their empty campuses and realize that with online learning they can still collect tuition and fees without having to pay all those professors or open all those buildings or dorms or dining halls.

And with the students off-campus and “learning” at home, nobody will know what any of them look like, which means the schools will be able to save huge sums of money by laying off all those “Diversity and Inclusion” types.

*********** Despite numerous advanced degrees in various fields of medicine,  I am not the expert I ought to be on the Coronavirus (or, as some xenophobic racists persist in calling it, The Red Chinese Communist Menace), but I do have a few questions…

With companies asking/telling employees to work from home, is this going to increase the potential of hacking or data breaches?

With schools closing down, what are working parents going to do for day care?

Given that many of today’s “parents” have been conditioned expect public schools (i.e., taxpayers)  to feed their kids,  who’s  going to provide them  breakfast and lunch?

Would it have been wiser to keep college kids semi-quarantined on campuses, rather than sending them off to their thousands of hometowns?

In the future, to prevent a recurrence - no contact football?  Oh, wait.  They already have it.  It’s called soccer.

Will a quarterback be penalized for licking his fingers and then touching the ball?


***********  A guy named Matt Johnson, on a site called yard barker, very graciously suggested “Five Things the XFL Must Do to Save Itself From Collapse.”

Not sure what signs he has that it's nearing collapse, because  I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps this is one new league that’s sufficiently funded to last at least another year.

One sign, he says - “the novelty has worn off."  Well, yeah. Doesn’t that happen even in romances?

Oh - and TV ratings and fan attendance are down.  So? Is it not fixable?

That doesn’t mean, as Mr. Johnson so boldly states, “the XFL is operating on borrowed time.”

Nevertheless,  proceeding on that premise, he proposes “five changes the XFL must make.”

FIVE THINGS THE XFL MUST DO TO SAVE ITSELF FROM COLLAPSE
 
1. Keep P.J. Walker at all costs

WRONG.  (P.J. Walker is the Houston QB.) There is no way they can keep a talent like him from going to the NFL - other than matching the NFL money.  No chance of that.

Being a minor league is all about developing players who can move up to a higher level of play.

And the XFL is a minor league;  it doesn’t pretend to be otherwise.
The public seems to understand that, and seems comfortable enough with it.  For the most part,  it's quite  professional in its appearance and actions. 

2. Embrace relocation, not expansion

RIGHT. He is correct on this one.  But who can't see that  a team like New York has to “relocate” to a smaller, cozier stadium? And I agree that the LA team should move to San Diego
 
3. Overhaul the coaching staffs with young, innovative minds

WRONG.  Yes, over the long run, the XFL should become a proving ground for smart, ambitious young guys.  But in the league’s beginnings, where achieving credibility remains Job One, the last thing it should do is hire young, unknown and unproven coaches.
 
4. Embrace college stars looking to get paid.

WRONG.  This guy can’t be serious if he thinks a college player  with any brains at all and serious aspirations of playing in the NFL would jump off the college track - giving up free tuition, room and board, college coaching and training - just to make a couple thousand dollars a game in the XFL.  Except for a handful of knuckleheads who simply refuse to go to class, I doubt that they’re going to be able to sign college “stars” for their kind of money.

5. Crank up the ‘wow’ factor with more trick plays, drama, rivalries

WRONG.  He sounds as if he wants a return to the old XFL:  “The XFL needs rivals that hate each other, pregame scuffles that lead to penalties and get the fans excited.”

Yeah, Rivals that hate each other!  “Throw a Bottle at the Roughnecks” Day!  Be one of the first 10,000 fans in the gates and get an empty beer bottle to throw at a hated Roughneck! Just the kind of game you want to take the kids to!

(Full disclosure - for the most part, to use a phrase now made acceptable in public discourse by one Joe Biden, I think the guy's full of sh—.   Actually, he doesn’t sound like a real football fan to me.   I think maybe he should go back upstairs to his video games.  Where he lost me was when he used that sissy word “embrace.”  Used it twice!  I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a man  use it like that.)

https://www.yardbarker.com/xfl/articles/five_changes_the_xfl_must_make_to_save_itself_from_collapse/s1_12680_31523411


*********** North Carolina has been called “one of the most geographically complicated states in the world of football recruiting.”

Well, there's the fact that there are SIX FBS colleges located in the state, from East Carolina in the east (duh) to Appalachian State in the west, with four ACC schools - Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest - in between.

Then there's the variety of regions, spread out over a fairly large state.  There’s the greater Charlotte area… The Raleigh-Durham area… The Triad (Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point)… Western Carolina (which extends all the way to the Smokies)… Northeastern Carolina… Southeastern Carolina (including Wilmington and the Fayetteville-Fort Bragg area)

The Tar Heel state has been turning out more and more high-quality athletes, and Mack Brown, at UNC, has been recruiting more than his share.

One of the first things he did when he got the job as head coach at North Carolina was to get his QB. He found him in Monroe (in the Charlotte area, which has been turning out good QBs in large numbers), in Sam Howell, and managed to flip him from Florida State. Howell was a freshman sensation this past season.

At the end of the season, he managed to sign four-star 6-6, 235-pound defensive end Desmond Evans, from Sanford, NC.

And in the last week, the Tar Heels have picked up four four-star commitments, one of whom, Charlotte’s Drake Maye, flipped from Alabama.

At this time, UNC’s 2021 class ranks number four nationally, and of their nine commitments, eight are home state kids.

*********** HELPING A PLAYER SELL HIS “BRAND”

"Yes, I know you’re going to get me a good education and get me into a position where I have a chance at the NFL… but what are you going to do about my brand?"

Just when you thought you’d taught the kid everything… now comes the need to build his brand.

This from The Athletic…

There are two types of college fans: The ones who think the Name-Image-Likeness movement needs to be avoided at all costs and the ones who have accepted that it’s a matter of when, not if, student-athletes start profiting off their “brand.”

Nebraska is in the latter group, and not only have the Huskers accepted the reality of the situation, they have gone all-in to make sure they are innovative in terms of putting their athletes in the best position to succeed financially.

Tuesday, Nebraska announced a partnership with Opendorse to launch a program to help student-athletes build their individual brands, whether that means during their college careers (if the rules change) or after. The first-ever program of its kind will be available to all 650-plus Nebraska student-athletes, who will be given tools to maximize the development of their personal brands with a heavy emphasis on social media strategies.

***
Ohio State began doing this in 2018, when it created “Brand U” for its high-profile recruits who were famous before enrolling in college, and the Buckeyes give personalized brand presentations to those athletes during visits.

***

With brand development programs, that means more development of nicknames — the way Nebraska has done with defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt, known as “Cam Juice.” Taylor-Britt already has his own logo, a juice box with the letter “C” in it.

https://theathletic.com/1667330/2020/03/10/this-week-in-recruiting-branding-scott-frost-caleb-williams-mack-brown-march-10/

*********** I saw the note on non-scholarship kids signing!   Being a former D3 guy who takes great pride in choosing to play the game longer because I loved it I used to hate this.   As it was my belief that we didn't need to play for the attention but for the love of play.   As time has gone on I have done a 180 on this, as ultimately we are in a phase where any positive interest we can gain for our sport is a good thing in my mind.   So many small colleges are now offering "scholarships" for the most obscure sports and activities and kids are getting lots of positive attention for signing with the bluewater state underwater basket weaving team that competes in NCAA division 3 that it only makes sense to me that we honor our boys who are making the decision to grind and be tough for another 4 years irregardless if they are paying for it or if the college is paying them.

Also, wanted to note Nick Holley of the Houston Roughnecks and his twin brother Nate (Calgary Stampeders) were students our school Whiteford High School up through 8th grade.   Both had a tremendous passion for the game and transferred to a larger school in our area as 9th graders, additionally Jeremiah Harris who played at EMU and was in Giants camp last year was a class behind them he also left to a different larger neighboring school.   My first year here would have been the Holley's Senior year, we ended up having a 8-2 season with a great group of hard working tough kids.   It is fun to think the Double Wing backfield that "Might have been" with those three guys hanging around.   Also, it should be noted all 3 young men have come around some and seem like great human beings and the type that is easy to cheer for!

Jason Mensing
Whiteford, Michigan

Coach,

I see your point on the walk-on business: our local paper has begun to give as much ink to a D-III track (nothing against track)  letter of intent as to a D-I football letter of intent.

My big objection is to the whole “preferred walk-on” scam itself.

Nick Holley is really good.  I like his hustle and his attitude.  It would have been really cool coaching him!

Nice hearing from you!



*********** Only four stadiums (“stadia” to use the proper Latin plural) are recognized as National Historic Landmarks:

Harvard Stadium (1903)
The Yale Bowl (1914)
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1921)
The Rose Bowl (1922)

*********** Based on the following article sent to me by Tom Walls, of Winnipeg, I am going to put Winnipeg and its CFL crowd as the early leader in the quest to determine the origin of the now-famous Beer Snake…

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/from-the-cbc-archives-when-the-beer-snake-was-banned-1.3151761



THE BLACK LION AWARD  - NOMINATIONS CLOSING FOR THE 2019 SEASON!


Black Lion Collage 5


You and one of your players could be in this picture.  See below how to submit your nomination, and your player might win the Black Lion Award  (one award per team).

It’s getting late, but it’s not too late…

Enroll your team now:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/blenrollnow.htm

Find out what to do next:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLfaq.htm


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

If I ever get the opportunity to call plays again I'm going to have to line up in the shotgun on fourth and one.  Maybe I'll get a shot at pro ball.

Awhile back I mentioned that Colorado would either hire a guy in the pros, or a coordinator at another Power 5 school.  They hired Karl Dorrell, an assistant in the pros, who used to be a head coach at a Power 5 school.  MSU was in a search for a guy to replace Mark Dantonio, I wonder if they ever considered Coach Jagodzinski?  He could have been the best choice for MSU and Colorado would not have lost their head coach.

I would also be finding something creative to do (building a beer snake) if I was attending a cricket match.  Imagine, an entire day (or maybe even more than a day!) just drinking beer!

At my former school they would hold "signing days" for athletes attending Division III colleges.  They also had an athletic wall of fame for athletes who were selected All-State First Team...and Second Team...and yes...even Honorable Mention!!

One name that was left off that list is Chris Klieman.  If Scott Satterfield is on the list (former FCS coach) Klieman should also be on it.  His coaching record at North Dakota State is unmatched, and is going about making the K-State program one of the best in the Big 12.

Title IX has a history of destroying collegiate men's athletic programs.  Football and Lacrosse for sure, but wrestling is also a men's sport that has suffered from the Title IX purge.

Enjoy the week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Give Klieman another year like this past one and he will be on it.  (Not too high, though, because we don’t want K-State to lose him!)

I’ll never forgive George W. Bush for promising a review of Title IX, and then turning the “review" over to a committee consisting mainly of feminists and ADs (who had no desire to anger the feminists), with practically no one on the committee to speak up for mens’ sports.

There went our one chance - blown to smithereens.


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Frank Ryan  may well be the most brilliant man ever to play in the National Football League.

Famed sportswriter Red Smith once wrote that his team’s offense was made up of a quarterback who understood Einstein’s Theory of Relativity - and ten guys who didn’t even know there was one.

Although admitted to Yale, he became the first male in his family in three generations not to go to there, instead choosing to play football at Rice.

There,  he majored in physics while sharing play-calling duties with another future NFL quarterback, King Hill.

Drafted by the Rams and later traded to the Browns, he continued his graduate studies in the off-season,  earning his PhD from Rice in mathematics.  (It took him seven years of work. His dissertation was entitled "Characterization of the Set of Asymptotic Values of a Function Holomorphic in the Unit Disc.”

As many of you probably know, it started out like this…

“As is well known, a Blaschke product, f(z) in (z-x1) has radical limits of f(e) of modulus one almost everywhere on (z=1).”

(I used to know the rest of it, but after all these years that’s as much as I can remember.)

That same year, he was selected to play in the Pro Bowl.

For four years after receiving his doctorate, he quarterbacked the Browns while teaching mathematics classes in the morning at Case Western Reserve University.

He was way ahead of anyone else in seeing the value of what are today called “analytics.”

Having learned  how to program a computer, he tried to persuade his coaches of the potential advantage of  using computers to dig more deeply into statistics, but found no interest. Only after being acquired at the end of his career by the Redskins was he able to make his point with their new coach, Vince Lombardi, who agreed to fund a project.  Unfortunately, when Lombardi succumbed to cancer not long after, the idea died with him.

After retirement from football, he was hired by the US House of Representatives as its Director of Information Services, and played a major role in installing the electronic voting system that is still in use today.

He finally managed to make it to Yale when in 1977 he was named its athletic director, a position he held for 10 years.  The school got its money’s worth - he also taught math classes.

After Yale, he returned to Rice as Vice-President for External Affairs (fund-raising) while also serving as professor of computational and applied mathematics.

He now lives in retirement in rural Vermont with his wife, Joan, whom he met while they were undergraduates at Rice.  She became one of the first female sportswriters, writing a weekly column for a Cleveland newspaper, then joining the sports department at the Washington Post.

In the days when NFL quarterbacks had to be as tough as any man on the field - he once was knocked cold in the first half by Bears’ linebacker Dick Butkus, but returned in the second half to throw three touchdown passes to lead the Browns to victory - he was a very good one:  he completed 1,090 passes in 2,133 attempts, for 16,042 yards and 149 touchdowns.  He made it to the Pro Bowl three straight years, and in 1964 he led the NFL in touchdown passes.

Frank Ryan is the last quarterback to take the Cleveland Browns to a championship.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRANK RYAN

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE DANIELS - STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
DAVID CRUMP (LONGTIME BROWNS' FAN) - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** From Greg Koenig…

https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/06/30/themmqb-talking-football-cleveland-browns-last-championship-frank-ryan-math-phd-vince-lombardi

*********** More on Frank Ryan

https://vault.si.com/vault/2000/04/10/frank-ryan-intellectual-quarterback-january-4-1965

https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/stroll-memory-lane-brainy-cleveland-browns-quarterback-frank-ryan-article-1.456165?pgno=1

*********** QUIZ - He  never played high school football - he played in the band - and yet he enjoyed a solid ten-year career in the NFL.

He was born in Birmingham, the son of two college graduates. Attempting to get him away from the racial strife that plagued Birmingham at the time, his parents sent him north to live with relatives, and he graduated from high school in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

Young (he graduated at 15) and small, he didn’t play football in high school, instead playing in the band.

After graduation he attended prep school - Bridgton Academy in Bridgton, Maine - until he was old enough for college.  The college he chose was Defiance College, a small, NAIA (now D-III) school in Ohio.  "I went to Defiance because I was looking for the same type of environment as the prep school," he said years later. "I was in the band in high school, but I decided to go out for the football team in college. By the time we were seniors, we were undefeated."

He was fast, and he became a very good small college running back, playing well enough to be drafted by the Browns.  But just barely: he was taken in the 17th round - the 439th  player taken.

He made the team, and as a rookie he led the NFL in punt returns.  He also led the team in kick returns.

Approaching his second year, with the talent the Browns had at running back and receiver, coach Blanton Collier advised him that his best chance of playing was in the secondary - this despite the fact that he had never played there.  He credits Collier, the Browns’ head coach, with showing him how to play the position, and in 1968, his first year in the secondary, he led the Browns with eight interceptions. He set a team record that still stands - seven straight games with an interception.

In his ten-year career - two of them with the Detroit Lions - he had 19 interceptions, and was a solid defensive player and return man.

After football, he had a successful career in business, and at one point he owned a radio station in Tulsa.

He also enjoyed some unwanted publicity during his playing days as a result of the activities of his sister, Angela, a radical Communist who was a fugitive from justice - wanted for capital murder - and  only the third woman to appear on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

She was his sister, though, and he stuck by her.  As a result, he recalled, “Some people didn't think I should've been allowed to play in the NFL. There were some opposing coaches that motivated their team by saying the Browns had a Communist. On the positive side, I received letters from opposing players who said Angela deserved a fair trial. I have to give it to the people of Cleveland for supporting us during those difficult times."



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  MARCH 10, 2020  “A million things have to go right to win a race. Only one thing has to go wrong to lose it." Barclay Tagg, noted thoroughbred horse trainer

*********** XFL WEEK 5 RESULTS

SATURDAY’S GAMES
HOUSTON 32, SEATTLE 23
Spread: Houston by 13.5
Over/Under: 45.5 - OVER WINS
IF I WERE BETTING: I’d take Seattle and the points - GOOD TIP

NEW YORK 30,  DALLAS 12
Spread: Dallas by 8
Over/Under:  37 - OVER WINS
IF I WERE BETTING: I’d take New York and the points GOOD TIP

SUNDAY’S GAMES

DC 15,  ST LOUIS  6
Spread: St Louis by 3.5
Over/Under:  39 - UNDER WINS
IF I WERE BETTING: I’d take St. Louis and give the points  BAD TIP

LOS ANGELES 41,  TAMPA BAY 34
Spread: LA by 1.5
Over/Under:  40-5 - OVER WINS
IF I WERE BETTING: I’d take Tampa Bay and the points BAD TIP

*********** AROUND THE XFL…

SATURDAY'S GAMES

SEATTLE AT HOUSTON

*** On a play in which it turned out that the runner was on top of opponents and wasn’t actually down yet, the replay official said, “He was surfing bodies.”

*** Nice sideline interview with Indianapolis QB Jacoby Brissett, who was at the game to watch former Colts’ teammate, Houston QB PJ Walker.

*** Also on hand to watch Walker: the Seattle Seahawks. They had people at Saturday’s game looking at the Houston QB. Makes a lot of sense to me because it appears that he and Russell Wilson have quite a bit in common, and at the present time Seattle’s got no one behind Wilson. Geno Smith, who beat out Paxton Lynch for the backup spot, is now a free agent.

*** The XFL’s transparent review process, with the viewers in on it, is SO much better than the NFL’s, which is cloaked in secrecy.

*** Seattle jumped out to an early lead, and midway through the second period the Dragons were 2-point favorites.

***  Houston scored on an 80-yard pass play to slot receiver Nick Holley (I really like him). It was a classic Run-and-Shoot play, called generically the “GO” pattern.
run and shoot go

Basically, the #2 and #3 receivers (counting from the sideline-in, line up fairly close to each other and their routes cross. The QB, expecting to throw to the #3 receiver on his “arrow” route, looks at the #2 defender, the only guy who can stop it. If #2 jumps the arrow, the QB expects  to hit the #2 receiver, in this case Nick Holley, running a “seam.” In all likelihood, Holley will be able to beat the #3 defender, who is a slower linebacker type,  but what happened Saturday was a gift from the gods - #3 jumped  the arrow!  That meant that there were two defenders covering the arrow - and no one  covering Holley.  Walker hit him in the dead area behind the linebackers and in front of the Free Safety. Holley put a move on the safety and was off to the races.

*** I sure like the one-foot-in-bounds rule.  There’s a lot less to have to look at on a debatable catch.

*** With close to 90 per cent of XFL kickoffs being returned - as opposed to under 40 per cent in the NFL - I’m surprised that the teams don’t have better kick return guys.

*** Here I go again - a one-point PAT should be more makable than it is.

*** Starting to see signs of the kind of behavior - taunting, etc. - that makes the NFL near-unwatchable for me.  Sure hope the league higher-ups get a handle on it.

*** The NCAA has changed the ejected-player rule this year and no longer requires the miscreant to be escorted off. (Tsk, tsk.  It’s “humiliating!”) So there was a Houston player ejected for throwing a punch.  And, since the XFL doesn’t require a player to leave the field…
1. He was interviewed by the sideline reporter
2. He proceeded to sign autographs

*** 0:03 - that’s how much time was on the clock when Houston ran out of downs and Seattle took over. 0:03. But the officials scooted. Problem is, Seattle was down by nine points and had time for one play.  There was the admittedly unlikely possibility of scoring a touchdown and a three-point conversion, but they never got the chance. How does ANY league allow that to happen?  VERY bush league.

NEW YORK AT DALLAS

*** Finally, a good kick return (by New York), abetted by a chicken-sh— soccer-style “tackle” by Dallas’ kicker, one Austin MacGinnis.

*** Dallas OC Hal Mumme was up in the booth because, we were told, he had been injured last week in a sideline collision. No matter - wherever he is when he makes the calls, Dallas’ offense sucks.

*** Color guy Joel Klatt must think “holding your water” (when referring to resisting the urge to jump offside) is really cool because he used it twice in the first half.

*** Had a new sideline guy named Cam Jordan, a big guy with a topknot.  Took him way too long to get out a “question,” which really was a statement designed to show us how bright he is.

*** New York’s field goal kicker Matt McCrane has yet to miss.

*** New York center Ian Silberman stayed true to form - yanked an opponent’s helmet off.

*** New York’s QB Luis Perez continues to look good.  Dallas’ Phillip Nelson, who blew a chance to win last week’s game because he chose to hook slide on the Houston three instead of diving for the score, looked about the way you’d expect a QB like that to look.

SUNDAY’S GAMES
ST. LOUIS AT DC

*** A decent crowd - 16,000 announced - on a nice, sunny day.

*** Cardale Jones got the start for DC and he made it 6 full minutes and 33 seconds into the first quarter before throwing an interception. It wasn’t long before he was replaced by rookie Tyree Jackson (from Buffalo) and the DC offense took off.

*** I’ve seen more sound, heads-up, chest-to-chest tackles in a half season of the 8-team XFL than I would expect to see in an entire season of the 32-team NFL.  I suspect it’s because NFL tacklers are doing whatever they can to avoid solid contact (except, of course, for when they’re launching against helpless opponents).

*** The score was tied 6-6 at the half. The two teams between them threw just 18 passes.  DC’s Jackson was just 3 of 4 for 134 yards.

*** I don’t know what happened to St. Louis’ ground game, but it seemed to me they asked QB Jordan Ta’Amu to do what he’s less good at - throw from the pocket - instead of sticking with the attack I’d been seeing.

*** DC had a long TD called back on an RPO because, we were told, they had an ineligible man downfield.  Turned out it was a lineman who had been double-teaming a St. Louis defender and driven him upfield, never losing contact with the man.  WTF?

*** A St. Louis runner got the yardage for a first down, but he was called for a face mask penalty - and damned if the replay didn't show him grabbing and  twisting the tackler’s face mask!

*** It’s enough to make you wonder how (if)  some of these coaches made it through high school math…

4TH AND ONE ST LOUIS

Two minutes to play, fourth down, and this is how St. Louis lined up - to get ONE F—KING YARD. It may be hard to see, but there is no QB under center.  They are going to snap it to a QB who’s five yards deep, and he’s going to hand it to a running back who’s 7-1/2 yards deep.

Needless to say, they didn’t make it.



TAMPA BAY AT LOS ANGELES

6 PM KICKOFF - BAD CROWD

*** LA QB Josh Johnson throws an interception on the first play, and Precious Molly, the sideline reporter, sticks a mic in his face and, showing how woke she is, asks, “Josh, how do you change your ju-ju?”

*** The play-by-play guy tried to excuse some poor play by allowing for the fact that “It’s played late at night.”

Uh, dude, it was 7 PM Pacific Daylight time. Just 24 hours earlier, it would have been 6 PM Pacific Standard time.  It may be a bit late for you East Coasters, but they tell me NFL players do this bicoastal stuff all the time.

*** Is there some sort of federal privacy rules that prevent us from going into the medical tent?  Wouldn’t that be cool?

“Does it hurt when I do this?”

“Aiyeee!”

*** As in the NFL, there is a lot of sloppy ball-handling. LA’s kick return guy fumbled when he carried the ball in one hand - the wrong hand at that - and swung the ball away from the body.

Carry the ball in the arm farthest from the tackler.

Ball should be touching the four points of contact:

1. Hand (point of the ball covered by fingers)
2. Forearm
3. Biceps
4. Ribs

*** Tampa Bay’s Taylor Cornelius continues to look good.

*** The score at the half was 24-20.  The Over-Under was 43.5.

*** It was halftime, and there was Precious Molly, at the entrance to the official’s locker room.

“And the coolest thing about the XFL,” she started out, was not the kickoff, or the extra points, or the speed-up of play, but “the fact that every single officiating crew does have a female official!”

Control yourself, Hugh.

After all, it was International Women’s Day.  (How long do you suppose it will be before some politician - Democratic, of course -  proposes it be a Federal holiday?)

*** We were privy to a most unusual phone call. We saw Josh Johnson come off the field and pick up the phone. The camera cut to the press box, where we saw LA offensive coordinator Norm Chow pick up the phone, and it quickly became clear that it was Johnson on the other end.  It became even clearer why Los Angeles is the 19th team Johnson has been with since 2009 when he started berating Chow - told him basically to stop making calls and leave the game in his QB’s hands.

Chow must have realized that the “conversation” was going out on national television, because he resisted the urge to tell his 30-year-old Payton Manning wannabe to put the phone where the sun don’t shine.

Me?  I kinda like having a few guys to root against.

https://dailycaller.com/2020/03/09/los-angeles-wildcats-josh-johnson-norm-chow-phone-call-video/


*** Tampa Bay was driving in the final minute when the quarterback and the receiver - wide open on the goal line - got their timing mixed up, and LA intercepted with :33 to go.


*********** Evidently it started in cricket, where matches can go for a long time, and copious amounts of beer are consumed, but the Beer Snake has made it to the XFL - to DC at least.  The snake is made of many, many empty plastic beer cups, contributed by many, many beer drinkers and fitted inside one another until the “snake” begins to grow to a considerable length.
 
XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck even contributed an empty cup.  Can you imagine Roger the Dodger doing that?

Seems like a great activity for young  football fans on a nice sunny day in a stadium where beer’s sold. Just so long as somebody else is driving home.

DC beer snake
A GUY IN A RED CAP ADDS TO THE DC BEER SNAKE
BIG BEER SNAKE
FANS AT AN AUSTRALIAN CRICKET MATCH SET THE STANDARD


*********** What does it say about the beer business when the most humorous commercials on TV are selling insurance…

Liberty Mutual’s “struggling actor” who keeps blowing his lines (“Liberty Bibberty”).

Liberty Mutual’s sidewalk sign guy.

Progressive’s commercial-in-a-commercial, (“are you that Progressive guy? they ask the waiter) shot at a “restaurant” called “Portabella’s,” where the manager is - Flo. End with the Jingle: “Come on down to Portabella’s,  for food, family and fun!”)


*********** A reader asks…

Q. Is it wrong that I think kids who are walk-ons shouldn’t have a “signing day” photo op? Doesn’t that cheapen people who earn scholarships? Or am I just a dick?

A. Yes, you’re a dick. You obviously haven’t bought into the Trophies for Everybody concept. You just don’t appreciate the “Preferred walk-on” BS that’s become so fashionable. See, this way everybody wins - the kid gets his picture in the paper, the high school has a “signing ceremony,” the college gets a photo op (without costing them a scholarship), and the local newspaper gets a “story.”

Sure, it’s a sham, like celebrating an eighth place finish in the district basketball tournament. But who does it hurt?


*********** BALTIMORE — In the first U.S. sports event held without fans due to the coronavirus, Yeshiva University beat Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 102-78, in the D-III men's basketball tournament Friday at Johns Hopkins University.

Dozens of disappointed fans from the two teams were turned away.


*********** Stewart Mandel’s Top 25 College Football Coaches In The Athletic
1. (TIE) Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney
3. Ed Orgeron
4. Lincoln Riley
5. Kirby Smart
6. Brian Kelly
7. James Franklin
8. Dan Mullen
9. Paul Chryst
10. *Bill Clark (UAB)
11. Kyle Whittingham
12. P.J. Fleck
13. Mario Cristobal
14, Jimbo Fisher
15. *Ken Niumatololo
16. Mark Stoops
17. *Jeff Monken
18. Scott Satterfield (Louisville)
19. Kirk Ferentz
20. Mike Leach
21. Brian Shaw
22. *Brian Harsin
23. Mike Norvell (FSU)
24. *Luke Fickell
25. Matt Campbell
* Non-Power 5

TOO HIGH:
Brian Kelly - He’s good, but not that good.
Kyle Whittingham - He lost me with that bowl trouncing by Texas
Mario Cristobal - Too soon yet.
Jeff Monken - Yes, he put together back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2017 and 2018, but the schedules have been embarrassingly soft. In 2019, Army was 5-8 , without a single quality win. Wins were over  Rice, Morgan State, UTSA, UMass, VMI

TOO LOW?
Kirk Ferentz - #19? Come on.
Luke Fickell - He’s close to top ten.  Let’s see where he is after this season
Matt Campbell - Three straight winning seasons and two straight Big 12 finishes - at Iowa State, for Pete’s sake

https://theathletic.com/1654673/2020/03/05/stewart-mandel-ranking-the-top-25-coaches-in-college-football/?source=shared-article

********** I’m not one to say that Hal Mumme’s injury in a sideline collision over a week ago is why he was relived of his position as offensive coordinator for the Dallas Renegades: “Unfortunately, it prevented him from performing in the way we needed for the Renegades,” said Dallas head coach Bob Stoops.

Maybe the injury wasn’t the real reason, but it sure came at a convenient time for Stoops, because it gave him cover for doing what was becoming inevitable to anyone who’s been watching the Dallas offense spin its wheels.  Mumme had to go.

I think it’s fair to say at this point that Mumme’s coaching record doesn’t match his reputation.   Yeah, the guy’s something of a mad genius,  and when he’s up at the blackboard he has all the answers. And he does have an impressive coaching tree.  But at some point, a coach has to go out and get it done on the field, and by that measure, Mumme comes up short.

Since the 1996 season, when he left for Kentucky after taking Valdosta State to the D-II quarterfinals, he has been a head coach for 18 years at several places - Kentucky, Southeastern Louisiana, New Mexico State, McMurry, Belhaven - and he has only four winning seasons to show for his efforts.

His Air Raid offense continues to work at many levels of football - even in the NFL (when you have Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback).

But not in the XFL, where neither Landry Jones or Phillip Nelson have been up to the job.

He’s being replaced by Jeff Jagodzinski, who’s been coaching the Dallas offensive line.

“Jags” hasn’t been a head coach since 2008, when he was fired by AD Gene DeFilippo for interviewing with the New York Jets without receiving permission to do so.

In his two years at Boston College he had gone 20-8 (.714).  Boston College has had some good coaches over the years - Mike Holovak,  Joe Yukicka, Jack Bicknell, Tom Coughlin, Tom O’Brien - but Jags’ is the best record of any BC coach since Frank Leahy went 20-3 in 1939-1940 (before moving on to coaching immortality at Notre Dame).

In retrospect, DeFilippo’s move looks worse with each passing year: in the 11 years since he pulled the pin on Jeff Jagodzinski, BC has gone 65-74. 

I have no idea why Coach Jags never landed another big job.   Since BC, he’s knocked around a bit.  The last three seasons, he was an assistant coach at a Catholic high school in Chattanooga.

I heartily approve of his new assignment, but I admit to a certain amount of prejudice.  I’ve followed his career ever since he called me  (got that? HE called ME!) back in 2009 to ask me about the Double Wing.  He was helping a young coach at a small college in Florida, and he wanted to learn.  Any guy who’s coached in the NFL and at the major college level who’s not too proud to call a high school coach to try to learn something is okay in my book, so I’m pulling hard for him to be successful.

https://www.xfl.com/en-US/teams/dallas/renegades-articles/renegades-promote-jagodzinksi-to-offensive-coordinator

*********** Until 10 years ago, college lacrosse was dominated by a  small handful of schools. In the 30+ years from 1978 to 2009, Division 1 national championships were controlled by Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Princeton, Syracuse and Virginia.

But in the last 10 years, those powerhouses have won only three national titles. Four of the other teams that have won titles - Duke, Denver, Loyola of Maryland and Yale - had never won before.

More schools are becoming powers, and for that they can thank Title IX.

With lacrosse  growing rapidly at the youth and high school level, there is more talent being produced than there has ever been.  But at the same time, the number of men’s college programs has scarcely increased: since 2000, only three colleges - Michigan, Marquette and Utah - have added D-1 men’s lacrosse teams.

In the meantime, while men’s D-1 lacrosse remains frozen at 75 teams, women’s lacrosse continues to grow, with 118 teams at last count.

The reason? 

Title IX again.  It says, in effect, that colleges had better have relatively similar numbers of male and female athletes on their teams.

The problem?

Football. Before even counting any other sport, football means the men’s side of the equation starts out roughly 100 athletes ahead of the female side.  And since there is no comparable female sport with numbers approaching football’s, that means that  to comply  with Title IX’s requirement of relatively equal numbers overall, colleges have been forced in some cases to devise women’s sports and, in other cases, to eliminate men’s sports.

Women’s lacrosse makes an ideal addition to a school’s program, raising female numbers. But the very idea of adding another men’s sport, such as lacrosse, is unthinkable in most college athletic departments.

So there we are: there’s roughly the same number of colleges playing lacrosse as 10 years ago, and the pool of gifted recruits has increased tremendously.


THE BLACK LION AWARD IS OPEN TO NOMINATIONS FOR THE PAST SEASON!

Black Lion Collage 5


You and one of your players could be in this picture.  See below how to submit your nomination, and your player might win the Black Lion Award  (one award per team).

It’s getting late, but it’s not too late…

Enroll your team now:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/blenrollnow.htm

Find out what to do next:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLfaq.htm

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

Next thing you know some XFL team will come up with that A-11 formation designed and used by Piedmont high school coach Kurt Bryan in the SF Bay Area some years ago.  That formation was eventually made illegal by the NFHS.  The formation took advantage of the scrimmage kick (punt) rule allowing each player on the field to wear an eligible number which made linemen able to go downfield and catch a pass.

Small hands or not Joe Burrow  still meets the pro football height measurement requirement at 6'4.

James Carville is a true old-school dyed in the wool Democrat, but first and foremost he's an LSU Tiger!

If I'm a big-time money alum at MSU I'm likely going to hedge my bet on the hiring of Mel Tucker.  Since the Spartans are desperate to become relevant again in the Big 10 the Spartan administrators better have included a non-compete clause in his contract should he bolt for a better opportunity after year one.

Speaking of the Belly Series...There is another good book on the Belly Option.  "Attacking Modern Defenses with Belly Option Football" by Bill Manlove.  Manlove was the head coach at Division III Widener University (PA), Delaware Valley College (PA), and LaSalle University (PA). His Widener teams were considered some of the best in the nation (won two national championships  in 1977 and 1981).

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Bill Manlove is a Philly guy (from South Jersey, actually), well-known and respected in  Philly football circles.  He made a great contribution to football lore when he took a chance on a little guy that nobody else wanted - Billy “White Shoes” Johnson!


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Lamar Lundy was a native of Richmond, Indiana, where he was all-state in both  football and basketball.

At Purdue, where was the first black athlete to earn an athletic scholarship he again played both football and basketball.  At 6-7, he was the MVP of both teams in his senior year, earning All-Big Ten honors in football and third team honors in basketball.

He was drafted by both the NBA and NFL, taken in the fourth round in 1957 by the Los Angeles Rams. (In those days of a 12-team NFL, he was the 47th player taken;  these days, that would make him a mid-second round pick).

He originally played tight end, and caught 35 passes for 584 yards and six touchdowns, but it became apparent that his best position was defensive end, where he made all-pro in 1959.

He was joined on the defensive line by David “Deacon” Jones in 1961, Merlin Olsen in 1962 and Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier in 1963, forming one of the best - and most famous - defensive lines in NFL history.

When Jones joined the Rams from all-black South Carolina State, he at first had a difficult time handling ass-chewings, and Lundy was instrumental in helping him learn to deal with it. “It wasn’t easy for me at that time to take a tongue-lashing from a white person,” Jones told The Los Angeles Times in 1991. “He was right there with coolness and calmness. If it had not been for him, I would have probably been out of it right there.”

Usually overshadowed by his more famous teammates, he was a rock at his position.  “He used those long, long arms to keep the offensive linemen away from him,” Olsen told The Los Angeles Times. “He was an extremely effective pass rusher.”

He did make All-Pro in 1967.

He retired after the 1969 season, after playing in 152 games - 142 as a starter.  In his career, he had three interceptions, all of them returned for touchdowns.

Not long after retirement, he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, desired by the Mayo Clinic as “ a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles.”  In addition, he suffered from diabetes and then prostate cancer.

He died in 2007 at the age of 71 in his native Richmond, Indiana.

He is a member of both the Indiana Football Hall of Fame and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
 
A bridge in Richmond, Indiana has been named in Lamar Lundy's honor.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LAMAR LUNDY

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOE DANIELS - STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** QUIZ:  He may well be the most brilliant man ever to play in the National Football League.

Famed sportswriter Red Smith once wrote that his team’s offense was made up of a quarterback who understood Einstein’s Theory of Relativity - and ten guys who didn’t even know there was one.

Although admitted to Yale, he became the first male in his family in three generations not to go to there, instead choosing to play football at Rice.

There,  he majored in physics while sharing play-calling duties with another future NFL quarterback, King Hill.

Drafted by the Rams and later traded to the Browns, he continued his graduate studies in the off-season,  earning his PhD from Rice in mathematics.  (It took him seven years of work. His dissertation was entitled "Characterization of the Set of Asymptotic Values of a Function Holomorphic in the Unit Disc.”

As many of you probably know, it started out like this…

“As is well known, a Blaschke product, f(z) in (z-x1) has radical limits of f(e) of modulus one almost everywhere on (z=1).”

(I used to know the rest of it, but after all these years that’s as much as I can remember.)

That same year, he was selected to play in the Pro Bowl.

For four years after receiving his doctorate, he quarterbacked the Browns while teaching mathematics classes in the morning at Case Western Reserve University.

He was way ahead of anyone else in seeing the value of what are today called “analytics.”

Having learned  how to program a computer, he tried to persuade his coaches of the potential advantage of  using computers to dig more deeply into statistics, but found no interest. Only after being acquired at the end of his career by the Redskins was he able to make his point with their new coach, Vince Lombardi, who agreed to fund a project.  Unfortunately, when Lombardi succumbed to cancer not long after, the idea died with him.

After retirement from football, he was hired by the US House of Representatives as its Director of Information Services, and played a major role in installing the electronic voting system that is still in use today.

He finally managed to make it to Yale when in 1977 he was named its athletic director, a position he held for 10 years.  The school got its money’s worth - he also taught math classes.

After Yale, he returned to Rice as Vice-President for External Affairs (fund-raising) while also serving as professor of computational and applied mathematics.

He now lives in retirement in rural Vermont with his wife, Joan, whom he met while they were undergraduates at Rice.  She became one of the first female sportswriters, writing a weekly column for a Cleveland newspaper, then joining the sports department at the Washington Post.

In the days when NFL quarterbacks had to be as tough as any man on the field - he once was knocked cold in the first half by Bears’ linebacker Dick Butkus, but returned in the second half to throw three touchdown passes to lead the Browns to victory - he was a very good one:  he completed 1,090 passes in 2,133 attempts, for 16,042 yards and 149 touchdowns.  He made it to the Pro Bowl three straight years, and in 1964 he led the NFL in touchdown passes.

Oh -  he’s the last quarterback to take the Cleveland Browns to a championship.



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  MARCH 6,  2020  “He just set an all-time record. He's the first gambler in history to lose $350 million in one night in Vegas!”  Wayne Allyn Root, in Townhall, after Michael Bloomberg's debate showing

XFL STANDINGS

*********** XFL WEEK 5

SATURDAY’S GAMES


SEATTLE ( 1-3) at HOUSTON  (4-0)
Spread: Houston by 13.5
Over/Under: 45.5
IF I WERE BETTING*: I’d take Seattle and the points

NEW YORK (2-2) at DALLAS (2-2)
Spread: Dallas by 8
Over/Under:  37
IF I WERE BETTING*: I’d take New York and the points

SUNDAY’S GAMES

ST LOUIS (3-1) at  DC (2-2)
Spread: St Louis by 3.5
Over/Under:  39
IF I WERE BETTING*: I’d take St. Louis and give the points

TAMPA BAY (1-3) at LOS ANGELES (1-3)
Spread: LA by 1.5
Over/Under:  40-5
IF I WERE BETTING*: I’d take Tampa Bay and the points

* WHICH AFTER LAST WEEK'S BLOODBATH IS NOT LIKELY

*********** Tampa Bay QB Quinton Flowers was unavailable last weekend for what we were told was personal reasons. Turns out the “personal reasons” included wanting to be traded.  Hard to persuade anybody to trade for you when you skip a game, and to top it all off, the guy who plays in your place leads the team to its first victory.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/xfl/2020/03/04/xfl-tampa-bay-vipers-qb-quinton-flowers-requested-trade/4954462002/

*********** Poor Joe Burrow.  The dream is over.  The NFL guys, who truly believe that if they get enough "measureables" they can somehow predict whether a guy can play football,  found that his hand - from tip of thumb across to tip of pinkie - measured (gasp) only nine inches.

That’s a trifle above normal for the average male,  but  guys - we’re talking about a pro quarterback here, and according to what the Book of Measurements tells us, a nine-inch hand is tiny.

Oh, dear. Then -  after all we've seen him do -  this means the guy can’t play, right?

Stupidity of this level requires a response, and Burrow was up to the challenge with this tweet:

Considering retirement after I was informed the football will be slipping out of my tiny hands. Please keep me in your thoughts.

https://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2020/2/24/21151737/joe-burrow-tiny-hands-measurement-nfl-combine-draft-2020

*********** Charlie Wilson,  one of my highly-paid staff experts, advises me that the crazy-ass three-man-line formation run by the DC Defenders a couple of weeks ago was once known as the Emory and Henry formation (after the small college in Southwest Virginia where it originated). Evidently, Steve Spurrier, who hailed from that section of the country, remembered seeing it as a kid, and later when he became a coach, he would spring it on opponents from time to time.

I had no idea that anyone took credit for it or that it had a name.  But I can see how in earlier days, when even one split end was considered radical, it might blow peoples' minds.

Nowadays, though, it’s a joke.   Every defensive coach knows how to line up against doubles, trips and quads, as well as swinging gates and lonesome polecats.

As for its effectiveness?  Show me the 300-pound tackle who can split out wide and then block a cornerback out in space on a bubble or smoke screen.  It’s all most of them can do to block a defensive lineman who lines up two yards outside them and speed rushes.


 *********** James Carville, noted Democratic strategist and Cajun pundit, on elitists at the New York Times…
I want to give you an example of the problem here. A few weeks ago, Binyamin Appelbaum, an economics writer for the New York Times, posted a snarky tweet about how LSU canceled classes for the National Championship game. And then he said, do the “Warren/Sanders free public college proposals include LSU, or would it only apply to actual schools?”

You know how f—king patronizing that is to people in the South or in the middle of the country? First, LSU has an unusually high graduation rate, but that’s not the point. It’s the goddamn smugness. This is from a guy who lives in New York and serves on the Times editorial board and there’s not a single person he knows that doesn’t pat him on the back for that kind of tweet. He’s so f—king smart.

Appelbaum doesn’t speak for the Democratic Party, but he does represent the urbanist mindset. We can’t win the Senate by looking down at people. The Democratic Party has to drive a narrative that doesn’t give off vapors that we’re smarter than everyone or culturally arrogant.

*********** Mel Tucker’s last night in Colorado.

Read this and you’ll never again be able to listen to a college football coach talk about commitment and believe a word he says.

https://www.si.com/college/2020/02/16/mel-tucker-colorado-michigan-state-football

***********   My script is close to being ready for some studio.  It’s a formula movie, see.  The formula?  You take a guy from one environment and drop him into someplace totally different and unexpected. (Coming to America… Trading Places… Crocodile Dundee. You got the idea.)

Mine is called “CARDALE GOES TO FORK UNION”-   It's "based on a true story" - A kid from the streets of Cleveland is sent off to a military school in rural Virginia.

And then the fun begins.  I figure I’ll be done the script in a couple of days because it almost writes itself.

https://www.si.com/college/2015/01/08/cardale-jones-ohio-state-military-school


bang energy drink





********** A beverage delivery truck pulled up next to me at a light and I couldn’t avoid noticing the giant cans depicted on the side. Bright and colorful,  they contained something called BANG, which research disclosed was an energy drink.

Yeah, “energy” -  about the caffeine of four cups of coffee in one can.  Also something called "Super Creatine."  WTF?  I thought we got rid of that.

What really got me, though, was the rather extravagant claim on the can: “POTENT BRAIN AND BODY FUEL.”

WTF?  Brain fuel? Can they really make that claim?

And if it really works - if it really is brain fuel -  can I send a few cases to some  politicians without getting arrested?



*********** Yale has never had a speaker at its graduation.  What Yale does have instead  is a Class Day speaker.  Class Day, the Sunday before graduation, is a fairly big deal because unlike graduation day, which includes all the damn graduate schools - law, medicine, business, etc. -  Class Day is just about the graduating seniors.

Yale's archrival Princeton evidently has a Class Day, also, and it seems  there’s been a bit of a row among its seniors, many of whom object to the speaker -  one Mr. Marshawn Lynch, of Oakland, California.  Mr. Lynch, a professional football player-turned- “community activist” who at some point in his life did attend the prestigious University of California at Berkeley (although he majored in something called  “social welfare”), seems to me to be quite a catch, given his reluctance during his football career to talk at all with the news media.

I hope the young Princetonians work out their issues, and I hope Mr. Lynch gives his talk.  I have no idea what he will tell the graduates, but it might go something like this, a bit of advice he once gave younger football players:

So while y’all at it right now, take care of y’all’s bodies, take care of y’all’s chicken*, take care of y’all’s mentals. Because look, we ain’t lasting that long. I had a couple players that I played with that they’re no longer here. They’re no longer. So start taking care of y’all mentals, y’all bodies and y’all chicken*, so when you’re ready to walk away, you walk away and you can be able to do what you want to do.
* chicken=money
For what it’s worth, the speaker at Yale’s Class Day last year was someone named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  I know nothing about him (or her), but I am going to go out on a limb and say I think I’d prefer to listen to Marshawn Lynch.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8060119/Angry-Princeton-students-pen-open-letter-Marshawn-Lynch-announced-guest-speaker.html


*********** An old coaching friend who’s currently out of work has landed a job as an analyst at an FBS school.  He’s been a head coach but his emphasis his entire career has been on the offensive side of the ball, and now he finds himself as a defensive analyst. He says, “I’m looking at everything upside down and learning how the other half lives - it’s like being dyslexic and learning Chinese at the same time.”


*********** A reader named Bill Statz wrote me:

Dear Coach Wyatt,

Do you have a diagram of Bobby Dodd's 92, 96, and 98 Belly? His 90 series?

I immediately went to my copy of Bobby Dodd on Football, published in 1954, when Coach Dodd and his offensive coordinator, Frank Broyles, were in the midst of a six-year run in which their Georgia Tech offense,  powered by the Belly Series, ran up a record of 59-7-3.

I took a few shots, cropped them, and sent them off.

And then, for the hell of it, I checked the price of the book on Amazon.

Whew.

bobby dodd book prices


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

I'm reading your blog. The part about the 'Bama S&C coach leaving does seem interesting. From the little that I have read about it, it seems that Saban may not have been pleased with the recent issues that they had with injuries and that he felt that they were falling behind in terms of explosive ability of their players compared to other SEC teams.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado


THE BLACK LION AWARD IS OPEN TO NOMINATIONS FOR THE PAST SEASON!
BLACK LION COLLAGE

You and one of your players could be in this picture.  See below how to submit your nomination, and your player might win the Black Lion Award  (one award per team).

It’s getting late, but it’s not too late…

Enroll your team now:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/blenrollnow.htm

Find out what to do next:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLfaq.htm

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

Maybe some XFL and NFL teams can take a page out of the Battle Hawks playbook and learn how to run the ball more effectively.

Cardale Jones is an Ohio State guy.  Nuff said.  Ian Silberman is TRULY a Florida guy.  Nuff said.  Both recruited by one Urban Meyer.  Nuff said.

In today's world of Division 1 college football and numerous new coaching "titles" for staff positions don't be surprised to see Cochran as Georgia's "Field Associate" (PC for players get back coach) to keep them from getting out of control during practices and games.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Paul Lowe played for Oregon State in a Rose Bowl game - that in itself would make him unique.  But in addition, he played on an AFL championship team with the Chargers, and he won a Super Bowl championship ring with the 1969 Chiefs.  Nobody else ever accomplished those three things.

After playing tailback in Tommy Prothro’s single wing attack at Oregon State, he had a cup of coffee with the 49ers, but after being cut he got a job working for a credit card company.  The company was owned by the Hilton family, one of whose members, Barron Hilton, owned the Los Angeles Chargers (get it? Charge card, Chargers?) in the brand-new American Football League.

He tried out for the Chargers and made the club, and the first time he touched the ball, in an exhibition game, he returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.

In his rookie season, 1960, he was the team’s leading rusher with 855 yards on 136 carries, and he caught 23 passes for 377 yards.

His 87-yard run from scrimmage in 1961 remains a Chargers’ franchise record.

His best year was 1965, when he rushed for 1,121 yards (in 14 games) and was named MVP.

He would go on to play all ten years of the AFL’s existence, and is one of just 20 men to do so.

His 4.9 yards per carry was the best in the AFL’s history, and his 4,995 yards gained rushing in a career were the league’s second-best.

To show his versatility, he caught 111 passes for another 1,045 yards.

He was twice named first team All-AFL, and twice named second team All-AFL.

He had the interesting distinction of winning the AFL’s Comeback of the Year Award - twice.

He spent the last year of his career in Kansas City, after being traded to the Chiefs, and as a special-teamer he earned his ring when the Chiefs beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl.

In 1970, he made the All-time AFL team as a running back, despite the fact that in his most productive years he shared the running duties with another All-Star, Keith Lincoln - and he played for a pass-first coach in Sid Gilman.

Paul Lowe is a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame and in my opinion is worthy of membership in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING PAUL LOWE

MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE DANIELS - STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** Paul Lowe could use a break - from Greg Koenig

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/columnists/bryce-miller/sd-sp-miller-paul-lowe-nfl-afl-concussion-20190206-story.html

*********** Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana, proudly noted that Paul Lowe was a native of Homer, Louisiana - way up north near the Arkansas line - and mentioned two other “Homer Pelicans” - Gaynell Tinsley, who played and coached at LSU, and Fred Miller, another LSU alum whom I remember fondly as a Baltimore Colts defensive lineman in the 1960s.

Coach Montgomery also sent along a clip to a story about Homer’s 1957 “18 Iron Men,” who made it to the state title game. One of the players on that team was Fred Miller; another was a fellow named James Andrews, who went on to become the most famous sports surgeon in the nation.

https://www.nflalumni.org/news/nfl-alumni-joins-celebration-iron-men-homer-la-1957-football-team/

*********** The Chargers had three great RB's for a number of years during their early existence; Lowe, Lincoln, and Dickie Post.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ - He was a native of Richmond, Indiana, where he was all-state in both  football and basketball.

At Purdue, where he was the first black athlete to earn an athletic scholarship, he again played both football and basketball.  At 6-7, he was the MVP of both teams in his senior year, earning All-Big Ten honors in football and third team honors in basketball.

He was drafted by both the NBA and NFL, taken in the fourth round in 1957 by the Los Angeles Rams. (In those days of a 12-team NFL, he was the 47th player taken;  these days, that would make him a mid-second round pick).

He originally played tight end, and caught 35 passes for 584 yards and six touchdowns, but it became apparent that his best position was defensive end, where he made all-pro in 1959.

He was joined on the defensive line by David “Deacon” Jones in 1961, Merlin Olsen in 1962 and Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier in 1963, forming one of the best - and most famous - defensive lines in NFL history.

When Jones joined the Rams from all-black South Carolina State, he at first had a difficult time handling ass-chewings, and our guy was instrumental in helping him learn to deal with it. “It wasn’t easy for me at that time to take a tongue-lashing from a white person,” Jones told The Los Angeles Times in 1991. “He was right there with coolness and calmness. If it had not been for him, I would have probably been out of it right there.”

Usually overshadowed by his more famous teammates, he was a rock at his position.  “He used those long, long arms to keep the offensive linemen away from him,” Olsen told The Los Angeles Times. “He was an extremely effective pass rusher.”

He did make All-Pro in 1967.

He retired after the 1969 season, after playing in 152 games - 142 as a starter.  In his career, he had three interceptions, all of them returned for touchdowns.

Not long after retirement, he was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, desired by the Mayo Clinic as “ a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles.”  In addition, he suffered from diabetes and then prostate cancer.

He died in 2007 at the age of 71 in his native Richmond, Indiana.

He is a member of both the Indiana Football Hall of Fame and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
 
A bridge in Richmond, Indiana has been named in his honor.


Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  MARCH 3,  2020  "In Louisiana a lifetime contract means if you don't win they will kill you.”  Mack Brown

*********** THE XFL THIS PAST WEEKEND

MEA CULPA - I fear that I may have given the impression that I am some sort of expert on the subject of betting on XFL games. No, my good friends (which may no longer include anyone who based on my “advice”  actually put some money down on one or more of these games), I must confess that careful observation of every XFL game has not in any way qualified me to make recommendations, even in jest.  If you are out money because of anything I have suggested, please accept my apologies and my offer of a free one-year subscription to NEWS YOU CAN USE.

SATURDAY
NEW YORK 17, LOS ANGELES 14 -
(LOS ANGELES WAS A 7-POINT FAVORITE)
FEARLESS PICK:LA TO COVER.  IN FACT, THEY MIGHT KILL NY
BOO: IF ANYBODY GOT KILLED, IT WAS ME.

*** Not only did LA not kill NY - the Guardians, behind a new QB, Luis Perez, won.

*** Perez won a D-II national title at Texas A & M-Commerce.

*** As expected when the home team is 0-3 - and a bad 0-3 at that - the crowd was poor (12,000 announced). Scattered around massive Metlife Stadium, it looked even poorer.  What a stroke of marketing genius it was to decide to play there.

*** Last week I gave NY’s center, Ian Silberman, the benefit of the doubt.  No longer.  The guy is a dirty player.  And poor Boston College - the guy plays  most of his college career at Florida, then spends a graduate-transfer season at BC, and guess who gets the credit for producing him?

*** I should add that Silberman wears #69.  It figures.   Me, I’ve never had such a player. Not that I’d know - I never had a #69 jersey to give out.  For what it’s worth,  over the years  very, very few good players  have worn the number.

 https://www.ranker.com/list/best-athletes-who-wore-69/ranker-sports

*** A NY DB named Dravon Askew-Henry was called for two penalties on the same play: first, he got 5 yards for defensive holding, and then he got 15 more yards (unsportsmanlike conduct) for throwing the flag at the official.

*** There’s a lot to be said for the multiple sideline interviews, but not much to be said for going up to a guy who moments earlier dropped a sure touchdown pass and asking him, “What was going through your mind…?”

*** I kept waiting for LA to throw to Nelson Spruce, one of the XFL’s leading receivers.  Turns out he was out with a knee injury, but I’ll be damned if I heard the announcers say anything about it.  Not to make excuses here, because that had nothing to do with the fact that NY finally showed something on offense, but if I’d known Spruce wasn’t going to play, I wouldn’t have had so much confidence in LA.

ST. LOUIS 23, SEATTLE 16
(ST. LOUIS WAS A 12.5 POINT FAVORITE)
FEARLESS PICK: ST. LOUIS TO COVER
BOO: ST. LOUIS IS GOOD, BUT SEATTLE IS BETTER THAN I GAVE THEM CREDIT FOR

*** Another good, enthusiastic St. Louis crowd, announced at 27,500.

*** St. Louis QB Jordan Ta’Amu runs, runs the option, and executes RPO’s beautifully.

*** St. Louis’ OC is Chuck Long, who in the early 2000s was QB coach and then OC at Oklahoma under Bob Stoops.

*** St. Louis likes to run the ball, and has two good RBs in Matt Jones (Florida) and Keith Ford (Texas A & M)

*** Seattle DB Muhammad Seisay lowered his head to make a tackle and injured his neck.  He had to be carted off and taken to a hospital, and was unable to return to Seattle with the team.

*** St. Louis scored on a nicely-executed speed option. Well, at least nicely executed by QB Jordan Ta’Amu.  The pitch man bobbled it, but managed to hang on for the score.

*** For the PAT, St, Louis faked the option and pitched to the playside WR on a reverse. There was absolutely no one in front of him, but evidently it was designed as a reverse pass, and - by damn - he was going to throw the damn thing. So he did, and the pass fell incomplete. GOOD COACHING POINT: Said color guy Joel Klatt, “When you’re rolling out and you can run - YOU are #1 in the progression!”

*** Ta’Amu’s final stats: Passing 20/28/264/1TD, plus 68 yards rushing

*** I really like St. Louis coach Jonathan Hayes. I like his manner and I like the way he talks.

SUNDAY
HOUSTON 27, DALLAS 20
(HOUSTON WAS A 1.5 POINT FAVORITE)
FEARLESS PICK: HOUSTON TO COVER

ALL RIGHT!!!: YES, I CAN PICK THEM, CAN’T I? (ONLY CORRECT PICK OF THE WEEKEND)

*** Overall, this may have been the best XFL game so far

*** Greg Olsen, for some reason, was nowhere near as annoying as he had been in the first three weeks

*** Dallas’ Air Raid offense sucks.  They ran the ball well right from the start, then threw the first pass and it was intercepted. 

*** Interceptions would become such a part of the Dallas offense that their  QB Landry Jones threw THREE in the first quarter alone.

*** Houston slotback Nick Holley, from Kent State, almost made the Rams. He is an extremely versatile player, a receiver with great hands who has also been used as a running back.

*** A questionable scoring play was allowed without  review (unlike in the NFL, where every scoring play is reviewed.) The head of officials, Dean Blandino, came on and said that play “should have been stopped” (to review). So why couldn’t he have just ordered it reviewed?

*** Landry Jones was really playing poorly, and Houston OC Hal Mumme, asked about it, played a tune that’s starting to get old - “he’s only had nine workouts.”  Jones went out and in Dallas’ first series of the second half, he threw his fourth interception.

***  Houston QB P.J. Walker is 5-11.  I don’t normally consider a QB’s height as that big a deal, but he did have some trouble with a high shotgun snap, more than a guy 6-2 would have.

*** Dallas faced a 3rd and 1 near midfield - and passed.  That meant they had to go for it on 4th and 1, and they ran a sneak. Jones got the first down, but wound up injuring his knee in the process.

*** Jones’ replacement, one Philip Nelson, pissed the game way. With Dallas down, 27-20, but driving  with two minutes to play, he elected to run out of the pocket and, at the three-yard line - he f—king slid!  Talk about leading from behind.  Words can’t describe what I think of a guy who could have sacrificed his body and helped his team win a game, but instead took the wussy way out.  One the next play, from the three, genius OC Mumme called a smoke screen which was bobbled by the receiver and miraculously intercepted. Dallas’ fifth interception.  Game over. (Earlier in the game, Houston QB Walker ran for a first down, then lowered a shoulder and knocked a tackler backward.)

TAMPA BAY 25, DC 0
(DC WAS A 1.5 POINT FAVORITE)
FEARLESS PICK: DC TO COVER - EASILY (UNLESS SOMEBODY KNOWS SOMETHING, THIS ONE IS A LOCK)
BOO:  SOMEBODY DID KNOW SOMETHING

*** Yes, somebody DID know something that I didn’t know.  But I do now:  I know why Cardale Jones isn’t in The League.

*** TB RB Jacques Patrick can play. Asked about his TD on Tampa Bay’s first drive, he said it was important because it was “my first pro touchdown - and I had to bury my father last week.”

*** Tampa Bay played ball control, using mostly runs and split end screens, with an occasional play action pass.

*** TB QB Taylor Cornelius passed up a chance to hook slide and instead played big boy football, taking a shot from a tackler as he crashed over the corner pylon for a TD.

*** Something’s going on with Cardale Jones. It appears that the child that tweeted “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain't come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS” back in his freshman year at Ohio State hasn’t done a bit of growing up.

Having contributed generously to his team’s shutout Sunday - going 9 of 22 while  throwing four interceptions and overthrowing wide-open receivers at least twice - he was pulled, then was overheard on the sidelines openly dissing a teammate.

First, as the teammate, a receiver, stood nearby, he told a coach,  “Bench him!”

Next, he said “One ain’t ready! He ain’t ready!” (“One” was Number One, wide receiver Deandre Thompkins.)

What a teammate.  What a leader. 

Uh, Cardale, was it you or “One” who went 9 of 22? Who threw those four interceptions? Who missed those wide open receivers?

*** I get sick of listening to political candidates talking about “income inequality,” but I have to admit I was really pissed when I heard a quarterback, who makes ten times more than any other player on his team, openly disprespecting one of his receivers. I understand why the XFL feels that it has to pay its QBs quite a bit more than the rest of the players - it makes sense - but you’d think that someone would explain to them, very slowly and carefully, that in return for the extra money, they accept some responsibility as leaders.

*** Thompkins, to his credit, reacted rather mildly to Jones’ intemperate insults when asked afterward.  It should be noted that the last time DC won a game,  two weeks ago,  Thompkins caught six passes for 92 yards.  Sure sounds to me like he was ready.

OVERALL COMMENTS

*** This business of allowing a catch when the ball hits the ground, just so long as the receiver has two hands on it (“and the ball doesn’t move”) is BS. Well of course the ball doesn’t move - when it’s pinned to the ground.

code-o-graph
CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT SECRET CODE-O-GRAPH

*** When I was a little kid, I pestered my mother to buy a product called Ovaltine - because Captain Midnight told me to.  He told me - on his radio program - that if I sent in a couple of Ovaltine labels (plus a sum of money) I could get my Captain Midnight secret Code-O-Graph, which would enable me to decode the secret messages he sent out to kids at the end of every program.

It was pretty slick, and I could get one today on eBay - for a couple of hundred dollars.

I mention it because with our ability to hear the XFL coaches call in the plays, I’d love to have a Code-O-Graph that would help me make sense of the calls.  It would be a fantastic sales gimmick for the XFL - if only there were some way to keep defensive coaches from breaking the code.

*** I think that one thing that hurts football in marketing its product, especially to women, is the fact that except when they’re on the sidelines acting like jackasses, the players wear helmets, and nobody knows what they really look like.

That’s why I like the XFL’s sideline interviews.  Yes, the interviewers can be dumb and they  can be intrusive. And, yes, they can put guys in some tough spots.

But overall, I’ve enjoyed “meeting” the players - not so much the coaches, because football coaches at any level tend to speak in cliches - and finding out that by and large they’re pretty good guys. Well, of course they are - few of them have ever gotten any star treatment, so they’re unspoiled, and they seem to be grateful for the attention.

*********** I know that Black History Month is over, but I don’t give a sh—. I had to chime in with my contribution. One of my very first mentors when I started coaching was a black man from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

His name was Adam Craven, and he was the head coach at Frederick (Maryland) High School.  I was living in Frederick at the time, and we became fast friends. His son, Bill, was a very good football player on what was maybe the best high school team I have ever seen.  Their tight end was a kid named Chuck Foreman (the same) who wasn’t the best running back on their team.  He had to wait until he got to Miami to become a running back.

Frederick was a decidedly southern town, its schools not far removed from the days of segregation, and when it built a new high school, Thomas Johnson High, most of the white kids went there, and most of the black kids remained at Frederick High.  Who knows why, but Adam Craven, a black man, was hired to be its coach. He was the first black man in the league, made up of the larger schools in that area of Maryland,Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

I was playing on a semipro team at the time, and I contacted Adam and asked if there was anything I could do to help. He sent me out scouting, and I don't know how much good I did him, but in that one season of working with him, I learned a lot of football.

Read about the great 1968 Frederick High team:

https://www.fredericknewspost.com/sports/level/high_school/untouchable-frederick-high-set-to-honor-the-stacked-undefeated-cadets/article_839e7b23-5fd1-5307-b022-9b1cf15d3c87.html

Bill Craven was a very good student, and I worked like hell to get him to Yale. This was back when the Ivy League allowed alumni to recruit.  I even drove Adam  and Bill up to New Haven for a weekend visit. We had lunch with Carm Cozza - just the four of us.  Yale wanted him bad - that was when Calvin Hill was playing there - and we thought we had him, but Harvard found out about him, and on his visit there, he met a bunch of guys he liked, including a basketball player from DeMatha named James Brown (the guy you see on TV now) and he went there.  Had a great career there.

In the meantime, I took a job as general manager of a semi-pro football team in Hagerstown, Maryland, and when my coach quit on me, I immediately turned to Adam and asked him if he’d be interested in the job.  Dumb me - he was making decent money as a high school teacher and coach, and we had almost nothing to offer him.  The short story is that I wound up hiring myself.   Adam was a great help to me in getting started, and we remained friends until he died.

As for Bill, I signed him to play for Philadelphia in the WFL, and when the league went under he played a year or two with the Cleveland Browns.

Then he went to UCLA Medical School, and went on to Johns Hopkins to become an orthopedist.

He did a fellowship under Doctor James Andrews  (probably the most famous sports surgeon in the world) in Birmingham, and went on to launch his own practice in Atlanta.

I am very proud of him.  It’s been more than 50 years since our trip to New Haven.  We remain in touch and I never fail to let him know how much I owe his late dad.

This is from Bill’s hospital biog - and I can vouch for it all...
I was born in Harpers Ferry, W.V. As a small town person, I always dreamed of traveling. I first traveled to Cambridge, Mass. and graduated with honors from Harvard University. I then moved to Los Angeles, graduating from UCLA Medical School. My next travel adventure was in Baltimore, Md. I had the honor of completing my orthopedic residency training at Johns Hopkins Medicine. I then ventured to Birmingham, Ala., to spend 15 months with James Andrews, MD, in his sports medicine fellowship program. In 1990, I moved with my wife and three daughters to one of the best cities in the country - Atlanta - to start my orthopedic/sports medicine practice.

About my practice

I love practicing orthopedics. I knew this the first time I saw an x-ray. I am a visual and mechanical person by nature. I started playing sports in the second grade. I was coached by my father in high school on our championship teams. I was an All-Ivy League football player at Harvard and went on to play professional football in both the World Football League (Philadelphia Bell) and the National Football League (Cleveland Browns). Because of my experiences and training, I specialize and enjoy treating complex sports injuries, especially of the knee and shoulder.   

*********** THE 1968 FREDERICK HIGH CADETS - Coach Adam Craven is standing on the right
frederick cadets 1968

THIS WAS A REAL “REMEMBER THE TITANS” - A TRUE STORY OF A BLACK COACH FROM RURAL WEST VIRGINIA TAKING OVER AS HEAD COACH AT A HIGH SCHOOL IN A SMALL SOUTHERN TOWN JUST A FEW YEARS REMOVED FROM SEGREGATION; A TOWN THAT ONLY TWO YEARS EARLIER HAD OPENED ANOTHER HIGH SCHOOL ON THE OTHER END OF TOWN THAT DREW AWAY MOST OF THE AFFLUENT WHITE STUDENTS        

https://www.fredericknewspost.com/sports/level/high_school/untouchable-frederick-high-set-to-honor-the-stacked-undefeated-cadets/article_839e7b23-5fd1-5307-b022-9b1cf15d3c87.html

***********  I got this from a coach (who will remain anonymous for obvious reasons):

Your description of how today's offenses "resemble" the single wing, in particular those with an H Back, is what I found out we will be using for an offense this coming year.  The very same offense that 6 of our district opponents are using.  I guess our HC feels we'll be better able to defend the offense better now that we'll be running it too.  Only problem...we'll be doing that with an O Line that averages 5'11-185 pounds, and only one H Back with any ability.  Go figure.  

Some time ago I came across a great quote by Steve Spurrier. He was coaching Florida at the time, and he was killing people, because he was doing something different - he was throwing the ball all over the place, while everyone else was running the ball.

What he said was that you had two ways you could go offensively: 

You could do what everybody else was doing - but you’d have to make sure your people were at least as good as everybody else’s. 

Or, you could do something different from what everybody else was doing - and simply by being different, you’d make yourself more difficult for opponenents to prepare for.

I remember playing in college, when it came time every year to play Princeton and their single wing. For just that one opponent, in just one week’s time, the coaches had to change our defense, and we scout teamers (having played single wing in high school, I got to play tailback) had a blast moving the ball up and down the field against a varsity defense going up against an unfamiliar offense.

That lesson stuck.

As a high school coach, and in no position to control the type of talent I’d get, my choice has been to be different.   I’ve often said that if two or three other teams on may schedule were running the Double Wing, I’d have to find something else to run.

I want to be the Princeton on your schedule.

*********** The word is that Alabama is about to hire David Ballou as its strength and conditioning coach. Ballou has been strength and conditioning coach at Indiana (where his official title is Director of Athletic Performance).

It was a little over a week ago that Scott Cochran,  Alabama’s strength coach and Nick Saban’s longest-serving assistant, dropped the bombshell:  he was leaving for Georgia, where he would become  special teams coach.

Apparently, he’d wanted for some time to be an on-field coach.

Well, that’s cool.  Except that he’d never coached a down of big-time college football. (Actually, as far as I can determine, he’d never coached a down of football at any level.) And, generally speaking, when a school such as Georgia looks for an assistant, it has its pick of the best there is at the position.

So what’s the deal here?

Sure, maybe Cochran, one of the best in the business as a strength coach, really did have a burning desire to become an on-the-field coach.

But is hiring a guy with zero on-the-job experience something that a college program would typically do?

Cochran was making $595,000 at Bama.  Would he leave for less pay?  Wouldn’t you think he’d have to take a cut in pay, going from being the best at his specialized job to being basically a trainee at another?  Even with the kind of money SEC and Big Ten teams can afford to throw around nowadays, doesn’t that seem a bit much to be paying a guy with no experience?

I have to laugh at the rationalization. You know, coaching is coaching, blah, blah, blah.

“Coaching is about relating with people and Scott does a really good job of relating to the players,” said South Carolina coach Will Muschamp  in an interview with the Athens Banner-Herald.  (Muschamp was on the LSU staff when Cochran was working there.) “He’s able to send a message to the players, whatever that message may be, whether it’s on offense, defense, special teams or in the weight room. Coaching is coaching. Coaching is teaching and teaching is the ability to inspire learning and to be able to inspire his kids. Scott’s got that ability with people.”

Yeah, relating to the players.

Yeah, send a message to the players. 

Yeah, Coaching is coaching.

But only up to a point,  Coach Muschamp, and you know that.  At a small high school level, you can get the basketball coach to come on board and, with a little bit of work,  put him in charge of your receivers.  And you can hire the wrestling coach and, with some preparation, give him the defensive linemen.

But this is big-time pro - sorry, college - football,  where every man on the staff is expected to be the expert in his particular area of expertise.  They don’t hire wide receiver coaches to coach the offensive line.  And they don’t hire strength coaches to coach special teams.

Something’s fishy here.

Am I the only one who suspects that Georgia might have  hired Cochran just to get him out of Bama’s weight room?  Just to stick a finger in Saban’s eye?


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

I am enjoying your weekly take on the XFL.  It is very interesting. I am watching the games. I like the new league.

I was in St. Louis  the other week for the Glazer Clinic and I can tell you that there is a great deal of interest in their team. I talked to a number of local coaches and citizens about the team and I was surprised by the amount of interest shown. I saw Battle Hawks gear being worn by all kinds of people. I really feel good about the future of the team for the St. Louis area. St. Louis is a great sports town.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky



THE BLACK LION AWARD IS OPEN TO NOMINATIONS FOR THE PAST SEASON!

Black Lions Collage 3

One of your players could be in this picture.  See below how to submit your nomination, and your player might win the Black Lion Award  (one award per team).

It’s getting late, but it’s not too late…

Enroll your team now:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/blenrollnow.htm


Find out what to do next:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLfaq.htm


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

Interested in watching the Dallas-Houston game this weekend.  XFL, NFL, doesn't matter...it's Dallas vs. Houston...it's Texas.

My brother lives in Fresno, and when I first asked him about what he thought about the LA Bowl he laughed.  He says seeing the MWC champ playing the second or third best PAC 12 team would be better, but playing in LA against the fifth best PAC 12 team wouldn't be such a thrill for most of them, and Las Vegas would be a better destination.

Picture this...signing day 2023...SEC transfers announce their choices of schools on ESPN!  Or...this headline, Fresno State Locks Up Six from PAC 12...Or this...Six Division 1 Basketball Schools Drop Programs!

Interesting take on NATO, but more importantly today is the need for an organization in the Pacific.

Amateurism in the Olympics has gone the way of the dinosaur.  Especially now with all the talk of paying college athletes.  Heck, high school kids are now getting paid in one from or another.

I really miss handing out the Black Lion Award.  Coaches, PLEASE, heed Coach Wyatt's word and get your teams signed up for the Black Lion Award.  I have found it to be the single most important, and rewarding accolade you can give to one of your athletes.  For my teams it became the most anticipated award of the season, and also for the parents.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: A native of Virginia, Willie Lanier went to Richmond’s Maggie Walker High School. (BONUS FACT: Maggie L. Walker High School, one of segregated Richmond’s two blacks-only high schools, was named for the first black woman to start and bank and to serve as its president).

Playing his college football at Morgan State, in Baltimore, under the legendary Earl Banks, he was a two-time Small College All-American and was MVP of the 1966 Tangerine Bowl, which at the time served as a regional final for the Division II championship.

He was a second-round draft pick (50th player chosen) of the Kansas City Chiefs, and quickly became a fixture at Middle Linebacker, making him, along with Houston’s Garland Boyette, one of the first two black players at that prestigious position.

For eight straight seasons, he was chosen as one of the very best at his position, being named an AFL All-Star twice, and then an NFL Pro-Bowler for six straight seasons.

He played in 149 games in 10 seasons for the Chiefs, intercepting 27 passes and recovering 18 fumbles. He earned a reputation as a fierce head-first hitter, and wore a special helmet with padding on the outside - to protect the objects of his hits as much as to protect him.

He and his linebacker-mates, Jim Lynch and Bobby Bell, are considered to be one of the best linebacker groups in the history of the game.

He once co-starred (with five other black NFL all-pros) in a blaxploitation movie.

In 1972, Willie Lanier was named the NFL Man of the Year.

He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, and his number has been retired by the club.

He was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Willie Lanier is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING  WILLIE LANIER

BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY


*********** QUIZ: He played for Oregon State in a Rose Bowl game - that in itself would make him unique.  But in addition he played on an AFL championship team with the Chargers, and he won a Super Bowl championship ring with the 1969 Chiefs.  Nobody else ever accomplished those three things.

After playing tailback in Tommy Prothro’s single wing attack at Oregon State, he had a cup of coffee with the 49ers, but after being cut he got a job working for a credit card company.  The company was owned by the Hilton family, one of whose members, Barron Hilton, owned the Los Angeles Chargers (get it? Charge card, Chargers?) in the brand-new American Football League.

He tried out for the Chargers and made the club, and the first time he touched the ball, in an exhibition game, he returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.

In his rookie season, 1960, he was the team's leading rusher with 855 yards on 136 carries, and he caught 23 passes for 377 yards.

His 87-yard run from scrimmage in 1961 remains a Chargers’ franchise record.

His best year was 1965, when he rushed for 1,121 yards (in 14 games) and was named MVP.

He would go on to play all ten years of the AFL's existence, one of just 20 men to do so.

HIs 4.9 yards per carry was the best in the AFLs history, and his 4.995 yards gained rushing in a career were the league's second-best.

To show his versatility, he caught 111 passes for another 1.045 yards.

He was twice named first team All-AFL, and twice named second team All-AFL.

He had the interesting distinction of winning the AFL’s Comeback of the Year Award - twice.

He spent the last year of his career in Kansas City, after being traded to the Chiefs, and as a special-teamer he earned his ring when the Chiefs beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl.

In 1970, he made the All-time AFL team as a running back, despite the fact that in his most productive years he shared the running duties with another All-Star, Keith Lincoln - and he played for a pass-first coach in Sid Gilman.

He is a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame and in my opinion is worthy of membership in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.





Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 28,   2020  Defenses don't stop offenses.  Players do.” Barry Switzer


*********** THE XFL THIS WEEKEND

SATURDAY

LA WILDCATS AT NEW YORK GUARDIANS (+7)
OVER/UNDER 40
FEARLESS PICK:
LA TO COVER.  IN FACT, THEY MIGHT EVEN KILL NY

SEATTLE DRAGONS(+12) AT ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
OVER/UNDER 39
FEARLESS PICK:
ST. LOUIS TO COVER

SUNDAY

HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS AT DALLAS RENEGADES (+1.5)
OVER/UNDER 50
FEARLESS PICK:
HOUSTON TO COVER

DC DEFENDERS AT TAMPA BAY VIPERS (+1.5)
OVER/UNDER 44.5
FEARLESS PICK:
DC TO COVER - EASILY
(UNLESS SOMEBODY KNOWS SOMETHING, THIS ONE IS A LOCK)

*********** In the screen shot below of the DC Defenders’ offensive formation last week,  the tackles are circled.

High school coaches have probably seen this at one point or another: three guys split out to each side. But one of those guys is a tackle.  Other than possibly to confuse an inexperienced defense, I’ve never figured out the purpose. What good, exactly, is a 300-pound guy who’s employed mainly to block an edge rusher, going to do way out there in space?
DC Formation

*********** Keep up the XFL commentary. I watch all I can, and enjoy it--except for some of the sideline stuff like "take us through" and "how did you feel after (name the play)." But even in Tampa they claimed 19,000 attendees, who unfortunately were in Raymond James Stadium. The extra point possibilities do require further thought, but I believe the original idea was good. I hope the league survives.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

*********** Things haven’t been going so well for the Pac-12 lately.  Washington State lost its coach to another Power 5 school, and a few weeks ago, so did Colorado.  Increasingly, the top high school talent in California is leaving for other conferences. The TV rights payouts to member teams are some $20 million a year less than those of SEC or Big Ten schools, and the gap is likely to widen with the next round of negotiations.

So you have to admire Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott for coming up with an idea to take our minds off the conference’s problems: another bowl game!

With the public clamoring for more bowl games, Commissioner Larry just had to know that the LA Bowl would be greeted with wild acclaim.

It’s going to match the Pac-12’s fifth-place team with the Mountain West champion!  What a stroke of genius! You just know that if a team was strong enough to place fifth in a 12-team conference, its fans will be lining up for tickets!

And what a huge honor for the Mountain West champs! They've made their way through conference play and they've won the conference championship game, and now the real prize awaits: a chance to play a fifth-place Power Five team!  Be still, my beating heart.

Yes, there will be the naysayers who’ll say that it’s not that big  an honor for a 12-2 Boise State team to play a Pac-12 team that was 4-5 in conference play. Actually, they’ll be right - there were five Pac-12 teams tied for fourth, including Oregon State and UCLA. 

But as if the matchup weren’t enticing enough, there’s also the venue: the SoFi Center, the multibillion-dollar soon-to-be home of the Rams and Chargers!

It’s certain to be a must-see game, so as soon as I have ticket information, I’ll pass it along.


*********** “God Bless America” was originally introduced and performed live on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938 by Kate Smith on her radio program.  It became an immediate hit resulting in the popular demand for the sheet music. Afterwards, Berlin established the God Bless America Fund where proceeds from royalties were donated to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

And now, thanks to a bunch of perverts who couldn’t keep their slimy hands off young boys - and a bunch of pantywaists who covered up for those perverts -  that money is going to wind up being used to settle lawsuits.


*********** I drive a lot on our state’s highways, and as I look around at the amazing amount of litter and trash that keeps accumulating on the roadsides, I think of that fool governor of ours, Jay Inslee.

There he was, in the early Democrat debates, a one-issue “candidate” telling us about climate change - existential threat,  blah, blah, blah.

Now he's back in the Evergreen State, still blathering about saving the f—king planet when he won’t even do anything to keep a state's  highways clean.


*********** Don’t  believe those people who tell you that there’s not going to be chaos once the NCAA decides to say “the hell with it,” and allows players one free transfer without having to sit out.

(It really comes down to our society's  inability to say “No” to our children. Sooner or later - you watch - there will be requests for waivers of the rule requiring players to sit out a year after their SECOND transfer.)

Some excerpts from a great ESPN article on the subject:

Nick Saban, Alabama head coach

"I don't know how you manage a roster when this goes into effect. I can't manage our roster now. Last year, we had eight seniors on our team. We had seven guys go out for the draft and three graduate transfers or guys that ended up transferring. So instead of having 18 seniors, you've got eight. You really have a three-year program at a place like this. I'm not necessarily saying it's going to hurt our program because we'll do a hell of a job recruiting players leaving other places to come here. But is that good for college football?"

Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association

"We don't want to lower graduation rates, we don't want recruiting off other campuses. I don't think I'm talking irrationally here, because history already tells us what's going to happen. What would be the motivation for universities to recruit from high schools any more? You're basically going to recruit off other campuses. Dependent upon where you are on that food chain, it's going to affect how many high school athletes you would actually take. From a coaching perspective, many times it's easier to take a proven player off another campus. I don't think the fan bases are going to enjoy this, either.

"We already know the reality of it. The reason of the rule being put in place was a concern, rightfully so in my opinion, from an academic standpoint. Students were transferring all over the place because everyone was recruiting off other campuses. That is a concern based off graduation rates. Secondarily, then it becomes less about the academics and more about football opportunities and so on. That's why the rule was put in place, to mitigate that. Our proposal, which was unanimously supported for the third straight year across all NCAA levels at our convention, we support the idea of if you're transferring across or up, if you sit a year. It's mandated. Most of those people need that time frame. And then when they graduate, which is the whole reason for this, they get the year back, so they have an extra year."

A Power 5 head coach

"Group of 5: It's going to kill them. They're going to be our G League. They'll be our little amateur league where we'll draw good players from. Every kid wants to play in the Power 5. I don't care what you say, that's what you want."

Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 commissioner

"Everybody thinks they make a plausible case for a waiver, and when they lawyer up, they probably make more progress than they do if they don't lawyer up. But I think the criticism has been that it's been arbitrary and people who represent student-athletes transferring, they know what buzzwords to put into the appeal so they can be successful in their appeal."

Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame athletic director

"The flip side of a one-time transfer is the second transfer ought to be really difficult, only under extraordinary circumstances. The waiver window on that for me would be really, really small. It would be small and specific and we get out of this whole nonsense we have now with the waiver process."

Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma athletic director

"I've had people from other universities -- I won't tell you which ones -- we've had a student-athlete leave to go to that university, which was fine, they left in good standing academically. They wanted to have a chance to play more than perhaps they were getting here, we get that. They transferred to another school but they had to sit out. ... People are calling, saying, 'Well, could you write a letter to say that that student-athlete was prevented from something and that's why they felt they had to leave?' I was speechless. Basically asking for us to lie about the reason they left because it would help in their case to become immediately eligible. I know for a fact it's happened in many cases.

"That one absolutely made me angry. I was just taken aback that somebody would actually ask us to do that.

"Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray both sat a year. I'm sure if you asked either one of them and their families, they would've preferred to be eligible to compete immediately. I get that. But that wasn't part of the rules. We have people on any one of our rosters who transfer here knowing they have to sit a year in residence. In many cases, one could argue that the opportunity to grow in that year was really positive. I know in today's world that doesn't make sense for a lot of people -- it's gotta be now -- I understand an argument for that, but those rules were in effect. Now we have all the different reasons -- many which have been exaggerated -- just to be able for some to be immediately eligible."

A Mid-major assistant Men’s Basketball coach

"It's free agency with no salary cap. Kids transferring up are way better than kids transferring down. It's a rich-get-richer type of thing. Nobody wants to stand up for the rules. We're always trying to find ways to circumvent rules. At the top, nobody wants to look like they're anti-player. But there has to be a way to make it fair. It's not the wild west out here. It's not a free-for-all. It's not professional sports."

A Second Mid-major assistant Men’s Basketball coach

 ”The rules make it so you have to recruit a new team every year. There is no more, 'This guy could be a star in two years.' There's no time for potential. You have to sign a couple of good high school kids in the fall and then refresh the transfer portal every hour on the hour."

Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame women’s basketball coach

"What we're saying is with this is, 'That's the way society is, let's let them do what they want.' The really scary part is, I feel like you're going to be in the handshake line after a game with people saying, 'Hey, you didn't play much today, why don't you come over here?'

"I like the way it is now, so I think it would be a terrible thing to do."


https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/28757527/ncaa-transfer-proposal-guide-means-coaches-players-saying


*********** By now you’ve probably heard of David Ayres, a guy in Toronto who was just sitting there, watching a hockey game - an NHL hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Carolina Hurricanes - when he got the call - the call to put on his goalie gear and get in there. Get in there and stand  in front of the goal in a professional hockey game, taking on the best shots that the best players in the world could throw at him.

NHL teams carry two goalies, but in the rare event that both of  a team’s goalies should be unable to play, the league requires every team to have  on hand at its home games
a substitute goalie, available for either team.

In Toronto, that was 42-year-old David Ayres. 

Many of the stories portray Ayres as a “Zamboni driver,” as if all he did in life was drive the ice-dressing machine around the rink between periods of hockey games. Actually, he has a job as operations manager of a major Toronto ice arena, and  that does entail driving the Zamboni from time to time.  But in his spare time, he’s a substitute goalie.  He has actually practiced with the Maple Leafs.

How’d he do Saturday night? 

Read the article.  It’s a pretty amazing story.

https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/nhl/carolina-hurricanes/article240625282.html

*********** If the XFL doesn’t do anything else, it will have served a valuable function as an opportunity for black coaches to show their stuff.

Screw the NFL and its Rooney Rule, forcing teams to give sham interviews to “minority” candidates.  Screw the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship that winds up giving them female "coaches."

Of the eight teams in the XFL, three have black head coaches - DC (Pep Hamilton), St. Louis (Jonathan Hayes), and Los Angeles (Winston Moss).  They’ve all impressed me with their ability. It just so happens that DC and St. Louis are two of the XFL’s best teams, and Los Angeles, after a terrible opener,  has shown more improvement since the first week of any team in the league.
 
I’m not sure where the credit for finding and hiring them is due.  Vince McMahon owns the entire league, so he undoubtedly had considerable power in this area, but it’s possible that the hiring was done locally.

The main thing is that no matter how these guys got their jobs, they’re showing that they can coach a pro team. The proof is right there for all to see.

The question now is, will the NFL, with all that it has invested in its minority advancement programs, allow one of its teams to bypass all of that and  just go hire one of these guys?


*********** NATO was started in the days after World War II, when Europe was rebuilding, and in need of protection from an aggressively expanding Soviet Union.  Its purpose was for the nations of Europe - helped  greatly by the taxpayers of the United States - to rally round and fight off the Russians in the event of an attack on any of them. 

It’s now been almost 75 years since the end of World War II, and now the nations of Europe have made a pass at a great Union of European states,  but despite all their high-sounding talk about unity, and despite their sometimes looking down their noses at us, it does sound as if our friends across the pond still expect us to do the heavy lifting where their defense is concerned.

According to a recent poll, only 38 per cent of Europeans think their nation should go to war should Russian attack some other European country. In Italy, it was only 25 per cent. In Germany, it was 34 per cent, and in France it was 41 per cent.

But get this - 75 per cent of Italians believe the US will come to their defense in such a case. In Germany, it was 63 per cent, and in France, 57 per cent.

Nice to know where our money goes.

*********** Good segment here on the H back and how useful they are:
 
(I WROTE) There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a back - or two - do the job of the pulling linemen in a single-wing attack.  Somewhere - I can’t find it - is a quote by (I think) Red Sanders, great UCLA single-wing coach, saying basically that pulling linemen was a waste most of the time, because they never blocked anybody anyhow. (And those were the days when the big guys at least had a chance - when they could block low downfield.)
 
I remember hearing a coach say long ago that in small schools you end up putting your top athletes in the backfield and will need to coach up a lot of kids to play the line.  So you might as well use your best kids as blockers as well as runner.

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois


*********** It's been nice seeing and reading all the stories about the Miracle on Ice - the US teams’ defeat of the mighty Soviet Union ice hockey team in the 1980 winter Olympics.

What I haven’t seen anyone mention was the thing that made the win so “miraculous” - if we must use that word. It was that it was so pure (if I can use that word).  The Olympics then were for amateurs, and most of the players on the US team were current or former college players.

Even the Soviets were amateurs - by their extremely loose definition of the term.  The Soviets were some of the world’s best hockey players, on the level of the NHL’s best, yet none of them was, strictly speaking,  a professional - there was no professional league in the Soviet Union, and none of their players was able to leave the Soviet Union to make a living in the NHL.  But the team and its dominance in world competition played an important role in promoting the Soviet way of life, and a grateful Soviet government took very good care of the players and coaches, giving them bogus “jobs” that enabled them to play hockey full-time while enjoying a standard of living few could afford in a country where luxuries were in short supply.  But they weren’t pros. Oh, no. Not much.

The idea that a bunch of American college kids could beat the mighty Soviet Union was absolutely unthinkable, and yet there it was.  It really happened.  It was thrilling to Americans who had never seen a hockey game before - and may not have seen one since.

In a sense, looking back,  it was the last stand of the Olympic ideal against the ugliness of professional sports.

The Olympics used to be a great test of our youngsters against the world’s youngsters.

And now what do we get?  30-year-olds making a nice living in sports events so trivial we only hear of them in Olympic years… professional athletes who can’t be bothered with playing on an Olympic team… “National” teams - men’s and women’s - who bitch about how much more they ought to be paid to “represent their nation.”

I’d sure love to see a day when the Olympics are for amateurs once again.  Do you believe in miracles? 


THE BLACK LION AWARD IS OPEN TO NOMINATIONS FOR THE PAST SEASON!

Black Lions Collage 3

One of your players could be in this picture.  See below how to submit your nomination, and your player might win the Black Lion Award  (one award per team).

It’s getting late, but it’s not too late…

Enroll your team now:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/blenrollnow.htm


Find out what to do next:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLfaq.htm



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

Like anything else attendance for pro sports events also depends upon the team's won-loss record, even in the XFL.  Also, if the XFL stays the course with its product, and doesn't get greedy (like the USFL did), it will make it through their inaugural season relatively unscathed.  The league still needs to find venues for a few of the teams that can accommodate crowds without the stadium looking half empty.  That is especially important for TV viewing, but also for the fans and players in providing the type of ambience that help make the games exciting.

I have an extra copy of Bob Reade's book.  Let me know if that former player of yours can't get his hands on one and I'll send you one of mine you can forward to him.

Hate to brag, but I was right about Colorado.  Karl Dorrell is a former Power 5 head coach.  Coached pro ball.   Didn't have to steal him away from another school.  Won't do worse than the former coach.  Has ties to recruiting the west coast.  Will take the Buffs to bowl games (regardless of which ones).  Administration will be happy.  That's all that matters in Boulder.

Enjoy your week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: In the mid-60’s, northern college football had been integrated for some time, but for southern black football players, except for those talented few who were recruited to play at northern schools (Michigan State among the  most prominent), there was no option other than to play at a black college - which accounted for the great number of NFL players coming out of schools such as Grambling, Florida A & M, Jackson State, Tennessee State. The list of schools is long.

But Elvin Bethea totally reversed the pattern.  He was a northerner, a black player from New Jersey who could have gone to a number of northern schools,  but instead attended an all-black southern college.

He wound up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he attributes a lot of his success to having attended that small black college. He grew up in Trenton, New Jersey, the oldest of nine children, and by his own admission, he grew up tough. “The toughness came from my father,” he told Jackson Michael, in “The Game Before the Money.” “He didn’t let up on you; you worked.  Football and track, he called that foolishness.”

But in college, he said, “I learned more about toughness. Our motto used to be, ‘If you go to a black college, you can make it anywhere in the world.’”

At Trenton Central High School, he didn’t play football until the 10th grade. “I didn’t know what football was, had no idea. I went out and made the JV that morning, and by that afternoon they put me on the varsity squad. I had no idea what I was doing. I made it because of my size. I was like 235, 240.”

He was good in  football and really good in track - New Jersey state champion in the shot put (with a throw of 64-4) and the discus - and he had numerous scholarship offers. “I really wanted to go to Villanova for the shot  put,” he said, “but my grades weren’t where they should have been.”

Enter Mom.

“My mother made the decision to go to North Carolina A & T.  She went to school with Mel Grooms, one of their coaches, who was also from Trenton.  I came home after work on a Saturday, and next thing I know, I’m in the station wagon with Coach Grooms and his family, off to North Carolina.  It was all my mother’s doing.  As they say, ‘Always do what your mother tells you.’”

Asked, “What if you’d said ’No’ to your mom?” he replied, “There was no such thing back then.”

For a black youngster from an integrated high school in the North, the South of that time was a different world: “Our high school’s offensive line included two blacks, an Italian and a Polish guy. As far as segregation is concerned we knew nothing about it. Then  I went to college at A&T, where four students sat in at Woolworth’s in 1960 to protest segregation and Jesse Jackson became student body president. I was just thinking about going to school and knew nothing about ‘You can’t go there.’”

Things were not easy playing at a black school in the segregated South.  Travel was tough, with few places to stay or eat, and playing conditions were less than ideal.  Practice facilities were “worse than we had at our high school.”  But in looking back, he suggests that those conditions helped make him into the player he would become. “We didn’t think about it,” he said. “That’s what you were dealt with.  That’s where mental toughness comes in.”

He had four successful years at A & T, and was drafted in the third round by the Houston Oilers - as an offensive lineman.

(“I had no idea who the Houston Oilers were,” he said.  He was waiting to hear from Dallas, who were said to be going to make him their number one choice.)

He didn’t hear from Dallas - they never drafted him -  so he signed with Houston. “I signed for a $15,000 salary and a $15,000 bonus, so $30,000. I gave half of that to my parents.”

During his rookie camp, he played guard, offensive tackle, defensive end and linebacker.

“I never left the field,” he recalled. “The Oilers had me play  half the practice on offense, then they’d put a red shirt on me and I’d play defense. For $15,000 they got a hell of a deal - they got two players.”

He finally settled in at defensive end, and from the first game of his rookie season - 1968 -  he didn’t come out of the lineup until late in the 1977 season, 135 games later, when he broke his arm trying to tackle the Raiders’ Mark Van Eeghan (“I clotheslined him but he ducked his head…”)

In all, in 16 seasons - all with the Oilers - he played in 210 games.

He played in eight Pro Bowls, and he was five times named All-Pro.

Although sacks weren’t an official NFL statistic until 1982, he is credited with 105 career sacks, still the highest in the history of the Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise.

The Oilers didn’t begin to count tackles until 1974, but even so, despite missing the stats from his first six seasons, his 691 career tackles are also a franchise record.

In 2003 Elvin Bethea was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his presenter was Hornsby Howell -  his  college coach at North Carolina A & T.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING  ELVIN BETHEA

GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOSH COLE - ODESSA, NEW YORK
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
BOB HARRIS - TRENTON, NEW JERSEY
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

*********** As  the Combine approaches, the NFL is moving in the direction of more and more “position-specific” measurements.

Interesting thought - The way today’s NFL teams pigeonhole a prospect at just one position and never consider him at another position - couldn’t they be missing out on some players?

Would today’s geniuses have kept  Elvin Bethea on the offensive line?


*********** QUIZ: A native of Virginia, he went to Richmond’s Maggie Walker High School. (BONUS FACT: Maggie L. Walker High School, one of segregated Richmond’s two blacks-only high schools, was named for the first black woman to start a bank and to serve as its president).

Playing his college football at Morgan State, in Baltimore, under the legendary Earl Banks, he was a two-time Small College All-American and was MVP of the 1966 Tangerine Bowl, which at the time served as a regional final for the Division II championship.

He was a second-round draft pick (50th player chosen) of the Kansas City Chiefs, and quickly became a fixture at Middle Linebacker, making him, along with Houston’s Garland Boyette, one of the first two black players at that prestigious position.

For eight straight seasons, he was tops at his position, an AFL All-Star twice, and then an NFL Pro-Bowler for six straight seasons.

He played in 149 games in 10 seasons for the Chiefs, and intercepted 27 passes and recovered 18 fumbles. He earned a reputation as a fierce head-first hitter, and wore a special helmet with padding on the outside - to protect the objects of his hits as much as to protect him.

He and his linebacker-mates, Jim Lynch and Bobby Bell, are considered to be one of the best linebacker groups in the history of the game.

He once co-starred (with five other black NFL all-pros) in a blaxploitation movie.

In 1972, he was named the NFL Man of the Year.

He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame, and his number has been retired by the club.

He was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

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



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 25,   2020  "Nothing is more lethal than a good excuse for failing.” Robert Woodson, Author and black conservative

*********** LAST WEEKEND’S XFL GAMES (WEEK 3)

SATURDAY - 2 PM EASTERN
HOUSTON AT TAMPA BAY
HOUSTON BY 6
OVER/UNDER 46.5
MY FEARLESS PICK: HOUSTON
I’m shocked that Houston is only favored by 6

HOUSTON 34, TAMPA BAY 27

HOUSTON BEAT THE SPREAD
60 POINTS - THE OVER BET WINS

+++++++++++

SATURDAY - 5 PM EASTERN
DALLAS AT SEATTLE
DALLAS BY 4.5
OVER/UNDER 44.5
MY FEARLESS PICK: DALLAS
If I were to pick an upset, this would be it.

DALLAS 24, SEATTLE 12
DALLAS BEAT THE SPREAD
36 POINTS - THE UNDER BET WINS

+++++++++++

SUNDAY - 3 PM EASTERN
NEW YORK AT ST. LOUIS
ST. LOUIS BY 7.5
OVER/UNDER 42
MY FEARLESS PICK: ST. LOUIS
New York looked like a team coming apart last Saturday; St. Louis is one of the XFL’x top teams

ST LOUIS 29, NEW YORK 9
ST LOUIS BEAT THE SPREAD
38 POINTS - THE UNDER BET WINS

+++++++++++

SUNDAY - 6 PM EASTERN
DC AT LA
DC BY 7
OVER/UNDER 45.5
MY FEARLESS PICK: DC
DC is undefeated and LA is winless, but LA showed a lot of improvement from week 1 to week 2

LA 39, DC 9
LA COVERED
48 POINTS - THE OVER BET WINS


*********** RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

*** Slim crowds at Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.  Another decent crowd in Seattle - 22,000 compared with last week’s 29,000 - and a large and boisterous crowd in St. Louis (29,554 announced)  for the Battle Hawks’ home opener.

*** Unlike in the NFL, 90 per cent of the XFL’s kickoffs are returned, and St. Louis ran a reverse to get the XFL’s first kick return for a TD.

*** There have been very few of the “late hits out of bounds” that infest the NFL and big-time college football.

*** Tom Lugenbill was announced as a “sideline analyst.”  That’s a new one on me. Sounds much better than “reporter.”  I was going to call him a Sideline Bimbus (masculine of bimbo).

*** It took them until their third game, but Tampa Bay finally scored their first TD of the season with 9:11 left in the 2nd quarter on  a nice read option.

*** A QB seemed to lose his footing and went down, untouched.  Then  he got up, spun the ball and walked away, and a defender alertly picked up the ball and ran it in for a touchdown.  The officials had a chance to teach the showboater a lesson, but instead called the return back, saying that the QB “gave himself up.”  Sheesh.

*** Houston coach June Jones was heard - clearly - saying to an official after a horrible missed pass interference call, “”For you to make that call… I wonder what the hell you’re doing in the league.”  A seasoned official would have said, “Same thing you’re doing, coach - trying to work my way out of the bush leagues.”

*** Houston’s Cam Phillips had three receiving TDs this week, same as last week.

*** Tampa Bay had a great shot at a score - second and goal from the one - and pissed it away with three straight incomplete passes.

*** Seattle opened up with a 10-play, 53-yard drive, capped by Austin Proehl’s great TD catch.

*** Dallas TE Donald Parham, from little Stetson University,  is 6-8 and fast, with good hands.  He is definitely a prospect.

*** Dallas and its much-touted Air Raid was much more effective when it went to a two-back set and ran the damn ball.  Took them a while to figure it out, though - they had 9 yards running in the first half, and  over 100 yards in the second half.

*** Dallas QB Landry Jones looked sharper this week, throwing for three TDs.

*** ESPN was up to their same old sh---, making football fans wait until the f—king college basketball game ended.  The score was 63-60 with 1:10 to go, but you now how that sh— goes -  each team had two time outs left, and by the time the frigging basketball game was over, it was 11 minutes after the start of the XFL broadcast.  Nice of them to tell us to go to ESPNEWS, but what about those of us who are recording the game on ESPN?

*** St. Louis came out and scored on New York in FOUR STRAIGHT RUNNING PLAYS!!! When’s the last time you’ve seen a scoring drive like that in the NFL?

*** If there’s anything that comes close in morale deflation to a blocked punt, it’s a roughing the kicker penalty. New York had both.

*** New York also has a center named Ian Silberman who was so out of control - a center, mind you - that he picked up three unnecessary roughness penalties and finally had to be sat down in order to get him under control.

*** One of Silberman’s penalties was kind of comical.  As NY huddled maybe a yard off the line, a St. Louis defender leaned in as if to listen - and Silberman shoved him back. (Actually, I thought the St. Louis guy had encroached, and he was the one who should have been penalized, but that’s what happens when you’ve earned a reputation.

*** St. Louis had fourth and two on the NY 42 and decided to punt. Maybe they forgot the XFL’s rules, but when the punt went into the end zone, it was brought out to the 35 for a net punt of seven yards.

*** New York is hopeless.  How dumb can a team be when it knows it has a terrible offensive line and it expects a 30-year-old QB who can’t run (what 30-year-old QB can run?) to be effective?

*** New York had the first late hit out of bounds that I remember seeing so far this season.

*** New York had eight penalties in the first half (although two were offset.)

*** It took St. Louis eight tries before they made their first extra point of any kind this year.

*** Finally saw NY backup QB Luis Perez, from Texas A & M-Commerce, and he got NY their only TD.

*** Jordan Ta’Amu, St. Louis QB, continues to look very good.  But with the game under control, I did wonder why they didn’t take a look at backup QB, Matt Fitzgerald, a rookie from Mississippi State.

*** I almost made it through the weekend - made it to the fourth game without Greg Olsen and then - wham! He spoke right through the opening kickoff.  He’s like the bright kid in class that everybody hates because he just won’t shut up.

*** DC got cute and came out with a spread look with the tackles split 10-15 yards from the guards.  They got sacked.

*** I counted Jenny Taft (no, she’s not a sideline “analyst”) saying “Take me through…” four times.

*** DC QB Cardale Jones took several steps back on his path to the NFL, throwing two interceptions - in the first quarter.  He wound  up throwing four overall, every one of them killing nice drives.

*** LA’s 27-3 halftime lead was the biggest by any team in the XFL this season.

*** Announcer Curt Menefee at halftime: “It’s easy to stay together, stay calm… but how do you do that, down 24?”

Expert analyst Greg Olsen: “You know, I think it’s hard…”

*** LA WR Trey McBride looked really good, started out with four catches for 95 yards.

*** LA had a big lead before Nelson Spruce, League’s top receiver coming into the game, even had a catch.

*** I really like the way the XFL lets the viewer in on the review process, instead of the way the NFL does it - making us sit there, as if we’re waiting out in the plaza to see if the College of Cardinals has named a new Pope.

*** I think that helmet-to-helmet calls should result in ejection of the offender at all levels of football.  Time to show we’re serious.

*** Los Angeles’ Martez Carter told the sideline reporter that he’d do a flip the next time he scored, and he did just that - scored and flipped.   A 5-7, 210-pound running back from Grambling, Carter earning the nickname “Mister Excitement,” partly because of his football skills, and partly because of his gymnastic ability. Against DC, he had 100+ yards rushing and receiving combined.

https://www.xfl.com/en-US/teams/los-angeles/wildcats-articles/martez-carter-running-back-profile

*** I like LA’s QB Josh Johnson. With the kind of game he had, throwing for 278 yards and three TDs - and no interceptions - and a passer rating of 148 - he now ranks among the top three QB’s in the XFL, behind P.J. Walker of Houston and Jordan Ta’Amu of St. Louis.  DC’s Cardale Jones’ rating took a huge hit after he threw four interceptions.

*** The XFL does have an onside kick.  The kicking team has to declare it, and then they’re allowed a five-yard run.  It appears that the receiving team has to stand along the restraining line.  DC tried one and was unsuccessful.

*** This was LA coach Winston Moss’ first win as a head coach.  LA is now just 1-2, but watch out: their next two games are against New York and Tampa Bay.

*** OFFICIAL EXTRA POINT PERCENTAGES:
1 POINT TRIES (FROM THE 2 YARD LINE):  8/27 - .296
2 POINT TRIES (FROM THE 5):  9/28 - .329
3 POINT TRIES (FROM THE 10): 2/6 -  .333

See why I say they’ve got to rethink this?

*********** Bill Shea writes in The Athletic after the XFL’s second week that the new league seems to have priced itself correctly—

Getting fans through the stadium turnstiles in the eight XFL cities is a particularly acute need because the fledgling league needs revenue generated from ticket, concessions and merchandise sales at games. That’s because it’s not getting the gargantuan TV contract money that the established major leagues enjoy.

So the XFL priced itself accordingly and the strategy appears to have worked thus far.

The league drew a reported 76,285 fans to its four games this past weekend — an average of more than 19,000 per game and a 9 percent uptick from the opening weekend’s 69,818. Seattle drove the second weekend with more than 29,000 fans at CenturyLink Field.

This is a no-brainer, but it’s cheaper to attend an XFL game than an NFL game. The reasons are obvious – one is a funky new second-tier product being played in the traditional football offseason, while the NFL has 100 years of brand equity with the public.

To take a family of four to an XFL game, the average cost is $284, per a report from sports business intelligence firm Team Marketing Report. By contrast, the average cost to take four people to an NFL game last season was $540, which means the XFL is $256 cheaper.

The eight-team XFL, which has a 10-game regular season, is an even better price deal than the NFL when you compare the markets they currently share (or did formerly in the case of St. Louis). On average, it’s $287 cheaper to take a family of four to an XFL game in those eight cities than it is in for an NFL games.

*********** The Denver Broncos’ first General Manager was a guy named Dean Griffing, who was so cheap, said the team’s broadcaster Bob Martin, that he “took off his glasses when he wasn’t looking at anything.”

*********** Colorado surprised almost everybody by hiring Karl Dorrell as its new head coach.  Me, I wasn’t surprised. I was astonished.

Astonished that a Power 5 conference school would hire a guy with such flimsy credentials.

I’ve followed the guy ever since he was hired to succeed Bob Toledo, who was dismissed despite a 49-32 record, including a school record 20-game win streak. Full disclosure: I know Bob Toledo and like him and thought he got shafted.

In the 12 years since being fired as UCLA’s coach in 2007, Dorrell has been an assistant at mostly loser programs in the NFL - Dolphins (twice), Jets and Texans - and in college - Vanderbilt.  The only place in the last 12 years where he was anything more than a position coach was Vanderbilt, where he was OC for one season - before being fired.

At UCLA, the only place where he’s ever been a head coach, he was 35-27 in five years.  But other than one 10-2 season, he went 7-6, 6-6 (Twice) and 6-7.

Yes, the Colorado people are saying, he took UCLA to FIVE STRAIGHT BOWLS!

Yeah, man - the Sun Bowl, the Las Vegas Bowl (twice) and the very prestigious Emerald and Silicon Valley Bowls.

Did I mention that he was 1-4 against USC?

I’m guessing nobody else wanted the job and - get this - Dorrell happened to be living in nearby Lafayette, Colorado.

Good luck,  Colorado.  But then, when Steve Sarkisian turns you down…


*********** You may sometimes hear people say “there’s nothing new in the game of football,” but that’s not true. Show me where they were running the veer/wishbone, reading the dive, before the 1960s.  Take me back to the days before the rules were changed to allow offensive linemen to be downfield so long as the pass was completed behind the line of scrimmage, and show me the way they ran jailbreak screens. Take me back to the 1970s and show me zone reads, power reads and RPO’s.  Yes, there’s new stuff in our game.

On the other hand, a lot of what’s being passed off as “innovative” does borrow heavily from stuff that was being done long ago.   Ever noticed how so many of today’s shotgun offenses - at least the ones that aspire to having a serious running game - are beginning to resemble the single wing?

Other than the way today’s formations employ two or three wide receivers, and other than the greater mobility of the old-time single-wing linemen, there are times when you could almost be looking at a UCLA or Tennessee or Princeton team from 60 years ago.

The basic distinctions between today’s faux single wing attacks and the real ones of days gone by are (1) the modern versions don’t snap the ball directly to more than one back, and (2) they don’t employ traditional single wing blocking. 

In the latter case, they can’t.  Their linemen are large and relatively  immobile - a condition dictated by the fact that for much of the time they have to block on pass plays - that they can’t effectively pull and get out in front of running plays, either trapping or leading through the holes.

The modern offensive coach’s innovative answer to the shortcomings of the linemen is to resort to what the  single wing guys called a “blocking back.” (They also called him the “quarterback,” because in those days before coaches could send in - or signal in - plays,  he, and not the guy who received the snap,  was the one who called plays and shouted out the signals. It’s still difficult for me, a guy who grew up playing in the single wing, to hear the guy that the ball’s snapped to - what was called the single wing “tailback” - referred to as the “quarterback.”)

In today’s football, that blocking back is a pretty athletic sort of guy. He’s a sort of tight end, big and mobile and able to catch passes and even run occasionally.  But he’s off the line of scrimmage, called an “H” back, or an “off the line” tight end. Sometimes he’s behind the linemen, hidden close enough to their butts that he’s  called a “sniffer.”  Call him what you want, though, he’s like a blocking back from the 1930’s who’s been sneaked into today’s offenses.

He’s the guy who does the pulling, the guy who sometimes slips into the pass pattern just as a blocking back would do, the guy who sometimes tricks those who attempt to key on him by pulling opposite the direction of the play.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a back - or two - do the job of the pulling linemen in a single-wing attack.  Somewhere - I can’t find it - is a quote by (I think) Red Sanders, great UCLA single-wing coach, saying basically that pulling linemen was a waste most of the time, because they never blocked anybody anyhow. (And those were the days when the big guys at least had a chance - when they could block low downfield.)

*********** Back in the 50s, Ram’s QB Norm Van Brocklin, who could be a prickly sort, noticed that a local sports reporter whom he didn’t care for was standing nearby, and called a sweep to be run in the guy’s direction.  It was a direct hit, knocking the reporter on his ass.

Today, there’d be lawsuits. Fines.  Suspensions, maybe.

Those were better days.  The next day, the guy showed up, wearing a 49ers’ jersey, number 39.  That was the number of Hugh McElhenny, the all-time great San Francisco running back. “The Rams have never hit anyone wearing this jersey yet,” he said, “and I don’t think you’ll start today.”


*********** Not so long ago, I got this email from a former player

Hey coach,

I had a quick question for you. I really want to get into coaching after college so I want to continue to further my football knowledge while being away at college. Do you have any recommendations on how to do so? I really have no clue what I should be doing in order to keep learning about the game while being away from it. If you have any advice coach I would love to hear it.

Thank you, coach.

My reply…

It’s great to hear from you, as always.

I’m pleased and flattered that you would ask me for advice.  “Coaching coaches” has been my business for the past 20+ years, but I’m seldom asked by a guy your age.

I’ll get right to my answer.

I think that there are two courses of action that you have to take: (1) you have to learn as much as you can about the game, and (2) you have to learn as much as you can about coaching it.

There are people who know a lot about the game, but not enough about how to coach it; and there are people who are able to coach, but don’t know enough about the game itself to be able to coach it.  Real football coaches are students of both areas, always trying to learn more about the game and about how best to teach it.

Obviously,  you have a lot to learn in both areas, but you do have the basic requirements:

1. An admission that you need to learn (you’d be surprised at how few people recognize that they do)

2. A desire to learn

Fortunately, it is possible to begin to learn the game and to learn to coach at the same time. 

If, for example, you were to stay around (———) , I could see you working as a volunteer coach for a year or two and then coming on board as a paid assistant.  During that time, you would gain experience in “how” to coach  while also learning “what” to coach in the sense that you would learn “how” and “why” we do things.

But there’s so much more to football than just what we teach, and it would still be of great benefit to you to learn  things other than what we’re doing.  There are numerous ways to do that -  books, web sites, clinics, and coaches like me, who are willing to share what they know with a young guy who’s interested.

But let’s be more realistic and talk about where you’re likely to be - away at college.

Assuming that you have the time to do so, you should contact some high school coaches in the area - in person is always best - and offer your services as a volunteer.  Tell them that all you ask from them is the opportunity to learn from them. 

(Bear in mind that they're not looking for ideas.  What they're looking for is somebody  who can teach what THEY want taught.)

And they want somebody who’s not going to add to their burden - they want someone who will be dependable and punctual, and smart enough to learn what they’re doing and then to teach it the way they want it taught.  (And, of course, to treat kids right and to model good conduct and good work habits.)  That sounds like you.

Where a job like this helps you is that it gives you a chance not only to gain experience, but also to observe other coaches, and to see what works and what doesn’t work. I suspect you’ve already been observant of that while playing. Don’t be afraid to “steal” something good from another coach.  Keep things that work.  Discard things that don’t.  Improve, improve, improve, but know yourself.  Even if something works for someone else,  if you can’t see yourself using it - don’t. 

If you find that you don’t have the time to commit to a a high school program, even as a part-timer, find a youth program and offer your services.  Plenty of good coaches got their start coaching little guys, and God knows there’s a need for good coaching there.  A problem there is that you may  find that you know as much as the head coach, and you may find you disapprove of some of the things that he does.  So you'll want to make sure that you check them out just as much as they check you out.

I do think that this  hands-on approach - coaching -  will not only get you started in the profession, but it will also accelerate your education in the game, by bringing up questions that you’ll want to find the answers to.

Which brings me to my final bit of advice:  ASK QUESTIONS.  I know you and I know that you’re not afraid to do so, and that’s important, because most young guys I run into are much more concerned with trying to impress me with how much they already know. I'll say something - anything - and they’ll be nodding, as if to say, “I already know that.”   That does not impress me, because I know how long I’ve been at the game, and I know how much time I’ve devoted to learning everything I can - and I still have plenty to learn.  So I’m not at all impressed by a guy who acts as if he knows everything I’m telling him.  He hasn’t  had the time on earth to know what I know, and yet there he is trying to impress me with how much he knows.  What he's telling me is that he's not interested in learning. He already knows it all so he’s not interested in learning anything more.

I’m a lot more impressed by guys who ask me questions, because that tells me they want to learn.

I have a book*  that will be a great starter for you.  Give me a week or two to get it to you.

And please - please - look for questions to ask me.

* The Book?   Bob Reade’s “Coaching Football Successfully.”  Absolutely the best coach’s guide there is.


***********  Take me out to the ballgame.

The average purchase price for Saturday’s game is $96.12, which isn’t all that surprising considering games between the Giants and Dodgers are always popular during the spring. The Giants are still selling tickets through their website for Saturday’s game, but don’t expect any deals.

The cheapest seats available ($43 before fees) are in the bleachers down the left and right field lines. Tickets on the outfield lawn at Scottsdale Stadium are currently selling for $45.

That was for an EXHIBITION baseball game.  In ARIZONA.  NINETY-SIX F—KING DOLLARS!

Take me out to the ballgame, my ass.



THE PRESTIGIOUS BLACK LION AWARD IS OPEN TO NOMINATIONS FOR THE PAST SEASON!
Black Lion Collage 2


You and one of your players could be in this picture.  See below how to submit your nomination, and your player might win the Black Lion Award  (one award per team).

It’s getting late, but it’s not too late…

Enroll your team now:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/blenrollnow.htm

Find out what to do next:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLfaq.htm


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

Didn't watch the entire democrat debate.  Got just enough laughs watching about the first 30 minutes of that clown show.  And now all of us will have to suffer through another 3-4 year fiasco perpetrated by the democrats when they lose another general election.  It will either be the Russians (again), the Chinese (again), terrorist groups (again), or alleged corruption (again).  I think the reasons run on a continuous loop.

I've really enjoyed going through your Open Wing series DVD set.  Would have truly enjoyed installing it somewhere, but alas, here in Texas there just doesn't seem to be much interest in OG's that have experience with that style of offense.  Only way an OG is getting a job down here is if he's a spread guy.  Also, thank you for sending out the terminology page as well.  That in itself is worth its weight in gold for a DW football coach.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  His coach, Hank Stram, once said of Abner Haynes, “he was a franchise player before they talked about franchise players.”

A running back, Haynes played eight seasons in the AFL, with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, but most of his production took place in his first five seasons - three in Dallas and two in Kansas City.

He played his high school ball in Dallas, and his college football at North Texas State, where in 1956 he and a teammate named Leon King integrated Texas college football.  He and King became, in fact, the first two black players on a major college football team in any of the states of the former Confederacy.

After an outstanding career at North Texas, he was drafted Number One by the Dallas Texans and Number Two by the Pittsburgh Steelers,  and chose the Texans.  One reason given is that Steelers’ coach Buddy Parker and quarterback Bobby Layne showed up drunk at his house, deeply offending his father, a well-known minister. It’s a good story, and it’s believable, but I was unable to confirm it in the extensive biographies of either Art or Dan Rooney, so I’m more inclined to go with what he said years later: “Everybody would ask me why I didn’t go NFL.  They said I’d have a lot more prestige. I’d just tell them I wanted to play right away, and that I couldn’t put prestige on my dinner table and eat it.”

He played right away, all right.  In his first season - also the AFL’s first season - He was its first Rookie of the Year, its first rushing leader, and its first MVP.
In his career, he did everything:
rushed 1,036 times for 4,630 yards and 46 TDs
caught 287 passes for 3,535 yards and 20 TDs
returned 85 punts for 875 yards and 1 TD
returned 121 kickoffs for 3,025 yards and 1 TD

He holds AFL rushing records that will forever remain unbroken:  5 touchdowns in a single game, 19 touchdowns in a season, 46 rushing touchdowns in a career, and 12,065 all-purpose career yards.

He almost committed a big-time sports bonehead play when the 1962 AFL championship game between the Texans and Oilers went into overtime. The Texans won the toss, and as one of their captains, he made an unusual call.  With a strong wind blowing, he had instructions to take the wind at the Texans’ back, but  an on-the-field reporter  (quite an innovation at the time)  caught him mistakenly saying, “we’ll kick… to the clock.”  His mistake meant that Houston wound up not only with the ball, but with the wind at their backs. Fortunately for him, the Texans held, and went on to kick the game-winning field goal, and all was forgiven.

His number has been retired by both the Kansas City Chiefs and the North Texas Eagles.

Former Chiefs’ teammate Chris Burford remembered him in 2013:   “Abner was the face and the “name of the game” in the AFL in the early 60s… an exciting game-breaking runner with a will to win, play hard, tough, and a great teammate. He epitomized what a pro football running back could be and his value to the team was inestimable. The very first GREAT player in the AFL.”

In my opinion, Abner Haynes belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He’s 82 years old, and it would be nice to see him receive the honor while he’s still with us.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING  ABNER HAYNES

TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE DANIELS - STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
JOHN BOWEN - CONYERS, GEORGIA


*********** QUIZ: In the mid-60’s, northern college football had been integrated for some time, but for southern black football players, except for those talented few who were recruited to play at northern schools (Michigan State among the  most prominent), there was no option other than to play at a black college - which accounted for the great number of NFL players coming out of schools such as Grambling, Florida A & M, Jackson State, Tennessee State. The list of schools is long.

But this player totally reversed the pattern.  He was a northerner, a black player from New Jersey who could have gone to a number of northern schools,  but instead attended an all-black southern college.

He wound up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he attributes a lot of his success to having attended that small black college. He grew up in Trenton, New Jersey, the oldest of nine children, and by his own admission, he grew up tough. “The toughness came from my father,” he told Jackson Michael, in “The Game Before the Money.” “He didn’t let up on you; you worked.  Football and track, he called that foolishness.”

But in college, he said, “I learned more about toughness. Our motto used to be, ‘If you go to a black college, you can make it anywhere in the world.’”

At Trenton Central High School, he didn’t play football until the 10th grade. “I didn’t know what football was, had no idea. I went out and made the JV that morning, and by that afternoon they put me on the varsity squad. I had no idea what I was doing. I made it because of my size. I was like 235, 240.”

He was good in  football and really good in track - New Jersey state champion in the shot put (with a throw of 64-4) and the discus - and he had numerous scholarship offers. “I really wanted to go to Villanova for the shot  put,” he said, “but my grades weren’t where they should have been.”

Enter Mom.

“My mother made the decision to go to North Carolina A & T.  She went to school with Mel Grooms, one of their coaches, who was also from Trenton.  I came home after work on a Saturday, and next thing I know, I’m in the station wagon with Coach Grooms and his family, off to North Carolina.  It was all my mother’s doing.  As they say, ‘Always do what your mother tells you.’”

Asked, “What if you’d said ’No’ to your mom?” he replied, “There was no such thing back then.”

For a black youngster from an integrated high school in the North, the South of that time was a different world: “Our high school’s offensive line included two blacks, an Italian and a Polish guy. As far as segregation is concerned we knew nothing about it. Then  I went to college at A&T, where four students sat in at Woolworth’s in 1960 to protest segregation and Jesse Jackson became student body president. I was just thinking about going to school and knew nothing about ‘You can’t go there.’”

Things were not easy playing at a black school in the segregated South.  Travel was tough, with few places to stay or eat, and playing conditions were less than ideal.  Practice facilities were “worse than we had at our high school.”  But in looking back, he suggests that those conditions helped make him into the player he would become. “We didn’t think about it,” he said. “That’s what you were dealt with.  That’s where mental toughness comes in.”

He had four successful years at A & T, and was drafted in the third round by the Houston Oilers - as an offensive lineman.

(“I had no idea who the Houston Oilers were,” he said.  He was waiting to hear from Dallas, who were said to be going to make him their number one choice.)

He didn’t hear from Dallas - they never drafted him -  so he signed with Houston. “I signed for a $15,000 salary and a $15,000 bonus, so $30,000. I gave half of that to my parents.”

During his rookie camp, he played guard, offensive tackle, defensive end and linebacker.

“I never left the field,” he recalled. “The Oilers had me play  half the practice on offense, then they’d put a red shirt on me and I’d play defense. For $15,000 they got a hell of a deal - they got two players.”

He finally settled in at defensive end, and from the first game of his rookie season - 1968 -  he didn’t come out of the lineup until late in the 1977 season, 135 games later, when he broke his arm trying to tackle the Raiders’ Mark van Eeghan (“I clotheslined him but he ducked his head…”)

In 16 seasons - all with the Oilers - he played in 210 games.

He played in eight Pro Bowls, and was five times named All-Pro.

Although sacks weren’t an official NFL statistic until 1982, he is credited with 105 career sacks, still the highest in the history of the Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise.

The Oilers didn’t begin to count tackles until 1974, but even so, despite missing the stats from his first six seasons, his 691 career tackles are also a franchise record.

In 2003 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and his presenter was Hornsby Howell -  his  college coach at North Carolina A & T.




Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 21,   2020  "Efficiency involves attentiveness to those things that must be dealt with before they become such overwhelming problems that they cause far more damage than necessary."  M. Scott Peck

*********** THIS WEEKEND’S XFL GAMES (WEEK 3)

SATURDAY - 2 PM EASTERN
HOUSTON AT TAMPA BAY
HOUSTON BY 6
OVER/UNDER 46.5
MY FEARLESS PICK: HOUSTON
I’m shocked that Houston is only favored by 6

SATURDAY - 5 PM EASTERN
DALLAS AT SEATTLE
DALLAS BY 4.5
OVER/UNDER 44.5
MY FEARLESS PICK: DALLAS
If I were to pick an upset, this would be it.
Seattle is better than people thought they’d be, and Dallas has yet to play up to expectations

SUNDAY - 3 PM EASTERN
NEW YORK AT ST. LOUIS
ST. LOUIS BY 7.5
OVER/UNDER 42
MY FEARLESS PICK: ST. LOUIS
New York looked like a team coming apart last Saturday; St. Louis is one of the XFL’ s top teams

SUNDAY - 6 PM EASTERN
DC AT LA
DC BY 7
OVER/UNDER 45.5
MY FEARLESS PICK: DC
DC is undefeated and LA is winless, but LA showed a lot of improvement from week 1 to week 2

You may have noticed that in every game I’ve taken the favorite and given the points.  Seattle and DC may be iffy, but I’m shocked that Houston is only favored by 6.

*********** The Seahawks signed Greg Olsen. Maybe between moving to the Northwest and OTA’s he won’t have time to keep “analyzing” on XFL games.  One can only hope.

*********** The Democrats’ “debate” Wednesday night was the best (non-sports) TV I’ve seen in a long time, especially when watching Michael Bloomberg (please - call me Mike.  I’m just a regular guy) squirm as the others took shots at him.  He seemed to be caught unaware, as if he had been expecting them to scatter rose petals at his feet.

Earlier in the week, a video from 2016 surfaced, in which he showed just how out of touch he was by telling an English audience that anybody could be a farmer, - why, there was nothing to farming:  “I could teach anybody—even people in this room, so no offense intended—to be a farmer. It's a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn."

Please.  Not even a guy who's spent his life in the liberal vacuum that is New York City could be that stupidly condescending, but there he was…

The greatest retort to a fool comment like that came from Paul Harvey, once one of the most popular voices in radio, especially middle America.

In 1978 Harvey, who died in 2009, gave his famous “So God Made a Farmer” speech…

Paul Harvey - So God Made a Farmer…

And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board." So God made a farmer.
 
"I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon -- and mean it." So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, 'Maybe next year.' I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain'n from 'tractor back,' put in another seventy-two hours." So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place. So God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church.

"Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life 'doing what dad does.'" So God made a farmer.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/02/paul-harveys-1978-so-god-made-a-farmer-speech/272816/

The Speech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=107&v=QuzhwkaNC40&feature=emb_logo


As recently as the 2013 Super Bowl, Paul Harvey’s famous speech was used in a Dodge Ram commercial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=AMpZ0TGjbWE&feature=emb_logo


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

What has been your experience with the blocking rules as laid out with 8 year olds? Would you simplify it at all? If so how would you go about teaching it to them and staying true to the system?

Thanks,

Coach,

I support anything that helps your kids understand what it is that you need them to do.

For example:  When I call a play, I don’t call it by name (such us “66 Super Power”); instead, I call out its location on their play cards -let’s say it was “20-4”

That’s all they ever hear me say, and I’ll bet that if I asked them the name of the play, half of them wouldn’t know it was “66 Super Power.”  They just know it as “20-4.”

As you go along,  as you find a better, more understandable way to communicate to your kids what their assignment is, I encourage you to use it.

But at first, I suggest you spend a lot of time teaching them from the book - the basic concepts of the rules and the thinking behind them.

Used in conjunction with the “cues” on the wrist cards, you will begin to see the value of those blocking rules - the value is that kids don’t really learn “plays” - they learn the blocking rules to use, and once they’ve learned them, they’re able to block for that play regardless of the defense.

In teaching a play, good coaching is good teaching, and this is the progression:

Talk it… Walk it…  Run it…  Rep it

Talk it. Teach just one play, and the rules that accompany it.  Out on the field, explain and show what the rules mean and how they apply to each position.

Your kids have been going to school for a couple of years, but that doesn’t mean they know how to learn yet, so you’re going to have to be very patient.  And very persistent.

Ask a lot of questions - if they think they’re going to be questioned, they’ll pay closer attention.

Get them to explain to you what they think you just told them.  You might be surprised.  Adjust your terminology as needed. 

Get them to explain to each other.

Walk it. Walk through the play.  Keep asking questions.  Create an atmosphere in which kids aren’t afraid to let you know that they don’t know.  (Kids won’t let on that they don’t know - they won’t ask you questions - until they start to feel very secure and confident about asking.)
 
At this stage, what you’re really trying to do is find out who DOESN’T understand. If you have just one guy who doesn’t your play will fail.

Make any necessary corrections.

Run it. Then, when you and the kids are confident at walking through it, begin to run it (against air or against hand-held dummies). Maybe half speed at first until you and the kids are confident at that level.

And - very important - before you do run the play, ask some questions.  Ask a kid if he can tell you want he’s going to do.

Then, run the play.  Continue to ask questions and make corrections.

Rep it. Run the play, over and over.  Become good at spotting anomalies - things that don’t belong, things that shouldn’t happen. Continue to question and correct.

Treat mistakes as opportunities to teach and correct, to find out if there’s something you could teach better.

This will take a while.  There are no short cuts, not if you’re going to teach it right.  It will get boring.  The pursuit of excellence in any endeavor can get boring.  Resist the temptation to move on to something more exciting.

That’s the mark of a good coach.  A bad coach can’t stay with it - he wants to start running dozens of plays right away. Yes, that may make practice a little more fun, but it’s not teaching, and their kids will never get better.

Keep with it. It will pay off.


*********** Many are the occasions when I was teaching that I’d find that kids who’d done poorly on a test actually knew the material - they just had problems with memorization. All they needed was one little cue - one little hint - and they could rattle off things that surprised us both.

Hell, I guess after 60-some years the statute of limitations has run out, so I can confess to something.  This is from Page 21 of my “DYNAMICS OF THE DOUBLE WING 3.0” -

Back in high school, we’d prepare little slips of paper on which we’d write the really tough Latin words and phrases that we might not remember, and we’d sneak them into class. Our teacher was no rookie – he suspected we had them. He hated them. He called them “ponies.” But a little pony – okay, okay, a cheat sheet – sure was helpful when it came our turn to translate and read aloud what Caesar or Cicero had written 2,000 years ago.

Yes, it was cheating.   And yes, cheating’s wrong.  Looking back, I’m not proud of doing it.

But there’s a reason why school kids still go to considerable lengths to prepare ponies. 

There’s a reason why Presidents use Teleprompters. Why standup comedians have cue cards. They work.

So why wouldn’t ponies work for football players?  Well, as a matter of fact, they do!

Since 2013 my players have had them. I’ve been putting their assignments on wrist cards - every offensive  position with its own unique card,  its assignments for every play on that card.

We still have blown plays, of course, but now, if we do, it’s seldom because the player didn’t know what he was supposed to do.

Why beat your head against a wall trying to get kids to memorize what they do on a play?

Put their assignments on wrist cards, using a form of shorthand as a cue, and then you only have to teach them what the cue words mean.

It’s a great relief to kids, like going into a test with the likely answers written on their sleeves.  And it’s good for the coach because now you’re teaching them what a few cue words mean.


*********** The World Turned Upside-Down…

Not so long ago, back when scientists agreed that the world would run out of oil within our lifetimes, the news that we now had a cheap, reliable and abundant source of electricity would have called for banner headlines.

A Miracle, right?

Wrong.  This is 2021, and cheap, abundant energy is only welcome if it’s wind or solar.

So to the AP, and local papers like ours, the fact that clean-burning natural gas is so abundant and inexpensive is bad.  VERY bad.

Hence the headline: “CHEAP NATURAL GAS IMPERILS CLIMATE FIGHT FOR WIND, SOLAR”

See, gas is so cheap that it’s getting in the way of environmentalists’ dreams of a transferring all electric production to wind and solar and unicorn flatulence.

Next thing you know, power will be so cheap that it’ll attract industries. And that means jobs. And that means prosperity.  Unfortunately, it also means - gasp! - carbon emissions.


*********** LSU and Utah announced a home-and-home series, at  Utah in 2031, at LSU in 2032.

Given LSU fans’ reputation as travelers and also as prodigious consumers of beer, Salt Lake City may need the 11 years to stock up.

A January 10 article in the Wall Street Journal by Ben Cohen and Andrew Beaton crowned LSU fans as the champion beer drinkers of college football. Some excerpts”


There is now data to support their claims of drinking superiority after the first season that the Southeastern Conference allowed member schools to sell alcohol in their football stadiums. It was a policy shift worth millions of dollars to LSU: Selling booze in Tiger Stadium is a bit like selling water in a desert.

Nobody was surprised when LSU fans managed to consume nearly 55,000 beers in one October game. They were proud of this achievement—at least until the very next game. That’s when LSU fans smashed their own record. By the time the game was over, Tiger Stadium had sold 60,687 beers, according to a university spokesman.

***
But when the LSU faithful invade other college towns, they have a nasty habit of leaving wreckage behind. They beat your football team. And then they drink your beer.

The first statistical evidence for LSU’s drinking aptitude came in 2011, when the Tigers played at West Virginia, one of the first schools in the country that sold beer. The stadium sold $255,396 worth of booze that day—or 82% higher than the average of the other games in 2011.

It was an astonishing number at the time. It’s only proven to be more exceptional since then.
 
West Virginia has never seen anything like LSU, according to The Wall Street Journal’s analysis of the university’s beer records, built on data obtained through state open-record laws. In the sample of 58 games reviewed by the Journal, the LSU game was by far the biggest outlier within any season.

***

But it was just another weekend for LSU—as Atlanta learned over the last month. Lee Kicker, an LSU alumnus in the city for a security conference the week of the SEC championship, felt it was his duty to share intelligence with the bartenders at the Marriott Marquis, a hotel that was about to be swarmed by LSU fans. Kicker informed them of an imminent attack on their beer.

“I was trying to give them a warning,” he said. “However much you think you need, double it. And maybe you’ll have enough.”

He turned out to be prescient. The Marriott Marquis scrambled to replenish the hotel’s beer supply as rumors of a drought spread on social media. And the hotel was ready when LSU fans came back a month later for the College Football Playoff semifinal. The Tigers won—and the Marriott Marquis doubled its alcohol sales from last year’s Peach Bowl. “They were obviously quite happy before, during and after the game,” said Paul Buff, the hotel’s director of marketing.

***
Michael Sterchak, an officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was not projecting booze-related problems when he and his future wife decided to get married in a place that happens to know something about beer: Wisconsin.

They spent months planning every detail for their 2016 wedding at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, but there was one thing they didn’t account for. LSU was playing Wisconsin that same night in nearby Green Bay.

Sterchak began to suspect there would be a problem when one of his groomsmen called him early on the morning of wedding day and told him to get downstairs to see the LSU fans crowding the lobby and emptying the bar. Soon a hotel staffer came to Sterchak with bad news: “We ran out of beer.” It was before noon.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/lsu-beer-drinking-national-championship-11578605716


*********** For some time now, I’ve collected  football books.  It took a fair amount of effort to acquire them.  Back when I travelled quite a bit, I’d check out local book stores all over the country and occasionally I’d come up with some good finds. I’ve also been blessed by living not too far from Powell’s City of Books in Portland, one of the country’s truly great bookstores.

It’s a lot easier now - just get on Amazon and do a search. And bring money.

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a significant appreciation in prices, probably because the ease of going on line and obtaining the books has expended the number of collectors. (The popularity of football undoubtedly has something to do with it as well.)

Take, for example, two books by Dave Nelson.

Scoring Power with the Winged T

HIs original book, co-authored with Forest Evashevski (he generously shared authorship with Evy), who actually had little to do with it)
Amazon lists used copies starting at $74.99

The Anatomy of a Game
Nelson’s book, published after his death, tracing the history of our game through the history of its rules
Amazon lists used copies starting at $96.77

And then there’s this one, which comes under
the "holy sh--! "category, since I own a few copies, and I've actually given a couple away.  dave nelson book

Alas, this must have been some kind of joke, because I did some double-checking and found several copies available for less than $952.95. Far less.  (If any of my kids are reading - there went your inheritance!)

*********** Former Cleveland Browns’ OT Greg Robinson was caught with 157 pounds of marijuana Monday at a Border Patrol checkpoint near El Paso.

Evidently the weed was in “several large duffle bags” in his Uber vehicle ( (what - you think he’d have used his own car?  Why, that’s illegal!) Given that a 2-string bale of hay weighs maybe 50 pounds, how much room do you suppose 157 pounds of pot would take up?

The best thing is, when he was caught, he asked the Uber driver to take the rap, but the guy declined, saying he wouldn’t have taken the gig if he’d known he was transporting drugs.

Robinson faces up to 20 years in prison.

In 2014, as a second-round draft pick, he was paid a signing bonus of $13 million.

*********** Arthur Smith, offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans, is the son of Fred Smith, founder of FedEx (and a co-owner of the Washington Redskins; and a major sponsor of the Joe Gibbs Racing Team).

Fred Smith’s story is legendary. In an economics class at Yale, the story goes, he wrote a paper describing a way that packages could be delivered overnight, anywhere in the country.  What makes it a good story is that supposedly he got a “C” on the paper - it wasn’t feasible, the professor told him. He never actually confirmed the story, but he did say in an interview, long after his paper was used as the blueprint for what became FedEx, “I don’t know what grade… probably made my usual C.”

In fairness to Fred Smith, that was back in the 1960s, and in those days before grade inflation, you actually had to work at Yale for a C.  Trust me on that one.  I was plenty happy with C’s.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Smith_(American_football_coach)

*********** Thinking about adding a few transfers to your roster?

Caveat emptor. (A Latin phrase meaning “let the buyer beware.”)

Three UConn “student-athletes” in that school’s Transfer Portal have been charged with stealing some $5,000 worth of stuff from a dorm.

Tsk, tsk.  Those poor kids. If only they’d been allowed to sell their name/image/likeness they wouldn’t have been forced to resort to theft.

Just a thought, UConn - if you were to drop down to D-III football, you’d win twice: First, you might win a few games. And second, you wouldn’t have to bring people like this onto your campus.

 https://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2020/02/19/uconn-football-ryan-carroll-charged-dorm-room-robbery/

*********** On February 7, the Army football team announced that its Black Lion Award winner for the 2019 season was Jack Sides, a senior center from Highland Park High in Dallas.

How many other awards can you think of that can honor a center, probably the most unsung yet critical position on an offense?

Jack Sides was honored this past season during the national telecast of the Army-Michigan game when he was featured in "A day in the life of Army  Offensive Lineman Jack Sides"

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFLoYdz_V-w

Here’s an interview with Cadet Sides during last spring’s practice:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3GMirQ-bOE

ARMY IS A BLACK LION AWARD TEAM, AND YOUR TEAM CAN BE ONE, TOO!
Black Lion Collage



You and one of your players could be in this picture.  See below how to submit your nomination, and your player might win the Black Lion Award for your team (one award per team).

It’s getting late, but it’s not too late…

Enroll your team now:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/blenrollnow.htm

Find out what to do next:

http://www.coachwyatt.com/BLfaq.htm


*********** Hi Coach!

Tuesday's answer is Bo Roberson!  This past Saturday, I won the gold medal for my age group in powerlifting (Badger State Winter Games).  My best friend won a silver medal in the super heavyweight class.  We were the two oldest lifters there.  There is still hope for geezers!

Mike Framke
Green Bay, Wisconsin

 *********** Hugh,

I enjoy watching Houston's XFL team play.  Exciting offense and solid defense.  Hmmm.

Nick Starkel is a prime example of the entitlement generation of football players.  Nick, just quit yer bitchin', suck it up buttercup, and show us what you got.

Yet Nick Starkel and those entitlement generation kids are by-products of the lack of discipline, and the trickle down greed of professional sports that has infected big-time college football and basketball.

Regarding playoffs.  Pro sports are on the same road that many state high school athletic associations are on.  All teams make the playoffs regardless of records.  It appears the "everyone gets a trophy" mentality has finally caught up.

Bet the participation numbers for 10-14 year olds in leisure activities is way up!    

Enjoy your week.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Bo Roberson is the only person to have an Ivy League degree, a Ph.D., an Olympic medal and a pro football career.

And on top of that, as a star Philadelphia high school basketball player, he was picked on the same All-City team as future Hall-of-Famers Guy Rodgers and Wilt Chamberlain.

He was a native of Philadelphia and was a three-sport (football, basketball, track) athlete at John Bartram High (same Bartram High as Bernie Custis and Joe Bryant).

In the fall of his senior year, he was the outstanding football player in the city; in the winter, he scored 26 points to get his team to the city semi-finals, then scored 22 points in a losing effort against Rodgers’ Northeast High team. (Northeast would go on to lose in the city finals to Chamberlain and Overbrook High.) In the spring, he won the city championship in the long jump (22-9-3/4) and the 100 yards (9.7).  His being a three-sport standout earned him the nod over Chamberlain as city’s outstanding high school athlete.

After a year of prep school, he chose to attend Cornell.

As a sophomore (freshmen were not then eligible to play varsity sports), he led the football team in rushing, and in basketball, he averaged 14.9 points and an astounding 17-6 rebounds per game (he was only 6-1). In one game against Penn at the Palestra, he scored 27 points in the first half alone, and finished with 31.  In track, he won the Heptagonal (Eastern) 220 low hurdles in 23.6.

By his senior year, he had five games of 100 yards or more rushing - becoming the first Cornell running back to accomplish the feat - and after foregoing basketball for indoor track, he won Heptagonal titles in the 60-yard dash and the long jump (24-5-1/4).  In the spring, he won the Heps’ outdoor long jump with a leap of 24-7-3/4, and the 100-yard dash in 9.6,

He was chosen Senior Athlete of the Year, and earned his bachelor's degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. A member of Army ROTC, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army, and sent to work as a coach of track and field at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

There, while coaching Army athletes, he developed  into a world-class long jumper, winning the 1959 Pan-American games’ long jump with a leap of  26-2, best in the world by far.

And in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Bo Roberson won the silver medal, finishing one centimeter (about 1/3 of an inch) back of Ralph Boston’s Olympic record-setting gold medal jump of 8.12 (26-6).

Following the Olympics,  a Chargers’ scout named Al LoCasale brought him to the attention of an assistant coach named Al Davis.

LoCasale  (who would go on to a career as Al Davis’ right-hand man) was a Philly guy, and remembered him.

“Bo went to Bartram High and I went to Olney in the same league," recalled LoCasale, who was at Penn while Roberson  was at arch-rival Cornell. "What I remembered about him was his tremendous speed and his tremendous ability, and that he was put together like a football player, not a skinny track kid. When I remember back, I remember his speed, his acceleration, his takeoff."

Traded after a year with the Chargers, he went on to a seven-year career in the AFL.

He led the AFL in all-purpose yards in 1964, and in 1965 he was selected  to  play in the AFL All-Star game.
In his time with the Raiders - 1962 to 1965 - he had 5,467 all-purpose yards. Only five players in all of pro football had more during that time span - the Eagles’ Timmy Brown, the Browns’ Jim Brown, the Redskins’ Bobby Mitchell in the NFL, and the Raiders’ Clem Daniels and the much-travelled Abner Haynes, in the AFL.

“(He) was the Raiders' first world-class athlete," the great Jim Otto once told author Dick Schaap. "He helped create the feeling that we were on our way to greatness. He pioneered the Raider tradition of great speed."

After being traded to Buffalo, he caught three passes for 88 yards in the Bills’ 23-0 win over the Chargers in the AFL championship game.

After seasons in Buffalo and Miami, he retired and left football for good.

An educated man, he attended Stanford Law School, then earned a master's degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington.  He was 58 when he earned his doctorate.

Bo Roberson  was the first track coach at Cal-Irvine, and coached high school track which working as a psychologist for the Los Angeles schools.

He died in 2001.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BO ROBERSON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE DANIELS - STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

***********  Speaking of the '60 Olympics, Have you read Maraniss' "Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World"...I loved it!!!

I wrote, I have to confess that as much as I like and admire David, I haven’t read it yet.  He is so thorough that in researching “When Pride Still Mattered” he spent an entire winter in Green Bay.


As much of Cheesehead as I am, his “Rome Olympics” book is my fav...must read for Boomers!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** QUIZ - His coach, Hank Stram, once said of him, “he was a franchise player before they talked about franchise players.”

A running back, he played eight seasons in the AFL, with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, but most of his production took place in his first five seasons - three in Dallas and two in Kansas City.

He played his high school ball in Dallas, and his college football at North Texas State, where in 1956 he and a teammate named Leon King integrated Texas college football.  He and King became, in fact, the first two black players on any major college football team in any of the states of the former Confederacy.

After an outstanding career at North Texas, he was drafted Number One by the Dallas Texans and Number Two by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He chose the Texans, and one reason given is that Steelers’ coach Buddy Parker and quarterback Bobby Layne showed up drunk at his house, deeply offending his father, a well-known minister. It’s a good story, and it’s believable, but I was unable to confirm it in the extensive biographies of either Art or Dan Rooney, so I’m more inclined to go with what he said years later: “Everybody would ask me why I didn’t go NFL.  They said I’d have a lot more prestige. I’d just tell them I wanted to play right away, and that I couldn’t put prestige on my dinner table and eat it.”

He played right away, all right.  In his first season - also the AFL’s first season - He was its first Rookie of the Year, its first rushing leader, and its first MVP.

In his career, he did everything:

rushed 1,036 times for 4,630 yards and 46 TDs
caught 287 passes for 3,535 yards and 20 TDs
returned 85 punts for 875 yards and 1 TD
returned 121 kickoffs for 3,025 yards and 1 TD

He holds AFL rushing records that will forever remain unbroken:  5 touchdowns in a single game, 19 touchdowns in a season, 46 rushing touchdowns in a career, and 12,065 all-purpose career yards.

He almost committed a big-time sports bonehead play when the 1962 AFL championship game between the Texans and Oilers went into overtime. The Texans won the toss, and as one of their captains, he made an unusual call.  With a strong wind blowing, he had instructions to take the wind at the Texans’ back, but  an on-the-field reporter  (quite an innovation at the time)  caught him mistakenly saying, “we’ll kick… to the clock.”  His mistake meant that Houston wound up not only with the ball, but with the wind at their backs. Fortunately for him, the Texans held, and went on to kick the game-winning field goal, and all was forgiven.

Former Chiefs’ teammate Chris Burford remembered him in 2013:   “(- - - - -) was the face and the “name of the game” in the AFL in the early 60s… an exciting game-breaking runner with a will to win, play hard, tough, and a great teammate. He epitomized what a pro football running back could be and his value to the team was inestimable. The very first GREAT player in the AFL.”

His number has been retired by both the Kansas City Chiefs and the North Texas Eagles.

In my opinion, he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He’s 82 years old, and it would be nice to see him receive the honor while he’s still with us.

Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 18,  2020  If you have no wounds, how can you know you're alive?” Playwright Edward Albee

***********They finally finished the Daytona 500 (did you catch the Grand Marshal doing his lap in the presidential limousine?) and it was a big win for Joe Gibbs racing. Yes, that Joe Gibbs.  The one that won Super Bowls coaching the WASHINGTON REDSKINS! And then, as we watched, the announcer informed us, “Coach Gibbs leads his team in prayer…”

*********** My wife and I noted the way 200,000 NASCAR fans went nuts over the President’s appearance - and his limousine’s ceremonial lap around the track - and I asked, rhetorically, “What sporting event wouldn’t want him there?”

(I can be dumb as hell sometimes.)

My wife started to rattle them off:  “WNBA… Women’s World Cup… NBA…”


*********** WEEK TWO OF THE XFL

SATURDAY
NY GUARDIANS AT DC DEFENDERS
MY PICK?  PICK ‘EM
BOTH TEAMS LOOK FAIRLY SOLID AT QB - NY WITH MATT MCGLOIN, DC WITH CARDALE JONES
+++++
RESULT: DC WON IN A WALK. BOY, WAS I WRONG ABOUT NY!  A STINKER OF A GAME. NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR THE LEAGUE. DC QB CARDALE JONES COULD HAVE A FUTURE.  MATT MCGLOIN COULD BE NY'S EX-QB

*** Get your act together time: Our newspaper said game time was noon (Pacific) and so did our DISH guide.  When we tuned in at 11:45, there was 12:26 left in the second quarter

*** Crowd looked decent and it was enthusiastic.  Not as good as last week

*** You’d think a guy who’s played major college football and actually started a few games in the NFL would know better, but there was New York QB Matt McGloin, 5 of 14 for 32 yards at the time, telling sideline interviewer Diana Rossini, “We need to change the whole entire game plan at halftime.”

*** Understatement of the day: New York OC G.A. Mangus told Rossini, “We’re struggling a little  bit with protection.”

*** In all my years of watching football, this was a first for me - offensive pass interference penalties on two consecutive plays.

*** DC was on the NY one-yard line and got hit with two straight procedure penalties.  The second one came when they tried a hard count - and caught one of their own offensive linemen.  (Ever figured out why it doesn’t pay to try to pull the other team off when you’ve got goal to go?)

*** NY pulled McGloin with 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and the replacement, Marquise Williams, from North Carolina, looked  a lot better.

*** McGloin, on the sideline, was picked up by a dish mic telling a teammate, “Worst game I’ve ever been a part of.”  At a game-end interview, he said, “There’s a lot going on behind closed doors.”   Remarked play-by-play guy Steve Levy, “I predict a Guardian team meeting in the immediate future.”

*** A DC kid named Eli Rogers played despite the fact that his mother’s funeral was being held at the same time.

*** NY coach Kevin Gilbride to his team: “It’s on me… don’t say anything about anyone else… speak (only) about yourself”

TAMPA BAY VIPERS AT SEATTLE DRAGONS
MY PICK? SEATTLE, BUT ONLY IF QB BRANDON SILVERS CAN PLAY
TAMPA BAY HAD SOME QB ISSUES LAST WEEK
HOPE THE CROWD DOESN’T LOOK TOO TINY IN CENTURY LINK FIELD
+++++
RESULT: SEATTLE WON.
AFTER A SLOW START, A PRETTY GOOD GAME . TAMPA BAY STILL HAS QB ISSUES - THEY HAVE YET TO SCORE AN OFFENSIVE TOUCHDOWN. 

*** Not exactly the Olympics, but they started things off by having Seattle favorite Steve Largent taking a torch and lighting some kind of “cauldron.”

*** Some pretty good receivers in this game. The Dragons’ Austin Proehl, of North Carolina and Keenan Reynolds (former Navy QB)… The Vipers’ Nick Truesdell, who started at Cincinnati and had some problems there.

*** The first quarter was deadly - the two teams, between them, had 60 yards of offense.

*** One play after some dumbass Tampa Bay lineman head-butted a guy and got them backed up, a Seattle defensive lineman jumped up to bat down a pass and wound up intercepting it on (or near) the goal line for what may very well have been a one-yard pick-six.

*** Seattle has a couple of decent running backs in Kenneth Farrow, from Houston and Trey Williams from Texas A & M

*** To guys that aren’t being paid a lot,   the idea of the $2000 victory bonus seems to be providing plenty of motivation.

*** Down 9-0, Seattle scored 17 straight points to take a 17-9 lead, but the game was still in doubt when Tampa Bay took over with :55 to play.  Under the XFL rules, in the last two minutes of play the clock stops on every play - run or pass, complete or incomplete, in bounds or out of bounds.  Then rules are the same as the NFL for incomplete passes and plays out of bounds, but after a running play or a complete pass in bounds, once the ball is spotted the offense still has five seconds before the clock starts.

As a result, Tampa Bay ran NINE plays in those 55 seconds.

Not sure I like it.

*** An enthusiastic crowd of 29,000+ (filling up the lower bowl of the Seahawks’ stadium) will be back for more


SUNDAY
DALLAS RENEGADES AT LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
MY PICK? DALLAS IN A WALK, EVEN IF LANDRY JONES DOESN’T START
DALLAS DIDN’T LOOK GOOD LAST WEEK, BUT LOS ANGELES LOOKED AS IF THEY MIGHT NEED A TALENT TRANSFUSION FROM THE LEAGUE
+++++
RESULT: DALLAS WON.  LANDRY JONES DID START, AND DALLAS DID WIN, BUT JUST BARELY. JONES LOOKED RUSTY, AS COULD BE EXPECTED, SINCE WE WERE TOLD HE HAD HAD JUST THREE DAYS OF PRACTICE.  WHAT SAVED THE DALLAS AIR RAID WAS A RUNNING GAME. KUDOS TO LA COACH WINSTON MOSS FOR A MUCH BETTER SHOWING THAN LAST WEEK, AND TO LA QB JOSH JOHNSON AND WR NELSON SPRUCE, A PROMISING COMBO

*** After last week’s game, LA fired their defensive coordinator and released their defensive captain. Just like that, their defense played better this week.)

*** It was 3-3 at the half.  I know this is pro football, but how much like the NFL do they want to be?

*** The Dallas OL had four holding calls in the first half.

*** Landry Jones was missing a lot of open receivers, and to his credit, he owned up to it. Asked just before the half if the 4-man front was bothering him ‘ “Is that what’s throwing you off?” He responded, “No, I’m just not playing very good.”

*** LA’s Nelson Spruce, from Colorado, may be the best in the league, and his buddy from the Rams, Todd Gurley, was on the sidelines to watch him.  Called him, “My little brother.”

*** Jones is really immobile.

*** With the TV going up in the booth to hear the OC’s (and DC’s) calls, what is keeping teams from playing Houston Astros?   (One bang on the trash can for a run, two for a pass.)

*** LA turned the ball over too many times inside scoring territory, but showed some offense with Josh Johnson at QB.

*** Stock answer by players when asked what they need to do: “Keep doin’ what we been doin.’”

*** Dallas ran twice for PATs out of an unbalanced line single wing.  They were 1 for 2.

*** LA scored to make it 19-15 and went for three. And wouldn’t you know it - Dallas was caught with 12 men on defense, and with the ball moved closer, the Wildcats made it!

*** The Air Raid sucked again, possibly because Jones wasn’t sharp, and they wound up doing a better job of moving the ball on the ground. Cameron Artis-Payne, from Auburn, looked good running the ball.

*** Said LA Coach Winston Moss after what had to be a very tough week, coming off an opening game loss and then firing his DC, “I’m in a much better place.  We got better today.  I saw a lot of fight and heart.”

*** Franco Harris was once derided for his tendency to run out of bounds rather than take a hit, but now it's commonplace. Problem is, I saw St. Louis runners do it twice on the same drive - and both times they did it just short of a first down.

ST LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS AT HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
MY PICK? HOUSTON
HOUSTON IS THE BEST I’VE SEEN SO FAR
+++++
RESULT: HOUSTON WON, BUT IT WAS A GOOD GAME.  THE TWO QBS ARE EXCITING. HOUSTON’S PJ WALKER DID SOME THINGS VERY FEW NFL QBS COULD  DO. I THOUGHT THAT ST. LOUIS COULD HAVE PUT A BIT TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON THE RUN, AND COULD HAVE LET QB JORDAN TA’AMU THROW A BIT MORE. 

*** Greg Olsen was back doing color, and I was tempted to turn off the sound. He can find at least a half-dozen ways to say the same thing, and once he gets started saying something, nothing will shut him up.
*** Walker and Ta’Amu may be the two best QBs in the XFL.

*** St. Louis scored a TD on a nice screen to running back Matt Jones, to score with 6:21 to go in the first quarter - maybe the earliest TD of the season. Jones, from Florida, looks good. Interviewed on TV, he said “Hi” to his four kids!

*** Sideline reporter Jenny Taft started at least five interviews with “Take me through…” (After the second one, I started to count.)
 
*** St. Louis has a very exciting all-purpose guy in De’Mornay Pierson-EL, from Nebraska, and Houston’s Cam Phillips, from Virginia Tech, is a good-looking receiver.

*********** Before you pooh-pooh the XFL’s new kickoff rule: according to Andy Staples in The Athletic, this past season, 60 per cent of all kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.  And I’m betting that on at least 1/3 of actual returns, some stupid a&&hole either holds or  blocks somebody in the back. I haven’t seen a single block in the back on an XFL kickoff yet.

*********** I saw a lot of improvement in one week.  Unfortunately for the league, most of it was on defense.

The XFL is going to have to do something about that damned extra point. Maybe even before the end of the season. It isn’t working. The entire league is no better than 33% on all 1-point PAT attempts. NO CHARGE FOR THE ADVICE: Put the ball on the one-yard line for one point, on the two for two points, on the five for three points.

*********** MY RANKINGS AFTER 2 WEEKS
1. HOUSTON (2-0)
2. DC (2-0)
3. ST. LOUIS (1-1)
4. DALLAS (1-1)
5. SEATTLE (1-1)
6. LOS ANGELES (0-2)
7. TAMPA BAY (0-2)
8. NEW YORK (1-1)


*********** If it seems to you like there are an awful lot of college quarterbacks moving around these days, it’s not you. For many of these guys,  they’ve no sooner put recruiting behind them than they’re off to the next stop,  once they find out in spring ball that they’re not going to be the starter.  Even those who’ve stayed at the same college for three years often finish off their careers by spending  a final year someplace else, as a “graduate transfer.”

Part of the issue is egos that have been fed over the years - by coaches and fawning jock sniffers, by recruiting services and the recruiters themselves - so that when players experience their first setback, when they find themselves beaten out in the competition to be the starter, their only recourse is to bolt.

But a major part, explains Joey Roberts, Director of Scouting for Elite 11, is coaching changes. not just the head coaching changes, the ones we all read about, but changes in offensive coordinators or in the quarterback-coach position.

This, from The Athletic…

“The coaching carousel is a very lucrative one,” Roberts said. “The people who really have their growth stunted are the quarterbacks, because a coach came into their house and said, ‘I want you to be an Arkansas Razorback or a Texas A&M Aggie,’ and then boom, he’s off to the next spot, or he gets fired. And you’re like, ‘Gosh, I just sat there for 365 days as a redshirt freshman, learning this complex offense and learning the nuances, and I just felt comfortable, and now I’ve got to meet the next coach who’s going to give me another spiel.’ And there are some kids who go through three or four different systems before the end of college. … The one position that it truly, truly does hurt when there are coaching changes and new languages and new expectations and a (new) culture is the quarterback.”

Starkel (Former Texas A & M and Arkansas QB Nick Starkel - who is now headed to San Jose State in his second transfer) likens it to climbing a ladder one way, nearly reaching the top, and then having it kicked out from underneath, only then to be told to start over and climb it a different way: backward, upside down or with one hand.

“I’ve seen kids in college football who go from one coaching staff, and they didn’t really have a good time with them, and all the sudden a new coaching staff comes in and they are playing out of this world and absolutely loving it because this coach took the time to develop them and they had three years to go through that,” Starkel said, adding the changes have “easily” been the hardest part of his career.

“Or a QB comes in from high school and gets five years in a system because he redshirts and he’s a polished quarterback. I think that’s a huge advantage. The business of college football does not allow for that too much. Power 5, I would probably say the guy coaching the quarterbacks changes almost every three years because those guys are getting hired as coordinators at other places or they’re going to the league, like you see with (former LSU passing game coordinator) Joe Brady. That’s something that not just I have had to deal with, but something that everyone who’s a quarterback has had to deal with before.”

*********** “Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems.”

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth


*********** It’s hard for me to realize that a lot of people reading this may never have seen Bum Phillips in action.

At the moment I’m reading “Son of Bum,” by Wade Phillips. Phillips, long-time NFL assistant, is the son of Bum Phillips, who was a head coach at the college, high school and pro level, and as the title suggests, a lot of the book is devoted to stories about Dad.

In addition to being a very good football coach, Ole Bum was one witty guy.

Here’s one about Earl Campbell, one of the great runners of our game. whom Bum drafted while he was head coach of the Oilers…
At the start of training camp one summer, Earl failed to complete the mile run to test the players’ physical condition. Reporters covering the team went crazy. They were all chasing after my dad, saying, “Bum, Bum! Earl  didn’t finish the mile run. What are you going to do?”

Dad gave one of his classic commonsense answers.  “Hell, if it’s third and a mile we won’t give it to him.”
Here’s one about Sid Gillman, whom Bum once worked for as his defensive coordinator:
Daddy returned to the NFL in 1974 when Sid Gilman took over as head coach of the Oilers. He again made Dad his defensive coordinator. One of the funniest stories I ever heard from that season was when Sid told my dad that breaking down game tape was better than sex.

“Well, Sid,”  Dad said, “Either I don’t know how to watch film or you don’t know how to make love.”

*********** Until 1969, baseball’s two pennant winners played in the World Series - that was it.

But in 1969, each league was divided into two divisions -  which meant they could have playoffs between each league’s division winners.
 
In 1996, with realignment into three divisions plus a wild card team in each league, the post-season was expanded to eight teams. Another level of playoffs meant extending the season another week or so into winter.

Then, in 2012, baseball added two more wild card teams to reach its present number of 10. EVEN MORE TEAMS = EVEN MORE PLAYOFFS

Now, if its cockamamie now proposed playoff plan goes through, a total of  14 teams would make the postseason. Put another way,  47% of franchises would make the playoffs.

In the NFL 12 of 32 teams make it that’s 38%. In the NBA, it’s 16 of 30 (53%) and in the  NHL 16 of 31, or 52%.

(Next year, the NHL will add a 32nd team, which - assuming there’s no monkeying with the playoffs, makes it  an even 50 per cent.


***********  In discussing the fact that participation in youth football is down, few of the articles mention that football is not an outlier - participation in nearly all sports is down.

And on top of that, they fail to mention two other factors, both relating to the fact that football is fishing from a smaller pool.

1. When they talk about the decline in kids playing football, they never mention that in the age group from which youth football draws - the 10-14 year-old cohort -   there has been almost zero growth.

Between 2000-2010, according to the US Census, the population of males 10-14 by “grew” by  .6 per cent.

2. The football doomsayers never mention immigration, but the fact is that fewer of those 10-14 males are potential football players, because whatever “growth” has taken place among 10-14 year-old males,  it has been foreign-born.   According to the 2010 Census,  approximately 13 million of 74 million under the age of 18 are foreign born, which works out to about 17.5 per cent. 

And among foreign-born youngsters, It’s only reasonable to assume that they are far less likely to play football than, say, soccer.

For what it’s worth, it’s not just a football thing:

For somewhat the same reasons, numbers in Canadian youth hockey are down, too.

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

Maybe, just maybe, Target stores didn't get the memo that the Minnesota Badgers will be an XFL expansion team?  Row the Bucky!!

I still wear sneakers, but not the basketball kind.  They are always color coordinated with the school's colors and I only wear them on game days with my khakis and sideline shirt.  Speaking of "gear" (as it is now called) I once had a collection of "gear" from ALL the various schools I worked for.  Not sure why I kept them (nostalgia?), but it was only after I was let go at the school in Columbus that I started returning all the "gear" I collected to the AD's, except for one t-shirt. I thought I just had one drawer full of t-shirts (four schools worth) or so I thought.  The other day my wife cajoled me into helping her clear out a storage closet upstairs and lo and behold found four complete sets of old warm-ups and a couple of weather jackets!  Actually can use a couple of the warm-ups since they aren't retro and they are the color of the school I am currently coaching.

Chris Fowler (a CU grad) was "pissed" about Mel Tucker's decision to leave CU for MSU and tweeted it for everyone to see.  I don't think CU will raid another Power 5 school of its head coach.  I believe they'll go after a coordinator, NFL guy OR a name coach who is not currently coaching.  There are a few of them.  

When working in Ohio I heard my share of "the" Ohio State football jokes.  With the arrests of those latest two jokers one of those jokes was immediately brought to mind; What do they call an OSU football player in a three piece suit?...the Defendant.

Have a blessed weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Some of the pretend historians who’ve written about Bernie Custis, pro football’s first black quarterback, have implied that the reason he made history in the CFL - and not in the NFL - was  racism.  Racism on the part of the Cleveland Browns.

They are pretend historians because they don’t know their football history.

Implying that the Browns, and therefore the person making all personnel decisions - Browns founder, namesake, general manager and coach Paul Brown - were guilty of racism is a charge that’s easily refuted.

First of all,  the Browns’ quarterback position at the time was solidly in the hands of Otto Graham, one of the all-time greats at the position, and if a rookie with Bernie Custis’ unimpressive  college credentials as a quarterback was going to make the team, it would have to be at another position - an option that was offered him by Brown.  Custis, though, insistent on playing quarterback, instead went to Canada (where after one year of playing quarterback he was switched to running back anyhow).

Second of all,  it was Paul Brown who broke the color barrier in professional football, playing both Bill Willis and Marion Motley in September, 1946 - slightly before the NFL Los Angeles Rams started Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, and six months before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball.  There was also a huge difference between the Rams’ and the Browns’ cases: Washington and Strode were well past their prime, and were signed primarily because the Rams were under pressure - one of the conditions of their being allowed to use the Coliseum was that they integrate their team.  Brown, on the other hand, was under no pressure to integrate his team, and was solely interested in putting the best possible players on the field. He had coached black players in high school, in college and in the service, and Willis (at nose) and Motley (at linebacker and fullback)  were playing  for him because they were the best players he could find (among the best, as it turned out,  ever to play their positions. They’re both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.)

Third, what acquits Brown of any possible charges of racism is that today’s QUIZ subject, Horace Gillom - the third black man to make the Browns’ roster, in 1947 - played what even today is considered a “white man’s position.”  He was a good athlete, and he did serve as a backup end on offense and defense,  but he was signed to play a position that even today, more than 70 years later, is played almost exclusively by white players. Horace Gillom was a punter.

He was not unknown to Paul Brown. In fact, Brown had known him from the time he was a little boy in Massillon, Ohio, where Brown, in addition to being the head football coach, was also in charge of physical education for the entire school district.

As he recalled, in his autobiography, “PB,”
“My responsibility was the physical education program for every school in Massillon, and I visited each one of them on a regular basis. I knew who the good athletes were from the time they were little boys…  A good example of this was Horace Gillom as a little boy. He proudly showed me at recess one day how he could punt a football. No one had ever taught him any of the fundamentals, but he was pretty good, so I took him aside and demonstrated the proper method… When he started doing it the correct way he became a great punter. I’ve always felt that even as a high school player he was as good as he was at Ohio State and with the Cleveland Browns, and in my mind there never has been a better punter than Horace."
He wound up playing for Brown in high school, and when Brown got the Ohio State job, he followed Brown there to  play for the Buckeyes.

But he dropped out of Ohio State after his freshman year, and after three years’ World War II service in the Army - he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was awarded three Bronze Stars - he enrolled at Nevada (Reno).  He played the 1946 season there,  then dropped out and joined the Cleveland Browns, where his former coach at Massillon and then Ohio State was now coaching.

Horace Gillom would become one of the greatest punters in the history of the NFL,  and would leave a lasting mark on the game.

In his rookie year, he averaged 44.6 yards per punt.  He was first in the NFL in punting in 1951 and 1952, second in the League in 1950 and 1953.

He played ten seasons for the Browns, and on six championship teams - three in the AAFC and three in the NFL.

He was remarkably consistent: in his worst season he still averaged 41.2 yards per punt.

In his career, he punted 492 times,  and averaged 43.8 yards per punt.  At  the time of his retirement, that was second all-time only to the great Sammy Baugh.

He was named as the punter on the NFL’s team of the 1950s.

Horace Gillom left a lasting mark on our game:

1. Whenever you see a punter standing 13-15 yards back from center,  think of him.  He’s the reason why punters stand that far back. Even in junior high he was an outstanding punter, but he was taking so many steps to get his punts off that in order to prevent them from being blocked, his coach moved him back to 15 yards - five yards deeper than the 10 yards that were then standard at all levels of the game.

2. His punts were still plenty long, and the extra time he took, plus the great height that he got on his punts, allowed his teammates more time to get downfield to cover.  The “Hang time” -  the time his punts stayed in the air - for which he became famous has become a major means of measuring a punter’s effectiveness.  So strategically important was his hang time that he had punted more than 400 times before one of his punts was finally returned for a touchdown.

3. Paul Brown is credited with introducing the 40-yard dash as the standard for “football speed,” and he said it was because that was the average distance a player was expected to cover when running down under a punt.  (And it was Horace Gillom’s average distance - and hang time - that Brown had in mind.)

 
CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING HORACE GILLOM

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE DANIELS - STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** QUIZ: He is the only person to have an Ivy League degree, a Ph.D., an Olympic medal and a pro football career.

And on top of that, as a star Philadelphia high school basketball player, he was picked on the same All-City team as future Hall-of-Famers Guy Rodgers and Wilt Chamberlain.

He was a native of Philadelphia and was a three-sport (football, basketball, track) athlete at John Bartram High (same Bartram High as Bernie Custis and Joe Bryant).

In the fall of his senior year, he was the outstanding football player in the city; in the winter, he scored 26 points to get his team to the city semi-finals, then scored 22 points in a losing effort against Rodgers’ Northeast High team. (Northeast would go on to lose in the city finals to Chamberlain and Overbrook High.) In the spring, he won the city championship in the long jump (22-9-3/4) and the 100 yards (9.7).  His being a three-sport standout earned him the nod over Chamberlain as city’s outstanding high school athlete.

After a year of prep school, he chose to attend Cornell.

As a sophomore (freshmen were not then eligible to play varsity sports), he led the football team in rushing, and in basketball, he averaged 14.9 points and an astounding 17-6 rebounds per game (he was only 6-1). In one game against Penn at the Palestra, he scored 27 points in the first half alone, and finished with 31.  In track, he won the Heptagonal (Eastern) 220 low hurdles in 23.6.

By his senior year, he had five games of 100 yards or more rushing - becoming the first Cornell running back to accomplish the feat - and after foregoing basketball for indoor track, he won Heptagonal titles in the 60-yard dash and the long jump (24-5-1/4).  In the spring, he won the Heps’ outdoor long jump with a leap of 24-7-3/4, and the 100-yard dash in 9.6,

He was chosen Senior Athlete of the Year, and earned his bachelor's degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. A member of Army ROTC, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army, and sent to work as a coach of track and field at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

There, while coaching Army athletes, he developed  into a world-class long jumper, winning the 1959 Pan-American games’ long jump with a leap of  26-2, best in the world by far.

And in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, he won the silver medal, finishing one centimeter (about 1/3 of an inch) back of Ralph Boston’s Olympic record-setting gold medal jump of 8.12 (26-6).

Following the Olympics,  a Chargers’ scout named Al LoCasale brought him to the attention of an assistant coach named Al Davis.

LoCasale  (who would go on to a career as Al Davis’ right-hand man) was a Philly guy, and remembered him.

“(He) went to Bartram High and I went to Olney in the same league," recalled LoCasale, who was at Penn while (—)  was at arch-rival Cornell. "What I remembered about him was his tremendous speed and his tremendous ability, and that he was put together like a football player, not a skinny track kid. When I remember back, I remember his speed, his acceleration, his takeoff."

Traded after a year with the Chargers, he went on to a seven-year career in the AFL.

He led the AFL in all-purpose yards in 1964, and in 1965 he was selected  to  play in the AFL All-Star game.
In his time with the Raiders - 1962 to 1965 - he had 5,467 all-purpose yards. Only five players in all of pro football had more during that time span - the Eagles’ Timmy Brown, the Browns’ Jim Brown, the Redskins’ Bobby Mitchell in the NFL, and the Raiders’ Clem Daniels and the much-travelled Abner Haynes, in the AFL.

“(He) was the Raiders' first world-class athlete," the great Jim Otto once told author Dick Schaap. "He helped create the feeling that we were on our way to greatness. He pioneered the Raider tradition of great speed."

After being traded to Buffalo, he caught three passes for 88 yards in the Bills’ 23-0 win over the Chargers in the AFL championship game.

After seasons in Buffalo and Miami, he retired and left football for good.

An educated man, he attended Stanford Law School, then earned a master's degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington.  He was 58 when he earned his doctorate.

He was the first track coach at Cal-Irvine, and coached high school track which working as a psychologist for the Los Angeles schools.

He died in 2001.


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 14,  2020  Follow your heart - but take your brain with you.”  Senator John Kennedy, Louisiana

*********** WEEK ONE OF THE XFL-

ABC seemed pleased with the ratings for its first-ever game, Seattle at DC.

Top rating markets
1. Seattle-Tacoma
2. Cleveland
3. Columbus
4. Kansas City
5. Washington, DC

I’m guessing that the high ratings in Cleveland and Columbus were because of interest in Cardale Jones, DC QB from Ohio State

*********** WEEK TWO OF THE XFL

SATURDAY
2 PM EASTERN - ABC
NY GUARDIANS AT DC DEFENDERS
MY PICK?  PICK ‘EM
BOTH TEAMS LOOK FAIRLY SOLID AT QB - NY WITH MATT MCGLOIN, DC WITH CARDALE JONES

5 PM EASTERN - FOX
TAMPA BAY VIPERS AT SEATTLE DRAGONS
MY PICK? SEATTLE, BUT ONLY IF QB BRANDON SILVERS CAN PLAY
TAMPA BAY HAD SOME QB ISSUES LAST WEEK
HOPE THE CROWD DOESN’T LOOK TOO TINY IN CENTURY LINK FIELD

SUNDAY
2 PM EASTERN - ABC
DALLAS RENEGADES AT LOS ANGELES WILDCATS
MY PICK? DALLAS IN A WALK, EVEN IF LANDRY JONES DOESN’T START
DALLAS DIDN’T LOOK GOOD LAST WEEK, BUT LOS ANGELES LOOKED AS IF THEY MIGHT NEED A TALENT TRANSFUSION FROM THE LEAGUE

6 PM EASTERN - FS1
ST LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS AT HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
MY PICK? HOUSTON
THIS COULD BE A GOOD GAME BUT I THINK HOUSTON IS THE BEST I’VE SEEN SO FAR
I ENJOYED WATCHING HOUSTON QB P.J. WALKER RUN JUNE JONES’ RUN-AND-SHOOT OFFENSE
ST. LOUIS’ QB, JORDAN TA’AMU IS A GOOD LOOKING ATHLETE

*********** I’ve been asked about the XFL salary, and I’ve been able to find out this much:

A player can make as much as $4,947 per game. (Don’t ask me why they couldn’t just round it off.)  Here’s how:

1. $1040 per week ($2,080 which is paid every two weeks)

2. $1,685 “Activation Fee” - a bonus paid if the player is active for the game

3. “2,222 “Victory Bonus” - paid for being on the winning team.

Put another way, though, a player can make as little as $2,725 per game ($1040 per week plus $1685 Activation Fee) if his team loses.

That’s players other than quarterbacks, who can make a good bit more - up to $495,000. (That’s  because the XFL  believes the
key to putting a quality product on the field is the quality of its quarterbacks.)

They claim an “Average Salary” of “about $55,000,” a figure I question.

I very much wanted to see the XFL succeed, but having seen first-hand how professional sports organizations can pull the wool over the eyes of gullible young athletes, I can’t come up with that figure.

Look - in every game there’s a winner and a loser, right? That means if the winners make $4,947 and the losers make $2,725,  the average pay per player per game - winners plus losers divided by two is $3836. Times ten games, that comes too $38,360.

Put another way,  a player whose team lost every game could play in all ten games and earn $27,250, while a player whose team won every game could earn $49,470. 

And that would mean that the average PAY - not salary, since “activation fees” and “Victory bonuses” are bonuses and not salary - would be right in between those two figures - $38,360.

I can only conclude that in order to arrive at the “$55,000” figure, the league has included quarterbacks’ pay in its calculations (and counted bonuses as “salary.”)

I am not showing those calculations by way of “exposing” anybody, but only a fool would think that the XFL itself is getting rich at the expense of its players. I have twice been left unemployed  when a professional league went under, and I know that while it would be nice to pay the players more,  at this point, the long-term stability of the XFL is far more important to their futures.

Assuming a player lasts the entire season, the XFL contract runs from last December through May, leaving thim free to make whatever deals he may be able to make with “another” professional league.

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/xfl-salary-structure/1amgsczt2ngnc1cekk66jektlr

*********** Target, which originated in Minneapolis, had to remove from the shelves of its Minnesota stores a large quantity of maroon-and-gold hoodies that read “MINNESOTA BADGERS.”

https://www.espn.com/college-sports/story/_/id/28681411


*********** Sales of basketball shoes are down, writes Kendall Baker in Axios Sports. Way down.  From 2014, when they accounted for 13 per cent of the athletic shoe market, their share has declined to 5 per cent.

At the same time, the so-called “athleisure” market has grown dramatically.

The interesting thing to me is that while it’s not at all unusual nowadays to see a TV talking head (often a former athlete) wearing a suit and a pair of sneakers, the sneakers aren’t basketball shoes. Those big, clumsy shoes just don’t seem to go with the trendy tighter pants.

*********** When will the NCAA grow a set and stop this circus of coaches leaving jobs for more money after a year on the job?  You mean to tell me that 2.5 million ISN'T ENOUGH!!  Heck...there are guys who get hired and leave WEEKS later!  Where is the integrity?  The same guys who expect commitment from the players don't have that same commitment!  If I'm those Colorado players I'd be asking those questions while considering going elsewhere, and if I'm those returning MSU players or incoming recruits, I'm wondering if I can believe anything the new guy says.  If I'm a rival coach out recruiting I'm asking the recruits considering my rival school those same questions.

I'm so fed up with all this BS!  Here I sit daydreaming of what it would be like to coach again at that level and willing to do it regardless of the compensation, and TRULY show those young men what commitment, loyalty, honesty, responsibility, accountability, and other forgotten character attributes are in order to be the type of role-model they need in their lives.

Is it little wonder why I admire guys like David Shaw and Pat Fitzgerald.  And a few others.  They're all that's left for guys like us to admire.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

With you 100 per cent.

And guess who’s next to get screwed? The school where Colorado’s next head coach currently works. And the school where that school gets his replacement.

Screw the kids.

Allowing the players to transfer freely sounds good on the surface,  but it isn’t going to affect the real perps - the coaches that recruited the kids, only to desert them, and the colleges that ignore the fact that the coaches they hire are under contract.

If Colorado’s kids were all able to transfer right now without penalty, the jackals from all the other Power 5 schools would be in Boulder right now, re-recruiting them - and leaving Colorado football looking like  SMU after it got the death penalty.

The NFL has rules to prevent this, and the NCAA once did, too - before it got involved in so many things outside its main mission (Penn State, college mascots) that it took its eye off the ball and while it wasn’t looking, the Power 5 gained an autonomy that’s created this Wild West climate.

My prediction is that the big football schools - led by the SEC and the Big Ten (the ones with the most bargaining power) will form a Super Conference not unlike the NFL, if only to get recruiting under control and keep members from raiding each others’ coaching staffs.

You and I are becoming relics of the Dark Ages.


*********** In college football, as in so many other things these days, money talks, and nowhere is that truism displayed more than in the growing disparity between the revenues brought in by the BIG TWO - the SEC and the Big Ten - and those by the other Power Five conferences, especially the Pac 12.

The recent snatching of Colorado’s coach by Michigan State came about because MSU needed a coach badly, and thanks to the stacks of money its conference membership has provided, it was able to offer the Colorado coach twice what CU was paying him.

That’s because Colorado was only paying him $2.7 million.

People have already begun to call for the NCAA to “do something,” but the fact is, there’s absolutely nothing that the NCAA can do. Not if it wants to keep the Power 5 conferences from bolting.

The autonomy that the NCAA granted to the Power 5 (to prevent them from breaking away entirely) means that a lot of what people think the NCAA has power over is actually out of its hands.

Sooner or later - when the big guys in the SEC and Big Ten form their own Super Conference (adding the likes of USC, Oregon, Texas, Oklahoma, Clemson, Florida State, etc.) they will adopt the NFL model, with a strong commissioner, and they’ll police this sort of stuff among their membership.

Then they’ll be free to just  prey on the little guys.

Mel Tucker tweet*********** Just in case you’d like to send Coach Tucker a tweet congratulating him on his new job as head coach of the Michigan State Spartans.  Yes, yes, I know - he broke his word to everyone he sent that tweet to (I’m thinking players, parents, fans of the Colorado Buffalos), just a day or so before he took the Michigan  State job.  But what the hell - he was only making a lousy $2.7 million to coach Colorado, and while it did seem more than enough when he went after the job (a little over a year ago), how was he to know that Michigan State would get so desperate for a coach that it would more than double his salary at CU?

That’s right - Michigan State more than doubled his salary.  Offered him $5.5 million. A guy whose career record as a head coach is 5-7. (Remember that the next time one of those mealy-mouthed bastards that run college athletics sobs that paying players for their images or endorsements would create a “competitive imbalance,” as the NCAA’s Mark Emmert told Congress this week.)

Tucker seems like a nice enough guy, and he may be an okay coach, but with a one-season record with the Buffs of 5-7 (3-6 in conference) that’s yet to be proven. Meanwhile, do you think that if the Colorado people had any inkling they might wind up with a guy like this, they’d have canned Mike MacIntyre in the first place?

Writes Pat Forde in S-I, “Yes, they’re paying at least $5.5 million to a guy who had a losing record in his only year as a head coach, despite inheriting a four-year starting quarterback (Steven Montez) who leaves Colorado as the school’s all-time leader in total offense, and potential first-round NFL draft pick Laviska Shenault at wide receiver. The Buffaloes were outscored by more than eight points per game, with losses to Oregon by 42, Washington State by 31, Utah by 30 and a very bad UCLA team by 17.”

Michigan State? Since 1950, I've pulled for the Spartans, but now? A pox on their house. Good luck with the new coach. (Just a thought, Spartan fans  - all the crap that Michigan has gone through dates back to the way they hired Rich Rodriguez, and the way he stiffed those kids at West Virginia.)

Mark your calendars:  between October 3 and November 14, Michigan State will play Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Minnesota and Penn State. I say the over/under on MSU wins in those six games will be maybe 2. I'll take the under.

*********** Meantime, what about Colorado?

Two names are mentioned most prominently - Chiefs’ OC Eric Bienemy and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun

Eric Bienemy was an All-American running back at CU, but this is not a slam dunk, as some people seem to think.  Taking the CU job could mean passing up a shot at an NFL head coaching job. Many people thought he might wind up with an NFL head coaching job this last go-round, and  if that’s what he wants ultimately, I think it would be better for all concerned if he stayed in KC.  They’re going to continue to win, and he can only look better a year from now.  In taking the Colorado job, he would be would be putting his NFL aspirations on hold for at least three seasons. (As a CU alum, I doubt that he would bail on his old school sooner than that - not that it’s likely that he’d do anything in his first year or two to enhance his credentials as an NFL head coaching candidate anyhow.)

Troy Calhoun is a hell of a coach, and I think he’s shown enough offensive versatility to overcome any objections to him as merely a “triple option coach.”  He has recruited the American West - the same footprint as Colorado - and he’s had to do so while facing the dual obstacles of high academic standards and a post-graduate service commitment. Would he make the move?   Is he interested in one final challenge?  He's an Air Force grad, and it seems to me he can have the AFA job for life if he wants it. 

It's fair to ask whether success at a service academy can transfer over to a Power 5 school. I can think of three examples of guys who've done so.

Example Number One: Paul Johnson. He went from Navy to Georgia Tech, and in 11 seasons in Atlanta his teams went 82-61 (51-37 in the ACC.)  But Johnson was much more a conventional triple-option coach than Calhoun, and Tech fans expressed dissatisfaction with his offense.

Example Number Two: George Welsh.  In 1982, he left Navy after nine season to go to Virginia.  In his 19 seasons at UVa, he gave the Cavaliers the quality program they'd never had before.

Example Number Three:  This may be the best example, because this was an Air Force coach moving on. In 1984, Ken Hatfield left Air Force to succeed Lou Holtz at Arkansas, after Holtz left for Minnesota.  How’d Hatfield do?  Pretty well, I’d say - in six years there, he went 55-17-1 (36-10 in the Southwest Conference). He took the Hogs to a bowl game every year, and when he left for Clemson following the 1989 season, his winning percentage was .760.  That’s the best winning percentage of any coach in Arkansas history - higher than Holtz’ .735, higher than Frank Broyles’ .708.

I'd like to see his stuff in action in the Pac-12. As for feeling sorry for Air Force if he leaves?  Piss on them.  Go Army!

*********** A note from an old friend…

So after a nice stint in Brazil in 2018, I was just appointed the the HC at Franklin HS in Stockton CA

They finished 0-9 and didn't play the 10th game due to grades . this is an overhaul project. The AD and Principal are both old coaches so the support is there , we have a nice Under Armour deal with a new stadium going in for 2021!

We will obviously be a DW/SW team for the foreseeable future!

Joe Daniels
Stockton, California


*********** On the subject of the XFL, Tim Brown, of Florence, Alabama, wrote…

Daughter and son in law at the DC game Saturday

(I WROTE BACK) Did they enjoy it?  Would they go again?

They did enjoy and plan to go again -said that stadium was a good size fit

(ME) Soccer was smart enough to realize that it’s the perceived size of the crowd - not the size of the stadium - that creates the fan experience.

Tim asked… with all the wide open offenses… with the offense needing more red zone room… why do they not go for the three points?

(ME) Agreed.  I suspect that the odds are almost as good - for 3x the reward.


*********** Basketball coaching vacancy!   Kids are real scrappers!

Perhaps tired of losing, at least four members of the junior varsity basketball team at a Newark, New Jersey high school attacked their coach on the bus following a game (which they lost, making their record 0-15) and, once they’d returned to the school and left the bus,  continued beating him, kicking him while he was on the ground.

The children, being minors, have not been named. (Actually, being named would probably be cause for pride.)

Please educate this old fart, who grew up in a time when men fought with their fists, and only “yellowbellies” kicked or used weapons, why, in view of the ugly way that “fighting” has escalated, a kick in the head
shouldn’t be a special class of assault with a deadly weapon?

https://fox59.com/2020/02/10/4-new-jersey-basketball-players-attack-coach-after-losing-15th-consecutive-game-police-say/

*********** Test your skill as a comedy writer…

1. Jameis Winston is getting LASIK surgery.

2. Colin Kaepernick is “writing” a book. (BONUS: It doesn’t have a title yet)

3. One game into the XFL’s first season, the Los Angeles Wildcats have already fired their defensive coordinator

*********** THE ESPN STORY:

Ohio State dismissed Amir Riep and Jahsen Wint from the football team Wednesday, one day after police charged both players with raping and kidnapping a woman at an apartment building in Columbus earlier this month. (Actually, it was last week. HW)

Riep and Wint were taken into custody Tuesday night after police obtained a warrant for their arrest. Police said Riep grabbed the woman's neck, "forcing her onto her hands and knees and vaginally penetrating her." Wint entered the room and forced oral penetration while Riep held the woman in place with his body, according to a probable cause affidavit submitted to the Franklin County Municipal Court.

HMMM. You don’t suppose these student-athletes were Urban Meyer’s recruits, do you?

CLUE:  Current Buckeyes’ coach Ryan Day has been head coach for one season.  Riep has played in 37 games for the Buckeyes.  Wint has played in 35.

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/28688887/amir-riep-jahsen-wint-dismissed-ohio-state-football-team-rape-kidnapping-charges

*********** “You begin to liquidate a people by taking away its memory.  You destroy its books, its culture, it’s history. And then others write books for it, give another culture to it, invent another history for it.  Then the people slowly begin to forget what it is and what it was.”

Milan Kundera, Czech writer, in “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”

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

I'm in agreement with your idea regarding the XFL PAT formula.  What are your thoughts on the XFL kickoff/kick return?

At my last school we had an acronym "GATA" (Get After Their A**).  Principal wanted to know what it meant.  Kids told him "Get Another Take Away".

PAC 12 is in trouble with football for sure.  But...if you ask those who live in the ivory towers of the West Coast they will tell you the PAC 12 is the "greatest" overall athletic conference in the nation.  Granted...historically they have won many championships.  But over the last 20 years are they??  Sure they do well in the Olympic sports (M/W track, M/W rowing, etc.), and in individual type sports (M/W golf, M/W swimming, etc.) but in the major team sports (football, basketball, baseball) not so good over the last 20 years.  In the last 20 years USC has won 2 national championships in football (one vacated) and were runner-up in two others, and Utah was a runner-up another year.  Only two men's basketball finals appearances in the last 20 years (Arizona and UCLA).  Stanford is the only school that has made appearances in the women's championship (2). Four national baseball champs in the last 20 years (UCLA, Arizona, Oregon State back-to-back).  UCLA and Arizona have dominated softball.  Other notable team sports championships are in women's golf, women's soccer, and men's soccer.  However...the conference with the most championship appearances in ALL sports over the last 20 years is...the SEC.

Have a good week

Joe Gutllla
Austin, Texas

Joe - Given that the kickoff as we’ve known it is headed for extinction, I think that the XFL has shown us a reasonable way of at least keeping some facsimile of a real kickoff in the game. The shame to me is that the onside kick is as about as dead as the dodo.



*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Bobby Mitchell was the first black player on the last NFL team to integrate. He integrated the Redskins.

He is a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas who turned down a chance to play baseball with the Cardinals and instead went to Illinois.

As a sophomore running back, he replaced the starter in the third quarter of the season’s seventh game, and on his very first carry he ran 64 yards for a score. In his brief time, he gained 173 yards on 10 carries, and the Illini upset Number 3-ranked Michigan.  Playing the rest of the season, he played well enough to be named All-Big Ten.

He was hurt most of his junior season, but after his senior year he was named to play in the College All-Star Game, and he was named Co-MVP, as the All-Stars upset the NFL champion Detroit Lions.

While at Illinois, he excelled as a sprinter and hurdler in track, and in his senior year he helped Illinois win the Big Ten championship.

Drafted in the seventh round by the Cleveland Browns, he played halfback and his blazing speed to the outside proved the perfect complement to the great Jim Brown.

In four years with the Browns, he rushed for 2297 yards and gained 1463 yards receiving. He returned kickoffs for 1550 yards, and in all, he scored 38 touchdowns.

He and Brown may have been the best pair of running backs ever to play in the same backfield.

And then he was traded to Washington for the draft rights to Syracuse’s Ernie Davis.

(Ernie Davis, as most hardcore football fans know, had just won the Heisman Trophy, but would die of leukemia before ever playing in an NFL game.)

In Washington, where he became the franchise’s first black player, he was moved to wide receiver.

In his first game as a Redskin, he returned a kickoff 92 yards against the Cowboys, and for the season, he led the NFL with 72 catches for 1384 yards and 11 touchdowns, and was named to the Pro Bowl.

Over the next five years, his reception totals were 69, 60, 60, 58 and 60.

In 1968, he was moved back to running back so that Charlie Taylor could play wide receiver, he still caught 60 passes for 866 yards and six touchdowns.

He retired after training camp in 1969, with a fantastic set of records: his total all-purpose yardage was 14,078.  He scored 91 touchdowns - 18 rushing, 65 receiving, 3 on punt returns and 5 on kick returns. In all, he had 7,954 yards receiving (521 receptions) and 2,735 yards rushing.

He played in four Pro Bowls and was a 3-time first team All-Pro and 2-time second team All-Pro.

He won three Super Bowl rings.

He is a member of the Redskins Ring of Fame and the Browns Ring of Honor.

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

After retirement as a player, he spent 35 years with the Redskins, first as a scout and then moving up in the executive ranks to assistant General Manager.

He still resides with his wife  in the Washington, DC area, where he is active in a number of civic and charitable organizations.

His son, Bobby Mitchell, Jr., played football at Stanford.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BOBBY MITCHELL

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE DANIELS - STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY



*********** Who can forget Bobby Mitchell and Jim Brown in the same backfield? Those Browns teams were so much fun to watch, especially against the Giants.

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

***********  A personal recollection: I met Bobby Mitchell in spring of 75 when he was a scout for George Allen and Allen was debriefing me on personnel in the WFL.   He introduced himself as “Bob Mitchell” as if I would have had no idea who he was.  I considered that a sign of humility.

*********** QUIZ:  Some of the pretend historians who’ve written about Bernie Custis, pro football’s first black quarterback, have implied that the reason he made history in the CFL - and not in the NFL - was  racism.  Racism on the part of the Cleveland Browns.

They are pretend historians because they don’t know their football history.

Implying that the Browns, and therefore the person making all personnel decisions - Browns founder, namesake, general manager and coach Paul Brown - were guilty of racism is a charge that’s easily refuted.

First of all,  the Browns’ quarterback position at the time was solidly in the hands of Otto Graham, one of the all-time greats at the position, and if a rookie with Bernie Custis’ unimpressive  college credentials as a quarterback was going to make the team, it would have to be at another position - an option that was offered him by Brown.  Custis, though, insistent on playing quarterback, instead went to Canada (where after one year of playing quarterback he was switched to running back anyhow).

Second of all,  it was Paul Brown who broke the color barrier in professional football, playing both Bill Willis and Marion Motley in September, 1946 - slightly before the NFL Los Angeles Rams started Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, and six months before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in baseball.  There was also a huge difference between the Rams’ and the Browns’ cases: Washington and Strode were well past their prime, and were signed primarily because the Rams were under pressure - one of the conditions of their being allowed to use the Coliseum was that they integrate their team.  Brown, on the other hand, was under no pressure to integrate his team, and was solely interested in putting the best possible players on the field. He had coached black players in high school, in college and in the service, and Willis (at nose) and Motley (at linebacker and fullback)  were playing  for him because they were the best players he could find (among the best, as it turned out,  ever to play their positions. They’re both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.)

Third, what acquits Brown of any possible charges of racism is that today’s QUIZ subject, the third black man to make the Browns’ roster, in 1947, played what even today is considered a “white man’s position.”  He was a good athlete, and he did serve as a backup end on offense and defense,  but was signed to play a position that even today, more than 70 years later, is played almost exclusively by white players. He was a punter.

He was not unknown to Paul Brown. In fact, Brown had known him from the time he was a little boy in Massillon, Ohio, where Brown, in addition to being the head football coach, was also in charge of physical education for the entire school district.

As he recalled, in his autobiography, “PB,”

“My responsibility was the physical education program for every school in Massillon, and I visited each one of them on a regular basis. I knew who the good athletes were from the time they were little boys…  A good example of this was (—— ——) as a little boy. He proudly showed me at recess one day how he could punt a football. No one had ever taught him any of the fundamentals, but he was pretty good, so I took him aside and demonstrated the proper method… When he started doing it the correct way he became a great punter. I’ve always felt that even as a high school player he was as good as he was at Ohio State and with the Cleveland Browns, and in my mind there never has been a better punter than (——).

He wound up playing for Brown in high school, and when Brown got the Ohio State job, he followed Brown there to  play for the Buckeyes.

But he dropped out of Ohio State after his freshman year, and after three years’ World War II service in the Army - he fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was awarded three Bronze Stars - he enrolled at Nevada (Reno).  He played the 1946 season there,  then dropped out and joined the Cleveland Browns, where his former coach at Massillon and then Ohio State was now coaching.

He would become one of the greatest punters in the history of the NFL,  and would leave a lasting mark on the game.

In his rookie year, he averaged 44.6 yards per punt.  He was first in the NFL in punting in 1951 and 1952, second in the League in 1950 and 1953.

He played ten seasons for the Browns, and on six championship teams - three in the AAFC and three in the NFL.

He was remarkably consistent: in his worst season he still averaged 41.2 yards per punt.

In his career, he punted 492 times,  and averaged 43.8 yards per punt.  At  the time of his retirement, that was second all-time only to the great Sammy Baugh.

He was named as the punter on the NFL’s team of the 1950s.

He left a lasting mark on our game:

1. Whenever you see a punter standing 13-15 yards back from center,  think of him.  He’s the reason why punters stand that far back. Even in junior high he was an outstanding punter, but he was taking so many steps to get his punts off that in order to prevent them from being blocked, his coach moved him back to 15 yards - five yards deeper than the 10 yards that were then standard at all levels of the game.

2. His punts were still plenty long, and the extra time he took, plus the great height that he got on his punts, allowed his teammates more time to get downfield to cover.  The “Hang time” -  the time his punts stayed in the air - for which he became famous has become a major means of measuring a punter’s effectiveness.  So strategically important was his hang time that he had punted more than 400 times before one of his punts was finally returned for a touchdown.

3. Paul Brown is credited with introducing the 40-yard dash as the standard for “football speed,” and he said it was because that was the average distance a player was expected to cover when running down under a punt.  (And it was our subject’s average distance - and hang time - that Brown had in mind.)



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 11,  2020  There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule.” Mark Twain

*********** Camas  HIgh School will have a new principal soon.

The old one - the one who thought it “karma” that Kobe Bryant was killed (another eight other innocents with him) - “resigned” over the weekend.

Meantime, the superintendent said that he will fill in, until they can find an “internal candidate.”

Now, wait just a second, “Doctor.” (I’m just assuming that he holds one of those bogus doctorates in education.)  You telling me, with the kind of money we’re paying you,  you didn’t have an emergency succession plan in place?

***********
I  watched all of the XFL’s opening weekend, and overall, I liked what I saw.

*** NOT SO GOOD:  History was made at 7:21 left in the first quarter of the first XFL - the first score was a f—king field goal.  Expect lots more, as a field goal is still three points, and a  TD is still six points, but unlike in the NFL, an extra point is not automatic. (In  the NFL, 90+ per cent of the time, a TD is worth seven points.)

*** The kickoff rule - you’ll have to see it for yourself- makes sense.  On punts, nobody can leave the LOS until the ball is punted, and any punt that goes into the end zone comes out to the 25.

*** I’m really disappointed that they didn’t do a thing about trying to reduce the number of field goals - such as narrowing the space between the uprights.

*** The PAT rule -  No kicking  has some promise, but not as it is. Running or passing, you get 1 point if you spot the ball on the the 2, 2 points if you go for it from the 5, or 3 points from the 10.  Teams almost all went for 1, and without checking, I’d wager that they made it no more than 50 per cent of the time.  What that means is that unlike the NFL, where the nearly-automatic extra point makes a touchdown almost always worth seven points, in the XFL a TD is going to be worth only six points at least half the time - that means that way to often, the field goal is WAY too important - worth half a touchdown.

No way should two field goals be equal to a touchdown.  Not unless you want to kill a good thing by turning your games into field goal fests.

The cure? Either make the TD worth seven points, or the field goal two, or  tweak the PAT system so that it’s 1 point from the one, 2 points from the three, and 3 points from the ten.

A play from the one isn’t automatic - there would still be plenty of drama.

*** They had all sorts of people mic’ed up, and it was interesting (to me) to hear the OC’s in the booth calling plays. (That was ESPN)  A tip to the broadcast guys: do NOT put a mic on a cornerback.

*** I especially like the faster pace overall - makes you realize that the NFL has way too much time between plays.  Only ESPN, the short-attention-span network which loves to do a lot of camera cuts and show up-close facial shots of quarterbacks between plays, had trouble adjusting to the fact that there were only 25 seconds between plays, and not 40. At the start, they missed several snaps.

*** I like most of the uniforms.  I really like Seattle’s  helmets.

*** Biggest surprise: with all the mics, only one F-bomb (by a Seattle lineman) was picked up

*** Mildest comment you’ll ever hear on a football field: “Oh my gosh!” Seattle coach Jim Zorn’s reaction to losing a fumble.

*** The level of play is about low-level FBS.

*** It took the NFL players 100 years to start doing mass celebrations following turnovers, but these guys picked it up right away.

*** There were too many cameras and cameramen out on the field, sometimes even during play.

*** We weren’t even into the second quarter of the first game when the during-the-game sideline interviews started.  How TF can you sell us on the action and then talk over it, as if the game on the field  isn’t taking place? There were way too many in-game and sideline interviews, especially on the ABC production (Seattle at DC).

*** There were not as many holding calls as you might have expected.

*** Players acted like they wanted to play.  Unlike NFL players who often look as if they’re mainly saving their bodies, these guys actually tackle - using their arms and everything!  I saw more real good form tackles in one weekend of the XFL than in a season of NFL ball.

After watching how hard they hit, it was interesting to learn that they hadn’t hit at all in practice.

*** It was the 4th quarter of the second game before I saw someone play the jackass - standing and staring down at a guy he’d just tackled.

*** Most of the teams are going to be playing in stadiums that are way too large. The small soccer stadium in DC made the crowd look a lot better (17,163); the same size crowd in U of Houston’s stadium looked small.  New York plays in MetLife Stadium, where it’s hard to find the crowd, and Dallas plays in a baseball park, which is never a good look on TV, and not very fan-friendly, either.

*** Jerry Glanville is the DC for Tampa Bay.  He’s older, but he’s still a jerk.

*** A good lesson for the NFL - you don’t need preseason games.

*** The players they interviewed seemed, for the most part, to be pleasant, articulate, and humble - a refreshing change from the arrogant, boastful NFL types.

*** Replays are called for when deemed necessary - there is a camera and audio inside the replay booth so we can actually see what they’re looking for, and what camera angles they have at their disposal. As my wife said, “It makes you have confidence in the ruling.”

*** *** Overall, Fox did the best job, except for Greg Olsen doing the color on the NY-Tampa Bay game. He was AWFUL.  He is a blowhard, in desperate need of a 40-ounce can of STFU. He talks a lot, says a little, taking way too long to explain simple concepts.  He decided that he was going to create a story line by pushing Tampa Bay to use a backup quarterback (it didn’t pan out) and he became  Joe Coach-in-the-booth, going way over the top in his criticism of coaches.

In explaining the play coding being used by the play callers, Olsen did let us in on some really inside football stuff (that most people with IQs above freezing already had  figured out on their own): “It really makes sense to no one except the players on the field.”

*** Only in the final game of the weekend - St. Louis over Dallas - did the visiting team win.

*** Battle Hawks, eh? Sounds either like a minor league baseball team or a college that had to change its un-PC nickname to something inoffensive.   Is there any end to the idiotic nicknames you can come up with simply by putting something before “Hawks” or “Cats?”

*** I don’t know when everybody else found out about it, but TV viewers didn’t find out until just before game time that  Dallas QB Landry Jones wasn’t going to be playing.  To me, it smelled.  I’m guessing that gamblers didn’t know because with the point spreads and the over/under displayed on the graphics, we were informed that Dallas was a 9.5 point favorite, and the over/under was 52.5.

Over/Under did I say?  The halftime score was 6-6.

*** 50 years ago, in the Super Bowl, Hank Stram was mic’d up, and thanks to NFL Films a nation heard him tell a player  “matriculate the ball down the field.”

WTF? “Matriculate?” It means “to enroll at a school.”  Over the years, Stram’s use of it has become something of a joke.  I think.

On Sunday, I heard an announcer actually say that a team needed to matriculate the  ball down the field.  Now, it’s possible he was just doing a takeoff on Stram, but think it’s more likely that in the runup to the Super Bowl he heard Stram on the old video and thinks he was using a really cool word.

*** So much for the f—king Air Raid, the Offense of the Future that enabled the Chiefs to dominate pro football this year. Hal Mumme, the inventor of the damned thing, is the OC of the Dallas Renegades - who couldn’t even score a f—king touchdown!

So I guess the point is it’s a hell of an offense - provided you have a Patrick Mahomes at QB.  Meanwhile, what about all those other teams that don’t have a Patrick Mahomes?

*** Speaking of Hal Mumme, the color guy was talking about him and said he “Loves his bourbon…”  True or not - and many’s the coach who’s enjoyed a drink or two -  it sounded a bit defaming to me.

*** Saturday’s games were interesting.  Sunday’s were dull.  With the Dallas-St. Louis score 9-6 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter, my wife said, “This is NFL crap.”

*** Best newcomers: Houston QB P. J.  Walker and St. Louis QB Jordan Ta’amu.

MY FIRST WEEK RANKINGS
1. Houston
2. Washington
3. St. Louis
4. New York
5. Seattle
6. TIE: Dallas, Los Angeles,Tampa Bay

IT REALLY CAME DOWN TO QB PERFORMANCE
1. PJ Walker, Houston - Threw for 272 yards and 4 TDs
He’s from Temple.  His coach, June Jones, wasn’t surprised - said, “He did it to me at SMU”
2. Jordan Ta’amu, St. Louis
3. Matt McGloin, New York
4. Cardale Jones, Washington
5. NOBODY ELSE

BEST JOB OF COACHING
1 TIE June Jones, Houston
   Jonathan Hayes, St. Louis
3. Pep Hamilton, Washington
4. Kevin Gilbride, New York
5. Jim Zorn, Seattle
6. NOBODY ELSE


*********** A while ago, I was going back and forth on some ideas with John Vermillion, an author whose books my wife and I really enjoy. John and I have discovered that we have a number of interests in common, including football, and one day, when he was between books, we got to discussing what Josh Panchrest, one of his characters, might do next. 

Josh, a young former Army fullback, had seen combat in Afghanistan and then, on his return,  had turned down offers of a couple of very attractive government positions, because he really wanted to become a smoke jumper. Although his fullback size put him at a disadvantage as a jumper, he managed to qualify, and he did a heroic rescue, but as often happens in that hazardous occupation, he wound up suffering a serious injury that brought an end to his career as a smoke jumper.

Now, with plenty of time to think about his future as he went through rehab, he came to the realization that he wanted to become a football coach.  Specifically, he wanted to coach at West Point.  But  he had no coaching experience, and after considerable discussion, mainly with author Vermillion’s lead character Simon Pack, a wise, tough, retired Marine General (the sort of man we need a lot more of), and with Pack’s friend, an old high school coach named Hugh Wyatt (ahem) he’s convinced that the best career path for him is high school coaching.

The trick then becomes finding a place that needs a coach, a place that’s willing to take a chance on a guy with a great education, distinguished military service, and experience doing an extremely arduous and dangerous job -  but with no teaching or coaching experience.

Pack’s suggestion is that Josh gain “instant experience” by selling “Coach Wyatt” on the idea of coming along with him as his assistant and mentor.  Coach Wyatt is up to the challenge and accepts.

After a bit of a job search, Josh winds up being hired as teacher and head football coach in the small town of Libby, Montana.  Libby is an ideal location for him, because it’s roughly midway between the town of Whitefish, where Pack lives, and “the Yaak” - the wild Yaak Valley - home of several of Vermillion’s other characters, including Josh Panchrest’s romantic interest, a lovely young native woman.

I won’t go into any further detail, because the story’s best told by John V. in his book “Matai,” (the sixth in the Simon Pack series), other than to say that the football team experiences a success that it hasn’t known in years, and its success has an uplifting effect on the entire town, a town whose economy - and health - has suffered  since the vermiculite mine nearby was closed after being found to contain cancer-causing asbestos.

But John Vermillion couldn’t have foretold that his tale of a fictional Libby football team would have a real-life parallel in real-life Libby.

Going into this season, the real-life Libby Loggers had had just one winning season since 2007.  But that was 2018,  when they won their last four games to finish 5-4.

This past season, they won their first six in a row, made it to the second round of the state playoffs, and finished 8-3.

The parallel to the novel “Matai” is stunning, but it goes further: the Libby head coach is also a Service Academy grad. His name’s Terry Maki (not Matai, but close enough) and he’s a Libby guy.  He was a two-time state wrestling champ at Libby High School, and  he went to the Air Force Academy to wrestle and play football. He won two WAC titles in wrestling, but he also became a starting linebacker on the football team, and he decided to concentrate on football.

His junior year, Air Force was really good.  The Falcons went 12-1, and his block of a Notre Dame field goal helped them win, 21-15. He set the Air Force single-season record for tackles that year with 195, a record he still holds, along with the career record of 475 tackles.

How good were those Air Force teams?  The QB was a kid from Roseburg, Oregon named Troy Calhoun, who’s been head coach at Air Force for 13 years, and one of the defensive tackles in front of Maki was a guy from Van Horne, Iowa named Chad Hennings, who played nine years for the Dallas Cowboys.

Now, after a career in the Air Force, Coach Maki is back in Libby, doing almost exactly - in real life - what Josh Panchrest did in author John Vermillion’s imagination.

A bonus for me: “Maki” is a Finnish name (
Mäki means “Hill.”

(John Vermillion saw a magazine story about the team,  the town and the recent season and said it, “could pass for a synopsis of my book. Still shaking my head at the coincidence.”)

https://406mtsports.com/high-school/football/after-long-drought-libby-loggers-putting-some-teeth-back-into/article_1d2bda6e-09c3-5643-aa3d-4c770324927e.html

Libby Loggers

********** A really cool sidelight on the Libby story:  When the Loggers take the field at home games, they do so to a “chorus” of chain saws, revved up by the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade football players.  (It does appear that the chains have been removed.)

*********** I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to get myself worked up the way I think I’m supposed to about something called “Human Trafficking.”

Rather than using a somewhat anodyne euphemism, I wish they'd call it what it is.

I heard the term used quite a bit in connection with the Super Bowl, and I knew damn well they were talking about  old-fashioned pimps and whores (sorry- "sex workers").

*********** Many years ago, wrestlers at a school where I coached had an unusual slogan on the backs of their sweatshirts:  TANSTAAFL

I asked the coach what it was all about, and he told me it was the first initials of a phrase (technically, I don’t consider it to be an acronym):

THERE AIN’T NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH

It originates in the old, pre-Prohibition days, when saloons would attract patrons by advertising “free lunch.”  The patrons were, of course, expected to buy a drink, and when the “free” food, salty of course, created a thirst for another drink or two, in that roundabout way the house managed to get drinkers to pay for their “free lunch.”

Put in athletes’ terms: if it’s worth anything (such as a championship) it comes with a price.  Pay it or not -  but don’t expect much if you don’t.

Famed economist Milton Friedman became well known for his explaining TANSTAAFL on an economist’s terms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmqoCHR14n8

*********** The Pac-12 is in trouble.

According to 247sports…

In 2011,  19 of the top 20 college football prospects went to the Pac-12, and nine of them went to USC.

From 2011-2018, Pac-12 schools got 79% of them.  USC alone snagged 35%.

But in the last two recruiting classes, the Pac-12’s take was down to 62.5%, and USC’s was down to - get ready for this - 7.5%.

This past signing period, five of California’s top ten left the state, and not for Pac-10 schools, either: for Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State.

*********** “I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of calling the events in Iowa, 'Saving Private Biden!”'

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

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

I think being the President must be similar from a business perspective as it is being a head coach.  Head coaches hire assistants to work at the head coach's discretion, and...if the assistant is disloyal in any way, or openly criticizes the head coach, or lacking in accomplishing the tasks they were hired for...said coach(es) are either demoted, moved, removed, or fired.  Similarly anyone hired by the President serves in the same manner...at the discretion of the President...who...can demote, move, remove, or fire said appointee for being disloyal in any way, openly critical, or failing in meeting the job requirements.  

Unfortunately the overwhelming business of being a head football coach at the FBS Power 5 level, a few Group of 5's, and even a few FCS schools has taken a toll on many outstanding men.  Aside from the tasks of purely "coaching" the game on the field, the heavy burdens of recruiting, and running the "business" of college football can lead to the eventual mental, emotional, and physical demise of a head coach. In some places here in Texas the same can be said for high school head coaches.

With the advent of technology (especially cell phones w/cameras, speakers, recorders, or social media, etc.) it has become increasingly clear that all of us have to watch what we say.  That Principal in Camas will pay dearly for what she said.  Those of us in coaching are especially at risk.  In the "old" days we could go out with friends, have a few beers, joke around, and what was shared remained private.  Not anymore.

I plan to coach again this coming year.  It's not in me to do a one and done.  I'll just take it year by year after that.

Have a great weekend!

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas


 *********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Bernie Custis was not the first black man to play quarterback in college football, nor was he the first to play  quarterback in the NFL or, even, in the AAFC.  But he WAS the first black man to play quarterback in professional football (at least in what is considered the modern era).

He was born in Philadelphia and played high school football at John Bartram High (where years later, Kobe Bryant's father, Joe, would play basketball).

He was recruited by Syracuse, where he played three years at quarterback.  His coach his junior and senior years was Ben Schwartzwalder, who would go on to coach at Syracuse for 25 years (and who, long after his death,  would wrongly be depicted as a racist in the movie “The Express”).

At Syracuse, his roommate was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, a football-crazy non-athlete named Al Davis.  (Yes, THAT Al Davis.)

Although Schwartzwalder ran a run-oriented unbalanced wing-T offense, in his last two seasons he completed 144 of 293 attempts, for 1896 yards and nine TDs.

He was drafted low by the Cleveland Browns, but they projected him as a defensive back. Today’s look-for-racism-under-every-rock types like to look back and attribute it to his being black, but the Browns’ quarterback at the time was Otto Graham, the best in the game, and nobody else - black or white - was going to be playing quarterback for the Browns any time soon.  Determined to play quarterback, he signed instead with Hamilton in what would soon become the CFL.

In 1951, when he took the field in the Tiger-Cats’ opening game, he became the first black man to play quarterback in pro football since Fritz Pollard in the 1920s.  Starting every game for Hamilton, he led  the Tiger-Cats to a 7-5 record, and a place in the Eastern Finals.
 
Maybe he shouldn’t have been so rash about going to Canada - despite making the 1951 All-Star team at QB, he was switched to running back the very next season. And he never played quarterback again.

In all, he played six seasons in Canada - four with Hamilton and two with Ottawa.

After retirement, he stayed in Canada as an elementary school teacher and then principal, and became a football coach.

Starting at the “Junior” level (roughly between our high school and junior college), he moved on to Sheridan College in 1973, and in eight years there he had a record of 86-14.  IN 1981, he became head coach at McMaster University where his record in eight seasons was 31-23-1.

He became a scout, first for the Toronto Argonauts and then for the TiCats.

He is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, but not as a player - as a “builder,” in recognition of his contributions to Canadian football at all levels.

He said in a 2011 interview with syracuse.com that over the years his former roomie, Al Davis, had offered  him “countless jobs. But I have an issue with flying and haven’t been on a plane in 41 years.”

Bernie Custis died in February of 2017 at the age of 88, and in 2019, a brand-new Hamilton secondary school (high school), located right next to the stadium where the Tiger-Cats play, was named in his honor.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BERNIE CUSTIS

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA


*********** A nice interview with Mr. Custis in later years, sent by Greg Koenig…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn7hvFlmb_c


*********** QUIZ: He was the first black player on the last NFL team to integrate. He integrated the Redskins.

He is a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas who turned down a chance to play baseball with the Cardinals and instead went to Illinois.

As a sophomore running back, he replaced the starter in the third quarter of the season’s seventh game, and on his very first carry he ran 64 yards for a score. In his brief time, he gained 173 yards on 10 carries, and the Illini upset Number 3-ranked Michigan.  Playing the rest of the season, he played well enough to be named All-Big Ten.

He was hurt most of his junior season, but after his senior year he was named to play in the College All-Star Game, and he was named Co-MVP, as the All-Stars upset the NFL champion Detroit Lions.

While at Illinois, he excelled as a sprinter and hurdler in track, and in his senior year he helped Illinois win the Big Ten championship.

Drafted in the seventh round by the Cleveland Browns, he played halfback and his blazing speed to the outside proved the perfect complement to the great Jim Brown.

In four years with the Browns, he rushed for 2297 yards and gained 1463 yards receiving. He returned kickoffs for 1550 yards, and in all, he scored 38 touchdowns.

He and Brown may have been the best pair of running backs ever to play in the same backfield.

And then he was traded to Washington for the draft rights to Syracuse’s Ernie Davis.

(Ernie Davis, as most hardcore football fans know, had just won the Heisman Trophy, but would die of leukemia before ever playing in an NFL game.)

In Washington, where he became the franchise’s first black player, he was moved to wide receiver.

In his first game as a Redskin, he returned a kickoff 92 yards against the Cowboys, and for the season, he led the NFL with 72 catches for 1384 yards and 11 touchdowns, and was named to the Pro Bowl.

Over the next five years, his reception totals were 69, 60, 60, 58 and 60.

In 1968, he was moved back to running back so that Charlie Taylor could play wide receiver, he still caught 60 passes for 866 yards and six touchdowns.

He retired after training camp in 1969, with a fantastic set of records: his total all-purpose yardage was 14,078.  He scored 91 touchdowns - 18 rushing, 65 receiving, 3 on punt returns and 5 on kick returns. In all, he had 7,954 yards receiving (521 receptions) and 2,735 yards rushing.

He played in four Pro Bowls and was a 3-time first team All-Pro and 2-time second team All-Pro.

He won three Super Bowl rings.

He is a member of the Redskins Ring of Fame and the Browns Ring of Honor.

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

After retirement as a player, he spent 35 years with the Redskins, first as a scout and then moving up in the executive ranks to assistant General Manager.

He still resides with his wife  in the Washington, DC area, where he is active in a number of civic and charitable organizations.

His son (and namesake) played football at Stanford.



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 7,   2020  You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”  John Bunyan

*********** RIP WILLIE WOOD - (From my site, Seprember 6, 2019)

In 1975  Willie Wood  became the first black man in the modern era of pro football (since at least the early 1920's) to become head coach of a professional football team, when the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League fired its head coach during training camp and named him as the replacement.
 
His career, unfortunately, did not last long: the WFL failed to finish the 1975 season.

He did go on to spend a year as head coach of the Toronto Argonauts, but he is far better known as a player than as a coach.

He played his high school ball in the East,  his college ball on the West Coast, and his pro ball in the Midwest.

He grew up and went to high school in Washington, D.C., and after two years at a JC in California,  went on to achieve stardom at USC as a quarterback.

Five of his USC teammates - and 240 other players - were taken in the NFL draft, but he was not.  He was just 5-10, 175, without the arm to play quarterback or the speed to play running back; he was seen as a man without a position, and so went undrafted. 

He sent letters out to every NFL team; the only one to respond was the Packers.  He received an encouraging letter from Vince Lombardi, and signed with the Pack for $6500. 

He was the last man to make the squad,  earning a spot on a team that played for the NFL title in his rookie year.  From that point on, as a defensive back, he became a key member of some of the greatest teams in NFL history.

In his  12 years in the NFL, he played in six NFL championship games as well as two Super Bowls. He made All-Pro six times and was named to eight Pro Bowl squads.

He led the NFL several times in punt returns and interceptions.

Needless to say,  Willie Wood is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

(I worked for the Philadelphia Bell in 1974; Willie Wood took over the next year, after the guy who'd been my boss, Ron Waller - total jerk; evil personified - was fired.   In 1975, I was with Portland, but I did meet Coach Wood when we went to Philly to play The Bell. Seemed like a very good guy.)


*********** Just in case you might not be aware of where our nation is headed…

99 million people watched the Super Bowl.

Good numbers, for sure.

But 103 million people watched the soft-porn show at halftime.

*********** I may write a rant about why after 72 years I am  no longer a Cleveland  Brown fan, but  I can't  do it without a great deal of profanity!!

If you haven't heard the news, the Browns have followed the Forty Niners and hired a female coach. I guess that Jimmy Haslam figures that since San Francisco got to the Super Bowl with one, so can the Browns!! I am finished!!

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky

*********** In our house, Chiefs’ defensive linemen Derrick Nnadi can do no wrong. 

Well, not really.  Besides molesting a child, we certainly wouldn’t approve of his beating up a woman, holding up a liquor store, pimping or selling drugs.

But it’s fair to call my wife and me dog lovers, and Nnadi’s become a favorite of ours after it was announced that he was celebrating the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win by offering to pay the adoption fees for all 91 dogs housed in the Kansas City animal shelter last Sunday.  (Adoption fees averaging $150 x 91 dogs = $13,650)

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28629181/chiefs-derrick-nnadi-picks-adoption-fee-91-dogs-shelter

***********  Adam Wesoloski sent  me a link to a clip from last Saturday’s “Saturday Night Live,” and said I’d probably like it.

I wasn’t so sure.

See, I was once a BIG fan of the show.  But that was back in the Dark Ages, the days of people like Steve Martin, Gilda Radner, John Beluschi, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris.

But I long ago stopped being a fan when the focus of  the show’s humor changed from making everybody laugh to making liberals laugh at conservatives.

So I was wary, but I went ahead. And I’m glad I did.

The show’s host was JJ Watt, and he was good.

If he ever has trouble making a living, he could probably put food on the table doing standup.

He got going on how he has two brothers who also play pro football.  Talked about his parents having to raise three large, boisterous boys.  His dad, he said, felt that three of them were enough.  But not his mom.

“My mom,” he said, “really wanted to try for a kicker…

“You know - someone she could dress up and buy cute clothes for…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGs2d-n5ocM

*********** If you want to know where this “meatless burger” craze is headed, look north.

Tim Horton’s, the huge Canadian chain with more than 4,000 restaurants across the Great White North, announced recently that after less than a year of testing, it has removed “plant-based” meat products, including “Beyond Meat” sausage patties, from its menus.

"We introduced a plant-based protein as a limited time offer and to test the interest of our guests in having this alternative available. Ultimately, our guests choose to stay with the meat option in their breakfast sandwiches,” said a Tim Horton’s spokesperson.

(Remember the old joke about the new, highly-tested, highly-promoted, beautifully packaged, heavily advertised dog food that just wasn’t selling?  Sent out into the field to find out why, a junior executive returned to headquarters with the answer: “The damn dogs don’t like it.”)

https://www.toronto.com/news-story/9841172-tim-hortons-beyond-meat-products-removed-from-menu-/

*********** Before there was an Internet, there were magazines,  and “Scholastic Coach” Magazine was  the Bible of high school and college coaches.  Its editor was a gentleman named Herman L. Masin, who started on the job in 1936, when he was 23,  and held it for 72 years, until he retired in 2008.  Imagine the people he got to know.  And get this - the entire time, he did his work on an old-time mechanical desktop typewriter. 

Herman was a man of great integrity who I’m afraid, were he alive today (he passed away in 2010 at the age of 96) would be appalled at what he saw working its way down from the NFL to colleges to high schools to youth sports.

I was a longtime reader of Mr. Masin, and I was blessed to know him in his later years, after I sent him a copy of my first video (“Dynamics of the Double Wing”)  and asked him if he’d be kind enough to watch it.  He called me a few days later and said he’d sat down with a friend - who didn’t know football - and when it was done, his friend said, “I can understand that.”  I knew I was on my way.  After that, at his suggestion, I sent him some articles for publication (including the one that I still use as proof that I’m the one that gave the Wildcat its name).

As you can imagine, Herman Masin knew everybody, and he had some pretty strong opinions that he didn’t mind sharing with me.  He didn’t like Woody Hayes.  Thought he was a tyrant.  He liked Al Davis.  He said he could never find a player who would say a bad word about him.  Said players loved him, “because he didn’t get on their ass.”

Herman’s job was to cover all the sports in their seasons, but he said he found out very early that football coaches were a breed apart, and that if the magazine wanted to stay in business, he had to make sure to have at least one solid football article even in “off-season” issues.

Scholastic Coach is gone now, although a successor called Coach and AD putters along with stuff mostly of interest to athletic directors. 

I still have some of my old SC magazines, and one of the things I really enjoy is going back and reading the magazine’s interviews, now decades old, of leading coaches.

Way back in January, 1982,  the interviewee was Dave Nelson, then the chairman of the NCAA’s College Football Rules Committee.  He’d retired as Delaware’s coach in 1965.

SC: After 19 great years in the prime of your coaching life, you suddenly quit. What happened?

Nelson:  Recruiting. I had never been involved in it, and we had never had alumni clubs, booster clubs and the like to recruit or raise funds for us. I have always thought that when you bring in groups like that, you’re just organizing your own lynching party.

SC:  You mean you quit because you were being forced to organize such groups?

Nelson:  No, no. That was just an observation on what can happen when you go into the recruiting business. When it became obvious that Delaware was not going to stay competitive if I didn’t begin recruiting, I resigned. I just didn’t  want to spoil what had been a wonderful experience.

(It’s true. Coach Nelson never recruited. For the 12 years they were together  in Delaware, Mike Lude did Delaware’s recruiting.  When it became apparent that Coach Nelson was going to have to get involved in recruiting himself, that was it for him. He was only 45 years old,  but he could see that recruiting was going to take the fun out of coaching.)

Which leads me to the sudden, ill-timed retirement of Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio.

He broke the news on Tuesday.  After 13 years,  on a date as close to the start of  spring practice as it was to the end of last season’s final game, Mark Dantonio announced that he was done.

It was widely rumored during the season that he might be ready to flick it in, and he could have retired right after the Spartans’ last regular-season game, allowing the Spartans to hire a  new coach in advance of recruiting, and to spend the bowl season honoring him. They would have carried him off the field after the Spartans beat Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Up until a few years ago, he’d done a great job at a school which would be a power almost anywhere else except in the SEC and - right where it happens to be - the Big Ten East.

In the six years from 2010 through 2015, his Spartans won 65 games.  In 2015, they beat Ohio State, won the Big Ten title and made it to the Playoff (How many coaches other than the ones at Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State  and Oklahoma have done that?).

But the coach who has now retired with more wins than any other coach in Michigan State’s long history, the coach with three Big Ten titles, a Rose Bowl appearance and a Playoff appearance had seen his team’s performance tail off in recent years. 

The last two years, they’ve gone 7-6, and, worst of all, they’ve been beaten twice by Michigan.  In a ten-year span from 2008 through 2017, MSU beat Michigan eight times.  But these past two losses were bad - by a combined score of 65-17.

Some cynics claim that he just hung around in order to collect a $4 million bonus due recently. People who know more than I think that Michigan State would have paid it if he’d decided to leave earlier.

Others said that he got out in the face of a lawsuit filed by a former recruiting assistant claiming violations, and possible NCAA sanctions that might follow.

Me? After what happened with Dave Nelson, and after what Chris Petersen of Washington had to say, I’m inclined to take him at face value when he says that he started out after the season with every intention of returning, but after getting out on the recruiting trail he found he just didn’t have it any more.

As famed Detroit writer Mitch Albom said, he just ran out of gas.

He said he was bothered about the idea of recruiting kids that he wouldn’t be around to see graduate.

He talked about an “avalanche” of non-football issues - things that made coaching “less enjoyable.”

“The overwhelming responsibility for people day in and day out just feels sometimes like ... a big wave, like you’re always surfing that wave,” he said in his news conference. “And I just felt like at points in time throughout the season you’re like, ‘What else? What else? What else is there?’

“There’s so many things you can’t control … I just found myself never having an opportunity to come up for air … It just becomes complicated. And at this point in time, l want to uncomplicate my life, to be quite honest with you.”

Expect more of these retirements, as the demands of the job continue to wear on men - and the enormous salaries they earn mean they have more than enough in the bank to allow them to call it quits.
 
Possible replacements mentioned are Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell, Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell and Boise State’s Brian Harsin.

No matter who they hire, though, their new coach is going to come into a situation where recruiting’s over, and he didn’t get to recruit the kids he wanted. 

Fickell is the hot commodity.  Sounds as if the job’s his if he wants it.   But Cincinnati’s not a bad job, and he can continue to win there until a better job comes open.  Is Michigan State, having to face Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan every year,  a better job at this point? In Fickell’s case, he may actually have recruited a better class at Cincinnati than Michigan State did.

Narduzzi was Dantonio’s defensive coordinator, and he did a great job there. It may not be a coincidence that the downturn at MSU started after he left for Pitt.

Campbell has been rumored for any number of jobs, but he hasn’t budged from Iowa State, and he may not see Michigan State as worth leaving for.

Harsin wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit in the Midwest, but with the game of chicken that Boise State is playing with the Mountain West - a game that could theoretically result in Boise’s going independent - he might be willing to listen.

Whoever they hire, the school the guy leaves is screwed, because unless they promote from within their staff, they’ll be bringing in a new guy who didn’t recruit a single player on the roster.

And so the coaching carousel goes.

Meantime - what about those kids at Michigan State who signed their letters of intent back in December?   They had no idea when they signed that the head coach would be gone just weeks later.  It sure seems to me to make the case for allowing every player one transfer with immediate eligibility.

Mitch Albom on Mark Dantonio:

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2020/02/05/mitch-albom-michigan-state-mark-dantonio/4662642002/

Herman Masin:

http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/node/344


*********** What is it about people that makes them think they just HAVE to go on social media and say anything they please - and not expect any consequences?

People in business have gone on Facebook to announce that they don’t approve of gay marriage, and - BOOM.   See ya.

So what should happen to a high school principal who just had to say - almost in so many words - that Kobe Bryant had it coming?

On the day that Kobe’s chopper went down and killed him and the eight people on board with him, the principal of our high school (little old Camas, Washington, home of the state champion Papermakers) felt compelled to go on her Facebook page and post - almost gloating - “Not gonna lie. Seems to me that karma caught up with a rapist today.”

I think she should be fired, and here’s why:

1. Kobe Bryant or not, the comments (weasel-like, she noted several times in her “apology” that they were on her “private” page) were grossly inappropriate and ill-timed. A human being died.

The phrase “De mortuis nil nisi bonum” - (say) nothing about the dead except good - dates back to before the birth of Christ.

400 years ago,  John Donne wrote, “Every man’s death diminishes me.”

2.  There (obviously) are those who think that Kobe Bryant even in death remains a rapist, but that has never been proved. Regardless of how things may have happened,  he was never charged with the crime of rape, and that’s that. That Kobe Bryant is a rapist is her opinion, not a fact, and if he were alive (and not a public figure) she wouldn’t want me on the jury when he sued her ass for libel.

3.  The Kobe Bryant “rape” incident occurred in 2003.  That was 17 years ago - before most of the kids in her school were born.  An educator should understand that Kobe Bryant the “rapist” is likely unknown to them.

4. I strongly suspect a strong anti-male (“all men are rapists”) bias prompted her to post.

5.  While I happen to think that some of the near-reverence for Kobe that’s been on display in the aftermath of his death is a bit over the top, I do understand how much he meant to others, many of them young  people. Obviously, the principal did not, when it’s important for a high school principal to understand her students’ feelings and respect and honor their grief.   I don’t want anyone that tone-deaf running our town’s high school (a school of 2,200 kids).

6.  I wouldn’t want anyone capable of such rash, unthinking  action making decisions that could affect the future of our kids.
 
7.  Karma or not,  there were eight others on that ill-fated helicopter who did not deserve death because of something she thinks the ninth one did.

8.  We coaches have a hell of a time trying to deal with the effects of kids’ uncalled-for comments on social media, and that’s a terrible example for our school’s leader to set for them.

9. If a coach were to post something Politically Incorrect on Facebook, she'd fire him/herg in a heartbeat.

10.  You can’t fix stupid.

To find out more about this, just google
"camas principal"

Me - I don't have much use for anybody outside the healing professions who insists on being called "Doctor."


*********** Not for one minute do I believe that the Iowa f—kup was as it appears.

What an amazing coincidence that on the previous Sunday, the state’s leading newspaper announced that because of one irregularity or another, it couldn’t publish its final poll,  and then, on the night that a nation sat down to watch the long-awaited results of the Iowa caucuses,  we were told that owing to the failure of an app, there were - no results! No score!  No winners!  (And no losers.)

My suspicion?  They just had to delay letting the public know that Joe Biden got his ass kicked by… Bernie  Sanders. That same damn Bernie Sanders that they thought they’d chased off four years ago after Hillary’s people bought him a new house on a lake.

Hmmm. Let’s say you’re Coach Biden’s team and you just lost by three touchdowns…  maybe you could try turning off the scoreboard… cutting off the power at the local newspaper and radio stations.  When people ask you how you did, could you get away with saying, “Pretty good!”

Or was what happened a clever way of making the Iowa people look incompetent, so that the powers that be back in D.C. could use that as the reason they’ve been looking for to take away Iowa’s long-held, first-ever position in the state primaries?

ON THE OTHER HAND -  suppose it really WAS a f—kup…

Aren’t these the same people that want us to trust them with a total makeover of our economy? With government-run medical care,  total reliance on renewal energy, and free college for everybody?

Aren’t these the same people who delight in making fun of the followers of President Trump as Bible-thumping, gun-toting, toothless hicks?

*********** Could these possibly be signs of a return to better days?

1. At a time when many football people think that the game as we know it didn’t exist before, say, 2015, the Chiefs ran a play in the Super Bowl
that’s at least 80 years old! And it worked!

2. At a time when we’re used to seeing college basketball’s  most  talented players  leave for the NBA after one season, this year’s  watch list for the Wooden Award (given to the most outstanding college player) is down to 20 players - and only two of them are freshmen!

    •    7 seniors: Markus Howard, G (Marquette); Myles Powell, G (Seton Hall); Cassius Winston, G (Michigan State); Payton Pritchard, G (Oregon); Udoka Azubuike, C (Kansas); Anthony Cowan Jr., G (Maryland); Lamar Stevens, F (Penn State)

    •    3 juniors: Luka Garza, C (Iowa); Jordan Nwora, F (Louisville); Malachi Flynn, G (San Diego State)

    •    8 sophomores: Obi Toppin, F (Dayton); Saddiq Bey, F (Villanova); Jared Butler, G (Baylor); Devon Dotson, G (Kansas); Tre Jones, G (Duke); Daniel Oturu, C (Minnesota); Filip Petrusev, F (Gonzaga); Jalen Smith, F (Maryland)

    •    2 freshmen: Anthony Edwards, G (Georgia); Vernon Carey Jr., C (Duke)

*********** A historian of the Middle East named Bernard Lewis suggested in an article in Atlantic Magazine that when a once-mighty civilization has fallen, there are two questions that are typically asked:

One of the questions - “Who did this to us?” - is self-defeating, leading to “neurotic fantasies.”

The other question - “What did we do wrong?”-  leads to self-correction, because it prompts a follow-up question: “How do we make it right?”

Those questions could just as aptly be asked by so-called “victim groups,” or by losing football teams.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/01/what-went-wrong/302387/

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

The Democrats' Iowa Caucases turned into another major cluster f***.  And this is the same party that wants to lead the country??  But I'm sure Adam Schiff will come up with the Russians hacking into the system and accuse President Trump of being behind it.  

I had to pee during the national anthem but didn't want to walk away out of respect.  Apparently I was dancing and holding my crotch but didn't realize it would be a prelude to the halftime show.

The Jason Mamoa commercial made me laugh.

Almost fell out of my chair when I saw KC shift to the single wing look and score.  Kudos to Eric Bienemy the Chiefs OC who isn't afraid to research old film and think out of the box.

Looking at some of those XFL rosters I'm thinking they will be playing some pretty good football.

My wife and daughters are over the moon for Katie Sowers.  Learned a valuable lesson...never watch football again with my family.  

Your situation in Camas is very much like what we have here in Austin.  Our population is supposed to double in 20 years. In Texas Austin is the blueberry in the bowl of strawberries, and with the meteoric rise of the tech industry here it's just gonna get more blue.

Enjoy the week

Joe  Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Gene Derricotte grew up in Defiance, Ohio, where he  was a star athlete and class valedictorian.

Recruited by Michigan, he became the first black athlete ever to play in the backfield for the Wolverines.

He led the team in rushing in 1944, but that December he was drafted into the  Army, then sent to train in the Army Air Corps’ Tuskegee Airman pilot training program.  He graduated from the program just as the war was ending, and after his discharge he returned to Michigan for the 1946 season.

In 1946, sharing  the starting single wing tailback job with All-American Bob Chappuis, he managed to win All-Big Ten honors, but in his final two seasons, he became less of a starter and  more of a return specialist.

In his four-year career, he returned four punts for touchdowns, a Michigan record that has since been tied  but never broken.

His three punt returns for a touchdown in a single season were a Big Ten record that lasted until 2004.

In Michigan’s 49-0 win over USC in the 1948 Rose Bowl, he scored on a 45-yard pass.

Although chosen in the first round of the AAFC draft by the league champion Cleveland Browns, he was injured in a freak training camp accident and never played a down of professional football.

In 1950, he graduated with a degree in pharmacy, and in 1958 he earned a degree in dentistry, and re-enlisted in the service, this time in the Air Force.  When he retired from the service in 1988, he had served in a number of locations, including Vietnam.

He is a member of the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

In 2007, he was honored along with six other surviving  Tuskegee Airmen by being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.


CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING GENE DERRICOTTE

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA

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

Gene Derricotte is the Michigan Wolverine in today's question.

Here are the highlights from the 1948 Rose Bowl:

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

Rhonda and I have room for you and Connie here in Colorado. However, there are a large number of former Californians here as well.

Greg Koenig
Colorado Springs, Colorado

This is game where Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy found the buck-lateral play that we saw in the Super Bowl.


 *********** QUIZ: He was not the first black man to play quarterback in college football, nor was he the first to play  quarterback in the NFL or, even, in the AAFC.  But he WAS the first black man to play quarterback in professional football (at least in what is considered the modern era). He just had to go to Canada to do it.

He was born in Philadelphia and played high school football at John Bartram High (where years later, Kobe Bryant's father, Joe, would play basketball).

He was recruited by Syracuse, where he played three years at quarterback.  His coach his junior and senior years was Ben Schwartzwalder, who would go on to coach at Syracuse for 25 years (and who, long after his death,  would wrongly be depicted as a racist in the movie “The Express”).

At Syracuse, his roommate was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, a football-crazy non-athlete named Al Davis.  (Yes, THAT Al Davis.)

Although Schwartzwalder ran a run-oriented unbalanced wing-T offense, in his last two season he completed 144 of 293 attempts, for 1896 yards and nine TDs.

He was drafted low by the Cleveland Browns, but they projected him as a defensive back. Today’s look-for-racism-under-every-rock types like to look back and attribute it to his being black, but the Browns’ quarterback at the time was Otto Graham, the best in the game, and nobody else - black or white - was going to be playing quarterback for the Browns any time soon.  Determined to play quarterback, he signed instead with Hamilton in what would soon become the CFL.

In 1951, when he took the field in the Tiger-Cats’ opening game, he became the first black man to play quarterback in pro football since Fritz Pollard in the 1920s.  Starting every game for Hamilton, he led  the Tiger-Cats to a 7-5 record, and a place in the Eastern Finals.
 
Maybe he shouldn’t have been so rash about going to Canada - despite making the 1951 All-Star team at QB, he was switched to running back the very next season. And he never played quarterback again.

In all, he played six seasons in Canada - four with Hamilton and two with Ottawa.

After retirement, he stayed in Canada as an elementary school teacher and then principal, and became a football coach.

Starting at the “Junior” level (roughly between our high school and junior college), he moved on to Sheridan College in 1973, and in eight years there he had a record of 86-14.  IN 1981, he became head coach at McMaster University where his record in eight seasons was 31-23-1.

He became a scout, first for the Toronto Argonauts and then for the TiCats.

He is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, but not as a player - as a “builder,” in recognition of his contributions to Canadian football at all levels.

He said in a 2011 interview with syracuse.com that over the years his former roomie, Al Davis, had offered  him “countless jobs. But I have an issue with flying and haven’t been on a plane in 41 years.”

He died in February of 2017 at the age of 88, and in 2019, a brand-new Hamilton secondary school (high school), located right next to the stadium where the Tiger-Cats play, was named in his honor.


Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 4,   2020  "Once you've wrestled, everything else is pretty easy.”  Dan Gable

*********** Monday, February 3, 2020, is one of those dates I’ll remember with clarity - where I was and what I was doing - for the rest of my life.  It was approximately 11:50 Pacific Time, and I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, as I have tried to do wherever I’ve been for the last 30 years, with my wife, having just returned from her workout, sitting next to me.

He came back from a commercial break and started out by saying that those who knew him knew that he didn’t particularly like to talk about himself, and my wife immediately said, “Uh-oh.”

I started to think that he was going to say that he had decided to retire.   I’ve often thought, over the years, about when that day would come, but we all have a tendency to think that the way things are today is the way they’ll always be.

But it didn’t take him long to make his announcement - he said he’d told everyone on his staff - and it wasn’t about retirement.

In brief, he said,  “I’ve been diagnosed with an advanced form of lung cancer.”

Dear God.

This is a huge blow. If you’re like me, you love the US that you grew up loving, and you’d rather improve on it just as it is - without turning things upside-down and inside-out.   If you aren’t a Rush Limbaugh listener, you have no idea how much he has meant to the cause of defending the America we love.  Beset as we are on all sides by biased news media whose goal is advancing the left wing agenda, he has been at the forefront of our cause,  rallying our side with great effect and influence.

(I fully expect liberal “comedians” to make the most of this chance to get laughs in the only way they know, with the only audience they have.)

*********** It’s been 46 years since I cast my lot with the World Football League, which started out with a bang, daring to challenge the NFL for the second time in less than 20 years, and ended less than two years later with a whimper.

But no matter - Go XFL!

If that means I’m pissing into the wind, taking up the banner of another startup football league, it won’t be the first time.

FINAL XFL ROSTERS—

https://www.americanfootballinternational.com/xfl-releases-final-rosters-for-2020/?utm_source=American+Football+International+Weekly&utm_campaign=ea31d4bea2-American_Football_International_Weekly11_16_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_37995d0cb0-ea31d4bea2-80500341

FOLLOW THE XFL ONLINE…

https://www.americanfootballinternational.com/author/xfl-newshub/

*********** Super Bowl wrap-up…

It wasn’t that bad a game (although I did see dozens of college games this past season that were lots better), but truthfully, taking into account all aspects of the broadcast, I could have
spent the time doing almost anything else and I wouldn’t have any regrets.

Yes, it was interesting watching the Chiefs pull off another comeback win, and it was cool watching them get down close and ditch the vaunted Air Raid in favor of such obsolete tactics as a single-wing fullback buck and a double-wing speed option.

And it was interesting watching another “quarterback of the future,” Pat Mahomes, who at 24 is still capable of running around and creating opportunities. Soon enough, though, even in this era of “cosset the quarterback,” he will have to slow  down and stay closer to the pocket. So is he really so revolutionary, or will he get hit one time too many and either become a pocket passer or make way for another, younger and faster “quarterback of the future?”

*** Being a suspicious sort, my BS radar pinged at that stupid “Take it to the House!” pre-game video in which the little kid (who was maybe 10 years old but had to have bleached hair a la the Honey Badger) ran through opponents in a football game and then, urged on by Jim Brown and abetted by numerous other celebrities, made his way through a series of adventures until we see him approaching Hard Rock Stadium and then - suddenly we’re live - he emerges from the stadium tunnel to run out to midfield and deliver the game ball.

(Then, in true NFL fashion - it doesn’t really happen unless you celebrate it - the kid stood and gave the crowd the now-universal arms-raised gesture  for “Let’s Hear it!”)

Now, suspicious me.  I see the original youth football scene - nobody’s wearing pads, nobody’s wearing helmets, nobody’s tackling - as a subliminal ad for NFL Flag football.  Trust me - it’s too late for the NFL to take over  youth tackle football, but by getting in on the ground floor of flag football (assisted by its front organization USA Football, self-styled “national governing body of the sport”) it can control the sport at its very starting point.  It doesn’t take a genius - just a suspicious guy like me - to see what’s taking place when you can kill youth tackle football simply by allowing the argument that it’s dangerous to go unrefuted while at the same time using all your marketing muscle (“Look - it’s Russell Wilson! He’s coaching a flag team!”) to promote NFL Flag Football.

*** If he could have seen her, Ray Charles might have gagged the woman who sang (allegedly) “America the Beautiful.”

*** You expect the national anthem before an NFL game to suck, and the Super Bowl unfailingly delivers.

This one  almost made me want to kneel in protest.

Question: At what point is a “performance” of the Star Spangled Banner so outside the lines that it’s no longer actually our national anthem, and therefore  you should no longer be expected to stand respectfully with your hat off?

*** I confess that when I worked in Baltimore in the beer business, I would on occasion make a “business” call on one of the strip joints  that made “The Block” - East Baltimore Street - notorious up and down the East Coast.

They didn’t leave much to the imagination in those places, but the Super Bowl halftime show - other than the fact that it was much more elaborate and its live audience much more refined - was about as close as you could get to those “take-it-all-off” shows on The Block.

*** We teach our young men to treat women with respect, and not as sex objects.  My question: does that also include those women on that halftime show, with their ass shaking, pussy rubbing and pole dancing?

*** One of my favorite writers, the late humorist H. Allen Smith, had a phrase that best described the halftime show: “Fire in a  Whorehouse.

*** Media whore Michael Strahan said afterward, “That was the best halftime show I’ve seen in a long time.” Please.

*** Commercials sucked.

Many were hard to understand (What, exactly, are they trying to sell us?  What do they want us to do?  What do they want us to buy?)

There were at least four car companies trying to sell electric cars.

A deodorant ad showed a football game with the home team lining up for the game winning field goal. When the kick goes through - and the team and its fans celebrate - the kicker and the holder take off their helmets and shock everybody by revealing that - “they’re girls!”  The message is not “buy our deodorant so you don’t smell bad.” It’s “Let’s kick inequality!”

I think the message of a combined Bud Light and Tide Pods commercial was that Bud Light is  good at getting rid of spaghetti stains.

Don’t worry about it being the end of football season.  There are lots of sh-tty movies to go to.

If they want actors to speak with real New England accents in their car commercial, they should hire real people with real New England accents, instead of hiring actors and telling them not to pronounce their R’s.

Drink Michelob Ultra and save the planet. Sort of. They call it their “Six for Six” campaign. What it means is that for every six pack of Michelob Ultra you buy they will “transition (that’s not a verb, but what the hell) six square feet of farmland into organic.” Wait. SIX SQUARE FEET?  Wow. My f—king coffee table is bigger than that!  Imagine if you wanted to “transition” a larger piece of land, say, a football field. A football field is approximately 40,000 square feet in area - about an acre. Divided by 6 square feet per six pack, that means to “transition” a piece of farmland the size of a football field, you’d have to drink 6,700 six packs. Guys, that’s 40,200 bottles of the damn stuff.  Put another way, it’s about 1,675 cases of 24 bottles each.  In other words, in order to “transition” land the size of a football field to “organic,” you would have to drink about 6-1/2 cases of beer a day, every day of the week, for a year (I’m giving you the weekends off so you can drink some real beer.) That’s for one stinking acre. Are you in? Better get started. Sköl!

Nice to know that Mr. Peanut’s death was, in Mark Twain’s words, greatly exaggerated.

They tell me the Sabra Hummus commercial used trans actors, but they fooled me - so was it all worth it?

Bud reminded us to “hydrate between drinks.”  This f—king nanny-state business is enough to drive this old beer drinker nuts.  Is there some law against showing three or four guys just sitting around someplace and drinking a pitcher of beer?

Bud Light Seltzer sure looks enticing.

Best commercial for me was the Doritos Cool Ranch “High Noon” takeoff - a “Dance Off” between the grizzled old small town sheriff and the young black dude.

Sickest commercial: Kia trying somehow to sell a car by giving a little black kid a football helmet and dropping him off at the field and telling him “Here’s your proving ground.” The message: “Push yourself to be someone.”

The Facebook ad - there’s a group for you - was pretty good, with the bit about rocks ending at the top of the steps of the Philly Art Museum where Chris Rock meets Rocky.

The Jeep “Groundhog Day” ad with Bill Murray was pretty good.

Most self-serving was the Budweiser “Typical Americans” spot - a once-American company now owned by a Belgian brewing giant, praising “typical Americans.”  Which reminds me - haven’t seen the Budweiser Clydesdales in quite some time.  How long do you suppose it will be before they wind up as steaks on the tables of rich Europeans?

*** The timing of the Microsoft ad featuring Katie Sowers,  the female “coach”  ended by announcing boastfully that now, there would be more like her to come: “All it takes is one,” they told us, “And then it opens the door.”

The timing was exquisitely ironic.

It came right after the Chiefs’ scored early in the fourth quarter to pull to within three points of the 49ers, and from that point on, the 49ers were as good as dead.  They were done for the day.

They went three-and-out on their next possession, and the Chiefs scored again to take the lead - and, as it turned out, the game.

After that "all it takes is one" crap,  I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Ms. Sowers, the female coach, is being used.  Look - that's a pretty arrogant statement for someone who herself is in pro football by the skin of her teeth- - who isn't even a full-fledged position coach.  She can't be that dumb. I'm guessing that she's being used as a front by some feminist a&&holes at Microsoft who'd like to think that it's as easy as that - just get one female a token job, one that she only has because she's a member of a favored group -   "and then it opens the door."

*** Was Tom Brady trying to tell us something in the HULU ad when he said, “I’m not goin’ anywhere?”

*** How much do you suppose someone is paying Shanahan to look like a doofus in that flat brim cap?

*** The Australian company my son works for - Sports Bet Australia - faced a bit of a quandary: the over/under on Patrick Mahomes’ rushing was 32.5.  Right up until the end, he had 43 yards rushing, so if you bet the over, you were in. But wait - the Chiefs  had him take a knee three times at the end, to run out the clock, and he was charged with losses of 15 yards.  That gave him 28 yards, which means if you bet the under, you won. In the interest of good customer relations, they decided to pay off both the Over and the Under.

*** Noted a former co-worker named Rich Pollak, “Poor little kids in Honduras are gonna be forced to wear 49ers Super Bowl Champs tee-shirts.”

***********  Although a book called “Skis in the Art of War,” was written by a Russian, it had the ironic effect of inspiring Finland, many years later, to use its lessons against the Russians themselves, in what the Finns call the Winter War.  And so effective were the Finnish soldiers-on-skis in combatting their much larger neighbor that it led the US to formation of the 10th Mountain Division.

One warning in the book is worth remembering, in the event that you might think it a good idea to go out on the ski trail tethered behind a reindeer: “Say, for example, that during a ride in the woods a downed tree is in the way; the reindeer leaps over it.”  Uh-oh.

*********** We love where we live.  We have a nice house, we have great neighbors, and we live in a nice town, surrounded by awesome natural beauty.

Unfortunately,  many others agree with us that it’s a nice town, and developers are happy to build them houses so they can live here, too,  with the result that it’s one of the fastest-growing towns in the state - when we moved here in 1989, its population was 6,000. In 2010, it was 19,355.  And in 2020, it’s expected to be 25,000+. And there’s still plenty of land just begging to have houses built on it, 10 per acre.  You get the idea.

Camas is only 30 minutes from downtown Portland.  Well, used to be.

But the whole damn Portland area is growing, and things are starting to get clogged, and it can take a little longer to get places.  Did I mention that during that time they haven’t built any new roads? 

So there’s that.

Nevertheless we still love it here.  But we wonder how long we can hold out against those A$$holes Up North. “Up north” is  Seattle.  It’s one of the loveliest places on God’s earth, but thanks to a huge influx of techie types,  it’s become as liberal as Berkeley.   And it’s populous  enough to swing most of the political issues in the state.

(As in the rest of the West, much of Seattle’s growth is attributable to Californians escaping their state’s insanity - but bringing along with them the liberalism that ruined California.)

The latest outrage from those A&&holes Up North is a Democrat-pushed bill in the state legislature that will make LGBTQ-oriented sex ed compulsory in all public schools,  starting in kindergarten.

Tell me you really think its a great idea to teach kindergartners about “body parts” (Trigger warning: Washington Democrats think the following is okay for kindergartners, but you may not want to read it, because it’s pretty clinical)

Most girls have a vulva, which is the name for the area between the legs. The vulva describes the whole area including the small hole where urine or pee comes out called the opening to the urethra, the hole below that, which is a little bigger and is called the vagina that is used when a female has a baby, and the hole below that where a bowel movement, or poop, comes out called the anus. So a person with a vulva has three holes between their legs and a very sensitive little area at the top called the clitoris.

Most boys have a penis between their legs which they use to urinate or ‘pee.’ Some boys have a foreskin, which is a piece of skin that covers the end of the penis and some boys do not. A boy also has a hole where a bowel movement, or poop, leaves the body called an anus, just like a girl.

Or to teach first graders about “gender roles”:

Teachers are instructed to read "My Princess Boy" prior to the lesson and then ask the children:

“Does the job a person has, or what they wear mean the person is a man or woman?” (No) “Do the activities someone likes to do for fun or what they wear mean they are a boy or a girl?” (No)

Close the lesson by asking “How could you support others in trying new things and participating in activities that some people may sometimes say are only for boys or only for girls?” Ask for volunteers to offer strategies. (Some responses might include: tell them that you think it’s great; tell them that they shouldn’t listen to what other people think; tell them that you will do it with them; tell them that there is no such thing as girl activities and boy activities, etc.)

Or to teach sixth graders about proper pronouns:

In the Democrats’ proposal, sixth graders would learn “language … that seems less familiar – using the pronoun ‘they’ instead of ‘her’ or him,’ using gender neutral names in scenarios and role-plays and referring to ‘someone with a vulva’ vs. a girl or woman.”

“This is intended to make the curriculum inclusive of all genders and gender identities,” states the proposal.
Could this be the final straw for us?

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/02/01/washington-democrats-push-mandatory-lgbtq-focused-sex-ed-for-kindergartners/

***********  I don’t follow college wrestling that closely.  But I know that the Iowa schools have long been good, as has Penn State.

And I do know that Cael Sanderson, a great college wrestler at Iowa State, has proved to be a great college coach, winning  eight of the last nine NCAA titles at Penn State.

Sounds as if the Iowa-Penn State dual match last week was  one for the ages.

Iowa wound up winning, 19-17, with the margin of victory coming from the 174-pound match, between Penn State’s Number One ranked Mark Hall, and Iowa’s Number Two Ranked Michael Kemmerer.

Hall came in with a 15-0 record, Kemmerer at 8-0.

Kemmerer won, 11-6.

Ironically, Kemmerer is a Pennsylvanian, from Murrysville.

For Hall, a native Minnesotan, it was just his sixth loss in college competition (he’s won more than 100 matches).

Video of their match:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRVnofc2mqY

Freeport Pretzels*********** For some reason I didn’t find Mark Kaczmarek’s answer identifying Preston Pearson until it was too late, so I not only owe Coach Kaz recognition for that, but I also owe him for the great factoid that he included in his answer:

Preston Pearson is from Freeport, Illinois, Home of the Pretzels.

That made Preston Pearson  a Freeport Pretzel.

True fact. The town was settled by Germans, who started a number of breweries, which meant that people drinking the beer needed something to munch on.

As I learned early, growing up in heavily-German Eastern Pennsylvania, "something to munch on" while drinking beer meant pretzels.

And thanks to a Freeport Company, the Billerbeck Bakery, the town became known far and wide as the “Pretzel City,” and the Freeport High teams as the Pretzels.

https://www.journalstandard.com/news/20180421/tale-with-twist-heres-why-freeport-is-pretzel-city

*********** Students at England’s Oxford University occupied a building and refused to leave until the college divested itself of its shares in petroleum giant Shell and BP. They demanded action NOW.

The bursar - the guy in charge of college finances - replied, “I am not able to arrange any divestment at short notice, but I can arrange for the gas central heating in college to be switched off with immediate effect. Please let me know if you support this proposal.”

The protestors said he was being “flippant.” An organizer of the protest said, “it’s January and it would be borderline dangerous to shut off the central heating.” Another protestor said he was being “provocative.”

The bursar replied, “You are right that I am being provocative but I am provoking some clear thinking, I hope. It is all too easy to request others to do things that carry no personal cost to yourself. The question is whether you and others are prepared to make personal sacrifices to achieve the goals of environmental improvement.”


*********** Dr. Marc Siegel, Fox News Medical Correspondent, was asked if people riding the New York subway ought to worry about getting Coronavirus.

When you ride the New York subway, he replied, “You have other things to worry about.”

*********** Noticeably absent from the pre-Super Bowl festivities was the last QB to take the 49ers to the Super Bowl - Colin Kaepernick.

The NFL is being blamed for the exclusion, but really - after going through a nasty divorce, would you want your ex-wife showing up at a family reunion?

Because the NFL has the right to approve of Super Bowl commercials, we didn’t even get to be reminded of him by a PETA ad which the NFL (evidently) disapproved: the commercial consisted of assorted animals taking a knee during the national anthem, concluding with the message “Re­spect is the right of every liv­ing be­ing.”

It’s a sick ad, because no one should be able to use the national anthem for advertising purposes, whatever the cause.  And it’s certainly unfair to employ innocent animals, even cartoon characters, in a controversial issue.

It’s dumb as sh—, besides, to see snakes (snakes, which don’t have any knees?) kneeling.

Maybe it’s just as well “for PETA’s sake” (clever play on word, eh?) that the ad didn’t run, because the actual kneelers and those that have supported them are really pissed at the idea that PETA would appropriate their method of protest for a cause other than theirs.

https://www.mediaite.com/tv/watch-kaepernick-inspired-super-bowl-ad-peta-says-nfl-didnt-want-you-to-see-backfires/


*********** From “Stewart Mandel’s Mailbag,” in The Athletic

If you were a head coach hiring an entire coaching staff from scratch, how would you allocate a $10 million budget (to keep numbers round) for your first five hires — including on-field coaches, performance staff, recruiting coordinators, etc.?

JD, Fort Worth, Texas


Unless I’m the world’s worst money manager I don’t think I could blow through $10 million with just five hires. So instead, let me just say whatever the budget, this would be my order of priority: Strength coach, personnel director (essentially the recruiting coordinator), offensive coordinator (preferably one who’s also a really good QB coach), top recruiting assistants, defensive coordinator, training staff and other key support staff, other position coaches.

The strength staff is unquestionably the most important hires because they spend the most time with your players year-round and play a critical role in implementing the culture. Frankly I’m baffled why they aren’t the highest-paid, or at least higher paid than much of the on-field staff. Offensive coordinator is my top on-field priority because it’s not enough to win these days; you have to be exciting doing it. Plus, if my first defensive coordinator doesn’t work out I’ll just hire another one who will switch us from a 4-3 to a 3-4 or vice versa, lets the players fly to the ball instead of standing around, blah, blah, blah.

Recruiting is vital, so those hires — both the actual recruiters and the personnel department supporting them — are essential to get right. And some of the behind-the-scenes stuff (nutritionists, training staff, etc.) are more important than most people realize.

Finally, if you can’t already tell, I consider most running backs/receivers/linebackers coaches to be fairly interchangeable.

*********** After Bo Pelini was hired by LSU, Mitch Sherman, in The Athletic, contacted a number of his former players at Nebraska. What he wrote was all positive:

“Bo meant a lot to me personally,” Ameer Abdullah said. “He changed my life.”

Abdullah talked of how Pelini believed in him when others questioned his size and ability to play running back out of Homewood, Ala., in 2011. Pelini trusted Abdullah to compete as a true freshman and to later put the Huskers on his back. He said the coach helped Nebraska players through mental-health issues, to escape difficult and dangerous situations at home and to deal with grief.

“A lot of people put their personal inflections into who they want as a person to be their head coach,” Abdullah said. “They see a guy on Saturday, and they make an entire evaluation on who this is off of that one day.”

***

“People got a sour taste when they saw him butt-chewing us on TV,” said C.J. Zimmerer, who played fullback for Pelini from 2009 to 2013. “Saturday was just three or four hours of maybe 100 that he put in every week. A lot of us players took it like, ‘If Coach is yelling at me, he knows I can do better. If Coach isn’t yelling at you, he’s given up.’”

https://theathletic.com/1568622/2020/01/29/nebraska-huskers-football-react-bo-pelini-big-time-lsu/?source=dailyemail


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

Unfortunately in today's game coaches cringe when QB's "take off."  After all... they place so much emphasis on the QB position in their pass happy offenses that to lose their starter to an overzealous defender (actually...a defender who is just playing the game the way it was meant to be played...aggressively) places the coaches in the unenviable position of having to actually "coach" the backup to at least be a good manager of the offense they run thus watering down the offense's capabilities.  Maybe...just maybe...more coaches would place less on the shoulders of the QB to win games and no longer stress when the QB decides to be a football player and "take off" knowing the QB is tough enough to handle the contact downfield.

IMHO tennis gets exciting when the players go to the net.  Otherwise...to watch them lob balls over the net from the baseline is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

A lot of us "old" coaches have plenty of jokes/stories like Frank Layden had, and to all of us "old guys" those jokes are funny.  Unfortunately there are not many of us "old" guys around anymore who can laugh at those jokes.  This society has become so sensitive that frankly I'm glad to be one of those "old guys".

People here in Austin always say the weather is unpredictable.  Not sure where they get that idea from.  For the most part the sun shines here most of the time, and when it does it's warm and often humid.  Our summers are long with short fall and spring seasons.  Winter...well let's just say December and January is about it for winter.  The only unpredictability is when it rains.  The forecasters have trouble with that.  A light rain can turn into a violent storm, or, a violent storm may turn out to be a light rain.

Have a great weekend


*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Fred Arbanas may very well be the best tight end NOT in the Hall of Fame.

He was a contemporary of NFL Hall of Famers John Mackey and Mike Ditka, considered by many to be the best ever to play the position, and while his receiving stats were somewhat less than theirs - due largely to a dreadful occurrence near the end of his third season - he was considered at least their equal as a blocker.

It’s  quite likely that his having played most of his career in the AFL, before the merger with the NFL, is another reason why he’s not in the Hall.

A native of Detroit, he played at Michigan State, where he was a two-way starter at end  for three years.

When drafted by both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Dallas Texans of the AFL, he chose the Texans.

He spent his entire ten-year career with the franchise. He missed all of his rookie season (1961) with ruptured discs, and moved with the Texans after the 1962 season to Kansas City, where they became the Chiefs.

After his first three active seasons (1962-63-64) he had compiled some very impressive stats, especially for a tight end: 97 receptions, 1528 yards receiving, and 20 touchdowns - definitely on pace to a Hall of Fame career.

But then, late in the 1964 season, he was jumped on and beaten by some thugs on the streets of Kansas City, and left blinded in one eye.

Remarkably, he returned to play in 1965, and he played well.  But while he did post creditable stats the rest of his career, they went from being great to being very good, with the output of his final six years being almost identical to that of his first three: 101 receptions, 1573 yards, and 14 TDs. (Bear in mind that those were the stats of a man playing professional football without sight in one eye - and they were still good enough for him to be named All-AFL in 1965, 1966 and 1967.)

He played in two Super Bowls, including the last one that the Chiefs played in - which was also the last one between the champions of the AFL and NFL before their merger.

In five of the first six seasons he was active, he was named to play in the AFL All-Star Game, and he was All-AFL six times (1962-1967).

He is member of the All-Time All-AFL team.

He is a member of the Missouri and Michigan sports halls of fame.

He is a member of the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame, and among Chiefs’ tight ends, only Tony Gonzalez has more receptions and more yards receiving.

After retirement, Fred Arbanas remained in the Kansas City area and became active in his county’s politics.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRED ARBANAS

BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
RALPH BALDUCCI - PORTLAND, OREGON
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS

*********** QUIZ: He grew up in Defiance, Ohio, where he  was a star athlete and class valedictorian.

Recruited by Michigan, he became the first black athlete ever to play in the backfield for the Wolverines.

He led the team in rushing in 1944, but that December he was drafted into the  Army, then sent to train in the Army Air Corps’ Tuskegee Airman pilot training program.  He graduated from the program just as the war was ending, and after his discharge he returned to Michigan for the 1946 season.

In 1946, sharing  the starting single wing tailback job with All-American Bob Chappuis, he managed to win All-Big Ten honors, but in his final two seasons, he became less of a starter and  more of a return specialist.

In his four-year career, he returned four punts for touchdowns, a Michigan record that has since been tied  but never broken.

His three punt returns for a touchdown in a single season were a Big Ten record that lasted until 2004.

In Michigan’s 49-0 win over USC in the 1948 Rose Bowl, he scored on a 45-yard pass.

Although chosen in the first round of the AAFC draft by the league champion Cleveland Browns, he was injured in a freak training camp accident and never played a down of professional football.

In 1950, he graduated with a degree in pharmacy, and in 1958 he earned a degree in dentistry, and re-enlisted in the service, this time in the Air Force.  When he retired from the service in 1988, he had served in a number of locations, including Vietnam.

He is a member of the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

In 2007, he was honored along with six other surviving  Tuskegee Airmen by being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.



Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY
,  JANUARY 31,  2020  "If it's the ultimate game, why are they playing it again next year?" Duane Thomas, before Super Bowl VI

*********** Could any of you possibly hate hook sliding as much as I do?

I’m sure that someone, somewhere, can tell me this: how many guys have been penalized when they were coming in for a tackle only to have the QB hook slide underneath them?  How many of them have been disqualified because they wound up “targeting” a guy whose tactic turned him into a moving target?

There’s something fundamentally wrong when a game that’s based on physicality and toughness and never giving up - never! - encourages a player to surrender - to give up! - by offering him a safe space.

When a quarterback poses as a running back to gain ground and then, just before being tackled, goes fetal,
it inserts an element of cowardice into a game that prizes bravery.  Please don’t hurt me. Please.

At the very least, if this personal mercy rule must remain, the rules makers have to eliminate any reward for hooksliding beyond the protection itself.

My proposal: spot the ball five yards back from the point at which the slider is ruled down; in  the case of a longer run, take it back to the line of scrimmage.

You're either a runner or you're a protected species.  You can't have it both ways.

*********** My wife loves watching  tennis, and although I used to enjoy playing, I seldom watch.  But every so often, I get drawn to a match that I can’t stop watching.

Such a match was between the great Roger Federer and an American named Tennys Sandgren (yes, that’s actually the guy’s first name), in the Australian Open.

Federer, 38 years old, is a true competitor.  I’ve seen him play matches that have lasted close to fours hours, yet in his long career, he has never “retired” from a match - never given in to injury or fatigue (or whatever), as so many other tennis players are wont to do).

This match was a classic example of how far a competitive nature, a refusal to give in, can take a person.

Federer was down, 2 sets to 1, and in a best-of-five sets match, he was behind in the third set, one point away from losing it - and the match.  In tennis, that’s called “match point.”

Somehow he stayed alive by winning the point.

But then Sandgren won the next point, and, because you have to win by two points, Federer once again faced match point.  Lose the next point, and it’s over.

So it went for several points, until finally Federer forced it to reach tie-break, a little mini-match in which the first to get to seven points (must win by two) wins the set.

In tie-break, Federer fell behind early, and found himself down, 6-3. That meant that he faced “triple match point” - Sandgren had only to win one of the next three points and the match was over.

And I’ll be damned if Federer didn’t wind up tieing it up, then winning 10-8, and taking the fourth set.

With the match now tied, 2 sets apiece, Federer won the fifth set, and the match.

It took him three hours and 28 minutes.

He survived seven match points - seven instances where one single mistake, one single misplaced shot, meant defeat.

A humble man, Federer admitted afterward,  “You’ve got to get lucky sometimes.”

*********** Frank Layden, who is still with us,  well into his 80s, was a  good basketball coach - coach of the Utah Stars from 1981-1989 - but an even funnier guy, a product of a time when coaches could actually crack wise about things without fear of offending a class of victims just waiting to be offended.

He was quite overweight, once well over 300 pounds, and even after losing 85 pounds at one point, he often joked about his weight and about his love of food.

A couple of examples:

Asked how he’d regained a lot of the weight he’d lost, he said, “It snacked up on me.”

After  he stepped on a scale, he said, the fortune read, ''Come back when you`re alone.''

When his high school coach told him to haul ass, he said,  “It took me two trips.”
 
Alas.  In these enlightened times, a lot of his humor is considered way off base,  to remain hidden away until some archeologist discovers it a thousand years from now (if our civilization still exists):

The Bishop visited a local convent and told the Mother Superior that he`d heard a case of herpes had been discovered there. ''Good,'' the Mother Superior  replied, ''we were getting tired of the chardonnay.’’
He said that he once tried the rice diet,’’But I got this incredible desire to fold shirts.’’
He said that one of his players walked off the bus backward after hearing someone say, ''Let`s grab his seat when he leaves.''

About his guards: ’’A good point guard and a scorer should go hand in hand, but not in the locker room.''


*********** Two pieces of advice I always give to a coach who’s looking for a job:

1. Never go anyplace where you can’t hire and fire your own assistants.  If they don’t owe their jobs to you - if they’re pretty much guaranteed by the AD that their jobs are secure,  they’re not in as deep as you are.  They know they’ll still be around when you’re gone.
 
2. Never go anyplace where you have no say in your out-of-conference scheduling. Avoid at all costs a place where somebody other than your AD - such as your conference - schedules them for you.  It’s way too easy nowadays for high school ADs to simply hook up with another conference for non-league scheduling.  It can save him (or her) a lot of time, but it can serve you up a game that your kids aren’t ready to play, and blow up your season.

Sorry - Had to make that three pieces of advice. Hard to believe that it’s become necessary to add this, but it has:

3. Never go anyplace where you don’t have the ability to kick a kid off the team without what amounts to going through a hearing.  How can you be successful - on or off the field - when you could be forced to keep kids who don’t want to do things your way?


*********** Before the Republicans go out and beat me to it and use the idea as fundraiser at Trump rallies, I’ve been hard at work on my whack-a-mole game in which there pop up through the holes, at random, stuffed creatures closely resembling Nancy Pelosi… Adam Schiff… Charles Schumer… Jerry Nadler… Ilhan Omar… Rashida Tlaib… Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez… Mitt Romney… you get the idea.

Of course,  the game comes with a very soft, foam rubber mallet -  it’s all in good clean fun, you understand.  And no real moles were injured in the testing of the product.

*********** I don’t want to dwell excessively on the young lady who, through an affirmative action program devised to give “minorities” (oddly including women, who make up a “minority” of more than 50 per cent of our population) an assist in getting NFL coaching jobs, is now on the 49ers’ staff.

But I had to make this point: in the event that she intends to climb the career ladder,  she’d better be prepared for the utter ruthlessness of the politics - the palace intrigue - that accompanies the climb.  With a limited number of positions (32 NFL teams times maybe 20 people on each team’s coaching staff) and many times that number of people
- aggressive, forceful, competitive people at that - qualified to fill those positions, cutthroat competition is the norm.

As a former longtime NFL coach named Pete McCulley once described it to me, “Hugh, up there they use real bullets.”

*********** Pete McCulley was an assistant for the Colts, Redskins, Jets and Chiefs before getting the head coaching job at San Francisco in 1978.  But in the middle of his first season, with a 1-8 record, he was let go by GM Joe Thomas and replaced by Fred O’Connor. O’Connor didn’t do a lot better. At the end of the season, the two coaches’ combined record was 2-14.

So the 49ers got smart.  They hired Bill Walsh, who’d been head coach at Stanford.  The great Walsh went 2-14 in his first season.

How’d they get smart?  By firing Joe Thomas as AD and replacing him with - Walsh.  As his own boss, Walsh survived the kind of start that under Thomas had gotten McCulley fired.  At the same point in his first  season, Walsh’s 49ers were also 1-8, and they were 1-13 before they won their second game.  

Not only did GM Walsh not fire his head coach, but he also drafted Joe Montana and Dwight Clark.

Meanwhile,  at the time of his firing, a local reporter asked McCulley if he was surprised.

Replied McCulley, “No, I haven’t been surprised since I found out that ice cream cones weren’t filled all the way to the bottom.”

(Readers Digest liked the quote so much that they used it and paid him $25 for it. He never cashed the check.)

*********** The coronavirus is rather scary, and it has the potential to really harm the world economy.  (At the least.)

It’s already having a harmful effect on international travel.

Not wishing the airlines any ill - the bastards -  but in the space of less than 20 years, they’ve ruined the entire flying experience.  They stood by silently and allowed the TSA deal to metastasize into a government monster; they’ve stuffed more and more passengers into the same size metal tubes by cramming seats closer and closer together; in their greed, they started to charge people to check their luggage, and consequently  so many people began to  “carry on” that the resultant struggle for space in overhead bins caused them to realize that they could make money there, too, by creating ways to make you pay for boarding priority. You want to get to that overhead space ahead of the hoi polloi? It’s gonna cost ya.

I could go on all day, but life's too short. What I'm getting at is  maybe it wouldn’t be all that bad if they were to do the suffering for a change. Maybe things could actually get tough enough for the airlines  that some marketing whiz will come up with the bright idea of luring passengers back by making flying pleasant again.

But I doubt it.

*********** Here in southwest Washington, we’re just about to say good-bye to one of the rainiest Januaries on record.  More impressive than the the amount of rain has  been the number of rainy days - today (Thursday, the 30th), as I’m writing this, was just the second day this month without measurable rainfall. 

Considering most of the alternatives, though, I’ll take it.  As the old-timers used to say,  at least we don’t have to shovel it…

*********** One more reason why I hate the NFL: They call it the Pro Football Hall of Fame but they might as well be honest and call it the NFL Hall of Fame, considering the short shrift they give to any other league.  If a guy played in the CFL, it’s as if all his records from up north got lost at the border - they don’t mean a thing to the NFL. And while the AAFC is seriously under-represented (the AAFC Browns of the late 1940s are one of the greatest teams in the history of the game), the AFL has been treated even worse: there are fewer than 40 players in the Hall of Fame who ever played any part of their careers in the AFL, and there is only one player in the Hall (Billy Shaw) who played his entire career in the AFL.  (Indignity of indignities,  at his induction into the “Pro Football” Hall of Fame, he had to wear one of those hideous gold NFL blazers.)

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

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to watch Kobe Bryant play basketball.  He was an incredible athlete, and most important a wonderful father to his daughters.  I pray for his family that God help them get through this terrible time in their lives.

Brian Kelly and Notre Dame took the absolute correct action in releasing that young man from his scholarship offer.  

Also, we've both been coaching for a long time, and have likely coached young guys who were extremely talented.  Like you I have coached every position on the field including DB's.  While I never coached an illegal technique, I have always taught my guys the correct way to play the position.  But I have also explained to them that they are the last line of defense, and have told my DB's if you get beat don't get beat for six.  Do what you can to draw a flag.  

In today's game WR coaches teach their guys to use their hands much more than what used to be taught.  As a result, I'm certain DB coaches are now teaching their guys how to defend against it.  Whether it's right, or wrong, has to be answered by those who make and interpret the rules.

Joe Biden will continue to reap what he sows.  He's failed twice before in becoming the President, and with this Burisma fiasco involving his son he is working on a trifecta.

John Gagliardi was a maverick.  I had the good fortune of meeting him while coaching in Minnesota.  Spent nearly 30 minutes speaking with him in his office then hopping into a golf cart with him for a tour of the St. John's facilities.  He invited me to attend one of their home games, and it was at that game I realized why his teams were so successful. 

The Johnnies had FUN playing the game.  Before the game they filtered out of the locker room individually or in small groups to the field, they spread out through the end zone doing stretches, some even making "turf angels" until the team captains got them up to do a couple of jumping jacks.   Then they warmed up in groups for pre-game like most teams do but if you would expect them to get into straight lines for exercises before doing that forget it.  Craziest thing I'd ever seen.  The stadium was filled to capacity, and has to be one of the most beautiful venues for watching a college game.  St. John's won in a walk.

There were 63 million Americans who voted for Clinton in 2016, and 62 million Americans who voted for Trump.  Which means there were close to 200 million Americans who did not vote.  The question begging to be asked is how many of those 200 million Americans (if all of them are actually eligible to vote) will get off their arses in 2020?  And how many of them will use their votes to prevent a socialist from winning?   IF the numbers remain even again does anyone think the electoral college will ever elect a socialist??

Enjoy your week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Preston Pearson was a college basketball player (at Illinois).

Despite never having played a down of college football, he was drafted in the 12th round by the Baltimore Colts,  and made into  a running back.

He proved to be equally good at running, receiving and blocking, and because of his all-around abilities, at Dallas he became known as a “third-down back” - probably the first such in the NFL - such a good receiver that it required defenses to insert an extra defensive back (a “nickel back”) to cover him.

He was an excellent kick return man.

He seldom started, but he played 14 years in the NFL, and had quite a career:

He gained a total of 9,545 all-purpose yards: 3,609 rushing,  3,095 receiving, and 2,841 on returns. He scored 33 touchdowns: 17 rushing, 13 receiving, two on kick returns, and one on a recovered fumble.

Although Preston Pearson never played in a Pro Bowl, he played in five Super Bowls.

Preston Pearson was the first player to appear in Super Bowls with three different teams.

Preston Pearson played under three Hall-of-Fame coaches (Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Tom Landry).

Preston Pearson took handoffs and caught passes from three Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks (John Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach).

Preston Pearson played in the backfield with three Hall-of-Fame running backs (Lenny Moore, Franco Harris, Tony Dorsett).

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING PRESTON PEARSON


JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

 
*********** QUIZ: He may very well be the best tight end NOT in the Hall of Fame.

He was a contemporary of NFL Hall of Famers John Mackey and Mike Ditka, considered by many to be the best ever to play the position, and while his receiving stats were somewhat less than theirs - due largely to a dreadful occurrence near the end of his third season - he was considered at least their equal as a blocker.

It’s  quite likely that his having played most of his career in the AFL, before the merger with the NFL, is another reason why he’s not in the Hall.

A native of Detroit, he played at Michigan State, where he was a two-way starter at end  for three years.

When drafted by both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Dallas Texans of the AFL, he chose the Texans.

He spent his entire ten-year career with the franchise. He missed all of his rookie season (1961) with ruptured discs, and moved with the Texans after the 1962 season to Kansas City, where they became the Chiefs.

After his first three active seasons (1962-63-64) he had compiled some very impressive stats, especially for a tight end: 97 receptions, 1528 yards receiving, and 20 touchdowns - definitely on pace to a Hall of Fame career.

But then, late in the 1964 season, he was jumped on and beaten by some thugs on the streets of Kansas City, and left blinded in one eye.

Remarkably, he returned to play in 1965, and he played well.  But while he did post creditable stats the rest of his career, they went from being great to being very good, with the output of his final six years being almost identical to that of his first three: 101 receptions, 1573 yards, and 14 TDs. (Bear in mind that those were the stats of a man playing professional football without sight in one eye - and they were still good enough for him to be named All-AFL in 1965, 1966 and 1967.)

He played in two Super Bowls, including the last one that the Chiefs played in - which was also the last one between the champions of the AFL and NFL before their merger.

In five of the first six seasons he was active, he was named to play in the AFL All-Star Game, and he was All-AFL six times (1962-1967).

He is a member of the All-Time All-AFL team.

He is a member of the Missouri and Michigan sports halls of fame.

He is a member of the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame, and among Chiefs’ tight ends, only Tony Gonzalez has more receptions and more yards receiving.

After retirement, he remained in the Kansas City area and became active in his county’s politics.



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 28,     2020  You cannot truly listen to someone and do something else at the same time.” M. Scott Peck,  American psychiatrist and  author

*********** The premature death of Kobe Bryant is sad for so many reasons. 

I liked him because he was a Philly kid - although he had grown up mostly in Italy when his dad, Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant, was playing pro basketball over there.

Joe Bryant, the dad,  was a Philly kid all the way - went to John Bartram High in Southwest Philly (not far from the airport) and played college ball at LaSalle. He gave Kobe a head start in life by marrying Kobe’s mother and being there for his son.  He stayed married to Kobe’s mother,  and when his playing career ended, he settled down in the Philadelphia suburbs - specifically, “on the Main Line” - the name given to the string of towns that grew up near stations on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s main Philadelphia-to-Pittsburgh line, where wealthy white Philadelphians could live, and commute to their jobs in “Center City.”

If Main Liners  don’t send their kids to one of the area’s several private day schools - or away to a prestigious New England boarding school - they send them to one of the two area high schools, Radnor or Lower Merion.  As you might expect, they are both excellent schools, academically and athletically.

Lower Merion is where Kobe Bryant went to high school.  He was not a city kid.  In fact, in the early days of his NBA career, I once joked (on this site) that, as good as he was,  if he was going to make any money as an endorser, he was going to have to do something out of character to get some street cred.

That was by no means a wish that he would get into trouble in the manner that he did - a rehashing of which has no place in a piece whose point is to express sadness at his loss.

Hard to say what all he might have done with the rest of his life, but he had the potential to do a lot of good, and by all appearances he was dedicated to giving his children the same kind of loving upbringing he was blessed to have.

A couple of early Kobe memories have stuck with me over the years.

I first heard of him when I was in Abington, the Philly suburb where my wife grew up, helping the high school staff install the Double Wing.  This had to be 1966 or so.   We were in the coaches’ locker room after a practice and I remember hearing a couple of the  coaches talking in glowing terms  about this kid at Lower Merion (then in Abington’s league) named Kobe Bryant.  Naturally, I was impressed, but this being Philly, an area that’s turned out more than its share of excellent basketball players, I probably wasn’t as impressed as I should have been.

As Lower Merion’s senior prom approached, school officials announced that they were going to have extra security on hand. Naturally, people assumed that this was because of Kobe Bryant’s growing celebrity, but it turned out that there was something more - his date was Brandy.


*********** Charlie Wilson, of Crystal River, Florida sent along the story about Notre Dame releasing a signee after the prospective student-athlete was arrested for stealing a car and breaking into a gun shop and stealing weapons.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/notre-dame-signee-landen-bartleson-released-from-letter-of-intent-amid-robbery-charges/

Charlie wrote,  I know, I know.  You can't know beforehand that your Future-Heisman-Recruit is going to knock over a Liquor Store (to say nothing of a Gun shop) but...

This last year I watched one game featuring ND and I was appalled.

A receiver runs a crossing route.  The ball is high.  The receiver leaps but is prevented from his full jump by the DB who GRABS him and does so in Full-Stealth Mode.  Ya' see, the DB attempts to hide the fact that he was grabbing and holding, as if hiding your hands makes Holding OK.

I saw it happen twice and then the Clincher: The DB is a full step behind the Receiver Break.  The DB is seen reaching with his hands in a "Grasping Position" - He would have held the Receiver if he had been a step closer.

Is this what the Coaching Staff is teaching at Notre Dame these days? 

Charlie,

If there’s one thing that will cause me to call it a career it will be coaches who teach illegal/unethical tactics.

The downside of football being a means for teaching kids things that will help them be successful in life - hard work, diligence, avoiding shortcuts, etc -  is that it can also be used to teach them things that will lead to their becoming parasites, living off the poor chumps who do things the right way.


*********** Joe Biden loves to pass himself off as just plain Joe, the blue-collar guy - a coal miner’s kid from the mean streets of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The truth is a bit different. He’s a graduate of Archmere Academy, in Claymont, Delaware, a private Catholic school whose tuition next year will be $28,800.  But instead of thanking his parents for sacrificing to get him a good education and  give him a great start in life, his scheme has always been pretending that he was a child of poverty, turned out onto the street to scrape and scramble (just like you and me) to get where he is.

Another way he’s been allowed to play “just regular Joe” has been through his commuting, while a Senator, from his home in Delaware to his “job” in Washington, DC - via Amtrak.  He even got tagged “Amtrak Joe” by the fawning news media.

Here’s a sample of his treatment by the media -  from “The Independent,” January 20, 2017…

True to his ‘man of the people’ reputation, former Vice President Joe Biden took the train home from Washington DC after Donald Trump’s inauguration.
‘Amtrak Joe’, who famously commuted daily to the US capital by rail during his time as senator, opted to use the train to return to his home state of Delaware.
The former Democrat senator, who came to be known by his down-to-earth manner and blue-collar upbringing, made the journey joined by his wife Jill and incumbent Delaware senator Tom Carper.
Mr Biden told CNN “this is the way I wanted to go home, the way I came” after boarding the train at Washington DC’s Union Station.
He took the 1pm Amtrak Acela Express from the US capital, arriving in Wilmington, Delaware around two hours later, where he was greeted by a marching band.
But Mr Biden will be back in Washington soon, as the couple intend to buy a house in the city so that his wife is near to a college in Virginia where she teaches English.
Such is his love affair with the railways that Amtrak renamed Wilmington station Joseph R Biden, Jr Railroad Station in 2011.
He is believed to have taken around 8,000 trips from the station to Washington during his time in office.

Yeah, man of the people. Yeah, love affair with the railways.  Yeah, down-to-earth manner and blue-collar upbringing. This guy not only had the station named for him, but - according to Peter Schweizer, who’s just written a book about the Bidens entitled “Profiles in Corruption”  - whenever he found that he was running late, he would simply call Amtrak. And they’d hold the train for him.  You’re a working guy.  You try that.  See if they’ll make a couple hundred people wait for you.

*********** In your section on coaching awards, I didn't see John Gagliardi's name. You think his peers had something against him?

John Vermillion
St. Petersburg, Florida

Very observant.

I don’t think there was any problem.  If anything, his fellow coaches should have given him a special award for proving that so many of the supposedly indispensable things we do aren’t at all necessary.

Although his teams made the D-III playoffs an astounding number of times - 18 out of 25 years from 1985 to 2009, and an astounding 10 out of 12 times from 1998 to 2009 - he won only three titles, and one of them was an NAIA title:

1965  - He won the NAIA title and was named NAIA Coach of the Year

1976 - He won the D-III championship but so far as I can tell, until 1983 the AFCA gave out only two Coach of the Year Awards: one for a  "University Division"  and one for a "College Division.”  Very few of the latter awards at that time went to the smaller schools - what we would now call D-III.

2003 - He won the D-III championship and he was named AFCA D-III Coach of the Year!


Division III
1983  Bob Reade, Augustana (Ill.)
1984  Bob Reade, Augustana (Ill.)
1985  Bob Reade, Augustana (Ill.)
1986  Bob Reade, Augustana (Ill.)
1987  Walt Hameline, Wagner
1988  Jim Butterfield, Ithaca
1989  Mike Kelly, Dayton
1990  Ken O’Keefe, Allegheny
1991  Jim Butterfield, Ithaca
1992  John Luckhardt, Wash. & Jeff.
1993  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
1994  Pete Schmidt, Albion
1995  Roger Harring, Wis.-La Crosse
1996  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
1997  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
1998  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
1999  Frosty Westering, Pacific Lutheran
2000  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
2001  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
2002  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
2003  John Gagliardi, St. John’s (Minn.)
2004  Jay Locey, Linfield
2005  Bob Berezowitz, Wis.-Whitewater
2006  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
2007  Lance Leipold, Wis.-Whitewater
2008  Larry Kehres, Mount Union
2009  Lance Leipold, Wis.-Whitewater
2010  Lance Leipold, Wis.-Whitewater
2011  Lance Leipold, Wis.-Whitewater
2012  Glenn Caruso, St. Thomas
2013  Lance Leipold, Wis.-Whitewater
2014  Lance Leipold, Wis.-Whitewater
2015  Glenn Caruso, St. Thomas
2016  Pete Fredenburg, Mary Hardin-Baylor
2017  Jason Mangone, Brockport
2018  Jim Margraff, Johns Hopkins

*********** While you were occupied otherwise, the Raiders went and made it official - they’re now the Las Vegas Raiders.

*********** I was browsing through some magazines, and I came across an interview with Chris Petersen in the February, 2010 issue of American Football Monthly. Nearly 10 years old, I think it shed a lot of light on Coach Petersen’s recent, unexpected retirement.

Q - With Urban Meyer’s health issues, stress has really come to the forefront in the coaching profession. Please share a little about your time management and things you do to control your stress level, and that of your staff and team.

I am surprised at how long it took for this to come to the forefront. It’s just a stressful environment that we live in. I think it is really important that we pay attention to having as much balance in our lives as possible. One of the main problems is, when you get into that new season, there just is not any balance, it’s football 24/7. I think it’s very important somehow that you not make it football 24/7. You have to have some time to exercise and to see your family.

I make sure we’re not spending ridiculous amounts of time in the football office. We’re going to spend a lot of time - all coaches do - but it doesn’t need to be over the top. You’ve got to make some decisions. The thing that makes it harder now is all the computers we have and all the data we can get. There is just always something more to look at.

You’ve got to put some time frames on things and say we’re going to have this done by this time and be done and make our decisions and move forward.

The key phrase, I think, is this: The thing that makes it harder now is all the computers we have and all the data we can get. There is just always something more to look at.

Yep.  Sure is great to have film of every drill at every practice.  And film of every game of every opponent. From several different angles.

Yep. Problem is,  it takes time to watch it all.

And it sure is great to have all those “analytics.”  Big data comes to football. Except somebody has to digest it all and make it meaningful.  And useful.

Remember that interview is 10 years old.   Do you think that things have grown better?

To a certain extent, for major colleges, it has.  If they have the funds, the answer for them is to hire “analysts” - former head coaches who are “between positions” - to do that sort of work.

But high school coaches have no such luxury, and yet there they are with far more video to look at than they had years ago., while the work day is still 24 hours long, just as  God made it.


*********** California is planning on spending ever more taxpayers’ dollars on remedying the homeless crisis.

One of those “remedies” addresses the belief that homelessness can be solved by giving the homeless jobs.  And since so many of them are unemployable,  the remedy is teaching them “job skills.”

But, um,  didn’t the California taxpayers already try that, back when they spent upwards of $8,000 a year on every single one of those now-unemployables when they were in public schools?

I could make the argument that in padding dropout rates and graduation statistics in order to keep state per-pupil money coming in,  public schools have helped to create the homeless problem,  not only by lowering academic requirements but also lowering (if not abandoning) once-commonly accepted standards of citizenship, personal responsibility, respect for rules and laws, and work habits.

*********** I agree with you 100 percent about players with their t-shirts hanging out. I'm going to add one to the list. Players who wear hoodies, and have the hood hanging out the back of their shoulder pads. Sloppy looking.

John Zeller
Tustin, Michigan

Coach,

For sure, that’s another one.  A real look-at-me stunt.  Often, the hoodie is what the shirt-tail-out gang transitions to as the weather gets colder.



*********** Portland’s Catlin-Gabel School is not your everyday high school.  It is an elite, private day school.   This ought to say a lot about it - it doesn’t have football.

It has an endowment of $36.9 million.  Tuition is $34,000 a year.

But with all that money, it could conceivably have to close its doors - once all the lawsuits are settled.

The lawsuits - one has been filed and it’s predicted that many more will be filed - stem from charges of improper sexual activity over the years between male faculty members and their female students.

The abuse, involving several teachers, took place over four decades.

The first lawsuit is asking for $4.5 million in damages, but a jury could easily increase that by awarding punitive damages.  There will be more. Several other women have told their stories to The Oregonian, and it’s reasonable to assume that they will also be filing suits.    The women’s stories, on the surface, are believable.

The attorney for the first woman to come forward told the Portland Oregonian that studies show (personally, I’ve heard that phrase so much from “education experts” that whenever I hear it my skepticism is immediately aroused) that if a person is convicted of sexual abuse, the chances are that the perp  abused 10 others before being caught.

Some of the former  students, now accusers, have been gone from the school for some time, but no matter - Oregon’s statute of limitations  for sexual abuse permits plaintiffs to take action any time before their 40th birthday.  The statute can also be extended, in the case of accusers who can demonstrate that they just became aware of the abuse, or of its impact on them.

In reading the original story, one thing struck me right away: the description of the school’s climate as one that encouraged students and teachers to work closely together. The red flag for me was reading that as part of the overall coziness, students called teachers by their first names.

The first teacher accused was Richardson Shoemaker.  The kids all called him “Dick.”

With reason.

*********** FROM DAVE NELSON’S THE ANATOMY OF A GAME:

The half-inch shoe cleat was the maximum length permitted since 1972 and had done a remarkable job of reducing knee injuries. Despite the success of the cleat rule, some coaches liked the longer cleats. Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, in a story related at the 1979 committee meeting, was somewhat touchy about grass fields, since he had lost in the Rose Bowl and other sites where the playing surface was natural turf.

In a game at Lafayette, Purdue’s Jim Young a former Michigan assistant under Schembechler,  informed the umpire that Michigan was wearing cleats longer than a half inch. The umpire checked the cleats and found they measured almost 3/4 of an inch and informed Bo that he would have to remove them.

Bo took a cleat off a player’s shoe and handing the official a legal half inch clip, declared he was playing by the rules. He was playing by the rules. Michigan did not have to remove the cleats, and in 1979 the rule was changed one more time.

Bo had - legally - placed washers between the half inch cleat and the sole of the shoe to gain additional traction on those “jinxed” grass fields. Based on the Michigan-Purdue story and to prevent further stretching of the cleats, the rules committee rewrote the cleat role as follows: “more than 1/2 inch in length (measured from tip of cleat to sole of shoe).


*********** Can’t say we didn’t see it coming…

But there it was - half the front f—king page of our local newspaper’s sports section - a huge photo of the 49ers’ AAA (affirmative action assistant) coach, Katie Sowers.

Your paper (if you still get one) will undoubtedly carry one or more similar stories.

For the same reason that people slow down as they drive by an accident on the road, I read the article that accompanied it.  Unfortunately, although I should have known better, I forgot to have a barf bag handy.  But you, now that I am giving you fair warning, have no excuse.

Here’s Katie’s twin sister Liz, describing the historic importance of this whole sham:

“When Katie is walking down the sideline, she’ll have parents shouting that their daughter wants to coach in the NFL, or play in the NFL, and that dream is real now for people, for young girls.”

Here’s the writer of the AP article, one Dave Skretta, going for the feminist - and gay - vote, describing the choice faced by people in the AAA’s home town, Hesston, Kansas:

“Do they root for the local franchise, making its first trip to the Super Bowl in 50 years, or do they root for the hometown kid who has proven that women have a place in pro football.” 

Also gays.  I guess.

Question:  Is the fact that the 49ers actually use a fullback - Kyle Juszczyk - enough to tip my personal scales in their favor? Not even close.  If the 49ers should win, we will be hearing about this G.I. Jane horsesh—  for years to come. 

So - Go Chiefs.


*********** Man, if this Chinese virus deal starts spreading here in the US, I’m heading out of the country.  Canada is only about 6 hours to the north. So, Vancouver, BC here I come! Oh, wait -

Chinese populations


*********** When you’re a socialist, talk’s cheap.  That’s because, after all,  you’re giving away things that other people are going to have to pay for.

Washington, which could give any of the other 56 states (sure hope you get that joke) a run for their money (or, to be accurate, somebody else’s money) in the socialism category, has just discovered that its legislature has written a socialist check, and it’s going to bounce.

The legislature made a promise last year that  starting this school year tuition at state public colleges would be quite a bit more affordable - free, in fact, for families making under $50,000 per year.

But uh-oh.

The state estimates that in a few years, when there are four classes participating in the plan,  it will face a shortfall of some $100 million a year.

Problem Number One:

The new “college-affordability” legislation was to be funded by a special business tax - a tax on some 82,000 businesses  that depend on a supply of college-educated workers. (You know, the kind of businesses that will benefit from all those gender studies majors that their taxes will subsidize.)

In addition to such  Washington-based giants as Amazon and Microsoft, the tax would apply to an awful lot of smaller businesses.

But so vaguely did the law define the types of businesses that would be subject to the tax - and so many smaller businesses have requested exemptions - that the state doubts that it will be able to collect the tax.

Problem Number Two:

The cost was based on a large percentage of the students attending state community colleges.  Instead, far more than anticipated are enrolled in four-year colleges - which are roughly twice the cost - and far more of them than anticipated are attending full-time.

So what do you do if you’re a socialist legislator?  Come on, you know the answer.

It’s not restricting  the number of students benefiting from the plan, or to apportion the number of them who can attend four year colleges - God forbid making it competitive. Oh, no.  Those votes are paid for. We’ve already bought their votes with this marvelous plan.

If you answered “tax more businesses, whether or not they depend on a skilled workforce,” you have a future as a Washington politician.

If you didn’t - get back to work.  The state needs your money.

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

Regarding coaching trees:  I have found in all the states I have worked that coaching trees exist even at the high school level.  You would be amazed at the size of the "trees" I have found, especially in Ohio and Texas.  Down here there are many trees, but only a few have extensive branches.  The ones that do have spread their seed all over the state.  The only outsiders who get the good jobs are those who are branches of those few trees.

I like Marcus Mariota.  I liked him when he was at Oregon because he always showed how much of a team player he was, but since I don't follow the NFL much (I did know he was drafted by the Titans) I had no idea he lost his job to Tannehill.  Yet, it sounds like he hasn't changed much.  Sounds to me he's the type of guy the NFL needs a helluva lot more of, and the guy the NFL should promote as their poster boy instead of some of the clowns we read about too much.

I'll watch the Super Bowl and will pull for the Niners only because I spent a number of years coaching in the Bay Area, and got to meet, and coach with, some of the greatest 49ers of all time when I worked the Freddie Solomon football camp, another NorCal camp where many of them would be guest coaches, and when I worked at the University of San Francisco.  My allegiance has nothing to do with the diversity of their new coaching staff.

Surprisingly one name that isn't found on the AFCA Coach of the Year lists is Lou Holtz.  I had the pleasure of meeting Coach Holtz, spending some time with him coaching his camps, and attending his clinics.  I have read his books, and have the utmost respect for the man.  Really surprised me to know he didn't win that award.

QUIZ:  Marty Schottenheimer (who happened to be Joe Montana's coach after the Chiefs acquired him from San Francisco, and along with Marcus Allen led the Chiefs to the 93 AFC Championship where they lost to the Buffalo Bills).

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Counting interim coaches, the Cleveland Browns have had 17 head coaches  since they fired Nick Skorich  in 1974, and Marty Schottenheimer  is the only one to leave Cleveland with a winning record. They have had 15 head coaches since he left in 1988 - including Bill Belichick - and not a damn one has left a winner.

Marty Schottenheimer was a head coach in the NFL for 21 years.  He coached four different NFL teams and left three of them with winning records.  The fourth? He coached just one season and finished 8-8, but the owner let him go when he decided to make an exciting hire of a successful college coach.

Perhaps it’s his post-season record that’s keeping him out of the Hall of Fame - he was 5-13 in the post season.  Three of his teams made it to the AFC Championship game, but lost.

Two of those championship game losses came at game’s end, both against the Denver Broncos, when his Cleveland Browns were on the verge of going to the Super Bowl.

While he never made it to the Super Bowl, three of the long and distinguished list of coaches who worked under him - Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy and Mike McCarthy have won Super Bowls.

A partial list of his assistants: Bruce Arians, Cam Cameron, Bill Cowher, Gunther Cunningham, Tony Dungy, Herm Edwards, Lindy Infante, Mike McCarthy, Wade Phillips, Tony Sparano

A native of the Pittsburgh  area, he played at Pitt, then played linebacker for the Bills and Patriots.  His first coaching job was  as an assistant with the Portland Storm in the World Football League in 1974. Ten years later, after working on the defensive side with the Giants, Lions and Browns, he was named head coach of the Browns.

He stayed there five years, making the playoffs his last four years, and had a record of 46-31-4.

Moving on to Kansas City after a disagreement with Browns’ owner Art Modell,  as head coach of the Chiefs for ten years, he made the playoffs seven times.  His overall record was 104-65-1, and his Chiefs did make it to the AFC final once, but his record in the post-season was 3-7, and after a 7-9 regular season in 1998, he resigned.

After three years out of the game, he returned in 2001, coaching the Washington Redskins to an 8-8 season.  But Washington owner Dan Snyder, seeing a chance to hire Steve Spurrier from Florida, fired him, and in the 18 years since he left Washington, the Redskins have had 12 losing seasons.  Two of them came right after his leaving, when Spurrier went 7-9 and 5-11 and then was sent on his way.

From there it was on to San Diego, where he stayed for five years, and built a record of 47-35-0.  His last three seasons there, he went 12-4, 9-7 and 14-2.  Unfortunately, he was 0-2 in the post-season.

Despite that 14-2 record, a disagreement with management and ownership led to his firing in February, and he walked away with $4 million.

He won 205 games (lost 135 and tied one), and he is the only non-active coach with more than 200 wins who’s not in the Hall of Fame.

In fact, there’s only one NFL coach with more wins than Marty Schottenheimer who has never won a title, and after next weekend there may not be any, if that one other coach -  Andy Reid - wins.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER



JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
CHARLIE WILSON - CRYSTAL RIVER, FLORIDA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
JASON MENSING - WHITEFORD, MICHIGAN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** Marty Schottenheimer

Had to cut and paste it - no way I could spell that!

Living just north of San Diego, being a Philly guy, not much of a Chargers fan but my wife is.  But I will admit that Marty got the shaft.   The GM had to show he was boss and ever since the Chargers have been up and down.  Mostly down. 

I honestly think they are worst run team in football.  Over my time in SD just the following.

1.  Giving the Padres a hard time during  the 98 World Series because of locker room issues
2.  Letting a Home town HOF player walk in Junior Seau.
3.  Getting nothing for Drew Brees.  Just because Rivers was their anointed replacement.
4.  Won't even go into the Stadium Issue and can't fill a 30,000 seat soccer stadium. 
5.  Letting Marty go and then hire Norv Turner?
6.  Firing Bobby Ross who had a winning record (Marty in the 90's) and hiring Gilbride.
7.  Picking Ryan Leaf, now I do remember that basically everyone had him after Peyton Manning, but if this guy was such a head case how did they not catch it?
7.  Fining Eric Weddle for some Micky mouse crap after the game when he interacted with the fans.   
7.  Pushing Tomlinson out the door like Seau. 
8.  Just as in the case of Seau they will dump Rivers.  Not a Rivers fan - think his dramatics in the game as a QB - are over the top.  But I do admit he is really a community guy and has done a lot out here. 
 
I was really surprised that Gates actually didn't get dumped and was able to retire as a full-time Charger.

I hear these stories of Tom Brady coming to the Chargers and just laugh.  Yeah this guy is going to go from the best run organization in football to the worst run.  Yeah, that's gonna happen.

Tom Davis
San Carlos, California

***********  He and Paul Brown are the two best head coaches that the Browns have ever had.

David Crump
Owensboro, Kentucky


*********** QUIZ: He was a college basketball player (at Illinois).

Despite never having played a down of college football, he was drafted in the 12th round by the Baltimore Colts,  and made into  a running back.

He wound up playing for Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Dallas, and he played in a Super Bowl with all three.

He proved to be equally good at running, receiving and blocking, and because of his all-around abilities, at Dallas he became known as a “third-down back” - probably the first such in the NFL - such a good receiver that it required defenses to insert an extra defensive back (a “nickel back”) to cover him.

He was an excellent kick return man.

He seldom started, but he played 14 years in the NFL, and had quite a career:

He gained a total of 9,545 all-purpose yards: 3,609 rushing,  3,095 receiving, and 2,841 on returns. He scored 33 touchdowns: 17 rushing, 13 receiving, two on kick returns, and one on a recovered fumble.

Although he never played in a Pro Bowl, he played in five Super Bowls.

He was the first player to appear in Super Bowls with three different teams.

He played under three Hall-of-Fame coaches (Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Tom Landry).

He took handoffs and caught passes from three Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks (John Unitas, Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach).

He played in the backfield with three Hall-of-Fame running backs (Lenny Moore, Franco Harris and Tony Dorsett).






Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 24,    2020   "There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them." George Orwell


*********** These Saturdays without college football really suck.

*********** I used to hear people say it when I was a kid:  “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  I couldn’t agree more, provided we add something at the end, something I heard later, once I got out into the world: “Yeah, it's who you know - and what they’ll say about you.”

In a football coach’s career, it’s everything.  Why do respected  coaches have those “trees?”  It’s because those in position to hire place a lot of weight on what an esteemed coach has to say about a candidate.

Not that I wasn’t well aware of the importance of connections in football hiring, but in talking recently with Mike Lude, checking and double-checking on some facts about Dave Nelson, I heard some amazing stories about the influence of one man - Michigan’s legendary Fritz Crisler - on Dave Nelson’s career.

It all started when I  asked Mike why Nelson would have left Hillsdale as head coach to go to Harvard as an assistant.

Mike’s answer: “Money.  I was only making $2,000 at Hillsdale (as Dave’s assistant), so Dave was probably making $3,000.  Besides, at that time, Harvard was big-league.”

And, Mike pointed out, there was this:  the Harvard coach, Art Valpey, was a Michigan man, and he’d just been hired by Harvard after spending four years at Michigan as Fritz Crisler’s line coach. Valpey already knew about Nelson, but  Fritz Crisler's endorsement got Nelson the job.

To succeed Nelson, Hillsdale hired Gib Holgate - on Crisler’s recommendation. (Gib Holgate later would move on to Yale, where he was my freshman coach.)

Nelson stayed at Harvard for just one season because in early 1949, the Maine job came open.  The Maine AD, Tad Wieman, had played at Michigan, and he had assisted Crisler at Minnesota and Princeton.  And he contacted Crisler to see if he knew anybody.

On Crisler’s recommendation, Wieman hired Dave Nelson to be his head coach.  Nelson immediately contacted his two former assistants at Hillsdale, Mike Lude and Harold Westerman and asked them to join him. “We didn’t even know he was being considered,” Mike told me, but he said it took him maybe ten seconds to accept.

After two years at Maine, having “invented” the “Winged-T” there with the collaboration of Lude (coaching the line) and Westerman (coaching the backfield), Nelson was off to Delaware.

How did he get that job?

The University of Delaware’s new president, John Perkins, needed to find an AD and a head coach. Bill Murray, who held both jobs,  had just left for Duke (where he would stay as its head football coach for the next 15 years). 

So what did President Perkins do? He called Fritz Crisler, and told him he needed a guy who could be his athletic director and head coach.  Crisler recommended Dave Nelson. 

Mike Lude moved to Delaware along with Nelson.  Harold Westerman remained at Maine, promoted to the head coaching job.

I’m not stupid.  Noticing a pattern here, I  marveled at the Michigan connection, and at how influential Fritz Crisler was.

Mike replied, “You have no idea. He was a kingmaker.”

Want more evidence of the power of the Michigan connection?  In early  January, 1961, Tad Wieman was  by then the AD at Denver University, and he hired Mike Lude to become the Pioneers’ head coach.  But on January 9, Denver U announced it was dropping football.  It had become “prohibitively expensive,” said the university's Chancellor.  (Want a good laugh? Football was operating in the red at the rate of $100,000 a year.)  So Mike stayed at Delaware, until two years later, when the Colorado State job came open.  Tad Wieman, still at Denver, called Mike, and then called the AD at Colorado State. Mike got the job.


***********  When the latest class of Hall of Fame inductees was announced, I have to admit to having scratched my head.

Listen - I’ve been following football since 1946 - pro football since 1947, when the Eagles lost to the Chicago Cardinals.

I’ve read as much about the game as anybody I know. (Admittedly, the older I get, the more unfair my advantage becomes.)

And I have to confess that in all those years, other than knowing that Bobby Dillon was an okay defensive back for the lowly (pre-Lombardi) Green Bay Packers, I had NOT ONCE come across his name in any context.  Not until the last week or so, when it was announced that he had been voted into the F—KING PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME!

Wait, I thought. What’s the definition of “fame?”  If people have to say “Who?”, is a guy famous?

And if he’s not famous, and never was -  what’s that guy doing in a Hall of “Fame?”

The Pro Football Researchers Association, of which I’m a member (all you have to do is pay your dues, and you, too, can enjoy the prestige that comes with  belonging) has for years been inducting players into what it calls its Hall of Very Good - players who were pretty damn good, but don't quite measure up to Hall of Fame standards.  It includes dozens of players who in my opinion are more worthy of membership in the Hall of Fame than Bobby Dillon. Dillon  played eight years in the NFL, and didn't play on a winning team until his last year in Green Bay -  which happened to be Vince Lombardi’s first.  Come on. If he were that good - Hall of Fame material -  a richer team would have traded for him before then.

Anyhow, this ought to settle one potential controversy.  Eli Manning is in. He is definitely famous.

*********** Can’t wait for the NFL Draft. Its going to be held in Las Vegas

At the Bellagio Fountains.

As they are drafted, players will be delivered to the stage by boat.

* Can’t wait to see the life jackets some of the dudes will be wearing.

* Will anyone get seasick?

* Are Vegas books taking bets on what number draft choice will be the first to jump in?

Bellagio Fountain


https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/01/2020-nfl-draft-in-vegas-will-happen-in-the-bellagio-fountains-how-can-cleveland-top-that-in-2021.html


*********** Marcus Mariota is about to become a free agent.  If I were looking for a guy to be one of my quarterbacks, I would sign him in a minute, because I think he can still play, but mainly because he is that priceless commodity in today’s professional sports - a team man.

Check the link below, and the clip of Mariota consoling starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill - the guy who beat him out - after the Titans’ loss to the Chiefs.

Tannehill is a competitor, and he was upset.

Mariota, the former starter and now the backup. came over to him and gave him a hug, and said, “It’s the start of something great, brother. I’m so excited for you…”

Patting Tannehill on the chest, Mariota told him,  “You’re going to be playing in a lot of these, all right?”

Said Tannehill, now at the Pro Bowl, "Marcus is an incredible human being, and I have so much respect and love for him.    The way he handled things – it was an incredibly tough situation. He was in Tennessee for five years, and it was his team and where he made his home. The way things went down, I don't think many guys in the world would handle it the way he did. He handled it like a true professional. He was supportive of me from Day One. I know he was hurting, and I tried to be empathetic with that throughout the season and give support to him as well. But he handled it so well – he was supportive of me, helped me out on game days, in preparation during the week. He was just a consistent guy throughout the year.   We are great friends and we will continue to be great friends."

https://www.titansonline.com/news/at-the-pro-bowl-qb-ryan-tannehill-lauds-fellow-titans-qb-marcus-mariota-i-have-s

*********** I really don’t care much about the Super Bowl,  other than the National Anthem and the halftime show. (That last part’s a lameass attempt at a joke, if you don’t know me.)

But the first part is true, because I don’t like the NFL at all, and I don’t have a rooting interest in either team.

Chiefs - pluses and minuses

(+) I like Andy Reid.  In addition to being a good coach, I think he’s a good person. I liked him when he coached the Eagles,  I was displeased when they fired him, and I was happy when he landed with the Chiefs.  So there’s that.

(-) I think that Kelce, while a very good receiver, is a jerk.

(-) Tyreek Hill, who thanks to his great talent seems to have a platinum Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card, has no business playing on any NFL team.  Classy, too.  (If you’re a fan of the now-trite dog-peeing stunt, as he pulled during last week’s game intro’s.)

(+) Offsetting somewhat the presence of Hill, the Chiefs start an offensive lineman who’s an MD.  He’s Doctor Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a French Canadian who played football at McGill University in Montreal, and graduated from McGill’s school of medicine.

(+) When I started coaching, in 1970, I wanted to emulate the Chiefs - Hank Stram’s 1969 Chiefs, the last Kansas City Chiefs team to make it to the Super Bowl. In 1969 I was playing semi-pro football, and in an NFL-centric area (Frederick, Maryland - equidistant from Washington and Baltimore), I was the only guy on our team who thought that the Chiefs had a chance. Mainly, it was because I had read a lot about them and their personnel and the innovative stuff that they were doing.  Boy, did I make myself obnoxious when the Chiefs beat the Vikings!  Later that year, when I wound up coaching,  I was really excited at  being able to do some of the Chiefs’ stuff - especially lining up in the triple stack and shifting out of it, and on defense lining up in over-stacks and under-stacks.   I still have the 16 mm film of my teams doing that stuff.  Of course, neither that first team or any team since executed even close to the way those Chiefs did, and that was my first lesson in football strategy:  schemes don’t matter nearly as much as having people like Len Dawson running your offense and Otis Taylor catching  passes.  And on defense? Good Lord, man - Buck Buchanan, Curly Culp and Aaron Brown on the line…  Bobby Lee Bell, Willie Lanier and Jim Lynch at linebacker… James Marsalis, Johnny Robinson and Emmitt Thomas in the secondary.  Wow.

(+) As if to put to rest the notion that the AFL was bush league, the Chiefs were the sharpest-looking team in football.  That had to be the doing of Hank Stram, who was certainly the most dapper dresser among coaches - at a time when almost all head coaches wore coats and ties on the sidelines.  Two things about his attention to detail have stuck with me over the years (1) EVERY player on his team wore exactly the same stockings - with stripes at  the same height on the calf.  How, I wondered, did he do that?  How did he get his players to wear their white sweat sox the same height? (There was a time, back when the NFL cared about its players’ appearance,  when EVERYBODY wore stockings, with white sweat sox on the outside, coming part way up the calf.)  The Chiefs’ answer, I found, was wearing stockings that were white - from the toe up to the first colored stripe - giving the illusion of wearing white sweat sox over the stockings.  Man, I was on that one! You can see it in my team’s photo below;  (2) I had seen a Chiefs’ team photo from 1967, a year after they’d played - and lost - in the first Super Bowl, and I was blown away when it hit me that that doggone Stram  - it HAD to be him - had arranged the players in numerical order!  To a guy like me, trying to sell tickets to minor league games in a small town, I considered it absolutely essential that I put a team on the field that said “professional,” not ”sandlot,” and the Hank Stram touch  made a huge impression on me.  To this day, I’m all over players who look sloppy, or draw attention to themselves - who don’t understand the meaning of the word “uniform.”  Don’t want to piss me off?  Wear the uniform.
1967 Chiefs

(ABOVE)  1967 Kansas City Chiefs   (BELOW) 1971 Hagerstown Bears

1971 HAGERSTOWN BEARS

49ers - pluses and minuses

(+) I like their defense, and I like the fact that two of their starting defensive linemen - DeForest Buckner and Arik Armistead - are Oregon guys where they were fellow defensive linemates of Alex Balducci, son of my friend Ralph.  They are good guys and good people - Alex was in Buckner’s wedding.

(+) I really like the play of their “backup” running back Raheem Mostert. All he did, when pressed into service against Green Bay, was become the first player in playoff history to rush for more than 200 yards and score four touchdowns.

But I really like the guy’s story. He sounds like a good guy. He came out of Purdue and was passed over in the draft; he was cut by six NFL teams (Philadelphia,  Cleveland, Miami, Baltimore, New York Jets, Chicago) before catching on with the 49ers. He keeps a list of the dates those teams cut him, and for motivation he recites them before every game.

(-) Grrr.  That damn Microsoft Surface commercial comes on and I grind my teeth. My wife finds herself  being told by friends who know she’s married to a football coach how wonderful they think it is that the 49ers have a woman coach.  My wife buttons her lip and says nothing. She knows, as I do, of all the qualified men who’ve paid their price but aren’t coaching with the 49ers right now because Katie Sowers has that job. Maybe she’s good, maybe she’s not.  But if she’s not, don’t expect anybody to say so -  not if he wants to keep his job. With all the problems  the NFL has, the last thing it wants is to be picketed by the pink pussyhat crowd. (Or, since she “came out” in 2017 as a lesbian, by the LGBTQ bunch.)

She was hired, the story goes, through the “Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship” program, whose aim is to “get more minorities into NFL coaching positions.”

Listen -  in a sport whose rosters are upwards of 70 per cent black, I can definitely understand the argument for having more black coaches.  And, yes,  I could support hiring a woman if she were the best person for the job.  But I can’t for the life of me understand what is accomplished by hiring a coach simply because he or she is a “minority” (women, by the way, outnumber men in the US) other than to pay homage to the false god of Diversity.

*********** Two interesting facts about this Super Bowl, brought to life by Kendall Baker, in Axios Sports…

(1) This is the first time in Super Bowl history between two teams whose primary color is red.

(2) The Detroit Tigers have now drafted more Super Bowl starting QBs (Patrick Mahomes) than the Detroit Lions.

*********** The NFL lets guys put “JR” and “III” after their names on the backs of their jerseys.  A few even put “SR” on there (when they probably aren’t even married to Junior’s mom).

But when Chiefs' guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, an actual, honest-to-God medical doctor, asked to be able to put “MD” after his name?  The NFL turned him down.


*********** Besides LSU’s Ed Orgeron’s being named AFCA’s FBS Coach of the Year…


Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf, then of North­western, was named as the first AFCA Coach of the Year in 1935. One national winner was selected from 1935 through 1959. From 1960 through 1982, two national winners were selected — one representing the University Division and one from the College Division. From 1983-2005, four national winners were chosen.

In 2006, the AFCA started honoring an NAIA Coach of the Year, bringing the total to the five honorees we have today. Prior to 2006, the NAIA was a part of the AFCA’s Division II membership category.


The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) capped the 2020 AFCA Convention by presenting its top coaching award — AFCA National Coach of the Year — to four outstanding coaches in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, Division III and the NAIA.

North Dakota State’s Matt Entz (FCS), Minnesota State’s Todd Hoffner (Division II), Muhlenberg’s Nate Milne (Division III) and Morningside’s Steve Ryan (NAIA) are the 2019 AFCA National Coach of the Year winners.
The AFCA has named a Coach of the Year since 1935. The AFCA Coach of the Year award is the oldest and most prestigious of all the Coach of the Year awards and is the only one chosen exclusively by coaches.

Matt Entz earned his first FCS National Coach of the Year honor in his first year as a head coach by leading North Dakota State to a 16-0 record, the Missouri Valley Football Conference title and the FCS National Championship. The national title was the third straight for the Bison and the eighth title in nine seasons. The 16-0 season was the first in the modern era of college football. The last team to go 16-0 was the University of Chicago in 1899, but they also had two ties that season.

Todd Hoffner also earned his first AFCA National Coach of the Year honor by leading Minnesota State to a 14-1 record, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) title and an appearance in the Division II national title game. In his 10 seasons with the Mavericks, Hoffner has a 106-22 record with seven NCAA playoff appearances and six NSIC titles. In 2014, he guided Minnesota State to a 14-1 record and the program’s first-ever appearance in the Division II national championship game. When you include his seven years as head coach at Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Hoffner has an overall record of 148-50.

Nate Milne is the third first-time winner for 2019. The second-year head coach led Muhlenberg to its best season in program history, going 13-1, winning the Centennial Conference and advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA Division III playoffs. This was Muhlenberg’s first outright conference title since 2008 and its first-ever trip to the semifinals. Milne is 24-3 in his two seasons as head coach and has been named Centennial Conference Coach of the Year to go along with his AFCA Division III Region 2 Coach of the Year honor in 2019.

Steve Ryan earned his third AFCA NAIA National Coach of the Year honor after guiding Morningside to a 14-0 record, its ninth consecutive Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) title and their second straight NAIA National Championship. Ryan has an overall record of 184-40 in his 18 years as head coach and has guided Morningside to 16 consecutive post-season appearances, including seven trips to the semifinals in the last eight seasons. Ryan won his first AFCA National Coach of the Year honor in 2012 after leading the Mustangs to a 13-1 record and the program’s first-ever national championship game appearance. He added his second honor in 2018 after guiding Morningside to a 15-0 record and the program’s first NAIA National Championship. He is also a nine-time AFCA Regional Coach of the Year winner.

*********** SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE AFCA’S COACH OF THE YEAR AWARDS


First Year Coach of the Year: North Dakota State’s Matt Entz joins Miami’s (Fla.) Larry Coker, Richmond’s Mike London and Valdosta State’s David Dean as the only coaches to earn AFCA National Coach of the Year honors in their first season as a head coach.  Coker was the FBS winner in 2001, Dean was the Division II winner in 2007 while London was the FCS winner in 2008.

Most Schools: Jim Tressel and Brian Kelly are the only coaches to win AFCA National Coach of the Year honors at two different schools in two different divisions. Tressel earned AFCA honors at Division I-A Ohio State in 2002 and Division I-AA Youngstown State in 1991 and 1994. Kelly earned AFCA honors in Division II at Grand Valley State in 2002 and 2003 and in FBS at Notre Dame in 2012.

Top Individuals: Larry Kehres of Mount Union is the only coach in AFCA history to win National Coach of the Year honors nine times. He earned the award in Mount Union’s national championship seasons of 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2008. Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Lance Leipold is in second place when he earned his sixth AFCA Division III Coach of the Year honor in 2014. Leipold won his other awards in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Penn State’s Joe Paterno sits third with five AFCA Coach of the Year honors. Paterno earned his awards in FBS in 1968, 1972, 1982, 1986 and 2005. Northwest Missouri State’s Mel Tjeerdsma (1998-99-2008-09) and Bob Reade of Augustana (Ill.) College are the only four-time AFCA Coach of the Year winners. Reade earned the honor in 1983-84-85-86 in College Division II (now Division III). Morningside’s Steve Ryan (2012, 2018, 2019), Northwest Missouri State’s Adam Dorrel (2013, 2015-16), Grand Valley State and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly (2002-03, 2012), Carroll’s Mike Van Diest (2003, 2007, 2010), Sioux Falls’ Kalen DeBoer (2006, 2008-09), Appalachian State’s Jerry Moore (2005-06-07), Youngstown State and Ohio State’s Jim Tressel (1991, 1994, 2003), Alabama’s Bear Bryant (1961, 1971, 1973) and North Alabama’s Bobby Wallace (1993-94-95) are the only three-time Coach of the Year winners. Kehres, Leipold, Moore, Reade and Wallace are the only coaches to win the award in three or more consecutive seasons.

Top Schools: Mount Union is the only institution to have a representative win the AFCA National Coach of the Year Award nine times. North Dakota State, Northwest Missouri State and Wisconsin-Whitewater are the only schools with seven wins. Georgia Southern and Penn State are the only schools with five wins. Alabama, Augustana (Ill.), Grand Valley State, Michigan, Ohio State and Wittenberg are four-time winners.

Larry Kehres has won all nine awards for Mount Union.

Lance Leipold’s six honors and Bob Berezowitz’s 2005 National Coach of the Year award account for Wisconsin-Whitewater’s seven honors. Mel Tjeerdsma’s four wins and Adam Dorrel’s three wins account for Northwest Missouri State’s seven honors. North Dakota State’s national winners are Don Morton (1983), Earle Solomonson (1986), Rocky Hager (1988, 1990), Craig Bohl (2012, 2013) and Matt Entz (2019).

Joe Paterno has won all five awards for Penn State. Paul Johnson (1999, 2000), Erk Russell (1986, 1989) and Tim Stowers (1990) are Georgia Southern’s honorees.

 Lloyd Carr (1997), Fritz Crisler (1947), Bennie Oosterbaan (1948) and Bo Schembechler (1969) are Michigan’s winners. Bill Edwards (1962, 1963) and his successor, Dave Maurer (1973, 1975), are responsible for Wittenberg being listed in the select group.    Gene Stallings earned Coach of the Year honors in 1992 to join three-time winner Bear Bryant as Alabama’s winners.   Augustana’s Reade accounts for all of his school’s awards. Ohio State’s Jim Tressel joins Carroll Widdoes (1944), Woody  Hayes (1957) and Earle Bruce (1979) as one of the four Buckeye coaches to win the award. Chuck Martin (2005-06) joins Brian Kelly (2002-03) as the winners from Grand Valley State.

Morningside (Steve Ryan, 2012, 2018, 2019), Appalachian State (Jerry Moore, 2005-06-07), Delaware (Tubby Raymond, 1971-72; K.C. Keeler, 2010), Furman (Dick Sheridan, 1985; Jimmy Satterfield, 1988; Bobby Johnson, 2001), North Alabama (Bobby Wallace, 1993-94-95), Notre Dame (Frank Leahy, 1941; Ara Parseghian, 1964; Brian Kelly, 2012), Sioux Falls (Kalen DeBoer 2006, 2008-09), USC (John McKay, 1962, 1972; Pete Carroll, 2003) and Valdosta State (Chris Hatcher, 2004; David Dean, 2007, 2012) are all in the exclusive group of schools having three winners each.

Two-Timers: Jim Butterfield, Ithaca (1988, 1991); Glenn Caruso, St. Thomas (Minn.) (2012, 2015); David Dean; Kevin Donley, St. Francis (Ind.) (2016-17); Bill Edwards; Joe Glenn, Northern Colorado (1996-97); Rocky Hager; Mark Henninger, Marian (2014-15), Paul Johnson; Chuck Martin; Dave Maurer; John McKay; Gary Patterson, TCU (2009, 2014); Harold “Tubby” Raymond; Darrell Royal, Texas (1963, 1970); Erk Russell and Andy Talley, Villanova (1997, 2009) are repeat winners.

Back-to-Back: Steve Ryan, Kalen DeBoer, Kevin Donley, Adam Dorrel, Bill Edwards, Joe Glenn, Mark Henninger, Paul Johnson, Larry Kehres, Brian Kelly, Lance Leipold, Chuck Martin, Jerry Moore, Tubby Raymond, Bob Reade, Mel Tjeerdsma, Bobby Wallace and Craig Bohl are the only coaches to win national honors in consecutive years. No FBS coach has won the award in consecutive years. Kehres is the only coach to win three consecutive Coach of the Year awards twice, while Tjeerdsma is the only coach to win two consecutive Coach of the Year awards twice. Leipold won three straight from 2009-11, then went back-to-back in 2013-14, making him the only coach to accomplish that feat.

Fit to be Tied:
In 2003, Brian Kelly and Mike Van Diest became the fourth duo in the history of the AFCA National Coach of the Year award to finish in a tie for the honor and the first non-FBS coaches to share the award. Larry Coker of Miami (Fla.) and Ralph Friedgen of Maryland finished in a tie for the honor in 2001. In 1964, Frank Broyles of Arkansas and Ara Parseghian of Notre Dame shared the award, and in 1970, Charlie McClendon of LSU and Darrell Royal of Texas were co-winners.

*********** You’ve undoubtedly read about all the snotnose brats at this college or that, who show disrespect of the most despicable sort toward any speaker whose (conservative) point of view they disagree with. 

Disagreement with speakers is nothing new, but in an earlier time the roles were reversed.

Hall of Famer Art Donovan spent time in the Pacific during World War II,  in Okinawa and Guam, and recalled that “We were getting ready to invade somewhere when they dropped the atom bomb.”

When he returned from the Pacific, he wound up at Boston College, to play football.  I’ll let him take it from there:

I was 22. My first year there, we had a class of 300, most of us just out of the service. And this Father Murphy stands up and says it was immoral to drop that atom bomb on Japan. We had a ringleader, and we all got up and left the room. We had the president make Father Murphy apologize to us for what he said, because if they hadn’t dropped the bomb, maybe half of us wouldn’t have been there. Who knows?

Do you really think we’d be hearing about all the sh— that’s going on in colleges today if those World War II guys were still young and virile?

That’s MY idea of Making America Great Again.

*********** (Full Disclosure) I have never run a paid ad on my site.  If I endorse something, it’s because I believe in it.  I believe in the mission of Hillsdale College - which has never taken a nickel of federal money - which is why I print this…

For many years, America’s high schools and colleges have been failing to teach their students about our nation’s great heritage of liberty. It should not surprise us, then, that young Americans today are embracing ideologies destructive of liberty.

That’s why every student at Hillsdale is required to complete an “American Heritage” course to graduate. It’s also why “American Heritage” was one of the first online courses Hillsdale produced. It is a way Hillsdale is attempting to win the battle of education by reviving a proper understanding of American history and government, especially among younger Americans.

More than 150,000 of your fellow citizens, including young people, have taken Hillsdale’s “American Heritage” course. But we have also heard from many of our friends that they would prefer to receive it in DVD format for personal or group study.

You can now receive “American Heritage” as a DVD set for your home library or to give as a gift. The DVD set provides ten lessons that cover the history of America from the colonial era to the present, including major challenges to the Founders’ principles.

I’ve included a secure link below where you can get this special edition of “American Heritage–From Colonial Settlement to the Current Day” on DVD with a gift of $100 or more to Hillsdale College. We’ve produced a limited number of sets, so don’t delay!

https://secured.hillsdale.edu/hillsdale/get-american-heritage-dvd

America has an incredible history—one that we can and should celebrate and revere. Our heritage is worthy of your extended study.

Warm regards,

Larry P. Arnn
President, Hillsdale College

I just sent off a contribution and I look forward to receiving my DVD set.  If I were still teaching, I’d use it in class.  Of course, if I were still teaching and I did that, I would be ostracized in the faculty room (f—k ‘em) and eventually I’d be fired.  And then I’d leave the cesspool that is public education and go teach at a Christian school, for half the money - and twice the sense of purpose.


*********** Ed Orgeron - Southern Heavyweight Wrestling Champion

I want to see Coach Ed in a singlet with a Championship Wrestling Belt over his shoulder.

"I wanna tell that Dabbo Sweeney that he done pulled the wrong tiger's tail this time.  You see this here purple 'n gold belt?  It's the Southern Heavyweight Championship Belt and it's mine.  'N I ain't given' it up until I want to - and I don't want to...

"So you show up at the Armory this Tuesday night, Dab-bo, and I'll make sure that rented mule of yours begins to pay attention proper-like.  Someone with the initials DS is about to get the whuppin' yo' Mama never gave you..."

And so on.

I'd pay good money to see and hear that.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida

*********** Morgan Wootten - not to be confused with John Wooden - was possibly the greatest high school basketball coach who ever lived.  The teams and the players that he produced at Washington, DC’s DeMatha High are legendary, and for more than three decades every player on his teams went on to college to play basketball.

Over the course of his career, he turned down offers to coach at Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest and North Carolina.

The great John Wooden once said of him, “I know of no finer coach at any level - high school, college or pro.  I stand in awe of him.”

Coach Wootten also coached DeMatha’s football team, from its inception in 1957 until 1968, and compiled a record of 79-40-2.

Coach Wootten died Tuesday at 88.

In a 2013 story in USA Today he told how, as a young coach, he once met with Joe Lapchick, a well-known coach in college and the NBA.

“He told me,” Coach Wootten recalled, “‘They never forget their coach. They may forget some of the teachers they had, they may forget some of the players they played with, but they never forget their coach.’

“Thats the beauty of coaching,” Coach Wootten said. “You get to touch lives.  You get to make a difference.”


https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/morgan-wootten-winningest-high-school-basketball-coach-dies-at-88/2020/01/22/a7ad57b0-3c61-11ea-baca-eb7ace0a3455_story.html


*********** In reading about the old Colts, I came across a guy named Sisto Averno, who played with the original (AAFC) Colts, then, like Buddy Young, the NFL New York Yanks, Dallas Texans and, finally, the NFL Baltimore Colts.

He was a jack-of-all-trades type who would play offensive line and linebacker, and then play on special teams.  In those days of small (35 men) rosters, that was important.

So was toughness, as Averno quickly learned. He recalled how, as a rookie, he came off the field in pain, and told his coach, Clem Crowe, that he had just separated his shoulder.

Said Crowe, “Block with the other one.”


***********  Hugh,

Continuity of a football staff at the high school level was once the norm for most high schools in this country.  But as the country grew, and financial opportunities increasingly became more lucrative, many coaches (like most people) reached for those opportunities.  Today, movement is the norm and as a result continuity has become more difficult to maintain and more the exception to the rule.  Dabo and Clemson are one of those exceptions at the college level.  It would be interesting to find out how many high school football staffs have remained the same in the last 10 years.

There isn't a better fit for the state of Louisiana than Ed Orgeron and LSU football.  

I truly believe that the Pac 12 is the ACC of the Power 5.  Looking at both conferences top to bottom they are similar.  Each have a few schools that are historically competitive in football AND other sports, and many that aren't as competitive in football but ARE in other sports.

Haven't you said before that the way to get boys to play football nowadays is through their mamas?  I know I've found that to be true especially over the last 10 years.  At my former school I can't tell you how many times I would ask boys to come out for football and the response was, "My mom won't let me play."  It wasn't a case that the boy was being raised by a single mother either.  When I would talk with the dad the answer was virtually the same..."Well...you'll have to convince his mother."  

I'll bet there were a few Big Stone Gap, VA attendees at that Second Amendment rally in Richmond.  Interesting that the Governor's fear of violence never materialized.  But you won't be seeing anything extensive about that on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, or MSNBC.  Had it been a rally organized by the left to protest violence would have, the media would have had days of coverage, and the Governor would have been right.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Buddy Young was an original Baltimore Colt.  He was the first Colt to have his jersey retired, the first black to become an executive with the Colts, and as the NFL’s Director of Player Relations,  the first black man ever to hold an executive position with a major sports league.  He also served on civil rights commissions under three different presidents.

A native of Chicago,  at 5 feet, 4 inches tall, Buddy Young was one of the shortest men ever to play in the NFL.

He may have been short, but he had great speed -  in high school he was Illinois state champion in the 100-yard dash.

Told by the coach at Englewood high school that he was too small to play,  he transferred to Wendell Phillips High, where he not only made the team - he scored five touchdowns against Englewood.

He chose to play at Illinois, and in his first game, as a freshman, he ran 64 yards for a touchdown on his first carry, and 30 yards for a touchdown on his second carry.  He went on to tie the immortal Red Grange’s Big Ten record for touchdowns in a single season.

He was drafted and entered the Navy, spending  most of his time in California playing football for a Navy team called the Oakland Bluejackets. In the Coast championship game, in front of 65,000 people in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, he scored three touchdowns - including two long kickoff returns - to led his team to victory.

Once out of the service, he returned to Illinois and he scored two touchdowns in leading The Illini  to a 45-13 Rose Bowl win over UCLA. Hewas named the game’s co-MVP, and the following summer, he was named MVP of the College All-Star Game.

He was the second black All-American - twenty years after Fritz Pollard of Brown became the first. 

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

Coming out of Illinois, he signed with the New York Yankees of the AAFC.

In 1950, when the AAFC folded and the NFL accepted three teams (the Cleveland  Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts), he moved to the NFL’s New York Yanks.

In 1952, when the Yanks became the Dallas Texans, he moved with them. At some point in the season,  with the Texans out of money, the league had to take the team over. The Texans  finished the season on the road.

In 1953, in a stroke of genius, NFL commissioner Bert Bell awarded the Texans’ franchise to Baltimore.  The original Colts, the team brought into the NFL from the AAFC? That team had been disbanded when one of its owners sold all the team’s assets (mainly player contracts, but also equipment) to the league, for $50,000.  But he had done so without the approval of other owners, who sued, along with the city of Baltimore, for a return of their team.  By moving the Texans to Baltimore, the NFL managed not only to find a home for their vagabond team, but also avoided a lawsuit that it was likely to lose.

This new Baltimore team kept the Colts’ name. (This indication of the importance of the name to Baltimoreans might help explain the animosity that’s still felt, 30 years after owner Robert Irsay moved the team in the dark of night to Indianapolis - and took the name with him).

And our man went with him, becoming, along with George Taliaferro and Ed Enbree, the first black professional players to play a full season in Baltimore. This was of some significance, as Baltimore was then a largely-segregated city.

The Colts at that time weren’t very good, but he provided some highlights for the fans.

Fast and shifty (in the words of one reporter,  “He’d zig-zag 50 yards to gain 25”) he became an instant favorite of the Baltimore fans, who in 1953 voted him Most Popular Colt.

Cheerful and upbeat, he became well known and liked by black and white Baltimoreans alike. On the side, he worked from 6 to 9 as the morning DJ on a local radio station, and he was a frequent guest on the extremely popular weekly TV show, “Corralin’ the Colts.”

When he retired after the 1955 season, the Colts retired his number 22 - the first Colt to be so honored - and made him a scout.

How effective was he?

One of his first acts was to find his replacement, and to do so he drove to Reading, Pennsylvania in a snowstorm to convince Lenny Moore to sign with the Colts rather than go to Canada. (“I was in awe of him,” Moore would recall.)

A few years later,  he and Colts’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom flew to Columbus to convince Ohio State’s Jim Parker to sign with the Colts.

And in 1963, he was instrumental in getting Syracuse’s John Mackey to sign with the Colts rather than the AFL New York Titans.

Moore, Parker and Mackey - three Hall of Famers.

And in 1965, his greatest achievement ever might have been his work on behalf of the NFL in “baby sitting” the great Gale Sayers - keeping him company, and away from the rival AFL - until the Bears could sign him.

In 1966, Commissioner Pete Rozelle selected him to become the NFL’s Director of Player Relations.

He died tragically in 1983 while returning from representing the NFL at a memorial service for Joe Delaney, who had  drowned while trying to rescue three children from a pond.  On the way to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to catch a 3:10 AM flight home, his car went off the road near Teague, Texas and he was found dead at the scene.  He was 57. His watch had stopped at 2:25. 

He left behind his wife of 38 years, Geraldine, whom he’d met in high school.  The Youngs had four children, including a son, Zollie, named for his Colts’ teammate, Zollie Toth.  Buddy Young and Zollie Toth, a white southerner, were the first black-and-white roommates in NFL history.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING BUDDY YOUNG

TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
JOHN BOWEN - ATLANTA, GEORGIA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
DAVE POTTER - CARY, NORTH CAROLINA
MIKE FORISTIERE - TOPEKA, KANSAS
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

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

Buddy Young looks like a natural C back to me.

Greg Koenig

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


*********** QUIZ - Counting interim coaches, the Cleveland Browns have had 17 head coaches  since they fired Nick Skorich  in 1974, and this guy is the only one to leave Cleveland with a winning record. They have had 15 head coaches since he left in 1988 - including Bill Belichick - and not a damn one has left a winner.

He was a head coach in the NFL for 21 years.  He coached four different NFL teams and left three of them with winning records.  The fourth? He coached just one season and finished 8-8, but the owner let him go when he decided to make an exciting hire of a successful college coach.

Perhaps it’s his post-season record that’s keeping him out of the Hall of Fame - he was 5-13 in the post season.  Three of his teams made it to the AFC Championship game, but lost.

Two of those championship game losses came at game’s end, both against the Denver Broncos, when his Cleveland Browns were on the verge of going to the Super Bowl.

While he never made it to the Super Bowl, three of the long and distinguished list of coaches who worked under him - Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy and Mike McCarthy have won Super Bowls.

A partial list of his assistants: Bruce Arians, Cam Cameron, Bill Cowher, Gunther Cunningham, Tony Dungy, Herm Edwards, Lindy Infante, Mike McCarthy, Wade Phillips, Tony Sparano

A native of the Pittsburgh  area, he played at Pitt, then played linebacker for the Bills and Patriots.  His first coaching job was  as an assistant with the Portland Storm in the World Football League in 1974. Ten years later, after working on the defensive side with the Giants, Lions and Browns, he was named head coach of the Browns.

He stayed there five years, making the playoffs his last four years, and had a record of 46-31-4.

Moving on to Kansas City after a disagreement with Browns’ owner Art Modell,  as head coach of the Chiefs for ten years, he made the playoffs seven times.  His overall record was 104-65-1, and his Chiefs did make it to the AFC final once, but his record in the post-season was 3-7, and after a 7-9 regular season in 1998, he resigned.

After three years out of the game, he returned in 2001, coaching the Washington Redskins to an 8-8 season.  But Washington owner Dan Snyder, seeing a chance to hire Steve Spurrier from Florida, fired him, and in the 18 years since he left Washington, the Redskins have had 12 losing seasons.  Two of them came right after his leaving, when Spurrier went 7-9 and 5-11 and then was sent on his way.

From there it was on to San Diego, where he stayed for five years, and built a record of 47-35-0.  His last three seasons there, he went 12-4, 9-7 and 14-2.  Unfortunately, he was 0-2 in the post-season.

Despite that 14-2 record, a disagreement with management and ownership led to his firing in February, and he walked away with $4 million.

He won 205 games (lost 135 and tied one), and he is the only non-active coach with more than 200 wins who’s not in the Hall of Fame.

In fact, there’s only one NFL coach with more wins than he has who has never won a title, and after next weekend there may not be any, not if that one other coach -  Andy Reid - wins.



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 21,   2020   "If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast."  General William T. Sherman

*********** Tim Brown, of Florence, Alabama  asked, What is keeping Clemson from losing coordinators? 

The question came just before the title game, following which co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott left to become head coach at South Florida.

But it’s still appropriate.  Scott had held the co-OC spot for five years.  More to the point, he’d been on the Clemson staff for 12 years.

Clemson’s unusual staff stability - in stark contrast to Nick Saban’s rent-a-staff program - was addressed in an excellent article by Dan Wolken in USA  Today.

To cut to the chase, there’s a lot to keep guys there:

* They’re well paid.  DC Brent Venables, at $2+ million a year, may be the best-paid assistant in college football.

* They’re likely to get a good bowl bonus every year.  A “good” bowl bonus is typically at least a month’s pay.

* Clemson, the town, is a nice place to live and a nice place to raise kids.

* Dabo is not a sunup-to-midnight kind of boss.

* Another point: it’s safe to assume that any coaches who revealed themselves to be malcontents or politicians have been winnowed out over time, assuring an absence of staff intrigue.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/college/columnist/dan-wolken/2020/01/11/clemson-dabo-swinney-staff-continuity-has-been-critical-success/4420251002/

I sent the article to Greg Koenig, who replied - That's a good article, Hugh. It's also a good reminder for those of us at the high school level that we don't have to kill hour after hour in staff meetings.


*********** A while back, my friend Josh Montgomery was in the halls of South LaFourche (Lah-FOOSH) High School, in Cut Off, Louisiana, when he came across this portrait on the wall - a portrait of one of the  school’s most illustrious graduates - Ed Orgeron.

Ed Orgeron La Fourche

LaFourche is a parish (in Louisiana, that’s a county) in South Louisiana - Cajun Country.

Ed Orgeron is a Cajun, for sure.  The surname and the accent are dead giveaways. I’m sure he’s proud of that fact, and wouldn’t at all mind our calling him one. 

Cajuns are descendants of French people driven from their homes in Acadia, what is now Maritime Canada, in the 1700s.  After considerable travel and travail they settled in the swamps and forests and prairies of South Louisiana. There, isolated from mainstream English influences, they were able to maintain their culture - their speech, their music and dance, and, most certainly, their food.  (Say "Acadian" really, really fast and you'll understand where the term "Cajun" comes from.)

"Coonass" is a term applied by a Cajun to himself and other Cajuns.  It’s not a pejorative - it's a badge of pride, at least  among Cajuns.  But as with any ethnic term, I’d never use it on a stranger. I’d have to wait until I knew the person - and he knew me - pretty well.

Is Coach O a coonass?  Undoubtedly. And proud to be one, I'm sure.  But just to be on the safe side,  I’d strongly suggest waiting for his permission before calling him that.


*********** John Canzano, in the Portland Oregonian, noted, after watching the LSU-Clemson game, how far out to lunch the Pac 12 has become:

None of the Pac-12 teams would have been close.  In fact, I think you could have merged the division champions – Oregon and Utah – and still not been within 21 points. More impressively, does anyone reading this believe an All-Star team of Pac-12 players from this season would have been able to stay on the field with LSU?

I don’t.

So that’s the challenge for the coaches in the Pac-12 Conference today. Because I have to think Mississippi State coach Mike Leach tuned in and was alarmed himself. The conference he left behind looked light years behind the best of the SEC right now. In fact, there was a huge gap between the top three in college football and anyone in the Pac-12 this season.

Ouch.


*********** I came across this one, while reading “When the Colts Belonged to Baltimore,” by William Gildea.

The author wrote about  talking with Archie Moore, a great boxer (back in the days when boxing was still a major sport) and a very  witty and intelligent guy to boot.  Moore, nicknamed “The Mongoose” for his quick hands, was a favorite in Baltimore.

Asked by Gildea why, now that he had incorporated himself and no longer needed a manager, he still kept former manager Jack “Doc” Kearns around, he said, “Because he’s smart.”

To illustrate what he meant by that, Moore answered, “Doc Kearns is so smart, if you give him two hundred pounds of steel wool, he’ll knit you a stove.”


***********  “Mom is the one that holds the future of football in her hands.” Gabe Infante.

Think about that for a minute.

Between single mothers, emasculated fathers, and a society that in general is becoming  matriarchal,  the decision to let boys play football is increasingly being made by mothers.

(Gabe Infante is now on the Temple staff, but for nine years before joining the Owls, he was head coach at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep. Very good coach - during his time at St. Joe’s Prep, he went 91-23, won four state championships, and won the 2018 Don Shula High School Coach of the Year Award.  He has gone around the country as a trainer for USA Football.)

*********** Greg Koenig wrote me, before the FCS title game:

If memory serves, I believe NDSU played against Portland State a few times in the Division II playoffs. I believe that was in the time when NDSU was running the Veer, so it was quite a contrast in styles.

I wrote back:

I was doing color on PSU telecasts in 88 and 89.

In 88 they made it to the D-II final - against NDSU - and  I went down to Florence, Alabama to watch it.

Mouse Davis wasn’t coaching then.  The PSU coach was a guy named Pokey Allen - heck of a coach - and their OC was a guy named Al Borges, who since has been OC at Oregon, UCLA, Cal, Indiana, Auburn, Michigan, San Diego State.  Very bright guy.

Talk about a contrast in styles;  Borges used at least seven or eight personnel groupings and did all sorts of things on offense , but NDSU just lined up in the veer and shoved it up their butt.

Good game. 35-21 final.

The Bison were TOUGH.


Greg again:

Check out NDSU's passing stats in that 1988 Championship Game.

Me:

Hahaha. 2 of 4 for 26!

They brought a ton of people, and I don’t remember hearing any of them hollering "throw the ball!"


Greg (himself a native North Dakotan):

In North Dakota, football fans understand that running the ball, combined with a tough defense, is what wins in November and December.

*********** John Vermillion, author and occasional contributor to this site, comes from a town called Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  It is safe to say it is in Appalachia - hills and hollers country.

We got going back and forth on school nicknames, and I had to play my trump card:

”You are one of my very favorite Appalachian-Americans,” I wrote,  “and I hope you won’t take offense at hearing that Pleasant Hill (Oregon) High is the Pleasant Hill Billies.  (Used to be one word, but no longer - probably PC - and now their mascot is a goat.)

He wrote back,

“Those lads should be proud and pleased. Wish I could’ve played for them.”

amazon.com/author/johnmvermillion

*********** A look at the location of John Vermillion’s home town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia puts today’s Second Amendment rally in Richmond, Virginia’s state capital, in perspective:

At the present time, there are enough anti-gun votes in the Virginia state legislature to pass laws imposing strict regulations on gun ownership, gun sales and gun use.  That there are so many anti-gun votes is largely a result of the tremendous population growth in “northern Virginia” - that part of the state which basically functions as the bedroom for Washington, DC and its hundreds of thousands of people dependent in one way or another on the Federal Government.

Few of those people are native Virginians, and fewer still have even so much as touched a firearm, but they have the numbers and they have the political inclinations to outvote the deplorables who live scattered around the rest of the state.  It’s a phenomenon that exists in more and more states (think Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Maryland) where geographically small but densely-populated urban areas dictate state policy to the rest of the state - a glimpse, if you will, at an America without an Electoral College.

To get an idea of how a person in Big Stone Gap might understandably feel disconnected from state government- it’s closer to eight other state capitals (Atlanta, Charleston, Columbia, Columbus, Frankfort, Indianapolis, Nashville, Raleigh) than it is to its own capital, Richmond.

big stone gap

*********** No surprise that the 49ers’ punter, Mitch Wishnowsky, is an Aussie. Aussie punters are everywhere.

Aussies come here with experience in playing sports that require kicking and demand leg strength, and most of them have had the benefit of the outstanding coaching at ProKick Australia, the Melbourne-based operation run by a couple of my son’s friends, Nathan Chapman and John Smith, which has sent dozens of Australian punters to US colleges.

Aussies fit right in on an American team because they've grown up in a culture that values team play (and not showing off).

ProKick not only teaches its trainees how to kick an American football, and to do so under American football conditions, but it places a great deal of stress on the intangibles - being a good team man, being a good student, being adaptable, and being hungry.

Wishnowsky’s  all of that, as his story attests…

https://www.espn.com.au/espn/story/_/id/28497204/mitch-wishnowsky-almost-slept-bathroom-floor-become-nfl-punter-nfl

*********** Spent about a month in Australia on deployment.  And VB was the beer of choice. 

This was in 1991 and even then you couldn't find Fosters.  We found out that wasn't a Aussie Beer but an American Advertising invention. 

Personally I preferred Powers.  But when short of  cash including the $2 coin.  I would buy Castlemaine XXXX which was about 20 cents cheaper. 

I guess most of the Australian Air Force personnel must have been from New South Wales.  The weren't big fans of XXXX which is a Queensland beer. 

Oh almost forgot the Aussies kept asking for Budweiser and some how someone got it in country (Marines will find a way).  When they got the Budweiser they hated it.  It didn't surprise me after drinking their beers. 

Tom Davis
San Carlos, California

(Aussie Humor being what it is, they say that the XXXX - in Castlemaine XXXX -  is because they can’t spell BEER.)

*********** I have a bone to pick with the Wikipedia people.  I object to their identifying football coaches by their given names, rather than the names by which they were known during their careers - by fellow coaches, players and fans alike.

Come on, now - football’s a rough game, and men who would have been “James” or “Michael” in a court room were “Jim” and “Mike” on the football field.   Identifying them in any other way does a disservice to their memory, and to those of you who go to Wikipedia to learn about them for the first time.

One person who serves as an example of this is the great Dave Nelson, whom Wikipedia insists on identifying as “David Moir Nelson.”

Yes, that was his Christian name, but trust me - to all who worked with him, coached for or against him, played for him, wrote about him or his teams, or followed his career over the years, he was “Dave Nelson.”

I find it ironic that as politicians adopt nicknames in order to show that they’re regular guys just like us (Charles Shumer morphs into “Chuck” Shumer, Gerald Nadler into “Jerry” Nadler), Wikipedia takes football coaches who gained fame going by their nicknames, and now identifies them in ways nobody who knew them would recognize.

Only as the author of the several books he wrote is he referred to as  “David M. Nelson,” but to know him as “David M. Nelson” is not to know him as those who knew him did.

I have been able to edit his Wikipedia entry to a certain extent.  I haven’t been able to do anything about the title line at the top, but everywhere else, I think I’ve been able to bring back “Dave” Nelson.

I found the same misidentification to be the case with Bill Alexander, the longtime Georgia Tech coach, whom Wikipedia insisted on calling “William Alexander.”   No less of authorities than Tim Cohane (in “Great Coaches of the Twenties and Thirties”) and Allison Danzig (in “History of American Football”) - people who knew him when he coached - refer to him as “Bill” Alexander. 

So “Bill” it is, in every place on his Wikipedia entry where I’ve been able to make the change.

***********  Hugh,

Take your pick...Odell Beckham, Jr. or Antonio Brown.  They are just two of others in the NFL that wouldn't pass muster in the Play Like A Champion Today character education program.  OBJ had a sideline and locker room pass to pull off his shenanigans simply because he was a former LSU player.  OBJ didn't play for Ed Orgeron, and after this debacle it would be safe to say that Ed Orgeron will be more careful as to who is allowed sideline passes for ANY future LSU game.

PLACT (Play Like A Champion Today) has been a part of my coaching philosophy since its inception.  I consider it to be a major part of the success my former athletes have achieved while they played in high school or college, and the success they have enjoyed in their businesses, families, and life outside of football in general.  

Didn't watch the democrat debate.  Didn't want to lose my dinner.

I miss the old Bud Light commercials.

Just made one of those "calls" you speak of.  Called the Medicare number to get some information.  Went through a litany of questions from an electronic male voice before finally being transferred to a human voice.  Was put on hold for about 10 minutes.  Fortunately the human female voice was able to answer my questions.

Apparently UC Davis must have felt the payout from SC would be better than what they were going to get from Fresno State so the Bulldogs ended up with Sacramento State.  Could you imagine what the USC faithful would've said if Sac State was on their schedule?

Will be interesting to see how both Leach and Rolovich do in their new positions.  My money is on Rolovich.

Penn State will be haunted by the Sandusky affair forever, and with the lack of character running rampant in this country today it isn't surprising that they are taking another shot.

Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas


*********** QUIZ  ANSWER:  A native of Detroit, Dave Nelson played at the University of Michigan in one of the most famous backfields in Big Ten - if not college - history.

It ran Fritz Crisler’s unbalanced-line single wing.

Its tailback, Tom Harmon, won the Heisman Trophy; its fullback, Bob Westfall, was an All-American, fourth in the nation in rushing - but second on his own team to Harmon; the blocking back (quarterback), Forest Evashevski, was All-Big Ten (and would go on to be a great coach at Iowa).

Dave Nelson, who had been a high school teammate of Evashevski, played wingback. In 1941, with Harmon having graduated, he led the Wolverines in rushing.

After World War II service in the Navy, he returned to Michigan to earn his master’s degree, and while there he served as an assistant baseball coach.

In 1946 he was hired as head football coach by Hillsdale College, and after two years there, and a record of 14-1-2, he took a job as an assistant coach at Harvard.

After one year at Harvard, he was hired as head coach at Maine. In two years as the Black Bears’ head coach, his teams went 7-5-2.  Not bad, but the “main”thing was how it came about.

After going 2-4-1 in his first year, he made the monumental decision to try to run the offense he knew - the single wing of Fritz Crisler - with a quarterback under center,  as in the T-formation, which was then all the rage.  He called his creation the “Winged T.”

Running the newfangled offense, the Black Bears went 5-1-1, a record good enough to get him the head coaching job at the University of Delaware.  Running his offense and continually improving on it, he stayed at Delaware for 15 years. In that time, his Blue Hens won 84 games, lost 42 and tied two. They won the national small college title in 1963.

His offense is still run all over the country, and the main reason it came to the attention of the American public - and football coaches everywhere - was the success that his former Michigan teammate, Evashevski, had with it, on a much larger stage, at Iowa. Running this offense, the Hawkeyes won two Rose Bowls in three years, both by convincing scores.

To answer other coaches’ requests for information, assistant coach Mike Lude was dispatched to put on clinics around the country, and among the coaches who won titles running the “Delaware” offense (as it came to be called) were Frank Broyles at Arkansas, Paul Dietzel at LSU, Eddie Robinson at Grambling and Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame.

After retirement as a coach, Dave Nelson continued to serve on the NCAA Rules Committee, and served for 29 years as its secretary-editor.

He was author of several books, including one he “co-authored” in 1975 with Evashevski (I have it on good authority that “Evvy’s” main contribution was his name) called “Scoring Power With the Winged-T.” Lord knows how many high school offenses it launched, but you can be pretty sure of one thing: if a high school is running the Delaware Wing (the “ed” was dropped years ago) T today, this book is its great-great-great-grand-daddy.

His 1962 book, “Football Principles and Play,” remains one of the best overall books for anyone wanting to know the basics of the game.

Nelson’s final book, published after his death, was “The Anatomy of a Game,”  which came out in 1994.  It could only have been written by someone with Dave  Nelson’s understanding of the game and its rules, and how those rules came to be - and in some cases, their impact on the game. As a history of the rules, it is essentially a history of the game itself, indispensable reading if you would hope to understand what has gone into making football the game that it is today.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING DAVE NELSON

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK


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

The influential coach in today's quiz is, of course, Dave Nelson. How many coaches have benefited from his expertise in the Wing T? Amazing!

*********** As an old wing-t coach I would have to turn in my membership card in the fraternity of wing-t coaches if I did not know this answer!!

David Crump
Owenboro, Kentucky

*********** To an "Old School" Delaware Wing-T guy, this was fun!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** Tom Walls, of Winnipeg, sent me a
photo of his dad's baseball letterman's card from Delaware - check the signature on the bottom - Nelson and Raymond
tom walls letterman card


*********** QUIZ - He was an original Baltimore Colt.  He was the first Colt to have his jersey retired, the first black to become an executive with the Colts, and as the NFL’s Director of Player Relations,  the first black man ever to hold an executive position with a major sports league.  He also served on civil rights commissions under three different presidents.

A native of Chicago,  at 5 feet, 4 inches tall, he was one of the shortest men ever to play in the NFL.

He may have been short,  but he had great speed -  in high school he was Illinois state champion in the 100-yard dash.

Told by the football coach at his school, Englewood High, that he was too small to play,  he transferred to Wendell Phillips High, where he not only made the team - he scored five touchdowns against Englewood.

He chose to play at Illinois, and in his first game, as a freshman, he ran 64 yards for a touchdown on his first carry, and 30 yards for a touchdown on his second carry.  He went on to tie the immortal Red Grange’s Big Ten record for touchdowns in a single season.

He was drafted and entered the Navy, spending  most of his time in California playing football for a Navy team called the Oakland Bluejackets. In the Coast championship game, in front of 65,000 people in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, he scored three touchdowns - including two long kickoff returns - to lead his team to victory.

Once out of the service, he returned to Illinois and he scored two touchdowns in leading Illinois to a 45-13 Rose Bowl win over UCLA.  He was named the game’s co-MVP, and the following summer, he was named MVP of the College All-Star Game.

He was the second black All-American - twenty years after Fritz Pollard of Brown became the first. 

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

Coming out of Illinois, he signed with the New York Yankees of the AAFC.

In 1950, when the AAFC folded and the NFL accepted three teams (the Cleveland  Browns,  San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Colts), he moved to the NFL’s New York Yanks.

In 1952, when the Yanks became the Dallas Texans, he moved with them. At some point in the season,  with the Texans out of money, the league had to take the team over. The Texans  finished the season on the road.

In 1953, in a stroke of genius, NFL commissioner Bert Bell awarded the Texans’ franchise to Baltimore.  The original Colts, the team brought into the NFL from the AAFC? That team had been disbanded when one of its owners sold all the team’s assets (mainly player contracts, but also equipment) to the league, for $50,000.  But he had done so without the approval of other owners, who sued, along with the city of Baltimore, for a return of their team.  By moving the Texans to Baltimore, Bell  managed not only to find a home for their vagabond team, but also  settled the lawsuit that the NFL was likely to lose.

This new Baltimore team kept the Colts’ name. (This indication of the importance of the name to Baltimoreans might help explain the animosity that’s still felt, 30 years after owner Robert Irsay moved the team in the dark of night to Indianapolis - and took the name with him).

And our man went to Baltimore,  becoming, along with George Taliaferro and Ed Embree, the first black professional players to play a full season in Baltimore. This was of some significance, as Baltimore was then a largely-segregated city.

The Colts at that time weren’t very good, but he provided some highlights for the fans.

Fast and shifty (in the words of one reporter,  “He’d zig-zag 50 yards to gain 25”) he became an instant favorite of the Baltimore fans, who in 1953 voted him Most Popular Colt.

Cheerful and upbeat, he became well known and liked by black and white Baltimoreans alike. On the side, he worked from 6 to 9 as the morning DJ on a local radio station, and he was a frequent guest on the extremely popular weekly TV show, “Corralin’ the Colts.”

When he retired after the 1955 season, the Colts retired his number 22 - the first Colt to be so honored - and made him a scout.

How effective was he?

One of his first acts was to find his replacement, and to do so he drove to Reading, Pennsylvania in a snowstorm to convince Lenny Moore to sign with the Colts rather than go to Canada. (“I was in awe of him,” Moore would recall.)

A few years later,  he and Colts’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom flew to Columbus to convince Ohio State’s Jim Parker to sign with the Colts.

And in 1963, he was instrumental in getting Syracuse’s John Mackey to sign with the Colts rather than the AFL New York Titans.

Moore, Parker and Mackey - three Hall of Famers.

And in 1965, his greatest achievement might have been his work on behalf of the NFL in “baby sitting” the great Gale Sayers - keeping him company, and away from the rival AFL - until the Bears could sign him.

In 1966, Commissioner Pete Rozelle selected him to become the NFL’s Director of Player Relations.

He died tragically in 1983 while returning from representing the NFL at a memorial service for Joe Delaney, who had  drowned while trying to rescue three children from a pond.  On the way to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to catch a 3:10 AM flight home, his car went off the road near Teague, Texas and he was found dead at the scene.  He was 57. His watch had stopped at 2:25. 

He left behind his wife of 38 years, Geraldine, whom he’d met in high school.  They  had four children, including a son, Zollie, named for his Colts’ teammate, Zollie Toth.  He and Toth, a white southerner, were the first black-and-white roommates in NFL history.


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 17,  2020   Concentrate on first downs as opposed to touchdowns. Touchdowns are the end result of first downs.” Darrell Roya

*********** The LSU afterglow didn’t last long, did it?

We already knew that Joe Burrow wouldn’t be back, and we knew  that a few other good players were likely not to return.

And with both coordinators now off to other jobs, we know they face a rebuilding of their entire operation.

But geez - they won the national title,  and they had less than 12 hours to celebrate.

That’s because somebody  had to go and give that narcissistic ass Odell Beckham - oops, forgot the “Junior” - an  invite to the party, and the next thing you know he pissed in their soup, and  made the post-game celebration all about him.

That ought to tell you why you don’t allow people like that on your sideline - and certainly not in your lockerroom.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2020/01/14/odell-beckham-cash-lsu-players-celebration/4464744002/

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/28490949/joe-burrow-says-browns-odell-beckham-jr-handed-real-cash-lsu-players

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/ncaa-football/news/lsu-bungled-what-should-have-been-clear-cut-response-to-odell-beckham-jr-incident/dgyspbd4p8lx1l42rtsadp5i8

https://www.nola.com/news/crime_police/article_16e90c06-387e-11ea-ba52-c35714f1e4cc.html


*********** What’s going on in baseball right now is a shot to the gut of a sport that was already wobbling.

Joe Drape, in a New York Times article (yes, the left wing “newspaper of record” can manage at times to cover sports well, without taking a shot at Donald Trump) points out that baseball is not an outlier. Cheating in many other sports is rampant, he notes…

But the rules are there, and F. Clark Power worries that by flouting them, more is being lost than a sense of fair play. Power is the founder of the Play Like a Champion program, which promotes character education through sports and focuses on proper coaching instruction in youth sports, especially for at-risk children.

He likes to reference what he sees when he witnesses the joy of 7-year-olds playing hide-and-seek.

“Every one of them knows that to have a fair game, you’ve got to keep your eyes closed while you count,” said Power, who has taught at the University of Notre Dame since 1982.

“We need to understand, if we are going to endorse cheating as a means to an end, the children are watching,” he said. “So it becomes a question of how do you want to raise your kids? We can’t get much lower as a culture if cheating is no longer a moral issue but a form of coping. We need to change the conversation.”

Football is every bit as bad as baseball, dominated as it is by the  “It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught” gang.

If you don’t believe me, I have just one word to describe the way cheating infects our game, and the way people cheat shamelessly to gain an advantage:

H-O-L-D-I-N-G

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/sports/astros-cheating-world-series.html?te=1&nl=sports&emc=edit_sp_20200116?campaign_id=32&instance_id=15242&segment_id=20391&user_id=f340325833890eecde7cc0449308af9e&regi_id=2369637720200116


*********** During the Democrat Debate (why was I watching that clown show? No excuse, sir) a really freaky commercial came on.

Briefly, it was a message from the atheists at a group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and it was delivered by - could that be who I think it is, but just a few years older, with a lot more wear on his tires?

It not only could be, it was: the ballet dancer himself. Ronald Reagan, Junior. Yes, sometimes the apple DOES fall a good ways from the tree.

Ronnie delivered a pitch for the sponsoring organization, and then signed off thusly:  “Ron Reagan, life-long atheist,” almost boasting. And he added, “not afraid of burning in hell.”

Not exactly a coincidence that the Freedom from Religion Foundation chose the Democrats’ debate as the time - and CNN as the medium - to make their pitch for donations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FPhnhn8ud8


*********** Whether I’ve been good or bad, every Christmas Santa sends me a nice little gift from  Down Under:

AUSSIE BEERS

(No, there's no Foster’s. This may very well come as a surprise to you, but Foster’s is NOT - as the ads say - “Australian for beer.”  In fact, next time you visit Australia, look around a bit - you'll have trouble even finding Foster’s on sale anywhere.The fact is, not only is Foster’s not consumed much in Australia - the Foster’s you buy in the US isn’t even brewed in Australia!  The company that owns the brand is owned by international brewing giant ABInBev,   and the Foster’s sold in the US - it makes no sense to pay to ship it a great distance - is brewed in Texas.)

The two best-selling  brands of beer in Australia are Victoria Bitter (known mostly as Vic Bitter or V-B, or - I’m told -Vitamin B), and  Carlton Draught.

Check their commercials - unlike here in the states (where brewers’ ads may not show beer drinkers actually drinking the beer or even smacking their lips after a deep draft!)

Many Vic Bitter commercials play that to the max,  employing the straightforward, tried-and-true “hard-earned thirst” formula: hard-working blokes out in the hot Australian sun working up a thirst that’s best quenched by a cold Vic Bitter, followed by a scene of the same blokes (mateship is  a very important component of Aussie culture) taking a break as they quaff their V-B.

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

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

They're way behind US beer commercials in the sense that theirs are still  worth watching.

This one capitalizes on Australia’s Number One sport
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMcgFoxNVPc

A very unusual V-B commercial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS_Zc8ErodM

And the making of that very unusual V-B commercial
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r-xXTX-QFk

Carlton Draft tends to take a wacky approach

This one (named “Expensive ad”) is a classic. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wM2c3WtDjQ#action=share

“Flash Beer”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEo3e4xN5m0

“Plastic Cup”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UlzRTFPxcA

"Skytroop"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvIwsLty9Fo


***********   How many times has this happened to you?

You call a company to complain about something.  Anything.

A robot answers and puts you through a minefield of choices  - “please select from the following options…” (None of the options is “speak to a human.”)

You choose your option and you’re put on hold “while we’re waiting on other customers.”

After five minutes or so, the robot breaks in to say “Please hold. Your call is important to us,” the twenty-first century version of “the check’s in the mail.”

You finally do get a human, and after you’ve explained your problem and asked for a resolution to it , you’re told, “I’m not authorized to make that decision…”

When you ask to speak to someone who is, you’re told,  “I’m going to have to put you on hold."

If you’re lucky, you don’t get cut off.  And after hearing a few more  lies (“Your call is important to us”) you get the person who presumably is authorized, and you have to explain your problem all over again.

Maybe you’ll get satisfaction, but chances are, you won’t.

But the fact is, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, you didn’t go through that ordeal because the company is understaffed, or because the people you spoke to are incompetent or poorly trained.  Whether it’s an airline, a retailer or a manufacturer, what you went through is exactly how the company WANTS things to work.  Go ahead and get pissed off and hang up.  See if they give a sh—. They WANT to make it as difficult as possible for you to get your refund.

*********** Remember when I tried to convince you that  Go Army Edge had great potential?

Well... It played a part in LSU’s championship run.  

Told ya!

https://www.sporttechie.com/lsu-clemson-college-football-playoff-national-championship-army-technology?utm_source=SportTechie+Updates&utm_campaign=60036ebbe4-SportTechie_Daily_1_14_20&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5d2e0c085b-60036ebbe4-294593081


*********** USC has scheduled a 2021 game against Cal Davis, and Trojan fans are not happy

Nothing against Cal-Davis, you understand.

It’s just that Trojan fans are a prideful bunch - the word hubris comes to mind - and one of the things they’ve been proudest of has been their claim to being one of only three FBS programs  (UCLA and Notre Dame, two long-time arch rivals, are the others) that have never played an FCS opponent.  And Cal-Davis is - gasp - FCS.

USC has a new AD, and he just fired the assistant AD who scheduled the Cal-Davis game. If I were the AD at Cal-Davis, I’d be expecting a call.


*********** Washington State has its new coach, and I approve. He's Nick Rolovich, who's done a heck of a job in Hawaii, where it's not easy to win.

Reactions from Washington State players, past and present, to the hiring of Nick Rolovich…

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2020/jan/14/washington-state-players-others-react-to-washingto/


From Seattle (Husky Country) comes “Here’s What You Need to Know About New WSU Head Coach Nick Rolovich.”

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/wsu-cougar-football/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-new-wsu-head-coach-nick-rolovich/


*********** A Cal player has filed a lawsuit against his former school, his former coach and a former teammate.

He claims that during his one year there, he and other younger teammates were hazed by older teammates of, among other things, imitating sexual acts in the shower and invoking Jerry Sandusky’s name.

The suit claims that older teammates told the younger ones, “I’m going to Sandusky you.”

The lawsuit claims some of the older players would physically restrain younger players, taunt them and engage in mock sex acts.

The lawsuit claims (the player) and his father both reported harassment and hazing in the football team locker room, but “no substantive action was taken” in response by Franklin or the team.

(The player) , 20, alleges he was retaliated against for making the reports, including scorn from coaches, “irrational and inappropriate censure” by the team’s academic adviser and denial of medical accommodations to treat anxiety and narcolepsy. He believes he was also shunned by other players and said he received threats.

He is seeking damages on claims of negligence against Penn State, Franklin and his former teammate, as well as assault and battery, conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress allegations against the former teammate.

The former school is - get ready for this - Penn State.

Penn State’s statement issued Tuesday said its Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response and the Office of Student Conduct investigated, and that Penn State police turned over results of its own investigation to Centre County District Attorney Bernie F. Cantorna.

“The DA reviewed the case and decided that no charges would be pursued,” the school said. A message was left seeking comment from Cantorna.

Marino said he has not spoken with the prosecutor and does not know what investigation was conducted, but said Penn State’s own internal investigation made a finding against the player listed in the lawsuit.

Personally, I have a very hard time believing that Coach Franklin is not astute enough to recognize the potential volatility of the slightest hint of undue sexual conduct, and  the State College (PA) paper has printed a number of tweets accusing the player of lying.

https://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/penn-state/article239276878.html

https://www.mercurynews.com/penn-state-football-coach-james-franklin-players-named-in-hazing-lawsuit

*********** Damn.  Now it’s Luke Kuechly who’s retiring.

With the sort of creeps that infest NFL rosters, the League can scarcely  afford to lose good guys like him and Andrew Luck.

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article239299573.html

***********  Hey Coach!

Sorry to bother you again, I was wondering about the spacing and alignment of the B back?  How far is he from the QB?  And it looks like you have him slightly behind.  What would be your coaching points for that?  Thanks again for everything.  We're very excited to implement a bunch of this.  I'll send you hudl clips at the end of the season. 

Coach,

As a starting point, I line my B-Back up behind the B-Gap on his side, with this toes even with the QB’s heels.  (The QB’s heels are at 4 yds). 

I have changed the QB slightly, a change from the original single-wing tailback stance to more of a shotgun QB stance.  He has his thumbs together and fingers up, but he does not stand erect. Except for his hands, he is in the same stance - power angles in ankles, knees, waist - that he would be in if he were under center.  It’s just as if he were under center  and you backed him out of there - still in his stance - and  he folded his elbows so that his hands are now out in front of his numbers.

************* Now that he’s finally lost a college game, I’ll bet Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence has already been to the barber’s to get a haircut.  (Why else, other than because he didn’t want to cut it and jinx his team while they were winning, would a normally healthy young guy wear his hair like that?)

Hugh,

Joe Burrow is the real deal.  It will be interesting to see how it goes for him in the NFL.  The Bengals have the first pick. 

In case you're wondering Yahoo described President Trump and Melania's entrance into the Superdome as a "raucous" ovation.  ("Making or constituting a disturbingly loud and harsh noise").  The left just simply cannot and will not acknowledge the "enthusiastic" greetings he receives when he's in a public arena.  Raucous??

Not only lost George Perles and Hayden Fry recently, but also just lost former Stanford HC John Ralston.

Speaking of the transfer portal...D'Ariq King of Houston also just entered the portal.  His former OC at Houston is now at Arkansas.  However...it won't shock me to see LSU make a play for him.  "Re-recruiting" is a great term for it.

I'll be watching the XFL to see what happens.  You will likely have a better handle on it.  I forget...did you work for a team in the USFL or the WFL?

Those 47 thousand plus fans watching the Texas 6A championship game were just part of the total number of fans who went to AT&T to watch all 12 divisions of the state championships.  Total attendance was 228,105, an average of 19,000.

I forced myself to watch the NFL playoffs.  If that Raven offense is the offense of the future God help the NFL. 

Admittedly though the Titans/Chiefs game should be a good one to watch.  On the other hand...Forty Niners/Packers may be a FG fest.

There is a reason NDSU has won 8 FCS National Championships.  They maintain their culture, and their systems on both sides of the ball are physical in nature.  They are able to recruit the type of kid who fits in, and regardless of who leads them the leader doesn't sway from what they are all about.

QUIZ:  Larry Smith  (I took great pride as a Fresno State alum watching the Bulldogs beat USC in the Freedom Bowl that year!  It still ranks as one of the great highlights in Fresno State football history no matter what).  The Bulldogs have always played the PAC schools tough.  While their overall record is just 21-34 (USC, UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State) FSU has proven they can hold their own, and beat, many Power 5 schools who have the guts to play them.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER:  Larry Smith led USC to the Rose Bowl 3 Times and won 143 games in 24 years as a head coach at Tulane, Arizona, USC, and Missouri.

He was an Ohio guy, another in a long line of Ohio-raised coaches who went on to distinguished careers.  And he’s one more coach with ties to Miami of Ohio, the “Cradle of Coaches.”

After high school, he started at West Point, but left after one year and transferred to Bowling Green, where he played both ways as an end and was team captain as a senior.

He got his start in coaching at a high school in Lima, Ohio, serving as assistant for two years and then head coach for three years before Bo Schembechler hired him at Miami of Ohio to coach the defensive ends. After two years he moved with Schembechler to Michigan,  where he coached the offensive line for four seasons.

When fellow Michigan assistant Jim Young was hired as head coach at Arizona, he took Smith with him as assistant head coach/defensive coordinator.  After three years at Arizona, Smith was hired by Tulane as its head coach and by his third year (1979) Tulane had a 9-3 record and  a  Liberty Bowl berth.

That was enough to get him the job at Arizona, where he replaced Tony Mason (Jim Young having left three years earlier for Purdue).

In his seven seasons at Arizona (1980 to 1986) he was 48-23-3.

His 1986 Arizona team was nine and three and got the school’s first-ever bowl game win. In his stay in Tucson, he led the Wildcats to four straight seasons of seven or more wins for the first time ever.

Hired by USC in 1987,  he won three Pac-10 titles, in 1987, 88 and 89. He was runner up in 1990 and finished third in 1992, and was Pac 10 Coach of the Year  in 1987 and 1988. He was 44-25-3 overall, and 33–12–2 in Pac-10 games.

His stay at USC was marred by the presence of highly recruited Todd Marinovich, perhaps the biggest bust in college football history.  A number of off-field incidents led to a 3-8 season in 1991, just the third losing season at USC in over 30 years.

After a disastrous 6–5-1 1992 season, he was fired.   Not only did the Trojans lose to Notre Dame and crosstown rival UCLA, but in a relatively minor bowl they were upset by underdog Fresno State, a team that USC had never previously played.

That was the killer for USC alumni, who couldn’t imagine mighty USC stooping so low as to even play Fresno State, let alone lose to them.

It didn’t help when he was quoted as saying after the game, “You don't beat someone just because of your name and logo,” because the alumni thought that, yes, when you were USC you certainly did.

He was fired, with three years to go on his contract.

After USC he was Missouri’s head coach for seven seasons, posting a 33-46-1 record. His 1997 squad played in the Holiday Bowl ending the school’s 13-year ball drought, and in 1998 the Tigers went 8-4 and won the insight.com bowl, Missouri‘s first bowl victory in 17 years.

In all, Larry Smith posted a 143–126-7 overall record in 24 years as a head coach at four schools.

After his coaching career he returned to Tucson and worked as a television color man for Arizona football, and put on football camps.  His son, Corby Smith, is a high school football coach in Arizona.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING LARRY SMITH

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
BILL NELSON - THORNTON, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
JOE BREMER - WEST SENECA, NEW YORK
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY
FRANCIS AMAR - WILLIAMSTOWN, NEW JERSEY


*********** QUIZ: A native of Detroit, he played at the University of Michigan in one of the most famous backfields in Big Ten - if not college - history.

It ran Fritz Crisler’s unbalanced-line single wing.

Its tailback, Tom Harmon, won the Heisman Trophy; its fullback, Bob Westfall, was an All-American, fourth in the nation in rushing - but second on his own team to Harmon; the blocking back (quarterback), Forrest Evashevski, was All-Big Ten (and would go on to be a great coach at Iowa).

Our guy, who was a high school teammate of Evashevski, played wingback. In 1941, with Harmon having graduated, he led the Wolverines in rushing.

After World War II service in the Navy, he returned to Michigan to earn his master’s degree, and while there he served as an assistant baseball coach.

In 1946 he was hired as head football coach by Hillsdale College, and after two years there, and a record of 14-1-2, he took a job as an assistant coach at Harvard.

After one year at Harvard, he was hired as head coach at Maine. In two years as the Black Bears’ head coach, his teams went 7-5-2.  Not bad, but the “main”thing was how it came about.

After going 2-4-1 in his first year, he made the monumental decision to try to run the offense he knew - the single wing of Fritz Crisler - with a quarterback under center,  as in the T-formation, which was then all the rage.  He called his creation the “Winged T.”

Running the newfangled offense, the Black Bears went 5-1-1, a record good enough to get him the head coaching job at the University of Delaware. 

There, he introduced his offense and also the winged helmet design he'd worn at Michigan. Running that  offense and continually improving on it, he stayed at Delaware for 15 years. In that time, his Blue Hens won 84 games, lost 42 and tied two. They won the national small college title in 1963.

His offense  was run for 36 more years at Delaware, and it's still run all over the country. The main reason it came to the attention of the American public - and football coaches everywhere - was the success that his former Michigan teammate, Evashevski, had with it, on a much larger stage. Running the  Delaware  offense, the Iowa Hawkeyes won two Rose Bowls in three years, both by convincing scores.

To answer other coaches’ requests for information, assistant coach Mike Lude was dispatched to put on clinics around the country, and among the coaches who won titles running the “Delaware” offense (as it came to be called) were Frank Broyles at Arkansas, Paul Dietzel at LSU, Eddie Robinson at Grambling and Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame.

After retirement as a coach, he served on the NCAA Rules Committee, serving for 29 years as its secretary-editor.

He was author of several books, including one he “co-authored” in 1975 with Evashevski (I have it on good authority that “Evvy’s” main contribution was his name) called “Scoring Power With the Winged-T.” Lord knows how many high school offenses it launched, but you can be pretty sure of one thing: if a high school is running the Delaware Wing (the “ed” was dropped years ago) T today, this book is its great-great-great-grand-daddy.

His 1962 book, “Football Principles and Play,” remains one of the best overall books for anyone wanting to know the basics of the game.

“Championship Football by 12 Great Coaches.” also in 1962,  is a great look at what the top college coaches of the time were doing, mostly on offense.His final book, published after his death, was “The Anatomy of a Game,”  which came out in 1994.  It could only have been written by someone with his understanding of the game and its rules, and how those rules came to be - and in some cases, their impact on the game. As a history of the rules, it is essentially a history of the game itself, indispensable reading if you would hope to understand what has gone into making football the game that it is today.





Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 14, 2020   - Alliances are difficult precisely because there is no “boss” in them. One cannot give orders to a partner.” Peter Drucker

*********** George Perles died recently.  He has earned for himself  a permanent place in the history of football strategy.

He was a Michigan State guy through and through. He played at Michigan State under Duffy Daugherty, he coached at MSU under Daugherty, and after 11 years of coaching in the pros he was Michigan State’s head coach for 12 years.  Oh- and from 2006 to 2018 he was a member of MSU’s Board of Trustees.

He spent eleven years with the Pittsburgh  Steelers, as defensive line coach, defensive coordinator, and assistant head coach to Chuck Noll, and during that time, the Steelers won four Super Bowls.

He left the Steelers to become head coach of the USFL Phildelphia Stars,  but broke his contract to take the Michigan State job when it came open.

The Spartans won two Big Ten championships, and played in seven bowl games.  His 1987 team won the Big Ten championship and beat USC in the Rose Bowl.

He was one of the founders of the Motor City Bowl.

What earned him his place in the pantheon of football innovators was his unique deployment of the Steelers’ 4-3, which helped protect a tall, lean rookie middle linebacker named Jack Lambert from being blocked -  by lining up a defensive tackle named Joe Greene in the “A-Gap” in a stance angled at the center.

Later, when he was coaching at Michigan State and still using his defense, he told the 1988 Coach of the Year Clinic, “Why we went to the stunting 4-3 that we use today, or why we lined up Joe Greene the way we did, I don’t know. Probably, if you would put it into the computer, it would tell us it wasn’t the smartest thing for us to do.”

Going into the game the first time he ran it, the AFC title game, Perles confessed that “If we were having trouble, I was prepared to get out of it quickly.”

This was his thinking:

“Chuck Noll is a good man to work for.  He is a man who gives you a lot of freedom and delegates a lot of responsibility. But he has been known to fire coaches.  My ass was on the line in 1974. The winner was going to the Super Bowl.  Chuck didn’t know what we were doing so I could get out of it quick and later blame Joe Greene for lining up in the wrong position. I knew Chuck would not screw around with Joe too much.”

It worked, of course. Lambert and Greene are both in the Hall of Fame.  They probably would be there no matter what defense the Steelers ran, but Perles’ scheme didn’t hurt their chances.


*********** I’m a bit pissed that Jamie Newman, who as Wake Forest’s QB helped the Deacons become one of the ACC’s better teams, has entered the so-called transfer portal and is now offering his talents to the highest bidder.

It’s a whole new meat market, inspired by the fact that three of the four teams in the Playoff got there with transfer quarterbacks.

What we’re seeing is a whole new level of recruiting, Re-recruiting, if you will.

It has the potential to make the Cam Newton sales tour look like a yard sale.

Meantime, how’d you like to be the high school five-star who just signed with Georgia?  Oregon? LSU?  They just wooed you and signed you and now they’re bringing in a guy with one year of eligibility.  But stick around and get your redshirt and then you’ll be ready to play next year - because they won’t do this again next year. Oh No-o-o-o-o.

Like hell they won’t.

*********** How much has the rash of transfer quarterbacks - and quarterbacks leaving early for the NFL - upset the college football applecart?

Consider Georgia and Kirby Smart.

Writes Jeff Schultz in The Athletic…

Two years ago, Smart could not have foreseen it coming. A program signs Jacob Eason (2016), Fromm (2017) and Fields (2018) in consecutive seasons, and the last thing he is going to think is, “Wow, I may need a transfer quarterback in 2020.”


*********** Me, I’m willing to give the XFL a chance.

A touchdown is worth NINE points.

Well, not exactly nine points.  A TD will still be worth six points, but then the fun starts.  Put the ball on the one and you get an extra point. Put it on the five if you want to go for two points. And on the 10 if you want to go for three. But you’ll like this - NO PLACEKICKS!

You can throw two forward passes on the same play, so long as first one doesn’t go past the line of scrimmage.

And overtime?  A hybrid of the current Kansas Plan and (forgive me, Lord, for saying this) a soccer shootout.

https://theathletic.com/1514784/2020/01/07/xfl-to-have-9-point-tds-shootout-ots-double-forward-passes-as-new-league-makes-its-own-rules/?source=shared-article

*********** A lesson in modesty…

 "I was just an enthusiastic mountaineer of modest abilities who was willing to work quite hard and had the necessary imagination and determination. I was just an average bloke; it was the media that transformed me into a heroic figure. And try as I did, there was no way to destroy my heroic image. But as I learned through the years, as long as you didn’t believe all that rubbish about yourself, you wouldn’t come to much harm."

Sir Edmund Hillary, first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest

*********** Sent by Tom Davis, San Carlos, California…

Per Greg Riddle of the Dallas Morning News, more fans were on hand to take in the 6A Division I title game than the majority of bowl games played at the conclusion of the 2019 college football season. 47,818 fans were reportedly in attendance at AT&T Stadium for the Dec. 21 matchup -- an attendance that, so far, has surpassed 27 bowl games that have been played since mid-December.

https://247sports.com/college/texas-am/Article/texas-uil-state-title-game-duncanville-north-shore-larger-crowd-than-majority-of-bowl-games-141754780/?fbclid=IwAR1gL0Xftq5q6zAwKcJeD5aKyIZoE62RaqVUdMquzoiKRCkbb75015Ggryk

***********  John Bothe writes from Oregon, Illinois:

Interesting how most of the top paid assistant coaches now are Defensive Coordinators. Of the top 10 listed only Sarkisian is an OC that I know of for sure.  I am not sure which side of the ball MacIntyre is on.
 
Has it always been that way? 

Thanks

Coach,

Very interesting observation.

MacIntyre is a defensive guy.

I don’t think it’s always been this way.

My thinking is that with offenses as wide open as they are, and with the rules tilted toward offenses the way they are, guys who can stop them are at a premium.
 
Just off the top of my head it does seem as though offensive-minded guys get a lot of the head coaching jobs. That’s because the biggest things on the mind of ADs is selling tickets. Maybe that means that the head coach values the defensive coordinator more because he has to depend so heavily on him.   And maybe the defensive guys don’t go after head coaching jobs because they are being paid so well they’d only be interested in the really good ones.

This would be a good subject for a doctoral dissertation.


*********** Three members of the South Sound Football Officials Association were on hand last Tuesday night at the Aberdeen school board meeting to present $1,000 scholarships to two Aberdeen players, in recognition of Aberdeen High’s having been selected most sportsmanlike of the 30 large schools that the SSFOA services.

The scholarships are funded largely by the officials themselves, who chose to have a portion of each game fee  deducted for the purpose.

Our winners - we made it competitive - were Payton Woodland and
Josh Fritts, both offensive linemen.

sportsmanship award

From left to right,  Greg Kline (SSFOA), Head Coach Todd Bridge, Payton Woodland, Josh Fritts, Joe Mihelich (SSFOA), Terry Simmonds (SSFOA)


************* The College Championship game is held in New Orleans, one of the most musical of all American cities, and so they introduce the game with - rap?

Is there nothing a person with a love of football and relatively wide tastes in music can do to get away from that?

*********** Can you believe that’s Broadway Joe on that commercial?

He’s telling us how to “Get the benefits you deserve!”

Talks like he’s a senior citizen who’s had to resort to eating dog food:

“I called this number… and they offered to enroll me in a plan…”

A plan that includes “rides to medical appointments… home-delivered meals”

This is the guy who once signed the biggest contract in sports history. The guy who owned a New York hangout called Bachelors III.  The guy who in the words of a biographer,  “hit every hot spot in New York and had a beautiful woman on his arm every other night.”

Pathetic, isn’t it?

*********** Los Angeles has had a 24% decrease in bus ridership since 2013. In January 2015 illegal immigrants have been able to drive legally. Hmmm.


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

The coach is Mouse Davis.  I did not know his story but I love it.  A self taught innovator who did not have the benefit of starting as a GA at a blue blood college, that's my kind of guy.

I'm glad you mentioned Gary Barta at Iowa.  Maybe you knew this but he played football at NDSU during their big run in D2 in the 80s and was gracious enough to schedule NDSU a game a couple seasons ago when no other Big ten team would (NDSU won, probably won't happen again haha).  Barta also hired Gene Taylor from NDSU as associate AD at Iowa before he took the AD job at Kansas State.  Taylor navigated NDSU from D2 to D1 and did an outstanding job.  Taylor of course is the guy that hired Chris Klieman, a coach I have enormous respect for and think K-state is a great match for him.

Anyways sorry to bore you with NDSU stories.  Hope you can watch the FCS title game on ABC tomorrow morning.  It is a toss up game and I am nervous!

God Bless,
Mat Hedger
Langdon, North Dakota

Coach,

Good to hear from you.

Gene Taylor, I should note, is a long-time friend of my friend Mike Lude, who considers himself something of a mentor.  Gene is no youngster himself, but then, Mike is 97.

I go back a long way with NDSU and I may have seen Gary Barta play. I was doing color for Portland State in 1988 and PSU  made it to the D-II final in Florence, Alabama - against NDSU.

It was a good game. PSU was very good that year, but NDSU was even better, and the final score was 35-21, Bison.

PSU was way ahead of the curve, and threw quite a bit.  Their OC was a very innovative guy named Al Borges who went on to a number of high profile jobs. NDSU just ran that veer, and  they ran it down your throat.

What impressed me most about the whole deal was the large number of fans the Bison brought.  It was obvious that they followed their team: a lot of them wore  jackets that boasted that they were “ROAD WARRIORS.”

Of course I’ll be watching.  I have some attachments to James Madison, so I’m going to be neutral.  Ought to be a good game.



***********  I thought you might find interesting a bit of correspondence between me and one of our coaches, shortly after we came on board at Aberdeen last spring…

Coach,

With aligning our o line off the ball like that wouldn't we be setting ourselves up for people to blitz us and our guys not being able to get to them? Too many guys in one gap that get through and blow up the run?

Coach, this is time-tested.  We’ve been doing this for years. More than 25, to be exact.  It works.  You will see.

There are many good reasons why we are back off the line - all the result of years of learning - and I believe I explained it all in sufficient detail.

I have no idea how “too many guys” can get through a gap that’s almost  non-existent. With all that we do to protect our gaps, not even one guy should penetrate.

With being such a run first attitude and mindset, do we have an air attack we can use if we get behind and can't afford to use up the clock? Like with Navy and their triple option it's great when they're up and control clock but when they're down it's almost as if their offense falls apart. With all us learning a new offense and only getting to what we can based on the kids, is this of any concern we should have?

Without disparaging what’s gone on with Aberdeen football, it’s obvious to any football man that the first order of business is to eliminate the ways even good teams beat themselves. Part of that entails controlling the ball and the game.  I would love for Aberdeen to enjoy the kind of success Navy has enjoyed over the years.  Army recently, too.
With the drive blocking, I love that it prevents holding calls but and this may be a stupid question but how do our guys have the ability to stop someone who is quicker or stronger and gets separation from our guys? Do we stay in the drive blocking technique or is it then we can use our hands to fight it off?

We seldom ask a man to beat a head-up defender one-on-one.  We usually block at advantageous angles and frequently employ  double-teams.  With rare exceptions we do NOT use hands.   Otherwise when we see hands, we raise hell.  We aren’t trying to fight people off.  Our goal is to attack, get into a guy, and  stay welded to him, which means using our legs, not our hands.  We understand that this will require a change for some people, but it will be made.

Just curious if this is a sort of lure them to sleep and expect the same thing over and over then have the ability to hit them deep and catch them sleeping? This all seems very similar to what I ran in high school granted it was 8 man but we always ran 34 veer option, toss R or L, 30 FB dive, counter traps, it all allowed us to set up 32 quick pass, just the TE would give run block look then quickly slip up the middle, we gashed teams with this play constantly.

Our passing game is based on play action.  First the defense must commit to stopping our run, and make itself vulnerable to a pass by doing so.

Sorry last question do we have drills set up to help make our kids patient runners? I know many kids want the big 80 yd big play and it's hard to get them to sacrifice the 4 to 5 yards a play long drives. What is the best approach with the kids in helping guide them to be patient?

The timing of our plays requires coordination among all the moving parts and we do spend a lot of time in team work.  Our blocking rules are designed so that runners learn where they are supposed to run and there are few opportunities for them to improvise.  I think that that addresses the problem that you’re referring to. 

It is essential that you get on board.  We are trying to instill a no-excuses attitude on the team - coaches and players.


(For what its worth, the coach bought in totally and became an asset to the program.)

*********** To me, nothing says “sloppy football player” more than a shirt tail hanging out.  More than one says to me, “sloppy football team.”

Yet for some reason, coaches who otherwise are the most anal people in the world send guys out onto the field with shirts hanging out or - in cases where they’ve tried to outfox their players by issuing short-cut game jerseys - tee shirts that hang out under the jerseys.

shirttail tackle

Anyhow, I laughed my ass off last week after a Miami receiver caught a ball in the open and hauled it down to the one yard line, where he was finally dragged down - by his shirt tail. (I think it was a red tee shirt hanging out under the red jersey.)

Anyhow, that’s as far as  the Redhawks got.  On third down the center snap went over the Miami QB’s head and there went Miami’s chance to come from behind.

*********** The FCS final between North Dakota State and James Madison was as good as it gets - two well-matched teams going at it as hard as they could for 60 minutes, with the game not settled until the very end.  There’s no doubt in my mind that they were the two best teams in FCS, and - hated that they played it in a soccer stadium - the fans were as into it as the players.

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

I know you are not a great fan of the NFL but the Titans have employed a couple of principles from us “ old Double Wing coaches”.  They run the football, play  bend don’t break defense and when you throw, throw for touchdowns. It has been fun to watch.

Jack Tourtillotte
Rangeley, Maine

Jack,

We still think along the same lines.

I did watch most of the weekend’s “action,” and the only thing that kept my interest were the Titans old-school emphasis on a strong running game, and a defense that exposed the Ravens’ offense and this year’s much-hyped version of the Offense of the Future.

The other three games were the most boring “big games” I can remember occurring on the same weekend.

It almost reminded me of pro wrestling,  the way the Texans jumped out in front quickly,  then folded like a lawn chair.

There was more real action and harder play (not to mention less theatrics) in the  North Dakota State-James Madison game than  all four NFL games put together.

Hope you’re staying warm!



*********** QUIZ  ANSWER - Darrell "Mouse" Davis is a native Northwesterner,  born in Eastern Washington and raised in Oregon. He went to college in Oregon and began coaching there, and wouldn’t leave the state to coach until he was almost 50 years old.

Following  college, he spent 15 seasons as a head coach at three different Portland area high schools, building a record of 79-29.   Perfecting an offense invented by an Ohioan named Glenn “Tiger” Ellison,  his 1973 Hillsboro High team went 11-1 and won the state title, setting all sorts of state offensive records.

His reputation as an offensive innovator led to his being hired at Portland State, and he was promoted to the head coaching position in 1975. In his time as PSU’s head coach - he left following the 1980 season - he compiled a record of 42-24. More importantly, though, he had put Portland State on the football map.

Using the same offense he had used at Hillsboro High School, he developed two Portland-area kids - June Jones and Neil Lomax -  into NFL quarterbacks.  And two of his receivers - Dave Stief and Clint Didier - went on to play in the NFL.  Ironically, coming out of a college offense that never employed a tight end, Didier would earn two Super Bowl rings with the Redskins and play a total of nine seasons in the NFL with the Redskins and Packers - as a tight end.

In his first year at PSU, the Vikings set school records by scoring 366 points and amassing 3979 yards, but that was just a taste of what was to come.

In 1980, with Lomax at the controls, they put up insane numbers, beating Weber State 75-0, Cal Poly Pomona  93-7 and Delaware State, 105-0.  In the latter case, Lomax played just half the game - more than enough, since he had thrown seven touchdown passes in the first quarter!

In 1980, he left Portland State and embarked on what can fairly be called an itinerant career, taking his offense with him and, like a football version of Johnny Appleseed, leaving behind him a long list of adherents, followers and emulators at every stop.

His first move up to the Big Time was as offensive coordinator at Cal; then came a move  to Toronto as the Argos’ OC. They made it to the Grey Cup, where they lost, but the next season, after he had left, the Argos continued to run his offense, and won the Grey Cup for the first time in 31 years.

His next stop was Houston, as OC of the USFL Gamblers. In the first season of an expansion team, as QB in his system, a rookie QB named Jim Kelly threw for  5,793 yards and 45  touchdowns and took the Gamblers to a 13-5 record.

He took the job of head coach of the Denver Gold, where he went 11-7.

Next stop (I told you he was well-travelled) was the NFL, where he served as OC of the Detroit Lions, with June Jones coaching the QBs.

After three years in Detroit, he was hired as head coach of the New York-New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football, backed by the NFL.  He was 11-9 in two seasons, after which the NFL pulled its support.

He spent the next season back in Toronto as OC, then moved on to Atlanta as QB coach when June Jones was hired as the Falcons’ head coach.

After two seasons in Atlanta, he coached Arena teams in Detroit (The Fury) and San Diego (The Riptide) before reuniting with June Jones at Hawaii, then returning to Portland State to coach the offense under Jerry Glanville, then back to Hawaii for a couple more seasons.

He hasn’t officially coached since 2010, but his influence on the game is still strong, and the success that Mouse Davis  inspired has helped sell a lot of Tiger Ellison’s books.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING MOUSE DAVIS

JOSH MONTGOMERY - BERWICK, LOUISIANA
TOM DAVIS - SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA
ADAM WESOLOSKI - PULASKI, WISCONSIN
MIKE FRAMKE - GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
TIM BROWN - FLORENCE, ALABAMA
KEVIN MCCULLOUGH - LAKEVILLE, INDIANA
JOHN BOTHE - OREGON, ILLINOIS
MAT HEDGER - LANGDON, NORTH DAKOTA
GREG KOENIG - COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
JOE GUTILLA - AUSTIN, TEXAS
PETE PORCELLI - WATERVLIET, NEW YORK
JOHN VERMILLION - ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
OSSIE OSMUNDSON - WOODLAND, WASHINGTON
TOM WALLS - WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
KEN HAMPTON - RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
MARK KACZMAREK - DAVENPORT, IOWA
DAVID CRUMP - OWENSBORO, KENTUCKY

*********** QUIZ:  He led USC to the Rose Bowl 3 Times and won 143 games in 24 years as a head coach at Tulane, Arizona, USC, and Missouri.

He was an Ohio guy, another in a long line of Ohio-raised coaches who went on to distinguished careers.  And he’s one more coach with ties to Miami of Ohio, the “Cradle of Coaches.”

After high school, he started at West Point, but left after one year and transferred to Bowling Green, where he played both ways as an end and was team captain as a senior.

He got his start in coaching at a high school in Lima, Ohio, serving as assistant for two years and then head coach for three years before Bo Schembechler hired him at Miami of Ohio to coach the defensive ends. After two years he moved with Schembechler to Michigan,  where he coached the offensive line for four seasons.

When fellow Michigan assistant Jim Young was hired as head coach at Arizona, he took our guy with him as assistant head coach/defensive coordinator.  After three years at Arizona, our guy was hired by Tulane as its head coach and by his third year (1979) Tulane had a 9-3 record and  a  Liberty Bowl berth.

That was enough to get him the job at Arizona, where he replaced Tony Mason (Jim Young having left three years earlier for Purdue).

In his seven seasons at Arizona (1980 to 1986) he was 48-23-3.

His 1986 Arizona team was nine and three and got the school’s first-ever bowl game win. In his stay in Tucson, he led the Wildcats to four straight seasons of seven or more wins for the first time ever.

Hired by USC in 1987,  he won three Pac-10 titles, in 1987, 88 and 89. He was runner up in 1990 and finished third in 1992, and was Pac 10 Coach of the Year  in 1987 and 1988. He was 44-25-3 overall, and 33–12–2 in Pac-10 games.

His stay at USC was marred by the presence of highly recruited Todd Marinovich, perhaps the biggest bust in college football history.  A number of off-field incidents led to a 3-8 season in 1991, just the third losing season at USC in over 30 years.

After a disastrous 6–5-1 1992 season, he was fired.   Not only did the Trojans lose to Notre Dame and crosstown rival UCLA, but in a relatively minor bowl they were upset by underdog Fresno State, a team that USC had never previously played.

That was the killer for USC alumni, who couldn’t imagine mighty USC stooping so low as to even play Fresno State, let alone lose to them.

It didn’t help when he was quoted as saying after the game, “You don't beat someone just because of your name and logo” - the alumni were indignant because they knew that yes, you certainly do beat people simply because you're USC.

A week or so later, he was fired, with three years to go on his contract.

After USC he was Missouri’s head coach for seven seasons, posting a 33-46-1 record. His 1997 squad played in the Holiday Bowl ending the school’s 13-year ball drought, and in 1998 the Tigers went 8-4 and won the insight.com bowl, Missouri‘s first bowl victory in 17 years.

In all, he posted a 143–126-7 overall record in 24 years as a head coach at four schools.

After his coaching career he returned to Tucson and worked as a television color man for Arizona football, and put on football camps.  His son, Corby, is a high school football coach in Arizona.


Betsy Ross FlagFRIDAY,  JANUARY 10,  2020   - "Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful." Samuel Johnson

*********** I hate to go against either Clemson or LSU.  I do like Louisiana (the state)  itself, after having spent a summer there, working in the LSU athletic department, but that was a long time ago.  I also like Ed Orgeron and I like Joe Burrow,  but then I've grown to like and respect Dabo Swinney and the Clemson program, too, so I think I’ll just kick back and enjoy what ought to be a pretty good game.

I’ll have the game broadcast on one set, but I’ll be listening to the audio on another set, which will be turned to “Coaches Film Room” on ESPNU.  College coaches will be seated at a table, watching the game on the screen and providing “commentary and analysis” just as if they were watching game film.

At the table this year will be Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State, Jeff Hafley, new head coach at Boston College, Derek Mason of Vanderbilt, and Gary Patterson of TCU.  (Interestingly, only Gundy has an offensive background.)

If you haven’t seen the game this way, it’s as good as watching football can get.  Once you’ve done it, you’ll never want to go back to the guys in suits.

At some point Coach Mason will probably try to name drop,  telling us how well he knows Joe Burrow. (He knew Burrow when he was a 7-year-old and Mason was working on the Ohio U. staff with Burrow’s dad).

*********** I don’t really give a big rat’s ass about the NFL, and I've never thought much of Marshawn Lynch as a person , but - I cannot believe I’m saying this -  I have to admit that I’m really getting a kick out of watching the reckless enthusiasm with which Lynch, the newest version of the Comeback Kid, runs the ball.

*********** So it finally happened.  I suppose it had to, eventually. Mike Leach is gone from Washington State. It was a great relationship, because the fans seldom asked for more than he delivered. He was colorful and, for the most part, he put a competitive team on the field. Occasionally, a pretty good one.

He was about all you could expect at Washington State, the Mississippi State of the Northwest. (No insult intended - they’re both “state” schools, they’re both located off the beaten path, and in football,  they’re both perpetual underdogs.)

But now he’s “taking his talents” to the Mississippi State of the South, where, despite being about in the same boat as WSU in terms of ability to compete with the Big Guys,  they’re a bit more demanding than the folks in Pullman, Washington. They just fired a coach, Joe Moorhead, after his second year there.  Moorhead went 14-12 in his two years at MSU - and beat the in-state rival (Ole Miss) both years.

At Pullman, hidden away from major media in the southeast corner of the state, with fans who were glad to have him, Leach has had it pretty good.

In his first three years at Washington State, his teams were 3-9, 6-7 and 3-9. But there weren’t even murmurs about firing him. He then put together four straight winning seasons, including 2018, when he came within a win over the Washington Huskies - more about them in a minute - of making it to the Pac-12 championship game.  But then he flopped this past season, going 6-7. In total then, in his eight seasons in Pullman, he had four winning seasons. And four losing seasons.  Oh - and he has lost seven straight to the hated Washington Huskies. And all of those losses have been by ten points or more.

At Mississippi State, his teams will throw the ball all over the place and - if that’s  what their fans pay to see - they’ll get their money’s worth.

But I have news for you Bulldogs’ fans: the offense - the passing part of it - may be entertaining, but you’re going to get pissed off by the rest of the game your new coach brings with him. You know, things like defense.  And that vaunted offense?  Check it out - yes, the Air Raid moves the football and scores points, but Air Raid teams don’t win big. The Air Raid brings with it a built-in ceiling - just as you fear  would have been the case if you’d gone and hired your coach from Air Force, or Navy or Army. (Of course, then you probably wouldn’t recognize the offense as “real football.”)

As for the wins and losses - what you see at the places he’s been (Texas Tech and Washington State) are what you can expect at Mississippi State.  He’s made “down” programs successful. He’s won in places where it’s not easy to win.  Trouble is, that’s not what you expect.  You expect more.

You really do seem to think that you’re not in the same class as Texas Tech or Washington State - that you can keep up with the Alabamas and Auburns and LSUs of the world, so you’re not going to want to read this:

Mike Leach is good - up to a point.
Yes, he will make a mediocre team a lot better.  But he has never won a conference championship.  In 18 seasons as a head coach, he has won more than nine games just twice - once at Texas Tech and once at WSU. He’s taken teams to just two major bowls - the 2006 and 2009 Cotton Bowls.  Lost ‘em both.

Just in case it sounds as if I don’t like Mike Leach - I do like him, and I wish he’d stayed in Pullman.  He was good there, and he was appreciated.  He was a good fit.  But WSU is facing financial problems, and with the AD who hired him, Bill Moos, long gone, he may not like what he sees down the road.

I wish him well. It won’t take him long before he finds out that he ain’t in Pullman any more.

(And no,  there’s no truth to the rumor that upon hearing the news about Leach, new Washington coach Jimmy Lake went to his AD to try to get Mississippi State on the schedule.)

*********** As an amateur historian, I’m greatly troubled by storytellers who distort what really happened - who bend the facts to fit their story, and then pass off their work as a “true story.”

It’s a major reason why I steer clear of any book or movie that’s “based on a true story.”

That sort of faux history is scary in today’s culture, where kids are taught so little about history, mainly by teachers who know so little about history.  It’s scary because it enables the counterfeiters to produce the currency.

It’s especially scary when the storyteller brings race into the story, because it’s such a volatile subject to begin with, and because any distortion of the truth has the potential to cause great great damage to our society.

But, as they used to say, “sex sells,” and the same thing is true of race. Race sells, especially when your story contains a mean, old , white authority figure and a kind, gentle, sympathetic black youngster.

One such case was “The Express,” the story of Ernie Davis, as likable and as sympathetic a figure as you could possibly imagine: a great football player and, by all accounts, a great person, a number-one draft choice who was struck down by leukemia and died before he had a chance to play a single NFL game. And a black man

In the movie, gruff (white) Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder was, I’m told (I said that I don’t watch “based on a true story” dreck), portrayed as a racist. So were some white members of the team.

Not so, according to a story in The Athletic about Syracuse’s unbeaten 1959 national champions.  In it, author Matthew Guttierez cites lineman John Brown…
Schwartzwalder’s staff also was supportive of players. Brown, who grew up in Camden, N.J., says he counted only about 50 black students on the Syracuse campus in the 1950s. “And most of them were track athletes,” he says. But he says a teammate or coach never said a racist thing to him or any of his black teammates, and the racism depicted in the movie about the team and Ernie Davis, titled “The Express,” was not true.

*********** From an article in - of all places - Yale Alumni Magazine (July-Aug 2010 issue)

“Bad Calls”

1983 was a great year for quarterbacks. In the NFL draft that year, teams had the choice of John Elway (pick one), Jim Kelly (pick 14), and Dan Marino (pick 27), or promising professional rookies who went on to be hall of famers.

But if you think the lesson of that draft is that NFL teams excel at predicting who will perform at the sports highest level, you would be wrong, says Cade Massey an assistant professor of organizational behavior at SOM (School of Management). He points to draft picks seven and 15 - also quarterbacks – who had unexceptional careers despite being picked over Marino.

“Everyone names that draft as a great quarterback draft, but they aren’t getting the big message – which is, it’s hard to predict,“ Massey says. He and a co-author analyzed years of performance data on draft picks and determined that, across-the-board, teams are lousy at predicting which players will be stars and which will be also-rans.

But NFL teams don’t seem to realize how bad their own forecasts are. According to the study data, teams vastly overpay for the privilege of picking earlier; they will trade away multiple low picks to get their favored player – even though the odds of benefiting on an early pick are only slightly better than a coin toss.

The research underlines a much studied phenomenon in psychology and behavioral economics: overconfidence. Research shows that people consistently overrate their own abilities. The same behavior that leads football scouts to overpay for this year‘s college star can lead stock traders to bet everything on an attractive deal, or companies to pay a high salary to their preferred CEO when a cheaper one might do just as good a job. As Massey points out,  no couple ever admits that their impending marriage has only a 50% chance of success.

Massey has been advising football teams to trade away their first round picks for lots of lower ones, thereby increasing the number of coin tosses they get. He says the few teams that already employ that strategy win more games than their peers. But not many others have shown Interest in his findings. One team employee told Macy that the team’s owner “believes you – he just doesn’t think it applies to him.”

*********** I’ve heard that there could be calls in Houston for Bill O’Brien’s scalp should the Texans lose to the Chiefs Sunday (as expected).

Never forget this, sports fans: Bill O’Brien took over at Penn State at a time when some people (nut cases, to be sure) were calling for the death penalty for the program.

Despite the sanctions imposed by the NCAA, and the fear of players’ transferring, he steadied the ship and took the Lions to 8-4 and 7-5 seasons, before taking the Houston job. His successor, James Franklin, has continued the run of success - he has yet to have a losing season, and in the last four seasons State has gone 42-11.

Compare that with what’s happened at places such as Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Michigan -  longtime powers that have fallen and find it hard to regain the high perches they once occupied. 

Unlike Penn State, they didn’t even have major scandals getting in the way of their comeback efforts.  All they did was think they could “do better”  - and found out that it wasn’t that easy.

*********** I’m really glad that I don’t watch a lot of NFL, because if I did I would really be sick of Booger McFarland.  He is very hard to listen to.  He may have something of value to pass along to us, but there’s not one of us who has such wonderful things to say that listeners will overlook the way in which we say it.

*********** soleimani for President

Deceased Iranian General Soleimani surges into 4th place in Democratic primary race

Relatively unheard of outside of intelligence circles, deceased Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has surged into 4th place in the national Democratic primary poll among likely Democratic voters.

Just days after President Trump ordered Soleimani’s killing in Iraq for orchestrating an attack on the Iraqi US embassy and decades of bombings in the region, many Democrats think he has the stuff to beat Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

“He was a great man,” Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said of Soleimani. “That’s why I am proud to endorse him as my favorite candidate in the 2020 primary.”

Analysts are quick to question what people are doing selecting a dead Iranian who cannot legally run for office in the Unites States but a spokesman at the Democratic National Committee said, “Dead people have been voting for our candidates for a long time. It’s about time that we allow a dead person to run for office!”

https://genesiustimes.com/deceased-iranian-general-soleimani-surges-into-4th-place-in-democratic-primary-race/

*********** E. J. Smith, a 4-star running back from Dallas Jesuit High School was offered by Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas A & M and Stanford.

What did his dad  say when  E.J. announced he would be going to pass up all those SEC schools - including his his dad’s alma mater,  Florida, and  go instead to Stanford?

He said,  “At the end of the day, my son has his own journey. And it is his journey, not my journey.”

E.J.’s dad is the great Emmitt Smith, who undoubtedly would have burst with pride if his son had chosen to be a Gator like his dad. But unlike a lot of today's micromanaging parents, he let his son make the decision.

(As a Stanford dad x 3 - Good call, E.J. I can’t imagine a better combination of big-time football, first-class academics, and a great college experience than Stanford.)

*********** Want to  see a great site?   If your school's got a distinctive nickname, it's probably found here, along with hundreds of others.

The Web owner’s a Washington guy, so he’s got the Evergreen State covered. He’s got the North Beach Hyaks and Ridgefield Spudders - two places where I’ve coached - on there, and he’s got the Camas Papermakers (the town where I live).

My wife’s school - Abington (PA) High -  is on there as well. The Abington Galloping Ghosts.

In the non-PC Classification, my favorite is the Orofino (Idaho) Maniacs. (Orofino is the site of the state mental institution.) There would have been a tie with the Indiana School for the Deaf “Deaf Hoosiers,” but they’re not on the list.  (Maybe its a PC thing, but it’s still their nickname.)

The owner of the site said that his inspiration was the state championship won by the 1995 Spudders (they’re the orange-and-blue team shown so much on my original video, Dynamics of the Double Wing).

www.halcyon.com/marcs/mascot.html

*********** FOR YOU REAL FOOTBALL NUTS - An explanation of the wishbone's QB-fullback exchange...


The quarterback holds the ball in both hands as he extends his arms to engage the fullback. One hand is on the front of the ball, one in back. (His hands face each other, with the ball in between.)

The following is excerpted from "Installing Football's Wishbone T Attack," by Pepper Rodgers and Homer Smith (1973)

"Ideally the ball would be fitted into the pocket with the fullback feeling it with his arms but with only the back of a (quarterback's) wrist touching his belly six inches from the center of the pocket. While the ride takes place the fullback folds his arms and hands softly over the ball but he should not be aware of pressure on his stomach until the decision is made by the quarterback to give...

To give, the (quarterback's) back hand is pulled away, the front hand presses the ball, and the arm follows the fullback slightly farther than it does on the disconnect. The hands are then brought together for the fake. To disconnect, the ball is snapped away with the back of (the quarterback's) wrist keeping the fullback from feeling any pressure. The grip on the ball must be secure because it is often pulled through the hands of the fullback...

The ball carrier's elbow must be up and not out. The fingers have a taut, reaching appearance just before the exchange is made. Palms are up and down; the little finger of the bottom hand touches just below the belt level and the thumb of the top hand right at the breast bone. At the time of exchange the arms are completely disengaged from the running action of the legs...

The close over the ball brings the fingers over both ends as the hands turn to cover it. The most common fault is coming down hard with the inside elbow, making it difficult for the quarterback to remove his hands. The ball should be pressed on the belly button until the runner has closed his hands over it...

A slow motion picture of a perfect exchange would show the ball going across the ball carrier's belly with both hands on it, the ball being pressed to the belly as the inside hand slips out and waits, the outside hand level with the palm turned directly toward the belly, and a definite press of the ball while the ball carrier closes his arms over it. As the outside hand comes off the ball it rejoins the inside hand so they can stay together as they would if they still had the ball.

*********** Not only has football replaced baseball in terms of popularity, but it is also taking over in the area of figures of speech.

Maybe you once found out that you “couldn’t get to first base” with some girl… or maybe you “hit a home run” with some great idea… or you “had three strikes against you” before you even got started… or somebody “threw you a curve ball.”

But more and more, it's football references that  are being used to draw word pictures:

Faced with a project?  What’s your game plan? 
Need somebody to get the job done? Let Bob carry the ball. And let’s have Mary run interference for him.
Boy, did I get blind-sided. 
Don’t want to deal with the problem today?  Punt. 

The Governor kicked off the campaign last night. 
Nice-looking date - you sure outkicked your coverage!

On Wednesday, on Fox News’ “The Five,” Greg Gutfeld (a funny,  sharp guy), drew on a very apt football analogy in referring to the current kerfuffle with Iran, and their shooting off missiles that didn’t harm anyone, likely in an effort to save face...

“It’s like when you allow a team to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter against your scrubs because they’re behind, 77 to nothing… let them have their token score so everyone can walk away.”


*********** If you’d like a good laugh… I found this on my site back in January, 2008

On a site called coacheshotseat.com, this was  their list of “Coaches most likely to be fired”

1. Tyrone Willingham, Washington
2. Joe Glenn, Wyoming
3. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
4. Mike Stoops, Arizona
5. Greg Robinson, Syracuse
6. Chuck Long, San Diego State
7. Mike Sanford, UNLV
8. Tim Brewster, Minnesota
9. Mike Price, UTEP
10. Hal Mumme, New Mexico State

Now, it’s not exactly the toughest thing in the world to predict that certain coaches are likely to be fired.

But Kirk Ferentz? In hot seat Number Three?  Well, yes - he had gone 7-5, 6-7 and 6-6 in the previous three years. The 2007 team ended its season with a loss to Western Michigan, and didn’t get an invitation to a bowl game. But in the three seasons prior to those, his Hawkeyes had gone 31-7.

As we all know, he wasn't fired. He stayed.  And stayed.  He had just completed his ninth season, and now, 12 years later, he’s been on the job longer than any other active FBS coach.

Congratulations to Gary Barta, who’s been Iowa’s AD since 2006. I can't help thinking that retaining Kirk Ferentz is one of the reasons he's been able to stay at Iowa so long himself .

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

I've been one of those assistant college coaches you talked about at the Division II and Division III levels.  Even at those "lower" levels of college football the life of an assistant coach is a blur.  The pay is nothing to shout about especially if you're married, but if you're young and single you might be able to make ends meet if the school provides you a place to live on campus.  If you are married the position is certainly not "family friendly" especially during the season and during the heavy recruiting stretch after the season.  I was hired as a restricted earnings guy which basically meant I was "full-time" without benefits, working full-time hours at part-time pay (hey I just moved from one state to another and needed a job), but fortunately for me my girls were grown adults, and my wife worked full-time so we weren't going to see much of each other anyway.  Another challenge facing "old" assistants with years of coaching experience can be the younger assistants (and even young head coaches) who think they know more than you about the "modern" game rather than utilizing your experience and being mentored.

Those comments by Lavell Edwards ring true today more than ever.  

Guys like Joe Moorhead will land in better places than Starkville, MS.

Thank you for sharing that information written by Sam Walker.  EVERY high school head coach in the U.S. should have copies of that article to share with their parents, AD's, Principals, Superintendents, and school boards.  I will definitely share it with our HC.

Watching the Rose Bowl and seeing that Stealth Bomber flyover gave me chills knowing that our country has such intimidating weapons, and such a strong military protecting us.  Awesome photo.

Have a great week!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER - Frank Broyles was a coach, a broadcaster and an athletic director, and he was as good there was at all three.  Before he became a coach, he wasn’t too bad as a player, either.

A native of Decatur, Georgia, he graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in industrial management.  As Tech’s QB, he earned SEC Player of the Year honors in 1944, and played so well in the post-season that he is in the Hall of Fame of three different bowl games - the Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Gator Bowl.

After graduation, he passed up a chance to play pro football, instead joining Bob Woodruff’s “staff” at Baylor. (The three-man “staff” consisted of head coach Woodruff coaching the offensive and defensive lines, Broyles coaching the offensive and defensive backfields, and a third coach - who was also the school's head basketball coach - coaching the ends.)

Moving to Florida when Woodruff took the head job there, Broyles left after a year to return to Georgia Tech to coach the offense under his college coach, Bobby Dodd.

He coached under Dodd for six years, during which time Tech won two SEC championships, went to six bowl games - winning them all - and finished in the Top Ten five times.
 
They were 59-7-4 during that time (1951-1956), in large part because of their success running the Belly Series, which he installed midway through the 1951 season.

In 1957 he took the head coaching job at Missouri, but stayed there only one season - going 5-4-1 - before moving on to Arkansas.

He went 4-6 in his first season as coach of the Razorbacks, but the Hogs went 9-2 the next season, earning a trip to the Gator Bowl, and then went on a ten-year run in which they went to seven major bowls (either Cotton Bowl or Sugar Bowl).

The three no-bowl seasons?  Bowl games meant a lot more back in those days before there were Fight Hunger Bowls and Bahama Bowls.  The 1963 team finished 5-5. But the 1966 Razorbacks went 8-2 - and were ranked 13th in the nation - and didn’t get an invitation  to a bowl game. Four years later, the 1970 team finished 9-2 and ranked 11th nationally - and also stayed home.

His 1964 team was declared national champion by the Football Writers Association, which didn’t name their champion until after the bowl games. The Hogs’ signature win was a defeat of then-number 1 Texas, which went on to beat Alabama - which had already been named national champion before the bowl games by the AP - in the Sugar Bowl.

That 1964 team remains the only unbeaten and untied team in the history of Arkansas football. In all,  he won seven Southwest Conference championships, and his 144 wins are the most of any coach in Arkansas history.

In 1974, while still coaching, he was also named Athletic Director, a position he would hold until his retirement in 2007.

During his time as AD, various Razorback teams won 43 national titles.  He oversaw expansion of the football stadium and improvements in all major sports facilities, and was instrumental in Arkansas’ joining the SEC.

After retiring as football coach, he became ABC’s top game analyst, working from 1977 through 1985 alongside legendary Keith Jackson, during a time when it was common for only one college game to be telecast on a Saturday. (In my opinion, he remains among the very best, not only for his ability to talk authoritatively  about the inner workings of the game, but to be able to do so in a manner clear and understandable to the average fan.)

He has quite a coaching tree: more than 30 former players went on to coach in college or in the NFL, and his  former assistants have won more than 40 conference championships.  Five of those former assistants -  Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors and Barry Switzer - have won a total of five national college championships and six Super Bowls.

One of his former players, Jerry Jones, owns the Dallas Cowboys.

The Frank Broyles Award,  given annually to the nation’s top college assistant coach is named in his honor.

CORRECTLY IDENTIFYING FRANK BROYLES

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

*********** Frank Broyles comments - FROM SCHOLASTIC COACH MAGAZINE - AUGUST 1986

When I went to Baylor University with head coach Bob Woodruff in 1947, we had three varsity coaches. Coach Woodruff took over the line on offense and defense. I coached the backfield on offense and defense, and Bill Henderson (also the head basketball coach) worked with the ends.

When Woodruff moved to Florida, we expanded our staff to two offensive coaches, two defensive coaches, and a head coach. That was considered a big staff.

When I came to Georgia Tech in 1951, Coach Dodd started coaching platoon football with three offensive and three defensive coaches. That was really a big staff! By 1974, we had a head coach, five defensive coaches, four offensive  coaches, junior varsity and freshman coaches, and a full-time recruiter, for a total of 15.

The next year the NCAA limited coaching staffs to a total of eight - though it is now back to nine. The specialization in coaching changed the game from strictly fundamentals and limited offense and defense to a specialized, sophisticated strategy with complicated offensive and defensive patterns.

Since I retired in 1976, the trend has moved more toward the passing game and more and more sophisticated styles of defense. Much of this was brought about by the change in blocking rules that allowed the offensive linemen to use their hands. This has tipped the scales toward the offense.

Up until then the rules-makers had kept a balance between offense and defense on the premise that since the defense did not know the snap count or whether the play would be a run or a pass, they should be allowed to use their hands – thus maintaining the desired balance.

But the new rule has shifted the balance toward offense and I do not approve of it.


Q. Is there any real change you’d like the NCAA to adopt?


The only real change I would recommend would be a penalty of 10 yards and a loss of down for offensive holding.  If a rule cannot be administered, as the officials claim, then the penalty should be made greater.

(Nailed that last one, in my opinion.  So long as teams are throwing the ball the way they do, a 10-yard penalty is a mere speed bump, and the risk of an occasional 10-yard penalty is well worth it in return for the advantage of being able to hold.  The 10-yard penalty -  a reduction from the previous 15 - may have been Broyles’ choice, but he also intended it to be accompanied by the loss of down.)


*********** QUIZ - He is a native Northwesterner,  born in Eastern Washington and raised in Oregon. He went to college in Oregon and began coaching there, and wouldn’t leave the state to coach until he was almost 50 years old.

Following  college, he spent 15 seasons as a head coach at three different Portland area high schools, building a record of 79-29.   Perfecting an offense invented by an Ohioan named Glenn “Tiger” Ellison,  his 1973 Hillsboro High team went 11-1 and won the state title, setting all sorts of state offensive records.

His reputation as an offensive innovator led to his being hired at Portland State, and he was promoted to the head coaching position in 1975. In his time as PSU’s head coach - he left following the 1980 season - he compiled a record of 42-24. More importantly, though, he had put Portland State on the football map.

Using the same offense he had used at Hillsboro High School, he developed two Portland-area kids - June Jones and Neil Lomax -  into NFL quarterbacks.  And two of his receivers - Dave Stief and Clint Didier - went on to play in the NFL.  Ironically, coming out of a college offense that never employed a tight end, Didier would earn two Super Bowl rings with the Redskins and play a total of nine seasons in the NFL with the Redskins and Packers - as a tight end.

In his first year at PSU, the Vikings set school records by scoring 366 points and amassing 3979 yards, but that was just a taste of what was to come.

In 1980, with Lomax at the controls, they put up insane numbers, beating Weber State 75-0, Cal Poly Pomona  93-7 and Delaware State, 105-0.  In the latter case, Lomax played just half the game - more than enough, since he had thrown seven touchdown passes in the first quarter!

In 1980, he left Portland State and embarked on what can fairly be called an itinerant career, taking his offense with him and, like a football version of Johnny Appleseed, leaving behind him a long list of adherents, followers and emulators at every stop.

His first move up to the Big Time was as offensive coordinator at Cal; then came a move  to Toronto as the Argos’ OC. They made it to the Grey Cup, where they lost, but the next season, after he had left, the Argos continued to run his offense, and won the Grey Cup for the first time in 31 years.

His next stop was Houston, as OC of the USFL Gamblers. In the first season of an expansion team, as QB in his system, a rookie QB named Jim Kelly threw for  5,793 yards and 45  touchdowns and took the Gamblers to a 13-5 record.

He took the job of head coach of the Denver Gold, where he went 11-7.

Next stop (I told you he was well-travelled) was the NFL, where he served as OC of the Detroit Lions, with June Jones coaching the QBs.

After three years in Detroit, he was hired as head coach of the New York-New Jersey Knights of the World League of American Football, backed by the NFL.  He was 11-9 in two seasons, after which the NFL pulled its support.

He spent the next season back in Toronto as OC, then moved on to Atlanta as QB coach when June Jones was hired as the Falcons’ head coach.

After two seasons in Atlanta, he coached Arena teams in Detroit (The Fury) and San Diego (The Riptide) before reuniting with June Jones at Hawaii, then returning to Portland State to coach the offense under Jerry Glanville, then back to Hawaii for a couple more seasons.

He hasn’t officially coached since 2010, but his influence on the game is still quite strong, and it has helped drive the price of a copy of Tiger Ellison’s book sky-high.



Betsy Ross FlagTUESDAY,  JANUARY 7, 2020   - "Winning matters. When we send the United States Army somewhere, we don't go to participate, we don't go to try hard. We go to win... because there's no second place or honorable mention in combat."  General James McConville - US Army Chief of Staff

*********** We all know that college head coaches are extremely well paid, and  those at the top of the heap have the sort of golden parachutes (“buy-out” clauses) that would make corporate CEOs jealous.  The astronomic sums that coaches’ agents have pried out of unwitting suits posing as college ADs are the strongest argument in favor of paying the worker bees - the athletes - who make those riches possible.

What a lot of people may not realize is how well many big-time assistants are paid.

According to a recent article in  USA Today, there are 24 college assistants whose base pay - before any incentive clauses - is $1 million or more…

There are 166 of them making $500,000 or more…

There are 505 making $250,000 or more…

Think about that, all you high school coaches, who coach for a relatively tiny coaching stipend and have to make your real living teaching six classes a day. 

But  step back and take a closer look at the life of a college assistant coach, and it’s not as glamorous as it may appear when you see them on game days, down on the sidelines, decked out in their official coaching attire. 

Those guys work hard.  They put in long hours. They work those long hours in-season and out. Out of season, they’re on the road recruiting (or on campus hosting recruits) or they’re back at home in meetings or on the phone with recruits;  in-season, they seldom see their families for more than a couple of hours during the week. They serve totally at the pleasure of head coaches notorious for the demands they place on their assistants.
Their lives aren’t their own. 

Most of them have one-year contracts, and they’re under enormous pressure - to recruit, to win, to navigate through what can be very cut-throat staff politics.

It’s rare for them (and their families) to spend more than a few years in any one place, before it’s time to move on - sometimes for a better job, but more often because the staff has been let go and they’ve settled for the best available job.

Being out of work along with the rest of the staff when the head guy has been fired is every college coach’s greatest fear, and having to be prepared for that moment it is why assistant coaches spend so much of the little spare time they have on the phone, networking.  (Football coaches may not have invented the term networking, but they were doing it before it was a term, and their survival in the profession requires them to become experts at it.)

The annual AFCA convention is coming up, and it’s ground zero for out-of-work assistant coaches trying to find that next job.  I haven’t been to one in years, but my strongest memory is the sight of out-of-work assistant coaches scrambling to find some way to get to talk to some guy who - rumor has it - has just been hired at this place or that.

https://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/salaries/football/assistant

*********** The “Echo” ad is weird.

A guy’s driving his car and tells his digital assistant to turn on the lights at home. Also to set the thermostat in the house.

We cut to a shot of  the house, as his wife enters the living room,  delighted to see the lights on and to find the house warm.

Grateful for his thoughtfulness,  she says, “Thanks, hon.  Have fun at work.”

We cut back to the guy, still driving.  He’s evidently pulling into his place of work.  A large sign says, “HOSPITAL,” and he turns in the direction of “Cardiology.”

Now,  whatever the guy’s job is, I’m assuming his “work” has something to do with cardiology,  in which case “fun” is not one of the words I’d associate with it.

Not unless he’s Doctor Francis (“Guess who just go reinstated… well, not officially.”)

*********** The Portland Oregonian’s “oregonlive” has joined a growing number of online news sites that have done away with their comments sections.

No doubt they grew tired of having to moderate the comments, some of which, given the anonymity that protects the commenters, can be unbelievably nasty, but I find myself losing interest in stories that don’t allow comments.

Too many sites have passed off the moderation to AI, with the result that certain keywords automatically mark a comment for rejection.

A guy in an online comments section complained recently that a comment he’d made about all-time great defensive back Dick “Night Train” Lane was rejected, but then accepted after he changed the name to Richard “Night Train” Lane.

So sensitive and indiscriminate are the means used to moderate comments that another commenter observed, “if you wanted to mention Herman Melville’s best-known novel you’d have to refer to it as ‘Moby Disqus.’”

*********** I was going through some clinic notes I took while  listening to Lavell Edwards.  It was March of 1983 and BYU was getting ready for spring practice . 

BYU at that time was one of the few teams that had committed totally to the passing game.

Here were some of the key points I got from him:

* The key to success in coaching is execution’
* Too many of us try to do too much
* We only have 8 or 9 basic routes
* You can’t be all things - great option, great drop-back, great misdirection
* It takes a lot of time and effort to be good at anything
* Decide what you want to do and be good at it
* In order to get good at passing, you have to have protection -
    That’s why we’re not a great running team
* You have to coach your coaches
    If you have splinter groups - guys going off on their own - you’re going to have problems
* People are now coming to visit us
    The first question they ask is: How do you throw the ball so well?
    Our answer: for the same reason Oklahoma and Alabama run the wishbone so well
    It all comes down to execution

(For what it’s worth, the 1983 Cougars finished 11-1 and ranked seventh nationally. In 1984, they went 13-0 and won the national championship - and Coach Edwards was named Coach of the Year.)

*********** Mississippi State just fired Joe Moorhead, after two seasons.

Guy was 14-12 in his time there (including two wins over Ole Miss).

Yes, he’ll get his going-away money, but that doesn’t change the fact that college football, increasingly, is f—ked.

Wrote Ross Dellenger, in Sports Illustrated, "If a coach at Mississippi State—Mississippi State!—is fired after two years and 14 victories, is college football in a good place?"

Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet, summed up the problem:

O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,

(Translated from the Scottish)

Oh, would some Power give us the gift
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,

Burns may have had Mississippi State fans mind. They just don’t see their place in the overall scheme.  They just can’t bring themselves to admit that they aren’t Alabama or LSU (or even Texas A & M) and never will be; their place is to win from 6 to 9 games a year, every once in a blue moon breaking into double figures.

Remember Paul Johnson? He took Georgia Tech to nine bowl games in his 11 seasons there.   But still Tech alumni groused.   I can hear them now - “we can do better” - envisioning a return to the glory days of the 1950s.  Yep, those were the days,  when Tech WAS Atlanta’s pro team and the Yellow Jackets were an SEC (yes, that’s right) power, posting undefeated seasons and winning national titles.

Those days are long gone at Tech, but there are a plenty of schools like Georgia Tech and Mississippi State - not bad, but unlikely ever to be really, really good - whose followers, like slot machine players,  know the odds are against them, but still keep on playing, in the irrational belief that maybe this time they’re going to beat the house.

Sure, and maybe if we fire our coach,  this next guy will be The One.

Oscar Wilde could have had them in mind when he described second marriage as “the triumph of hope over experience.”

(I’m writing this from Oregon State/Washington State country, where fans at least have a realistic view of their place.)

*********** Ryan Phillips, Executive Editor, Starkville Daily News, wrote a good-bye column to  now-deposed Mississippi State Joe Moorhead, telling local fans that while he may not have been the football coach  they wanted, they needed to know the kind of a man they were losing:

Even from my vantage point, the fanbase turned on him long before he had the chance to establish himself like his predecessor Dan Mullen, who set the standard by which Moorhead was eventually judged. But, funny enough, the expectations from the fan base became something I believe Mullen came to resent as the years wore on and his success at MSU seemed to plateau.

The attitudes toward the public, though, set the two men apart to me in my limited interactions with them.
The comparison I tell folks when asked is that Joe Moorhead knew my name every time I spoke with him after our first meeting. Conversely, I must have introduced myself to Mullen five or six times.

It’s a small, inconsequential observation, but one that I think speaks to the character and attentiveness of a high-profile figure in a small town.

Not every fan or person in the community, though, is able to claim this level of intimacy with their football coaches. Opinions on coaches are typically formed solely in the win-loss columns, as they should be.

But as the holiday season winds down, one anecdote stands out to me that fell by the wayside, not because of journalistic laziness, but because Joe Moorhead wanted it to be kept quiet.

Now that he is being run out of town and likely won’t have any interest in ever reading a Starkville newspaper again, I don’t see any harm in giving you the abridged version and I hope he won't mind me sharing as his tenure at MSU comes to an end.

During the most recent Christmas season, the Starkville Daily News published a series of “Letters to Santa” from local children. The letters are typically funny and whimsical, filled with outlandish expectations that are good for a laugh. Sometimes, though, we will receive the inevitable letters asking Santa for a bed or enough food for their family. It’s a heartbreaking reality, especially when you know there are even more out there who don’t want Santa burdened with their basic needs at this busy time of year.

This year, two of the letters in particular led to an outpouring of support from the community after two foster children simply asked Santa to give them a good Christmas because their mother was disabled and their father couldn’t work when it’s cold outside.

I immediately shared the letters on social media and the response was swift and unexpected.
But of everyone who reached out, I was most surprised to hear from coach Moorhead first.

Of all the organizations and institutions in our area, it wasn’t a nonprofit, a school or an elected official who reached out to lend a helping hand. It was an embattled "yankee" football coach with plenty enough on his mind to worry about.

After a brief exchange, I gave him all of the pertinent information to contact the family and then went on about my holiday season, really not thinking much more of it.

Shortly thereafter, coach Moorhead messaged me to let me know he delivered gifts to the children in person, including giving each a new pair of Jordan sneakers — much to their delight. I could even tell coach Moorhead was excited. It was probably a welcome distraction from the vitriol building up around him.

I also spoke with the children’s guardian after the holidays and their gratitude was immeasurable, considering the simple fact that anyone, much less the most famous person in town, thought enough of them to bring Christmas to their door.

So, why did he do it? Your guess is as good as mine, but there was one thing he never asked for and wouldn’t take from me.

Much to my surprise, coach Moorhead didn’t want a lick of fanfare or publicity. Even when I asked at the time if I could write a heartfelt feature story on the generous gesture, he declined.

As I write this now and reflect on his time in Starkville, I’m blown away by his willingness to give like that at a time where few in the community would have defended him publicly. He could have just as easily had an assistant donate a check to a local group and do his civic duty by proxy, but he made that kind of effort in a place that didn’t even really want him.

Would you have done the same?

https://www.starkvilledailynews.com/opinion-a-joe-moorhead-story-you-haven-t-heard/article_991a1a5e-2e73-11ea-9f18-9fa142ea19ac.html

*********** Sam Walker, who has written in the Wall Street Journal on the subject of leadership, had a great article in its December 21 issue entitled  “The Leadership Case for Saving High-School Football,” with the sub-title, “A sport that needs to be made safer is also uniquely effective at teaching kids about teamwork and being a leader.”

For those of us who coach the sport - and should be out front in defending it - it should be required reading.

Here are some excerpts…

Football, in my view, is one of the best tools we have for teaching teamwork and leadership.

***
Consider this: The U.S. has maintained a consistent global edge in business, scientific research, military power and (recent events notwithstanding) functional government. We’ve shown that we’re pretty good at working together. And we’ve sustained this for decades even with schools that trail those in other nations by most measures of academic rigor.

Have you ever wondered why that is?

Most high schools don’t teach “team studies” or “applied leadership.” Traditional classes like social studies, history and civics may touch on those themes, but only in passing. My theory is that American schools haven’t bothered teaching teamwork in classrooms because they didn’t need to. That’s what organized sports are for.

***

The three qualities that make football teams unique are size, structure and choreography. Every football play is a complex, collaborative ballet in miniature. And within every team there are three distinct subgroups (offense, defense and kicking units) divided into roughly eight different position groups. In other words, joining a football team requires joining three or four teams at once. And all of them need leaders.
    •   
***

More than any other mainstream activity for kids, football drives home the value of being a competent, loyal, conscientious and selfless teammate. On the football field, the best way to minimize risk is also the surest way to win. You have to do your job. Mistakes aren’t just personally humiliating—they get people hurt. Putting the team’s goals ahead of your own and earning the trust of teammates are valuable skills for navigating the real world.

Lots of team sports teach these virtues, of course, but football does it viscerally. The risk of injury accelerates the learning curve. In the age of helicopter parenting, it’s one of the few supervised environments where kids can learn about risk.

***

One unique quality that rarely gets mentioned is football’s inclusiveness. Soccer may be the world’s game, but it demands a rare blend of quickness, agility and endurance. Basketball players are unusually tall and athletically gifted, while baseball players need superior hand-eye coordination. In youth football, the bar is lower. In fact, some kids make the team with only one thing: speed, strength, intelligence—or just size.

That last trait is really important. If you’re large, slow and plodding, most sports want nothing to do with you. Given the results of recent studies on childhood obesity, that sounds like a serious problem. Football is the rare sport that welcomes big kids—in fact, they often become stars. For this at-risk slice of the population, it’s the only game in town.

***

Over the past year, I’ve written about the unsung value of great front-line managers in business and the broader cultural and economic forces that are thwarting our efforts to build better, stronger workplace teams.

Is “more football” the ultimate solution? Absolutely not. At some point, we need to start teaching teamwork and leadership in the classroom. Until then, however, we’d be crazy not to employ every imperfect tool we have.

And we still have football. For now.

Write to Sam Walker at sam.walker@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-risks-of-turning-our-backs-on-football-11576904411

*********** I mentioned the card stunt at the Rose Bowl, but doubting  my ability to describe it properly, I managed to locate this incredible overhead shot, seemingly just as the stealth bomber passed over the Bowl (and under the camera). For security reasons, I rather doubt that anyone would be in a position to take that photo from above the bomber, and I suspect that it was Photoshopped, but perhaps it was a satellite photo.

Rose Bowl Card Stunt

Look closely and you can see the red and white stripes in the stands behind each end zone, and the white stars on the blue fields in the stands behind the sidelines. (Hope the bomber was going slow enough for the crew to see it.)

*********** I have a habit of saving articles that I think I might find useful at some point.  As you might have guessed,  this can lead to piles of newspapers, magazines and clippings, and every so often, because my wife shares the house with me, I find it necessary to try to cull the piles.  This is very difficult, because I’m easily distracted by anything interesting that I come across - and I wouldn’t have kept all that stuff in the first place if I hadn't found it interesting, so…

There I was on Sunday, coming across stuff that I’d forgotten I'd kept, occasionally stopping to read something.  (Definitely not a good way to do house cleaning.)

You could call it fortuitous (which, by the way, does not mean “fortunate” but means happening on something totally by chance), but there it was,  just a couple of weeks after the death of the great  Hayden Fry - a Wall Street Journal article from eight years ago (December 20, 2011), entitled “Iowa - the Harvard of Coaching.” 

Coach Fry is well known for all his former assistants who went on to distinguished careers as head coaches,  but this article noted that at that time at least, Iowa led all colleges in the number of its former players who had gone on to become coaches.  It was no accident: Coach Fry made it a point of identifying players with leadership abilities and giving them responsibilties as  player-coaches of their position groups.

From the article:

In an interview, from his home in Mesquite, Nev., Fry, who is now 82 years old, said his approach to inspiring future coaches stemmed from the lessons he learned from his father while growing up on a farm in Odessa, Texas.

Fry's father would tell him he couldn't go to school until he filled the pickup with hay and fed the cows. "I said, 'Daddy, we have 2,000 acres and creeks and trees, how am I going to find all those cows?'" Fry said. "He said, 'All you have to do is drive out and listen. One cow is the leader, the bell cow. Find the bell cow, and you find the whole herd.

The "bell cow" theory not only stuck, it became a tenet of Fry's coaching philosophy. As a coach, Fry took the unusual step of tapping certain players to serve as player-coaches for their position groups. The idea, he said, was that they would develop leadership skills that could benefit the team on Saturdays. "A few of those guys hopped on their motorcycles and left," Fry said. "The ones who stayed became my  coaches, because those are the guys who players will listen to, not an old coach like me."

https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204879004577110731460989536

*********** Give Tua Tagavailoa credit for waiting until after the bowl before making his Big Decision.

Aaron Suttles, writing  in The Athletic, cautions against giving too much weight  to what players say during Bowl Week:

Bowl week is an emotional time for players. Some are playing their final games, and so the trip could be the last that they’ll take with their guys, with their coaches, with their team. That emotion leads to a lot of happiness and a lot of nostalgia. Those emotions can lead individuals to seek more of that feeling. Why not return for another season of this kind of joy, to make more of these kind of memories?

It’s like when you go on vacation to the beach and you ask your significant other, “Why don’t we just buy a place down here?” You’re on an emotional high and having a great time with your friends and family and you want more of it. Then, when you get home back to the reality of time clocks, deadlines and quotas, you fall back into the rhythm of your life and you never mention it again until the next beach trip.

These guys were on an emotional high this week. Will they feel the same way when they return home and friends and family are in their ears trying to sway decisions? Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t.

***********  If he does turn out to be be a good pro quarterback - as most experts believe he will - Tua Tagavailoa will join a select group:
 
Frankie Albert… Bobby Douglass… Boomer Esiason… Steve Young… Ken Stabler… Jim Zorn… Mark Brunell… Michael Vick

They’re all the left-handed NFL quarterbacks who have made any impact since World War II.

Of all those lefthanders, only Stabler and Young are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

*********** I watched KY more than most this season, and am frustrated by the OC, Eddie Grant (or maybe Grand?). During the first five games, they were like most SEC teams, except they lacked the depth of talent of the top-level SEC teams. They tried to look like GA and FL without the talent those guys have. Then the QB (I couldn't bear to watch his lifeless approach) went down, and in the space of a week they totally retool the offense to the incredibly high-powered run game we saw. It was an incredible turnaround.

Now, why did Mark Stoops and the OC not abandon the tired old system much sooner? And why, now that this QB is leaving, are they already talking about returning to the old way when the injured guy returns next season? Incidentally, Randall Cobb, also ex of KY, is the model for the "super-utility infielder", and he's made a fine NFL career of returning punts and KOs, wildcatting, playing QB occasionally, splitting out into the receiver positions, and even playing some DB.

John Vermillion               
St Petersburg, Florida

*********** I have a high regard for the English language and its proper use, and I’m growing weary unto death of hearing commentators on TV trying to make themselves sound erudite (or maybe British) by using the word “amongst.” 
 
On the outside chance any of them is reading this: “among” is the word the rest of us use.

Amongst is considered archaic and overly formal or even pretentious in American English. The only time I can think of when it would be appropriate for an American writer to use it would be in fiction set in a different era or world. Something like this: “Is it truly safe to walk amongst the peasants, my lord?”

https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/among-or-amongst

Hugh,

Have to say I haven't watched most of the bowl games this year.  Did watch the major bowls...Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta (national semi), Peach (national semi).  Of course watched the Outback (Go Gophers!), and the Camping World (Go Irish!).  Caught some of the Navy, Kentucky, and Tennessee games.  Here's my final Top 20 rankings:

1. LSU (should beat Clemson for nat'l championship)
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Oregon
5. Florida
6. Alabama
7. Georgia
8. Oklahoma
9. Penn State
10. Notre Dame
11. Wisconsin
12. Minnesota
13. Memphis
14. Iowa
15. Navy
16. Baylor
17. Utah
18. Appalachian State
19. Boise State
20. Cincinnati


Have a great weekend!

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

*********** QUIZ ANSWER: Early on, Bill Glass noticed an unusual aspect of athletic success: When he talked, people listened. More than that, people asked him to talk. As a star football player in high school, an all-American at Baylor, and a defensive stalwart during eleven years in the NFL, Bill Glass was regularly invited to stand up and say a few words. As his friends will tell you, (———) has always been an utterly straightforward sort of person. So when he stood to talk, he spoke about the things closest to his heart. He talked about sports, and he talked about Christ.

And thus, a dynamic nationwide ministry was born.

His Dallas-based ministry is now called Bill Glass Behind the Walls. With a dedicated staff and volunteers numbering in the thousands, the ministry is known for its high-energy Day of Champions and Weekend of Champions events conducted inside prisons across the country. Bill Glass says a board member kept badgering him to take his message into prison. “I kept resisting. I was frightened that I wouldn’t fit in with street kids and gangsters in prison.” After overcoming his fears, he saw dramatic results. “I was thrown into it kicking and screaming, but the response from the inmates was just unbelievable,” he said.

He has spent much of the last forty years ‘behind the walls.’ He has taken along other pro athletes, champion weight lifters, magicians, tight-rope walkers – as well as race cars, stunt planes, m