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FRIDAY,   JULY  25,  2014

*********** DEVELOPING OUR QB--- I talked earlier about the grip.  Before going any further, It's absolutely essential to stop right here and stress the importance of not giving a kid a ball that's too big for his hands.  (Ever seen the way little kids try to shoot a big basketball, pushing it from a shoulder with with both hands?  Some of them will develop bad habits so deeply ingrained that they never will learn to shoot properly.  The little guy who's resting a big football ball on the palm of his hand and then pushing it finds it works is in the same situation.)

I'm constantly surprised, although I no longer should be, at the number of kids - decent athletes - who've never played baseball. I constantly see the effect that the growth of soccer is having on our kids, taking them down a road that affords little or no opportunity to develop skills transferrable to other sports.

Assuming that a kid hasn't thrown a football before, and you've given him the basics of a decent grip,  you need to give him a few drills to help him get used to that grip.   One such drill is the "air dribble": just have him hold the ball in front of him, nose down, and let the the ball go and quickly catch it.   Repeat, over and over.   It's definitely not  bad idea to give him some exercises to strength his grip and his wrists.  There are plenty of ways to do this.  Wrist curls aren't a bad idea.  Grips aren't bad, either.  I've found with our QB that picking up bags of sand by their tops is a great exercise because he has to grip tightly to keep them from dropping.

Right at the start, you need to get across the concept that throwing involves the wrist - that he needs to learn to be a little "wristy." (This is made tougher if they've never thrown a baseball, or if as little kids they've been having some success "push-passing" a football too big for their hands.

The wrist is involved in the correct release of the ball, which is more like a baseball pitcher throwing a screwball - most definitely not a curve ball.  One way to get this across is to have a kid try throwing a volleyball (or - gasp! - a soccer ball) for accuracy.  To do so, he'll have to throw the ball so that at release, the thumb on his throwing hand will be pointed downward, the palm outward. (That's the screwball release, as opposed to the thumb-up, palm-in release of a curve ball).

Now for the spiral.  Cosmetics aside - bystanders like to judge a passer by the tightness of his spiral, and they take great delight in quacking like  duck when a kid throws a wobbler - it is important aerodynamically for a thrown ball to spiral.  To teach a kid how to throw a consistent spiral, I haven't found any better drill than having him lie on his back and throw the ball straight up, concentrating on the screwball release, thumb pointed toward his feet as he lets go of the ball.  If the ball goes straight up and comes right back down to him, his release is good, and the ball is probably spiraling.  If he's having trouble, first check to make sure that he hasn't unconsciously changed his grip.  If the grip is okay, he's probably gripping the ball too tightly.  If the spiral just isn't coming, I'll tell him to get the sense that he's starting the spin with his middle finger.  (Slowed-down video will show that the forefinger actually is the last finger to touch the ball - but this tip does seem to help get the spin started.)

For sure, though, the ball should slip off the fingertips.   (if it helps, I once heard a college QB coach relate the release to "flicking a booger.")

This is a drill I expect a kid to do at home, on his own.  I can definitely tell when I next see him whether he's done what I asked.

When he can do this successfully 100 times in a row, he's ready to stand up and throw.

The feet are all-important in passing a football, but at first, while the player is getting accustomed to the rather complicated process of throwing a football, I try to isolate the things he needs to concentrate on, so I keep the lower body out of it.

To teach the basic mechanics of throwing I've used all sorts of "cross-training" devices.  In Alex's case, I've had him throw softballs (weighted and regular) and tennis balls, rolled-up newspapers (got that from Jim Harbaugh) and rubber mallets. Even darts at a dart board.  A lot of kids seem to have difficulty cocking the throwing wrist, and the newspapers and the rubber mallets seem to help as much as anything in teaching that. 

Before going to mallets, I first tried hatchets, on the theory that throwing a tomahawk is very much like what I'm trying to teach.   Old-timers may remember Ed Ames, who played an American Indian character on a TV show, giving a demonstartion of tomahawk-throwing on the Johnny Carson Show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L5QC9ZJkM8 

Great idea, the tomahawk throw, except that there's a not a lot of good targets to throw at, and there's only so many places where you can safely have hatchets flying around.   In addition, with the Quinault Reservation just 20-some miles to the north of us, and several native kids on our team, I wouldn't want anyone for one minute thinking that I'm being disrespectful in any way.)

Full disclosure - a great way to help a youngster work on his throwing is the Passback football.  I sell Passbacks.  And I use them.    I don't really care whether you buy one from me - you can buy them other places, too.  The main thing is, they're very helpful, and they give kids something they can do on their own.

*********** Last Saturday, while I worked at my computer, I half-watched the replay of the Division III title game between Mount Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater. I couldn't help noticing a big receiver for Wisconsin-Whitewater named Jake Kumerow, not just because he was pretty good, but because of his name.

It took me back to a scene in the Ohio State-Clemson bowl game, when a big young Buckeye defensive end named Joey Bosa was helped off the field.  Something prompted me to look up Joey Bosa on the Internet, and that led me to an amazing story.

It turns out that Jake Kumerow and Joey Bosa are cousins, and they share a stunning heritage.

For me, the story started back in 2000, in Las Vegas, at the 40th reunion of the undefeated 1960 Yale football team.  I wasn't on that team.  I had graduated the previous June, but the guys on the team very graciously invited guys from the classes before and after them who had played with them at some point.

I spent a little time talking with Mike Pyle, who had been captain of that team and later as center for the Chicago Bears captained the famed Ditka-Butkus teams.  Mike's older brother, Palmer Pyle, played at Michigan State and played six years in the NFL.  I reminded him of a story he'd told us years before, at Yale,  about Palmer dating Tough Tony Accardo's daughter.

Tony Accardo by that point was the head of the Chicago Mob. Earlier in his career he served as an underling to notorious mob boss Al Capone, who nicknamed him "Joe Batters" for his skill with a baseball bat, after he went three-for-three against the skulls of three Capone rivals.

Accardo did not live the stereotypical gangland lifestyle. He lived in a leafy North Shore Chicago suburb (he claimed to earn his living as a beer salesman), and by all accounts was a faithful husband and good father. It was at prestigious New Trier High School where Palmer Pyle, football star, met and fell in love with his daughter Marie Accardo.

One story Mike told back in college days was about the time, shortly after Tony Accardo, under questioning by some federal investigators, had repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to have to testify against himself, when Palmer had arrived at the house to get Marie and take her somewhere.  Tony asked, as most fathers would, "Where are you kids going?"  And Palmer - Mike swore this was true - said, "Tony, I'm going to take the Fifth on that."

So, I asked Mike at the reunion, whatever happened to Palmer and Marie?

He told me a bunch, but without going into great detail, they had a child, Eric, but their marriage didn't work out.  Palmer went on to run a group of radio stations in Michigan.  Marie remarried, to a guy named Ernie Kumerow, a former baseball player- turned labor organizer, who adopted young Eric.

Eric grew up to be a very good high school athlete, among the top quarterbacks in the Chicago area, if not the country, and Ohio State won the recruiting battle for him.  When it became apparent that he wasn't going to be in the Buckeyes' quarterback plans, he asked coach Earl Bruce if he could change positions.  He made the switch the linebacker, where, despite being overshadowed by teammates Chris Spielman and Pepper Johnson, he was team captain, and was drafted in the first round in 1988 by the Miami Dolphins.

His NFL career was short and undistinguished, and he retired after three seasons, never having started a game.

Fast forward to now, and Jake Kumerow, of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is Eric Kumerow's son.  Originally recruited to Illinois, he transferred to UWW and still has a year of eligibility left.

A year before Eric Kumerow was drafted by the Dolphins, their Number One draft pick was John Bosa, a defensive lineman out of Boston College.

His career ended early, too, but in the meantime, he met and married Eric Kumerow's sister, Cheryl, like Eric an Ohio State grad.

Their oldest son. Joey, is a 6-5, 285 pound defensive end at Ohio State.  A rising sophomore, he started 10 games last year as a true freshman.  (Joey's younger brother Nick,  a rising junior at Fort Lauderdale's famed St. Thomas Aquinas, is a defensive end who has already been offered by Ohio State.)

The upshot:  Jake Kumerow and Joey Bosa are cousins. And, not that it has a thing to do with them other than  a matter of interest, they're Tough Tony Accardo's great-grandsons.

Tough Tony Accardo - https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.obituaries/t4lS_h9ypoU

An SI feature story on the Pyle brothers...  http://www.si.com/vault/1958/05/19/577744/how-to-raise-right-tackles

***********   A great Tough Tony Accardo story.  Back in 1978, while he was vacationing in California, his house in River Forest, Illinois was broken into. 

Who says there isn't justice?  The three guys suspected of breaking in - and, just for good measure, four others who had something to do with the crime - were not long after found strangled to death.

*********** I made reference on Tuesday to President Obama's reminding me of a vaudevillian trying to keep plates spinning and it occurred to me that many younger readers might never have seen vaudeville, and "variety shows" from the early days of TV, when this peculiar form of juggling never failed to amaze and amuse audiences...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhoos1oY404

*********** I really like the people in the USAA commercials.  Makes me proud to think that we still have plenty of American families like that.

*********** The CFL is growing on me. There really isn't a team I don't like, but I'm especially pleased that  the quarterbacks of three of the western teams are from small Northwest schools - Travis Lulay of BC, from Montana State; Mike Reilly of Edmonton, from Central Washington; and Bo Levi Mitchell of Calgary, from Eastern Washington.

***********  Allysia Finley in the July 12 Wall Street Journal, wrote of the recent  NEA (National Education Association)  convention in Denver.

With no one in the world boasting of the superiority of America's public education system,  the nation's biggest teacher's union chose to spend its time on these sorts of issues:

A resolution approved by the 7,000 delegates: Support an International Day of Peace

Another:  to have the union "educate its members about the environmental and health effects of shale gas franking."  (Yeah, "educate its members."  You really think they'll stop there, and not go on to teach our little kiddies about how energy independence is wonderful - so long as it's achieved by using solar and wind power, and leaving the car in the garage.)

A third: to promote a boycott by the members of Staples, which has entered into an agreement with the US Postal Service to handle some of its work.

A fourth:  to prepare a list of books for children "that have LGBTQ and gender nonconforming themes," and adopted a resolution promoting clean energy in curricula.

Debated but not yet acted on:  whether to write a letter to Redskins' owner Dan Snyder denouncing his team's "institutional racism," as well as a resolution calling for reparations for the "lingering impact of slavery."

(Just in case you're a dues-paying member of the NEA and you didn't already know what they've been doing with your money, besides using it to elect Democrats.   And just in case you're a gullible taxpayer who really believes that the "E"  in the initials of your kid's teachers' union stands for "Education.")

*********** Army Summer Football Workouts…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=356837664467849&fref=nf

*********** Jay Bilas pointed out on ESPN Radio that while big college conferences are pissing and moaning about how paying players is going to mean having to do away with non-revenue sports, the SEC has at least six baseball coaches - baseball, a non-revenue sport - making at least a million dollars a year.

*********** Dennis Cook, of Roanoke, Virginia, sent me a link to a story about a small craft brewer in Greensboro, North Carolina whose application for a trademark is being contested by A-B InBev, the world's largest brewer.  Big Beer claims that the company's name is too close to one of the many nicknames used for one of its brands.

The company is the Natty Greene Brewing Company.  (Nathanael Greene was a revolutionary war general for whom the city of Greensboro is named.)   The confusion to which Big Beer is referring in its suit is between Natty Greene and… Natural Light?

Look - I know that ABInbev has been pretty successful in tricking the American public into believing that brands such as Redhook, Kona and Widmer are products of independent craft brewers, when in actuality the company that makes them is one-third owned by A-B InBev, but can there  be that many morons out there dumb enough to confuse a real craft beer from a company named Natty Greene with the swill  called Natural, er "Natty" Light?

"We have one further question, your honor.   Can A-B Inbev produce even one witness who actually drinks that stuff?"

 http://www.wfmynews2.com/story/news/local/2014/07/09/natty-greenes-battles-anheuser-busch/12394681/

*********** The media have been pushing the idea that soccer mania has taken over America, the concussion hysteria is a constant burden and the football-hating lefties are at the gates, but nevertheless seven new college programs will tee it up this fall, with another nine to get under way in 2015 and 2016.

All told, in  the last five seasons, 36 other colleges either introduced football or, having previously discontinued it, reintroduced it.

One VERY important reason for the interest in football is that colleges have found, with female enrollments at or above 60 per cent, they have to scramble to attract male students.  And a school that doesn't have a football program obviously loses any football-playing males, but more impurely, it turns off those whose idea of college includes football games on Saturday and the social life that accompanies them.  (Yes, yes, I know - there's more to college than Saturday football games and parties.  But if you intend to attract young males to your college, you'd better deal with reality.)

Courtesy of the National Football Foundation…

Seven Programs Launching in 2014



    •    Arizona Christian University (Phoenix, Ariz.): NAIA, Independent – President Len Munsil, Athletics Director Jeff Rutter, Head Coach Donnie Yantis.
    •    The College of Idaho (Caldwell, Idaho): NAIA, Frontier Conference – President Marv Henberg, Athletics Director Marty Holly, Head Coach Mike Moroski.
    •    George Fox University (Newberg, Ore.): NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference – President Robin Baker, Athletics Director Craig Taylor; Head Coach Chris Casey.
    •    Limestone College (Gaffney, S.C.): NCAA Division II, Independent - President Walt Griffin, Athletics Director Mike Cerino and Head Coach Bobby James.
    •    Missouri Baptist University (Saint Louis, Mo.): NAIA, Independent (Subsequently joining the Mid-States Football Association in 2015) - President R. Alton Lacey, Athletics Director Tom Smith and Head Coach Jason Burianek.
    •    Paine College (Augusta, Ga.): NCAA Division II, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference - President George C. Bradley, Athletics Director Tim Duncan and Head Coach Gregory Ruffin.
    •    Southeastern University (Lakeland, Fla.): NAIA, The Sun Conference – President Kent Ingle, Athletic Director Drew Watson and Head Coach Keith Barefield.

Nine Programs Launching in 2015-16

    •    East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southern Conference (2015, with a full conference schedule in 2016) – President Brian Noland, Athletics Director Richard Sander, Head Coach Carl Torbush.
    •    Finlandia University (Hancock, Mich.): NCAA Division III, Conference TBA (2015) – President Philip Johnson, Athletics Director Chris Salani, Head Coach Tim Driscoll.
    •    Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, Ga.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Big South Conference (2015) – President Daniel S. Papp, Athletics Director Vaughn Williams, Head Coach Brain Bohannon.
    •    Lyon College (Batesville, Ark.): NAIA, Central States Football League (2015) – President Donald Weatherman, Athletics Director Kevin Jenkins, Head Coach Kirk Kelley.
    •    Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Mich.): NAIA, Conference TBA (2016) – President Richard J. Pappas, Athletics Director Paul Lowden, Head Coach Lou Esposito.
    •    Northland College (West Frankfort, Ill.): NCAA Division III, Conference TBA (2016) – President Tim Morthland, Athletics Director and Head Coach Mike Rude.
    •    University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Odessa, Texas): NCAA Division II, Conference TBA (2016) – President W. David Watts, Athletics Director Steve Aicinena, Head Coach TBA.
    •    University of West Florida (Pensacola, Fla.): NCAA Division II, Gulf South Conference (2016) – President Judith Bense, Athletics Director Dave Scott, Head Coach Pete Shinnick.
    •    University of New Orleans (New Orleans, La.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southland Conference (Date TBA) – President Peter J. Fos, Athletics Director Derek Morel, Head Coach TBA.


12 Programs Launched in 2013
    •    Alderson Broaddus University (Philippi, W.Va.): NCAA Division II, Independent
    •    Berry College (Mount Berry, Ga.): NCAA Division III, Southern Athletic Association
    •    Florida Tech (Melbourne, Fla.): NCAA Division II, Gulf South Conference
    •    Hendrix College (Conway, Ark.): NCAA Division III, Southern Athletic Association
    •    Houston Baptist University (Houston, Texas): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southland Conference
    •    Mercer University (Macon, Ga.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southern Conference
    •    Oklahoma Baptist University (Shawnee, Okla.): NAIA, Central States Football League
    •    Reinhardt University (Waleska, Ga.): NAIA, Mid-South Conference
    •    Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas): NCAA Division III, Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
    •    Stetson University (DeLand, Fla.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Pioneer Football League
    •    University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Independent (Joining the Football Bowl Subdivision and Conference USA in 2015)
    •    Warner University (Lake Wales, Fla.): NAIA, The Sun Conference

Five Programs Launched in 2012
    •    Bluefield College (Bluefield, Va.): NAIA, Mid-South Conference
    •    Lindenwood University-Belleville (Belleville,Ill.): NAIA, Independent (Joining the Mid-States Football Association in 2015)
    •    Misericordia University (Dallas, Pa.): NCAA Division III, Middle Atlantic Conferences
    •    Point University (West Point, Ga.): NAIA, The Sun Conference
    •    Wayland Baptist University (Plainview, Texas):  NAIA, Central States Football League

Eight Programs Launched in 2011
    •    Ave Maria University (Ave Maria, Fla.): NAIA, The Sun Conference
    •    Concordia University (Ann Arbor, Mich.): NAIA, Mid-States Football Association
    •    Presentation College (Aberdeen, S.D.): NAIA, North Star Athletic Association
    •    Robert Morris University (Chicago, Ill.): NAIA, Mid-States Football Association
    •    Siena Heights University (Adrian, Mich.):  NAIA, Mid-States Football Association
    •    Stevenson University (Owings Mills, Md.): NCAA Division III, Middle Atlantic Conferences
    •    University of Texas at San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas):  NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Conference USA
    •    Virginia University of Lynchburg (Lynchburg, Va.): Independent

Six Programs Launched in 2010
    •    Georgia State University (Atlanta, Ga.): NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Sun Belt Conference
    •    Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southland Conference
    •    Lindsey Wilson College (Columbia, Ky.): NAIA, Mid-South Conference
    •    Notre Dame College (South Euclid, Ohio): NCAA Division II, Mountain East Conference
    •    Pacific University (Forest Grove, Ore.): NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
    •    University of South Alabama (Mobile, Ala.): NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Sun Belt Conference

Five Programs Launched in 2009
    •    Anna Maria College (Paxton, Mass.): NCAA Division III, Eastern Collegiate Football Conference
    •    Castleton State College (Castleton, Vt.): NCAA Division III, Eastern Collegiate Football Conference
    •    Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.): NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, Conference USA
    •    University of New Haven (West Haven, Conn.): NCAA Division II, Northeast-10 Conference
    •    University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio, Texas):  NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Southland Conference

Eight Programs Launched in 2008
    •    Campbell University (Buies Creek, N.C.): NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision, Pioneer Football League
    •    College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, Minn.): NCAA Division III, Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
    •    Colorado State University–Pueblo (Pueblo, Colo.): NCAA Division II, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
    •    Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa):   NAIA, Great Plains Athletic Conference
    •    Grand View University (Des Moines, Iowa): NAIA, Mid-States Football Association
    •    Kentucky Christian University (Grayson, Ky.): NAIA, Mid-South Conference
    •    Lake Erie College (Painesville, Ohio): NCAA Division II, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
    •    Lincoln University of Pennsylvania (Lincoln University, Pa.): NCAA Division II, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association


american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  22,  2014“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”  Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** So we were watching TV when a commercial break brought us a message from hotwire.com

A couple appeared on screen. One of them spoke:

"Our anniversary is coming up… and our in-laws agreed to take care of the kid… so we can finally get some sleep…"

Hotwire then told them how it could get them a cheap room.  And in the location they wanted.

The one who'd been doing the speaking said, "It's all about sleep."

The other replied, coyly, "It's not ALL about sleep."

Cute, huh?  Guess what?  The "couple" was two f--king guys.

It never stops.

Give… me… a… f--king… break.


********** In working with Alex McAra, our quarterback-to-be, I've made great use of a passing net called the "SKLZ QUICKSTER QB TRAINER."  http://shop.sklz.com/accessories/quicksterr-qb-trainer-7-x-7/invt/qksqb01

I really like it because it's simply not a productive use of a coach's time to be catching the ball when he needs to be observing.  And you can't always have someone on hand to catch the balls (nor do I always want someone else around when I'm coaching a QB).  With this QB Trainer, all I have to do is watch the QB throw, and occasionally film him.

It's portable and easily assembled and disassembled, so that when Alex goes home for the weekend, he takes it with him, along with a couple of footballs.  He's able to set it up in his backyard and work on drills on his own.  In inclement weather, we can set it up indoors.

(I don't accept advertising, and  I was not paid, or given anything, for making those statements.)

I have to stress that the things I do are by no means all my inventions, although over the years I have found a few relatively unique things that help me teach.  The main thing to know  is that there are a lot of very good people out there who do a great job of teaching quarterbacks, and they go about their teaching in a vast range of ways.  There is no one way to teach a passer, and just because I do something different from someone else doesn't make that person wrong.

This will be our fifth and last week of three weekly sessions.  Next week, we'll have a three-day mini-camp with our entire team, before we have to go hands-off (with the exception of conditioning) until August 20, when we're officially permitted to start practice.

We'll work out for two hours on Tuesday afternoon, two hours on Wednesday morning, and two hours on Wednesday afternoon, with time between the two Wednesday sessions to go over some video.

In the early going, it was just the two of us. That's important, because you need to pace yourself and not rush into things.  You have to keep kibitzers away, and until the player has developed some self-confidence, there's no point in having receivers around.

By the third week, the first hour of each session was devoted to individual work, and during the second hour  we threw some very simple routes to receivers. In other words, Alex had spent seven hours working only with me before he threw to a live human being. Last week, week four, we expanded the routes (and the QB's setups), added a few two-man combination patterns,  and even,  in the Wednesday afternoon session, introduced a little man-to-man coverage for him to look at.

We've had some invitations to some 7-on-7 sessions, but I didn't see anything to gain in throwing a quarterback into a situation he wasn't ready for.  Alex is a pretty tough kid, and he's shown me that he doesn't let things get him down, but to me, 7-on-7 is a test, not a lesson, and we're not ready for the test yet.

We'll have our three sessions this week, and then next week, at mini-camp, there'll be plenty of  time for 7-on-7.

FINDING THE GRIPWith a virgin QB, everything starts with the grip.  I've found that a good way for a player who's new to throwing a football to discover his grip initially is to "tee it up" in a plastic cup, nose pointed to the sky, and  reach down and pick it up as if he were going to have to throw it.   There's no one definite grip, but there are certain fundamentals that you have to adhere to.  One is that the palm does not touch the ball. (It's common, when younger kids have to throw a ball that's too large for them, for them to rest it on their palm, which results in their "pushing" the ball).   The ball should be held primarily by the pads of the fingers and thumb.  The fingers  should be spread apart equally.   (Hard to say about the laces - the size of a player's hand may determine where and how he positions his fingers on them.)  Another fundamental is the "clamp" - the ability to hold the ball between the thumb and a single finger opposite the thumb.  There are differences of opinion as to whether that opposite finger should be the middle finger or the ring finger, but  the distance from the nose of the ball to the thumb pad should be about the same as from the nose of the ball to the tip of that opposite finger. 

In the photo, the passer should be able to "clamp" the ball with his thumb and middle finger.

(For sure, if you've got a kid whose thumb is really close to the nose, there's a very good chance that the ball's resting on his palm.)


The QB has to deal with two conflicting needs (the need to grip the ball lightly while at the same time the need to secure the ball), so the player with a large hand has a distinct advantage,

Because so many passers now throw after receiving a direct snap, it's important for the quarterback to learn to find his grip while he's going about his business, doing the other things he needs to do on a play.  There are those passers who can simply grab a ball and throw it, regardless of where the laces are, but for most passers it's preferable that he grip the ball in the same spot every time, and  he simply can't hold up the entire operation while he finds his grip.

(MORE TO COME)

*********** Tony Dungy, boo!  Homophobe!  Boo!  Get him off the air!  Burn his books!  Make it illegal even to mention his name!

Imagine - he had the temerity to say that if he were still a head coach, he wouldn't have drafted Michael Sam. Said he wouldn't have wanted to deal with all the issues connected with drafting the first openly gay player.  Makes sense to me.

What really pisses me off are the fools who say that of all people, Dungy, a black man, should understand what it's like to be discriminated against. 

Uh, black people couldn't exactly stay in the closet.  When they walked out the door they stepped into a world that held their color against them, and there wasn't a damn thing they could do about it.  They never had the option of "coming out" or simply staying quiet and going about their business, with no one any the wiser that they were black.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/07/21/tony-dungy-i-wouldnt-have-taken-michael-sam/

*********** I'l never forget the day I sat in one of those pre-school-year teachers' meetings and the talk was about the incoming freshmen.  One teacher mentioned, very ominously, "This is the first class that's never been spanked."

I wish I could say that that meant that they'd be better behaved, but as we all know, it didn't.

There's hope.  From New York comes news that a court has ruled that a man was within his legal rights when he spanked his 8-year-old son.

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/07/21/ny-court-rules-spanking-reasonable-use-force

***********  Our President, like an old-time vaudevillian who tries to keep a bunch of plates spinning, has been ignoring a lot of pressing issues lately, but he hasn't totally forgotten about "My Brother's Keeper," his plan to improve education for young black and hispanic males.

I'm all for that, guys, but part of the problem the President hopes to address is this:

According to data from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, black and Latino students are suspended and expelled at much higher rates than white students

Oh, God.  That one again.  Well, it would seem to me, that means we need to find a way to get those students to behave better so they can do better in school and go on to lead happy and productive lives.  But no…

John E. Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District… said the district reduced its annual suspensions from 50,000 in the 2009-2010 school year to 8,000 this past school year, in part because of a new policy eliminating “willful defiance” as a reason for suspension.

Wow.  A miracle.  Who knew it was that easy?

So out on the streets, the answer to reducing crime is the "broken window" approach - to treat even the smallest offense seriously.

But in the schools? Lower the bar.  The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once called it, "defining deviancy down."

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/education/obamas-my-brothers-keeper-education-program-expands.html?referrer=

*********** Seventh grade was a huge turning point in my life, because it was my first year at Germantown Academy. "G.A." was a private day school, and it was my great good fortune to win a scholarship there. One of the best things about G.A. was that for the first time in my life I had male teachers.  That made a huge difference in my growth and my outlook toward school, because in public school, I'd had a succession of females who, with one exception,  disliked boys. Yes, we were undoubtedly a$$holes, but still… The fact that we were stuck for an entire year with the same teacher didn't help any, either, so it was an amazing experience to suddenly have six different teachers every day - all of them male.

All this is by way of saying that it was one of those male teachers who turned me on to the first serious book on warfare that I ever read.

It was Lowell Thomas' "Raiders of the Deep," the famous writer/broadcaster's story of World War I German U-Boat warfare, and it kept my rapt attention until that inevitable, sad moment in every reading adventure when you realize you've come to the last page. 

The downing of the Malaysian airliner, under somewhat similar conditions, made me think of The Lusitania.

The Lusitania was a British ocean liner carrying 1,916 people, 1,152 of whom perished when it was sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German torpedo, in May, 1915.

Two of the chapters in "Raiders of the Deep" were devoted to the crew and the captain of U-20, the sub that sank the Lusitania.

Author Thomas, with World War I not yet a distant memory,  interviewed the commander of the U-20, Walther Schweiger, who gave him this account:

"I noticed the fog was lifting. Presently I could see blue sky. I brought the boat to the surface, and we continued our course above water.  A few minutes after we emerged I sighted on the horizon a forest of masts and stacks.   At first I thought they must belong to several ships.  Then I saw it was a great steamer coming over the horizon.  It was coming our way.  I dived at once, hoping to get a shot at it.

"When the steamer was two miles away it changed its course.  I had no hope now, even if we hurried at our best speed, of getting near enough to attack her. I called my pilot, and old-time captain of the merchant marine, to take a look at her through the periscope.  At that instant, while he was coming in answer to my call, I saw the steamer change her course again.  She was coming directly at us.   She could not have steered a more perfect course if she had deliberately tried to give us a dead shot.  A short, fast run, and we waited.

"I had already shot away my best torpedoes and he'd left only two bronze ones - not so good.  The steamer was four hundred yards away when I gave an order to fire.  The torpedo hit, and there was a rather small detonation and immediately afterward a much heavier one.  The pilot was beside me.  I told him to have a look at close range.  He put his eye to the periscope and after a brief scrutiny yelled:

"'My God, it's the Lusitania!"

The US was not yet at war with Germany at the time, but England was, and with the Germans using their U-boats to try to blockade the British Isles, it was no secret that anything sailing to the British Isles ran the risk of German submarine attack.

The German Embassy had bought advertisements in New York papers advising anyone sailing on the Lusitania of those facts, and the unusually powerful explosion led to accusations - impossible to prove or disprove - that the passenger liner had been carrying arms to England.

The sinking of a huge ocean liner and the killing of so many innocent people was seen as a horribly inhumane act, and while it alone didn't cause the US to go to war, it turned American public opinion against Germany, and contributed greatly to the growing sentiment among Americans that led to our ultimate involvement.

*********** My friend Mike Lude was steaming mad when I spoke with him Sunday… said he was out for his usual walk, listening to a local (Tucson) radio station on his headphones, when a commercial came on and made him stop walking.  The ad was promoting a flag football league, urging parents to sign their kids up, but doing so in the worst possible way: don't let your kids play tackle football, blah, blah, blah… they might get hurt, blah, blah, blah…  concussion, blah, blah, blah… instead, have them play flag football.

Dirty bastards.  I'm tempted to run a campaign telling people not to sign their kids up for flag football - to sign them up for soccer instead.

*********** Mike Lude said that way back when, his friend Nick Skorich, was an assistant coach with the Steelers, and Mike happened to stop over one day to watch practice.

The Steelers' head coach at the time was the legendary Jock Sutherland, an advocate of rock-'em, sock-'em single wing football.

Mike said that Skorich (who would go on to spend time as head coach of the Eagles and Browns) told him, "We never leave the field without running the tailback off-tackle play - and we don't leave the field until it satisfies Jock."

A little about Mike...   http://washington.scout.com/2/294160.html

*********** A new stadium, to be used for cricket, Australian Rules and rugby, is planned for Perth, in Western Australia.  Its announced cost  (assuming that pigs fly, and it comes in on budget) is to be $860 million, with the taxpayers picking up 60 per cent of the tab.   The other 40 per cent, the public is being told, will be paid over 25 years, thanks to "a financing package."  Good luck with that one, mates.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/24484030/new-football-stadium-unveiled/

*********** Jonah Goldberg: "Harvard is currently gathering its finest minds to draw up the procedures for sexual conduct and consent. The end result will surely be a clipboard check-list to rival that of any Jiffy Lube manager's in both romantic appeal and sexiness."

*********** Somehow, I've never been quite so sure as the Powers That Be that the reason TWA 800 blew up was a spontaneous explosion of vapors in a fuel tank…

It was an awful thing, a huge jet on its way to Paris, blowing up and falling into the ocean shortly after takeoff from New York's JFK Airport.

And that was before 2001, before we discovered that things like learning how to fly a commercial jet for the purpose of flying it into a skyscraper weren't as preposterous as they sounded.

Now, 18 years to the day after the TWA 800 disaster, a Malaysian Air Lines jet was brought down by a ground-to-air missile.

Think about this a minute: while we've been preoccupied with nuclear proliferation,  thousands of ground-to-air weapons have wound up in the hands of terrorist groups.  And so armed, those a**holes  can now set up shop just about anyplace in the world and bring international commerce to a standstill.

https://www.google.com/search?q=twa+800&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS504US506&oq=twa+800&aqs=chrome..69i57j0j5j0.4160j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

***********  It wasn't all that long ago - last September, to be exact - that Microsoft acquired the phone business of Nokia, the Finnish electronic giant, and its 25,000 employees.   Uh, better make that 12,500 employees.

See, Microsoft announced that it's making itself lean and fit, and the financial community said, "Cool."

Trouble is, Microsoft's getting in fighting trim by laying off 18,000 workers.  That's EIGHTEEN THOUSAND F--KING WORKERS.

And roughly 12,500 of those workers - make them former workers - are at Nokia, a company that Microsoft acquired a mere ten months ago.   Not just in Finland, to be sure, but at plants all over the world.  The loss of the jobs is bad enough in any country, but the blow to Finnish pride of the trashing of its most famous company is impossible to understate.

Folks, you just been done by sainted Microsoft,   which never saw a liberal cause it didn't espouse, and has hatched thousands of millionaires who donate unfailingly to liberal causes.  But when it comes to real life causes...

As one online commenter quipped, "When Microsoft throws you a life saver, just say 'Thanks, I'll take my chances with the sharks….'"

Maybe someday it will occur to the geniuses at Microsoft, that they were born on third base -  that the fact that somebody years ago came up with Windows and Office doesn't mean this current bunch is  as smart as they think they are.

Remember this, sports fans, if the LA Clippers deal goes through - Steve Ballmer, who has offered a king's ransom for the team, was Microsoft CEO when they made the Nokia deal.  Think the other NBA owners won't take him for a ride?

*********** The CFL has a penalty for "objectionable conduct."  One guy got one for bitching too much about a P-I penalty that wasn't called.

If the NFL had such a penalty, games would last five hours.

*********** If you don't know who Y.A. Tittle is, you should.

One way to get to know who the man was is to read a very poignant account of the way he is now...

http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/11214487/hall-fame-quarterback-ya-tittle-takes-final-trip-home-espn-magazine

*********** The Vikings' special teams coach, who either did or did not say that gays should all be sent off to an island somewhere and then nuked, has been suspended from the team for the first three games this season.

Wow.  He got off light.  I thought at the least he'd be sent to Guantanamo Bay for a couple of years.

But wait.  Turns out he's not getting off so easy after all.  Oh, no.  In addition to the suspension, "he will be required to satisfactorily complete specialized workplace training that will include an emphasis on the managing of diversity and sexual orientation."  

Aargh.  No!  Not diversity training!  I'll confess!  To anything!  Aieee!

I don't know about you, but I'm glad I'm not an NFL coach, having to deal with the ever-present conflict between a segment of society that insists that sexual diversity is to be celebrated, and a sometimes less-than-tolerant group of coaches and players, people who make their livings in a rough, masculine environment, who still see it as something way out of the ordinary.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11233570/minnesota-vikings-suspend-special-teams-coordinator-mike-priefer-three-games?addata=module-b

***********  Dad

I love this line from one of the Max Preps pages:

Perhaps the most shocking transfer thus far has been that of MaxPreps All-American and 247Sports.com's No. 1-ranked rising junior Joshua Jackson. The 6-6 star is leaving a defending state champion in Michigan for unknown start-up Prolific Prep, a new program in Napa Valley, Calif., founded by trainer Jeremy Russotti.

A start-up high school founded by a trainers. Says all you need to know.

By the way, Aussie hoops absolutely flying right now - Cameron Bairstow from New Mexico has made the Bulls team, Ben Simmons is now the official #1 high school player in the country (has committed to LSU), Louisville has signed a Sudanese/Aussie named Deng Adel, a five-star recruit from Melbourne now playing in Florida and there's still our old pal Thon Maker who has reportedly been offered scholarships by every major school in the country including - get this - Duke and Stanford! I have no idea about his smarts/GPA etc.

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia



american flag FRIDAY,  JULY  18,  2014 "Freedom means nothing if it doesn't mean the freedom to do what other people don't like."  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** The Lombardi Trophy paid a visit to our area last week. 

Escorted by a few Seahawks and a number of SeaGals, the  trophy made an appearance on Friday at a place called Big Al's, a Dave-and-Buster's-size place in Vancouver, Washington, and then on Saturday it was on hand in Camas as they put on one of those "Play 60" type photo ops. 

Without a tremendous amount of publicity, the Saturday event drew a huge crowd to the local high school stadium.

What interested me was the information that the trophy itself weighs only seven pounds.

My guess is that they deliberately kept it light  to avoid the embarrassment of a rich old owner up on the stage after the Super Bowl trying to hoist the trophy high and rupturing himself. Or falling over backward.


********** Don Shipley, whose dad, Dick, once coached me  in Frederick, Maryland, is a football historian, and he sent me this great clip of a game between the Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams. It was from 1949, the year before the merger of the NFL and the AAFC brought the Browns, the 49ers and the original Baltimore Colts into the league. 

The Eagles won the NFL title in 1949, and when they opened the 1950 season against the defending AAFC champion Browns they were expected to put the upstart Browns in their place. The game drew more than 70,000 people, and the unexpected result was a 35-10 Browns' win.  While  a disappointment to those in the NFL establishment,  in reality the Browns' trouncing of the Eagles was a great shot in the arm for the league,  and, in the greater scheme of things, a vindication of Paul Brown's passing offense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DubuW_lrFSY#action=share

http://articles.mcall.com/2004-10-24/sports/3575836_1_super-bowl-eagles-backup-quarterback-nfl-commissioner-bert-bell


*********** We're now 6-0 after defeating the Utica Yarddawgs 65-14

Our A back had 14-147yds and  4 tds and our C back had 10-104 yds and  3 tds

Next week we're at the Oneonta Stallions

Pete Porcelli
Troy Fighting Irish
Troy, New York


*********** Sorry.   I didn't watch the Major League All-Star game.

I can remember what a thrill it was as a kid to see great players competing against each other - players who would spend their entire careers in one league (on one team,  yet)  and ordinarily would never face each other except in a World Series.

Those were the days when it was baseball tradition - What sport had more tradition than baseball?  What sport so willingly squandered it? - that the home team always wore white uniforms, and the visiting team always wore gray.

And imagine this - teams never changed their uniform from one year to the next, let alone game to game.  Why would they?  There was no way you could buy a replica major league uniform for a little kid.  Who had that kind of money, anyhow?

So with that premise, the players in the All-Star games wore their own teams' uniforms, white or gray version depending on who was the home team.  That meant you saw Ted Williams in his Red Sox uniform, Ernie Banks in his Cubs' uniform, Stan Musial in his Cardinals' uniform, Willie Mays in his Giants' (New York) uniform, Bob Feller in his Indians' uniform, Mickey Mantle in his Yankees' uniform.

And then, since the All-Star game was such a big hit, they tried playing a couple of them.  I believe economists call that inflation.

And  somewhere along the line came free agency, and players moving from league to league.  And finally came interleague play itself, so that now, the major difference between the two leagues is that one has a DH.

The tragic thing about baseball,  as I read more and more great stuff about the history of the game, is that other than boxing and horse racing, which don't count because they're both pretty much dead, baseball is our only major sport whose past is better than its present.

*********** I don't know about the NFL, but the CFL now allows visiting teams to provide their own footballs.

http://m.torontosun.com/2014/07/02/edmonton-eskimos-qb-mike-reilly-likes-new-cfl-rules-allowing-teams-to-travel-with-their-own-footballs

No more incidents like the one that happened back in the 70s, when the Steelers were playing in Oakland. Back then, the Raiders were really good, and in addition, they prided themselves on their bad-dude reputation.  In this particular game, Steelers' center Ray Mansfield came up to the line and as he turned the ball over to prepare to snap it, saw, written on the laces, "F--K YOU"

No more of that stuff.  Not in the CFL, anyhow.

I can't imagine that the NFL doesn't have a similar rule, but I'm too lazy to research it.

*********** It wouldn't happen if they were American companies. But they're not.  So there's not much Uncle Sam can do to stop the world's two largest brewers from merging.

The proposed merger of A-B InBev  and SAB MIller would create a monster corporation that would produce eight of the world's 10 top-selling brands of beer. (The other two? Heineken and Guinness.)

It would command almost 30 per cent of the world beer market, and far more of the US market.  What this mens to you, Joe Consumer, is that they'll be able to out-advertise other brewers, and they'll be able to control shelf space in super markets and convenience stores.

Oh, and their distributors, supposedly independent businesspeople,  won't have room on their trucks for any competitors' products, which means that potential competitors to Bud and Miller will be lucky if they can find another distributor willing to handle their products.

It still galls me the way the industry giants continue to deceive the public with their faux "craft" beers, whose labels bear the names of bogus companies, when actually they're produced in the same giant breweries that also happen to churn out industrial beers such as Budweiser and Miller.  Their major reason for existence, rather than as a way of improving the brewer's art, is to monopolize the distributors' trucks and take up more room on supermarket shelves - to squeeze out the little guys, much in the same way that Budweiser, back in its pre-InBev days, once drove dozens of regional brewers out of business.

*********** I've written before how much I despise my fellow Yalie, Lord John Kerry.   He was representative of his type.  Still is.  We went to different schools together, so to speak. HIs kind came from the snootiest of New England prep schools, and their major objective while at Yale seemed to us peasant types to be devoted to having as little to do with us as possible. Filthy rich, sophisticated, well-connected and self-assured, they were a class unto themselves. We seldom saw them except when we took the same classes. While we enjoyed our free kegs of Hull's Export, they did their socializing at the very exclusive Fence Club, once described by the New York Times as "the fraternity of choice for old-money families from New England."

That class separation suited us, of course, because we thought they were rich weenies, and we had as little use for them as they had for us.

John Kerry is the epitome of the rich, liberal dude who never held an honest job in his life. (Except, of course, for his Vietnam-era navy service, which was cancelled out by his coming back to the US and telling whoppers to Congress about the atrocities
supposed ly committed by American troops.)

In the US Senate, one of the wealthiest groups of people this side of an NFL owners' meeting, he's one of the wealthiest - largely because  a classmate of mine, the late Senator Jack Heinz, of Pennsylvania,  was killed in a helicopter crash, and his widow, who inherited the family fortune, was swept off her feet by (who else?) John Kerry.

Lately, he's been doing his damnedest as Secretary of State to stave off World War III, able to point with pride to diplomatic triumphs in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Russia and Israel.

And recently, he boasted about having told this year's graduating class at Yale not to believe politicians who claim that we Americans are  exceptional.

...I was privileged to speak to the graduating class of Yale this year, and it was particularly a pleasure because it happened to turn out to be, literally, I hate to say it, 48 years to the day that I was privileged to speak as a graduating senior to my own class. And I talked to them about sort of the world we’re in right now, but at the end I tried to remind them all, which I remind you of, we are – I get always a little uptight when I hear politicians say how exceptional we are – not because we’re not exceptional, but because it’s kind of in-your-face and a lot of other people are exceptional, a lot of other places do exceptional things.

Yeah, your Lordship.  We're not exceptional.  You probably really believe that tens of thousands of people are crossing our border because of gang violence back home.

What a POS. Makes me ashamed to be a Yalie.

*********** I  consider the late Al McGuire to be one of the all-time great sports figures, as a coach and as a commentator.  But mostly, I think, as a character.  Not a clown character, but an off-the-streets New Yorker, both wise and wise-ass, one of a vanishing breed once common to New York City back when it still had a large working class population.  I'd love to have been able to sit in a tavern, in the booth behind him, my head cocked so I could listen in,  while he talked basketball - or any of a thousand other topics he was up on - with a bunch of his chums.

He was so self-assured - cocky, maybe - that years ago, he was already coaching  the athlete of today while other coaches, stuck in the methods of the 1950s, were terrified to let go of the reins and give their players any autonomy.  A great 30 for 30 short shows just one way in which he was so far ahead of his peers. 

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=10538699

*********** Good Morning, Coach Wyatt! I hope that you and Connie are doing well in the COOL Pacific Northwest. It's been hot, humid, and dry here for some time. I have to admit that I am a little concerned about your sudden interest in the "beautiful game." Been feeling well lately?

What you said about QB's in your "News" column this morning is spot on. If you remember, back in the spring I wrote to you about our starting 7th grade QB and his Daddy (who didn't like the offense, who had a personal QB trainer, etc.). Well, as it turns out, I finally had to kick the kid out of weightlifting class in May for his sorry attitude and poor work ethic. A week later, the Daddy transfers the kid to the middle school up the highway (turns out Daddy wasn't happy with basketball and soccer at our school, either). So, the inevitable Daddy/Coaches/Player/Principal meeting that I had planned, never had to take place. I'm not sure what address they are using for a legal transfer but, at this point, I don't really care. They can spread their poison elsewhere. Coaches, players, and even parents are relieved. Our backup QB from last season has decided to "concentrate" on basketball so that leaves us with no returning QB's.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have learned a lesson about being proactive (I don't feel too bad, Nick Saban learned that lesson, too). So, a few weeks ago, I held a week long camp for any 7th and 8th grader player who wanted to play QB. We went over many of the things you discussed before we set one foot on the field. We spent most of the first day learning about character, coachability, accountability, and teamwork. I should have done this years ago but I took it for granted. We had always been blessed with good character and leadership at the QB position.

So, what do I have this year? Two 8th graders, and four 7th graders who want to play QB, are team players, and want to please me (not their daddy or their QB trainer). So with my 8th graders, like you, I am having to make QB's out of two kids who have never played the position before. The advantage is a clean slate, nothing to un-teach. I will say that the new "Open Wing" is making this job much easier. Now I've got to figure out how to replace two starting WB's who moved away (uggh!). O-Line should be huge, though!

As always, thanks for your help and what you do for our sport!

I appreciate the note and I'm glad to hear the way things are working out for you.

I think it all goes back to the premise that (1)  we're not in this for the money, so why should we settle for coaching kids who don't want to be coached, who have dads who don't like the way we coach them? and (2) at some point we're all going to lose a game, so let's make sure that  we build a team that won't come apart when that day comes.

It's amazing what you can accomplish when everybody's on the same page.

*********** Back when we decided that Alex McAra had the key character traits to be our quarterback at North Beach High,  the next phase of the job was to turn him into one.  Part of the job was going to be teaching him the ins and outs of the position, part of it was going to be teaching him how to take charge of things (which meant teaching him the overall offense), and the final part was going to be teaching him how to be a passer.

But even before he could start learning to be a passer, he first had to learn to be a thrower - to learn how to throw a football.

I mentioned that although Alex has never played quarterback and has never played baseball, he is a good athlete and a tough kid.  We were very deep at running back last year, so Alex wasn't in our regular two-backfield rotation. And although he has good speed and exceptional hands, he wasn't as good as our starting split end, and he wasn't strong enough to line up at the other end and come down and play tight end occasionally, as we require. 

But near the end of the season, when we lost our two A-backs (in the same game, to the same injury - a broken collarbone) we went to a twin set, and Alex became our slot back.  There, he was a threat as both a runner and a receiver.

Alex wasn't a total virgin when he got to practice this past spring.  I'd shown him a few passing basics at the tail end of last football season, when we'd decided that he was going to be our guy, but  then, once the season came to an end, state regulations prevented me from doing anything more with him until Memorial Day. 

Fortunately,  we did have one very important thing going for us. Our state forbids any coach from working with any athlete out-of-season, until the last track meet or baseball game has taken place, but it doesn't say anything about players working with other players.  And in our case, since Alex and our last year's quarterback, Carson Ketter, were both on the track team, they were both able  to throw a bit after track practice every day.  Carson proved to be a great learner while I was working with him over the last three years, and so he was able to show Alex a lot of our drills and pass along a number of tips.

(Out of respect and admiration for Carson, Alex has asked to wear Carson's old number.)

The first two weeks after Memorial Day we held our spring practice.  School was still in session, so we had just a couple of hours with the kids every afternoon, and the bulk of that time had to be devoted to installing our offense and defense.  That meant that Alex first had to learn the mechanics of the quarterback position, with very little time left over to work on his passing.

So in spring ball, Alex ran the offense.  He did an exceptional job of picking up the offense, and scarcely made a miscue. We know we are going to be able to run the ball.  We have a number of extremely quick backs, Alex included, and we have a very good line. But we're not good enough that we can afford to be one-dimensional.  Besides, we also have some quality receivers.  My deal with Alex was that he'd throw to the extent of his ability, and then we'd look at the video and see where we needed to get better and what we could reasonably expect to accomplish..

Right from the start, back when Alex said he wanted to be the guy, and I felt that he had all the "necessaries," we started with an understanding between us.

A quarterback-coach relationship, just like a healthy marriage, has to be based on trust.

I assured Alex that in return for his trusting me, I would never betray that trust.  He could expect me to correct him, of course, and I would expect him to take it, but I would correct him positively at all times, and although I wouldn't always be able to do it in private, I would never embarrass him in front of anyone else.  I told him that our understanding has to be that he doesn't listen to outside "advice," and in return I shield him from the "advice" of others, however well-meaning.  He also has my assurance that I will shield him from the two-bit critics who infest all sports at all levels, but seem to take special aim at quarterbacks.  I told him that he is my man and I have his back - that he would have to do something really out of character for me ever to lose faith in him.  I told him that in a game we are partners, that my job is to help him solve problems, not to point a finger at him. 

So coming out of spring ball, Alex understood that his passing needed a lot of work.  He wasn't discouraged in the slightest, and was eager to get to work.

Alex MapOne slight problem:  a matter of logistics.

Alex's parents are divorced, and every summer, from the end of spring ball until August 1, Alex stays with his mom in Shoreline, Washington, north of Seattle. (During the school year, he lives with his dad in Ocean Shores, and visits Mom on alternate weekends).  Alex is a great kid, and understandably, his mom looks forward to the time he can spend with her, but this did complicate our plans to turn him into a passer. 

First of all, Alex had to assure his mom that if she would consent to his spending a couple of days every week in Ocean Shores, working out with me, he would try to work things out with his dad to make up the time she was agreeing to give up. 

To Alex's credit, he was able to negotiate the following arrangement:

Every Tuesday morning, Mom would put Alex on an Amtrak train leaving Seattle at 9:35.

At about the same time, my wife and I would leave our home in Camas, and drive north to Centralia, Washington, about 100 miles away, arriving in plenty of time to meet Alex at the railroad station at (or, this being Amtrak, sometime after) 11:35.  I would sign for Alex (he's only 15, and he'd have to travel as an unaccompanied minor) and Amtrak would turn him over to me.

We'd get a bite to eat, then drive west for another hour and a half to Ocean Shores, and then from 4 to 6 in the afternoon we'd work out.

The next day, Wednesday, we'd work out from 10 to noon, have lunch, spend some time in the afternoon looking at video back at our place, and work out again from 3:30 to 5:30.   At that point his dad would pick him up and drive him to a spot near Olympia (about halfway to Mom's) where he and Mom would meet up and make the exchange.

To their everlasting credit,  Mom and Dad agreed to the deal, and that's what we've been doing for the past four weeks.

(MORE TO COME)



american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  15,  2014“The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.”  Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** SEC Media Days got under way Monday in Birmingham, and knowing how reporters enjoy a good time, I thought I'd save them the trouble of having to attend all those coaches' interviews and scribble down all the insipid things they have to say. So I'm supplying them, at no charge, with all the quotes they'll need so they can spend more time enjoying the sights.  For the most part, they can simply match them up with the coaches of their choice..

"We're really young"
"We lost a lot of players to (graduation/the NFL)
"We have to stay healthy"
"We have to take care of the football"
"Our young players are going to have to grow up in a hurry"
"We're going to really focus on the fundamentals"
"It's going to be hard to replace (insert player's name)"
"It all depends on the way (insert player's name) develops"
"I hope we can hang in there until (insert player's name) comes back from his suspension"
"The schedule is brutal"
"The SEC is the toughest conference in the country"
(For Florida reporters) "We have to really come out of the gate against Idaho and Eastern Michigan"


*********** Okay, okay.  String me up.  Dismiss me from the AFCA. 

I have a confession to make…

I watched two soccer matches this past weekend.  Two.  And nobody forced me to.

I watched both Netherlands-Brazil and Germany-Argentina, and - may God forgive me -  I.. enjoyed… both… games.

Yes, I did.  I actually found myself cheering for Dutch and German goals, and screaming with indignation at the flopping and grabbing of the Argentines and Brazilians.

I said some time ago that I thought that Germany was really good, as they amply proved. And I actually think they have a couple of guys  - most notably Bastian Schweinsteiger (love that name. While you're up,  I'll have one), who didn't seem to mind mixing it up - who could play real football.

The German score was really a thing of beauty. 

Yes, I have to admit that the experience was more enjoyable for me because both of "my" teams won.

And I also have to admit that, had either team lost, I'd have given no thought whatsoever to jumping off a bridge.

*********** I read the news in Sports Business Journal: "Nike just unveiled a Mike Trout cleat."

"Cleat?"  WTF?   Couple of problems here.

First, while football shoes - football, not baseball -  have commonly been called "cleats," a "cleat," singular, is not a shoe.  A cleat is one of those things you screw into the bottom of a shoe.

Second, when did baseball players start wearing cleats, instead of spikes?

I remember reading about Ty Cobb, sliding into a base "spikes high."

I remember reading about him "sharpening his spikes" before games.

I remember hearing about guys getting "spiked," sustaining  "spike wounds."

I'm not sure why they ever called them spikes, since spikes are supposed to be pointy things, but they're sure as hell not cleats.

And I never heard of one baseball shoe called a "spike."

Oh, well.  It's Nike's money, and if Nike is willing to spend its money to change the name of something that's been a baseball fixture for generations, in order to sell shoes, consider it as good as done.  It won't be long before our kids will be calling baseball shoes "cleats."  If they aren't doing so already.

*********** What bothers me about "immigration," whether legal or illegal, is not the number of people coming in, or the type of people coming in, or even the way they're doing it - it's our government's seeming attitude of "come as you are… and stay as you are."

We seem to have conceded the point to the multiculturalists among us that it is elitist, or racist, or whatever, to insist that newcomers adapt to our ways - become Americans - and our cowardice in failing to promote and defend our common culture may be costing us our country.

I disagree that it's racist, or imperialistic, or whatever evil you ascribe to it, to insist on welcoming people not just to our borders, but to our culture - to membership in the club.

The late Jacques Barzun, historian and student of education, wrote, "The need for a body of common knowledge and common reference does not disappear when a society is pluralistic. On the contrary, it grows more necessary, so that people of different origins and occupation may quickly find familiar ground and as we say, speak a common language. It not only saves time and embarrassment, but it also ensures a kind of mutual confidence and goodwill. One is not addressing an alien, as blank as a stone wall, but a responsive creature whose mind is filled with the same images, memories, and vocabulary as oneself."

*********** Bill Livingston, a longtime Cleveland sports columnist, got his start in Philadelphia, writing for the Inquirer.  He was assigned to be the beat writer for the Philadelphia Bell, which is where we crossed paths.

I thought he wrote a pretty good piece on soccer recently, entitled, "A modest Proposal to Stop Diving"

http://www.cleveland.com/livingston/index.ssf/2014/06/a_modest_proposal_for_stopping.html#incart_river

*********** We all know that patriotism sells beer.

Why else would that patriotic  Belgian company, Inbev, which owns Budweiser  among other brands, make a commercial featuring a young soldier - an American soldier - coming back from being deployed overseas and being honored in a hometown parade?

Now it's Guinness, which not only plays the patriotism theme - leaving a glass of Guinness on a table, untouched, awaiting a homecoming soldier  - but also brings in the Civil Rights movement.

The background music for the commercial is a hymn.  A very special hymn at that.

In a scene in the great series on the Civil Rights Movement,"Eyes on the Prize,"  a Montgomery minister recalled the meeting  that followed Mrs. Rosa Parks' arrest.

It was decided  at the meeting that black people would boycott the Mongtomery bus system, and  that Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior, a young pastor who'd recently arrived in town from Atlanta, would lead it. And then, as their sendoff,  all assembled rose and sang that beautiful hymn, "What a Fellowship, What a joy divine, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."

Now, 60 years later, it sells beer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D-gyaxQgK4

*********** Bob Ley's job must really be on the line at ESPN, because unless he was under orders to do so,  I can't imagine why an AMERICAN sports guy would go Brit on us simply because he was being paid to talk about soccer.

In one ten-second burst, I heard him say...

"The crisis deepens for Brazilian football… "

"It's been years since Brazil have lost consecutive World Cup games… "

"and this time to the Dutch, by Two-Nil."

*********** Singapore, like any other place with legalized gambling, has its share of problem gamblers.

So in anticipation of the wagering associated with the World Cup, Singapore's National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG), set out to deter Singaporeans from "gambling irresponsibly during the World Cup" with a series of TV commercials and posters.

They featured a young lad named Andy, upset because his father has bet the farm on his favorite team.

"I hope Germany wins," Andy says in one spot.  "My dad bet all his savings on them."

And then the ad ran at halftime of the Germany-Brazil game.  With Germany leading, 5-0, social media in Singapore was all over it.

Wrote a high government official on Facebook, "Looks like the boy's father who bet all his savings on Germany will be laughing all the way to the bank."

Wrote another Facebook user, "This ad has given hope to all gamblers!"

The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

*********** The Packers signed a free agent tight end from Oregon named Colt Lyerla. 

If the pros had been able to overlook his "off-the-field issues," he'd have been a first-round draft choice, but just to show that even the NFL can draw the line someplace, he wasn't even drafted.

The guy is at least 6-5, weighs at least 250, and runs a 4.6 40.  In high school, he was all-state as a running back and linebacker, and he led his team, Hillsboro High, to a state title.

He chose Oregon over a number of colleges, and after graduating from high school early in order to take part in spring drills, he saw some action at tight end as a freshman, catching seven passes for 147 yards - and FIVE touchdowns.

In his sophomore year, 2012, he was a perfect fit in Chip Kelly's offense, starting at tight end but also seeing action as an H-back and running back. He caught 25 passes for 392 yards and 6 touchdowns, and rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown.

And then Chip Kelly left Oregon for the Eagles.

Kelly was said to have had a golden touch with kids like Lyerla, but Kelly's successor, Mark Helfrich, had little tolerance for Lyerla's "off-the-field issues," which in this case seems to be a euphemism for "drug issues."

After missing one game for what the public was told was an "illness," he was suspended from another game before finally quitting the team, and not long after that he was arrested for possession of cocaine.

Yes, he has/had drug issues.  Welcome to the NFL.  How bad might things get when he pockets an NFL paycheck every week?  But he is not a bad dude. We are not talking Aaron Hernandez here.  There is nothing criminal in his background and people who know him say he's basically a good kid from a dysfunctional background who doesn't have a lot of self-control.

Colt Lyerla may be too much for the Packers to turn around, but his upside is enormous.  If and when this kid grows up, he could be an All-Pro. 

(It may or may not mean anything, but the Eagles, whose head coach knows him as well as anyone, didn't sign him.)

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

What do you teach your kick out players to do if there's no one to kick out like in a 6 call.

Coach Roger Calder
Natick, Mssachusetts

Coach,

They are searching for the first thing past the tail of the blocker at the point of attack - the one making the down block on the inside of the hole.

The trick is to make sure that the kickout man stays "on the rail," and does not drift away from it.  The rail, in this case, is  the "butt line" of the playside blockers.

6-G blocker pathHe must not run straight down the line
(horizontally), as the play is drawn on paper, but must be taught to run along the "butt line."

We do not want a "jaw" to open, as at the top of the drawing at left: we do not want a large angle to develop between the butt line and the course of the kickout blocker.  That is a sure recipe for failure to get the inside-out block that we need, and it's a major reason why the "G" play fails.

The two major failures in technique that lead to this problem are kickout men and trappers turning their shoulders more than 45 degrees from square, and not keeping their eyes up and on their destination. To solve technique number one, we teach the "pickpocket" - we teach the kickout man to reach with his playside hand for the playside hip of the first linemen to playside, and not to turn the shoulders more than that, while at the same time locating his target.  That's where the eyes come in.  Check their eyes and you will be surprised how often they're looking at the ground.  You have to teach linemen to run with their eyes up.  The same thing is true for younger running backs.

If he runs the correct course and there is still no one to block, he will cut upfield at the hole,  still looking for someone to the outside.

*********** Hey - LeBron celebrated his latest announcement by taking a trip to Rio to catch the World Cup Final, and he says - I swear - the World Cup is bigger than... the NBA Finals! 

Gee, LeBron.  Ya think?

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/B/BKN_LEBRON_WORLD_CUP?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-07-12-19-56-17


*********** At North Beach High, last season was a turnaround season.  We finished 7-3, our first winning record in rive years, and in the process we got rid of two long-time nemeses. Literally.

After being put on a running clock in 2012 by both Naselle and Willapa Valley - while serving as their Homecoming opponents (the team everybody wants to schedule) we turned the tables on them in 2013, pinning a shutout on Naselle 28-0, and putting a running clock on "Valley" (as it's called around here) 46-6.

Finally.  We showed that we belonged on the same with two of the consistently toughest teams in our league.  That's the good news.

The bad news is we won't have either of them to kick around anymore.

Although Washington is a generally prosperous state, we happen to live in a relatively impoverished area, far from the prosperity of the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia region.

Naselle, a remote one-time thriving little logging community, has shrunken in size to the point where it's had to drop down in classification, which means that it will now be playing 8-man football.  Willapa Valley, in the center of farm community, was faced with a similar decline in enrollment, but chose, rather than play 8-man football , to instead form a combine with a nearby school (25 miles away is nearby in these parts) and continue playing 11-man football.  Unfortunately for us, the new combine will be playing in the league of Valley's partner.

The idea of a combine isn't new in Washington - for the last three years, we've been spanked by a combine from Morton-White Pass, a combine of two schools that never amounted to much until they came together. in the open spaces in the eastern part of the state, it's common for two or even three tiny schools  to combine - to form an 8-man team!

In Midwest farm communities, similar population losses have forced the formation of numerous combines, and even, in some cases, compound combines - combinations of previously-formed combines.  In Iowa, I'm familiar with at least one compound combine - Battle Creek-Ida Grove joining with Odebolt-Arthur.

They now play as the Battle Creek-Ida Grove/Odebolt-Arthur Falcons.

http://www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/battle-creek-ida-grove-odebolt-arthur-falcons-(ida-grove,ia)/football/home.htm

*********** The late Casey Stengel was a heck of a manager when he had a good team (Yankees) and not much of a manager when he didn't (Mets) but he was loved by sports writers because he was so quotable, even when some of his quotes left them scratching their heads, trying to make sense of what he'd just said.

One of his quotes has stuck with me over the years: "Only a shortstop can play shortstop."

I think - I think - what he was saying was that you can take a shortstop and move him to another position, and he'll do okay there.  (It would be interesting to see how many major leaguers, whatever their positions now, were once shortstops.)

But conversely,  it's hard to take a guy who's never played shortstop and turn him into one.

If Stengel had been a football man, he might  easily have substituted the word "quarterback" for "shortstop."

Colleges - and the NFL - are filled with former quarterbacks now playing an assortment of other positions.  But name me one guy drawing a paycheck as an NFL quarterback who didn't play quarterback in high school.

There's one thing that NFL coaches can't do, but those of us who coach small high schools sometimes can, and that's take a kid who's never played quarterback before, and turn him into a quarterback.

That's what I've been trying to do since Memorial Day (when our state finally releases coaches to work out-of-season with their kids).

For some time I've insisted that my quarterbacks must meet three knockout criteria:

1. Does he really want to be our quarterback?  Is he willing (and able) to take the heat?  Will he do the extra work required, in-season and out?  Will he be the first on the field and the last off the field?  Does he have the stones to be a leader, to tell teammates what to do?  Will be put himself in my hands?

2. Is he coachable?  Does he have football intelligence?  Is he a quick learner?  Can he take correction positively?  Can he make corrections?  Does he want to please me?  Does he have "someone else" giving him "coaching tips" (if you know what I mean)?

3. Can I trust him?  Will he always be straight with me?  Can I count on him to be there?  Will he be my surrogate when I'm not there?
Can I count on him to do the right thing -  to get good grades and stay out of trouble? 

They're "knockouts" because  if a guy can't measure up in any of those areas, he can't play quarterback for me.

(Notice that athletic ability and passing ability, although they do figure into the equation,  are not essential parts of the criteria.)

Of course, if there are two candidates who pass tests 1, 2 and 3, the one who is the better athlete will get the nod.  And if there are two whose athletic abilities are equal, the better passer gets the nod.

But in a small school, we rarely have the luxury of a highly competitive situation.  We have to make our decision quickly, because the "loser" of the competition is normally good enough to play someplace else, and we need him to start getting reps there.

At North Beach, we just lost a very good quarterback to graduation, and we had no one behind him.  No one.

Looking at 1, 2 and 3, we had one guy who qualified - who really wanted the job.

Fortunately, he's a good athlete.  He's a rising junior. He's not very big - about 5-7, 145 - but he's very quick.  He placed in the state track meet in the 300 intermediate hurdles (which also indicates that he's tough and a hard worker.)  He has exceptional hands, and he's a very good runner.

Only one problem - he had never thrown a football.

More about this on Friday.



american flag FRIDAY,  JULY  11,  2014 "’I've never been intimidated by anyone. I don’t know the meaning of the word.”  John Silber, former president of Boston University

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

I could not help seeing a parallel between a quote in the Josh McNary article:

"That became his refrain. Everywhere he went, everything he did, he did his best. He excelled."

and Colossians 3:23:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,"

Todd Hollis

Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

Sad to think that we once lived in an America in which it was generally understood how much wisdom was in the Bible.


*********** Today (Thursday) was the 40th anniversary of the first World Football League game.  On July 10, 1974, our Philadelphia Bell defeated the Portland Storm, 33-8,  in Philly's old JFK Stadium.  The size of the crowd - 60,000 plus - shocked the sports world.

I was there, and it was a sight to see.

At the same time, there was a Phillies' game in Veterans' Stadium as well as a concert at the Spectrum, both nearby.  The total crowd at all three venues was in excess of 100,000, and The Mother of All Traffic Jams clogged roads and bridges for miles around.

It was later discovered, thanks to some diligent detective work by a Philadelphia reporter almost certainly put up to it by Philadelphia Eagles' owner Leonard Tose, that the house was "papered" - that a large number of people in attendance got in free.

Personally, I wouldn't have gone if they d paid me. (Although, come to think of it, that's why I was there.) 
The heat and humidity were unbearable even by Philadelphia standards, but  those folks, paid or not, fought their way through the traffic to get there.

(In case anyone needed proof that Philadelphia is a great pro football town.)

************* The late Ray Mansfield was one tough customer.  He grew up tough in Kennewick, Washington - "my dad was a guy who scratched it out of the ground" - was an All-American at the University of Washington, and played 14 years in the NFL, 11 of them as the Steelers' starting center.  He was one of the leaders of the great Steeler teams of the 1970s, and played on two Super Bowl champion teams.

I found a couple of passages about him in Roy Blount's "About Three Bricks Shy of a Load" to be very interesting. 

The first concerns his introduction to high school football.

"My first game in high school, I thought I was God's gift to football. I thought I was going to beat the sh-- out of everybody. I went up against this big kid who was a senior. He ate my cookies.

"I couldn't understand it.   It turned out, this guy I played against in my first game was Bob Lilly.  But ever since then, I've been afraid that everybody was going to beat me.  I was an All-American at Washington, but I still felt that way. About the time you should be relaxed and enjoying yourself, you're worried, afraid of failure.  You know, I think people like that do better."

(True story.  Bob Lilly, although a Texan through and through, played football his senior year in Oregon in Pendleton, Oregon, home of the famed Pendleton Roundup.)

The second was a passage that could almost have been used as evidence by the NFL in defending itself against the suit brought by former players…

"I'm getting at the stage now where I have to worry about losing my physical ability.   My neck hurts so bad sometimes I think about killing myself. I'll be a cripple by the time I'm fifty.  But if that's what it takes, f--k it. When I was growing up, my family never had anything. I want to enjoy life.  Next to loving, football is the thing I like most."

The following account of Ray Mansfield's premature death (by heart attack at the age of 55 )does not sound like that of a man who was a "cripple."

Former Pittsburgh Steeler star Center Ray "The Ranger" Mansfield died in the Grand Canyon on Saturday, November 3, 1996. Ray had been hiking with his son and another companion when problems with an ankle caused him to begin to fall behind them. He told the others to go on ahead and that he would catch up with them later that evening at the campsite. He never showed up. His body was found the following morning sitting with his back against a big rock, cigar in hand, facing a magnificent vista where the sun would have set the previous evening. The initial Park Service report lists the cause of death as natural causes. Ray's family has a history of cardiac illness and there were no other signs of external trauma. He was the sixth hiker to die in the canyon since July.

Apparently hiking in the Grand Canyon was a favorite activity of Ray's and he had been doing it every year for some time now.

http://www.bobspixels.com/kaibab.org/misc/gc_rm.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Mansfield

***********  In "About Three Brick Shy of a Load," author Roy Blount mentioned the number of teams back then (1970s) that had been infatuated with the idea of taking a world-class sprinter and trying to make a football player out of him.

Norm Van Brocklin, Falcons' coach, was a caustic sucker, and Blount wrote that when The Dutchman was asked what it meant now that his organization had signed one of those guys, he quipped,  "We'll have to start diagramming our plays on longer paper."

***********  Dad

I interviewed a gentleman named Terry Hennessy, who is originally from Wales, now lives in Melbourne, but coached the Tulsa Roughnecks to the NASL title (the Soccer Bowl) in 1983. He said one of the great things about being in Tulsa at that time was you had Nolan Richardson at Tulsa, Barry Switzer and OU and Jimmy Johnson and OSU and he got to speak with all of them. Pretty good trio in the state of Oklahoma!

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia


*********** Hi Coach

Been awhile since we last spoke…hope life, even with soccer, is grand.

Got a bit of a quandary as we prepare for this season, one I haven’t faced yet. After seven years of working with my older son’s teams, he moves on to middle school ball and I have agreed to assist on my 7 year-old’s team. It’s been some time since I worked with the little ones, so, I have to regain my footing with working with mostly 1st time players.

Here’s my quandary…The Pop Warner rules for 6-7 year old’s are great in that they use this age as an instructional league, meaning no playoffs on the line that make coaches go overboard, although some still do. Additionally, there are rules in place on how a team can line up that cause me to re-think my approach. The rules state…
1) A team can have a minimum of four and no more than 6 Defenders on the LOS
2) Whoever is on the LOS, they must be head-up with their Oline counterpart. No Gaps or outside shades
3) No one can line up over the Center
4) LB’s and DB’s must be at the least three yards off the LOS at the snap.
5) No Blitzing between the Tackles

On Offense…we must
1) Have a Standard two tight end alignment
2) Can only have one player lined up outside the box, but, no more than 5 yards
3) No Motion or Shifting allowed
4) If you do a Direct Snap, player receiving the snap must handoff, pitch of pass. He cannot run the ball.

Based on the rules, I thought of running from a traditional Wing-T double tight set. From what I understand, based on the rules, most teams will put 6 D-Lineman head up on the G,T & TE’s, running a 6-2 or even a 6-5 look. See Attachment.

The problem is, that the Power play, almost becomes a sweep, as the Wing-Back and TE double team the “ON Man”. FB would then have to climb for a LB and the G (Power-O) or G&T run the tight circle. The Corner will be unblocked and  very close to the point of attack.

My 1st thought was, what if I were to flex my TE’s. Then, even though he has a MAN ON, have him block down and double team with the Tackle’s ON MAN. FB kicks out the DE and the WB runs FBI track with Guard pulling for the Mike.

My 2nd thought was to X-Block to run Off Tackle.

I’d hate to take newcomers to the game and not be able to teach a true Power Play based on the rules we adhere to.

Any thoughts?

Hi Coach-

Sounds like you're in for a fun challenge.  At least this will keep you from having to watch too many of your older son's practices!

To answer: you have the right idea

1. Run "Double Wing" but run it from "RIGHT" or "LEFT" formations. Basically, it's Wing-T without splits. All it really means to you is that you can't run Super Power (as designed) to the side away from the wing.

2. You don't even have to flex your TE to make "GAP, DOWN" (or "DOUBLE-TEAM WITH TACKLE") a hard and fast rule for him.  But if you were to flex him it might assist by moving the DE out a little bit.

Hope I made sense.  What I'm trying to say is that you are right on.

*********** Joe Diminick, one of all-time the top  coaches in Pennsylvania high school football history, passed away last week at the age of 86.

At the time of his retirement, Coach Diminick, known to most football fans as "Jazz Diminick," was Pennsylvania's all-time winningest high school football coach.  He won 290 games overall,  267 of them at Mount Carmel, a small town in the hard coal region  where he coached for 31 years. 

Figure it out - that's an average of more than eight wins a season for 31 years.

Berwick High's George Curry,  who has since surpassed Coach Diminick in career wins, told the Pottsville Republican-Herald, "When I first got into coaching, he was my hero. He set the bar for all of us. He was my idol. He was the man. I had so much respect for him.  I liked his style, that he was a disciplinarian and that he was always updating. When he had good quarterbacks, he threw the ball. When he had great running backs, he ran the ball. He knew how to use his kids."

I met Coach Diminick in the spring of 1974 when I signed his son, Gary, to a contract with the Philadelphia Bell.  Gary was an undersized running back at Notre Dame who was an outstanding kick return man on the Irish's 1973 National Championship team.

Before that, Gary was well-known around the state among fans of its high school football.  In 1969, as Mount Carmel went unbeaten and untied (in the days before Pennsylvania held state championships), he ran for 2.099 yards and scored 38 touchdowns and was named All-State and All-American.

Gary Diminick was no small school flash, either.  As reported in the Reading (PA) Eagle, when he chose Notre Dame, after having narrowed his choices down to the Irish, Penn State, Ohio State and Virginia, Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian told dad Joe Diminick, "We have the best back in the country."

Gary  went undrafted and unsigned by the NFL, so after we came to terms with him, I drove to Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania to sign him. His dad was there, too.  It was something of an event in the small town, and I was asked  to say a few words to the gathering before driving back to Philly.

Gary showed up a few weeks later at a mini-camp we held at crumbling old JFK Stadium, and shortly into one of our drills, he seriously injured a knee, and he never played a down for us.  Very, very sad and disappointing.

All six of Coach Diminick's sons played for him at Mount Carmel; five of them were named to play in the Big 33 Game, the state's famous all-star game. 

After Gary, the oldest, came Ken, who  played three years at Villanova; Joe, Junior, who won three letters at Penn State; Ed, who went to UConn and then Penn State but did not play; John, who played at Lafayette; and Mike, who played at Duke and in 1988 was named one of 16 scholar-athletes nationwide by the National Football Foundation.

Coach Joe Diminick turned out a number of championship teams and produced numerous all-state players, but as a coach he had to be proudest of the fact that more than 200 of his former players went on to college, no small accomplishment in an area chronically depressed after the collapse of the anthracite coal industry.

http://m.republicanherald.com/sports/hs-football-legendary-mount-carmel-coach-joe-jazz-diminick-passes-1.1713726

*********** I've always enjoyed noting the way high school football rosters reflect the demographic makeup of an area, and sure enough, a look at the roster of the 1969 Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania High School team, considered by many to be legendary coach Joe Diminick's best squad, shows that many of the players were of Eastern European descent,  in all likelihood sons and grandsons of men brought to  America to work in the anthracite coal mines of
northeastern Pennsylvania.

You may recognize the fullback.  Henry Hynoski went on to play at Temple, and then for the Cleveland Browns. His son, Henry, has been playing fullback for the New York Giants.

Offense

E  11  Dennis HEPLER              5-11 175
T  77  Gary HOWANEC               6-½  197
G  67  Frank GRABUSKI             5-7  154
C  66  Ed MORRIS                  5-8  173
G  38  Mike SEMICEK               5-9  196
T  68  Bob CHUPRINSKI             6-0  197
E  51  Phil KLAUS                 6-1  196
Q  12  Tom ALEXANDER              5-11 144
H  33  Gary DIMINICK              5-8  155
H  20  Carmen DEFRANCESCO         5-6  151
F  36  Henry HYNOSKI              5-10 175                  
 
Defense
 
E  81  John HALCOVICH             6-1  165
T  68  Bob CHUPRINSKI             6-0  197
G  57  Joe NARCAVAGE              5-7  165
G  62  Joe MUSHALKO               5-7  154
T  77  Gary HOWANEC               6-½  197
E  51  Phil KLAUS                 6-1  196
L  36  Henry HYNOSKI              5-10 175
L  66  Ed MORRIS                  5-8  173
H  84  Joe WOZNEY                 6-2  170
H  35  Dave BUSH                  6-0  174
S  11  Dennis HEPLER              5-11 175

http://www.pafootballnews.com/HalWilson/MtCarmel1969.htm

********** One person's list of the Top 14 College Stadiums…

http://www.nfl.com/photoessays/0ap2000000362215?campaign=Ext_Email_1st10_20140703&cvosrc=Ext_Email.Epsilon.1st10_20140703

*
********** The San Francisco GIants may ban "culturally inappropriate attire" at AT&T Park…

And they're not talking tee-shirts, either.

It all started back in June when the Giants held "Native American Heritage Night," and two fans, who identified themselves as native American,  asked another fan, who "appeared to be Caucasian," to remove a headdress she was wearing.

Turns out the offending party claimed to be part Choctaw, but, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton,  what difference, after all, did that make?

The point is that people were offended, and this is America, where the right not to be offended is in the Constitution, and if it's not, it should be, and besides, who gives a sh-- what the Constitution says, anyhow?

Which means that a San Francisco institution, the Village People, are welcome to show up to lead the crowd in the singing of "YMCA," but that headdress has got to go.

http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/giants-may-ban-culturally-inappropriate-attire-at-atandt-park-after-headdress-dispute/Content?oid=2845822

***********  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon says that more than two-thirds of America's young people are unfit for military service.

"The military deems many youngsters ineligible due to obesity, lack of a high-school diploma, felony convictions and prescription-drug use for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But others are now also running afoul of standards for appearance amid the growing popularity of large-scale tattoos and devices called ear gauges that create large holes in earlobes."

Major Gen. Allen Batschelet, the commanding general of U.S. Army Recruiting Command said only about 1% of young people are both "eligible and inclined to have a conversation with us" about military service.  "The quality of people willing to serve has been declining rapidly," he said.

The single biggest reason for disqualification of new recruits is obesity.

Then, there's education.  About a quarter of high-school graduates can't pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which measures math and reading skills.

The Army recruiter in charge of a large part of Los Angeles County said tattoos are a frequent cosmetic reason for disqualification. The Army bans tattoos on the face, neck and fingers, and since May 1 limits visible tattoos below the elbows and knees to four, which must be small.  The purpose of the tattoo rules, he says, is to "maintain a professional-looking Army."

Unfortunately for the Army's recruiting, he noted that "the average person in California has a tattoo."

http://online.wsj.com/articles/recruits-ineligibility-tests-the-military-1403909945?mod=WSJ_hppMIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond

*********** Jim Geraghty, in National Review Online, wrote that whenever he sees Ambassador John Bolton, he asks,  "Okay, what part of the world is keeping you up at night now?"

He said the last time he asked, Ambassador Bolton answered, "Oh, the usual . . . all of them."

*********** Jimmy Graham was called a tight end, but, gee - he didn't want to be called a tight end. Said that because he was split out most of the time, he should be designated a wide receiver.

See,  the way it was, the  Saints could pay him as a tight end, and not as a wide receiver, whatever TF that means (since I am way behind in my reading in Capology 101).  

So he appealed.   And lost.

Sheesh.  The Saints need the guy. Drew Brees needs the guy.  He's proved his worth.  Pay him what he's worth.  Call him a quarterback if you have to.  (Again, I don't understand all that crap and have no interest in learning.)

Whatever the reasoning behind it, it's hard to believe that a topic like this could be taking up an arbitrator's time, but welcome to the intersection of greedy ownership and  unionized football.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000363018/article/jimmy-graham-deemed-tight-end-in-system-arbitration?campaign=Ext_Email_1st10_20140703&cvosrc=Ext_Email.Epsilon.1st10_20140703

.


american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  8,  2014 "The truth is, when all is said and done, one does not teach a subject, one teaches a student how to learn it." Jacques Barzun

*********** In an Internet discussion,  guy identified only as "John from Michigan" wrote these words of wisdom about the meaning of July 4…

It's about freedom and liberty and the ability to decide and craft our own fate and the ability to transcend class differences by our own ability, something lacking in much of the rest of the world. The extent that it it is lacking these days is an indictment of the cancer of Progressivism that's worked its way into American institutions, causing the country to be more like the world was prior to America: classes, races, codes limiting speech, and government institutions used against individuals.

*********** Observations by Coach Wyatt the Soccer Expert, after countless hours in front of the tube, watching and analyzing World Cup Action…

1. Mexico "were" hosed against The Netherlands.

2. Germany "are" really, really good.

3. Without the play of their goalie, the American "side" would have been blown out by the Belgians.

4.Yes, there are millions of American kids playing soccer, but they have proven next to useless in the US effort to  build an international "side" because, well,  for the most part they're not good enough athletes.  They're well trained and well coached and all that, and they're playing to the best of their abilities, but let's face it - they're the  leftovers after football, basketball, baseball, hockey, wrestling and, increasingly, lacrosse have had their pick.

5. Soccer appears to be about as easy to fix as any team game I know of.  There's so little scoring that an official only has to make one or two intentionally bad calls.  There's so much phony flopping that who's to say which flops warrant yellow cards and which don't?  And if the players are as good as claimed, are you telling me they can't  intentionally arrange for a narrow miss or two, or take a shot that a goalie's sure to stop?

6. The NFL's dreadlocks and the NBA's tattoo fetish notwithstanding, there is no more motley-looking bunch anywhere than international soccer players.

7. The play the US team nearly pulled off  in a late free-kick situation against Belgium would have made any American football coach proud.

8. The theatrics - the flopping, the whining, the agonizing that make soccer look like very close to pro wrestling -   mean, barring a correction, that most Americans will never take seriously.

9. In today's "diverse" America, we understand that we'll have to work to understand the heavily-accented "English" of big-city cab drivers, but soccer "analysts" on TV? Not so much.

10. Among Americans there has always been a deep and healthy dislike of anything resembling a world government.  Take a poll of average Americans and see what they think about the United Nations.  Ask yourself if the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA  or the NHL would be as successful as they are if they had been subordinated to an international governing group as venal and corrupt as FIFA.

11. It's a good thing for America's soccer aficionados that other than the College World Series and ho-hum, first-half-of-the-season baseball games, late June and early July are the doldrums of American sports, freeing up the sports media to actually pay attention to soccer.  Promote it, even.  Given the same kind of push that ESPN gave soccer, you have to wonder whether the gullible American public mightn't have been induced to fall head over heels for cricket.  Or Ultimate.

12. A modest proposal: I suggest that, just as tennis parents do when they send their sons and daughter to Florida at a young age to train with Nick Bollittieri, America, if soccer matters, may have to outsource its children. USA Soccer (or whatever it's called) should get out there on Saturday mornings and identify promising 4- and 5-year-old soccer players (before they're old enough to discover another sport), and offer their parents inducements to ship them off to foster families in Germany to live and play fussball until they're 18.  At that point, they'll return to try out for the USA National Team.  Plan B would be to station American soldiers in Germany, where some of them will marry German women, and they'll have kids, and maybe the kids will stay in Germany and learn to play fussball…  Oh, wait - that's what we've already been doing.

13. Soccer will remain a niche sport in the US so long as it sets itself apart by requiring a special vocabulary test for admission to its inner sanctum.  Rather than helping bring soccer to the masses in the states,  the ESPN commentators in their phony attempts to sound like Brits ("France are defeated… Germany are through"… "Argentina have the lead…") come across as a combination of silly-ass wannabes and  collaborators.   For your own sake, soccer guys - drop the haughty "we know what's best for you" attitude, have the sense to know your market and stop forcing the soccer-only terms on us.

14. Americans immediately get their guards up when they're told "it's good for you"   (How's that healthier school lunch program working out?)

or "everybody else in the world is doing it"   (remember the metric system?)

15. Remember this the next time they try to sell you the old "this time, soccer is here to stay" baloney…  If the World Cup is as important as we were told (and told, and told, and told) it is, why hasn't soccer been on the front pages since the US team bowed out?

16.
For God's sake - STOP CALLING SOCCER "FOOTBALL!"


*********** According to a YouGov.com poll published just before the U.S. played Belgium last Tuesday, liberals and moderates were tuning in to World Cup soccer far more than conservatives.

YouGov reported that 35 percent of liberals, 34 percent of moderates - and just 27 percent of self-described conservatives  -were watching the World Cup.

And as for watching soccer other than the World Cup, that figure drops to 24 percent of liberals, 21 percent of moderates and only 14 percent of conservatives.

The truth behind the "everybody's watching the World Cup" stories?  Only 30 percent of the nation was paying attention to the World Cup, while 70 percent was either following it "not closely" or "not at at all."

And that was before the US was eliminated.

*********** In football, baseball and basketball, assuming that such abominations as ties were permitted, a 1-2-1 record would be considered a bad start - in some extreme cases, bad enough to get a coach fired. For sure, no one is thinking Super Bowl or World Series. Yet America, a land that demands winners in all its sports, just went gaga over a USA soccer team that managed to go 1-2-1 in World Cup play. 

Does that mean that in the US at least, soccer isn't a sport?  Or does it mean, as I suspect, that for a lot of the USA team's "fans," raised in our "trophies-for-everybody" climate,  it was their first experience actually following any team in any sport?

Did you notice how many  scenes you were shown of USA soccer fans  watching games in taverns, in parks, in public squares?  Did it seem to any of you that the sudden appearance of soccer mania was force-fed?  Did you ever get the sense that you might have been witnessing a media-induced frenzy?  

Did shots of throngs of near-delirious people chanting "I believe that we can win" take anyone back to  "Yes We Can?"

Did it help anyone understand the sort of mass-hypnosis that could help elect a glib young politician with no significant experience to be our President?  (Remember all those women passing out, from sheer... what?)

Jimmy Kimmel, meanwhile, was wise to the phony "interest" in the Beautiful Game ginned up among America's low-information fans...

http://msn.foxsports.com/soccer/story/jimmy-kimmel-exposes-fans-who-rave-about-landon-donovan-world-cup-showing-070314


*********** Hey Coach,

I have been reviewing your stuff and building my package, and i have a couple more questions for you.

1. Do you mainly just run 3 trap at 2 (or 4) and rep the heck out of it in practice or do you equally rep 3 trap at 2 as well?

2. Same with 2 Wedge

Cheers

Good question(s), coach.

The answer in both cases is a qualified "Yes."

I have gone through many, if not most, seasons  running those two plays to just one side.

The qualification is as we get better and it appears that there is time to rep those plays to both sides, I MAY do so.

*********** I happened to stumble on a site dedicated to the neighborhood where I grew up - the Germantown area of Philadelphia and more specifically the Mount Airy neighborhood - and I came upon a recollection of some of the most memorable times I've ever spent,  In a section of Germantown, near the old Midvale Steel Company works, was a park that - literally - separated white Germantown from black Germantown.  There really wasn't that much interaction between the races, but I will never forget the softball games a bunch of us white high school kids played in that park, on spring Sundays, against a group of "older" (I'm guessing they were in their twenties) black guys.  It was a blast.  They were so cool.  They really enjoyed playing, and, accustomed as we were to taking games very seriously, they broke us up with their good-natured taunts.  And we played for a case of beer. (The "Kelly brothers" the writer refers to  were two guys from the Deacon Street neighborhood named Leroy - later a star running back for the Cleveland Browns - and Pat, who went on to be a major league baseball player.) And I would make a couple of corrections: "Honey Babe" was actually "Honey Boy," and since he was big and good-looking, I suspect the nickname was conferred on him by a lady or two; and the pitcher was an older guy they called "hat" (he always wore one) who befuddled us baseball players with pitches the likes of which we'd never seen .

There was a number of softball games, maybe six,in the Spring of 1956. These games were played on Sundays at the lower field by Wissahickon Avenue in Fernhill Park. It was the "boys" from Manheim U. vs. the "men" from Deacon Street. I think the men from Deacon Street won six consecutive games, the winning prize being a case of beer. Tired of losing I recruited Hugh Wyatt from G.A. and Mount Airy, Chickie Downham also from G.A. and Frankford to play for Manheim U. With Chick at third, (Quarterback for Temple), and Hugh at shortstop (Quarterback at Yale) We won this seventh game like 9-7. It was the last game played between Manheim U. and the men from Deacon Street. The umpire was a self appointed gentleman from Deacon Street, who actually had a few beers with us, because of his umpiring was not allowed on the street for several days following this game. "Honey Babe" was their pitcher and Joe Palmer was their center fielder. The Kelly brothers were only 13 and 15 and were not on the scene yet. Come on you Manheim U boys, Dave Heil, Rich and Ned Pomfret, Ken Scott, Frank Connerly, Harry Brown, Dave Glancey, Shep Tipping, Some of you must remember these softball games.

http://www.ushistory.org/germantown/thoughts/archive2011t.htm


*********** Question: Given the active resistance being shown by some Californians  to the relocation of illegals into their town… And given how well-armed so many federal agencies are… do you suppose American government troops would fire on American citizens?

*********** A little more than two weeks ago, the school board in tiny Wellpinit, Washington, about an hour north of Spokane on the Spokane Indian Reservation, voted to keep "Redskins" as the high school's nickname.

http://www.kxly.com/news/spokane-news/school-board-votes-to-keep-wellpinit-redskins/26580298

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

My wife and kids and I went on vacation to Washington, D.C.  We went to Mount Vernon, which was awesome to see, and toured the museums and monuments at the National Mall. When we got to the Vietnam War Memorial my ten year old asked a bunch of questions about the names. After explaining how to find a name of someone you know she wanted to do it. I have no family that served in Vietnam(WWII, Korea, Desert Storm - yes). I told her a brief story of Don Holleder and that I gave the Black Lion Award in the past and then we located his name. I think having a name gave her more meaning to the memorial.

I thought you would find that interesting and wanted to say thanks for that.

Dave Kemmick
Columbia, Pennsylvania

*********** They pay professors to teach this sh- ... and college students get credit for "learning" it…

Female Arizona State University students can receive extra credit for defying social norms and refusing to shave for 10 weeks during the semester.

Women and Gender Studies Professor Breanne Fahs, encourages her female students to cease shaving their underarms and legs during the semester and document their experiences in a journal.

Student Stephanie Robinson said it was a “life changing experience.”

“Many of my friends didn’t want to work out next to me or hear about the assignment, and my mother was distraught at the idea that I would be getting married in a white dress with armpit hair,” Robinson told ASU news.

Men are also allowed to receive extra credit, as long as they shave their bodies from the neck down.

http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=5735


*********** Hillerich & Bradsby, the Louisvile firm that makes Louisville Slugger bats, won a $1 million lawsuit filed against it by a guy who was seriously injured back in 2006 when he was pitching for a Norman, Oklahoma high school and was hit by a line drive.

The guy's lawyers contended that the bat was defective, causing the ball to come off it too fast.

*********** Peter King, noted NFL writer, took a trip to Canada to report back on the Canadian Football League (the CFL) which, as you may know, is already under way. He wrote two really good articles on a game that Americans pay little attention to but is loved passionately by Canadians.

First, "What the CFL Feels Like…"

http://mmqb.si.com/2014/06/27/cfl-winnipeg-blue-bombers-toronto-argonauts/

Second, "Small-town charm is why it's so great" (Actually, with the exception of Regina, Saskatchewan, I would call the other CFL cities "small towns" only if I were comparing them to the likes of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco-Oakland, Seattle-Tacoma, Boston, Denver … Okay, okay.  Come to think of it, other than Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, I suppose he's right.)

http://mmqb.si.com/2014/06/25/canadian-football-league-cfl-small-town-charm/


*********** Next time they call you sexist...

I was reading an article by Steven Pressfield in the Wall Street Journal in which he recommended reading about a guy named Aeneas Tacticus ("Aeneas the Tactician") who, back in the Fourth Century BC served as something of a consultant on warfare.  He had some sound advice on "How to Survive Under Siege," from which Pressfield took the following example…

My favorite passage is one in which Aeneas suggests recruiting women to don male armor and watch atop the parapets at night, in order to convince the enemy that the besieged city has more defenders than it actually does. "However," he cautions, "do not let these females hurl missiles or stones from the battlements, as the girlish throwing motion of their arms will give the game away."

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeneas_Tacticus

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Aeneas_Tacticus/home.html


*********** For several reasons, there aren't many Army grads playing in the NFL, which is too bad.  At a time when each new day brings us another story of a player who's going to have to miss the first four games of the season because he failed a drug test, think what one Josh McNary on every team could do to improve the NFL's overall image.

http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2014/07/03/colts-josh-mcnary-cannon-cocker-linebacker/12206917/


*********** My wife really likes tennis, and I do have to confess that although I can't stand to listen to the men grunt and the women scream, I do watch from time to time.  They are marvelous athletes.

One thing you can't help noticing, though,  is how few American men and women now play at world-class level.  There is maybe one Yank ranked among the top 50 or so men in the world, and now, with the Williams sisters nearing the end of the line, the women's side is going to look just as barren.

So when a Canadian woman, Eugenie Bouchard, made it to the finals at Wimbledon, I heard a studio analyst come out with about as bad a case of American arrogance as I've heard in some time.

"We're all Americans," this woman said, or something close to that.   Sure, Eugenie Bouchard is a Canadian, she went on, but she's one of ours.

Now, I think it's great that Americans would root for a Canadian. I do.  I mean, despite the way our President has dissed them, they're still close neighbors, and good ones at that.

But sheesh, when they produce world-class athletes,  they're entitled to claim them, proudly, as Canadian.  Not "American."

Canada's population is about the tenth ours, and Canadians, while accustomed to having to live in the shadow of a giant neighbor to their south, are not always happy about it, and it's the height of arrogance for us to claim as ours something that's rightfully theirs.



american flag TUESDAY,  JULY  1,  2014"Some people are in the business of being offended, just as Campbell is in the business of making soup."  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** Very, very sad news about the death of former Auburn tight end standout Philip Lutzenkirchen in a single-car accident early Sunday AM.  He was just 23, with a whole life ahead of him.  God bless him and his family.

*********** 3 soccer observations

1) I know we lost to Germany, but I think we would've won if only we would've retreated into own zone and then wait for Winter to set in!

2) The crisis on our Southern border is really a Long-range plan by the Obama Administration to make us a World Cup power

3) We Americans are waaaaay too unsophisticated to appreciate the finer points of the "beautiful" gam--OH MY GOD HE JUST BIT THAT GUY!

Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa


*********** I always ask coaches what their in-season schedule is for coaches. Do you bring kids in on Saturdays?  Do you have weekend staff meetings?  Just curious how you prepare.

We don't bring kids in on Saturday or formally meet as a staff. We split up our duties on the weekend.

Thanks,

We're the same. In all my years of coaching I have never brought kids in on Saturdays. And we don't meet as a staff on weekends. I spend my weekends at home, 3 hours away from where I coach. I find that email, texting, telephones and Dropbox (we don't have the money for HUDL) enable us to stay in fairly constant touch.

*********** SCHOLAR FOUAD AJAMI, who died last Sunday - wrote, back in November…

"The current troubles of the Obama presidency can be read back into its beginnings. Rule by personal charisma has met its proper fate. Th spell has been broken, and the magician stands exposed. We need no pollsters to tell us of the loss of faith in Mr. Obama's polls - and, more significantly, in the man himself. Charisma is like that. Crowds come together and they project their needs onto an imagined redeemer. The redeemer leaves the crowd to its imagination: for as long as the charismatic moment lasts - a year, an era - the redeemer is above and beyond judgment."

*********** Coach Pete Porcelli's Troy (New York) Fighting Irish are now 5-0 and well on their way to a fifth straight semi-pro title, but the campaign has been a bittersweet  one.

Jahmel 'Flip' Tarver, the quarterback who led them to four straight Northeast Football Alliance titles, is constantly on the minds of the players and the coaches. 

One night last January, while playing in an indoor flag football game, he tore his Achilles tendon. He went in for surgery a few days later, but complications set in and he fell into a coma, from which he has not awakened.

"He's meant so much to this football team as a leader and as a teammate," said Coach Porcelli.  "He basically epitomizes the sport of football."

Said his wife, Naomi, "It's very hard. I mean, he's my husband, my kid's father, my partner, and I don't have that every day. So, be grateful for what you got because you never know when it's going to be taken."

http://www.news10.com/story/25889277/troy-fighting-irish-motivated-by-comatose-teammate?config=H264

*********** Anybody see something wrong with this sentence?

United We Dream, a youth-led group that supports expanding protection for illegal immigrants, announced members would protest inside the Rayburn House Office Building at 12:30 p.m.

Um, "expanding protection for illegal immigrants?"  WTF?

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/210810-immigration-group-plans-protest-in-house-office-building#ixzz35rcMYoIi

*********** I don't know about you, but when Nancy Pelosi travels to the Mexican border and says "We're all Americans," I get very uneasy…

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/06/28/Pelosi-on-the-Border-We-Have-to-Use-This-Crisis-as-an-Opportunity

*********** I know that all those youngsters whom we've allowed into our country represent a "humanitarian crisis," but did they have it this good in the places they left?  For that matter, do all American kids have it this good?

"The buildings have a refrigerator that will be stocked with water, milk and fruit so the children will be able to eat whenever they want. There will be toys, video games and televisions for the kids. And once an 8-foot fence is erected, the children will be allowed to play outside. They may even build a soccer field, the official said.

Some have questioned the amenities, saying they will only encourage immigrants who are desperate for a better life to try to come back."

Said New Mexico state Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell. “Each one of these rooms will have eight bunk beds. There will be televisions and play things for kids … it looks like a better pre-K program than what our kids will be experiencing.”

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/06/27/officials-nm-detention-center-will-be-focused-on-deporting-illegal-immigrants-within-15-days/

*********** If the World Cup were on another network platform i.e CBS,   NBC - we would be lucky to get any scores or highlights from ESPN.  Ask the NHL people.

Tim Brown
Athens, Alabama

Amen to that.  It's really a sorry state of affairs when the organization reporting on an event has a financial interest in that event.

Sort of a preview of what we can expect when the government gains full control of the news media. (Notice I said "full," because it's not quite there yet.)

*********** I was just cleaning it, Officer, and it went off.…

The cannibalistic Uruguayan soccer player who bit an Italian opponent said in his appeal of his suspension that he lost his balance and  the next thing he knew, "I hit my face against the player, leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth."

http://www.espnfc.us/fifa-world-cup/story/1918882/i-lost-my-balance,-uruguays-luis-suarez-tells-fifa-about-bite

*********** After watching Brazil and Chile play an entire game, plus two 15-minute periods of "extra time" and then have to settle a one-one tie with five kicks on goal each, from about 15 yards out, and watching the Brazilians walk off with a win simply because on their fifth and final kick the Chilean kicker hit the post, I shook my head at the hypocrisy of the soccer types.

You know, all the bullsh-- about how we Americans simply don't appreciate soccer because we insist on lots of scoring and we don't understand all the game's "nuances," blah, blah, blah.  Right.  Also, they don't understand why we are so averse to ties, and insist on having winners..

But then, when they must determine a winner in order to make their tournament work, they cut to the chase.  They throw all the nuance crap out the window and resort  to something we complain is missing from the games - one on one, kicker against goalie scenarios -  pretty much proving our point.

Wrote my son, Ed (who likes and understands soccer and has done his share of soccer broadcasting): Penalty kicks is a much-debated issue. I like the idea of taking a man off in extra time, so 9x9 (not counting goalie) for 20 minutes or even 9x9 for 10 and then 8x8 if still tied.

*********** With the USA-Belgium soccer GAME coming up, restaurants have been having fun saying that they won't serve Belgian waffles.  Ha, ha.  Hey - want to have some real fun?  Slip into a soccer bar (it's okay - I'm giving you dispensation) and inform all those soccer types that that that All-American Bud Light they're drinking was made by a Belgian company.

*********** Everyone should know the story of Rocky Bleier, but understandably, because Americans have a tendency to have no interest in what happened more than a couple of weeks ago, a lot of people don't.  I suggest you look him up.  Read his book, "Fighting Back."

Rather than get too deeply into Rocky Bleier's story, I'll simply say that after playing for Notre Dame he was drafted by the Steelers in the 16th round in 1968.  He made the team (some said, not necessarily joking, that he was kept on the roster mainly because, like Steelers' owner Art Rooney, he was a Catholic - and Pittsburgh has always been a big Notre Dame town - and, like Rooney,  the son of a saloon keeper) but following the 1968 season, with the Vietnam War going at full blast, he was drafted, and wound up the only NFL player to serve on active duty in Vietnam.  While  on patrol, he was shot in the left thigh, and as he crawled toward his platoon, shrapnel from an exploding grenade hit him in his right leg and foot. After three operations, he managed to recover to the point where he was able in 1970 to return to the Steelers. But amazingly, he didn't just heal - he got better and better as a football player, to the point where he became a mainstay in the backfield, along with Franco Harris, on the great Steelers' Super Bowl teams on the 1970s.

In "About Three Bricks Shy of  a Load"  (the title came from Tackle Craig Hanneman's excited exclamation to author Roy Blount, Jr., in the midst of a wild Steelers-Raiders game: "You picked the right team! Oh, a great bunch of guys! And a bunch of crazy f--kers! I'm crazy, too! We're all about three bricks shy of a load!"), Bleier tells the author what he was thinking about as he lay bleeding:

"Well, the only things to do over there are read and think about R & R, which I never got to take. So I had just been reading this war story, about  a guy who gets hit and prays that if he gets out of there alive, he'll become a priest.  And he does.

"So the first thing I thought was, I'm not going to be a prick about this.  I mean, when you confess, you're really just saying I hope I won't do this again, but you know that if the occasion arises, nature is going to take its course. So I prayed and said I'm not going to promise to be a priest.  I'm just going to say that I'll put my life in Your hands, to do whatever You want with it. Now I realized even at the time that that was a pretty chickensh-- move.  I mean, I could do anything  and say, well, that must be what God wants me to do."

*********** Writes  Douglas Ernst of the Washington Times, there is a dipsh-- out there who is so PC-addled that he thinks Apache helicopters are a worse affront to Native Americans than the Washington Redskins' name...

Veterans aren’t happy with a recent op-ed by the Washington Post, which charged that the Apache, Comanche, Chinook, Lakota, Cheyenne and Kiowa military vehicles were a “greater symbolic injustice” than the NFL’s Washington Redskins’ name.

“Even if the NFL and Redskins brass come to their senses and rename the team, a greater symbolic injustice would continue to afflict Indians — an injustice perpetuated not by a football club but by our federal government,” Simon Waxman of the Boston Review wrote for the Post on Thursday.

He added that the helicopter names were “propaganda” that needed to end, because Native American life expectancy statistics indicate the “violence is ongoing, even if the guns are silent.”

Readers at the popular military news gathering website Doctrine Man reacted Friday.

“I suspect that the author is less unhappy that our choppers have Indian names, and more unhappy that there is a U.S. military,” wrote Alex Kuhns.

Kevin Schooler wrote: “What floors me is that for the most part, it isn’t American Indians who are offended. It is guilt-ridden white liberals being offended on their behalf. How’s that for paternalism?”

Even the website’s moderator weighed in, saying that the names the military chooses for weapons platforms “are anything but derogatory, they convey strength, honor, and courage. @SimonWaxman is grossly uninformed.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jun/27/army-vets-blast-pc-police-for-attacking-apache-chi/#ixzz364uQqv7S

*********** Bob Mischak died last week in Orinda, California.  He was 80. He was a long-time NFL coach and before that one of the original New York Titans (forerunners of today's Jets).  And before that, as a West Point football player, he was the hero of one of the most important football games in Army's long and storied football history.

It was 1953 in New York, in the Polo Grounds, and Army was facing Duke, then the nation's seventh-ranked team.

Army was just two years removed from the disastrous 1951 season, when once-mighty Army, forced to play with jayvees after most of the 9-1 1950 squad had been dismissed for honor code violations, finished 2-7, with wins over Columbia and The Citadel.

The 14-13 win over the Blue Devils on that day in 1953 was hard-earned, and a superhuman effort by MIschak, the biggest man on the army team, was crucial to the win.

Author David Maraniss set the scene in his "When Pride Still Mattered," his biography of Vince Lombardi (then an assistant coach at Army), then turned over the narrative to famed sports writer Red Smith of the New York Herald-Tribune.  As fate would have it, MIschak's play involved running down from behind a Duke running back named, coincidentally, Red Smith:

"The score held at 14 to 13 as the fourth quarter rolled out, and up in the press box historians burrowed in the records hunting another Army victory as unexpected as this. They couldn't find one. Then, suddenly, it appeared such comparisons would be in vain, for here was Duke clamoring for another touchdown. There was a double reverse behind the line of scrimmage and Red Smith broke free, pursued only by Bob Mischak, a frustrated back who plays end and third base at West Point.  Smith had a lead of at least eight yards when the pursuit began, but Smiths simply aren't fast. Seventy-three yards down the field, Mschak had him by the neck and dragged him in, seven yards from the goal line."

Maraniss noted that it was unfortunate that sports writer Smith couldn't resist the joke about another Smith's lack of speed, because in fact Duke's Smith was a very fast back on an overall fast squad, and the joke diminished Mischak's amazing feat.

From the Army seven, Duke took four shots at the goal and failed to score.  On fourth and goal from the two, someone on the Duke sideline - walking a fine line, considering that at that time the rules outlawed coaching from the sideline - threw a kicking tee onto the field.  But the Duke quarterback threw the tee back and chose instead to sneak.

Army held, and coach Earl Blaik, rather than risk a fumble, chose to quick kick on first down.

With forty seconds remaining, Duke took over and threw four straight incomplete passes, and then, as Smith wrote, "Suddenly, the stained white jerseys of the West Point team disappeared, swamped under wave upon wave of blue-gray soldier units.  West Point cadets never break ranks.  This time they practically broke their heroes to pieces."

Maraniss, in summing up the importance of one single play, wrote, "When Bob Mischak made that unlikely play, what Blaik called 'a marvelous display of heart and pursuit,'  Army's football team, regained its soul."


http://www.raiders.com/news/article-1/Raiders-Mourn-Passing-of-Bob-Mischak/052c6320-162a-4fcb-b46e-bed760f5e0d2
 
http://www.newyorkjets.com/news/article-randylangeblogfb/Titans-G-Bob-Mischak-AFL-Original-Dies/d82cd121-6616-44fd-a50c-8a95d06ebcbd

***********  If you had to teach someone else to coach a DW offense with you, which would you give them, the line or backs? Keep in mind this is a pee-wee team and I would just need someone to do an individual period. I would do the install, team, etc.

My answer is that I wouldn't do either until a person was able to coach. For me, that means knowing all the assignments before I would turn the kids over to him. He has to have an aptitude to learn the correct techniques but he can't help you at all if he doesn't know the very basics. And, maybe most important of all, he can't be a guy whose ego makes him "teach" things he doesn't know. Those guys cause real problems because you need to supervise them as much as you do the kids.

Summary- teach them all together until an assistant is ready. If the assistant has an ability to coach linemen, I would say that is preferable because there are a lot of mechanics that you need to teach the backs. If you have two able assistants, give one the backs and one the line (tight ends can go with either group) while you oversee.

*********** The sh-- never stops.

It was Gay Pride Day this past weekend, and at US embassies around the world, the rainbow flag flew on the same pole as the American flag. Not the MIA flag, which ought to be flying, but the f--king RAINBOW flag.  (To think that at one time we were so careful of what we said about terrorists, for fear that they'd use our words as a recruiting tool, but now we wave the Gay flag in their faces.  God forbid some Middle Easterners are ever caught on camera burning a rainbow flag.)

http://m.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/us-takes-gay-rights-global-despite-unsure-welcome/2014/06/28/8684be52-fea0-11e3-91c4-01dcd9b73086_story.html

Meanwhile, in New York City, boy scouts wearing rainbow neckerchiefs marched in the company of assorted freak acts in the annual Gay Pride Parade.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/nyregion/boy-scouts-make-provocative-statement-at-gay-pride-parade.html?referrer=

(Nowadays, with gays in their midst, I bet straight scouts are leery about  putting out campfires the way we once did.)




american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 27,  2014 “The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense - he is always satisfied with himself.” Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** The self-congratulatory mood of American soccer fans - "One Nation, One Team" - really needs to be brought down a peg or two, because, let's be honest - the enormous growth of youth soccer in America has really had surprisingly little to do with the US team's, uh, "success." (1-1-1 in group play.)

In fact, if it were not for our quaint system of conferring citizenship on people born elsewhere in the world to an American parent serving in the military, or those born in America to foreign parents, 11 members of our team would be playing for other countries (or maybe not even qualifying for their home countries' teams). 

In any event, our roster has on it  a fistful of German guys with American passports who learned their soccer in Germany.

Meantime, seeing the way this citizenship shortcut has worked in soccer, I have  a scheme to make us a world table tennis power. Now if I can just find some Chinese table tennis players with American fathers…


Carson & coach at Yakima*********** It was a drop-dead gorgeous day for the annual All-State football game last Saturday at Yakima, Washington's East Valley High School.

The game was especially enjoyable for my wife and me because Carson Ketter, our QB at North Beach High the last three years, was playing for the West squad.

And it was also fun because we found ourselves sitting right behind a lady whose son, Nick French, from South Whidby High, also played for the West.  Like Carson, Nick had come to the contest as one of seven quarterbacks on the West team, and like Carson, he wound up playing another position.  Carson played about half the game at corner and half the game at wide receiver. Nick went most of the way at wide receiver.

For a corner/wide receiver type, the action was mostly on the defensive side, as the West had trouble throwing the ball effectively.

The East team rotated four quarterbacks, three of whom impressed me with their arms, and superiority in the air enabled the East to win by two scores.

Carson will be playing ball at Pacific Lutheran University, in Tacoma, Washington.  NIck French will be headed to North Park University, in Chicago.

Overall, it was a nice show and I credit the coaches with making sure that all their kids saw significant action. When I talked with Carson afterward, he said it had been a great experience, and his only regret was that he wished it could have lasted longer.

*********** A highlight of the Washington All-State game was seeing White Swan High's 400-pound running back Tony Picard finally get a carry. A kid from a small school on the Yakama Reservation, he made national headlines last season by simply running over opponents.

He may or may not have a future as a football player - he really carried himself well running onto the field for introductions - but I don't believe it's as a running back. The crowd reacted excitedly when he came onto the field and lined up in the backfield, but  on his one carry, he was tackled around the ankles for a two-yard loss.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/6-foot-4-400-pounds-washington-state-football-star-plays-high-school-article-1.1521838

*********** If you're a guy who's made all the money you'll ever need and you're looking around for adventure, consider investing in the FXFL. FXFL (does it sound a bit  too much like "XFL?") stands for "Fall Experimental Football League."  Before you do invest, though, a look back at what's happened to the long line of challengers to the NFL's role as King of Sports Business will make it abundantly clear that adventure is all you'll get out of it.

As one who spent two football seasons as a foot soldier in the World Football League, way back in 1974 and 1975, I can say that the NFL was a formidable opponent. In the 40 years since, he has become even more so.  There is simply no way that the NFL is going to permit anyone to take a run at its position atop the sport of football, as Donald Trump's unfortunate partners in the USFL learned when they followed his rash lead in moving from its spring schedule to the fall. In other words, to go head-to-head with Big Football.
Actually, this new league, supposedly set to start this October with six teams (Yee-haw!  Portland's going to have one!) seems to be making sure that the signals it sends to to the NFL are clear: "we mean no harm."

Actually, it doesn't appear that they mean any profit, either.  According to their commissioner,  a guy named Brian Woods, their financial model is the NBA D-League, which  as far as the average sports fan is concerned operates pretty much in secrecy. It is not, Woods told the "is "predicated on TV revenue."  Well, I guess not, unless they bring their own sponsors.

The part of the FXFL plan that really makes me laugh is its naive belief that the NFL will follow it closely.

“Our long-term goal is to establish a partnership with the NFL,” Woods told the New York Daily News, “and we feel can do that on many platforms. It would give them a way to work with younger players that they don’t currently have. We can help them train prospective NFL officials — in the NBA, every referee entering the league (in recent years) comes from NBA Developmental League.  We can be a testing ground for proposed rules, too.”
Yeah - proposed rules such as (possibly) no kick offs or punt returns.  Also, signing players right out of high school.  And playing games on Friday nights.

Yeah, like the NFL is always interested in using somebody else's ideas - and giving them credit. If that were the case, they'd have long ago adopted the Kansas Plan overtime which high schools and then colleges have employed for years. But, see, that would have meant having to admit that there's someone else out there that's also playing the game of football - and maybe doing it with superior rules.

Developing players?  Look - as anybody who's ever been involved in starting up a rival pro football league knows, there is no shortage of good players and good coaches.  So long as the colleges keep playing, the NFL has a constant source of well-developed talent, and it can't use them all.  The main ways in which a college-trained player cut from an NFL squad is going to enhance his chances by playing  in a developmental league are by growing older and more mature, and doing a better job of shopping himself around to NFL teams.  I spent the first three years of my coaching life working in that climate, providing a playing opportunity for kids who had just been cut and wanted to keep their hopes alive. Many of them were pretty good players, but few of them ever stuck in the NFL. Even after a year in a "developmental league," players are swimming upstream, competing against a fresh crop of draftees and newly-signed free agents.

When and if the colleges no longer turn out enough talent - then, and only then, will there be a need for a developmental league.   And when that day comes, be sure that that developmental league will be developed, owned and controlled by the NFL, possibly through its USA Football tentacle. They've already got their name -  the USA Football League.

Lotsa luck, FXFL.  You're a solution in search of a problem.  And please stay the hell away from our Friday nights.  Not that you'll ever be a threat to high school games.

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140620/fall-experimental-football-league-launching-in-fall-with-interesting-ideas

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2014/05/15/Leagues-and-Governing-Bodies/FXFL.aspx

*********** The USA-Germany game (sorry - "match") was on at 9 AM Pacific, and except for about 20 minutes when we put it on "record" and ran our dogs on the beach, I actually watched the damn thing.  It was not easy.

It was deadly, dull and boring.

An average high school PE class playing coed touch football is at least as physical, and yet every few minutes, with regularity, a seemingly innocuous collision would result in one or more players lying on the field, writhing in agony.

You sure have to give credit to the teams' trainers ("physios," I believe they call them). After seeing the many miraculous recoveries by players who at one moment appeared ready for the last rites of the Church and the next were back in action, I'd say the physios could teach witch doctors a thing or two.

One thing is for sure: the Germans - not the ones on the "American" team, but the real Germans - are really, really good.  Not that I know much about The Beautiful Game, but even a non-expert could see that they were toying with the American "side" (that means "team," in soccerspeak).

They passed expertly.  It reminded me of Dean Smith's "four-corner" offense, when his Tar Heels, once in the lead, played their sophisticated game of keep-away. 

Other than a nice German goal and a few good saves by the American goalie - and a brief moment toward the end  when the Americans actually got close enough to (almost) threaten the German goal - there wasn't a lot of what one would call "action."  Activity, yes, but not action is what soccer amounts to. 

So intent did the Germans seem on sitting on their 1-0 (that's "one-nil," if you're listening to the Brit doing the broadcast, which evidently is mandatory for it to be consistered authentic) lead that I'll bet they passed the ball back to their goalie at least 20 times.

There seemed to be no compulsion to advance the ball, but simply to sit on the lead. (In how many other sports can you sit on a one-score lead?) The great philosopher Earl Weaver said it all, in referring to baseball: "You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance."

I never did go back and watch what we'd recorded while we were at the beach.  No matter.  We didn't miss anything.  A little activity maybe, but no action.  Besides, there's no way World Cup soccer could match the excitement of watching guys standing in the surf waiting for fish to bite.

*********** One of the reasons why soccer is reviled among so many American sports fans is that it is so… Unamerican.

There is the fact that it may be the only game that can actually be played on a coed basis, without having to make some sort of allowance for females' inherent lack of size, speed or strength.

There is the phoniness of "injuries" resulting from "collisions."  The American way, at least until our kids began playing soccer, has always been to tough it out - to accept pain stoically.  Suck it up. Play hurt.  Don't let them know you're hurting.  There's a big difference between pain and injury, etc.

There is the cutesy-poo vocabulary of the sport that requires use of words alien to any other popular American sport.  Considering the overall lack of interest in NFL exhibition - sorry, "pre-season" - games, can you imagine how empty the stands would be if they started calling them "friendlies?"

There is the game's "global" nature: Germans playing on the USA national team; an English Premier League populated by all sorts except English. 
Globalism, to Americans, means "Made in China," and the loss of tens of thousands of good-paying US manufacturing jobs to foreign countries.Globalism, to Americans, means strange-speaking newcomers who don't know or respect our ways and couldn't be bothered to learn them.

And, finally, there is the matter of a guy who f--king bites opponents.  Talk about Unamerican. There used to be a funny little poem about the French and their propensity for fighting with their feet ("The French they are a funny race…") but among Americans, fighting with the feet, while still a foreign phenomenon, is at least ten thousand times more socially acceptable, more manly,  than biting, a tactic normally employed by badly behaved two-year-olds.  Soccer gives the guy three strikes, er, bites.

*********** Soccer will remain a fringe sport in the US so long as it acts like one, a sport that sets itself apart from the mainstream sports by pretentious use of its own words in place of those we commonly use for our sports.

Look - we don't care to talk like Brits.  That was settled a long time ago.  In the words of George Bernard Shaw,  "England and America are two countries separated by the same language."  We don't say petrol, or lorry, and we don't park our car in a "Gar-idge."  We use "rubbers" to avoid mistakes, not to erase them. And being "knocked up" is a bit more serious on this side of the pond.

Soccer could easily exist here - perhaps even thrive - without our having to listen to "match," and "pitch," and "draw," and "friendly,"  and "nil."   And certainly not "football" as referring to anything other than our favorite sport.

That crap is just plain foreign to our ears, and consequently, it denotes a foreign sport.

The excuse that that's the vocabulary of  real "football" people  is rubbish.  It's simply what the Brits say. Period.  It's not what the Germans, or the Italians, or the French, or the Spanish, or the Brazilians say. They are able to say all those things in their own languages, with no apologies for not copying the English and no need to do so.

Unless the promoters of US soccer people are willing to wait until all red-blooded American football/baseball/basketball people have  died off, they're going to have to stop force-feeding us with this precious British lingo if they hope to win us over.

*********** In an American sport - that is, the sort of sport that pre-Obama Americans grew up playing, there was a definite stigma attached to settling for ties, and a definite stigma attached to to "coming in through the back door" -  qualifying for post-season play not entirely on the strength of your own performance. But let a USA soccer team play three games and finish  1-1-1, and advance to the next round because some other team did or did not win by a big enough margin over another team, and to listen to ESPN and the adoring sports media you'd think they'd won the Super Bowl.

*********** I like Ann Coulter, but her right-wing political leaning is enough to immediately make roughly half the people in the US hate her; that she also happens to be very intelligent, witty and eloquent , though, means that few of that number even know who she is, much less what she says and writes.

Like me, she is sick of the "soccer is good for you" and  "soccer is finally catching on" hysteria that has gripped the United States ever since our World Cup team's historic win over mighty… Ghana?

She's written a fantastic column on the subject, from which I've reprinted a few excerpts…

(6) I resent the force-fed aspect of soccer. The same people trying to push soccer on Americans are the ones demanding that we love HBO's "Girls," light-rail, Beyonce and Hillary Clinton. The number of New York Times articles claiming soccer is "catching on" is exceeded only by the ones pretending women's basketball is fascinating.

I note that we don't have to be endlessly told how exciting football is.

(7) It's foreign. In fact, that's the precise reason the Times is constantly hectoring Americans to love soccer. One group of sports fans with whom soccer is not "catching on" at all, is African-Americans. They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the French like it.

(8) Soccer is like the metric system, which liberals also adore because it's European.

Despite being subjected to Chinese-style brainwashing in the public schools to use centimeters and Celsius, ask any American for the temperature, and he'll say something like "70 degrees." Ask how far Boston is from New York City, he'll say it's about 200 miles.

(9) Soccer is not "catching on." Headlines this week proclaimed "Record U.S. ratings for World Cup," and we had to hear -- again -- about the "growing popularity of soccer in the United States."

The USA-Portugal game was the blockbuster match, garnering 18.2 million viewers on ESPN. This beat the second-most watched soccer game ever: The 1999 Women's World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC. (In soccer, the women's games are as thrilling as the men's.)

Run-of-the-mill, regular-season Sunday Night Football games average more than 20 million viewers;

If more "Americans" are watching soccer today, it's only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2014-06-25.html#read_more

*********** OMG - Mexican fútbol fans are accused of directing homophobic slurs at opposing goalies.

It's bad enough the government of Mexico has been allowing Central American "refugees" to slip 1,000 miles or more through their country en route to sneaking across our sieve of a border, but homophobic slurs from their soccer fans?

This time they've gone too far.

http://soccer.fusion.net/2014/06/20/mexicos-world-cup-coach-defends-homophobic-chant/

*********** ESPN thinks it can make us eat our vegetables, and it may be right.

For those who can't understand the sudden excitement about soccer over at ESPN, perhaps it will help to know that ESPN is not exactly a disinterested reporter: in addition to broadcasting World Cup "matches," ESPN has agreed to pay $90 million a year through 2022 for the rights to televise MLS games.  Needless to say, it's in their commercial interest to promote the crap out of soccer every chance it gets, and it's not above creating the illusion that it is much bigger and much more popular in the US than it actually is.

ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd, whom I usually enjoy listening to, has been positively fulsome (disgustingly excessive) lately in his praise of soccer and the World Cup.

*********** A Hudson's Bay grad is in deep trouble back in Maryland. Hudson's Bay High, where I coached and taught for eight years, was one of Vancouver, Washington's three high schools (there are now four), and its kids, a decidedly middle-class mix, were a pretty doggone good lot.  Of course we had our jerks and our stoners and even an occasional criminal, but by and large, "Bay" was a good place to teach and coach, and a good place for a kid to go to school. 

Bay was a baseball school. Our football team was good, and so was our basketball team, but baseball ruled the roost.  This was mainly due to the efforts of a coach named Curt Daniels, who in addition to coaching our team spent his entire summers traveling with an American Legion team called the Vancouver Cardinals, which he had founded. In 1986 or so, the Cardinals, made up of Bay players and a number of other area all-stars, won the American Legion World Series.

Because of the old baseball myth that lifting weights was not a good idea, and because of the time commitment required of them -  the Legion playoffs went deep into August, after the start of football practices had begun - not too many Bay baseball players played football. One of those baseball players was a kid named Eric Estes, who went on to letter for four years at Washington State, and in 1994 won their Top Pitcher Award.  He went on to play a little minor league ball, then returned to Vancouver where he became a teacher and coach. In 2013, his Skyview High team won the state 4A (largest class) championship, and he was named State Co-Coach of the Year. 

But all this time - if the charges against him hold up - he was living with a dark, ugly secret. Some three weeks ago, he was arrested on a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor - a 12- or 13-year-old boy - back in 1997, when he was playing with the Frederick, Maryland Keys.  Obviously, if he's guilty as charged, it's lights out for him.  I just keep thinking how it must have been like for him, for nearly 17 years after the incident is said to have occurred,  to have gone about his life as if this were buried deeper and deeper in the dead past, all the while burdened with the dreadful thought that suddenly, out of nowhere, might come the moment of reckoning.

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/crime_and_justice/crime/former-keys-player-released-on-bail-after-return-to-maryland/article_1e4ee399-4f46-53e2-9202-260d66fed257.html

*********** How MIchigan alienated their students… by John U. Bacon

This spring, the Michigan athletic department admitted what many had long suspected: Student football ticket sales are down, way down, from about 21,000 in 2012 to a projected 13,000-14,000 this season.

The department has blamed cell phones, high-definition TV and student apathy sweeping the nation. All real problems, to be sure, but they don't explain how Michigan alienated 40 percent of its students in just two years -- and their parents, too.

How did Michigan do it? By forgetting why we love college football.

http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/road-saturday/201406/college-football-fan-stadium-students-business-tv-ncaa-michigan-tickets


american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 24,  2014"When you're a rookie you drive on guts. You don't fear anything. We always talk about guys who are superfast, and we say, 'He hasn't hit anything hard yet.'"    Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

*********** I can remember the lefties going crazy when the new Pope, referring to homosexuals, asked, "Who are we to judge?"

Oh, glorious, they must have been thinking. First, we get a President who's "fundamentally changing" the United States of America, which had been doing all right for more than 235 years, and now this new Pope is going to do the same thing with the Roman Catholic Church,  an institution that's been around a few hundred years longer than that.

What a shock it must have been for them to learn that he's not for legalizing pot.

HIs exact words were, "The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs!"


********** On Saturday, my wife and I drove from our home in Camas, Washington, near Portland, to Yakima, Washington, about 175 miles to the northeast, to take in an all-star game in which our last year's quarterback, Carson Ketter, was playing.

To me, it's maybe the most beautiful three-hour drive I know of.


We started out on Washington Route 14, along the north shore of the Columbia River, a road that often clings to the side of sheer cliffs as it winds up and down through evergreen forest. We passed Bonneville Dam, where hundreds of fishermen lined the shore just below, hoping to catch a big salmon before the sea lions could take a chunk out of it.

Just past the dam is the Bridge of the Gods, named for an old Indian legend, and there we crossed the Columbia to the little town of Cascade Locks, Oregon. If you like fresh salmon, Cascade Locks is as good a place as I know of to buy it.  Natives, who have no limits and no seasons to worry about, set up stands in a parking lot and sell fish just about the way it came our of the river.

At Cascade Locks, we got onto I-84. From Portland east,  it's one of the prettiest stretches of Interstate highway anywhere, an engineering marvel built on a narrow shelf, with  the river - and the Union Pacific's main east-west line - on one side and basalt cliffs on the other.  Lots of cars parked where they could just off the highway - fishermen willing to take their chances crossing four lanes of Interstate and two sets of railroad tracks  to get to the salmon in the river.


Evidently the wind wasn't right when we drove by, because on most nice days you'd see lots of sail boarders doing tricks out on the water.  The combination of swift river current and stiff winds normally causes the choppy conditions that the tricksters like.

At just about the one-hour mark, we zipped through Hood River, Oregon, built on a hillside climbing up from the water.  It's one of our favorite towns. It's a board-head's paradise - the river is right there, and a half hour to the south, on Mount Hood, is year-round skiing and snowboarding.  Hood River has lots of good restaurants, and it's the home of Full Sail Brewing, a decent-sized operation with a great brewpub overlooking the river.  Unfortunately, as is usually the case with nice little towns, Hood River is so well-liked that real estate prices are out of sight for mere peasants like us.

The drive between Portland and Hood River - the start of the Columbia River Gorge - is awesome, as the river threads its way through the Cascade Range, between high rock walls and tall evergreens.  But east of Hood River, there's a perceptible change in the vegetation.  We're now in the "rain shadow" of the Cascades;  little of the rain that the Northwest is famous for makes it east of the mountains. As a result, trees are scarcer, and the overall green of the scenery has given way to a russet brown.  The steep, barren hills over on the Washington side look as if they're coated in tan velvet. 

By the time we got to the small city of The Dalles and The Dalles Dam, we'd been gone a little over an hour and we were in a completely different climate zone - it's near-desert.  In 1957, the construction of the  dam drowned Celilo Falls, a place where for centuries brave Indian men perched on platforms above the raging waters and pulled salmon out of the river.  (Remember my mentioning earlier that Indians have been give the rights to fish without limits, without seasons?  This is why.  Hard to argue against compensating a people for taking from them forever something that had long been a part of their heritage.)

Past The Dalles, the Washington side looks tan, but on the shelf next to the river, creeping up the hillside until they give way to the tan, are large swaths of green. They're grapes.  We're getting into one of the wine regions that have made Washington our number two wine producing state, behind only California.


On a bluff overlooking one of the wineries - and the river - is a magnificent mansion called Maryhill, now an art museum but once the intended home of a rich promoter named Sam Hill.

About two thirds of the way to Yakima, we crossed the Columbia back into Washington, and began the steep climb up those hills, making a couple of giant switchbacks until we were suddenly on a plateau high above the river. It makes you appreciate how much work the river had to do to cut its way down to the bottom of the Gorge.

The only ugliness in the entire trip comes as you climb up out of the Gorge, the view of the hills defiled by hundreds of giant windmills, busy churning the air in hope of killing ever more eagles.  Please don't give me the "renewable power" argument. The Pacific Northwest was built on relatively inexpensive power provided by harnessing our streams.  These windmill monstrosities have only  been built with lavish federal ("taxpayer," to the uninitiated) subsidies, and, once in operation, they only stay profitable through legislation that requires the utilities that provide us with our electricity to buy power from them at rates far higher than they normally would pay for hydro power. We users are the  next step in the food chain, and obviously the  artificially higher costs of power are passed on to us.  The real scam is that only wind and solar power is considered renewable energy; hydroelectric power, which is about as renewable as you can get, isn't.

As we hit the tiny town of Goldendale, off in the distance snow-covered Mount Adams loomed over the scene. At various times in this trip we would see the peaks of Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount Rainier.  The Cascades' peaks, such as Hood, Adams and Rainier as well as Mt St. Helens, Mt. Baker, Mr. Jefferson and others, are all volcanic in origin, and as a result, they are shaped the way I was told as a kid that all mountains were shaped.  I can't begin to describe my disappointment as a little kid, after having colored peak after snowy peak in coloring books, to see my first Pennsylvania "mountain."  I seem to recall saying, "that's not a mountain!"  And if I don't remember that exactly, I feel sure that as ornery as I was, I almost certainly said something like that.

From Goldendale, there's a very interesting drive ahead.  One clue is the sign that says, "Last Gas For 50 Miles."  Another is the one that advertises something - a casino I think - that's "Left at the Next Light - 45 Miles From Here."

After a climb through spectacular pine forest, we were in the Yakama Nation - the Yakama Reservation.  "Tribal Laws Enforced," we're advised.  (The Yakama Nation chose that spelling - with an "a" - not so many years ago, for reasons of linguistic accuracy, but it's too late to change the name of the town, which is spelled the original way.

If I were to host friends from Europe, I would want to drive them through the Yakama Reservation.  It's definitely "Western" country.  No sign of people anywhere, but as you look up at the top of the canyons, you half expect to see a war party up there. (Think they're friendly?)  Here and there you might see a beat-up old corral, and we did see a few wild horses.  Their proliferation, ever since the government put the slaughterhouses out of business, has become a real problem for the Yakama people.


About midway through the 50-mile drive we crossed the mountains at Satus Pass.  At only 3100 feet, it's a preferred way to cross the mountains in the winter, rather than taking on higher, snowier passes.

The road's good for the most part, and so long as we didn't have to climb the hills behind any trucks, we made good time, until finally we climbed a steep hill and then, through a gap, saw, down below us, a huge expanse of green, backdropped by russet-colored mountains off in the distance - the Yakima Valley. 


It's a mini-verson of California's Central Valley.  At this time of year the two look a lot alike physically.  And because, like the Central Valley, it's so heavily dependent on farm labor in its fields and orchards, the Yakima Valley has a large Hispanic population.

Yakima, a city of about 100,000 people, is the biggest city in the Valley, but, again as in California, there are numerous small towns scattered around, towns like Selah and Sunnyside, Toppenish and Prosser, Union Gap and Wapato. 

Wapato's high school field abuts the main road through the valley, and the sign on it said "Dr. Dan Doornink Field."

I happen to remember Dan Doornink before he was Doctor Dan Doornink (he's now a physician in Yakima).

A star athlete at Wapato High School in the 1970s, he went to Washington State hoping to play quarterback.  But when he got there, a shortage of running backs led to his being asked to change positions.  As the story goes, it was either him or another freshman quarterback, a kid named Jack Thompson, who wasn't nearly as fast as Doornink.

Jack Thompson went on to fame at WSU as the Throwin' Samoan, but Dan Doornink didn't have a bad career, either. He was a starer by the second game of his freshman year, and he started for the rest of his career and wound up being drafted by the Giants.  He had a decent rookie year, a year best remembered for a game in which he was lifted in favor of veteran Larry Csonka - and a botched exchange, in take-a-knee time, between Csonka and quarterback Joe Pisarcik was picked up and run in for the winning score by the Eagles' Herm Edwards, a play that lives in Giants' infamy.

Following that first season, he was traded to the Seahawks, where he played eight years.

On a team loaded with running backs, the best of whom was Curt Warner,  he saw plenty of action. His best game was undoubtedly a playoff game against the Raiders in December, 1984. As Claire Farnsworth tells it, in seahawks.com -


Dan Doornink was born in Yakima, raised in Wapato and went to Washington State University. But he didn’t come to the Seahawks until 1979 after playing his rookie season with the New York Giants, who had selected him in the seventh round of the 1978 NFL Draft. In seven seasons, he played in 92 games and started 44 at running back and fullback. In ’79, he finished second on the team in rushing (500 yards) and receiving (54 catches). He did it again in the strike-shortened 1982 season, with 178 rushing yards and 22 receptions. But Doornink’s most-memorable moment came in a 1984 wild-card playoff game against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders at the Kingdome. He carried 29 times for 126 yards as the Seahawks won 13-7, and did it by repeatedly running the same play – “Check with me, 34 and 35.”

“After we had run the same play about 30 times, I was in my stance and I was looking at Howie,” Doornink said years later – referring to Howie Long, the Raiders’ All-Pro defensive end. “Howie gave me this look, as if to say, ‘You’re not going to run that same play again?’ I winked at Howie and shook my head, ‘Yep, same play.’ ”

Asked about the late December afternoon in ’84, it’s Long who now shakes his head.

“I remember turning to Matt Millen and I said, ‘Dan Doornink.’ And I’ve said it probably 300 times since I retired: ‘Dan Doornink.’"

Dan Doornink spent the last several years of his Seahawks' career attending medical school at the University of Washington, and when he broke his fibula in the 1985 season, he knew it was time to move on - to get on with "his life's work," as Chuck Noll used to say.


Yakima was home to a guy named Bert Grant, whose Grant's Scottish Ale was the first true Northwest craft beer that I can recall.  Back in the 80s, my wife and I would drive to an authentic English pub in Portland called the Horse Brass Pub (easily one of the best bars you will ever enter) simply because it was the only place in the entire area that served Grant's.  I know Bert Grant is dead, and I don't believe the brewery still exists, but to most people he deserves credit for being in on the start of a movement which has since swept the country.


I'm guessing that Bert Grant was inspired to produce his ale by the fact that Washington produces more than 70 per cent of the nation's hops, and most of them are grown around Yakima.  The hop field are everywhere.  Hops are vines,  twining around wires suspended from long overhead wires propped up by long wooden poles. They grow to beat hell, a least ten feet off the ground, and they're harvested for their  aromatic "cones" or flowers, which give beer its flavor.  The rise of flavorful craft beers and heavily-hopped ales has led to a great increase in the world-wide demand for hops.

Three hours in Yakima at the All-State game and then three hours' ride back, and we were home in Camas by mid-evening.

*********** Hugh,
 
I was reading your website last night and I came across an answer to one of my critics from last year.
 
Assistant Coach: "And why don't we just call plays like everyone else? The first number is the ball carrier and the second is the hole we are running at. I don't know why we can't to that."
 
Me: "The kids have no problem picking it up, the only person complaining is you."
 
What I should have said: "This is a misdirection offense. By telling the B-back specifically where he should go every play we prevent running backs from running into each other."
 
Now that I think about it, we never had running backs run into each other, a few guards, but never rbs.
 
Hope all is well. I have a question and a playbook for you to look at. Just finishing it up.
 
"Coyote Wing"
 
Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Coach:  Save that answer.  The question will come up again.  There is a never-ending supply of experts who've barely coached but know all there is to know about football.

*********** Hey Coach,

No teams run the DW here where we live. I was hoping you could give me a quick run down of how you would go about play calling, and how the game usually unfolds defensively and how you adjust.

I'm guessing you open by running Super Power until the defense overcommits to the off tackle area' where do you go from there?  With this type of series based offense I'm just trying to get the Ebb and flow of being in the drivers seat in this type of power offense.

Name Withheld
Calgary, Alberta

Ps we only have 3 downs up here in a Canada but our field is 55 yards wide!

Hi Coach,

I wish that I could tell you that play-calling is a science, but I have to say that after 40+ years in the game, I have learned that it is mostly an art.

There are certainly those times when a weak opponent or an unsound defensive alignment create a no-brainer situation, but for the most part play-calling is often nothing more than a matter of educated guesses.

This may not be as obvious as you'd think, but at its very base, good play-calling consists of having the right plays and being able to run them proficiently.  I don't know how many times I've been in a discussion and a coach has told me that if we do this (on defense), "we'll just do that," and I want to say to him, "Yes, but can you do 'that' well enough, and consistently enough, to beat us with it?"

Can you, for example, throw the ball if we sell out to stop your run?  

Can you sweep on us if we set up to stop you between the tackles?

Can your fullback knock our defensive ends back on power plays?

Can you hit us with a counter if we have 11 men flying to the football?

Can you trap us if we go all-out up front to disrupt you with penetration?

Can you roll out or sweep if we submarine four down linemen?

And so on.

So point number one is to be fully armed - to have an answer for things that a defense might do to stop your basic stuff.

Obviously, if the defense is physically superior to us and well coached at that, our options are limited.

So we'll usually start out with Super Power or Wedge, just to see what the defense may be doing to address our "statement" plays.

Maybe they can't stop either, right from the start.  Get the backups ready.  They're going to get more action than usual.

More usually, though, we see what they're doing (it always helps to know who made the tackle) and either make a quick adjustment or go to another play - wedge, trap, counter, sweep, play action - or even another formation (unbalanced, maybe?)  Which gets us back to point number one.

I know the Canadian game better than most Americans, and I know the way the Double-Wing works.  Yes, there are only three downs, but also, the defensive linemen have to play way back off the ball, and you can really add to the defense's confusion by having more than one man in motion at the snap.

It's that 12th man - and the wider field - that excites me.  I really like the idea of splitting the 12th man out to the wide side, then playing conventional double wing with the other 11 men, while having the ability at any time to run a "choice" play to the 12th man.  At some point, unless they were good enough to single-cover him, the defense would have to help out with an extra defender, leaving them to play 10 vs 11 against the Double Wing.

Not entirely what you wanted, I suspect, but I hope it helps.

*********** I haven't changed my opinion of soccer or soccer players or US soccer  fans.  (Yes, SOCCER.)  But even I have to give credit where it's due.  The US soccer team, to my untrained eye (yes, I watched the game - er, match) outplayed Portugal and had earned a 2-1 win, so to have the game wind up in a tie (okay, "draw") in the last seconds of "stoppage time" had to be especially upsetting.

"Stoppage time?"  Other than the fact that they use a real ball now - an air bladder and everything - instead of a Dane's Skull, this is a sport stuck in the past. 

They take pride in "no time outs," but they allow the clock to run while players celebrate go-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oals (which is not, admittedly, very often) or (far more often) lie on the ground writhing in agony after a mini-collision, and then someone merely tacks on some arbitrarily-arrived-at extra time at the end of the "match," to make up for all the time wasted during the "match."

With all the accusations about match-fixing by referees in international soccer, elimination of stoppage time would surely seem the first place to try cutting off opportunities for them to cheat.

*********** Internet Humor: The Husband Store
 
The Husband Store opens, advertising itself as a place where a woman can go to choose a husband

The rules of the store are posted at the entrance:
 
You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the "products" increases with each floor. You may choose a husband from any floor, or you may choose to go on to the next floor - but you cannot go back down except to leave the store!
 
Scene: A woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor, the sign reads:
 
First Floor - Men who have Jobs
 
She decides to go on to the second floor, where the sign reads:
 
Second Floor - Men who have jobs and love kids.
 
"I want more than that," she says, and goes on.
 
The third floor sign reads:
 
Third Floor - Men who have jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking.
 
'Wow,' she thinks, but desides to keep on going.
 
At the fourth floor, the sign reads:
 
Fourth Floor - Men who have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking and help with the housework.
 
Nevertheless, she decides to go to the fifth floor, where the sign reads:
 
Fifth Floor - Men who have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework, and are very romantic
 
She is tempted, but she decides to go on to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:
 
Sixth Floor - You are visitor 45,558,226 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.
 
To avoid charges of gender bias, the store's owner opened a New Wives store right across the street.
 
The first floor offers wives who love sex.
 
The second floor offers wives who love sex, have money of their own, and like drinking beer and watching football on TV
 
No one has ever visited the third, fourth, fifth or sixth floor.


american flag FRIDAY,  JUNE 20,  2014"The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide."  Barack H. Obama  August 21, 2010

*********** I think it was Tom LaSorda who was once asked if he was playing a player - I think it was Mike Piazza - because he was Italian. 

His reply? "No, I'm not playing him because he's Italian.  I'm playing him because I'm Italian."

So now that Bill O'Brien has announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the Texans' starting quarterback, I'd like to ask -  is it because you're both Irish? Or is it because you're both Ivy-Leaguers?


Carason & Brett Favre***********
That's our former quarterback, Carson Ketter on the right. It was taken in Seattle at a Mariners' game last week.   You might know the guy on the left.  You may have to look closely, but it's Brett Favre.  Carson is 6-2, maybe 6-3, and Favre, from the looks of the photo, is at least an inch shorter.  Too bad.  Plenty of experts will tell you that  6-1  is too short for an NFL quarterback.

On Saturday, in Yakima, Carson will be playing in our state's East-West all-star game for smaller schools. He texted me to say that there were seven other quarterbacks in camp, and considering his height and speed, he'd been moved to wide receiver, where there were only three other players.  I don't know anything about the other QBs, but I applaud the coaches for making the move, because I know he'll do well there - and he'll get a lot more playing time. And as well as Carson played for us at QB, and as much as I'd like to see him play QB in college, I do believe he can be a great wide receiver or free safety.

*********** Yes, yes, I know - football is a brutal, violent game, blah, blah, blah.  Yes, and if I had a son, I'd think twice about letting him play football, blah, blah, blah.

But this past Saturday, nearly 500 high school football players - varsity and junior varsity - representing eight different schools participated in a jamboree in Woodland Washington.  Each team played a total of 66 plays against other squads - full contact.  In some five hours of play, not one kid had to be helped off the field.

*********** Had it with the fools and soccer types who insist on calling it "Football," even here in the US?

Tired of being told that there's something wrong with us because we call it "soccer?"

A great article in Thursday's New York Times provides you with all the ammunition you need to silence the nancy-boys in their Man-U shirts.

First of all, when they start in on that "you shouldn't call your sport 'football' when you don't kick very much," you might inform them that the word "Football" originally meant a sport played "on foot," rather than on horseback, and does not refer to the amount of kicking involved.

Until the 1970s, the word "soccer" was commonly used in England, which we can thank for giving us the game, and it was derived from its formal name "Association Football."  You have to understand the way the Brits will shorten words, but it evolved into  "Assoc" Football, and from there to  (at first) "Socker Football."


The other form of football played in the UK was (still is) Rugby Football, which became "Rugger Football," and even now is often referred to as  "Rugger."

Soccer's  spelling is the result of an evolution, too.

Newspaper headline writers are always looking for ways to shorten words and phrases, and "Socker" answered their needs.

The New York Times, in the early days of the twentieth century, used "Socker" in its headlines, and often referred in the same story to both "socker" and "soccer."

It should be pointed out to those effete types who consider us to be at odds with the rest of the more enlightened world because we continue to use soccer, that we are no alone.  In much of the English-speaking world there is another "code" (type) of football played, and since it was on the scene first, and since it's at least as popular in those places as soccer, it is referred to as "football." And soccer is, well, "soccer."

For those who think there's something wrong with us that makes us differ from Europeans, South Americans, Africans and Asians in what we call kickball, I'd like to point out that we're in good company. Three of the best countries in the world  for Americans to visit - Australia, Ireland and Canada - also call it "soccer."

In Australia, in the State of Victoria the dominant sport is Australian Rules Football (which the locals there call "Footy") and in the State of New South Wales the dominant sport is Rugby (which the locals there call "Footy").  Aussies were playing both sports before soccer arrived Down Under, so to the Aussies, soccer is soccer.  The national team is called the Socceroos.

In Ireland, Gaelic Football is very popular and since it was played before soccer arrived, it had first claim on the word "football." Consequently, the Irish call that other sport "soccer."

In Canada, they play "Canadian Football." That's what we call it, anyhow, because it's slightly different from the version we play.  Canadians, of course, simply call it "football."  It's their game  (it's older than ours.) They were playing their football, which like ours is an offshoot of rugby, before the arrival of soccer, so it claims the name "football." I suppose they call our game "American Football," as does most of the rest of the world, except where  they call it  "gridiron."

The English actually sent us coaches to teach us the game. Their hope was to civilize us by weaning us off that brutal sport we called "football." (Still do.)

According to the Times,

An article on Oct. 10, 1905, described the efforts of Sir Alfred Harmsworth, an aristocratic London publisher, to “send corps of experts to American colleges” to teach them the correct way to play “socker.”

“It is believed that if the game is properly introduced to the patrons of football through the medium of the leading colleges,” the article said, American-style football would “eventually play a secondary part to the ‘socker’ style of playing.”

Good luck, Alf.

Until the 1970s, the word "soccer" was perfectly acceptable among the Brits.

The Times article notes "Matt Busby, the manager of Manchester United in the 1950s and 1960s, wrote an autobiography, 'Soccer at the Top,' and a biography of the renowned player George Best was called 'George Best: The Inside Story of Soccer’s Super-Star.'"

At some point, though,  after having long since given up on us because we were too uncivilized ever to adopt their game,  the Brits took offense at the way professional soccer in the USA tried to make a splash by throwing big money at international stars - there go those bloody Yanks, stealing something else from us - and the renunciation of the term "soccer" started.  Somewhere around then, they began to use the name "football" exclusively, relegating "soccer" to the uncivilized heathens across the pond.

The interesting thing, the author points out, is that while the Brits seem to resent us as intruders on their game, we Americans actually take pride in the development of our game, baseball, in Japan.  And very few people in America see anything but good the worldwide growth of basketball, first promoted by ambassadors sent by the NBA.

 http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/sports/worldcup/with-world-cup-in-headlines-a-debate-continues-on-what-to-call-the-game.html?referrer=

*********** I like Penn State coach James Franklin's approach to early "commitments."   He encourages prospects not to give him a commitment until they're sure they're making a commitment:

“If you want to commit to us, then you’re done with the process. And if you want to keep going through the process and looking around and seeing people, I’m fine with that. But don’t commit.”

*********** From the standpoint of government intrusion in private affairs, this Redskins' trademark ruling  is a big deal. Yes, they can keep their name.  But if the "Redskins" name is no longer trademark-protected, it means, basically, that you or I could start printing and selling "Redskins" gear without having to pay for the rights to do so.  (My wife asked me why, if the government deems the name to be so offensive, a government agency would pass a ruling that guarantees a market flooded with unlicensed - but still offensive - items.)

The ruling also means that if someone is offended by something your business says or does (especially if that someone has a little pull) there's a federal agency somewhere, made up of unelected political hacks, with the power to take your property - your livelihood, even - from you.

If you don't like it, feel free to stand up to the federal goons.  I should warn you first, though, that while you were looking away, distracted by the Obama Event of the Day,  our National Police Force - the Department of Homeland Security - has grown to be 240,000 strong. (Bet you didn't know that.)  It's intended, as you know, to protect Amerika from domestic terrorists.  Like you.

*********** I heard one wisely say they should rename the "Washington team" The Obamas.  When they suck,  they can blame everything on the Redskins.

*********** It's not that I don't believe that if the Redskins name is insulting and demeaning to a large number of American people they should enlist enough other people to their point of view and bring economic pressure on Redskins' ownership to effect a name change.  But I don't believe that it is the place of the United State Government to help bring it about. 

And even if it were, it's not exactly the most pressing item on the agenda.

Our southern border is being flooded with illegals while our government, which may or may not have encouraged and abetted the flood "solves" the problem by sending the newcomers out into the public in return for a promise to return at a future date for a hearing; the IRS has become a provider of strategic services to the ruling party; the government has purchased enormous quantities of ammunition for government departments that you probably didn't know even had guns;  we swap five terrorist leaders for one apparent deserter; our economy is imperiled by our President's quixotic quest to stave off global warming;  the civil strife in Iraq seems likely to wind up driving the price of gasoline through the roof, yet the administration refuses to allow a pipeline to bring in oil from Canada; with the world quite possibly on the brink of war,  we've forfeited our world leadership position; we are sending "Military Advisers" to Iraq (anybody else remember that's how we got started in Vietnam?); and we've been talking about calling on IRAN - IRAN, for God's sake! - to help us out!

I could go on and on.  The outrages are endless, and many of them seem ginned up simply to draw media attention away from the more serious ones.  Which brings us to the Redskins' trademark issue.

There's our President,  fiddling while Rome burns.  He golfs, vacations, and raises funds from Hollywood and Wall Street billionaires -  and deplores the name of a professional football team.  That'll get the country back on keel.

Dr. Thomas Sowell said it best:

"We may yet become the first nation to die from a terminal case of frivolity.  Other great nations in history have been threatened by barbarians at the gates.  We may be the first threatened by self-indulgent silliness inside the gates."

*********** I was around when Jim McMahon was playing and I remember what a cocky, arrogant  sh--head he was, and I can't help thinking that the people writing all the sob stories about his current condition weren't and don't.

Sarah Crawley*********** Several years ago, Coach Jim Crawley, of China Grove, North Carolina and his wife, Teresa, had to deal with the devastating news that their teenage daughter, Sarah, had been diagnosed with a virulent form of leukemia.  Being people of faith, they prayed, and they hung together for their little girl. It was quite a battle for Sarah and for her family, but last week their prayers were answered.  Sarah, now cancer-free, graduated as  valedictorian of her class. Wrote Daddy Jim, "We are so proud and so thankful! 3 years ago, we weren’t sure if there would even be a graduation."

*********** Our President was shown in a short video saying "Go Team USA! Show the world what we're made of."

A few problems, Mister President. 

(1) Yeah, right. We sent thousands of men to Europe to die in two World Wars.  We helped rebuild Germany and Japan into world economic powerhouses.  We've kept the useless United Nations afloat with our tax dollars.  We're first on the scene after any major world disaster. And now we need a f--king soccer team to show the world what we're made of?

(2) Those guys on that team, many of whom are only  "American" because they have one American parent and haven't spent enough time in the US to have any idea what Americans are made of, are scarcely ones to be acting on our behalf.

(3) I'm afraid that you've already beaten them to it, anyhow, Mister President - and the world's not impressed.

*********** As in many states, the two highest paid "public employees" in the state of Washington in 2013 were football coaches: Steve Sarkisian at the University of Washington, and Mike Leach at Washington State. The headlines made it look as if though the taxpayers were being hosed, but way down in the article, it was made clear that the coaches' salaries were  paid with athletic department revenue and contributions, and not public dollars..

All well and good, except that they're still public employees, which means, in most states, that they're eligible for public pensions.  You know, the same pensions that schoolteachers get - the ones based on years of service. And final salary.

And as we well know, a D-I college head coach's final salary is probably a bit higher than yours.

The result is that a guy like Mike Belotti, who made millions as the head coach of the Oregon Ducks, now pulls down a pension of $41,000 a month courtesy of the taxpayers of Oregon.  That's $500,000 a year.  For life.

On top of that, he's making a nice buck working for ESPN.

Not blaming Mike Belotti, you understand.  He's simply a very conspicuous beneficiary of an out-of-whack system. If I were in his position, I wouldn't be saying, "Here - I don't need all this.  Leave me with, oh,  $10,000 a month.  That's all I really need.  Give the rest to a worthy cause."

I have a pretty good idea where the money would wind up - and it wouldn't be a worthy cause.

I have a problem with giant public employee pensions, period. (Full disclosure - my wife and I, both retired teachers,  receive state of Washington pensions.)  Look - no one will ever accuse me of being a socialist, but I strongly believe that there needs to be a ceiling on public employees' pensions.  Maybe a max of $75,000 a year.

I'm all for a nice pension as part of the compensation package, and  I wish that more employees of private concerns were able to retire as comfortably as most government employees.  But I don't think that anyone, no matter how much he's paid, or how long he's worked, or how valuable he is, is entitled to retire to a life of opulence at the expense of taxpayers.   I mean, if somebody's been pulling down a salary in excess of, say,  $100,000 a year in a government job and he wants more than the maximum state pension, there are plenty of financial advisers willing to show him how to start saving.   

*********** Do you feel that special teams are really 1/3 at the small high school level?  Don't you feel that some of the effects of special teams can be minimized by your style of play (ball control).

I want great KO coverage and punt coverage when we punt. I want to field kick offs. But I feel that is an area that can become over complicated if we are not careful.

Coach,

I don't buy the old cliche about kicking being 1/3 of the game.  I think that's a throwback to the bygone days when passing was rare and scoring was infrequent and famous coaches played for field position ("Position is more important than possession").  It may be true in the NFL where offensive efficiency is often so bad, but I believe that at our level it's maybe 1/8 of the game - certainly no more, and that's how we spend our time.

I believe that if we don't do anything to lose the game on special teams, our time is better spent on offense and defense.

We do spend about 10 minutes every day with our entire team on our "Iowa drill," which is basically kick coverage principles combined with open-field tackling. That's a key element of our kicking game.  During that time, I take the centers and the QBs, who won't be covering kicks, anyhow.

In terms of the actual kicking game, we spend at most 15 minutes a day on the "musts" - the things we must do in order not to lose a game.

For me, that's making sure we can get off a punt (I insist that the kicker be someone with QB skills and smarts, if not the QB himself), making sure we can cover kickoffs (we always try to squib kick it to an open area), making sure we can field an onside kick, and (just in case) kicking a field goal.

No special formations.  We punt from a base offensive formation and we "return" from a base defensive formation.

We do get in a couple of reps on our kick return, and if we think that it will work against the upcoming opponent, we will practice a punt return or two.

Punters and kickers and snappers do their thing after practice.

We follow this routine at every practice and in our pregame, as well (mainly to make sure that we have everyone on the field).

I think we have been successful. In the last three years we have had one punt return against us for a TD.  We have returned three punts for TDs.  We have not given up a kick return TD and we have returned three ourselves.  We have not had a punt blocked.

We have lost our share of games, but I can't think of one where special teams play beat us.

*********** “All I’ve ever been is a simple baseball man, but it’s never ceased to amaze me how so many far more accomplished people I’ve met in this life wanted to be one, too.”  Don Zimmer, in “The Zen of Zim,” (2004) written with Bill Madden.



american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 17,  2014"Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition."  Jacques Barzun

*********** Tony Gwynn, a great baseball player and by all accounts a really good man, had a lot left to give to the game of baseball.

But sadly, he died Monday, just 54.

The cause of his death was cancer of the mouth and salivary glands, believed to have been related to his long habit of using "dip."

Based on his Wikipedia biography, he had an unfair advantage over most kids - he had a mother and a father, who dedicated their lives to making sure he and his brothers were brought up right:

Gwynn was born in Los Angeles, California to Charles and Vandella Gwynn.  He grew up in Long Beach, California with older brother Charles, who became a teacher, and younger brother Chris, who also became an MLB player. Gwynn's father worked from 7:30 A.M. until 5:00 P.M., and he also coached Pop Warner football and Little League Baseball; his mother worked from 5:30 P.M. until 3:00 A.M. His parents instilled in him the value of being prepared.



Jamboree Teams*********** On Saturday, we concluded our two weeks of spring ball - one of them in pads - by participating in a jamboree in Woodland, Washington with three larger schools - host Woodland, Kalama, and Longview R.A. Long.

It was a great day for football - partly cloudy and 60 degrees.   In the photo at left, the four teams receive instructions from a referee.

With only our JVs, mostly freshmen, to go against during camp, we really hadn't done any hitting, and in our first session, against R.A. Long, a school roughly six times our size, it showed.  In our ten offensive plays against them, we moved the ball some, but made some uncustomary mistakes, mostly failing to stay with our blocks.  Then we went on defense for a couple of series and really lit things up.  We gave up a couple of passes, but we were pretty much airtight against the run. 

When we came back on offense, we were a different team, breaking several long counters and powers, getting our QB loose on a run-pass option, then punching in a few on wedges and "G" plays.

Concluding the day with a pair of teams given three attempts to score from their opponents' ten yard line, we gave up one score, but scored twice ourselves.

We were especially pleased with the play of our defense.  Our big linemen pretty much dominated their counterparts from the bigger schools.

We played in the afternoon session, while four other schools played in the AM.  Coaching one of the teams, La Center, was a former player and assistant of mine, John Lambert, and it is always great to see him.  He always puts a good team on the field.

Hudson's Bay guysPlaying in Woodland, which is only a half-hour from where we live, in Camas, gave me a chance to see a number of old friends.

Coaching one of the other teams, Hockinson, was another former player of mine, Rick Steele, who built the Hockinson program from scratch in 2004 but then, following a job promotion (he's a captain in the Vancouver Fire Department) had to resign. Now,  after a year off, he's back in the saddle again.

In the photo with me are three former players from my 1981-1982 teams at Vancouver's Hudson's Bay High: Rick Steele, head coach at Hockinson High; Randy Pearrow, who assists Rick; and Randy's brother Kenny Pearrow.

*********** Maybe it's not best to judge a guy like Bowe Bergdahl too soon, even if the men who know him best call him a deserter, but we football coaches are forced to make judgements like that all the time, determining on the basis of the best available evidence at the time whether or not we can trust a guy to be ready when we need him.

So what was the problem with the United States Army's judgement?

After decades of working with young men myself,  I do have a few questions I'd like to ask: 

(1) Is the supposed shock Mr. Bergdahl  experienced at discovering that war, even in the Twenty-first Century, is still ugly and dirty, something we should expect when we promote our armed forces as a "global force for good," and entice recruits with offers of cool jobs sitting  in front of radar screens and free college tuition?

(2) What kind of guy starts taking ballet lessons when he's 17 - and then goes and joins the Army?

3) In view of his previous record of going missing, and his obvious fascination with Islamic culture, shouldn't someone higher up in the food chain have foreseen the problems that another walkabout could cause?

*********** At the time of the UC Santa Barbara killings, I heard a Fox TV reporter refer to a college sorority, Alpha Phi, by pronouncing it "Alpha FEE."

Uh, fella, that's Greek. It rhymes with "pie."

Either that, or all this time we should have been referring to that great University of Houston basketball team as FEE Slamma Jamma.

*********** To those who enjoy watching great teams play, the Spurs were certainly a thing of beauty.

Beside the Spurs and the Heat, there were some winners and losers in the series.

Winners: The people who'd prefer to watch teams play rather than watch stars perform.  And the NBA, which may actually be outgrowing the tired old notion that you have to have a team from New York/Los Angeles/Chicago in the finals or nobody will watch.

Winners - tee shirt manufacturers who didn't have to go ahead and print two sets of shirts ready for sale, as they'd have had to do if there were any chance that the Heat might win.

Losers - Little kids in Africa, where the NBA customarily ships all those unmarketable tee shirts they made up in advance of game seven for the team that lost. Sorry, kids in Senegal. Sorry, kids in Gambia.  No free "Miami Heat - 2014 World Champions" tee shirts.

*********** FROM THE WASHINGTON POST- Describing the Ford airplane plant at Willow Run, near Ypsilanti, Michigan could produce 400 bombers a month...

"The greatest single manufacturing plant the world had ever seen… (Inside the plant) All 16 major league baseball teams could play eight simultaneous games before before crowds of 30,000 each, and there would still be room left over for a full-sized football game before an additional 30,000 spectators."

*********** Having mentioned the Belmont Stakes, I received a link to a video of the 1973 Belmont, and one of the all-time great championship performances in any sport:  Secretariat's winning the Triple Crown - and the Belmont - by more than 20 lengths.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V18ui3Rtjz4&feature=kp

*********** If you've had to listen to parents brag about their five-year-old being selected to an "elite travel team," and thought that there was something wrong - almost creepy - with the whole scenario, you're not wrong.

More and more research is showing that not only is specialization at an early age likely to contribute to injury and to burnout, but, worst of all Mommy and Daddy, if doesn't advance the kid's "career."  If anything, it sets him (or her) back, behind kids who play a variety of sports.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/11/opinion/sports-should-be-childs-play.html?referrer=

*********** For years I've heard the fans of Army football complain about noon kickoffs. That's what the TV people dictate, and unfortunately, since Army football does not yet rate a prime-time slot, it's either go along or go off TV. The latter is definitely not an option, because as hard as it is to convince many of today's high school football players to go to a place where they'll have to take orders, make their beds, study and go to class (real college subjects, even) and, possibly, someday find themselves sleeping on the ground and dodging bullets in some godforsaken place, it would be next to impossible without the chance to play on TV.

Noon kickoffs at West Point means that if you' live in the Washington, DC area, as many Army people do, you're looking at getting up at 4 or five in the morning to make the 4-1/2 to 5-hour drive to West Point, allowing some time to get through security and onto the post.

Forget watching the parade of Cadets, always a stirring sight.  That takes place at 10 AM on days with a noon kickoff.  Forget tailgating with old friends you only see a couple of times a year, at football games.

Now, purely in the interest of TV, the Pac-12 has moved to create a 2 PM (Eastern)  TV "window" for its Pac-12 Network games this fall.  For those unfamiliar with the concept of time zones, that means 11 AM kickoffs on the West Coast.

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/huskyfootball/2014/06/09/pac-12-announces-11-a-m-window-for-football-games-this-fall/

*********** You just know that 90 per cent of the new soccer fans voted for Hope and Change.

For them, America is too… American.

With their precious imitations of European soccer fans,  they're the embodiment of the libs'  disdain for the America many of us remember fondly.

These faux Europeans call the soccer "football";  their little children play on teams whose names, in true Eurofashion, end in "FC" (for "Football Club").

They wear scarves and, there being nothing more exciting to do during games (sorry- "matches") they sing songs incessantly.   And when, as often as not, the "match" down on the field ( sorry - the "pitch"), ends in a 0-0 tie, they say it's a "nil-nil draw."
 
The most interesting thing about these Euro-wannabes - and the most revealing thing about their rejection of American ways - is that studies show that for the most part, they  don't care a bit about any of our other major sports. 

I'm guessing that if they tried to throw the first pitch at a baseball game, they'd look a lot like the guy they elected President.

This article, sent to me by Greg Koenig, nails it: http://m.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/384qgmke.asp?page=2

*********** Casey Kasem died, in Gig Harbor, Washington, a delightful suburb of Tacoma.

His American Top 40 was a world-wide phenomenon. When I was coaching in Finland in the late 80s and early 90s, it was the only "American" stuff I ever heard on the radio.  (Over there, the show was called "The Weekly Top 40.')

He modeled his show on a once-famous radio (and then TV) show called originally "Your Hit Parade," then, in tribute to the cigarette brand that sponsored it, "The Lucky Strike Hit Parade."

It was only today, after all those years, that I found myself singing his theme, "America's Top 40," and realizing that its tune was the same as that of the Lucky Strike jingle, the one that signed off the Hit Parade show every week, starting out, "Be Happy, Go Lucky!"

*********** This was going to be the year the NHL finally made it into the mainstream of American sports.  Great regular regular season.  Great playoffs.  And a Stanley Cup final series between The Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers.

With fans from the two largest TV markets glued to their TV sets, hockey was ready to explode.

And then, the Kings had to go and all but sweep the Rangers in a snoozer (unless you liked the Kings) of a Stanley Cup Finals.  And now on-the-fence fans can all go back to whatever they were doing before - many of them, I'm afraid, never to return.

On the other hand, after reading an article by Bob Greene in the Wall Street Journal, hockey's popularity may not recede simply because of a stinker of a final series.

One major reason, he argues, is that you can see the puck.

For years, especially in the early days of black-and-white TV,  ardent fans would watch because with only six teams in the NHL - and no one wearing helmets - they knew most of the players.

But the puck?  Its whereabouts  often were a mystery.

For many years, Bernie Lincicome, a long-time sports columnist, would publish a list of his New Year's resolutions, and every year, without fail, one was on it:
"I resolve to see the puck."

"Imagine," Greene wrote,  "if fans were asked to watch football games and take it on faith that the football was really on the field."

Now, HDTV has come along, and it's actually possible to see the puck.  Hockey may make it yet.


*********** Chuck Noll is gone, another brick fallen off the load.

That's a reference to Roy Blount, Jr.'s masterwork,  "About Three Bricks Shy of a Load,"  written while the author spent the 1973 season embedded with the Steelers.  It's one of my all-time favorite books on football, and my going back to it in search of material on Chuck Noll has convinced me that I must read it again.

Unless it is Paul Brown, for whom Noll played for seven seasons, there is absolutely no other coach to whom you can compare Chuck Noll.

In this day of one-dimensional, intellectually shallow, sleep-on-the-couch-in-the-office coaches, men incapable of carrying on an intelligent conversation on a topic other than football and the gratification of the basest of human drives, there is no one who remotely resembles him. 

Chuck Noll was an educated man who believed in improving his mind and becoming knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects. He was a pilot and a sailor. He loved opera. He was a good cook and a connoisseur of  fine wine.  And he was very well read. Wrote Blount, "I asked him what kind of reading he preferred and he said, 'Not fiction.'"

He got his degree from the University of Dayton in secondary education and often said that if he hadn't gone into coaching he'd have been a high school history teacher.

He was frequently abrupt and often sarcastic with reporters.  (Popovich, anyone?) No media for him when his football days were over.  NO chance of ever jumping on the ESPN gravy train as an analyst.  He scarcely even watched football games from then on.

He was not a warm, fuzzy person. He kept his distance from his players, from the team owners - from nearly everybody.

Comments from Blount's book:

"No one in the Steeler organization spoke of him in terms of companionship."

"Even the Chief, who prided himself on being able to chew the fat with anybody, got nowhere chatting with Noll."

"If I died and needed somebody to raise my kids, Noll would be the guy I'd choose.  But if I was going to a football game, I wouldn't want to go with Noll."

Said Jack Ham, with a Hall of Fame induction in his future,  "There are a lot of similarities between this team and the one I played on at Penn State. All of us together, there, disliked Paterno. It made us closer together. He as very cold to his players, very impersonal. Though he made sure of us getting through school. And Paterno's like Noll in the sense he's very, very disciplined.  They're both fantastic defensive coaches, very conscious of the big play, and very conscious of special teams and doing the little things correctly."

(Interestingly, as is so often the case with a stern father, Noll left lessons with his players that many of them admit, years later, have influenced their lives.)
Just as he was when he was a player, he was intense as a coach,  not given to displays of emotion. As Joe Greene told Blount,  "He really cares about his players. He has a hard time to keep from showing favoritism.   Sometimes he wants to come up and say, 'Mel, that was a hell of a game!' But he's not that kind of person.  He wants to keep everything on an even keel. He gets a lot of pressure on him. The first couple of years he had a staff,  but he did most of the coaching himself."

When the Steelers hired him, he had a solid record as a winner.  In 16 years as player and assistant he was part of five AFL or NFL championship teams and ten divisional champions.

Although an undersized guard, Noll played with the Cleveland Browns  for seven seasons, mainly because Browns' legendary coach Paul Brown valued his intelligence and his intensity.  Brown was the pioneer of coaches' sending in plays, and Noll was one of his "messenger guards" entrusted with running plays out to the huddle.  Noll retired at 27 to assist Sid Gillman with the Los Angeles (and then San Diego) Chargers, and stayed there for six years before moving on to assist Don Shula in Baltimore for three more years.

Finally,  he got his first head coaching job with the Steelers, who were bad, bad, bad.

He got the job mainly because  (1) Joe Paterno turned it down and (2) he alone among the candidates refused to promise a one-year turnaround.

As Dan Rooney told Blount,  "I liked Noll's forthright answers. He said he was not going to come in and do any miracles. A lot of candidates said they were, said they were going to come in and turn this team around in a year."

Unlike most coaches then and now, Noll had total involvement in the draft. That's because, brashly but wisely, he had insisted on it as a condition of his taking the job.  That stance ruffled the feathers of Art Rooney, Jr., who had been running the personnel department as his own fiefdom, but Dan Rooney, who was in effect the general manager,  agreed to the condition.

Like Paul Brown before him,  he was without racial prejudice.   As Bill Nunn, the black scout, told Blount,  "I'm convinced Noll is color-blind." 

Wrote Blount, "It seemed to be true and accepted by the black players  that while Noll didn't have any tolerance for uppityness from anybody, he didn't discriminate against blacks in general and did relate to them at least as well as to whites. In fact, three or four white Steelers claimed he was prejudiced in favor of blacks - that he would chew a white player for something that he wouldn't chew a black player for."

He did not suffer fools gladly.  Wrote Blount, "As the coaches watched a Cleveland-Minnesota game on television, commentator Al DeRogatis said a ball carrier was slow hitting the hole. 'Expert!' Snorted Noll. 'He was supposed to be slow! You don't know your ass from first base. They didn't have the "I" when you were playing.'

He was above all a teacher.

Wrote Blount, "Noll drew things on the blackboard, gave carefully-prepared, written-out speeches about being "men of substance," and sometimes snarled.  It wasn't a formula that inspired affection. But it largely held together."

"Everyone resents being told what to do. You have to show people that it works, that it leads to good experiences. You can have too much jawing."

It took him four seasons to produce a winner in Pittsburgh. 

In his first season, 1969, the Steelers were 1-13.

They followed with 5-9 and 6-8 seasons before breaking through with an 11-3 record in 1972.

In 7 of the next 8 seasons, they would win at least 10 games, but few owners other than the Rooney would have stuck with him until he turned it around.

Green  noted how he grew as a coach during that time.  "Guys are used to coaches screaming and hollering. It was different when Chuck  came in with his teaching philosophy. He was patient. He wasn't a screamer.  He just tried to instill his philosophy into the people he was going to have to use. He was hurt lots of times. He'd sit down there after a game and tears come into his eyes. Was he doing that bad? It would have been easy for him and Dan (Rooney) to panic.  They hung in there. And Chuck becomes more forceful every year.  Every year there's more pressure.  Yes, he can scream occasionally. We all look and listen, too.   A lot of times we as humans mistake kindness for weakness."

Said Art Rooney, Sr, to Blount,  "I think Noll never loses his poise.  I thought he was a good coach his first year, when he lost thirteen. He never lost his poise. Not only that, he never lost his team. However he does it, I don't know."

As evidence of the balance he maintained in in his life, when he walked out the door, he left football behind.   He rarely attended team reunions, he was stingy with interviews, and he repeatedly declined offers to publish an autobiography.

NYT Obit
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/sports/football/chuck-noll-coach-of-steelers-dynasty-in-1970s-dies-at-82.html?referrer=

Noll not interested in doing an autobiography
http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2012/10/14/On-the-Steelers-Chuck-Noll-s-is-a-story-worth-telling/stories/201210140145

Noll's lasting effect on Steeler culture
http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2014/06/15/He-set-the-precedent-Noll-changed-culture-of-Steelers-organization/stories/201406150204

Memories of Chuck Noll by a long-time Pittsburgh reporter
http://sportsblogs.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers-steelers-blog/2014/06/14/Memories-of-Chuck-Noll.html

Former Steelers remember Chuck Noll (this is really good)
http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Former-Steelers-share-thoughts-on-Chuck-Noll/ff163ef7-ba78-474c-80ed-19a23c8b7fb5



american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 10,  2014 “It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone or any other important thing - and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others."    Mark Twain


*********** Anyone out there remember voting for "The White House?"

Increasingly, I hear "The White House" said this… "The White House" said that…  "The White House" did this… "The White House" did that…

Whenever something needs to be said, one or another in a long line of stooges stands up and delivers the official line, as if he or she is actually the one in charge.

One problem here.

There's only one person in that f--king house who was elected by the people of the United States (well, two, if you count the Vice-President, but ever since the time when Aaron Burr tried to steal the election from Thomas Jefferson,  the V-P's simply been along for the ride, elected along with the President).

That's the President. So why aren't we hearing this stuff from Himself? 

It's getting a little scary to me, reminiscent of the days of the Cold War, when goings-on in Russia were a deep,dark secret, and when we got news from there, it came out of "The Kremlin."


*********** Midway through our fourth spring at North Beach High, in Ocean Shores, Washington, things are looking up for the Hyaks.

We return seven starters on both offense and defense, and although the players we're graduating will be missed, we are a quarterback away from being a good ball club.

Our line looks very solid, we are two-deep at the running back positions, and we return our top receivers from last season.

QB? Well… Actually,  sophomore Alex McAra has been looking really good.  He's small but very quick, and he's a good learner and a hard worker. His throwing is improving by the day. He's got excellent speed - he was a state medalist in the 300 hurdles and a member of our state-medaling 4x100 relay team.  But…  

He has to step in and replace Carson Ketter, whose development over the last three years was almost shocking - from a slew-footed, 5-7 sophomore who couldn't bench press his weight and couldn't throw the ball more than 30 yards in the air to a 6-2, 185-pound senior who personally accounted for over 1600 yards in offense last season, and developed enough speed to finish second in the state (by .02) in the 100. Next week, he's off to Yakima to play in the All-State game, and in the fall he's headed to Pacific Lutheran University to play ball.  Fortunately, Carson's been helping us as a student-coach during spring ball, and he's doing a great job working with Alex.  It's quite a tribute to Carson that Alex, who's making the switch from running back, has asked to wear Carson's #9 this season.

We culminate camp next Saturday by playing in a jamboree at Woodland, Washington, 2-1/2 hours to the south, near where I live.  Our three opponents will be Woodland and Kalama, both a class larger than we are, and R. A. Long, of Longview, two classes larger.

We know what we're doing - I think.  We had a number of games last year in which we had to call off the dogs, but when it came time to play really good teams, we came up short, and we think that facing competition in the spring that's far better than we are will prepare us for tougher competition in the fall.

*********** We have 37 kids who've made it through a week of spring football - a record turnout for boys at North Beach.  To put it in perspective, we have 160 kids in the school.  Do the math - that's roughly 80 boys in the school, and our 37 means we've got almost half the boys in the school out for football.

Caleb & RodneyPart of the reason for the numbers is the relatively large number of incoming freshmen, but something else is going on, because we also have a sizable group of incoming sophomores, who for various reasons didn't turn out last year.

The best thing is that we didn't have to lower the bar. 

We would never stoop to making false promises about playing time, and we make sure that they all understand that we set high standards for conduct on and off the field.  As we do every season, we started off our first day of practice by going over our rules - the way we do things.  And to reinforce the important point that these are not the coaches' rules, but the rules that we all live by, we asked our veteran players to present them, one rule per player.  I can't prove it, but I swear that things have been going even smoother than they normally do as a result of newcomers' hearing the rules from the veterans.

For the few latecomers who didn't attend our first practice, we asked individual veterans to go over the rules with them.  In the photo, 6-5, 260-pound senior tackle (and state discus champion) Caleb Bridge  brings incoming freshman Rodney Washington up to date.

*********** When I was a kid, we'd go visit my grandmother in West Philadelphia, and I still remember the time we drove past a big house and my mother said, "That's the Bergdoll Mansion.  He was a draft dodger."

Now, I had no idea what a draft-dodger was, but I could tell by the way my mother said it that it was not something good.

And every time thereafter that we went by the Bergdoll Mansion, I remembered what she'd said.

Years later, the name came back to me as a result of a recent "prisoner swap" involving another controversial American with the same distinctive last name (although spelled slightly differently), and I headed to the Internet.

From Wikipedia...

Bergdoll House is a historic home located in the Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was designed by noted architect James H. Windrim and built in 1886. It is in a Beaux Arts / Italianate-style.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The building was constructed as the home of the Louis Bergdoll family owners of the City Park Brewery. Grover Cleveland Bergdoll, scion of the well known brewing family, was a playboy, aviator, and World War I draft dodger.

The 14,000 square foot mansion has eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms, two kitchens, mahogany woodwork, multiple fireplaces, frescoes and mosaics. It was listed for sale in 2012 with an asking price of $6.9 million.

Grover Cleveland Bergdoll

He was born in Philadelphia. In 1912, he purchased a Wright Model B biplane for about $5,000. After 748 flights it was placed in storage, and in 1936 it was donated to the Franklin Institute. To avoid the draft he eluded police for two years. He was arrested in 1920, then escaped to Germany. Bergdoll found refuge in Eberbach in the Neckar Valley, not far away from Heidelberg, where relatives of his were living.

In January 1921 two US-sergeants Frank Zimmer and Carl Neuf wanted to seize Bergdoll in the town, but only had an American arrest warrant. They met the fugitive at the local station, exchanged words with him, and he finally fled with his car. One American fired two shots on the disappearing car, wounding a 17-year old girl named Lina Rupp on her right hand. Both sergeants were captured by the local police and later given jail sentences.

In 1923 a bid to kidnap Bergdoll from Eberbach was made. Two members of a gang of five were hiding in Bergdoll’s hotel room, where they wanted to overpower the draft dodger. But when Bergdoll entered the room, a fight started and he managed to shoot one of the kidnapers and injure the other one seriously. The four surviving conspirators were seized and sentenced to prison terms.

Finally in 1939 Bergdoll returned to the United States, was put on trial, and was imprisoned until 1944. He died in Richmond, Virginia in 1966.

The man drafted in Bergdoll's place, Russell C. Gross of Philadelphia, became a private in Company B of the 328th Infantry Regiment, part of the82nd Infantry Division.

He was killed in action on October 24, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Gross was posthumously cited for bravery by Brigadier General Julian R. Lindsey.

***********  In view of the way this Bowe Bergdahl deal is shaping up, George Will presents a scary proposition:

"If the military stalls on turning over files to Congress pertaining to the five years of Bergdahl's absence, we will at least know that there is no national institution remaining to be corrupted."

************* With all the sh-- coming down around him, Our President didn't get anything more out of his so-called "Concussion Summit" than a photo-op with a female soccer player.

*********** Any coach who's had kids cramp up during a game knows what a devastating thing it can be - to the kid and to the team. Cramps are much more common in warm weather, of course, but even in a cool-year-round climate like ours in Ocean Shores, Washington, despite our best efforts, our kids still get them.

So there were the Heat and the Spurs, playing an NBA Final Series game in an auditorium whose air conditioning was on the fritz - and LeBron James had to leave the game with cramps. 

And pencilnecks who've never strapped one on or laced 'em up are accusing him of being soft, taking a dive, quitting, etc.

*********** Funny how when Our President comes to town, security is such an urgent thing that streets are shut off for hours, and entire floors of hotels are declared off-limits to the public.

Yet on his recent visit to Poland, somebody, somehow, gained entry to his hotel's exercise room and videotaped Our President "working out." With "weights."

Said Bernard McGuirk , Executive Producer of the Imus in the Morning Show, "He makes Richard Simmons look like Vin Diesel."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2648339/Who-sneaked-camera-Obamas-hotel-gym-Security-questions-Polish-tabloid-runs-photos-President-working-out.html

*********** I read a column in our newspaper by Froma Harrop, quoting experts who suggest that West Virginia is just going to have to get over it.  Coal is done, you see, which means that the folks in the Mountain State are simply going to have to find something else to drive their economy.  They're going to have to "diversify."

My advice to West Virginians is: "DON'T BELIEVE THE LYING BASTARDS WHO TELL YOU THAT!"

That comes from someone who has spent his fair share of time over the years in rural Oregon and Washington.  Once reasonably prosperous areas where men willing to bust their butts working in the woods could make decent livings, they're victims of people who knew what was best for them, who lobbied and agitated to end logging, and now they're out of jobs and their kids are out of hope.  No more logging, no more trucking, no more saw mills, no more paper mills.  They've either moved elsewhere to try to find work, or they've stayed behind, barely getting by with whatever work they can find in their near-vacant  little towns.

Oh, sure - they were told that they'd get free (i.e., taxpayer-paid) job training so they could move into another career field.  Forget the fact that they already had jobs - jobs that filled an economic need,  that brought them satisfaction and paid them well.  Who cared about them, when people from New York City, Boston, Washington, DC and Los Angeles arrived on the scene to hug trees  - and save spotted owls.

You West Virginians - don't listen to those lying bastards who'll tell you that they'll get you government grants so you can go to the local community college and learn Web design or computer programming or somesuch.  They want you to go through what tens of thousands of other  workers in other parts of America already have - to sacrifice your standard of living in order to save the planet,   by exchanging the jobs that kept generations proud and fed in return for government promises that can't possibly be kept.

*********** So the owner of California Chrome has apologized for cutting loose on the pooh-bahs of horse racing for the way they've been gulling the public for years with all this Triple Crown hoopla.

Sure wish he hadn't, because he said something that needed to be said.

How'd you like your football team to be headed into overtime - and look across the field and see your opponent suiting up eleven fresh players?

How'd you like to go into Game 7 of the World Series tied 3-3, and have to face a different opponent than the one you'd be facing, one whose starters are rested and ready?

So much for the travesty that is horse racing today,  a fading sport in which the TV people and the racing people try to hype their ratings by leading us on with the ads touting a possible Triple Crown, and all the while, the insiders are conspiring to see to it that it never happens. What good reason - other than entry fees - could they have for allowing fresh horses that haven't raced in either of the two previous Triple Crown races to enter just the Belmont Stakes, and rob the public - and a great horse - of a chance at a Triple Crown?

What were the chances of 120,000 people showing up if the Triple Crown weren't on the line? Would half that many have shown up to watch a race among the unknown horses whose owners held them back until the Belmont? 

Winning the Triple Crown isn't easy - there hasn't been one in 36 years - and no one wants to devalue it by making it so. But it's as if the Powers That Be  want to make sure that it doesn't happen.

To me, it's outright fraud to represent the Belmont as  "Third Jewel in the Triple Crown"  when no more than three or four of the horses running in it have competed in the first two races.

http://news.yahoo.com/california-chrome-co-owner-rips-triple-crown-rules-011737855--rah.html

*********** Sales of Rap are down.  Could this be the first sign that our decadent society is on the mend?

http://www.showbiz411.com/2014/06/09/charts-rap-is-all-but-dead-as-led-zeppelins-40-year-old-albums-sell-60000-copies


american flag TUESDAY,  JUNE 3,  2014 "Genius is a thing that happens, not a kind of person."  Jordan Ellenberg, Professor of Mathematics, University of Wisconsin

*********** If you love soccer, you have to be excited about the upcoming World Cup, to be played either in Brazil or in TBA.

But at the same time, you have to be a trifle upset to learn that there have been disclosures of game fixing by officials at high levels, something as yet unheard of in any of our major sports (unless you count rogue NBA  referee Tim Donaghy).

Oh - and all the fuss about awarding the 2022 (I think that's when it is) World Cup to Qatar?  All the questions about the wisdom of playing the World Cup in a desert kingdom in the heat of summer?  Well, folks, wisdom had nothing to do with it.  Neither did the explanation that they really, really wanted to award the tournament to a Middle Eastern country.

Just as we all know what can happen when FIFA, soccer's corrupt world governing body, met with the great wealth of the tiny kingdom of Qatar, there was a large bribe involved.

And to think that the Eurosnobs castigate us because we don't appreciate soccer.


*********** It's with great pride as an adopted Washingtonian that I announce that our state has broken into the big time.  With the first appearance in print of "University of Washington-Seattle," The Evergreen State joins the list of pretentious states like Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Maryland and God-knows-how-many others that just have to let us know that their state university is so big and impressive that it has more than one campus.  Whoopee-do.  Or is it that they got heat from the branch campuses, originally designed to serve students geographically - or intellectually - removed from the main campus? I can hear it now: Hey- what about us?  Aren't we the University of Washington, too?  Well, yeah, I would answer.  With an asterisk.

In Pennsylvania, where I grew up, it wouldn't sound right to say Penn State-State College, but no matter - the folks at Penn State were already way ahead of the game.  "Main Campus" may mean nothing to you, but to those who live in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is a very big deal. Long before it became fashionable for the educrats in other states to branch out, Penn State had branch campuses spread all over the state. To a certain extent, they served as a sort of feeder system for the main campus at State College. Only the better-qualified high school graduates went directly there.  As a result, it has long been a matter of pride for Pennsylvanians to boast that their child has been admitted, not just to Penn State, but  to "Penn State - Main Campus."

At the U-Dub (as Washingtonians call UW) it may be something different. As has happened in a number of states, the state legislature in Washington has been systematically cutting back on state support to state colleges.  Under similar circumstances, faced with a financial pinch, business people would have cut costs.  But not university administrators.  Their reaction has been to increase revenue, and the way they've chosen to do that has been to cut back on the number of in-state students, whose tuition is fixed artificially low by the same legislature that cut back its support, and increase the number of out-of-state students, who pay roughly twice what in-state students pay.

And, even more deviously, they have increased the number of out-of-country students admitted.  Those kids bring in thee times or more what a Washington kid does.  And to make sure that those very valuable students know about the wonderful educational opportunities afforded by the University of Washington, the UW has dispatched recruiters to a certain very large Asian country just itching to send its students to the US for a first-class education.

Forget the fact that it could mean that your 4.0 student gets turned down by your state university because they have to make room for more foreigners.  The important thing is that while the state legislators divert taxpayers' money to spend on their own pet projects, the university administrators can continue pulling in their giant salaries.

Can you say, "University of Washington-Beijing?"

*********** I was sent the link to this by Mike Lude.  It is an incredible story , beautifully told by Retired Air Force General Steve Ritchie, about the display of American values that went into rescue of a downed airman named Roger Locher, lost for 23 days behind enemy lines in North Vietnam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvRcP4go-eg

*********** I know, I know - "when I was a kid… blah, blah, blah."

But it really is a sign of the times that there's seldom a day that goes by that my dog doesn't find a baseball.  An almost-new one. Granted, she is obsessed with finding them and she seems to have quite a nose for them, but there sure are a lot of them in the tall weeds that surround one of our local baseball fields.  I'm kind of shocked at a society so affluent  that balls are hit over the backstop and simply written off.

So here I go, back to a less affluent time.  Back to "when I as a kid…"

I spent most of that "kid" years during the War Years (1941-1945) and the years shortly after.  Times weren't all that  tough for us during then, but lots of things such as baseballs were in short supply.  And expensive. 

I don't know where they came from originally, but the baseballs we played with were badly scuffed (we played a lot of catch in the street outside our house) and once the laces wore through and the cover came off, we wrapped the ball with black friction tape.  (To this day, I don't know whether its proper name is "tire" tape or "tar" tape.)

It didn't occur to us that after continuously wrapping the tape around the top and bottom of the ball, it was no longer round. It didn't matter.  It still worked.

When we lost a ball - when somebody hit one into the bushes - the game stopped until we found it.  We didn't have a backup. Whenever we saw a ball, fair or foul,  heading for the woods or the weeds, we'd all call out "No Chips!", which I now assume meant "no chipping in" to help the owner get a new one.  (Unless, of course, he had been smart enough to declare beforehand: "I got chips on the ball."  Then, although we knew nothing of the law, we understood we were duty-bound to indemnify him in case of loss.)

The tape also did double duty whenever we cracked a bat. (There's no sound quite like the sound of a wooden bat breaking.) All bats then were wooden. (We usually had only one or two bats among us, and we had to share. The "chips/no chips" rule applied to bats, too.)  Although we all knew all about holding the trademark up, there were always a couple of dim bulbs who weren't careful.  Like future orthopedists, we'd first try to repair the fracture with a screw, then wrap the damaged area with tar/tire tape, making sure to rub sand or dirt on the tape to remove the stickiness.

With one exception, I didn't play with a shiny new baseball until I was in seventh grade, playing on the 12-year-old team at school.

That one exception still bothers me whenever I think about it.  It was my brother's ball, an official American League ball, autographed by Connie Mack - the Grand Old Man of the Game, who still owned and managed the Philadelphia A's, as he had done for decades.  It was so nice and white and shiny, and we needed a ball, and I couldn't see anything wrong with just throwing it around, and so I took it from his room, and…  You can probably write the ending to the story. And if you happen to know the current value of
an official American League ball, autographed by Connie Mack - please keep it to yourself.

*********** Other than the fact that he was born in MIssissippi, a football-crazy state, Alejandro Villanueva's trip to the pros has been an highly unusual one.
His parents are Spanish, but he's an American citizen because he was born in Meridian, Mississippi, where his father was stationed while a member of the Spanish Air Force.

While his father worked for NATO, he attended a high school in Belgium run for dependents of US Military, and learned to play American football.

He had exceptional grades, which earned him an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. There,  his great size - 6-9, 250 - and athletic ability brought him to the attention of the Army football coaches.  He bounced around from position to position until his senior year, when he played wide receiver in the Black Knights' triple-option offense.

And then came graduation, and a commission in the US Army, advanced training, and combat service in Afghanistan as a platoon leader.

And now, his military career on hold, he's a free agent trying out with the Philadelphia Eagles at defensive end.

HIs chances of making the team are not very good, but it seems to me that with all the drug-using knuckleheads being suspended for four games/half the season/the entire season, the NFL ought to find a spot for him just to partially offset all the low-character individuals that litter  their rosters.

http://m.espn.go.com/nfl/story?storyId=10963963&src=desktop

*********** I haven't done a very good job, I know, of concealing my disdain for what the great sport of rugby, the sire of our sport, is becoming - a cross between flag touch and 8-man football known as "Rugby Sevens" - seven men on a side for two seven-minute halves.

I happened to be turned to the college rugby championships Sunday and almost died laughing when the TV color guy stressed the importance, in such a big game, of never letting up: "You gotta play all 14 minutes."

*********** There are a few basic reasons why gold has long been valued.  It's beautiful.  It's durable. (It isn't going to rot or corrode or wear away.)  It's malleable.  (it can be worked into a variety of items, including jewelry.) And it's scarce.  Always has been.  Always will be.

According to a May 20 Wall Street Journal article, "All the gold ever mined could fit in a 60-foot cube."

In the article, the CEO of a major gold mining firm told of visiting a Chinese mine where they had to dig up ONE HUNDRED TONS of rock to come up with ONE OUNCE of gold.

His own company's mines, he said, were much more productive - to produce an ounce of gold, they "only" have to shovelv 32 tons of rock. .

*********** “At the end of the day, no matter what happened last night after the game or I get hurt badly, I signed for this. I signed for this. The military, when they go out there to fight, when they sign, they sign for everything. No matter what happened last night, I signed for this. That’s what I get paid for.”

That was Serge Ibaka, of the Oklahoma Thunder, who came back from an injury to put on an inspired performance that helped beat San Antonio in a playoff game.

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

Great obit on Bill Nunn. Interestingly, his son (also named Bill) is a reasonably well-known actor. He played a character called Radio Raheem in Spike Lee's influential film "Do The Right Thing."

Ed Wyatt
Melbourne, Australia

*********** Unless the NCAA grants it more flexibility in making rules that apply to big-time football, the SEC  is considering formation of a new NCAA Division - "Division IV" and expects the other four major conferences to join with it.

With increasing pressures to pay athletes, one of the aims of the big five conferences is more leeway to compensate athletes.  Such a proposal is unlikely to be approved by the general body of the NCAA.

Currently, the Big Five conferences are hampered by NCAA policy requiring a two-thirds vote (67 per cent) of their 65 schools and 15 student representatives as well as four out of five conferences in order to change a rule.

The SEC is requesting the NCAA to lower the requirement to 60 percent and three of the five conferences.

http://msn.foxsports.com/florida/story/sec-commissioner-mike-slive-ponders-potential-move-to-division-iv-053014


*********** There was a time, back before wider keys, back before the three-point shot, when a hook shot was a common thing in a basketball game.  A big man with a good hook shot was practically unstoppable.  As kids, we practiced hooks all the time, but pretty much the only time we ever really shot one in a game was in a game of P-I-G.  Or S-P-O-T.  Or H-O-R-S-E.  (All the same game - just different numbers of letters.)

When we'd make one, we'd shout "HOUBREGS!"

I have no idea how we came to know about Bob "Hooks" Houbregs, of the University of Washington and later the then much-smaller NBA, but however we did, we knew about his famed hook shot.

Mr. Houbregs died last week at the age of 82.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/30/sports/bob-houbregs-basketball-hall-of-fame-member-dies-at-82.html?referrer=

*********** I certainly don't know all the facts about the illegal swap of five killers for a US soldier named Bowe Bergdahl, but the deal is certainly beginning to look fishy to me.

From Time Magazine...

“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant said,CNN reports. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.” Vierkant, who was part of Bergdahl’s platoon when he disappeared that June, said Bergdahl should face a military trial for deserting in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Nathan Bradley Bethea, who served as an infantry officer from 2007 to 2014, made similar comments toThe Daily Beast. “Bergdahl did not ‘lag behind on a patrol,’ as was cited in news reports at the time,” Bethea writes.

“There was no patrol that night. Bergdahl was relieved from guard duty, and instead of going to sleep, he fled the outpost on foot. He deserted. I’ve talked to members of Bergdahl’s platoon—including the last Americans to see him before his capture. I’ve reviewed the relevant documents. That’s what happened.”

http://time.com/2809141/bergdahl-veterans-deserter/


This from The Washington Post...

“The Taliban knew that we were looking for him in high numbers and our movements were predictable,” said the comment, written by an anonymous poster who used military jargon and claimed to have been there.

“Because of Bergdahl, more men were out in danger, and more attacks on friendly camps and positions were conducted while we were out looking for him,” it continued. “His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit.”

Those sentiments were underscored in a long series of tweets that were posted Saturday night and went viral online. Using the Twitter handle @CodyFNfootball, the writer said he was on base at the time and believes that Bergdahl planned his escape for days, leaving between 3 and 4:30 a.m., when there was the least amount of light. The following day, the troops there questioned Afghan children nearby, who said they had seen an American crawling through weeds.

“While searching for him, ambushes and IEDs picked up tremendously,” one of the tweets said. “Enemy knew we would be coming.”

The Washington Post contacted the individual running the Twitter account but received no reply. Like the Rolling Stone comment, however, the tweets included enough specifics about Bergdahl’s unit and location to be regarded as potentially credible by many discussing the case.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mixed-reaction-to-bergdahls-recovery-by-service-members-who-consider-him-a-deserter/2014/06/01/3713e3ce-e9c5-11e3-b98c-72cef4a00499_story.html



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 30,  2014 -  "In addition to knowing how to think, people ought to know things that they can think about."  John Silber, late President of Boston University

*********** After endless stories of people taking their kids out of school, mid-semester, to go to Hawaii… or Mexico…  or Disneyland.. or simply skiing for the day, it was nice to read about a kid who had a legitimate excuse for missing classes - and didn't play the card.

Phoebe Saenz is a player on Yale's women's hockey team. She's also a Swiss national, and was selected to play on Switzerland's national team in the recent Sochi Winter Olympics.

She told the Yale Alumni Monthly that when she approached her professors in hopes of getting a break because of all the classes she was going to have to miss, she was reluctant to sound boastful, simply telling them, "I have this really big tournament going on in Russia..."


*********** John Silber, the late president of Boston University, was a brilliant man.  Like anybody who takes aim at the failures of America's education establishment, he had his enemies.  They didn't bother him in the slightest.

He was considered by one and all to be one tough cookie.

Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe columnist, once worked for him, and wrote about him at the time of his death...

He had a notable physical defect - his right arm ended in a stump just below the elbow, with a kind of vestigial thumb - that he made no effort to disguise, and I used to wonder how he could do things that clearly required two hands. He always wore shoes with laces - never slip-ons - and I asked him one day how he was able to tie them.

“What do you mean, how?” he growled. “Like this!” Then he bent over, and with his stump and his left hand, swiftly untied and retied one of his wingtips.

Silber despised political correctness — an attitude that extended even to his own physical deformity.

I recall with delight the time his harried executive secretary walked into the room where he was meeting with several staff members. Laying some papers on his desk, she griped that she had been “busier than a one-armed paperhanger.”

No sooner were the words out of her mouth than she began apologizing profusely. “Oh, Dr. Silber,” she gasped, “I’m so sorry! I can’t believe I said that!”
“Why?” he deadpanned. “I’m not a paperhanger.”

*********** After reading about Hudson's Bay High's decision to go with co-head coaches of its football team, Shep Clarke, of Puyallup, Washington, sent me an article about a high school in his area that once hired 5 (FIVE) guys to run its football team.

That was 2010 and the school, Emerald Ridge High, had gone 0-10 in 2009. I don't know when they gave up on the experiment,  but since 2010 Emerald Ridge has gone 2-8, 2-8, 5-5 and 4-6.

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/highschoolsports/2010/02/09/emerald_ridge_hires_5_co-head/

***********  In 1961, the great Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. wrote a short piece of science fiction entitled "Harrison Bergeron," telling of a future United States in which everyone would be equal.  Truly equal. The Handicapper General would see to that.

Now, barely 50 years after he wrote it, it seems a lot less like science fiction and a lot more like a realistic look into our  future.

The summary, from Wikipedia...

It is the year 2081. Because of Amendments to the Constitution, every American is fully equal, meaning that no one is smarter, better-looking, stronger, or faster than anyone else. The Handicapper General and a team of agents ensure that the laws of equality are enforced. The government forces citizens to wear "handicaps" (a mask if they are too handsome or beautiful, earphones with deafening radio signals to make intelligent people unable to concentrate and form thoughts, and heavy weights to slow down those who are too strong or fast).

One April, 14-year-old Harrison Bergeron, an extremely handsome teenage genius, is taken away from his parents, George and Hazel, by the government. George and Hazel are not fully aware of the tragedy. Hazel's lack of awareness is due to "average" intelligence, which in 2081, is the politically correct way of referring to someone of well-below-average intelligence. George does not comprehend the tragedy since the law requires him to wear the radio ear piece for twenty-four hours a day because he is of above-average intelligence.

Hazel and George are watching a ballet on TV. Hazel has been crying, though she cannot remember why. She remarks on the beauty of the dance. For a few moments, George reflects on the dancers, who are weighed down to counteract their gracefulness and masked to cover up their good looks. They have been handicapped so that TV viewers will not feel bad about their own appearance and hence will feel equally as talented and good-looking. Because of their handicaps, the dancers are not very good. A noise interrupts George's thoughts: two of the dancers onscreen hear the noise, too; apparently, they must wear radios as well.

Hazel thinks George looks exhausted and urges him to lie down and rest his "handicap bag", 47 pounds (21 kg) of weight placed in a bag and locked around George's neck. He says he hardly notices the weight any more. Hazel suggests taking a few of the weights out of the bag, but he says if everyone broke the law, society would return to its old competitive ways. Hazel says she would hate that. A noise interrupts the conversation, and George cannot remember what they were talking about.

On TV, a news reporter with a speech impediment attempts to read a bulletin. After 30 seconds, unable to even say "Ladies and Gentlemen", he hands the bulletin to a ballerina to read. Hazel commends him for working with his God-given abilities and says he should get a raise for trying so hard. The ballerina, wearing the most grotesque mask of all, and with weights meant for a 200-pound (90 kg) male, begins reading in her natural, beautiful voice, then apologizes and switches to a growly voice so that she will not sound nicer than anyone else. The bulletin says that Harrison has escaped from prison.

A photo of Harrison appears on the screen. He is wearing the handicaps meant to counteract his strength, intelligence, and good looks. The photo shows that he is 7 feet (2.1 m) tall and covered in 300 pounds (140 kg) of metal. He is wearing huge earphones, rather than a small radio, and big glasses meant to blind him and give him headaches. He is also wearing a red rubber nose and black caps over his teeth. His eyebrows are shaved off.

After a rumbling noise, the photo on the Bergerons' TV screen is replaced with an image of Harrison himself, who has stormed the studio. In an attempt to overthrow the government and its handicapping systems, he says that he is the emperor, the greatest ruler in history, and that everyone must obey him.

Then he rips off all of his handicaps. He says that the first woman brave enough to stand up will be his empress. A ballerina, presumably the one who reads the report, rises to her feet. Harrison removes her handicaps and mask, revealing a blindingly beautiful woman.

He orders the musicians to play, saying he will make them royalty if they do their best. Unhappy with their initial attempt, Harrison conducts, waving a couple of musicians in the air like batons, and sings. They try again and do better. After listening to the music, Harrison and his empress dance. Defying gravity, they move through the air, flying 30 feet (9 m) upward to the ceiling, then, still in the air, they kiss each other.

Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, comes into the studio and kills Harrison and the empress with a shotgun. Turning the gun on the musicians, she orders them to put their handicaps on in ten seconds, or the same fate will happen to them. The Bergerons' screen goes dark. George, who has left the room to get a beer, returns and asks Hazel why she has been crying. She says that something sad happened on TV, but she cannot remember exactly what. He urges her not to remember sad things. A noise sounds in George's head, and Hazel says it sounded like a doozy. He says she can say that again, and she repeats that it sounded like a doozy.

*********** In the late David Halberstam's "The Summer of '49," he tells of an act of almost unbelievable compassion on the part of famed Catcher Birdie Tebbetts:

Perhaps most revealing of Tebbetts's character is his recollection of an umpire who suffered dizzy spells following his return from the war. Afraid of losing his job, the umpire asked Tebbetts, then the Tigers catcher, to help calling balls and strikes, and Tebbetts tipped him off with hand signals following each pitch.

*********** Young people today complain a lot about loss of  privacy.  I have to laugh. While they raise hell about the NSA,  they text naked pictures of themselves to, basically, anyone with access to the Internet, and  reveal the most intimate details of their lives on Facebook.

I've got news for these twits, most of whom grew up with their own bedroom,  their own TV and their own telephone service:

The kind of privacy you enjoy is a relatively recent concept. 

You might be interested in knowing that before you arrived on the scene, just in time to make over our government and save our planet,  some of us had lived through…

Operators.  Before there were dial telephones, there were switchboard operators.  Think they didn't listen in on calls?


And once you got a dial phone, there was still the "party line," which meant you likely shared a line with one or more other customers. If one of the other customers happened to be talking when you needed to use the phone, tough luck.  And guess what? If you were on the phone with a friend and told him/her something in confidence,  the chances are someone else was listening in.  Not the government.  A snoopy townsperson.  Frankly, if I were a guy worried about whether my girlfriend was pregnant, I'd rather the NSA know than one of my neighbors.

Housing? I grew up in a rowhouse. Philly and Baltimore were rowhouse cities, block after block of what are slyly passed off nowadays as "townhouses." Unless you lived at the end of the block, you had walls on both sides.  When you looked out the front windows, you looked across the street at someone else's windows; out the back, you looked across the alley at the same thing.  Boston, New York and DC were somewhat the same. Boston had its "triple-deckers," with three families, one on each floor, sharing an entrance.  Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers crowded into multi-family tenements.

Neighborhood closeness was unavoidable.  People leaned out windows to talk with each other, and neighborhood women chatted while hanging their clothes out to dry. There was no such thing as air conditioning, and in warm weather, people fortunate enough to have front porches sat out and conversed with their neighbors or with passersby. (People actually walked places then.) Those without porches sat outside on their front "door stoops" to try to get a breath of cool air.

The idea of kids barricading themselves in "their" room was alien to most Americans.  Families were larger then, and a four-bedroom house was a rarity. Most kids grew up sharing a bedroom, and often a bed, with a "sibling" (a cutesy-poo word that had yet to join the conversation).

Not every hotel room was a "room with bath." When you stayed in a hotel there was a good chance you had to share the bathroom with a number of other guests.

(This may give you the willies, but in colonial times, overnight guests in hotels customarily  shared beds with strangers.)


Single working men in a strange town often lived in "boarding houses,"  usually the homes of "widow ladies" who depended on the rent for their income. Boarders would pay for a room by the week or by the month, and "board" included meals - provided that you ate meals when they were served, and you ate what was served.  Take it or leave it.  Not that there was any choice - there was no McDonald's in any town.

Let's not forget the days before Super Clips, when men went to neighborhood barber shops - places called Joe's or Dom's - to get their hair cut.  They used to say, if you wanted your information to go public, "Don't telephone - tell a barber."

In small towns men had their local saloons; in big cities they had their corner taverns. (In Philly they called them taprooms, or "tappies.")  The bartender knew what everybody drank. There was no TV to watch.  The entertainment  was talk.  Baseball, women, politics and, of course, neighborhood gossip.

It was common to go to church back then, too.  Church provided a weekly opportunity to catch up on the news of the parish or congregation. Since it was church, and it was Sunday, it couldn't possibly have been gossip, now, could it?

Any man who'd been in the service - and  when I was a kid, that was 90 per cent of them - had had experiences that would make a modern youngster's blood run cold.  I'm talking about army barracks and navy ships, places in which any supposed Constituional right to privacy was a myth.

*********** A Georgia father, a military vet, is in trouble with the nannies in the state for disciplining his 16-year-old son.

His crime? He was arrested and charged with child cruelty for sending the kid on three-mile hikes, carrying a 23-pound stone. O. M. G.

How pussified can we get?

Soldiers who've carried heavier loads on longer hikes might not agree that

http://www.11alive.com/story/news/local/douglasville/2014/05/27/charlie-mayes-teen-punished/9642971/

*********** Everyone knows that in order to have a conference championship game, a conference has to have 12 member teams. Right?

I mean, that's why the Big 12, which would like to play such a game, no longer can.  Not until it gets back to 12 teams.  It's why other conferences added teams that otherwise added little value (Colorado and Utah come to mind).

Oh - and also, in order to play that extra game - and bring in extra dollars for its members - a conference has to be split into two divisions. Right?

Alas, here's  the ACC, which has two decidedly unbalanced divisions, asking to simply play as one big league, with a round-robin schedule, and then stage its championship game between its top two teams (which would have meant a 2014 championship game between Florida State and Clemson, both in the same division, rather than Florida State and Duke).

The rule in this case is definitely not carved in stone.

Andy Staples, in si.com, did a bit of digging and found out that the idea of 12 teams and two divisions was not exactly carefully thought out by  geniuses at NCAA headquarters.

To put it simply, the PSAC, a Division II conference of 14 Pennsylvania state schools, divided geographically into eastern and western divisions, realized back in the 1980s that its member schools were upset by the fact that on the weekend their conference championship game took place, the rest of the member teams were idle. It was costing them a game. So the PSAC petitioned the NCAA for permission to play an extra game, wording it that   the division champions of any conference with 14 teams, divided into two divisions, could play an extra game for its conference championship. 

The CIAA - the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, a league of historically black colleges from Maryland to North Carolina - asked to join in the petition, but because the CIAA had 12 members, needed to have the proposal rewritten to specify that a conference must have 12 members, not the original 14.

And so it was written.

The proposal was submitted to the membership of the NCAA in 1987 and it was approved. And not just for Division II, either, but for all divisions.

And there it sat, unnoticed by the bigger schools, until Roy Kramer, who had been AD at Vanderbilt when the proposal was approved, was named Commissioner of the SEC.  He was aware of the rule, and what it provided for,  from his days at Vanderbilt, and now, as commissioner, he proposed that the SEC expand to 12 teams so it could rake in the cash from a conference championship game.

That was 1990.  The SEC added Arkansas and then South Carolina, and the rest is history.

Now, given  that there was never any well thought-out  reason  for having a minimum number of teams or dividing into two conferences in order to play an extra game for a confrence championship, there doesn't seem to be any good reason to oppose the desires of the Big 12 or the ACC.

And then the Pac-12 can ditch Colorado and Utah and go back to being the Pac-10 and playing a round-robin scheule - and still play a conference championship game between its top two teams! And only have to divide the spoils - and the bowl money - ten ways!  And, best of all,  fire Larry Scott, the genius commissioner  who created the current monstrosity.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140516/conference-championship-games-rule-origin/


Yaks*********** We (the North Beach Hyaks) get to start our spring ball on Monday.  Washington (WIAA) regulations prohibit any off-season activity until the last spring sports event has taken place.  For us, that's the state track meet this Friday and Saturday, a nine-hour bus ride away at Eastern Washington University.

We have several kids in contention, including our last year's quarterback, senior Carson Ketter, who's undefeated in the 100 this season, as well as sophomore Alex McAra, the front-runner to replace Carson at QB, who's undefeated in the 300 hurdles.

And with both Carson and Alex running - plus two more footballers -  we have a decent  chance of winning the 4 x 100 relay.

Caleb Bridge, Coach Todd Bridge's oldest son, is the state favorite in the discus.  His winning throw in the district meet of 171-6 is fourth best in the state at any level.

Coach Bridge did a great job of getting football players out for track.

Our projected offensive line - The "Yaks" -  took all five places in our league's track meet.  From left in the photo: Daniel Fruh (6-5, 270), Caleb Bridge (6-5, 260), Alex Horn (5-11, 230), Tim Poplin (6, 280) and Seth Bridge (6-3, 250)

*********** Where does The Obama find the ignoramuses who write his speeches?

Would you have let the President of the United States go out and pronounce corpsmen, "Corpse men?"

Would you have typed "all 57 states" into the teleprompter of the most powerful man in the free world?

The latest gaffe came after Our Leader slipped out to Washington State and - repeatedly - mispronounced the name of the little town of Oso (OH-so), the one destroyed by the giant slide.  He called it AH-so.  Over and over.

(This from the same guy who's oh-so very careful to pronounce Pakistan "PAH-kee-stahn.")

I'd have to say that if no speech writer got fired for making His Worship look like an ignoramus, General Shinseki of the VA has nothing to fear.

http://m.kirotv.com/videos/news/video-president-obama-mispronounces-oso-town-name/vCYLSq/

http://mynorthwest.com/108/2504391/Did-President-Obamas-mispronunciation-of-Oso-tarnish-his-mudslide-visit


***********  Bad enough that The Obama had to make West Point's graduates sit through a speech that, as usual, was all about him,  but then there was this…

Army vets and West Point graduates are expressing sentiments ranging from "dismay" to "disgust" at the President's failure, as Commander-in-Chief, to return the salutes of the graduating West Point cadets as he handed them their diplomas.

Is there not one single person in the President's vast, highly-paid  entourage who can inform him about  protocol?

*********** Q. How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

A. That's not funny.

Ah, those were the days, back before you could get fired for taking part in the grand old American tradition of poking fun at people who take themselves way too seriously.

Back before a couple of disc jockeys could get fired for making "hateful" remarks - specifically, calling a candidate for "gender-reassignment" surgery a "nut job."

It happened in Rochester, New York, a city that apparently is so awash in money that beginning January 1 it will pay for the medical expenses - and counseling - of employees desiring body parts other than the ones God gave them.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_FIRINGS_TRANSGENDER_COMMENTS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-05-22-15-16-41

*********** Black Lion (Vietnam Black Lion) Colonel Tom Grady is a former neighbor of my wife in Abington, Pennsylvania.

His son, Commander T.J. Grady, is a Naval Academy grad who recently took command of a Naval Patrol Squadron based on Jacksonville, Florida, and my friend (Colonel Grady's fellow Black Lion in Vietnam) was on hand, and sent me a program from the Change of Command ceremony.

I found a couple of things in the program to be very interesting.  First this, on the matter of Navy tradition and ceremony:

"Naval ceremonies antedate the Christian era. Common dangers and shared victories tend to bind people together and nowhere is it closer than in the naval profession, where comrades are bound by meaningful traditions, shared practices, and ancient customs. The Navy, an organization of explicit discipline, lends itself to the perpetuation of the more venerated customs, heroic traditions and dignified ceremonies such as that which we are witnessing today."

"The ceremonies, customs and traditions of our modern Navy draw their origin from ancient customs and laws of the sea begun in historic times by seagoing men and gradually merged into the British Naval Regulations in effect at the time of the American Revolution."

"The strength and supremacy of today's Navy stems in large measure from the observance of customs and traditions…"

And then this, on the absolute accountability of the Commanding Officer for anything that happens on his command:

"In the office of the Commanding Officer, there is a tradition older even than the traditions of the country itself and wiser in its age than our government.  it is the tradition that with responsibility goes authority, and with them both goes accountability.

"The skipper, like the head of state, is given power, honor, privileges and trust beyond other men. And he alone accepts accountability."

*********** Also in the Change of Command Ceremony program was this well-known quote of President Theodore Roosevelt which, at a time when twerps on Internet forums  feel free to criticize  coaches or a players, is worth reprinting:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

*********** You know things are f--ked up when Charlie Weis got more money last year NOT to coach Notre Dame than Brian Kelly did to actually coach the Irish.
 
http://tracking.si.com/2014/05/21/former-notre-dame-coach-charlie-weis-still-collecting-millions/?sct=obinsite






american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 27,  2014 "Liberals claim to be open and tolerant to other points of view but then are shocked and offended when they discover there ARE other points of view."  William F. Buckley, Jr.


*********** Other nations lost men in the same wars we did, and they, too, honor their men who gave all, often with song.

I can't think of any American songs to compare with these two...

This song is known by some as "No Man's Land" and by others as "The Green Fields of France" - but either way  it's a sad lament about a young soldier named Willie McBride, killed in battle in 1916 while still a teenager.

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

A very sad ballad, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," is the story of a young Australian sent off to fight in World War I.  He was shipped off to Gallipoli where thousands of "Anzacs" (Australians and New Zealanders) were slaughtered by Turkish machine-gun fire. (I highly recommend the movie, "Gallipoli")

Although he escaped death, his legs were blown off, and his story in the song  is told from the perspective of a now-old man.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VktJNNKm3B0

MEMORIAL DAY, 2014


The society for which many philanthropists, labor reformers, and men of fashion unite in longing is one in which they may be comfortable and may shine without much trouble or any danger. The unfortunately growing hatred of the poor for the rich seems to me to rest on the belief that money is the main thing (a belief in which the poor have been encouraged by the rich), more than on any other grievance. Most of my hearers would rather that their daughters or their sisters should marry a son of one of the great rich families than a regular army officer, were he as beautiful, brave, and gifted as Sir William Napier. I have heard the question asked whether our war was worth fighting, after all. There are many, poor and rich, who think that love of country is an old wife's tale, to be replaced by interest in a labor union, or, under the name of cosmopolitanism, by a rootless self-seeking search for a place where the most enjoyment may be had at the least cost.

I do not know the meaning of the universe. But in the midst of doubt, in the collapse of creeds, there is one thing I do not doubt, that no man who lives in the same world with most of us can doubt, and that is that the faith is true and adorable which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause which he little understands, in a plan of campaign of which he has little notion, under tactics of which he does not see the use.

Most men who know battle know the cynic force with which the thoughts of common sense will assail them in times of stress; but they know that in their greatest moments faith has trampled those thoughts under foot. If you wait in line, suppose on Tremont Street Mall, ordered simply to wait and do nothing, and have watched the enemy bring their guns to bear upon you down a gentle slope like that of Beacon Street, have seen the puff of the firing, have felt the burst of the spherical case-shot as it came toward you, have heard and seen the shrieking fragments go tearing through your company, and have known that the next or the next shot carries your fate; if you have advanced in line and have seen ahead of you the spot you must pass where the rifle bullets are striking; if you have ridden at night at a walk toward the blue line of fire at the dead angle of Spottsylvania, where for twenty-four hours the soldiers were fighting on the two sides of an earthwork, and in the morning the dead and dying lay piled in a row six deep, and as you rode you heard the bullets splashing in the mud and earth about you; if you have been in the picket-line at night in a black and unknown wood, have heard the splat of the bullets upon the trees, and as you moved have felt your foot slip upon a dead man's body; if you have had a blind fierce gallop against the enemy, with your blood up and a pace that left no time for fear --if, in short, as some, I hope many, who hear me, have known, you have known the vicissitudes of terror and triumph in war; you know that there is such a thing as the faith I spoke of. You know your own weakness and are modest; but you know that man has in him that unspeakable somewhat which makes him capable of miracle, able to lift himself by the might of his own soul, unaided, able to face annihilation for a blind belief.

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Civil War combat veteran, addressing the graduating class of Harvard University on Memorial Day, 1895

*********** Memorial Day, once known as "Decoration Day," was originally set aside to honor the men who died in the Civil War. (There was a time when certain southern states did not observe it, preferring instead to observe their own Memorial Days to honor Confederate war dead.)

The Civil War soldiers called it "seeing the elephant." It meant experiencing combat. They started out cocky, but soon learned how suddenly horrible - how unforgiving and inescapable - combat could be. By the end of the Civil War 620,000 of them on both sides lay dead. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were left dead or homeless.

"I have never realized the 'pomp and circumstance' of glorious war before this," a Confederate soldier bitterly wrote, "Men...lying in every conceivable position; the dead...with eyes open, the wounded begging piteously for help."

"All around, strange mingled roar - shouts of defiance, rally, and desperation; and underneath, murmured entreaty and stifled moans; gasping prayers, snatches of Sabbath song, whispers of loved names; everywhere men torn and broken, staggering, creeping, quivering on the earth, and dead faces with strangely fixed eyes staring stark into the sky. Things which cannot be told - nor dreamed. How men held on, each one knows, - not I."

Each battle was a story of great courage and audacity, sometimes of miscommunication and foolishness. But it's the casualty numbers that catch our eyes. The numbers roll by and they are hard for us to believe even in these days of modern warfare. Shiloh: 23,741, Seven Days: 36,463, Antietam: 26,134, Fredericksburg: 17,962, Gettysburg: 51,112, and on and on (in most cases, the South named battles after the town that served as their headquarters in that conflict, the North named them after nearby rivers or creeks - so "Manassas" for the South was "Bull Run" for the North; "Antietam" for the Union was "Sharpsburg"  for the Confederacy).

General William T. Sherman looked at the aftermath of Shiloh and wrote, "The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war."

From "Seeing the Elephant" - Raw Recruits at the Battle of Shiloh - Joseph Allan Frank and George A. Reaves - New York: Greenwood Press, 1989

*********** Several years ago, I visited the First Division (Big Red One) Museum in Wheaton, Illinois, where I read these lines, and thought of all the Americans who died in service of their country - men who in the memories of those they left behind will be forever young...

If you are able
Save a place for them inside of you,
And save one backward glance
When you are leaving for places
They can no longer go.
   
Be not ashamed to say you loved them,
Though you may or may not always have.
Take what they have left
And what they have taught you with their dying,
And keep it with your own.
   
And in that time when men feel safe
To call the war insane,
Take one moment to embrace these gentle heroes
You left behind.
   
by Major Michael D. O'Donnell...
shortly before being killed in action in Vietnam, 1970

***********After graduation from Harvard in 1910, Alan Seeger lived the life of a bohemian/beatnik/ hippie poet in New York City's Greenwich Village.  In 1914, he moved to Paris, and when war with Germany broke out, like a number of other young Americans,  he joined the French Foreign Legion to fight with the Allies. On July 4, 1916, nine months  before America joined the war on the side of the Allies, he was killed in the Battle of the Somme. He was 28. A year after his death, his poems were published.  The best known of his poems was "I Have a Rendezvous With Death," which according to the JFK Library, "was one of President Kennedy's favorite poems.
 
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
By Alan Seeger 
 
I HAVE a rendezvous with Death     
At some disputed barricade,     
When Spring comes back with rustling shade     
And apple-blossoms fill the air—     
I have a rendezvous with Death             5
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.     
 
It may be he shall take my hand     
And lead me into his dark land     
And close my eyes and quench my breath—     
It may be I shall pass him still.      10
I have a rendezvous with Death     
On some scarred slope of battered hill,     
When Spring comes round again this year     
And the first meadow-flowers appear.     
 
God knows 'twere better to be deep      15
Pillowed in silk and scented down,     
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,     
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,     
Where hushed awakenings are dear...     
But I've a rendezvous with Death      20
At midnight in some flaming town,     
When Spring trips north again this year,     
And I to my pledged word am true,     
I shall not fail that rendezvous.


Poppies once symbolized the Great War,  or The World War,  or - The War to End All Wars (since, in the conceit that seems to follow every war, people  just knew that after the horror of that conflict, mankind would do anything in its power to avoid ever going to war again.)

Following the World War, Americans began to observe  the week leading up to Memorial Day as Poppy Week, and long after the World War ended, veterans' organizations in America, Australia and other nations which had fought in the war still sold imitation poppies every year at this time to raise funds to assist disabled veterans.

It was largely because of a poem by a Canadian surgeon, Major John McCrae that the poppy, which burst into bloom all over the once-bloody battlefields of northern Europe, came to symbolize the rebirth of life following the tragedy of war.

After having spent seventeen days hearing the screams and dealing with the suffering of men wounded in the bloody battle at Ypres, in Flanders (a part of Belgium) in the spring of 1915, Major McCrae wrote, "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."
Major McCrae was especially affected by the death of a close friend and former student. Following his burial - at which, in the absence of a chaplain, Major McCrae himself had had to preside - the Major sat in the back of an ambulance and, gazing out at the wild poppies growing in a nearby cemetery, composed a poem, scribbling the words in a notebook.

When he was done, though, he discarded it. Only through the efforts of a fellow officer, who rescued it and sent it to newspapers in England, was it ever published.

Now, the poem, "In Flanders Fields", is considered perhaps the greatest of all wartime poems.

The special significance of the poppies is that poppy seeds can lie dormant in the ground for years, only flowering when the soil has been turned over.

The soil of northern Belgium had been so churned up by the violence of war that at the time Major McCrae wrote his poem, the poppies were said to be blossoming in a profusion that no one could  remember ever having seen before.

In Flanders Fields... by John McCrae        

In Flanders fields the poppies blow   
Between the crosses, row on row,   
That mark our place; and in the sky  
The larks, still bravely singing, fly   
Scarce heard amid the guns below.        

We are the Dead. Short days ago   
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,   
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie   
In Flanders fields.        

Take up our quarrel with the foe:   
To you from failing hands we throw   
The torch; be yours to hold it high.   
If ye break faith with us who die   
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow   
In Flanders fields.


*********** THE YANKEE FROM OLYMPUS - ON MEMORIAL DAY

"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war. We felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.... In our youths, our hearts were touched with fire." Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.

At a time in our history when fewer than five per cent of the people who govern us have served in our Armed Forced, it is useful to go back to another time, to men such as Oliver Wendel Homes, Jr.

Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.  was born in Boston in 1841, the son of a famous poet and physician. In his lifetime he would see combat in the Civil War then go on to become a noted lawyer and, finally, for 30 years, a justice of the Supreme Court. So respected was he that he became known as "The Yankee From Olympus."

He graduated from Harvard University in 1861. After graduation, with the Civil War underway, he joined the United States Army and saw combat action in the Peninsula Campaign and the Wilderness, and was injured at the Battles of Ball's Bluff, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. He was discharged in 1864 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

The story is told of Holmes that in July 1864, as the Confederate general Jubal Early conducted a raid north of Washington, D.C. President Abraham Lincoln came out to watch the battle. As Lincoln watched, an officer right next to him was hit by a sniper's bullet. The young Holmes, not realizing who he was speaking to, shouted to the President, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!"

After the war's conclusion, Holmes returned to Harvard to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1866, and went into private practice in Boston.

In 1882, he became both a professor at Harvard Law School and a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In 1899, he was appointed Chief Justice of the court.

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt named Holmes to the United States Supreme Court, where he served for more than 30 years, until January 1932.

Over the years, as a distinguished citizen who knew what it meant to fight for his country, he would reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, and of the soldier's contribution to preserving our way of life...

On Memorial Day, 1884, 20 years after the end of the Civil War, Mr. Holmes said,

Accidents may call up the events of the war. You see a battery of guns go by at a trot, and for a moment you are back at White Oak Swamp, or Antietam, or on the Jerusalem Road. You hear a few shots fired in the distance, and for an instant your heart stops as you say to yourself, The skirmishers are at it, and listen for the long roll of fire from the main line.
 
You meet an old comrade after many years of absence, he recalls the moment that you were nearly surrounded by the enemy, and again there comes up to you that swift and cunning thinking on which once hung life and freedom--Shall I stand the best chance if I try the pistol or the sabre on that man who means to stop me? Will he get his carbine free before I reach him, or can I kill him first? These and the thousand other events we have known are called up, I say, by accident, and, apart from accident, they lie forgotten.
 
But as surely as this day comes round we are in the presence of the dead. For one hour, twice a year at least--at the regimental dinner, where the ghosts sit at table more numerous than the living, and on this day when we decorate their graves--the dead come back and live with us.
 
I see them now, more than I can number, as once I saw them on this earth. They are the same bright figures, or their counterparts, that come also before your eyes; and when I speak of those who were my brothers, the same words describe yours.

On the eve of Memorial Day, 1931, at the age of 90, Mr. Justice Holmes wrote to a friend:

"I shall go out to Arlington tomorrow, Memorial Day, and visit the gravestone with my name and my wife's on it, and be stirred by the military music, and, instead of bothering about the Unknown Soldier shall go to another stone that tells beneath it are the bones of, I don't remember the number but two or three thousand and odd, once soldiers gathered from the Virginia fields after the Civil War. I heard a woman say there once, 'They gave their all. They gave their very names.' Later perhaps some people will come in to say goodbye."

Justice Holmes died on March 6, 1935, two days short of his 94th birthday, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. So spry and alert was he, right up to the end, that it's said that one day, when he was in his nineties, he saw an attractive young woman and said, "Oh, to be seventy again!"

A 1951 Hollywood motion picture, The Magnificent Yankee, was based on his life.

*********** Robert W. Service is one of my favorite poets. I especially like his poems about the Alaska Gold Rush - who hasn't ever heard "The Cremation of Sam McGee?" -  but this one, about a young English soldier going off to fight in World War I and the grief of his father at learning of his death, is heartbreaking, and especially poignant on a day when we remember our people who gave everything, and those loved ones they left behind..

"Where are you going, Young Fellow My Lad, On this glittering morn of May?"   
"I'm going to join the Colours, Dad; They're looking for men, they say."   
"But you're only a boy, Young Fellow My Lad; You aren't obliged to go."   
"I'm seventeen and a quarter, Dad, And ever so strong, you know."        

"So you're off to France, Young Fellow My Lad, And you're looking so fit and bright."   
"I'm terribly sorry to leave you, Dad, But I feel that I'm doing right."   
"God bless you and keep you, Young Fellow My Lad, You're all of my life, you know."   
"Don't worry. I'll soon be back, dear Dad, And I'm awfully proud to go."        

"Why don't you write, Young Fellow My Lad? I watch for the post each day;   
And I miss you so, and I'm awfully sad, And it's months since you went away.   
And I've had the fire in the parlour lit, And I'm keeping it burning bright   
Till my boy comes home; and here I sit Into the quiet night."        

"What is the matter, Young Fellow My Lad? No letter again to-day.   
Why did the postman look so sad, And sigh as he turned away?   
I hear them tell that we've gained new ground, But a terrible price we've paid:   
God grant, my boy, that you're safe and sound; But oh I'm afraid, afraid."        

"They've told me the truth, Young Fellow My Lad: You'll never come back again:   
(OH GOD! THE DREAMS AND THE DREAMS I'VE HAD, AND THE HOPES I'VE NURSED IN VAIN!)   
For you passed in the night, Young Fellow My Lad, And you proved in the cruel test   
Of the screaming shell and the battle hell That my boy was one of the best.        

"So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad, In the gleam of the evening star,   
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child, In all sweet things that are.   
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy, While life is noble and true;   
For all our beauty and hope and joy We will owe to our lads like you."

*********** Hugh Brodie, an Australian, enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in Melbourne on 15 September 1940. In 1942, Sergeant Brodie was listed Missing in Action. Before he left us, though, he wrote "A Sergeant's Prayer"

Almighty and all present Power,
Short is the prayer I make to Thee,
I do not ask in battle hour
For any shield to cover me.

The vast unalterable way,
From which the stars do not depart
May not be turned aside to stay
The bullet flying to my heart.

I ask no help to strike my foe,
I seek no petty victory here,
The enemy I hate, I know,
To Thee is also dear.

But this I pray, be at my side
When death is drawing through the sky.
Almighty God who also died
Teach me the way that I should die.

*********** Like many other phenomena in life, history has a tendency to be fickle. In 2001, some thirty-four years after the Battle of Ông Thanh, and the subsequent withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam in 1973, which was followed by the "honorable peace" that saw the North Vietnamese army conquer South Vietnam in 1975 in violation of the Paris Peace Accords, most historians, as well as a large majority of the American people, may consider the U.S. involvement in Vietnam a disastrous and tragic waste and a time of shame in U.S. history. Consider, however, the fact that since the late 1940s, the Soviet Union was the greatest single threat to U.S. security. Yet for forty years, war between the Soviet Union and the United States was averted. Each time a Soviet threat surfaced during that time (Greece, Turkey, Korea, Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam, and Afghanistan), although it may have been in the form of a "war of national liberation," as the Vietnam war was characterized, the United States gave the Soviet Union the distinct message that each successive threat would not be a Soviet walkover. In fact, the Soviets were stunned by the U.S. reactions in both Korea and Vietnam. They shook their heads, wondering what interest a great power like the United States could have in those two godforsaken countries. They thought: "These Americans are crazy. They have nothing to gain; and yet they fight and lose thousands of men over nothing. They are irrational." Perhaps history in the long-term--two hundred or three hundred years from now--will say that the western democracies, led by the United States, survived in the world, and their philosophy of government of the people, by the people, for the people continues to survive today (in 2301) in some measure due to resolute sacrifices made in the mid-twentieth century by men like those listed in the last chapter of this book. Then the words of Lord Byron, as quoted in this book's preface, will not ring hollow, but instead they will inspire other men and women of honor in the years to come.

From "The Beast was Out There", by Brigadier General James Shelton, USA (Ret.)

Jim Shelton is a former Delaware football player (a wing-T guard) who served in Korea and Vietnam and as a combat infantryman rose to the rank of General. He was in Viet Nam on that fateful day in October, 1967 when Don Holleder was killed. Ironically, he had competed against Don Holleder in college.

Now retired, he has served as Colonel of the Black Lions and was instrumental in the establishment of the Black Lion Award for young American football players. General Shelton personally signs every Black Lions Award certificate.

The title of his book is taken from Captain Jim Kasik's description of the enemy: "the beast was out there, and the beast was hungry."

*********** He's now dead and gone, but  George Jones' music will live on. His "50,000 NAMES" - a tribute to the 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam - may be THE Memorial Day song.

(Warning - this could make you cry.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpBiVpSggNs


ON MEMORIAL DAY, I ESPECIALLY HONOR THE MEN OF THE BLACK LIONS, AND DON HOLLEDER, FORMER ARMY ALL-AMERICAN, WHO DIED IN THE VIETNAM JUNGLE IN THE BATTLE OF ONG THANH, OCTOBER 17, 1967

K I A ... Adkins, Donald W.... Allen, Terry... Anderson, Larry M.... Barker, Gary L.... Blackwell, James L., Jr.... Bolen, Jackie Jr. ... Booker, Joseph O. ... Breeden, Clifford L. Jr ... Camero, Santos... Carrasco, Ralph ... Chaney, Elwood D. Jr... Cook, Melvin B.... Crites, Richard L.... Crutcher, Joe A. ...... Dodson, Wesley E.... Dowling, Francis E.... Durham, Harold B. Jr ... Dye, Edward P. ... East, Leon N.... Ellis, Maurice S.... Familiare, Anthony ... Farrell, Michael J. ...Fuqua, Robert L. Jr. ...Gallagher, Michael J. ...Garcia, Arturo ...Garcia, Melesso ...Gilbert, Stanley D. ...Gilbertson, Verland ...Gribble, Ray N. ...Holleder, Donald W. ...Jagielo, Allen D. ...Johnson, Willie C. Jr ...Jones, Richard W. ...Krischie, John D. ...Lancaster, James E. ...Larson, James E. ...Lincoln, Gary G. ...Lovato, Joe Jr. ...Luberta, Andrew P. ...Megiveron, Emil G. ...Miller, Michael M. ...Moultrie, Joe D. ...Nagy, Robert J. ...Ostroff, Steven L. ...Platosz, Walter ...Plier, Eugene J. ...Porter, Archie ...Randall, Garland J. ...Reece, Ronney D. ...Reilly, Allan V. ...Sarsfield, Harry C. ...Schroder, Jack W. ...Shubert, Jackie E. ...Sikorski, Daniel ...Smith, Luther ...Thomas, Theodore D. Jr. ...Tizzio, Pasquale T. ...Wilson, Kenneth P. .... M I A ... Fitzgerald, Paul ...Hargrove, Olin Jr


A TRIBUTE TO DONALD WALTER HOLLEDER UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY CLASS OF 1956 - THE MAN WHOSE STORY INSPIRED THE BLACK LION AWARD...

By retired Air Force General Perry Smith (Don Holleder's West Point classmate, roommate and best man)

"If you doubt the axiom, 'An aggressive leader is priceless,' ...if you prefer the air arm to the infantry in football, if you are not convinced we recruited cadet-athletes of superior leadership potential, then you must hear the story of Donald Walter Holleder. The saga of Holleder stands unique in Army and, perhaps, all college gridiron lore." Hence begins the chapter, "You are my quarterback", in Coach Red Blaik's 1960 book, You Have to Pay the Price. Every cadet in the classes of 1956, 57, 58 and 59, and everyone who was part of the Army family at West Point and throughout the world will remember, even 50 years after the fact, the "Great Experiment". But there is much more to the Holleder story. .

Holly was born and brought up in a tight knit Catholic family in upstate New York. He was an only child whose father died when Don was quite young. Doc Blanchard recruited high school All American Holleder who entered the Point just a few days after he graduated from Aquinas Institute in Rochester. Twice turned out for academic difficulties, he struggled mightily to stay in the Corps. However as a cadet leader he excelled, serving as a cadet captain and company commander of M-2 his senior year.

Of course, it was in the field of athletics that Don is best known. Never a starter on the basketball team, he nevertheless got playing time as a forward who brought rebounding strength to a team that beat a heavily favored Navy team in the early spring of 1954. That fall, the passing combination of Vann to Holleder quickly caught the attention of the college football world. No one who watched those games will ever forget Holly going deep and leaping into the air to grab a perfectly thrown bomb from Peter Vann. Don was a consensus first team All American that year as a junior.

Three football defeats in 1955 after Holly's conversion to quarterback brought criticism of Coach Blaik and Don from many quarters but the dramatic Army victory over Navy, 14 to 6 brought redemption. Shortly thereafter, Holly received the Swede Nelson award for sportsmanship. The fact that he had given up all chances of becoming a two time all-American and a candidate for the Heisman trophy and he did so without protest or complaint played heavily in the decision by the Nelson committee to select him for this prestigious award.

Holly's eleven year career in the Army included the normal schools at Benning and Leavenworth, company command in Korea, coaching and recruiting at West Point and serving as the commanding general's aide at Fortress Monroe. After graduating from Command and General Staff College, he was off to Vietnam.

Arriving in July, 1967, Holly was assigned to the Big Red One--the First Infantry Division-- and had considerable combat experience before that tragic day in the fall--October 17. Lieutenant Colonel Terry Allen's battalion was ambushed and overrun--the troops on the ground were is desperate shape. Holleder was serving as the operations officer of the 28th Brigade--famous Black Lions. Hearing the anguished radio calls for help from the soldiers on the ground, Holly convinced his brigade commander that he had to get on the ground to help. Jumping out of his helicopter, Holly rallied some troops and raced toward the spot where the wounded soldiers were fighting.

The Newsweek article a few days after his death tells what happened next. "With the Viet Cong firing from two sides, the U. S. troops now began retreating pell-mell back to their base camp, carrying as many of their wounded as they could, The medic Hinger was among those who staggered out of the bush and headed across an open marshy plain toward the base, 200 meters away. But on the way he ran into big, forceful Major Donald W. Holleder, 33, an All-American football player at West Point..., going the other way--toward the scene of the battle. Holleder, operations officer for the brigade, had not been in the fight until now. ' Come on Doc, he shouted to Hinger, 'There are still wounded in there. I need your help.'

"Hinger said later: 'I was exhausted. But having never seen such a commander, I ran after him. What an officer! He went on ahead of us--literally running to the point position'. Then a burst of fire from the trees caught Holleder. 'He was hit in the shoulder recalled Hinger. 'I started to patch him up, but he died in my arms.' The medic added he had been with Holleder for only three minutes, but would remember the Major's gallantry for the rest of his life." Holly died as he lived: the willingness to make great sacrifices prevailed to the minute of his death.

Caroline was left a young widow. She later married our West Point classmate, Ernie Ruffner, who became a loving husband and father to the four Holleder daughters. All the daughters are happily married and there are eight wonderful and loving grandchildren.

The legacy of Donald Walter Holleder will remain an important part of the West Point story forever. The Holleder Army Reserve Center in Webster, New York, the Holleder Parkway in Rochester and the Holleder Athletic Center at West Point all help further Don's legacy. In 1985, Holly was inducted into College Football Hall of Fame. A 2003 best selling book, They Marched into Sunlight, by David Maraniss tells the story of Holleder and the Black Lions. Tom Hanks has purchased the film rights to the book.

An innovative high school coach, Hugh Wyatt, decide to further memorialize Don's legacy by establishing the Black Lion Award. Each year at hundreds of high schools, middle schools and youth football programs across the country, a single football player on each team is selected "who best exemplifies the character of Don Holleder: leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and--above all--an unselfish concern for his team ahead of himself." Starting in 2005, this award is presented to a member of the Army football team each year.

Anyone who wishes to extend Holleder's legacy can do so by approaching their local football coaches and encouraging them to make the Black Lion Award a part of their tradition. Coach Hugh Wyatt can be contacted by e mail (coachwyatt@aol.com).

All West Pointers can be proud of Donald Walter Holleder; for him there were no impossible dreams, only challenges to seek out and to conquer. Forty years after his death thousands of friends and millions of fans still remember him and salute him for his character and supreme courage.

By Retired Air Force General Perry Smith, classmate and roommate, with great assistance from Don's family members, Stacey Jones and Ernie Ruffner, classmates, Jerry Amlong, Peter Vann and JJ McGinn, and battlefield medic, Doc Hinger.

*********** "Major Holleder overflew the area (under attack) and saw a whole lot of Viet Cong and many American soldiers, most wounded, trying to make their way our of the ambush area. He landed and headed straight into the jungle, gathering a few soldiers to help him go get the wounded. A sniper's shot killed him before he could get very far. He was a risk-taker who put the common good ahead of himself, whether it was giving up a position in which he had excelled or putting himself in harm's way in an attempt to save the lives of his men. My contact with Major Holleder was very brief and occured just before he was killed, but I have never forgotten him and the sacrifice he made. On a day when acts of heroism were the rule, rather than the exception, his stood out."

    Black Lions medic Dave Berry

*********** A YOUNG MAN'S REMEMBRANCES OF DON HOLLEDER...

In 1954-55 I lived at West Point N.Y. where my father was stationed as a member of the staff at the United States Military Academy.

Don Holleder was an All American end on the Red Blaik coached Army football team which was a perennial eastern gridiron power in 40s and 50s. On Fall days I would run home from the post school, drop off my books, and head directly to the Army varsity practice field which overlooked the Hudson River and was only a short sprint from my house.

Army had a number of outstanding players on the roster back then, but my focus was on Don Holleder, our All-America end turned quarterback in a controversial position change that had sportswriters and Army fans buzzing throughout the college football community that year.

Don looked like a hero, tall, square jawed, almost stately in his appearance. He practiced like he played, full out all the time. He was the obvious leader of the team in addition to being its best athlete and player.

In 1955 it was common for star players to play both sides of the ball and Don was no exception delivering the most punishing tackles in practice as well as game situations. At the end of practice the Army players would walk past the parade ground (The Plain), then past my house and into the Arvin Gymnasium where the team's locker room was located.

Very often I would take that walk stride for stride with Don and the team and best of all, Don would sometimes let me carry his helmet. It was gold with a black stripe down the middle and had the most wonderful smell of sweat and leather. Inside the helmet suspension was taped a sweaty number 16, Don's jersey number.

While Don's teammates would talk and laugh among themselves in typical locker room banter, Don would ask me about school, show me how to grip the ball and occasionally chide his buddies if the joking ever got bawdy in front of "the little guy". On Saturdays I lived and died with Don's exploits on the field in Michie Stadium.

In his senior year Don's picture graced the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine and he led Army to a winning season culminating in a stirring victory over Navy in front of 100,000 fans in Philadelphia. During that incredible year I don't ever remember Don not taking time to talk to me and patiently answer my boyish questions about the South Carolina or Michigan defense ("I'll bet they don't have anybody as fast as you, huh, Don?").

Don graduated with his class in June 1956 and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Coincidentally, my Dad was also assigned to the 25th at the same time so I got to watch Don quarterback the 14th Infantry Regiment football team to the Division championship in 1957.

There was one major drawback to all of Don's football-gained notoriety - he wanted no part of it. He wanted to be a soldier and an infantry leader. But division recreational football was a big deal in the Army back then and for someone with Don's college credentials not to play was unheard of.

In the first place players got a lot of perks for representing their Regiment, not to mention hero status with the chain of command. Nevertheless, Don wanted to trade his football helmet for a steel pot and finally, with the help of my Dad, he succeeded in retiring from competitive football and getting on with his military profession.

It came as no surprise to anyone who knew Don that he was a natural leader of men in arms, demanding yet compassionate, dedicated to his men and above all fearless. Sure enough after a couple of TO&E infantry tours his reputation as a soldier matched his former prowess as an athlete.

It was this reputation that won him the favor of the Army brass and he soon found himself as an Aide-de-camp to the four star commander of the Continental Army Command in beautiful Ft Monroe, Virginia.

With the Viet Nam War escalating and American combat casualties increasing every day, Ft Monroe would be a great place to wait out the action and still promote one's Army career - a high-profile job with a four star senior rater, safely distanced from the conflict in southeast Asia.

Once again, Don wanted no part of this safe harbor and respectfully lobbied his boss, General Hugh P. Harris to get him to Troops in Viet Nam. Don got his wish but not very long after arriving at the First Division he was killed attempting to lead a relief column to wounded comrades caught in a Viet Cong ambush.
I remember the day I found out about Don's death. I was in the barber's chair at The Citadel my sophomore year when General Harris (Don's old boss at Ft Monroe, now President of The Citadel) walked over to me and motioned me outside.

He knew Don was a friend of mine and sought me out to tell me that he was KIA. It was one of the most defining moments of my life. As I stood there in front of the General the tears welled up in my eyes and I said "No, please, sir. Don't say that." General Harris showed no emotion and I realized that he had experienced this kind of hurt too many times to let it show. "Biff", he said, "Don died doing his duty and serving his country. He had alternatives but wouldn't have it any other way. We will always be proud of him, Biff."

With that, he turned and walked away. As I watched him go I didn't know the truth of his parting words. I shed tears of both pride and sorrow that day in 1967, just as I am doing now, 34 years later, as I write this remembrance. In my mind's eye I see Don walking with his teammates after practice back at West Point, their football cleats making that signature metallic clicking on concrete as they pass my house at the edge of the parade ground; he was a leader among leaders.

As I have been writing this, I periodically looked up at the November 28, 1955 Sports Illustrated cover which hangs on my office wall, to make sure I'm not saying anything Don wouldn't approve of, but he's smiling out from under that beautiful gold helmet and thinking about the Navy game. General Harris was right. We will always be proud of Don Holleder, my boyhood hero...

Biff Messinger, Mountainville, New York, 2001

***********  A retired Navy captain, wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the strict criteria for awarding the Medal of Honor (frequently called the Congressional Medal of Honor)...

"Remember the Marine Corps requirement: Fall on a hand grenade to save your fellow Marines and the grenade fails to explode, you get a Navy Cross; if the grenade explodes, you might get the Medal of Honor."

The Medal of Honor was meant to be awarded sparingly,  Of the hundreds of thousands of men who fought in in our Twentieth Century wars, here are the numbers of Medals of Honor Awarded:

WW I  124
WW II  464
Korea 135
Vietnam  246

There were 1522 Medals of Honor awarded as a result of Civil War. Actually, there were more than that,  but  over 900 were later rescinded.

One reason was that in the Civil War, the Medal of Honor was the only medal awarded for valor. Another reason was the enormous number of casualties suffered during the Civil War.

http://www.homeofheroes.com/moh/corrections/purge_army.html



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 23,  2014 "Everybody wants to save the world -  but nobody wants to do the dishes."   P. J. O'Rourke


MY
ANNUAL MEMORIAL DAY  TRIBUTE WILL APPEAR NEXT TUESDAY
    
 
*********** The Wall Street Journal had an article recently about retailers and the scents that they like to allow to waft out into malls to attract  customers to their establishments.

Cinnabon, Panera and Starbucks were obvious examples.


But they mentioned Abercrombie and Fitch, and noted that, because it catered to teenagers, it favored a "strong, musky scent."

Say, "musky?"  After noting the way teenage boys over the years have done away with the old routine of showering after practice, I can only surmise that girls have grown to like the smell. 

*********** Bud Barrow died on April 29 in Bloomington, Indiana. He was 82.

I only knew of Bud Barrow as a Black Lion - as the Top Sergeant of Delta Company in Vietnam.

All I really know about him was told to me by my friend, Tom "Doc" Hinger, and written by David Maraniss, in his marvelous book, "They Marched Into Sunlight." which may be the best book written about the War in Vietnam.

Three excerpts from the book tell a bit about Sergeant Bud Barrow...

Square of face with a burr haircut and Southern Indiana twang, Barrow was an army lifer.  Back in 1948, before some of his buck privates were born, he had escaped from Bloomington and a difficult stepmother by quitting school at age 16 and enlisting after forging his date of birth on the birth certificate. By the summer of 1967, when he received orders for Southeast Asia, he had served 19 years in the army, including nine with the Big Red One in Germany, without facing combat. He was one year from retirement but not ready to fade away. His military career would never seem complete, he believed, unless he did a Vietnam tour.

Now, after the Black Lions were ambushed and chopped to pieces by the numerically superior North Vietnamese, Sergeant Barrow was found alive.  His reaction reveals the almost-motherly feeling that top sergeants have for the young men under them:

On the way into the jungle Sergeant George Smith had been told by a retreating soldier that Deltas first sergeant, Bud Barrow, was sitting on a log, waiting for them. Where was he? Barrow could hear the recovery forces before they spotted him. Shouts: "Who's there?" Then, staring down at him, there stood George Smith, and next to Smith was Ray Albin.

"Thank God, Top!" Albin shouted, seeing that Barrow was alive. There had been reports back at the NDP that he was dead.  

Another soldier called out, "Hey, first sergeant.  How ya doin'?"

Barrow broke down, his relief at being saved overwhelmed by the travail of the bloodbath.  He had been shot through both legs and had ninety-two pieces of shrapnel in his knees, back and buttocks, and more than that, his nostrils were aflame with a smell that he would never forget, the strong rotten smell of dead bodies.

"I ain't  doin' worth a damn," he said, weeping. "They killed all my boys."

Then, as Sergeant Barrow lay in a hospital recovering from his wounds, General Wiliam Westmoreland, commander of all US forces in Vietnam, made the rounds, pinning Purple Hearts on the wounded.  The official spin at the time was that the Battle of Ongh Thanh was not an ambush, which would have reflected poorly on military planning and command.  Bud Barrow wasn't buying.

In the recovery ward at last, Westmoreland moved down the row of men, pinning Purple Hearts.

"I just want to congratulate you," he said to Bud Barrow, the Delta first sergeant,

"Well, I'm not sure whether you oughta congratulate me or the enemy," Barrow responded.  "They're the ones who won that one." His mind raced back to the seventeenth, the denseness of the jungle floor, the Viet Cong shooting from the trees, the terror of being out there, the grief of losing so many of his boys.

Westmoreland pinned a Purple Heart on Barrow's pajamas and said, "Tell me sergeant.  What happened out there?"

"Well sir, we walked into one of the damned ambushes you ever seen," Barrow said.

"Oh no no no," Westmoreland replied briskly.  "That was no ambush."

"Call it what you want to," Barrow said. The combination of his wounds, the medication, and all he had been through allowed him to speak more bluntly to a general than he would have normally. "I don't know what happened to the rest of the people, but by God, I was ambushed."

Rest in Peace, Segreant Bud Barrow.

*********** Treasury Wine Estates, an Australian firm, is one of the world's largest wine companies.  Among its brands is Beringer, well known in the US.  Last year, Treasury had to destroy hundreds of thousands of gallons of Beringer wine that it couldn't sell, at a loss of some $144,000,000. How do you "destroy" that much win?  It's not as simple as you think, because in order to get back the taxes that you've paid the government, you have to be able to convince the feds that there's no chance any of it can be sold. So they crushed the cases by driving back and forth over them with road rollers.

Seems a shame to do that to otherwise good wine, with all those down-and-outers wandering around town trying to cadge enough change for a bottle of Thunderbird.

***********  "Members of the school community have long expressed concerns related to the exclusive nature of Honors Night."

That beautiful example of the Trophies for Everybody mentality came from two middle school administrators in the Providence, Rhode Island suburb of East Greenwich, in canceling the assembly at which it traditionally honored its top students.

I didn't read about any plans to simply put every kid in the school on the honor roll, which would have been my suggestion.

http://eastgreenwich.patch.com/groups/schools/p/cole-middle-school-cancels-honors-night

*********** A large group of NFL alumni has sued the league regarding the use of painkillers that enabled players to play when hurt.

It's not clear-cut, that's for sure.  There is certainly an issue of player responsibility, and I don't doubt for a minute that a great number of players - then and now - would ask for a painkiller if it meant being able to play.  The general public really has no idea how competitive those guys are, how much they want to play, and how important it is to them to contribute to the team.  (On the latter point, I do have to admit to having serious doubts about some of today's players.)

I also believe that if most of those players were told that taking the shot might lead to some long-term health issues, say, ten or twenty years down the line, they'd have said, "go ahead and give me the shot."

I know, I know.  They're young and strong and what lies ahead never occurs to them.  So are we saying, then, that they're too young to give informed consent?  Should the age of consent be 30?  Or 40?  That wouldn't work, because I suspect that a lot of the guys getting shot up were older players trying to extend their careers.

Obviously, it's not totally the player's call. What choice, really,  did those guys have? In a league that celebrates "durability,"  what would a guy do to his reputation - to his long-term career prospects - if he declined to take a painkiller and missed a game that he could have played in otherwise, if he'd agreed to an injection?

Write Arthur L. Caplan & Lee H. Igel of The NYU Sports & Society Program, in Forbes,

"the basic question is whether NFL players were properly informed about the drugs they were being administered. There is also some question about whether they felt compelled to consent to the treatments because of the nature and culture of their workplaces. But the biggest question is: Who should be charged with thinking for the long-term, since players may only be thinking about what they need to do now to get back on the field as soon as possible? That is where responsibility for thinking long-term lies."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/leeigel/2014/05/21/as-ex-players-sue-nfl-over-use-of-painkillers-who-is-ultimately-responsible/


************ Then-Senator Barack Obama, November 12, 2007: “After seven years of an Administration that has stretched our military to the breaking point, ignored deplorable conditions at some VA hospitals, and neglected the planning and preparation necessary to care for our returning heroes, America’s veterans deserve a President who will fight for them not just when it’s easy or convenient, but every hour of every day for the next four years.”

"I will not stand for it."   Thus spake Our President, Barack H. Obama,  Wednesday, on the growing VA scandal.  You know, the one that he just found out about the other day when he happened to read about it in the papers. ("Hey - why doesn't anyone around here tell me about these things?")

I haven't yet heard him say "I won't rest," a tired cliche that his speech writers have  grown accustomed over the years to having him say as his pat response to this problem or that. But I expect I will.   Jim Geraghty, of National Review Online, has listed at least a dozen occasions on which he used that very phrase. I guess golf and fund-raisers and vacations don't count as rest, because once, he even said "I won't rest"  while he was in Hawaii.  No wonder the guy's so thin - for the last six years, he's been staying up around the clock, trying to fix all these problems that nobody even told him about until things got out of hand.

Anyhow, we all know he won't rest until heads roll for this VA thing, but meanwhile, he had to hustle, because the Seattle Seahawks. were waiting for him to honor them.

We all knew, of course, that he's a lifelong Chicago Bears fan, but he still thought it was important to tell the Seahawks that.

And, finally,  what would a meeting with the President be if he couldn't in some way make it about him? Referring to the Seahawks' not being pre-season favorites, he told them, "As a guy who was elected president named Barack Obama, I root for the underdogs."

Now, back to work on the VA Scandal.

*********** For eight years I coached at Hudson's Bay High, in Vancouver, Washington. It was a really nice school, very middle class with tough kids who worked hard and played hard.  It was a great place to teach and coach, and I had a good run there.

But over the years since, things changed at "Bay," mainly the socioeconomic of its drawing area. Now, it's decidedly lower middle class, and its lack of sports success reflects it. 

In the last ten years, Bay has won 21 games, four in the last four years, two in the last three years, one in the last two years.

Its kids have had four coaches in the last four years, and this time next year, it'll be six in the last five years.

No, I'm not able to see into the future and predict that their newest coach will be fired in mid-season.

But they'll have had two more head coaches, because they just hired - two head coaches.

I can't imagine how this is going to work, but what the hell - nothing else has.

*********** I've always liked and admired Bud Grant.  Not just as a coach, but as a man's man.  I'm just finishing up his book, "I Did It My Way," and if anything, my admiration for him has increased.

Tuesday was Coach Grant's 87th birthday.

What I wouldn't give to be in the Twin Cities right now, where he's holding a garage sale!

http://www.twincities.com/breakingnews/ci_25799362/bud-grants-garage-sale-promises-vikings-treasures-no?source=hottopics


*********** I was a big fan of the Steelers in the 1970s and I've remained one over the years.  There's been a lot of good stuff written about the Steelers, and their owners, the Rooney family.  More about that at a later time.

The heart and soul of those Steelers, by almost anyone's account, was Joe Greene.

He was part of their great defensive line, the Steel Curtain - he and Dwight White and Ernie Homes and L.C. Greenwood.

And there was Franco Harris and Frenchy Fuqua.  And there were Lynn Swann and John Stallworth and Mel Blount.  And Joe Gilliam.

Are you getting the drift? They were all black players.  Very good black players. The  Steelers were out in front  in the scouting and signing of outstanding black players.

And a major reason for this was Bill Nunn.  Bill Nunn was the sports edit of the Pittsburgh Courier, a newspaper aimed at  a national black readership. At a time when there were far fewer opportunities in major colleges for black players, the Pittsburgh Courier put major emphasis on black college football, and starting in 1950, it started naming a black college All-American team.

Bill Nunn grew to know black college coaches and players, and in frustration at the way those players were being overlooked by the NFL, he took his case to Dan Rooney, son of the Steelers' owner, Art Rooney.  To help him prove his pronto - and to help the Steelers, they hired him as a part-time scout in 1967, and two years later, when Chuck Noll was hired, Bill Nunn became a full-time Steelers' coach.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Bill Nunn died recently.  He deserves to be remembered as a pro football trail blazer.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/10/sports/football/bill-nunn-scout-who-shaped-steelers-super-bowl-teams-dies-at-89.html?referrer=




american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 20,  2014"A lot of people want to be coaches and become enamored with the game but they often leave out the real importance of organizing and managing."   Bud Grant
          
*********** You could argue that a power play in hockey - when one of the teams is a man short due to penalty - is one of the most exciting moments in sports.  Teams are far more likely to score when they have an extra man on the ice, and if your team is the one that's a man down, it's a good thing that most penalties last just two minutes, because it's nerve wracking.

For people who can't take the excitement of the power play, may I suggest soccer?

How many sports you can think of in which a team can play a man short for the entire second half and not lose?

It happened in Portland on Saturday night when "our" Timbers tied the Columbus Crew, 3-3.


*********** With the World Cup less than two months away (I know that most of you already had it marked on your calendars), we're beginning to see why Charles deGaulle, late president of France, once said, “Le Brésil n’est pas um pays sérieux” - "Brazil is not a serious country."

Brazil is the host country of the World Cup. The country's poor have been up in arms about the money being spent to put on the extravaganza, and about the  slums that have been razed in order to build stadiums.  A number of the stadiums in which games are to be held are still unfinished.  Mass transit planned to whisk spectators to and from the venues won't be completed in time to be used.  Some games are scheduled to be played in remote places in the Amazon rain forest where tropical heat and humidity will make conditions unbearable.  Then, of course, there is the strong possibility that visitors may object to the fact they are likely to be victims of the crime for which Rio de Janeiro is famous..

But enough about  the World Cup.  Soccer is soccer. Right on its heels, though, Brazil has to put on the 2016 Olympics, the first ever to be held in South America.  It is impossible to list all the things that have already gone wrong.  Preparations at one point were so far behind schedule that the International Olympic Committee found it necessary to issue warnings that - that  - who knows?  They couldn't pull the games out of  Brazil because no place else could take on the job on such short notice.

And then, there are the sailing events.

The body of water where they're to be held is described as “dark, brown and stinking" by one of Brazil's most famous yachtsmen. The bay is loaded with garbage and trash washed into it from streams into which it's been dumped - tires, discarded furniture, bodies (mostly dogs, but an occasional human).  And raw sewage.  Lots and lots of raw, untreated human excrement.  Anyone for a sail?

The solution?  The Brazilian government has plans to deploy as many as 30 little  “ecoboats” to putter around the bay picking up garbage.  That's about like going out with teaspoons.  Question: in a country that only collects about 10 per cent of all trash, where will the ecoboats dump their haul?

“The government could deploy aircraft carriers to collect the bay’s garbage and the problem would not be solved,”  a biologist told the New York Times. “The bay is still a latrine. It’s an insult to Rio’s people to say it will be clean for the Olympics.”

Personally, for the first time in my life I find myself looking forward eagerly to the sailing events.  I think it would be cool if some sailboat were to hit a dead horse or an old couch and capsize, dumping some rich guys in white outfits into the septic soup.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/world/americas/memo-to-olympic-sailors-in-rio-dont-touch-the-water.html?referrer=

*********** You like waiting for a doctor's appointment?   Consider what's coming out about the scandalous treatment of veterans in VA hospitals to be a sneak preview of what to expect when the Dems get their ultimate wish and the US government takes over the operation of ALL our hospitals.

*********** My classmate/teammate and sophomore year roommate, Jeff Lamy, died last week after a long bout with GuillaIn-Barre.

The crowning achievement of Jeff's life had to be his contribution to the building of what is now the world-renowned Oregon wine industry.

He was in on the ground floor.  Like so many people in the wine business at that time, he was self-taught. 

According to the trade journal Enobytes, Jeff planned, built and ran  a major winery from 1982 to 1992, and then as a consultant went on to design more than 400 vineyards and a dozen wineries. He spent his final years writing a book, due to be published soon, on winery management.

Heck of a guy.

*********** THE "UP IS DOWN AND DOWN IS UP" DEPARTMENT…

So two Kansas girls decided they wanted to be identified as boys.  And their school accommodated them.  And then the two "boys" went to the prom together - as each other's dates. Does this mean that they're both transgender AND gay?  This is all so confusing…

http://news.yahoo.com/schools-help-transgender-students-fit-143943577.html

Some reactions to the story:

Today I feel like a girl. Can I shower with the cheerleaders?

Isn't this just super swell! Boys can be girls and girls can be boys and the school and the local District or Board of Education will drop everything else to make it happen. Now IF the school and the local District or Board of Education would spend as much time and effort TEACHING their dimwits something about Math, English, Grammar, Penmanship . . .

Funny, when a black person tries to be white, or vice versa and they go through constructive surgery to get these results all sorts of psychological disorders and the such are given to the person. In fact, many on both sides find it insulting.

First sentence of the article: "Isaac Barnett took a bold step last year: He told teachers and classmates at his Kansas high school that the student they had known as a girl now wanted to be accepted as a boy." This should have been the second sentence: "Billy Henson, a classmate, took an even bolder step this year. He told teachers and classmates at his Kansas high school that Isaac's behavior seemed bizarre to him." Isaac will now be class president, Billy will be released from custody after extensive interrogation and banned from attending Kansas public schools.

Oh the future of America. Soon we will have the first gay president. What do we call his partner? The "First Gentleman ?" It's time for the Earth to start over again, call in the doomsday asteroids.

And this classic, by someone known only as  "Amanda"

I may have been born in a "human" body, but I identify as a cat.

I am so butt-hurt that I can't walk around in a fur suit and lap milk from my saucer in the school cafeteria without hateful remarks and ridicule.

I was sent to the principal's office on 8 different occasions because teachers said my "cat costume" was distracting the other students. After a few heated PTA meetings, the principal conceded that my fur suit was acceptable and they amended the official dress code to accommodate me. Victory!

I was sent to detention twice for stretching my claws on the school theater's stage curtains. When I brought my own scratching post to school they confiscated it and sent me to the the school counselor. I was sent home from school one day just for chasing a rodent around the hallways. I thought they would have thanked me for catching it and dropping it on the principal's desk... but no. All I received was hate for doing what comes naturally for me. :-(

All new students are required to present their immunization records when they enroll. Dr. Cass at the Westside Veterinary Clinic faxed complete documentation of my rabies, distemper, dewormer, and FIV & leukemia shots along with proof that I'd been treated with Frontline Advantage to the school - but the school said that they would not accept it!

The government will not let me legally change my name to "Purrfect Princess Puffypants" in my state. Each time I apply to do so, I'm forced to see a judge who discriminates against my cat identity.

I even suffer at home. I was once swatted, chased away with a broom by a close-minded bigoted lady who didn't like me mewing outdoors at night. I got into a little scuffle with a neighbor's dog, and police tried to charge me with animal cruelty.
I requested that my identity's needs be accommodated by installing a special bathroom (or even just one stall) with a large litter box in it at school and at my place of employment. I was denied twice. Now every trip to relieve myself is shameful and difficult to endure.

I made a request that Animal Planet's shows on Cats (like Must Love Cats, Big Cat Diary, and Cats 101) along with a short informational video entitled "Being Different is Good Mews" be a part of school of the school's regular curriculum and part of the orientation process for new employees at my workplace. Not only would it educate and expand their minds, it could help others who are afraid to express their own cat identity to feel more accepted.

Another brilliant idea that was simply shot down.  The board never even voted on it.

Life is challenging for those of us with a purrsonal identity that differs from society's norm. But we must keep our whiskers high and claw a place for ourselves in the fabric of America!

***********  At last!  An intelligent decision by New York politicians!

(CNN) -- Racehorse California Chrome will be allowed to use a nasal strip while racing in the June 7 Belmont Stakes, New York racing officials decided Monday.

The decision by representatives of the New York State Gaming Commission, the New York Racing Association and the Jockeys Club ends a ban on the strips at Belmont. It keeps alive the the 3-year-old's bid to win horse racing's Triple Crown after winning this year's Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby.

The horse's trainer had said his owners might not allow the horse to raise without the strip, which the manufacturer says allows horses to breathe more freely and reduces the risk of bleeding in the lungs during heavy exertion.

California Chrome has worn the strips during its last six wins, including first-place finishes at the Kentucky Derbyand Preakness Stakes.

Come to think of it, it didn't take much intelligence to realize that a decision to continue their anti-Breathe Right policy would have made them the nation's laughing stock. 

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/18/us/california-chrome-nasal-strips/

*********** The pampered pukes at Haverford College (a no-football haven of academic elites on Philadelphia's Main Line) managed to veto the school's first choice for commencement speaker, the former Chancellor of the University of California-Berkeley.  Seems back in 2011, UC Police used force (gasp!) in putting down an Occupy demonstration, and before the Haverford student protestors - joined and perhaps abetted by a handful of professors - would agree to his speaking, they insisted - demanded! - they he publicly apologize, that he support "reparations" for the "victims,"  and that he write a letter to Haverford students explaining his position and "what you learned from them."

Rather than comply, the Berkeley guy backed out.

So, Haverford had to go get another speaker.

What Haverford - and the Haverford students - got was more than they bargained for.

They got the retired president of Princeton, William G. Bowen, who informed the protestors that their actions were "immature" and "arrogant."

And he took exception to the claim by one of the student leaders of the protests, who had called the original speaker's withdrawal "a minor victory."

"It represents nothing of the kind," Bowen said. "In keeping with the views of many others in higher education, I regard this outcome as a defeat, pure and simple, for Haverford - no victory for anyone who believes, as I think most of us do, in both openness to many points of view and mutual respect."

He was given a standing ovation.

http://articles.philly.com/2014-05-18/news/49928236_1_birgeneau-haverford-students-haverford-college

*********** Somebody, somewhere, must have gotten to Michael Sam and told him not to proceed with the "documentary" planned to run on Oprah's channel - a documentary that the Rams hadn't been told about prior to drafting Sam.

“After today’s meeting with the Rams, we collectively feel it is best to postpone the project,” said Sam’s agent Cameron Weiss. “This will allow for Michael to have a total focus on football and will ensure no distractions to his teammates. Everybody involved remains committed to this project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message.”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/own-postpones-michael-sam-docuseries-705082

*********** Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams is just the sort of guy you'd want coaching your kid. 

In a recent weekend youth baseball tournament, he was overheard telling his pitcher to hit an opposing batter, which he did.  In the ribs.

Only the day before, according to Deadspin, he'd been ejected from a game - same tournament - for calling an umpire a motherf--ker and calling an opposing player (a ten-year-old) a pussy.  No explanation for why he was back "coaching" the next day.

Throughout the tournament he "heckled" opposing coaches.

Poor, pathetic loser.  Now that he's out in the real world with the rest of us, he copes by trying to relive his baseball life through little kids.

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/report-mitch-wild-williams-ordered-beanball-youth-game-article-1.1796104

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/05/ex-mlb-pitcher-mitch-williams-takes-leave-from-mlb-network-after-flap-in-youth-tournament



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 16,  2014"Throw it there when they're looking here, and throw it here when they're looking there."  Satchel Paige
          
*********** Coach,

How do you call a play in the huddle -  does the QB just say "22" or does the QB say (for example) "Pitt Bill Liz 55 XO" and then also say "22" so everyone can look at their wrist cards?

Hi Coach -

All I do when I call the play is call "22"(or whatever the coordinates are)

And that's all the QB says.

If I want a different set or motion I might say, for example, " Left 22", or "Spread 22")

Once we really get into this, it's rare for the kids to hear a play call in full, 
in games or in practice.

ice man*********** Identifying the Ice Man

Dennis Metzger
Fountain City, Indiana
For someone from Illinois that should be easy. "The Wheaton Iceman", AKA "The Galloping Ghost"; who was Red Grange, University of Illinois graduate and Chicago Bear. He may be the individual who "made" pro football in the early years. As important as the Colts-Giants championship game was to the dawn of the modern era, Red Grange playing professional football in the 1920's was important to the game's survival and growth.

Joel Mathews
Independence, Missouri
 
Bill Nelson
Thornton, Colorado

Carl Kilburg
Hebron, Indiana

MIke Benton
Colfax, Illinois

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington
Enjoyed the clip about Bucko Kilroy. I was trying to figure out who Ernie Stautner reminded me of, and then, when he talked about the "contract" on Kilroy, it hit me: he's a dead ringer for Frank Vincent, the actor who's made a living playing Mafiosi.  Check it out!
 

RED GRANGE AND HIS IMPACT ON THE NFL

by Hugh Wyatt

I was interviewing George Halas and I asked him who is the greatest running back you ever saw. And he said, 'That would be Red Grange.' And I asked him if Grange was playing today, how many yards do you think he'd gain. And he said, 'About 750, maybe 800 yards.' And I said, 'Well, 800 yards is just okay.' He sat up in his chair and he said, 'Son, you must remember one thing. Red Grange is 75 years old.'      Chris Berman, ESPN

Pro football didn’t begin to make an impact on the big cities of the East - and capture the attention of its newspapers - until late in the 1925 season, when the most celebrated, most exciting college football player who had ever played was enticed to turn pro.

His name was Harold "Red" Grange, and the number he wore - 77 - was almost as famous as he was. His remarkable feats as a running back at the University of Illinois had earned him the nickname the “Galloping Ghost.”   In 1924, his junior year, 67,000 people -  the largest crowd up to that point  ever to watch a sporting event in the Midwest - celebrated the dedication of Illinois' new stadium, then watched in awe as Grange scored four touchdowns against Michigan on runs of 96, 65, 54 and 48 yards  - in the first quarter! 

(MORE)   http://www.coachwyatt.com/RED%20GRANGE%20AND%20THE%20NFL.html

*********** The President thought he was being funny - I think - when he suggested to a New York audience the other day that he wished he could ship some of them from New York, where he has more than enough voters in his pocket, to places farther west where he could use the votes.

Unwittingly, he pointed out a major reason why The Founders provided for an electoral college - why we do not elect presidents by popular vote.  Otherwise, a candidate with a huge following in, say, New York, could theoretically defeat a rival who narrowly won every other state (all 56 of them).  It's almost as if The Founders could foresee that one day, our approach to election security would be so lax that polls could be manipulated in just one or two key cities to make that scenario a reality.

Besides, what Our President proposes is already happening in several western states, where former Californians, fleeing their state's oppressive regulations and taxation, move in but forget to leave their left-leaning politics behind. 

*********** First there was The Kiss. Then there was the revelation that he's going to be featured in a "documentary" on the Oprah Network. Michael Sam sure has made it harder for us to view him as guy who just wants to be known simply as a football player who happens to be gay.

Jason Whitlock says it's because there's Michael Sam… and there's Michael $am...

Michael Sam's decision to do a "documentary series" -- reality TV show -- on the Oprah Winfrey Network is a gigantic tactical error for Sam and his supporters within the LGBT community.

America, for the most part, would wrap its arms around Michael Sam, the gay, underdog football player fighting to find his place in the NFL. America, for the most part, will reject Michael $am, the gay, in-your-face political/media pawn using the NFL as a platform to launch his celebrity brand.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10937109/michael-sam-needs-send-message-making-roster-nfl

*********** Tipped off by Coach John Bothe, of Oregon, Illinois, I got Bud Grant's autobiography, "I Did It My Way."  I'm well into it now, and as I knew I would, being a very big admirer of Bud Grant as both a coach and a person, I am really enjoying it.

Get this line about his football-playing days at Minnesota (where he also played basketball and baseball):

"For me it was an incredible learning experience. I have to say that I really learned a lot about what not to do as a coach by watching what the coaches at Minnesota did."

***********  Coach Bothe and I got going on Bud Grant:

I enjoy reading about his time management and perspective on life outside of coaching, especially how he balanced it during coaching.

Right from the start, in high school when he simply didn't have time for girls, and in college when he chose  to turn down Wisconsin's deal and instead pay his own way at Minnesota so he could play three sports and "live his own life," he was all about balance.

It is really refreshing to read about an NFL coach that had that type of balance with family and outside activities.  

I don't see Jim Harbaugh duck hunting for an hour or so on his way to work and starting the coaches meeting at 9:00 each morning.  Current NFL guys make the news when they take 30 minutes per day to walk the treadmill while they are watching film.  And they probably slept on the office couch.

I know we as coaches are supposed to dive right into the game film that same night or at least the next morning but I need some outside time on the weekends to recharge before we get back into it.

Some time back I saw the light and realized that I wasn't willing to pay the price that college coaches pay.

Back in the early 70s I was at the Redskins' camp in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and I was talking with Tim Temerario, their director of player personnel.   I was sort of a bottom feeder, trying to find out who was likely to get cut, and then getting to him before he went back home, trying to convince him to come and play in Hagerstown, Maryland and keep his hopes alive.  The subject of  Joe Sullivan came up.  Joe Sullivan was head coach George Allen's right-hand guy.  To a football junkie like me, that sounded like a really cool job.  Football, 24-7.  I told Tim that that looked like my dream job.  I'll never forget what Tim said.  "His life's not his own."

Those words stuck with me over the years.

I spent probably another 10-15 years chasing the NFL dream, and in 1985 I had a chance to go to Miam as the Dolphins' director or marketing.  Not as great as the title makes it sound.  Things didn't work out, and that was when I finally realized that high school coaching wasn't that bad, and that Frosty Westering was right when he advised us to "Make the Big Time Where You Are."

I cannot begin to imagine the NFL lifestyle.  We have a former NFL player from the next town over that I coached against when he was in high school.  I went to high school with his dad also.  

Anyway he played for the Eagles/Jaguars/Panthers/Ravens in his 8 years.  He told me that Andy Reid slept in his office 4 nights per week and John Harbaugh does it three nights per week in season.

I don't think college is much better and now they have the increased spring recruiting period.

It's even worse for assistants, because you know that there are 200 guys or more - many of them well-qualified - just waiting to take your job if you ever let up.  It all starts when they're GA's.  Talk about peons. I doubt that anybody in the world works as hard as GA's do for so little compensation other than the hope of grabbing the bass ring as they go flying by.  Seems to me they'll be the next group they try to unionize.

***********  The song is "Utah Man."  As a great aficionado of college fight songs, I like it a lot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDLqjhS7AI4#t=35

Here's how it goes:

I am a Utah man, Sir and I live across the green,
Our gang is the jolliest that you have ever seen.
Our Coeds are the fairest and each one's a shining star,
Our yell you'll hear it ringing through the mountains near and far

Who am I Sir? Utah man am I!
Utah Man, Sir, will be till I die!


We're up to snuff, we never bluff, we're game for any fuss
NO other gang of college man dare meet us in the muss
So fill your lungs and sing it out and shout it to the sky
We'll fight for dear old crimson for a

U…     TAH…    MAN…   AM…   I!

Uh-oh.  SOMEONE is offended.

So student leaders at the University of Utah have voted to "strongly encourage" the school to change the words of the school's fight song.  Now, it's in the hands of the university president.

Not only are the name - and the lyrics - exclusive, you see, but some of the lyrics, especially the line "Our coeds are the fairest," have been called sexist and even racist.  See, to some people, "fairest" means "whitest skin." I never thought of it that way, but then, not being afflicted with chronic victimhood, what do I know?

The vote, as you might imagine, isn't going over well with certain tradition-bound Utah fans, but then, this is today's college football, where century-old rivalries are dumped in the pursuit of more TV money.  So what the hell - it's only  tradition.  In the immortal words of that great New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, "What difference does it make?"

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57852229-78/song-utah-university-student.html.csp

*********** And you thought that Michael Sam's being drafted meant an end to the circus…

The Headline read,  "Ohio College Considering Mandatory Transgender Sensitivity Training for Athletics Department."

Yeah, "Ohio college." It's Oberlin, guys.  If you know anything about Oberlin, that's all you need to know.

In addition to the sensitivity training (can you imagine the geeks who teach that crap?), the new school policy would go further to avoid offending transgender athletes by banning all "gender-specific" pronouns, such as she, her, hers, he, her, hers with plural pronouns such as they, them and theirs.

In case you didn't know but wanted to,  Oberlin officially refers to trannies as “FTM,” (female-to-male), and “MTF,” (male-to-female).

http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/12/oberlin-college-mulls-gender-pronoun-ban-mandatory-transgender-sensitivity-for-athletic-department/#ixzz31czegrPu

http://cleveland.cbslocal.com/2014/05/12/ohio-college-considering-mandatory-transgender-sensitivity-training-for-athletics-department/

*********** Still on the subject of nutty colleges…

At Lewis and Clark College, a lovely little D-III school just outside Portland, two football players were disciplined after a "racial incident" at a dorm party.

The two guys, one black and one white, made up a two-man beer pong team they called "Team Nigga."

They celebrated scores by chanting "Team Nigga!" and when the black guy shouted, "Can I get a 'White Power?'" his white teammate shouted back, "WHITE POWER!'"

No one at the party was offended, but since a basic truth of today's society is that there is always someone, somewhere, offended by something,  this someone happened to be in the dorm at the time and, offended, informed school administration.

And you know how those things go.  In the race to show how sensitive (some would say weak) those people are, they put the  two "offenders"  on probation and ordered them to undergo "sensitivity training"

The kids appealed the verdict, but the appeal was denied, with the following explanation:

“Your use of racially charged language, intentional or not, was reckless and created an environment where others in the space felt it was necessary to correct your behavior. More broadly, your actions caused reasonable apprehension of harm to the community.”

In order to pay imbeciles like that, colleges charge upward of $50-60,000 a year - and when students can't come up with the money, taxpayers lend it to them, no questions asked.

http://o.dailycaller.com/all/2014-04-28-college-disciplines-students-one-black-one-white-for-racial-joke#1

*********** It never stops.

This story from the New York Times…

Federal health officials recommended Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk for AIDS take a daily pill that has been shown to prevent infection with the virus that causes it.

If broadly followed, the advice could transform AIDS prevention in the United States — from reliance on condoms, which are effective but unpopular with many men, to a regimen that relies on an antiretroviral drug.

It would mean a 50-fold increase in the number of prescriptions for the drug, Truvada — to 500,000 a year from fewer than 10,000. The drug costs $13,000 a year, and most insurers already cover it.

Do the math, guys - that works out to $6.5 BILLION A YEAR. But with elections approaching, guess who'll get behind this one?  Oh, well. It's only money. We'll just have to decommission an aircraft carrier or two.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/15/health/advocating-pill-us-signals-shift-to-prevent-aids.html?referrer=

*********** If you ever saw Willie Mays play, you know how good he was.  If you weren't that fortunate, you still probably know that he's considered one of the greatest to ever play the game. How good might he have have been as a football player?

Author Roger Kahn, whose book "Memories of Summer," I just finished, was in a position as a New York sports writer to cover all the baseball greats from the late 1940s to recent times.

He knew the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants.  He became a friend and confidant of Jackie Robinson, and he covered the three great center fielders - Mantle , Mays and Snider - who all played in the same town at the same time.

For Kahn's money, Mays was not only the best center fielder, but the best baseball player who ever lived.

As background, for those who aren't aware of Mays' background, Kahn wrote, "Willie Mays grew up in black neighborhoods.  All his playmates were black. The schools he attended were peopled only by blacks. Lynching was not a dirty word in Birmingham's polite society fifty years ago. The dirty word was integration."

"Racism was a way of life in Birmingham and the mill town called Fairfield, thirteen miles away, where Mays grew into his teens."

"When Mays was a young man, an athletic scholarship, a first-class education, a good job, and of course major league baseball, were accessible only to whites."

Years after Mays retirement, Kahn visited him in his home in Atherton, California.

"I had thought from the first time I say him in Phoenix (when he was a rookie. HW) that Willie Mays as the greatest natural athlete of our time.  He well may be.  But it was not until the visit to Atherton, twenty-three years after his last season in the majors, that I really recognized what a conscious athlete Mays has been.  This great slugger and batsman and baserunner, the man who caught more fly balls than anyone else in history, was very much a thinking ball player.  If you want to get along with Willie Mays - and it is said that not everybody does - you best begin by roping the old hackneyed cartoon of Willie Mays as a sorter of gifted, cosmic simpleton, a Steppin  Fetchit with a glove.

"A salient factor in Mays' extraordinary and eventful life is the color of his skin.  Mays is a black man.  He is proud and self-aware.  His way is not to march, like Martin Luther King, or to address Congress like Jackie Robinson, or to renounce Christianity like Muhammad Ali.  Willie's way is to pooping out - and only to those he trusts to understand the message - that there is more to the black athlete than speed and strength and leaping. The great black athletes, Mays suggests, have deep intelligence even as he himself played with such profound intelligence in making he most famous of all baseball catches.

"Still thinking about the catch, I remarked in Mays' den, that if he had gone into football, he would have been the greatest wide receiver of all time.

"He laughed easily and said, 'You may be partly right.  Football was my best sport, but I wasn't a receiver.  I played quarterback in high school.  We used something like the shotgun formation.  One of my favorite plays was a jump pass.  Come up to the line of scrimmage, like it's a run, then jump and throw.  We had a good team.  We were unbeaten in my senior years in high school.'

"How far could you throw a football?"

"In the air? While I was jumping?"

"In the air."

"Sixty yards."

"How many colleges came after you?"

"None."

"You could throw sixty yards in the air?  Your team went undefeated?  And not a single college offered you a scholarship?"

"I was a quarterback," Mays said, "and I was black.  In 1950 a black kid wasn't allowed to play quarterback in a white college.  Nobody came after me.  Nobody offered me a football scholarship, even though football was absolutely my best sport."

"How much American history, I wondered, has been etched by bigotry?  I tried to contemplate baseball without Willie Mays.  I attempted to imagine Mays as the greatest quarterback in football history, but the baseball uniform, the Giant uniform, kept getting in the way.  My mine spun like Mays making the throw. Willie's manner has mostly been genial, and on the surface, accepting of the way things are. That may be why I never stopped and considered how profoundly racism, determined his career.  In his generation, Mays could not have played professional football, or professional basketball, or professional anything else, except baseball. In effect, the greatest of all ballplayers played baseball by default."

*********** Now that there is  reason to suspect that the "The Kiss" was a key scene scripted for Oprah's planned "reality" show about a gay football player struggling to make it against all odds in the homophobic jungle of professional football...  NOW what do you think about the media's treatment of Tim Tebow and his Christian faith?

*********** Coach Wyatt,  How do you decide to put players into positions, especially when they are new to football and have never played before. My league helps out by having weight limits for ball carriers, but how do I tell I'd a kid should play guard, tackle, center, or a back field position. This is only my third year at the youth level. I have coached at the high school level for years and kids have a good idea of their positions so it was easier to fit players to position.

Coach,

At the youth level, you have to identify the best athletes below the limit and get them in the backfield.  (Many times, if your backs are good enough, they will gain yardage even when the line has failed to do its job.)

Your QB needs to be a very dependable kid.  He has to be there at every practice.  He has to accept the rules.  He has to be attentive to what you're saying.  He has to buy into what you're doing.  He has to have the ability to learn more than just his position, so he can be a semi-coach on the field. He has to have the mental toughness not to get rattled when he - or anyone else - makes a mistake.  And, of course, he has to have the dexterity to be able to handle the ball.  Most of all, though, he has to WANT to play quarterback and accept the responsibility.

Your B-Back needs to be as big as possible, and tough.  He will have to block a lot, and his runs will be inside the tackles.

Between the A-Back and the C-Back, if they are equal in ability, that's great.  Since they usually aren't, I usually put my toughest, most reliable runner at A-Back.

At C-Back I could find room for a smaller, less tough kid who when he gets the ball on a counter can outrun the defense - hit the home run.

I like my center to be big, in case you have to play against nose men who might overpower a smaller center.  Above all, though, he has to be dependable and smart.

I would put my most athletic linemen, regardless of their size, at the guards.  I like my tackles to be big if possible.  

Although you might find you have the ability to throw the ball, tight ends are primariiy blockers.  Since a lot of the blocking they do involves double-teaming with the tackle, they don't necessarily have to be that big.





american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 13,  2014 "If you are waiting for me to apologize, hell is going to freeze over (first)."  Charles Barkley
          
The quote above was somewhat sanitized.  What Mr. Barkley, the well-known basketball expert and humorist, really said,  phonetically,  was, "If y'all waitin' for me to apologize, hell gone freeze over."

And all I can say is, stand tall, Charles.  Don't give in.

Finally!  A public figure who says something that may (or may not) offend someone - in this case, he made a comment about San Antonio having a lot of "large" women - and doesn't weasel out of it.

I am so f--kling tired of people who oh-so bravely say something and then, within 24 hours, undoubtedly on the advice of PR experts, go all damage control on us with the usual if-anyone-was-offended "apology."


*********** In case you missed it---

In the recent draft, a record number of selections - 61 - were "early entrants" (I prefer to  call them "early outs" - guys who dropped out of college with eligibility remaining).

The previous record was last year,  when 53 early outs taken.

The downside is that 41 guys who left college early this year in order to seek their fortunes weren't drafted at all.

Running backs continued to be ignored in the first round as none were selected for the second straight year.

Reflecting the direction that pro offenses have been taking, for the second straight year no running back was taken in the first round. Until last year, that hadn't happened since the AFL and NFL joined in a common draft (1967).

When Bishop Sankey of Washington was chosen by the Titans with the 54th pick, it was the latest that the first running back selected has ever been taken.

*********** If you don't happen to think that the NFL's drafting of a gay player is the greatest thing that's ever happened to America - "an important step forward today in our Nation's journey," as our President put it…  if you find it a bit uncomfortable  watching two guys kissing - full, on the lips - on TV... 

I suggest you keep it to yourself.

Unless, that is, you want to get fined… or receive death threats… or, worst of all, find yourself sitting through  something that sounds a lot like Soviet-style  thought control.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/12/us/michael-sam-nfl-kiss-reaction/?c=&page=1

ice man*********** Back before you could push a button and make ice cubes come out of the front of the refrigerator… back before there even was such as thing as a refrigerator (or, as many people said, a "Frigidaire,")...  there were ice boxes.  Ice boxes were just that - big, insulated boxes which depended on natural ice to keep the food inside them  cold.  And that ice had to be delivered by men.  Strong men.  I can still recall a big guy named Mr. Connor who delivered ice to my aunt's summer place in New Jersey, singing as he climbed the stairs to her third floor apartment with a 100 pound cake of ice on each shoulder. Sure, he could have done it in two trips, but what the hell.

This guy pictured at left, one of the greatest football players in the history of the game,  really did work as an ice man in the off-season.  Anybody care to guess?

*********** I've been asked my opinion about having a kid who only kicks, such as a soccer player - a girl, even - on my team. 

My answer? I don't care for the idea.

It may have cost me a game or two over the years - I'll never know - but my response to the kid who says "I want to be just a kicker" has always  been, "we don't have kicking specialists. If you want to kick for us, you have to be a football player first. You'll have to do the things every other guy on the team does."

That usually scares them off.

Whether boy or girl, having a kicking specialist who's not a football player  is not, in my opinion, good for unit cohesion, because right off the bat they're treated differently from everyone else, and fair and equal treatment in my experience is a key to good morale.

And then, of course,  should the kicker happen to be a girl, there is the minefield we'll have to walk through every day, trusting teenage boys (and teenage girls) to act and speak appropriately at all times in a highly-charged atmosphere .

Besides - if football is as dangerous for boys as some say it is, why would we want to subject girls to its dangers?


*********** How much more teaching time in practice does it take for direct snaps, and how difficult is it to find a kid to pull it off consistently?

At this point we have no more bad Wildcat snaps than we ever had with hands under center.  In other words, very few.

It does take reps - we have a 10-minute period every day when I work with QB's and the centers  are there, too, making both Wildcat and T-formation snaps.

And it does take training the center to do first things first - first make the snap, and then go block.  He never has to snap the ball to one side or the other.  Even when our backs are side by side back there, the center snaps it straight back and it is up to them to know who gets the ball.

The one thing we can't have is a high snap, so we work really hard on the center's keeping his eyes up - which keeps his tail down.

One interesting thing - with the QB  4 yards deep and the running back instructed not to move until the ball hits the QB's hands, 
we never lose the ball on a bad snap.  They  still have time to pick it up or fall on it before the defense has a chance.

Other than the inability to run a QB sneak or to spike the ball, I don't see any disadvantages.

*********** Is anybody else as tired as I am of hearing the made-up word "hashtag?"

*********** No wonder Florida State won the national championship. Seven Seminoles were selected in the recent NFL draft.

But wait - LSU led all colleges with nine players drafted, and Notre Dame had eight.

l am thinking that rather than celebrating this fact, fans of the Tigers and the Irish are turning up the heat on Les Miles and Brian Kelly.

How come?  Well, LSU lost three games last year and Notre Dame lost four.  And neither one finished in the top 10.

***********  Good morning Coach,

Couple of questions for you:

1) Can you tell what the meaning of the opening quote was on the front of today's NEWS is please?

Coach,

The quote refers to the common refrain of school administrators - with which they bedevil coaches - that there are all sorts of potential football players "walking the halls."

My experience has been that they are walking the halls because they'd rather not submit themselves to the hard work, discipline and unselfishness required by football.  

2) Can you tell me more about "Open Wing" offense? What is the concept and philosophy behind it?

The Open Wing is my attempt to combine "opening it up" while retaining the power of a Single Wing.  I have to give credit for the name to Coach Brian Mackell, of Baltimore

Thanks Coach.

That is exactly what I thought what the quote was referring to. Much to my dismay I've been hearing that around here for sometime and I agree with you about it.

Watching the video you shared with me of your QB I can see that at work. Do you sort of treat the formation as two separate parts -- power on the TE/WB side and more of your spread passing stuff on the open side? You are using a WB type player as the WB on the TE/WB side, not as a BB? You are using your Power, Counters and Traps with this?

We run our whole Double Wing run package except for super power, which we can't run because we don't have a QB under center.  Interestingly, we seem to be able to throw pretty well to the "running side " and run pretty well to the "throwing side."  The wingback is a conventional wingback. Our slot back is a hybrid guy and if we want a blocking back we sub for him.  A lot of what we do is an expansion of the presentation on the Wildcat that I made at the Single Wing Conclave in Wilkes-Barre in 2007.

*********** Great article on George Whitfield, aka "The Quarterback Whisperer," and how he's worked with top quarterbacks, including Johnny Manziel.

I especially liked this:

Seven months before working with Roethlisberger, the tutor dubbed “The Quarterback Whisperer” heard a stat that created a seismic shift in his thinking. A Miami Dolphins assistant quoted a study showing 52 percent of their quarterback drops resulted in having to make adjustments due to pressure.

“It’s like someone told me exactly where aliens were,” Whitfield said. “We were going to start devoting half of our training to evading chaos. It can’t always be five-step drop, give me a bullet right there.

“We’ve got to learn to throw on the run. We’ve got to increase the quality of life for these guys. Even when my shutters are banging I’m good because I have been through all this training.”

http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2014/03/what_enabled_massillons_george.html

*********** If you like dogs, you'll like this one…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHvExOg4NI0&feature=youtu.be

*********** After watching the draft coverage on the NFL Network, I have really come to like Mike Mayock…

*********** Governor Jindal may have locked up the Christian vote with this speech…

http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2014/05/09/exclusive-governor-jindal-tells-liberty-graduates-accepting-jesus-most-important.aspx

*********** While the Lords of Washington have been proposing to strip our armed forces down to the bone, they're planning to spend $20,000,000,000 - that's TWENTY BILLION DOLLARS! - on new choppers for the f-king presidential helicopter fleet.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2624495/Obama-administration-green-lights-20-BILLION-helicopter-program-replace-presidents-private-chopper-fleet-wont-ready-2022.html

***********  According to oyster.com, "The Nation's Seven Best Beer Cities" are...

1. Portland
2. Denver
3. San Diego
4. Boston
5. Philadelphia
6. Austin
7. San Francisco

Summary: "Boasting the highest concentration of breweries of any city in the world - 50 in the metropolitan area, if you're curious - Portland tops our list."

*********** I'm reading "Memories of Summer," by Roger Kahn, 1997.  A great sports writer whose specialty is baseball, he also wrote, among other books, "Games We Used to Play," "The Boys of Summer," "My Story," with Pete Rose)

In "Memories of Summer," he writes about his days working as a reporter for the old New York Herald-Tribune, and covering his first World Series. It was 1952,  won in seven games by the Yankees over the (Brooklyn) Dodgers.  One little anecdote tells how far professional sports has come since those days.  (And not necessarily in the right direction.)

At the age of twenty, Mickey Mantle had arrived, batting .345 with two home runs. "NIce series, young man," Bud Rennie said. "What are you up to now?"

"Headin' back to Oklahoma.  I got me a job working down in the mines."

"Work in the mines? The winning share is more than $6,200.  You don't have to do that now."

'Yes I do," Mantle said. "You know my dad died, and I got seven dependents who're counting on me." Mantle named three brothers, a sister, his mother and his wife.

"That's six," Rennie said.

"A baby is due in March," Mantle said. "I don't know whether I'll be in the electrical crew or the pump crew or whatever."  The Yankees' slugging hero of the series smiled pleasantly. "I'm just lucky the mining company offered me a job."


*********** Timmy Brown was not the first player from Ball State to play in the NFL.

Michael Joseph Patanelli
Position: E
Height: 6' 2''  Weight: 215
 
Born in Elkhart, IN, USA
High School: Elkhart (IN)
College: Bowling Green State University, Ball State

Played for the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers with a record of 3--10--1

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, North Carolina

*********** Put all the Donald Sterling bullsh-- aside.  Pay no attention to the self-serving tools who relished the chance it gave them to proclaim that this is proof that - tada! - racism lives!

The incontrovertible fact is that, while nations that once stood in judgement of us are now experiencing racial strife of their own, no nation in history  has made the strides toward racial equality that the United States has, and sports has paved the way.

How many know about Bill Willis and Marion Motley, of the Cleveland Browns?

"A lot of people don't know this, and they always talk  about Jackie Robinson being the first black in professional sports, but Bill Willis and I were playing at Cleveland in 1946, a year before Jackie got to Brooklyn. The reason he got hired, Branch Rickey made the statement that if Bill Willis and Marion Motley can play a contact sport like football, Jackie Robinson should be able to play a  non-contact sport. I give Paul Brown credit for BIll and myself getting a chance to play pro football. At that time the league had kind of an unwritten rule about blacks not playing , but Paul didn't think too much of a rule like that.  He was taking  a chance in those days because a lot of people didn't want black players doing anything in pro sports.

Paul talked to Bill and myself and he told us that people were going to be laying for us. 'They're going to call you names and they're going to try to hurt you.   It's up to you to take it, and take whatever they give out.'  It was tough.  I'd be on the ground, and they step on my hands with those damn old cleats.  My hands were always bloody, but if either Willis or myself had been hotheads and gotten into fights and things like that, it would have put things back ten years. Blacks would have never been accepted like they were.   Sometimes I wanted to just kill some of those guys, and the officials would just stand right there.  They'd see those guys stepping on us and hear them saying things and just turn their backs.

"That kind of crap went on for two or three years until they found out what kind of players we were.  They found out that while they were calling us 'ni--ers,' I was running for touchdowns and Willis was knocking the sh-- out of them. They stopped calling us  names and started trying to catch up with us."

(The censorship is mine. HW)

From "Iron Men," by Stuart Leuthner, 1988

(Granted, in the 1940s, baseball was a far more popular sport than pro football, and Jackie Robinson's playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers had a far greater impact on the American public; and granted, the Cleveland Browns weren't even members of the NFL when Paul Brown added Marion Motley and Bill Willis to the roster.  Nevertheless, those Browns  became one of the truly great dynasties of professional football, as they amply proved when they entered the NFL in 1950 and proceeded to win the championship in their first year as members;  and at a time when many NFL teams were still all-white, black players made key contributions to the Browns' success.)

*********** Coach, I am interviewing an assistant next week, and the AD asked me for a few questions to ask during the interview.  I have 2-3 in mind about the type of qualities I am looking for in an assistant, mostly in line with your "qualifications of an assistant" you shared with me a few years ago.  Any questions you recommend?

Coach,

I believe in asking how a guy feels about ALL of those qualifications because any one of them could be a knockout.  Unless I knew a guy well or he came highly recommended by someone I knew well, I would never hire a guy on the basis of 2 or 3 questions and I would object strongly if I were asked to do so.

That's probably not the answer you wanted, but now is the time to find those things out, not after a guy's on staff!

One question for sure would be about his willingness to learn about and coach YOUR system.

Another would be about his willingness to do whatever is asked of him, including accepting - and learning everything he can about - any position on the staff.

NO assistant is better than a bad assistant.



american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 9,  2014"We can talk about all those guys in the halls who are very important, but the kid already on the field is more important."    Daryl Rodgers.              

*********** The Pac-12 is discussing playing its conference championship game annually at the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California (the new home of the 49ers), beginning this season.

Under the current format, the game has been hosted by one of the participating teams.

The first three Pac-12 title games were played at the home stadiums of Oregon, Stanford and Arizona State. The first game,  at Oregon's Autzen Stadium, was a sellout.  A year ago,  Stanford drew only 31,622 to watch the Cardinal beat UCLA - but in fairness, it was the teams' second meeting in just six days. Last year, Stanford and Arizona State  drew 69,535 in Tempe. 

Although there is some concern about whether fans will travel well to any neutral site, t
in the Bay Area has large numbers of alumni of all the Pac-12 schools.

In general, schools were satisfied with the current arrangement, but athletic departments, finding themselves hosting a big game on short notice, ran into some problems, including having to move their own season ticket holders in order to make room for corporate sponsors.

Holding the game in one fixed location will eliminate those problems,  and will make it easier for the conference's representatives to sell game sponsorships throughout the year.


*********** In honor of the days before potential NFL players were trotted out on stage at Radio City Music Hall,  I give you Frank "Bucko" Kilroy…

Bucko Kilroy was a Philadelphia Irishman, the son of a saloonkeeper who also doubled as a politician.  He played some college football at Temple, then served in the Merchant Marine during World War II, and then embarked on what would turn out to be a 64-year career in pro football as player, coach, scout and executive.

After a career as an offensive and defensive linemen with the Eagles, he got involved in coaching, which led to scouting, which led ultimately to a position as vice-president of the Patriots.

He was a very big man who never quite lost the mannerisms of the streets of the Port Richmond neighborhood where he grew up,  but underneath the forbidding exterior was a brilliant football mind.  On the other hand, behind the gentleman in the business suit was one very tough human being.

In mid-season 1955, Life Magazine, then the best-read magazine in America, ran an article called "Savagery on Sunday," naming the Eagles as the NFL's dirtiest team, and implying that KIlroy was its dirtiest player.  KIlroy and teammate Wayne Robinson sued Life Magazine and won.  Each was awarded $25,000, "Which," Kilroy remarked,  "was a lot more than I was making playing pro football at the time."

The years following World War II, when he played pro ball, were a different time, he recalled, in "Iron Men," by Stuart Leuthner (1988).

"After the war it was a tougher game. We were part of the American tradition in the old-fashioned meaning. We were raised to love your God, respect your elders, and fear no son of a bitch that walks.  That's why we won World War II. In the 1940s, right into the middle 1950s, you couldn't be an athlete and not have been in the service.  Those guys who came out of World War II were different kinds of people. I knew them and played with them and they were fearless. After all, most of them didn't have easy duty. They were in the infantry, something like that. A lot of our players didn't come back, and you can check the list of pro football players who died during the war. A lot came back wounded and lame and were never able to play again.

"I've talked to a lot of people about it, and coming out of World War II, having seen the frustrations and the violence of the war,  it had to affect the players and the game they played. When was the last time you saw a dead body? I guess that's what I'm trying to say. Most of us never saw one before we got in that war, and then we saw so much, so mug of that stink and rot, that when we came back to play football, we played like terrors. We were tough.  Everybody used to say, "What outfit was he in?" That was what you asked a guy, not what school he went to. You'd see somebody really getting into something on the field. 

"What outfit was he in?"

"He was a Marine."

"Ohhhhh."

"Guadalcanal."

"Ohhhhh."

"You'd just shake your head."

Summing up the toughness of his era, he said, "We used to have a saying, 'Don't get hurt, because you'll have to play anyway.'"

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/12/sports/football/12kilroy.html?fta=y&_r=0

You WILL enjoy this feature on him...
 
http://www.patriots.com/media-center/videos/Francis-Bucko-Kilroy-Rememberance-Feature/DCC3ED0A-BBBD-47B4-A556-E2548844FF1E

*********** Hats off to three old friends who've taken on very difficult projects…

***** Coach Jake Von Scherrer, most recently AD at Palmer Trinity School in Palmetto Bay, Florida, has just been named head coach and AD at Turlock Christian School, in Turlock, California.  He's got his work cut out for him: the Turlock Christian Eagles were 1-9 last year, and most of the losses were by BIG scores.  The lone win came by way of a forfeit.

***** Coach Chris Davidson has been named head coach at Tenoroc High in Lakeland, Florida.  I first met him in 1994 when he was on the staff at Abington High, outside Philadelphia, my wife's alma mater, where head coach Doug Moister was the first "outside" coach willing to run my "new" double wing.  In 1995 I visited him at his first head coaching job, at Phillipsburg-Osceola High in upstate Pennsylvania, and he's since gone on to coach in North Carolina and Maryland. Tough assignment: in six years of playing high school football, Tenoroc has won a total of 11 games, and only two in the last two years.  They gained only 80 yards rushing for the entire 2013 season, and their only win was by forfeit.

***** Coach Juan Cotto has been named head coach at Seattle's Franklin High.  His first head coaching job was at Burien, Washington Highline High, and last  season he was an assistant at powerhouse O'Dea Catholic.  Franklin was 2-15 over the last two seasons, and has posted just one winning season in the last ten years.

*********** Rutgers just can't seem to stop tripping over itself. 

First, after bunch of radical campus sh--heads, faculty members included, noisily protested Condoleezza Rice's being named commencement speaker,  Ms. Rice, a woman of great accomplishment and dignity, withdrew, stating that she did not wish to be a distraction from the graduation ceremony. 

Next,  Eric LeGrand, foamier Rutgers football player whose courageous recovery from a serious injury has been one of the best stories to come out of Rutgers in recent years, was contacted by the AD and asked to speak.  He accepted the invitation.

But then, he was contacted again.   Sorry, the AD said - we're going in another direction. Seems the politicians prevailed, and former governor Thomas Kean was going to be the speaker.

And then, probably told by someone with a clue what a dreadful thing they'd done to Eric LeGrand - and how bad it was going to look nationally -  they came back and re-invited him.  Sort of. 

Now,  the President of the University wants to personally award him his diploma.  And maybe let him say a few words.

Nice try, Rutgers.

si.com's Michael Rosenberg has an interesting suggestion for helping the Scarlet Knights get back on track:

Bring back Greg Schiano!

http://images.si.com/college-football/news/20140506/rutgers-eric-legrand-big-ten-greg-schiano/

*********** Identifying the four Eagles of the early 60s in Tuesday's photo…

Joe Gutilla, Austin, Texas…

That foursome of Iggles would include in order:
Sonny Jurgensen
Pete Retzlaff
Timmy Brown
Tommy MacDonald

Little wonder why Jurgensen was so good having been tutored as an understudy to Norm Van Brocklin.  Also on the 1960 team was Marion Campbell (one-time head coach of the Atlanta Falcons); Maxie Baughan (who would later become the HC of Cornell and lead them to their first IVY League title; Chuck Bednarik (need I say more??); and Tom Brookshier (who along with Pat Summerall became two of the most recognizable broadcasters of the NFL).

You nailed it. Sounds kind of freaky, I know, but my wife and I were on our honeymoon and we got bored at the place where we were staying, in upstate PA. So we said the hell with it and checked out and drove to Hershey where the Eagles were training, and we spent part (not all) of the rest of our honeymoon watching our Eagles (phonetically, "Are Iggles") work out. That was 1959, the year before they won it all. What impressed us the most was how much fun those guys were having - even at training camp - and how much they enjoyed being with each other. You really got the sense that they were a special group.

Mark Kaczmarek, Davenport, Iowa

It’s been years, but I still have the Strat-O-Matic cards for some of the 60s great teams…I challenge all, if I get to use the 60s Packers teams

I bet most guys around our ages - even those not from Green Bay - could name at least half the players on those Packers' teams!

Adam Wesoloski, Pulaski, Wisconsin

Bill Nelson, Thornton, Colorado

Dennis Metzger, Fountain City, Indiana

The Qb is Sonny Jurgenson and the no facemask player is Tommy McDonald. The other two I had to research but they are Timmy Brown and Pete Retzlaff. I did not realize that Timmy Brown grew up in Knightstown, IN and attended Morton Memorial High School at the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home. The Soldiers and Sailors Home was home to orphaned children, I wonder what Timmy Brown's story was.

Was Tim Brown possibly the first guy from Ball State to play in the NFL?

Josh Montgomery, Berwick, Louisiana

Ken Hampton, Raleigh, North Carolina

Tom Davis, San Marcos, California

Dave Potter, of Durham, North Carolina, missed by one - he misidentified Pete Retzlaff as Bucko Kilroy, but bringing up Bucko's name earned him full credit.

Eagles Suicide Seven

*********** Found this great photo of what might very well be the first NFL defensive unit to be given a special name.It's the Eagles' front seven, from 1955,  the year when Life Magazine labelled the Birds the "Dirtiest Team in the NFL." 

Check out the leather shoulder pads - and the skimpy cushioning underneath them.

I have no idea what the black eye patches mean, but combined with the very politically incorrect flintlock pistols (never point them at anyone, children), I'm thinking they're meant to suggest an element of piracy.  Who knows? Maybe the photo gave Al Davis an idea.

Dealing the cards is the Eagles' outstanding end and placekicker, Bobby Walston.

Like most teams of that time, the Eagles played a 5-2 defense.  Standing are the two linebackers, Chuck Bednarik and Wayne Robinson. No need to say any more about Bednarik, one of the all-time greats in NFL history; Robinson, from Minnesota, was listed in 2007 among the top 75 Eagles of all time.

Seated are the linemen (from left to right):  End Norm "Wild Man" Willey, from Marshall. In a game against the Giants in 1952 he sacked Giants' QB Charlie Conerly SEVENTEEN TIMES. No one else in the history of the game has ever come close to that figure.  Unfortunately for Willey, sacks were not kept as a statistic at that time;

Tackle Mike Jarmoluk, team captain. After graduation from Temple, he passed up a chance to teach school for $3,200 a year when the Chicago Bears offered him $3,800 and a $300 bonus. He played 10 years in the NFL without a face mask and never suffered an injury to his face until the last game of his career;

Nose Guard Frank "Bucko" Kilroy, whom you already know;

Tackle Jesse Richardson - although he played at Alabama,  he was, like the other two interior linemen, Jarmoluk and Kilroy,  a native Philadelphian. When he ended his career with the Boston Patriots, there went the last defensive lineman in pro football to play without a face mask;

End Tom Scott, a Baltimore native who was an All-American lacrosse player at Virginia, and later played with the Giants

*********** “I noticed that he has a book - a religious book - in the classroom. He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom."

So said a Florida teacher, after telling a 12-year-old he couldn't read the Bible in class during "free reading time."

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/05/07/giovanni-rubeo-father-speak-out-fox-friends-about-teacher-not-allowing-bible-class

*********** Damian Lillard's three-pointer as time expired gave the Portland Trail Blazers a 99-98 win over Houston, and a spot in the NBA Western semifinals.

The post-game tributes from his teammates were, to one old fart who still thinks it's important to speak and write correctly, dismaying…

"He global now…"

"He special…"

"That boy special…"

Trail Blazer Nicolas Batum, a Frenchman, gave Dr, Jack Ramsay, who died just a few days before, a bit of the credit.  Very gracious of him. I'd merely suggest that he seems to be learning  his English in the wrong places…

"Dr Jack, he push that shot in for Damian."

*********** This could convince me that maybe the players DO need a union...

Amid all the hubbub about the Northwestern football players' union vote and the increased clamor to pay athletes a small stipend, no one seemed to notice that the NCAA had just pulled a real  fast one on the players. 

First, they  slipped extra regular-season games in on them. Next, they sanctioned  so many bowl games that a more  .500 season guarantees a bowl game (and acouple week's more of practices. Then, there's a post-season playoff,  further extending the season for some teams.

Now, they've got some really great news.

Remember those "voluntary" summer workouts? Now, they're going to be mandatory!  Isn't that great news, fellas?

For some time now, it's been common practice for players to "voluntarily" stay around hot, humid college towns - where few of them would otherwise have chosen to spend their summers - in order to take part in "voluntary" workouts.   But now, the NCAA has given coaches permission to go full speed ahead, allowing up to eight weeks of mandatory summer workouts of up to eight hours a week.

Can you name me a legitmate business that would dare to try  increasing its employees' hours without increasing their pay?

Without radical action,  the parasites -  the suits that run college football and the corporate types and networks  that profit from  it - will keep sucking the blood out of their host until they kill it.

From the NCAA's Web site:

The new rules:
• Allow football student-athletes to participate in preparations for the season during an eight-week period each summer. Those weeks can include eight hours per week of required weight training and conditioning. Up to two of the eight hours can consist of film review. Student-athletes who participate in the summer activities must be enrolled in summer school or meet specific academic benchmarks.

http://www.ncaa.com/news/football/article/2013-10-30/division-i-adopts-football-recruiting-summer-access-rules

*********** A commenter in the New York Times brings up another reason for why our society needs the things that a team sport coaches...

my personal measure for how much narcissism has increased in our country is how often I am crowded off the sidewalk by a group of people walking down the sidewalk who fail to move to one side to let those walking in the other direction get by. What is remarkable to me is how in many cases, it is obvious that practically forcing someone into the street does not even register in their brains. Just a small indicator of a much bigger problem our society faces.


*********** ALL COACHES PLEASE TAKE NOTE!!!

Coach,
 
The Alabama Football Coaches Association sent all members this article link regarding the findings of a Tulane Doctor’s research in regard to concussions and the participation of high school boys in the sport of football.  I immediately thought of you and wanted to share.  It is encouraging and what most of us have known through common sense and non-political correctness for years.
 
Hope you are well.  As usual, I keep up with you through the ‘news’ blog.
 
Thanks
 
Emory Latta
Providence Christian School
Dothan, Alabama
 
http://nationalhsfootball.com/2014/04/study-shows-high-school-football-not-linked-with-neurocognitive-decline/

Thanks, Coach-

That's a VERY useful article.  Enough already with the concussion hysteria. With all the football-haters clobbering us with statistics based on guys who played for years in the NFL, we high school and youth guys have fallen way behind in the propaganda race and we need all the ammunition we can get.

"The lie travels halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on."

*********** Amazon’s remote-controlled drones to deliver orders?  Here in Iowa, it would be just like skeet shooting, but with prizes!
 
Mark Kaczmarek
Davenport, Iowa

*********** For impressive stats, check out the 1951 Maryland Terps, 10-0 and winners over previously-unbeaten Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl.

324.6: Average yards rushing per game.
39.2: Points per game, regular season.
6.6: Points allowed per game, regular season.
6: All-Americans on the team.
5: Team members in the College Football Hall of Fame (four players and Coach Jim Tatum).
31: Players drafted by the NFL.

*********** Villanova's wide receivers coach Brian Flinn has been a huge help to me in my evolution into an "Open Wing" philosophy, and he has done a great job of explaining the Wildcats' Dig-Drag-Post pass on X & O Labs (a great coaching resource, by the way).

http://xandolabs.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2207:villanova-s-dig-drag-post-concept&catid=114:offense&Itemid=177

*********** From the streets of Saginaw, Michigan… to the wilds of Alaska…  to the Land Down Under…  Damon Lowery never could have imagined that basketball would take him the places it has…

http://downtownball.net/2014/03/damon-lowery-cant-make-stuff/

*********** Did you catch this creepy commercial that ran during the draft?  A little kid is looking forward to playing football.  He knows he'll have fun and Momma will be proud. "We're going all the way!"

But there's a catch: "I only get to play if my coaches are Heads-up Football certified."

MORAL: Coach, if you ain't Heads-Up Football Certified, you're the nearest thing to a child abuser.


american flag TUESDAY,  MAY 6,  2014 "There is a big difference between what we have the right to do and what is right to do.”   Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart

*********** Falcons' running back Steven Jackson did the color commentary for Oregon State spring game.  Guy's pretty good.

He noted that at Oregon State, he played under two coaches, Dennis Erickson and Mike Riley.

Erickson's staff, he said, "was pretty much in your face."

And then Riley came in and met with the team and said, "We're going to do it together - like a family."

The change in approach was so dramatic, Jackson said, that "We were all looking at each other like, 'Is this a joke?'"



*********** Home Depot CEO Frank Blake, commenting in the Wall Street Journal on Amazon's looking into the idea of using small, remote-controlled drones to deliver orders:

"We don't just ship little books. You'd have to have some big goddamn drones to carry our stuff."

***********  Ken Hampton of Raleigh, North Carolina and Adam Wesoloski, of Pulaski, Wisconsin, knew that the first athlete to have his/her likeness on a Wheaties box was Lou Gehrig.

Eagles Stars*********** They're Eagles from the early 1960s.  From left, the QB, although just 5-11, 200, put up Hall of Fame numbers for the Eagles and the Redskins. 

Next, the TE, a North Dakotan, never caught a pass in college but as a pro TE once caught 58 passes in a season.  He later served as Eagles' GM. 

Third from left, he was a running back from Ball State who later had a career as an actor;

Finally, the last man to play in the NFL without a face mask, he was a native of Albuquerque who starred as a running back at Oklahoma and then as a Hall of Fame WR in the NFL.

*********** Oregon State fired their basketball coach, Craig Robinson. MIchelle Obama's brother.  The guy simply didn't get the job done. 

Oh, well.  He's getting paid for the three years left on his contract.  Damn straight he is.  You try firing the President's brother-in-law without a nice severance deal and see what happens. As slow as the government usually is, you'll be amazed at how fast the Title IX "folks" will be in your office, asking to see your rosters and personnel records for the past 20 years.

*********** Evidently, Aussies aren't as gullible as us Yanks.   They know a phony when they see one.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has gone after one of Australia's two large brewers for trying to pull the wool over the eyes of Australian beer drinkers - in the same way the Belgian brewing giant ABInbev (that's Budweiser, guys) and MillerCoors, the giant combination of MolsonCoors and SAB MIller have been tricking American beer drinkers into thinking they're buying from a little guy.

Carlton and United Brewers has been putting out a craft-style beer called Byron Bay, stating on its  labels that it's ''brewed in NSW (New South Wales) by the Byron Bay Brewing Company and its licensees," when in reality, the beer's been brewed 500 miles away from quaint little Byron Bay, in a giant, industrial-scale brewery.

Big Beer in American pulls off the same trickery.  You like Blue Moon?  Seen where it's made? Blue Moon Brewing Company, Golden, Colorado.  Um, there's only one place beer's made in Golden Colorado, and that's at the Coors Brewery, one of the biggest in the United States.

Like Goose Island?  What a coincidence - it's also brewed in Colorado. In Fort Collins.  Funny, the only brewery I can find in Fort Collins is the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Anheuser-Busch is the "AB" in ABInbev, world's largest brewer.

Widmer? Redhook?  Kona?  Once all-American craft brewers, now 30 per cent owned by ABInbev.

How about Rolling Rock Beer, made for more than 60 years in Latrobe, Pennsylvania? ("It comes from the Mountain Springs to you!")  It's still made by the "Latrobe Brewing Company."  In St. Louis, Missouri. That's ABInbev, guys.  Might as well be Belgium.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/small-beer-a-big-problem-for-cub-20140429-37fvr.html

Tortilla chips*********** This Cinco de Mayo, Portland area buyers of home-style tortilla chips had a choice.

They could buy Juanita's, as they've done for some time, since back in 1977 when  Juana Dominguez opened for business in Hood River, Oregon.

But this year, for the first time, they could also buy Josefina's - or, to be correct,  "La Cocina De Josefina Mexican Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips. "

On the Josefina's package, a lady - maybe Josefina herself! - hand-rolls the dough. 

How home-made can you get? Signs on displays in Vancouver, Washington stores said Josefina's are made in Vancouver. Yup, right here in Vancouver.  At 4808 Northwest Fruit Valley Road, which coincidentally happens to be the address of the local Frito-Lay factory.

Sound fishy?  It should.  Josefina's is a wolf in sheep's clothing. With Josefina's, Frito-Lay, the food giant (owned by Pepsico) that sells so many f--king Tostitos that it can afford to sponsor the BCS National Championship game, not to mention the Fiesta Bowl, is declaring war on little Juanita's.

Deceptive?  You take a look at the two packages and tell me, without knowing what I just told you, which brand is made in little Hood River, and which one is made by the world's largest manufacturer of snack foods?

Good luck, Juanita's.

http://www.columbian.com/news/2014/mar/19/tortilla-chips-frito-lay-juanitas-josefina/

*********** WTF is wrong with the Kentucky Derby (Presented By Yum Brands) people that they couldn't find some Grammy-Award winning somebody to "perform" "My Old Kentucky Home," instead of going with the University of Louisville Marching Band? (That's sarcasm, if you don't know how I feel about these tools who think that our national anthem is theirs to do with as they damn please.  Good on ya, Lousville band.)

*********** I've said about all I care to say about Sideline Bimbos on football telecasts. 

The late Andy Rooney, famous for his witty comments on "60 Minutes," called 'em as he saw 'em. He didn't worry too much about offending people.  He took heat over the years for comments he made about homosexuals (as they were then called), evangelists, Native Americans, blacks, and assorted other groups.

But he really got in trouble when he said, as a guest on the Boomer Esiason Show,  "The only thing that really bugs me about television's coverage is those damn women they have down on the sidelines who don't know what the hell they're talking about.   "I mean, I'm not a sexist person, but a woman has no business being down there trying to make some comment about a football game."  

Asked about the remark afterwards, Rooney told a newspaper that for that matter, he didn't think much of male sideline reporters, either.    

Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said that Rooney's age and background did not excuse his comments.  

"Making a generalization like women aren't capable about talking about sports is very much like saying old, white men are all sexist - you can always find an example like Andy Rooney, but it doesn't prove the generalization," she said. "Andy Rooney, like my 9-year-old says, is so last month. So a statement he makes isn't really worth a lot of our time."  

Said Martha Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, "It's beneath a major television personality to denigrate anybody who is trying to do their job and is doing it well. It surprises me that any public figure would have the insensitivity and/or bigoted position to come out publicly that way. Most folks who get in a position like Mr. Rooney is in -- even if they feel that way privately -- know it's not OK to say it publicly."  

Don Hewitt, the executive producer of "60 Minutes," on which Mr. Rooney was a regular, said he was unaware of Rooney's comments and wasn't interested in hearing them.  

"I'm interested in what Andy says on this broadcast, which I edit. I'm not his father or his mother," he said.  

Rooney wasn't concerned about the reaction to his comments.   "What are they going to do, " he said, "fire me from the Boomer Esiason show? Pay me less money?"


*********** Read about a star football player and a great soldier - Bill Carpenter, The Lonesome End...

http://si.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1138662/1/index.htm



  american flag FRIDAY,  MAY 2,  2014"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."  Thomas Jefferson

*********** Bye-bye Gator Bowl.  When it first started in 1946, it was a big deal.  There were four major bowls  then - Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton (no Fiesta yet) - and two lesser bowls, the Gator Bowl and the Sun Bowl.

But change is inevitable. right?  Change is great, right?

Yeah, right. So in 2015 the Gator Bowl, officially  the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, will become simply the TaxSlayer Bowl.  For six years, until the contract runs out.  Then, God only knows.



Durham Group

*********** Last Saturday's Raleigh-Durham North Carolina clinic was outstanding, if I do say so.  Thanks to the legwork of Coach Dave Potter, a Durham resident, and the help and support of North Carolina Central University's Director of Facilities Jamual Alexander, we had the use of NCCU's gym for the AM session and practice field for the afternoon. 

After lunch, we split up the coaches among those interested in working with the offensive line, with the wide receivers, and with the running backs and QBs, and set out to "install" the new "Open Wing" (thanks for the name, coach Brian Mackell) with a demo team - a high school team that had never been exposed to the offense before.

Durham OffenseWe outfitted the kids with wrist coaches containing not only the play names but the kids' assignments, and away we went.  At the end of two hours, they were running eight running plays and eight pass plays.  True, it was just against air, but I think it was enough to open coaches' eyes to the potential of what we're trying to do.

A highlight for me was watching Art Kojoyian work.  Coach Kojoyian, originally from Newton, Massachusetts, assists Coach Gordon Leib at Paul VI High School in Fairfax, Virginia. He's what you would call a very active, hands-on coach.  And get this - he's been coaching since 1952!  He's now heading into his 63rd year of coaching, and he's still going strong.  There's a chance for me, yet!

*********** Wise words from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The big question is “What should be done next?” I hope Sterling loses his franchise. I hope whoever made this illegal tape is sent to prison. I hope the Clippers continue to be unconditionally supported by their fans. I hope the Clippers realize that the ramblings of an 80-year-old man jealous of his young girlfriend don’t define who they are as individual players or as a team. They aren’t playing for Sterling—they’re playing for themselves, for the fans, for showing the world that neither basketball, nor our American ideals, are defined by a few pathetic men or women.

http://time.com/79590/donald-sterling-kareem-abdul-jabbar-racism/

*********** It was once the supreme honor for an athlete to be depicted on the Wheaties box. Wheaties, alas, isn't what it once was. Long promoted as  the Breakfast of Champions, Wheaties has only one per cent of the dry cereal market. (By comparison, Cheerios has 12 per cent.)

It was 1934 when the first athlete appeared on a Wheaties box.  Who was it?

*********** Good Morning Hugh,

I have a new product for gathering play data, photos or video during a game that also provides stats and scouting reports.  Its for the iPad and is available on Apple's App store.  There's a lot of TD Video in it.

Take a look at the following product description and see what you think about it.

www.playmakerpro.com/gamedatalive.html


Thanks,

Bruce Williams
BW Software
Ann Arbor, Michigan

buusoftware@aol.com

www.bwsoftware.com

*********** I was sent a year-old article by a Vanderbilt reporter suggesting that Army and Navy would make great additions to the SEC.

Before you laugh...

It appears to me that it's a home run from a marketing standpoint - great for both the SEC because it brings some academic credibility to a league whose football players are for the most part knuckleheads, it gives the SEC network a foothold in the mid-Atlantic states, and (assuming that the academies' AD's can work things out with their minor sports) the academies.

It's also great for the fans of SEC teams, who would love those trips to Annapolis and West Point. But not, I think, for fans of Army or Navy football.

The writer, possibly giddy at the recent, unprecedented success of Vanderbilt,  blithely dismisses the obvious - that the two service academies will simply get killed.  As it is, Army has been having a tough enough time recruiting kids to play competitively against a MAC-level schedule. Yes, recruiting may pick up with SEC membership, but kids will still have deal with academy life and academic demands plus a service commitment after graduation.  That's assuming that they can even get in, because I don't see the service academies relaxing admissions standards simply so that their football teams can compete, week in and week out, with minor league professional teams.

One ironic side effect, given the way SEC fans travel and the relatively low price of Army season tickets, is that  fans of SEC teams scheduled to play at Michie would swoop in and gobble up available season tickets just to get to see that one game - throwing away their tickets to the rest of the games  (as Alabama fans did a few years ago when Bama came to play at Duke).  Great for Army's balance sheet, but not so good for the Army fan who counts on coming to one or two games a year.  And definitely not good to have all those empty seats for the other games, even though they're paid for.

My daughter lives in Durham, and based on her awed accounts of the Alabama invasion of Duke a few years ago, I have to laugh at the thought of convoys of RV's full of Bama (or UGA, or SC, or UT)  fans arriving three or four days in advance of game day and cruising around little Highland Falls, New York  looking for places to park and tailgate.  If this were all to come about, I would strongly suggest buying up all the flat land you can find within 10 miles of West Point.

(For a great look at the Bama RV culture, I highly recommend "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer," by Warren St. John.)

http://navy.scout.com/2/1244795.html

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

First of all, 12 beers a day at work?  What a job!

I just finished reading "I Did It My Way" by Bud Grant. Very enjoyable read.

Grant mentions in the book that the Vikings needed discipline when he took over. One of the measures that he took was to have the team and coaches leave the locker room together when they went out for practice instead of players and coaches filing out on their own. Once they were at the practice field he lead them in an exercise routine and was able to observe energy level, injuries, etc. After that the started their practice.

I thought that was interesting for a pro team to do but I really like it and might have our team do it.

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

Coach,

It really was my job.  If I'd stayed with it, I'd be dead today - either due to an autombile accident or liver damage -  but it sure was fun while it lasted.

I have a lot of admiration for Bud Grant.  I didn't realize he'd written a book and I've already ordered a copy.

I have always been a believer in everyone going out together.

I spent a couple of years assisting at a place where  kids went out individually, once they were dressed, and as a result we'd have the early birds lolling around on the sidelines, some of them playing catch,  waiting for the others, and as the rest filed out there would always be one or two players - always the same ones - ambling onto the field at the last minute.  Some of the coaches were late coming out, too.  I've never been comfortable with that.  I think it encourages a casual approach to punctuality, which I believe is one of the most important "life lessons" we can teach our kids.

I've always felt it was important to have the team gather beforehand for a few short words, including what we needed to accomplish that day.  I think it's a lot easier to deal with punctuality when players know they have to be dressed and ready and seated by a particular time, rather than on the field.  And then, after five or ten minutes, everyone hits the field together.  I think it's important to meet before and after practice, and I think doing it this was helps reinforce the idea that we never loaf or lounge on the field, and we never put ourselves ahead of our teammates by making them wait for us.

*********** Turns out Jameis Winston, despite all the Heisman Trophy recognition, is just another starving college athlete.

Actually, that line might have been believable if he'd stolen (er, "forgotten to pay for") a jar of Jif and a loaf of bread, but this bozo has to go and "forget to pay for" $32 worth of crab's legs.

http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2014/04/30/heisman-trophy-winning-qb-jameis-winston-reportedly-shoplifts-crab-legs-after-ncaa-expands-meal-allowances/

*********** I had to read the article twice and I'm still not entirely sure what I read, but I swear that this guy named Dan Wolken was writing in USA Today that Jameis Winston had been coddled (you think, Dan?), and that the way to handle guys like him was to let them have endorsement deals, and then, if they raped somebody or stole something, why, those big companies would cut them off.  Just like that.

Works so well with the pros.

american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL 29,  2014"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest."  Mark Twain

*********** My daughter is 52, and she still remembers the day we went to a Baltimore Colts' practice and Earl Morrall "tackled" her and picked her up like a little doll.

Earl Morrall, a decent man and a much better quarterback than he's been given credit for, died last week at the age of 79.

As a backup to Johnny Unitas, he stepped up and took the Colts to the Super Bowl (the Joe Namath "I guarantee it" game).

And as a backup to Bob Griese, he quarterbacked the Dolphins to the only unbeaten season in modern NFL history.

http://www.freep.com/article/20140425/SPORTS07/304250097/earl-morrall-dies-michigan-state-nfl


*********** MORE WEST POINT AND ARMY FOOTBALL- The spring game

After breakfast the Saturday, we walked around Highland Falls a bit and picked up a few tee-shirts as gifts, then, with kickoff scheduled for noon, headed up to the stadium for the game.  First stop was the "A" Club room (for Army football club members), which opened at 10.

Army Pool TableI hadn't been in it for about ten years, when it first opened, and so I was very impressed by what a nice job the A Club had done fixing it up, including the addition of a pool table whose felt was painted to resemble the Michie Stadium field.  There was plenty of food and drink (we shouldn't have eaten breakfast first!) and lots of really interesting people.  As a long-time Army fan, I knew an awful lot of the guys if only by name.

There, I hooked up again with Jack Morrison, and we headed out to the field, joined by Brad Johnson, another Army football player from the Coach Blaik days who also served for a time as Assistant Athletic Director. I was surrounded by guys who not only knew football, but knew Army football.

Before we left, Coach Monken paid a visit to the room, and went around the room shaking hands and chatting.  He assured us as he left that he wasn't at all tight - he had someone else coaching the two teams. With the two teams "coached" by honorary coaches (the Superintendent and the Commandant of the Academy),  he intended to be merely a detached observer.

It was a great day for football,  and the format - an actual game, with kickoffs and punts, provided a great chance for the new staff to manage a game for the first time.

It is fair to say that Coach Monken found it difficult to be a "detached observer. " It is simply not his nature to see something go awry and not correct it.  He was very active and  involved throughout, noticing even the smallest of errors in the way only a good coach can, and correcting them as only a really good coach does.

We saw a lot of good things.

From the standpoint of establishing a tone, I was impressed by the enthusiasm, by the hitting, and by the fact that mistakes did not go unnoticed or uncorrected.

On offense, they showed a wide variety of formations in addition to the standard spread flexbone which was Coach Monken's trademark at Georgia Southern.  Among the looks was some shotgun.

With possibly the best triple-option backfield in America returning in fullback Larry Dixon and halfbacks Raymond Maples and Terry Baggett, the big question on everybody's mind was quarterback.  It wasn't answered.

The starting job all Spring was said to have been a competition between A.J. Schurr and Angel Santiago, but with Sanitago held out of the game because of some sort of infraction, we were left to compare Schurr and a freshman named Matthew Kaufmann, from McAllen, Texas.

They spent a fair amount of time on the passing game, and Kaufmann, a lefty, looked rather sharp. We didn't really see him run, which led to our suspicion that perhaps he isn't much of a runner, a definite liability in a triple-option offense.

Unlike in previous years, the receiving looked good.

They were breaking in a new man at center, and it showed.  There were way too many mishandled center-QB exchanges, and a few errant shotgun snaps. There were also several illegal procedure penalties, mostly when they were in shotgun. 

The defense, as might be expected, played well against the option.  There was good hustle and, for the most part, good tackling.  There were times when I wanted to think that the passes worked well because they were well executed, but was afraid that possibly it was owing to the pass defense.

I don't know all that Coach Monken told the team afterward, but since the start of spring ball his line has been,  "we have a lot of work to do, " or "we have a long way to go," and it's not likely after Saturday that he'd changed the tune.

"I'll always want them to be tougher," he told Sam Interdonato of the Times-Herald-Record, MIddletown, NY. I'll always want them to play harder. I'll always want them to play better. I'll always want us to execute better than we did. You never play perfect, but you have to strive for that."
He said he's looking for players "with that warrior attitude, just tough as nails and fighting through injury, playing off blocks and scrapping and clawing every minute, every second."

"That's what we are striving for and that's hard to get," he said. "We've got to play that way here to have a chance. We don't play that way, we won't have a chance."

Watch Coach Monken on the field...     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qVIthErIOY

Fans were invited onto the field afterward, and I immediately went looking for the only "homie" on the team, fellow Washingtonian Larry Dixon.  I found him and introduced myself, shaking his hand and teasing him a little about coming from Bremerton, a big navy town. He said that he tries to keep that  secret at West Point. He is not only a very good football player, but a very personable young man. And popular -  it didn't take long for him to be surrounded by kids wanting his autograph and wanting to have their pictures taken with him. 

I heard someone behind me say, "Coach!" and I turned and saw John Simar, a long-time friend who was President of the Army Football Club when it first decided to sponsor the Black Lion Award and present it annually to a West Point football player. John, a former Army football player and assistant coach, served for years  as AD at The Lawrenceville School, a prestigious New Jersey prep school.  Just retired, he's taken on an enormous challenge as a coach of the Princeton University sprint football team. (Sprint football is real 11-man college football, played by guys who must weigh in before every game at 178 pounds or less.    The players are very athletic - most of them were either skill players or undersized linemen in high school - and as you might imagine, the action is very fast and the hitting is ferocious. Spring football is played by a handful of eastern teams, two of the best of which are Army and Navy.  The worst - by far - has been Princeton, which according to John is working on a TEN-YEAR losing streak, and John is determined to be a part of the Tigers' turnaround.

From the football field, we headed to the softball diamond. It's not that I've suddenly become a big fan of softball, but one of my wife's former grade-school students, Ty Singleton, is now an assistant coach at Army.  Ty was an all-around good athlete in high school - I coached against him when he was a quarterback for our crosstown rivals, and he was a very good baseball player.  After playing college baseball, he got into softball coaching, first as an assistant at Texas, then as head coach at Northwestern (La.) State, Missouri and New Mexico.  After a few years off to serve as a youth minister in his hometown Vancouver, Washington he took a step back into college coaching. 

We got there in time to watch the last few innings, and spoke with Ty for a little while afterwards, then hurriedly get ready for that evening's football awards banquet.

It was a very impressive affair, with the entire football team in uniform, plus assorted guests and dignitaries. 

Customarily held in January, the football awards banquet was always a fitting conclusion to the football season, but for some reason known only to him, the previous coach did away with the banquet.  That the new coach, Jeff Monken, decided to hold the banquet to honor last year's senior players not only explains the reason for its being held in April, but says a lot about him as a man. First class all the way. We still hear about coaches who come in fresh and totally write off the seniors they inherit, yet here's a man who looked out for kids he'll never even get to coach. 

Coach Monken, acknowledging that it was Easter weekend,  made reference to Christ's example as a servant-leader.

At the end of the event, as I was leaving, I happened to look off to the side, near the entrance to the kitchen, where I saw Coach Monken shaking hands with the chefs.

A highlight of the evening for me was the presentation of the Black Lion Award.  The award was inspired by the story of West Point football player Don Holleder, an All-American who was killed in combat in Vietnam, and it the presentation was made by one of his daughter, Katie Holleder Fellows, of Charlottesville, Virginia.  The winner was Richard Glover, a junior nose guard from Katy, Texas, who majors in Mechanical Engineering.

One last stop at the South Gate before turning in; one last night listening to the trains pass underneath us.

Early the next morning - we saw the Easter sunrise - we were on our way to Philly to catch our early afternoon flight home.

Arriving a little early, we killed a little time by checking out the Swarthmore College campus.  In all the years I lived in the Philly area, I'd only been there once - back in 1950 or so when a cousin graduated from there.  Swarthmore is what you'd call a nerd school.  VERY high standards and NO football.  To each his own.  But it sure is a beautiful place in a lovely little suburban town.

Finally at the airport, we sat down to wait for our flight.  Seated across from me was a young man who said to me, "You don't see many hats like yours."  (It said "Army Football")

That led to my learning that his name was Josh Pcsolyar, he had graduated from West Point last spring, and now, after spending Easter weekend with his family in the Philadelphia area, he was on his way back to Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he was flying helicopters.

And then it was time to board the plane. We said our good-byes, and as usual, I came away from our meeting feeling better knowing that all over our country, there are still young people like him.  What's wonderful about West Point is that you get so many of them together in one place.

*********** Nothing like a racist comment to get you a lot more attention than you ever wanted.  Or deserved.

Just think - Donald Sterling has owned an NBA team for over a decade, and until this past weekend, few people could have told you who he was.  And those who could would only know him as possibly the worst owner in sports.

But now - I don't know whether it's old age, or great wealth, or sheer stupidity, or some of each - everyone knows who Donald Sterling is.

He appears to have been recorded saying things to the effect that he didn't want his ex-girlfriend associating with blacks and furthermore, he didn't want blacks in his building.

So if he said what he appears to have said - if he said it - people are rightfully angry about it.  It's like raw meat for race-baiters and the look-how-unprejudiced-I-am sports media.

But I just want to say this: I'm old enough to have seen the tail end of what real racial discrimination - racial degradation - was.

I remember segregated drinking fountains and segregated pay windows at my own company's factory in Savannah, Georgia... 

President Eisenhower (a Republican) sending troops to Little Rock to enforce the integration of its public schools...

The Negro Leagues - and Jackie Robinson coming to town...

The Emmitt Till murder and the killings outside Philadelphia, Mississippi...

The shooting on the Ole Miss campus when James Meredith enrolled...

Having to call restaurants in Baltimore to make sure that when I showed up with a black co-worker there'd be no issue with serving us...

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott… 

Sit-ins, especially at the lunch counter in Greensboro…

Living in Baltimore when Darryl Hill became the first black football player in the ACC...

Being turned down by places in Hagerstown, Maryland where I wanted to take my (integrated) football team to socialize after games…

I could go on and on. What I'm getting at is, we've come a long, long way.  Yes, racism still exists.   Of course we've still got a ways to go.  But I really don't see how you  could see what I've seen and equate  Donald Sterling's  dumbass comments with real racial  discrimination.

So to those who have been calling for the NBA or the Clippers' players to react as though they'd been refused admission to the building, or told not to use the "Whites Only" entrance,  or refused service at the "Whites Only" concession stands, or required to sit in the "Colored Only" section of the stands -  I suggest you  consider the source.  Treat  the rich old fart to the ridicule he deserves.  Ostracize him.    Hit him  in his pocketbook. Force him to sell if necessary.  And get on with your lives.

*********** I pray that the uproar over Donald Sterling doesn't obscure the fact of Jack Ramsay's passing.  I consider Coach Ramsay to be truly one of the great coaches of any sport.

As just one bit of evidence, I submit the great number of European players in the NBA.  Among all his other accomplishments, it will be little noted that he was the first NBA coach to be sent to Europe as an ambassador of the game.

But don't take my word for it.

“I just look at Jack as one of the premier coaches,” said Pat Riley, who coached the Los Angeles Lakers to four NBA titles and the Miami Heat to one. “And he could be considered the most premier coach in the NBA. It has nothing to do with how many games a coach wins or titles. He was a coach’s coach.”

http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2014/04/jack_ramsay_dies_at_89_trail_blazers_hall_of_fame.html

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/20140429_Report__B-Ball_legend_Jack_Ramsay_dies.html

*********** Jack Ramsay once got me a job.

It was June, 1977, the Blazers had just won the NBA title, making him the King of All Portland, and I was coaching at his camp (yes, a basketball camp) in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Because, like them,  I was a recently-arrived former Philadelphian and we knew a lot of the same people, I became fast friends with Coach Ramsay and his right-hand assistant, Jack McKinney.  They were the best.

Coach Ramsay met my wife, and when he learned that she was from Abington, he came right back with, "The Galloping Ghosts!"  (I asked him how he knew that and he reminded me that he'd coached at St. Joe's for years, and had recruited there.)

Jack McKinney arranged to have me coach his son.

While at camp, a plumb football coaching job at a nearby high school came open, and I called to express interest. I spoke with the superintendent, and because school was already out for the year, and they wanted to act quickly, he arranged to stop by camp and meet me that evening after we were done for the day.

When he drove up, I was out in the parking lot, talking with coaches Ramsay and McKinney and a few other high school coaches.

The superintendent walked over and after we went through introductions he said to me something like, "I'll be in touch," and headed back to his car.

Jack McKinney said, "What's that all about?" and when I told him, he and Jack Ramsay immediately made a beeline for the superintendent's car.

As fate would have it, the car wouldn't start.  The superintendent got out and lifted the hood, and the two NBA coaches both joined him under the hood, as if to help.

Whatever they did, they got the car started, and as it drove off, the two coaches walked back to where we were standing, and Jack McKinney said to me, "We got you the job."

*********** There was a stretch of a couple of years, back in the 1960s, when I would drink an average of a half-case (12 bottles) of beer every working day.

Yes, I said "working day," because it was part of my job to drink beer.   (I really didn't drink that much on weekends.)

On a typical day, when out of town, we'd stop by a distributor's office and maybe have a beer or two.  Then it would be off to lunch (that's still work, you now, when it's with a customer) and two or three more.  Then a few back at his office, and before you knew it, it would be time to head someplace - maybe one of the distributor's favorite accounts - for  a beer or two.  Then dinner, with a couple of beers, and maybe a few afterwards, and then to bed.

And so it would go. It's the nature of the business that you're expected to drink beer.  Not that I didn't enjoy what I was doing, but what was I supposed to do - say I didn't drink?

Even on those days when I was at our home office, my boss and I would head downstairs to the Boh (for National Bohemian, our main brand) Room for a beer or two.  (There was always cold beer on tap in the Boh Room, and no one ever abused the privilege.) That was our morning break.  And then a couple more at lunch, and one or two during an afternoon break.   Then a couple more before driving home (a 60-mile drive from Baltimore to our home in Frederick, Maryland), with maybe a stop or two along the way to buy everyone a beer and have one or two myself.

That was then, and this is now.

Now, I'm good for two, maybe three, beers in an evening.

But a recent article about Jim Koch, the Sam Adams guy, gives me hope.

http://time.com/78243/yeast-beer/

*********** Just two people knew that the Villanova football player was Howie Long: Josh Montgomery, of Berwick, Louisiana and Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport, Iowa.

american flag FRIDAY,  APRIL 25,  2014 "If you're not at the table, you're probably on the menu."   Lee Moak, President of the Airline Pilots Association, explaining why Jetblue's pilots voted to join his union.

*********** A story by Jorge Ortiz in the April 3 USA Today dealt with the growing number of young baseball players requiring Tommy John (elbow) surgery.

Glenn Fleisig, director of research for the American Sports Medicine Institute, in Birmingham, Alabama, attributed the problem to "years and years of specialization."

He went on, "We mathematically, statistically, scientifically have proven kids that play baseball year-round are three times more likely to end up on a surgery table by their 20th birthday than those who don't.

"We live in a day of specialization where kids love one sport and parents love supporting them, and there are baseball centers and travelling teams, so instead of playing various sports and having periods of inactivity, kids are having this unnatural cycle of playing baseball all the time.  That seriously increases their chances of getting hurt. More is not always better."

In short, he said, noting all the strides that have been made in strengthening athletes' muscles,  "the ligaments have not improved as much as the muscles."

MORAL: Instead of fall baseball, those kids should be playing football.  Oh, wait - if they play football they might get hurt.



*********** Last weekend, partially as a birthday present to my wife, we visited West Point, New York, home of the United States Military Academy, one of my favorite places in the whole world.  I never come back from a visit there without renewed faith in my country.

We flew into Philadelphia on Thursday evening, in time to pick up some cheese steaks and hoagies for dinner. After breakfasts the next morning - scrapple (an Eastern Pennsylvania "delicacy") and eggs - we headed north to West Point. Normally an easy drive of under three hours, it was complicated this time by some ungodly Good Friday traffic on the Jersey Turnpike, but no matter.  We were in no hurry.  For once.

Rather than stay at our usual place, this time we stayed at the historic Hotel Thayer. Named for the founder of the Academy, it's on Academy grounds, on a bluff high above the Hudson River.  Five different presidents and an untold number of dignitaries have stayed there while visiting West Point.

We were asked at check-in whether we wanted a room overlooking the Academy grounds or the river - the Hudson, for control of which West Point was first established as a fort, in colonial times. "Why wouldn't we choose the river?" I asked.  "Because of the trains," I was told.

(A busy railroad runs down below, along the river's edge.)

Cool. Listen to the rumble of the trains and the blasts of the air horns? Look out at the mighty Hudson?  We took the river side. 

First order of business was to go "on post" (on campus) to visit to book store.  We'd already passed a cursory check of our drivers' licenses to get to the hotel, but to go the rest of the way requires the full nine yards - pop the trunk, pop the hood, get out of the car, open the doors.  No problem, certainly, but I could only imagine how far cars must be backed up on game days.

On campus,  the cadets are all business. There is no lounging around, no horseplay. They were uniformly attired.  No red mohawks in sight.

Cadets you meet walking to and from class and quarters are unfailingly friendly.  They meet your gaze, smile, and address you as "Sir" or "Ma'am." They treated us as though we were retired officers.  They were not groveling.  These are not servile kids.  Yes, they show respect for their elders, but they do so with the confidence that comes from facing up to challenges  daily - mentally and physically.

As we strolled through Thayer Hall, the main classroom area, on our way to the book store, it was nearing four in the afternoon, but classes were still in session.  Cadets' backpacks lay against the walls outside the classrooms.  (Not much concern about theft at a place whose motto is "Duty, Honor, Country.")

Many of the classroom doors were open, and a look inside them validated my belief in some basics of teaching: (1) there were no more than a dozen or so students in any class, eliminating any possibility of slacking.  Good luck if you aren't prepared; (2) All rooms had long tables arranged in a "U", so that everyone sat in the front row.  No hiding in the back of the room; (3) The instructors stood in front of the class and lectured, questioned, and managed discussion.  Funny - I didn't see any room where the students were sitting around in small groups, teaching themselves (even if this might be one place where they could actually do so).  Public "educators" and "schools of education" have long accepted as gospel that lecture doesn't work.   Someone obviously forget to tell that to  the people at West Point, annually ranked at or near the top of America's colleges.

We walked outside, near "the Plain," where Revolutionary War soldiers once drilled.  There - aspiring soldiers of a more modern era  were parachuting out of helicopters and landing with precision accuracy.. 

Nearby, the baseball team practiced, getting ready for the next day's doubleheader against Holy Cross. (Which they wound up sweeping.) Right across the parking lot practiced the tennis team.  The coach saw us standing there and came over and chatted with us.  It was just a pre-match practice before they set off for Boston, where the next day's match against BU would decide the regular season championship. (They would win the match, making the coach the winningest tennis coach in Army history.)

We had to hustle along now, because football practice was about to start.  The stadium is up a very steep hill to Michie Stadium, so we drove there, and found a parking space close by.

I met up, as arranged, with Jack Morrison, a member of the undefeated 1958 Army team (the year of the Lonely End, and the year Pete Dawkins won the Heisman Trophy).  Jack knows his football - and his Army football - and for some time he's been providing a large number of Army alums with his insider's evaluation on every Army game; as an honorary member of the Army Football Club, the letterwinner's association, I've been privileged to be on his mailing list.

As we stood just outside the stadium, waiting for the players to take the field, we noticed a large number of them gathering in the large open area just outside the locker room.  And then - if anyone from the ACLU asks me, I'll deny seeing it - they bowed their heads, and one of them led his teammates in prayer.

On the eve of the spring game,  the practice, I was told, was to be a walk-through, no more than an hour in duration.  Well. I sure didn't see any walking.  I saw hustle.  Intensity.  Coaching.  Head coach Jeff Monken himself was deeply involved, right down to correcting the smallest of details, and when it came time for special teams, he was more than involved - he was in charge.  The "one-hour practice" went closer to two hours.

At its conclusion, Jack and I got as close as we could to the assembled team, to try to hear Coach Monken's words.  In general, he emphasized that the main thing he wanted to see in the game  was hitting.

After practice, I hooked up with offensive line coach Todd Spencer.  I'd spent a good part of practice watching him work with his group, emphasizing coming off low, perfect fit, hitting the sled, coming off double-teams.

Todd introduced me to a couple of kids he'd recruited. (His main recruiting area is Texas.)  One of the kids, there with his dad, was a big, good-looking kid from San Antonio who's going to be entering the US Military Academy Prep School in the fall. The other kid, from El Paso, is currently at the Prep School. (The Prep School is a free, one-year course. It is not for knuckleheads. It is designed to prepare otherwise bright kids for the academic demands of the Academy, and they are assured admission to West Point when they graduate from the Prep School.)

That night, the Army Football Club hosted a cookout/fish fry in the Kimsey Center, which adjoins Michie Stadium and houses the football offices and football meeting rooms, the locker room and training facilities, the weight room, the Army Athletics Hall of Fame, and a large meeting room which overlooks the football field and serves, on game days, as a hospitality room for big-time donors.

The place was jammed. The entire football team was there, of course, but so, to the great delight of the Army people, was a large turnout of Army supporters.  Like me, they were energized by what they'd heard about the new coach, and they wanted to hear what he had to say.

I sat next to a young guy who works in the athletic department in "development."  That's the term for fund-raising. If someone wants to donate money to build an athletic facility, chances are it starts with him.  He's a graduate of Ohio University's well-regarded school of sports administration, and his previous stop before West Point was at Miami of Ohio.  We had a lot to talk about.

The first speaker was the new Superintendent, Lieutenant General James Caslen.  HImself an Army football player, assistant coach, and Officer Representative (the liaison between the academic side and the football team), General Caslen said that he saw the coach's assignment as four-fold: to develop
Toughness
Discipline
Inspiration
Teamwork

He quoted General (and President) Eisenhower, a West Point graduate and an Army football player: "The one indispensable quality in a leader is integrity."

Since General Caslen was part (along with the AD) of the two-man "search committee" that found Coach Monken, it's safe to say that he saw in Coach Monken the ability to deliver in those areas.

Coach Monken's speaking style is not what you'd call gruff, but he's not a standup comedian, either.  I would call him a straight-talker. He is a football coach, and he talks the same, whether he's talking to you, or me, or a Sunday School class, or his football team.

He stressed toughness.  No more pity parties from the TV guys, who try to explain away Army's losing by telling us how hard the daily life of a cadet is.

What brought the crowd to its feet was when he said, "When we go on the road, it may be military appreciation day when we arrive, but I want them throwing stuff at us when we leave."

Afterward, I met another former Army football player named Tom Morgan, now a businessman in Dallas.  He introduced my wife and me to his daughter, Jasmine, who will graduate in May.  Tom told me how impressed he was with today's cadets - he said that on the cadet physical fitness test, he'd scored at the very top with 70 pushups in two minutes and 70 sit-ups in two minutes.  Jasmine, he said, did 90 pushups and 90 sit-ups in that same time.  Jasmine Morgan is something special.  She first went to LSU as a gymnast, and spent two years there - before deciding that she wanted to go to West Point.  That meant starting all over, as a plebe.  Impressive young woman.

Before turning it, we headed to a longtime favorite place, the South Gate Tavern (just outside the South Gate of the Academy) in the little town of Highland Falls. 

It's been a regular stop on all my West Point visits, which I've been making since 2003.  It's a classic New York tavern, friendly and cozy, and I always look forward to seeing the owner, Eamon Fallon. Because it was Friday night, there were quite a few guys in there, young and clean-cut, obviously Cadets.  A couple of them were sitting at the bar with young ladies. (Things have changed a lot from the days when cadets only left post on major holidays.)  Many of the guys were drinking tall glasses full of ice and a light blue liquid, a drink called "AMF."  (Hint: The "A" stands for "Adios.")  An assemblage of shots of various clear spirits, its color owing to a shot of blue Curacoa, it was not unlike our fraternity house's trademark drink, the "Kick in the Ass."  I noted the irony of a basic, shot-and-a-beer workingman's tavern  now finding itself making exotic mixed drinks, and Eamon said it seemed to be a product of social media - said people come in now and ask if he knows how to make such-and-such a drink (that they've heard about from friends or online) and he'll say, "No, but if you tell me what's in it, we have the ingredients, and we'll make it."

None of the guys was the least bit loud or unruly, and if any of them got drunk, the worst that could happen was that he might  stumble walking back to the barracks.

After a drink there, we decided to stop in the hotel bar, General Patton's Pub, for one more, but on our way in, we ran into a friend we'd met earlier, who showed us something he was going to give a graduate for graduation - a wood carving of the class shield.  The class shield, unique to every West Point class, becomes its symbol forever, and is incorporated into the class ring.  This particular wood carving, done by a former Army player named Bill Dauer, was unique in that its many colors came not from paint or stains but from the variety of woods he used. For example,  the American eagle's yellow feet were a type of pine, and its black claws were ebony.

In the pub, I found myself talking with an MP.  Even at West Point, somebody has to keep order, but he did admit that for an MP, West Point was about as good as it could get. His previous posting was Fort Hood, Texas, and he was there - but not on duty - the day in 2009 that "workplace violence"  (as our administration insists on calling it) resulted.in the deaths of 13 people and injuries to 30 others.

We finished our drinks, said our good-byes, and headed upstairs.

We went to sleep listening to the trains.

NEXT- The spring game

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

Great pictures and notes from your trip to West Point.

I am nearly finished with Joe Drape's Soldier's First.  I'm sure you know of the book and the year that Joe spent with Army football in Coach Ellerson's second year.  No matter what the end thought is on Ellerson, Drape paints an amazing picture of West Point in all aspects.  To say that my respect for the Cadets has grown would be an understatement.  I bought the book for all of my coaches and I think they will enjoy it and will benefit from reading it.

Joe Drape wrote another book that I use in my program regularly, Our Boys, about the Smith Center (KS) Redmen.  I have yet to ask Greg Koenig what he thinks of the book or the Redmen, and part of me doesn't want to.  I'm happy with the story as it was painted.  In fact, it was a book that I bought for a number of player's parents a few years back and said "this is what small school football should look like and what I want for your sons to experience."  The result has been amazing - post game meals with families after home games, post game sack lunches for players after away games, a real and growing sense of community and family within the program, and the list goes on.  I now use the book with my seniors as part of a study on leadership because it shows the lows along with the highs and the importance of football outside of the game of football (for the individual, school and community).  

Anyway, back to the point of my email.  The West Point stuff was amazing.  I hope to make the trip someday.

--
Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

Glad you enjoyed the photos.

I plan to write more.  It really is a most amazing place - one that leaves you shaking your head and asking, "Where do they find these kids?"

But then, having worked a little with the admissions field force out here, I know. I've seen the quality of kids that apply for admission. The kids are out there. In many cases, they simply need to be aware that there is such a place as West Point.

I enjoyed Joe Drape's book on his year embedded in the Army program.  Rich Ellerson had a lot to recommend him initially as the Army coach.   Let's just say that he didn't get the job done and leave it at that.

"Our Boys" was very enjoyable, and as far as I can tell from talking to Greg Koenig, a very fair depiction of a great small-town program.

Greg has had a lot of respect for the Smith Center program, and I think he can take satisfaction from the fact that Beloit has beaten Smith Center the last two years.

villanova athlete*********** I took this photo a few weeks ago while at Villanova's spring practice. Surrounding the football field are photos of a number of the school's athletes who've gone on the achieve national prominence.  Recognize the guy?

*********** You've probably heard the story about Edison's 10,000 failed attempts at inventing an incandescent light bulb before he finally succeeded.  Edison, the story went, treated failure as a success - it simply meant he could check off one more way that wouldn't work.

Nathan Myhrvold knows about that.

He knows innovation. He was Microsoft's first Chief Technology Officer. Now, he's CEO of Intellectual Ventures, Bellevue, Washington "patent purchasing" company.

He says innovators need to keep score differently.

"I'm not a sports guy," he tols USA Today,  "but we all now the best hitter in baseball has a .400 average.  That really means he's a miser, not a hitter; he misses 60 per cent of the time.  In the innovation game, you're batting .100 if you're lucky. So baseball arranged its rules, and we need to set the innovation game's rules so that missing 90 per cent of the time is okay. You need to make it culturally okay to fail."

*********** Yes, a lot of lacrosse players are white and well-to-do,  but they're certainly not all spoiled… preppy… overindulged… entitled.

It's just that you might get that impression from reading the news lately...

Portland, Oregon

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/wilson_high_lacrosse_player_pa.html

Haverford, Pennsylvania

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/us/prosecutors-describe-enterprise-to-control-marijuana-trade-at-affluent-schools.html?_r=0

Annapolis, Maryland

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Midshipman-Gabriel-Voumard-Accused-of-Assaulting-Cab-Driver-256065601.html

*********** A pair of ospreys have been building a nest right in front of a video camera overlooking Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  State highway crews have been tearing down the nest, but the birds keep rebuilding.  Good luck. Opreys are what is known as "persistent nesters."  For years, we had a pair of ospreys that nested on top of one of our stadium light poles.   Every year, after the young ones were hatched and on their way, maintenance would tear down their nests - huge things, made of "twigs" a couple of inches in diameter.  The following spring, back came the birds.  Finally, declaring surrender, the crew erected a pole nearby with a small platform on it, and somehow tricked the birds into using that.  And they lived happily ever after.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/green/blog/bs-gr-osprey-camera-20140422,0,2482398.story

***********  Something that calls itself The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants an end to Clemson's  position of chaplain.  It contends that Coach Dabo  Swinney and Chaplain James Trapp, a former Clemson player, have used their positions in the program to proselytize football players, by arranging Bible studies, organizing devotionals and distributing Bibles and other religious materials.

"What we have observed in the records is that the football coaching staff is doing a number of things to promote Christianity to their student-athletes," said foundation staff attorney Patrick Elliott.  "While student-athletes can pray, conduct Bible studies and engage in religious activities, the coaching staff, as public employees, should not be doing that with their student athletes.

"What we'd like to see is the end of this chaplaincy position an end to Bible distributions by coaches, an end to devotionals scheduled and put on by coaches and staff. The coaches need to step back and just coach - and not coach in religious matters."


http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/sports/college/clemson/2014/04/15/organization-files-complaint-clemson/7726663/

(Sent to me by Coach Dave Potter, Cary North Carolina)

Amazing, isn't it?  "Tolerance" only seems to work in one direction, providing cover for all manner of aberrant philosophies and behaviors to wage war on our mainstream culture.

No more than 20 years ago, no "Freedom From Religion Foundation" would have dared  attack our long-held Judaeo-Christian values, but now they do so right out in the open, confident that somewhere, a judge will be on their side.

Very, very sad.

*********** Barbecue has made it to Oz…

http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/eat-out/smokin-melbournes-love-affair-with-american-barbecue-20140412-36ja8.html

My son, Ed, wrote, "Dad…check this place. Looks great. But check the prices!"

http://www.lebonton.com.au/

I wrote back, Those prices actually don't look all that bad by US standards.   An interesting thing about BBQ is that even here in the states, although it's a dish of the common man, it's not cheap.


*********** More of Miami (OH) coach Chuck Martin, in an interview with Martin Rickman…

http://college-football.si.com/2014/04/17/chuck-martin-miami-redhawks-spring-practice/

If you want to go some place because they’ve got a huge Nike deal and they have cool uniforms, you’re really choosing college for the wrong reasons. We go the other way. We’re looking for people who actually get it. Your four years are over, and just because you wore cool uniforms in college that’s not going to feed your family when you’re 30. If you don’t understand that, shame on you. If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles, you’re looking for pretty gadgets or a marketing tool, we’re not that. We’ll give you one of the best educations in the country and you can come play for a football program that’s going to win championships.

Q: What do you want your identity to be? What do you want people to think of when they think of RedHawks football?

Martin: Hard to play, not fun to play. They’re going to keep coming at you. They don’t really care what the score is or what the situation in the season is. We want to be like that kid who likes to fight. He may not even be the strongest or the meanest, but if you beat him up on Monday and Tuesday, he wants to fight you again. That kid you never want to get in a fight with because you know it’s never ending. You get sick of beating him up and by Thursday, it’s getting old and he’s still coming at you. We want to have that mentality of somebody who’s going to come to work every day and compete every day and love to play the game.


american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL 22,  2014“In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.”     Oscar Wilde

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

One of the first thoughts that entered my head after we were given my daughter Meg's diagnosis of Down Syndrome the day she was born was "she will do more to turn my boys into men than I ever could have."  Seven years later I will believe that more than ever.  Your statement about siblings of kids with special needs is right on.

Meg also did more to make me a man than any other person.  Because of her I accepted Christ into my life the day she was born.  I knew I couldn't "do this" myself, so I needed the real man to show me how.  

Thank you for sharing Charlie Wilson's thoughts in your News.

Happy Easter.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


*********** Army's new coach, jeff Monken, is a straight talker.  Friday night, at a get-together the night before the spring game, he told an overflow crowd that if nothing else, this Army team was going to be tough. Aware of how tired Army followers have become of TV announcers' routinely dismissing bad football on the field by talking about how hard a cadet's life is, he brought the crowd to its feet when he  said, "When we go on the road, It may be Military Appreciation Day when we arrive, but I want them throwing stuff at us when we leave."

And then, on  Saturday night, he did something that I really admire and respect him for.  Something really classy.

He held an awards banquet.  A banquet honoring last year's seniors - kids he'd never have the opportunity to coach.  

It was West Points first football awards banquet in four years. His predecessor, for some strange reason, had simply blown off the banquet, once an annual tradition.  (If you or I had even suggested doing that at a high school, the parents would have had us fired.)

The banquet, which my wife and I had the great  privilege and pleasure of attending, was a grand affair, with at least 500 people in attendance, and it was a wonderful tribute to a great group of young men.

Richard Glover

Coach Monken also earned my gratitude when he somehow worked out a potentially uncomfortable situation for those of us associated with the Black Lion Award.

As anyone who's struggled with deciding on a Black Lion Award winner knows, the rule is one team, one winner. Unfortunately, prior to last season's Army-Navy game, the previous head coach informed us that Army appeared to have a five-way tie, and not wanting to deal with an issue like that at such a sensitive time, we waited until after the game.

But then, shortly afterward, the coach was let go, and Coach Monken inherited the problem.

Whatever he did to resolve it, he did, and on Saturday night, Mrs. Katie Fellows, one of Major Don Holleder's daughters, presented the Black Lion Award to Cadet Richard Glover, a 6 foot, 255 pound junior nose guard from Katy, Texas.

I am very, very pleased with the selection.  Cadet Glover is a very good football player, a fine young man and, above all, a great teammate and inspirational leader.   He's also a real college student - he's a mechanical engineering major.

He's a second-classman (a junior) which means he'll wear the Black Lion patch in the upcoming season.

http://www.goarmysports.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/richard_glover_767786.html

Larry Dixon*********** For the past three seasons, Larry Dixon has been the man in the middle of Army's triple option attack - the fullback.  As anyone who knows the flexbone/wishbone/whatever you wish to call it knows, it all starts with the fullback, and Larry Dixon is a man reason why Army has consistently ranked at or near the top of college football in rushing.

He's tough. He's played in 33 games - started 25 of them. He's carried the ball 338 times for 2,086 yards - 6.2 yards per carry- and 17  touchdowns.  He's listed at 6 feet, 235.  Check the biceps in the photo.

He's a fellow Northwesterner, from Bremerton, Washington - a big Navy town. I teased him about that after Saturday's spring game, while telling him how much I appreciate what he's done and how hard I've been pulling for him.  And Saturday night - at the Army football banquet - he was named one of Army's two co-captains, along with Geoffery Bacon, a sophomore from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.










He's a great kid with a great personality, and as the photo of him and a group of young kids attests, he's a huge favorite of Army fans.

L dixon and fans


*********** A third member of Army's upcoming senior class is an impressive running back from Chicago named Terry Baggett.  He's a very good football player -  he was named Walter Camp national Player of the Week after rushing for 304 yards - an all-time Academy record - against Eastern Michigan, and on Saturday night he received the Colonel Thruston Hughes Award, given to the Most Valuable Player. On top of that, he's a very good student - a chemical engineering major who was named to the Capitol One Academic All-America First team.

Terry Baggett


*********** O. M. G.  I knew it couldn't last.  Yes, the Washington Huskies have a new coach, and he's generated a lot of enthusiasm that was missing the last few years, but then they had to go and put a damper on things,  dipping into a fruit bowl for new uniforms.

WTF ever happened to the idea of your team being recognizable by its uniforms?

http://college-football.si.com/2014/04/18/washington-huskies-unveil-revamped-football-uniforms/?sct=obnetwork

*********** Even the conservative news media are jumping to the defense of the young narcissist at a Pennsylvania high school who, despite the admonitions of school administrators not to do so, went ahead anyhow, standing up at a school assembly and asking Miss America, who was there to present a program, to go to the prom with him.

Because he'd deliberately disobeyed an order, he was given a three-day in-school suspension.

Cruel, cry the news media.  It was so cute.  And he showed such courage.

Miss America herself has announced that her busy schedule won't let her attend with him, but she did ask for a reprieve for him.

Since the news media types have obviously never dealt with high school kids and what happens the first time you make an exception to a rule, and since it never occurred to them that the next time there's a celebrity in school there could be two, or three or who knows how many kids calling out assorted requests of the guest, some of them possibly indecent.

Funny how the media guys think that rude kids are cute (remember the little twit who asked William Clinton, "boxers or briefs?") but express shock when a congressman calls out "You lie!" to the President of the United States.

Look, you apologists - we're living in a nation that's so busy celebrating the cult of look-at-me that it's losing any sense of decorum and civility and respect for the rights of others (been to a high school graduation lately?).  Any attempt by school officials to teach proper conduct to our kids ought to be applauded, not derided.

*********** Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard, whose first act of business upon taking office five years ago was to kill the school's football program,  says the university is too white.

He called the lack of diversity on college campuses "a national crisis."

In a convocation speech, he said, “ ... if in decades ahead, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university.”

And on the university’s website, he asked, “How do we make sure that in future years we are not as white as we are today?”

Rather than give him any ideas like, "Kill all the whiteys," I would like to remind him of a few things...

1. The state of Washington itself is pretty white. It's 82 per cent white, including Hispanics who may self-identify as white. Outside the Seattle-Tacoma area, it's much whiter.

2. Western Washington's location, Bellingham, is a short drive from the Canadian border.  Its home county, Whatcom, is 88 per cent white.

3. Western's enrollment is 55 per cent female.  That's typical of most American student bodies.  Is that a national crisis?  Couldn't he have said, "if in decades ahead, we are as female as we are today, we will have failed as a university?" or, “How do we make sure that in future years we are not as female  as we are today?”

4. At Western, part of the crisis is self-inflicted. When Bruce Shepard shut down the Western football program, he drove off a majority of the school's black male enrollment.  Was he so f--king dumb he couldn't have foreseen that?

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2023397167_wwutoowhitexml.html

*********** New Miami (OH) coach Chuck Martin, interviewed by Martin Rickman…

http://college-football.si.com/2014/04/17/chuck-martin-miami-redhawks-spring-practice/

There are a lot of people who can coach this game that aren’t the type of people who fit with what you believe in. I’ve been very fortunate when I’ve been a head coach (at Grand Valley State, 2004-09) to be around great people. We’ve had a lot of success and a lot of it has to do with the people in the room and their character, work ethic and unselfishness. This is a tough sport, especially at the Division I level and at the MAC level. You can easily surround yourself with staff members who don’t want to be here. They want to be at Notre Dame or at Ohio State. I’ve been on a staff like that in the MAC before. It’s the nature of this league that people view this as a stepping-stone league. People at these schools don’t like to hear that, but that’s the reality of the situation. I left Notre Dame to come here. I took a pay cut to come here. From the starting point, I gave up a bunch of money to come to Miami. I’m invested. Why would I then surround myself with guys who don’t have the same motives as me?


american flag FRIDAY,  APRIL 18,  2014"if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain."   Saint Paul the Apostle

Happy Easter


*********** A 19-year-old kid climbed a fence the other night and was caught on a security camera pissing into a Portland reservoir.

Although aware that ducks, geese, beavers, etc., are prone to doing roughly the same thing, the city fathers nevertheless reacted by flushing the reservoir - 38 million gallons of easily-treatable water down the drain -  because, well, you know...

Hey - although the urine was technically an "additive," which is normally anathema to health-conscious Portland foodies, It seems to me that they'd understand, once they realized that it was natural, organic,  and - very important out here - "locally sourced."


*********** Boy, after what the NCAA did to Penn State for what has yet to be demonstrated to be a "lack of institutional control," what's going to happen to Florida State after the way FSU officials, um, "did little to determine what had happened" in the Jameis Winston case?  Based on an investigative story in Wednesday's New York Times, it does sound as if there could be sufficient grounds for the NCAA, if what it did to Penn State wasn't enough to satisfy its thirst for blood to shut down the Florida State program:

Wrote the New York Times, "University administrators, in apparent violation of federal law, did not promptly investigate either the rape accusation or the witness’s admission that he had videotaped part of the encounter."

Read on, if you will.  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/16/sports/errors-in-inquiry-on-rape-allegations-against-fsu-jameis-winston.html

It's a pretty sickening indictment of a police department, a university, and a culture (yes, I think that's what they said about Penn State at the time) that places winning football games ahead of the safety and well-being of its students.

And how about this one?

The Times noted that  "the Seminole Boosters, a nonprofit organization, with nearly $150 million in assets, that is the primary financier of Florida State athletics…  paid roughly a quarter of the $602,000 salary of the university president, Eric Barron."

Incredible.  The Seminole Boosters were paying the president of the university $150,000 a year! How in the hell did that pass scrutiny?   Tell me that the football tail doesn't wag the academic dog at Florida State.

You ready for more?  President Barron, smart enough to recognize a bad - a very bad - situation when he sees one coming, got out of Dodge.  And he did such a bang-up job of investigating the Winston affair that he was just named president of… Penn State.

*********** I'm reading a book right now entitled "Their Life's Work," by Gary M. Pomerantz. It's about the Steelers' dynasty of the 1970s, a time I can only compare to the 1960s and Baltimore's obsession with the Colts.

The title comes from a line used by Steelers' coach Chuck Noll, when he had to cut a player - he'd say that now the guy could "get on with his life's work."

Noll got the expression from the great Paul Brown, for whom he'd played in Cleveland.  Brown viewed a pro football player's "career" as a mere interlude between college and "his life's work."

One thing the book has done has been to kill a myth.

We've probably seen the "Immaculate Reception" - Franco Harris' race for a last-minute touchdown after grabbing a ball that ricocheted off either Raider Jack Tatum or Steeler Frenchy Fuqua in an AFC playoff game.  We've probably seen it a thousand times. I saw it when it happened, live, on TV.

But then, facts got lost in the mists of time, and I, like many others, came to remember that as the start of the Steeler Dynasty.

But it wasn't.  They lost the very next week to the Dolphins.

The same Dolphin team that would go on to win the Super Bowl and finish the season 17-0.

*********** A Portland kid who was given a 28-day suspension from his school's lacrosse team has been ordered reinstated by a local judge. 

http://www.katu.com/news/local/Judge-rules-banned-student-can-play-lacrosse-255423781.html

Seems the kid, a student at one of the more upscale Portland Public Schools (hint: at our Portland Public school, we had grass growing through cracks in the parking lot; at theirs , they have a swimming pool with water slides) admitted giving a friend $10 to buy alcohol for a party,  but since the deal went down outside school hours and off school grounds, the judge said holding an athlete to a rule 24/7 - a higher standard than for ordinary students - was unconstitutional.

Oh - and the kid's parents claimed that the vice-principal had it in for the kid because of another incident a year earlier where the parents intervened and got the kid off. Can't say I blame the vice-principal.  In that case, the kid was in an alcohol-laden limo  headed to a school dance.  All the kids in the limo were disciplined, but our kid's parents appealed, arguing that only those actually seen drinking alcohol (the old "Yes, but did you actually see him swallow the beer?" defense) should be punished - and the principal agreed with them. (How'd you like to be the vice-principal under that one?)

The assistant principal described the kid as “flippant” until he was informed that the district-mandated penalty meant no longer playing lacrosse. Undoubtedly, he was thinking, "I beat you once, and I'll beat you again."

Well, maybe, but also, the family's lawyer told the judge, the kid has ADD and is inclined to impulsive behavior.

And then there was the clincher - the lawyer argued that the kid would suffer "irreparable damage" if he wasn't allowed to play the rest of the season.  See, he's been "scouted by college lacrosse coaches."

Yeah, right.  College lacrosse coaches, with only a handful of scholarships to give out, are tripping over themselves to sign this kid.*

So the kid's back on the team.  But he will have to take a little course on the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol.  That's sure to be a life-changer.

My concern - lacrosse, largely a wealthy, suburban white-kid sport,  has the potential to attract more and more kids like this one, wealthy and entitled. Think soccer with sticks.

*Just to make sure I knew WTF I was talking about…

According to sportsscholarship.com - http://sportsscholarship.com/mens-lacrosse-scholarships/

As of 2010-2011 there were 95,683 male lacrosse players at the high school level.

In 2010-2011 there were 60 men's Division I lacrosse teams, with 2,740 players.

By NCAA rule, there are 743 men’s lacrosse scholarships available in Division 1.

Why so few scholarships?  Well, lacrosse - along with every other college sport except men's basketball and, in exceptional cases, women's basketball, wrestling, baseball and men's ice hockey - is a non-revenue sport.  That means, it either doesn't bring in enough money to pay for itself - if it brings in any money at all.

Now, then - let's do the math.

That's one scholarship for every 129 high school players.  An average of approximately 12 scholarships per Division I school.

Since 2740 players divided by 60 D-I programs works out to an average roster size of 45 or so, that means that if a coach simply scholarships the 12 best players - and lets everyone else walk on (i.e., pay their own tuition, room and meals) - 33 guys (and 33 sets of pushy parents) will be paying full freight for the privilege of playing Division I lacrosse.   Not a good plan, in my opinion, for the coach or the parents.

On the other hand, should he divide the 12 scholarships among the 45 players, that's roughly 1/4 of a scholarship for each man on the team.  Given today's inflated tuitions, that  still leaves Mom and Dad with a giant bill.

There are even fewer scholarships available in Division II, and none in Division III.

For what it's worth - although there are more than a million kids playing high school football, there are approximately 20,000 college scholarships available, so a kid's chances of getting a football scholarship - a FULL scholarship - at a D-I school are about one in 50.

Adding in the 16,000 or so scholarships available at D-II schools, and a kid's chance of getting a football scholarship are one in 27.

But keep suing your kid's school, Mom and Dad.  Keep bragging about how the college lacrosse coaches are "scouting him."  Hey - if he's any good, maybe he'll get a scholarship.

And then, after his 1/4 scholarship's deducted from the cost of tuition, you'll only have $30,000 or so left to pay. 

*********** Coach - did you see these?

 The NCAA Legislative Council approved measures that would:
       
Division I student-athletes can receive unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with their athletics participation,
--ok

       
Require strength and conditioning coaches to be certified from a nationally accredited certification body,

--You mean, they haven't been?  Our guy has a college degree in it and was the NC Trainer of the Year.

       
Require someone certified in CPR, first aid and arterial external defibrillation to be present at all countable athletic activities,
--You mean, they haven't been?  Good grief, we have to do that for high school.

       
Reduce the penalty for a first positive test for street drugs during championships, and
--Nothing says "Let's Get Serious About Drugs" like reducing the penalty for it...

       
Require football players to rest for at least three hours between practices during the preseason. Film review and team meetings will be allowed during the recovery period.
--ok

Dave Potter
Durham, North Carolina


*********** Bear with me a minute…

Crimea, as we all know by now, is once again a part of Russia.  It was a part of Ukraine  but hey - the people there voted to secede from Ukraine and join up with Russia.  Isn't that the democratic way?

So based on language and culture, the majority of the people of Crimea may have technically lived in Ukraine, but they considered themselves Russians.

Take that into consideration, then add thugs from Russia to stir up dissent and oppress the opposition, and how would you have expected the vote to go?

Now then, I invite you to think ahead...

In 20 years or so, given the sieve that is our southern border, how do you think a vote to secede - to return portions of land in  Southern California, or South Texas to Mexico - might turn out?

How about if the vote were to be "influenced" by armed demonstrations against those supporting the governments - of California? Of Texas?  Of the United States?

How about if those armed demonstrations were aided and abetted by foreign thugs - armed agents of a foreign country - who'd slipped across our border?

Okay, okay. Pure fantasy.  Not in our America.  Never happen here. 


*********** A study published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience has found that abnormalities in the brains of young adults who smoke marijuana even occasionally.

Who knew?  Gee - I always thought it was the other way around.  I always thought that the smokers were already dumbsh--s before they ever discovered weed.

Anyhow, the abnormalities were found in the areas of the brain related to emotion, motivation and decision making - key concerns at a critical time in kids' lives.

Although other studies had shown changes in the brains of heavy marijuana users, this is the first to show abnormalities in young, casual users, and it comes at a time when two states have already legalized sale and use of marijuana, and our Attorney General has chosen not to enforce federal law against its sale and use in those states.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/04/15/casual-marijuana-use-creates-brain-changes-new-report-shows/X1cN8A7h5pOVJkeYkXTXlJ/story.html

*********** There was a strong fear among quite a few NFL people that NFL QBs were cursed.  "Naw, I really don't believe that...".  Then they would get quiet.

The number of children of NFL QBs with disabilities is quite a few standard deviations above the general populace.  No one knows why.

There's always some grouping in a set of data that will show something like this.  But it's KIDS!

One of the best Fathers is the Political Writer George Will.  His son is a Downs child but the thing his son wants you to know is that he loves Baseball.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jon-will-40-years-and-going-with-down-syndrome/2012/05/02/gIQAdGiNxT_story.html

As for Jim Kelly, I have nothing but admiration.  He was a champion in everything he did.  He has faced enough tragedy as well.

This is just wrong.

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Floridas

Charlie,

I mentioned the George Will story to Connie and she said - on somewhat the same topic - that it seemed to her from past experience that in families with a special needs child, the brothers and sisters seemed to be "better," more grounded kids.  Maybe it's because their day-to-day lives are constant lessons that it's not all about them.


*********** Our children often rag my wife and me about the fact that we don't watch movies.  Like we don't have things we'd rather do than sit in a theatre for a couple of hours with a bunch of a$$holes conversing at full volume with each other and on their cell phones, knowing all the while that the some of the money we pay for tickets will work its way back into the pockets of idiot movie stars and eventually into the coffers of the Democratic Party.
 
And just think - if we'd gone to the movies, we'd never have seen the special on the life of Arnold Palmer that ran for three nights this week on The Golf Channel.

What a wonderful treatment it was, of a person who's always been my example of what a man who's gifted enough to be a great athlete should be.

In all the years since I started following him, at first, I suppose, because he was a Pennsylvania guy, I have NEVER heard or read a bad word about the man.s

He grew up in a steel town Latrobe, a steel town about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh, where his dad was the pro/groundskeeper (they couldn't afford to hire two people) at the local golf club.  His dad was hard and demanding (surprise: in those days, most dads were, because they knew that life was tough, and they knew they had to prepare their sons for a tough life), and taught him many lessons, about golf and about life.

Two of the things his dad taught him have made him the kind of man he is: Never forget where you came from, and always treat other people the way you'd want to be treated.

He's a millionaire many times over, and he's revered and welcomed any place on earth where golf's played, but he's never lost the common touch, always spending part of his year in his boyhood hometown of Latrobe.  Now, if ever there was a place where you'd expect to find someone - just one person - who'd say something negative about a guy, it would be the place where he grew up.  But as my friend Tom Hinger, also a native of Latrobe, often tells me, you could talk to everyone in town and you'd never find a soul to badmouth their "Arnie."

*********** Big Football worms its way into our game.

The following went out to every high school in Washington...

Greetings,

The Seattle Seahawks in conjunction with WIAA, USA Football and the Washington State Football Coaches Association (WSFCA) is offering an opportunity to High School and Middle School football coaches to attend an Introduction to "Heads Up Football".

Where: Seattle Seahawks training facility (VMAC)
When: Wednesday, May 14th - 5:30 to 7:30pm
Registration: No fee to attend
Clock Hours: WIAA will provide three (3) coaching clock hours for attending.
How to Register - Click on this link and submit your registration.
http://www.wiaa.com/FormEntry.aspx?ID=90

Grrrr.

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

I have been using your Double Wing System for my youth football teams in Burnsville MN for the past 15 years.  My old Playbook got wore out so I thought I better get the new updated version.  This past season we went from an “inhouse league” to a traveling league (South Suburban Youth Football League) playing the other schools in our High School conference.  We were 1 of 2 7th grade Burnsville teams.

Utilizing the Double wing Offense we went 12-0 winning the regular season and league tournament.  We averaged 38 points per game and establishing a new record for points scored in a season in the 5 year old SSYFL.  Not bad for a group of 7th graders who had not played together as a team before.

I attribute a great deal  of our success to your Double Wing system and the simplicity with which it can be installed.  We had only 2 weeks to prepare for our first game as compared with our first opponent who had 3 1/2 weeks.  I was coaching a baseball team out in Cooperstown NY the first week of practice and didn’t do any offensive installs until I got back.

We beat our 1st opponent 38-8 and their coach came up to me afterwards and complimented me on how well prepared we were so early in the season.  He mentioned how much faster we played than his kids.  I didn’t tell him why.  But, if you keep the rules simple and the kids know what they are suppose to do then they will play hard and fast.  If they are not sure what to do they will be thinking about what to do and that will slow them down.

Coach, thanks for putting this system together.  I look forward to receiving the new materials in the near future.

Sincerely,

Arnie Andreasen
Savage, Minnesota

*********** My wife and I are unable to get away during the fall to see any of Army's regular-season games, so we're doing the next best thing: we're off to West Point this weekend to watch their spring game.

Unlike other programs and other years, Army's is going to be a real game.

The squad will be divided equally, and there will even be kickoffs.

And how's this for letting everyone know that from the top down, winning is a priority at Wesr Point:  coaching one team will be the superintendent, General Robert Caslen (a former Army football player and assistant coach),  and coaching the other will be the commandant, General Richard Clarke (in high school terms, think of the commandant as the vice-principal in charge of administration, discipline and military training).

*********** nfl.com's Mark Sessler writes that Rolando McClain's attempt at a return to football did not go well…

In a scheduled workout with the Ravens, McClain, who has had his share of off-field problems, evidently couldn't finish his conditioning test, and then failed to do any drills.

Sure sign that he's not ready to return?  According to reports, he showed up late.


*********** Written by a contributor to the New York Times:

the purpose of military force is to be so well prepared, overwhelmingly so, that both tin-pot dictators and oil-rich fascists like Putin will never take the risk to invade others. Overwhelming force is the real price of our freedom -- and therefore should never need to be used. But history shows that lack of preparation is a mistake made over and over again. And here we are again. It is laughable that some liberals (and conservatives too) are now calling for "action" to stop Putin. The only action worth taking would have been to prepare years ago. Now Putin can roll while Obama, Kerry and the Euros do what they do best, talk

*********** An MLS (that's soccer) player named Giancarlo Gonzalez was fined by the league for "Embellishment intended to deceive the referee."

Translation:  "acting too much like a soccer player."


american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL 15,  2014"If someone can hit you in the crotch, you are not in position to play football."   Nick Hyder, longtime coach at Valdosta, Georgia High School

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

I really appreciate the quote from the News.

"In my opinion, we are in danger of developing a Cult of the Common Man, which means a cult of mediocrity."  Herbert Hoover

Each week during the season I focus on a topic or theme.  It's usually one of those "life beyond the game" kind of things that shows how football can prepare a young man for life.  This year one of our vocabulary words, and the topic of the week, was "mediocre."

The boys were surprised to hear that it simply means common or average.  In their minds the word means something much less than average.  Somehow "average" has been elevated above "mediocre," even though they are one in the same.  But, put in terms of its true definition, a mediocre team would win half of their games.  A mediocre student would get C's. 

Based on their initial thoughts about the word mediocre we established that if they think mediocre is not a way they want to be described then being a .500 team or getting C's is not something they should be happy with.  It was quite eye opening to our young men.  

Thank you for giving me some material to use when I revisit this topic next year.
 
Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


***********  Hugh,
 
I have just received notification that Payton Vetter has been chosen as a National Football Foundation scholar-athlete for the 2013-14 school year. This honor is based on his football performance and his academic excellence. Only 11 young men in the state of Kansas will receive this honor, so it is obviously a very special award.  Payton will be honored on April 23 at the scholar-athlete banquet in Lawrence, KS.

Coach Greg Koenig
Beloit High School
Beloit Kansas

Greg,

That is a very big deal.  I am a member of the National Football Foundation and I see the quality of the kids they honor at the regional level.  To be so honored at the state level is fantastic.

My congratulations to Payton and his folks.  And to you, too.  He would have been a great kid no matter what, but you never know about these things.  Maybe with another coach he would have dropped football and concentrated on other sports.

These are the sorts of things that make you realize why you got into coaching.

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

As a UConn fan I had a pretty good week. Regarding Shabazz Napier's statement about going to bed hungry some nights (didn't we all in college on some nights), the thought occurred to me that the money he spent on tats could have paid for a few cheeseburgers. Just sayin'.

Alan Goodwin
Mooresville, North Carolina

*********** Both Notre Dame and Ohio State spring games were on TV Saturday, and the nice crowds that they drew were a testament to the appeal of the college game. 

I know it was just spring ball, and I hate these so-called spring "game" formats where it's really just a glorified offense-versus-defense scrimmage, the offense scoring in conventional fashion and the defense scoring in assorted contrived ways.  But given the fact that most coaches would gladly do away with their spring game entirely, I enjoyed still being able to watch. 

And it is college football.   (May somebody choke the greedy bastards who run it before they kill the game.)

Notre Dame's Everett Golson is back at QB after missing a year because of academic problems,  but from the looks of another QB, a newcomer named Malik Zaire, he isn't necessarily a lock to start in the fall.  Overall, I came away with the impression that the Irish looked a good bit quicker.

Ohio State's offense looked a bit off, as you might expect with running back Carlos Hyde out of eligibility and QB Braxton Miller sitting out following shoulder surgery.  The defense, on the other hand, looked good. Really good. Take that talented defensive line and add the coaching of newcomer Larry Johnson, long-time Penn State DL coach, and their front looks really powerful.

At halftime, the entire OSU team stayed on the field to watch the "Fastest Student Finalist" competition, a 40-yard-dash among several students and a few of the Buckeye players.

The preliminary heat was won by a student named Malcolm Branson, who in the "final" ran stride-for-stride with the fastest players on the team.

http://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football/2014/04/34895/so-you-think-youre-faster-ohio-state-football-player

*********** They interviewed former Ohio State coach Earl Bruce at halftime of the Ohio-State spring game, and someone made mention of "that school up north," as Woody Hayes loved to refer to Michigan. Coach Bruce said he never called it that. "I call it 'Michigan,'" he said,  "in honor of the man I coached against.  There's only one Bo Schembechler."

*********** The Pac-12 Network showed Arizona and Stanford, but jumped back and forth between them.  Very disconcerting.

Stanford had no one there.  That'll teach them to schedule it in conflict with a big wine and cheese tasting.

Rich Rod went up in the stands and found fans to call plays.

*********** Penn State's Blue-White Game, the first under new coach James Franklin, drew a crowd announced at over 70,000.  It looked all of that.  QB Christian Hackenberg looked great, but the receivers didn't.  Neither did the offensive line, where the Lions' NCAA-imposed lack of numbers was most apparent.

*********** You've probably already read the story, so I won't get into it, but the funniest deal of the whole Saturday was Nebraska's Bo Pelini leading his team onto the field while carrying a big house cat.

*********** RELEASE FROM THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION

John Urschel, the Penn State All-American guard who claimed the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy from the National Football Foundation (NFF) as college football’s premier scholar-athlete, has been named the winner of the 84th Sullivan Award, presented by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to America’s top amateur athlete. The live announcement occurred during an awards ceremony on Friday, April 11 at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlando, Fla.

Urschel was selected from a pool of 19 semifinalists vying for the honor in 2014, and the Penn State All-American joined two other finalists, University of Florida track and field athlete Cory Ann McGee and University of Nebraska volleyball player Kelsey Robinson, for the live announcement of the winner at the event in Orlando.

First presented in 1930, the Sullivan Award honors an athlete who demonstrates the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism. Past football recipients of the Sullivan Award include College Football Hall of Fame inductees Felix “Doc” Blanchard (Army, 1945), Arnold Tucker (Army, 1946) and Charlie Ward (Florida State, 1993), and NFF National Scholar-Athletes and William V. Campbell Trophy winners Peyton Manning (Tennessee, 1997), Tim Tebow (Florida, 2007) and Andrew Rodriguez (Army, 2011).

*********** My friend Mike Lude, who'll be 92 in June, is still working on his bucket list.

A few weeks ago, he checked off another item.  He and his daughter, Cynthia, rode mules up and down the south side of the Grand Canyon, with an overnight stay at the bottom.

Mike said that it was pretty hairy in places, sheer walls on one side and steep drops of 700 feet or more on the other, with the trail no more than a couple of feet wide in spots.  Some switchbacks were so sharp, he said, that the mule's head stuck way out into space as his lower body made the turn.

Before setting out, they were given a lengthy set of instructions, the most important of which was, no matter how frightened or insecure you might feel - "Don't get off the mule!"

The mules, you see, are sure-footed, and they'd been over the trail hundreds of times.

I immediately thought of that as a great slogan for a coach who's having a little trouble doing tinges the way he's always done them, and starts to get advice from outsiders, some of them well-meaning outsiders, some of them his own assistants.

The lesson is that no matter how scary things might get, no matter how tempting it might be to desert the things that got you there, no matter what others might be telling you…

DON'T GET OFF THE MULE!

*********** Nevada Senator Harry Reid, spoke on the subject of the mini-range war taking place in his state…

"Well, it's not over. We can't have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it's not over,"

I can't believe that he really said that, while in the meantime non-American people entire our country illegally -  violate the law and then just walk away from it.

*********** Q. Why do you suppose coaches don't write more specific, comprehensive system books like this anymore? Seems like if they're not presenting at a clinic or a speaking engagement, most coaches' information is relegated to snippets published In combination with other coaches' stuff.

A. Good question. I have the answer. Herman Masin, he longtime editor of Scholastic Coach Magazine  (Now, sadly , defunct), once told me that back when coaches were paid like mere mortals, they wrote books to supplement their incomes. Now, most of them are plutocrats and wouldn't even bother  talking at clinics except their shoe-and-apparel contracts require them to do so.

You can almost trace it back to somewhere in the 1970s. Ara Parseghian's may have been the last coach-written book that actually got into details of his system. (Great book, by the way.)

Herman Masin, by the way, was a giant of the world of sports.  In his long career, he may have  known more of the big names of sports than any man who ever lived.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — June 10, 2010 — Herman Lewis Masin, the longest-serving editor of one magazine in American history, and among the most influential figures in the field of interscholastic athletics and coaching, died on June 8, 2010. He was 96.
After graduating from New York University in 1936, he got his first and only job as editor ofScholastic Coach. He held that job until December 2008 – editing the publication and writing his column, "Here Below," from a mechanical typewriter. Mr. Masin was born in Bronx, NY, on June 21, 1913. He died of natural causes.
Under Mr. Masin's leadership, Scholastic Coach published one of the first articles written on modern strength training in November 1949. In 1972, long before anabolic steroids became a controversial issue, the magazine published an article on its use by European track athletes, written by U.S. discus champion L. Jay Silvester.

Perhaps even more significant was Mr. Masin's campaign for safer blocking rules in football. The use of the head as a battering ram had resulted in numerous catastrophic head and neck injuries over the years, and Herman used his column to raise awareness of this danger. When the National Federation of State High School Associations finally passed a rule prohibiting the use of the top of the head in blocking, the executive director wrote to say that the new regulation should be called, "The Masin Rule."

Throughout his tenure with Scholastic Coach, Mr. Masin also cultivated many young, promising coaches including Al Davis, Jack Ramsay and Ben Schwartzwalder, all of whom had articles published in the magazine. He also corresponded frequently with Coach John Wooden, who passed away at the age of 99 on June 4.

http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/node/344

*********** More on the subject of books by coaches…

A friend expressed the wish that Paul Johnson or Ken Niumatololo would write a book.  He complained that he'd bought some clinic notes where the coaches used inside jargon that meant nothing to someone like him who just wanted to learn their system.

I told him that's pretty much the way that clinic notes often go. First, coaches addressing other coaches frequently do use jargon, because they're used to talking with people who understand their every word, and second, you're often at the mercy of the person who transcribes the notes from recordings.

I told him that if he was looking for a book on the flexbone/spread triple option (whatever you want to call it) the best is by Tim Stowers- "Coaching Football's Spread Offense." I understand it's gone up quite a bit in price.

*********** The Player Formerly Known as Ocho Cinco has a workout scheduled for Tuesday with the CFL Montreal Alouettes.  Got to get me one of those QUATRE-VINGT-CINQ jerseys.

***********  Bubba Watson is a multimillionaire.  He's also a southerner to the core.

He won the Masters, and he celebrated like a true southerner - by heading to a Waffle House. (They're all over the South.)

Tsk, tsk, sniffed the food police, accusing him of setting a bad example. One nutritionist, asked by Fox News what he should have eaten instead, answered, "Oat meal."

*********** Headline in the Hagerstown, Maryland Herald-Mail

Person who cut off thumb near Hagerstown transported by police chopper

("Chopper?" After he just lost his thumb? Just doesn't sound right.


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

Not sure if you knew, but I received an email from HUDL advertising the new USA Football (NFL) coaching program called "Heads Up".  The NFL propaganda machine is running in high gear now.  What better way to promote and champion their cause than to get HUDL on their side?  

With all the talk about AAU getting their dirty hands into football, I see this USA Football (NFL) meddling as a much more serious threat to high school football as we have known it.  I can't speak for all coaches, but I've taught the game the right way for years and never placed an additional financial burden on the school, the players, or the parents for my services.  But…here we are.

I know you have been an outspoken critic of this for years, and just want you to know I join you in the criticism.

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Joe,

There is no escaping the tentacles of the octopus that is Big Football.

It's amazing that an organization as corrupt and money-grubbing as the NFL can get away with passing itself off as the saviour of our sport, bribing well-known coaches to help promote USA Football's "Heads Up" scam, getting their foot in the door as the Tsar of All Football.

Makes we wonder, though - what's HUDL's angle?

Maybe along with the mandatory USA Football coaching certification that we're headed for (which is when I get out) we'll get a membership discount if we subscribe to HUDL.

(I haven't checked lately.  I wonder if USA Football is still using my terminology - without my permission - in "its" Double Wing materials that it sells to gullible young coaches.)

***********  Coach, I had posted an update on FB about my grandson's ability to make a perfect form tackle without prior instruction.  Looking back I realized that not many kids can really do that.  He has watched football which some of those kids never have done.  I will continue to coach tackling step by step and use visualization methods to help.  Here is a comment I made on my update about tackling.  Thanks for bringing me back down to earth.

This update made it sound like my plan is to let the players just go at it full speed without instruction in tackling. Coach  Hugh Wyatt a long time football and life mentor put me in my place when I informed him of my "epiphany" about natural tackling.  My intention was and is to teach the form tackle step by step and allow the kids visualization over and over to help them make the tackle correctly.  A youth coach's main job is to teach this rough game to the kids in such as manner as to eliminate as many serious injuries as possible.  Actually, looking back over the years there weren't many young kids who could step right up and make a good safe tackle without full instruction.  And if that takes by the numbers that's what I will do.  I was just so pleased that my grandson picked up on in so quickly.  Of course he has watched football which lots of kids his age haven't done.  I still believe some youth coaches go about teaching tackling in a very poor way.  There are coaches that line them up their first day in pads from 10 yards apart and say "go hit him", just to see how tough they are.  I will do nothing close to a live drill until all players are competent doing a fit and freeze and show they are ready.  I do believe watching a perfect tackle or block goes a long way in teaching these kids the right way.

Coach,

I appreciate your introspection as a result of our exchange.

It's an axiom of teaching that even at risk of boring the brightest kids and holding them back, we have to make every effort not to exclude even the slowest student from the lesson.

It's even more important in football, where a team's success often depends on our ability to make sure there are no weak links in the chain.

I made a point in Safer and Surer Tackling that I first heard from Bud Wilkinson, one of the all-time greats.  He said that we should teach a kid to tackle the way we would teach him to swim.  We should deal with his fears (few kids really want to bang into another kid) and we should proceed very slowly, step-by-step, and not move on until he is very confident in what he is doing.

You have no idea how many times I've watched coaches (at all levels) run drills at full speed before the kids are ready to go at that pace.

Keep coaching!


american flag FRIDAY,  APRIL 11,  2014 "In my opinion, we are in danger of developing a Cult of the Common Man, which means a cult of mediocrity."  Herbert Hoover

*********** I am so bummed.  PowerMacPac, my Apple/Mac store - has closed.

They were only 20 minutes or so away, just across the river in Oregon, where the sales tax has yet to gain a toehold.

Over the past 20 or 25 years that I dealt with them, I bought at least four Macs for myself and two for my wife,  plus two iPads,  and God only knows how many hard drives and assorted devices and connectors.

It's especially sad because the store, a licensed Apple reseller, epitomized what I always thought Apple was all about - when you went there, you sensed a certain esprit de corps, a certain "we're-all-in-this-together-against-PCs" mentality. 

You were dealing with people who really cared about their product.   They provided amazing tech support - the service department was always available to answer questions on the phone, rather than giving you the usual "bring it in and we'll have a look at it" song and dance.  When you did have to "bring it in," as often as not they could fix it on the spot. Yes, maybe I paid more for the hardware, but you can't put a price on backup like that.

I feel really bad for the people who worked there.  I'm sure they'll find other jobs, but I'll bet that unless it's at another Apple store, they'll never again experience the same sense of mission.


*********** Colin Kaepernick is accused of taking part in what sounds like another one of these ugly "drug her and f--k her" incidents that pro athletes seem to enjoy.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/san-francisco-49ers-qb-colin-kaepernick-investigated-for-alleged-suspicious-incident-041014

While I do hope that nothing bad happened to the woman, other than possibly embarrassment (if a woman drinking and getting stoned in a hotel room with three guys is even capable of being embarrassed), but for better or worse, she may have struck it rich financially.

It could turn out bad for Mr. Kaepernick, the 49ers and the NFL, but I doubt it.  Assuming that her story is true, I have an idea that an attorney has already been "in touch" with her.

For sure,  an attorney for Mr. Kaepernick, the 49ers or the NFL.  Or all three.

I'm not a lawyer, but if I were, this would be my statement:

I think that if I were Colin Kaepernick, a rich, famous young NFL quarterback with tats all over my body, I wouldn't have to drug anyone to go to bed with me. To prove my point, your honor, may I direct your attention to that long line of young women outside the courtroom door waiting to testify to  that under oath?

*********** It's not often that an FBS school's starting QB decides to transfer, but Duke's Brandon Connette has announced his intention to do so.

It has nothing to do with football.  He wants to be nearer his mother, ill with cancer in Corona, California.

He will graduate this spring, which means that he will be eligible to play immediately, a la Russell Wilson at Wisconsin.

Now, I know that Seattle isn't that close to Corona, California, but after watching Washington go through a spring practice session with just two quarterbacks - and inexperienced ones at that -  I'd like to put in a good word for the Huskies.

http://college-football.si.com/2014/04/10/brandon-connette-transfer-duke-mother/

*********** My hat's off to both UConn teams, men's and women's.

Congratulations to men's coach Kevin Ollie, by all descriptions a true team man as an NBA player, on a masterful job of coaching.

And to Geno Auriemma, UConn's women's coach, whose team really was a pleasure to watch.  Guy can coach. No doubt about it.

But there was this… Exactly ONE MINUTE remained in the game when he began to pull his starters.  Just his two seniors, actually, so that they could get a well-deserved final ovation.

Jeez, Geno - you were ahead by 21 F--KING POINTS!

There were kids on the UConn bench - who I bet had to come to every practice and had to follow the same rules as the stars - who never even got to take their warmups off. 

*********** Give… me… a… break.

Shabazz Napier, the day after being named Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Final Four, went on Fox News and said that there were nights while in college that he went hungry.

He said, "Student athletes...we do have hungry nights when we don't have enough money to get food," noting that the basketball scholarship doesn't cover everything

"I don't feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars," he said, "but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I'm starving."

Well, yeah, there were those nights when the bar would close and we'd stumble out, hungry as hell, the only thing between us and starvation a hamburger at the open-all-night White Tower. Yes, we did have money, but only because hamburgers were  20 cents.  Cheese cost a nickel extra.  Out in Hamden, a new place called McDonald's was supposedly selling hamburgers for 10 cents, but you needed a car to get there.

And only the "student-athletes" at the big-time schools got to have cars.


*********** Hey Coach!

I have an two 8 year old grandsons who want to play football next fall so we've been out playing some fun games.  We've been playing some tag games and doing a couple of drills from your "Practace Without Pads Video".  I bought the boys a set of football gear and I tried it on one of them yesterday.  My son, the proud dad of Connor, told him to takcle him.  Keep in mind that he has had no instruction on how to tackle yet.  He made the best form tackle a coach could ever ask for!  He got close, bent his knees with his butt low, fired his arms up and wrapped up his dad sliding his head to the side, locked him up and thrust his hips up and drove him back!  I've always taught tackling by the numbers but it seems that isn't necessary for all kids.  It's apparently a  natural thing to do.  Next fall when I coach the 8-9 year olds I'm going to tell each boy to make a tackle without taking the ball carrier to the ground and go from there on perfecting the skill.

Actually, I learned this method of ing when my kids were first on the golf range.  I found they did just fine until I started breaking down the swing into it's many parts.  Paralysis by analysis is a concept that we coaches need to keep in mind at all times.
 
Coach,

I personally would suggest that with everything that's at stake here, you not try to invent a new way to teach tackling.  There are plenty of other aspects of the game where a coach can apply his creativity.

Not to refute your theory, but just on the chance that one kid in a hundred might duck his head and close his eyes (which does seem to be an instinctive way of dealing with the unknown), I think I'll stick with teaching it by the numbers.

The word "paralysis" scares me, but I'll take my chances with "paralysis by analysis" until I've done everything I can to reduce the possibility of real, literal paralysis from unsafe tackling.


*********** Bill Widmer, a high school teammate of mine and a long-time labor lawyer in Chicago has a prediction on the way the Northwestern players' union vote will go:

I believe the election will be a no vote runaway. University is running a classic anti-union campaign, speech from Fitz on no need for 3rd parties to come between us, letters to parents (usually it’s sent home to the employee so wife gets to read) and oh by the way team you should know, in the pipeline and completely unrelated to the union, there will be an additional helmet option and everyone will get an ipad next season.

I put the over/under on yes votes at 10.

I disagreed with Bill in that I felt that he failed to note that, considering they are student-athletes,  the iPads will be loaded with the complete works of Shakespeare.

But Coach Fitz can be persuasive.  And so, I bet,  can Mom and Dad, once they check out what the tuition is at Northwestern for ordinary students.

And, apart from the idiocy of walking out on a Northwestern education, in case their sons are considering transferring, Mom and Dad (assuming they're among those few from their generation who actually studied history), may acquaint their sons with something called the Black List.

I can see why Bill is making such a low over/under call.

At most knucklehead schools I would figure on a fairly substantial number of malcontents, but this being Northwestern, many of whose football players realize that without football ability they likely wouldn't have met the high admissions standards, and where they almost certainly have more regular daily contact with ordinary (non-athlete) students than they would at the typical SEC school, I suspect that other than the time demands that prevent them from doing some of the "college things," they realize that they don't have such a bad deal.

*********** The NFL draft is approaching, and with all the talk we'll be hearing about the enormous sums of money draftees will be paid,  I'm disappointed in the colleges for having done such a poor job of explaining tp the public that without having put in time as low-paid college "student-athletes," those guys wouldn't have anywhere close to the same value to an NFL club.


*********** In an article in the July/August 2012 "This is the AFCA" magazine (a real benefit of belonging to the American Football Coaches Association), legendary Mt. Carmel (Chicago) High School coach Frank Lenti mentioned some advice he got as a rookie coach from all-time great Bo Schembechler.

He'd told Schembechler that he planned on running a split-back veer offense, and he said Schembechler told him, "Okay, here's the deal. Whatever you believe in, you sell it and you stick to it. Don't you let anyone talk you out of what you believe in.  There are going o be a lot of naysayers who are going to tell you you can't do that."

Says Lenti now, years later. "He was right. Guys in our conference would tell me I can't run that offense in this conference, that I'm going to be fired in two years.  Well, here we are, 28 years later.  And in that 28 years, we've played in 14 state championship games and we've also won four prep bowls."

He also mentioned something else that I suspect has had more than a lot to do with his success.

"For our kids here," he said, "It's a three-pronged approach.

"Number one, we tell our kids you have to be the best person you can be.

"Number two, be the best student you can be.

"Then, number three, be the best athlete you can be."

But, he went on, If an athlete isn't measuring up on number one and number two, he won't get a chance to be number three at Mt. Carmel.

*********** Since lefties love  to delve into a conservative's past in search of  incriminating things he may have said or written, permit me to  submit this:

In 1994, the "Reverend" Al Sharpton told an audience at New Jersey's Kean College in 1994 "White folks was in caves while we was building empires.... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it."

*********** How much sense does it make to pay millions more than his teammates  to a guy in a sport where 0-0 (pronounced "nil-nil") scores are commonplace?

Yeah, I can see starving the rest of the guys on the team in order to pay a great starting pitcher or a great home run hitter.   Or a great scorer/rebounder/defender in basketball.  What the hell - it's all about putting butts in the seats and eyeballs on the screens, and major league baseball and NBA basketball aren't exactly team sports, anyhow.

Actually, you could argue that the game of football has reached the point where it might make sense to break the bank to get a great quarterback.

But soccer? The Seattle Sounders  are going to pay a soccer player named Clint Dempsey  $6.695 million - guaranteed -  this season.  That's more money than the total payrolls of 15  other MLS teams.

http://espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1781446/clint-dempsey-highest-paid-player-mls?cc=5901


american flag TUESDAY,  APRIL 8,  2014"War is God's way of teaching Americans geography."  Ambrose Bierce

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

I truly enjoyed catching up with you. I can't believe it has been 40 years since we were together in Philly.

I loved the blog and the trip down memory lane. We certainly had a unique experience with the Bell. I guess you had to be there to really understand it. 

It was interesting to see you mention Rocky Marciano.  My mother arrived in this country when she was 18 years old. Her father purchased a three family home in Whitman. She recalls Rocky stopping at the house for a break during his roadwork.  Supposedly, he would have a small glass of my grandfather's homemade wine to help him make it back to Brockton. My father heard that he also had his eye on my mother. Who knows, I might have been Dennis Marciano!

Again, it was great seeing you. Hopefully, it won't take 40 years for our paths to cross again.

Peace,

Dennis Lozzi
Whitman, Massachusetts


MIKE VITI ARMY-NAVYMIKE VITI RUNNING
MIKE VITI W SECY GATES

*********** Over the next seven months, Mike Viti, former Army captain and Black Lion Award winner pictured above,  will walk across America, starting in Washington State and finishing in Baltimore, the site of the Army-Navy game. He'll have hiked over 7,100 kilometers, one for every US service member who was killed in action during the so-called Global War on Terror.

His personal goal is to raise the awareness of everyday Americans about the sacrifice of our nation's heroes and their families. His message is that these heroes represent the face of freedom. Together, we must rally and honor the legacies of those killed in action and support their families.  

Mike grew up in Berwick, Pennsylvania, a football-crazy town where he was an all-state football player and a state champion wrestler.

Influenced by the events of September 11th, 2001,  he earned an appointment to the United States Military Academy, at West Point, New York, in 2004.

At West Point, as starting fullback for the Army Football team Mike  was a four-time football letter winner, and was voted team captain by his teammates. Following the 2006 season, his junior year, Mike was named Army's Black Lion Award winner for “best exemplifying leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self sacrifice, and above all an unselfish concern for the team ahead of himself."

Being the first junior so honored meant that Mike would become the first Army player to wear the Black Lion patch not just in the Army-Navy game, but for his entire senior season.

Following his senior season, he became the 26th cadet in history to be presented the Army Athletic Association’s Special Award for “achievement and exemplary leadership in athletic competition”.
 
During his senior year, he was named one of the four Regimental Commanders in the Corps of Cadets, which meant he was responsible for the health, welfare and training requirements of over 1,000 cadets,  and he earned the Lieutenant General Garrison Davidson Award for his military standing.
 
After graduation from West Point in 2009, Mike was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer in the Army. He served in several positions with 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. In 2010-11, Mike was deployed to Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan as a Platoon Leader and earned a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge for his exemplary service. While in Afghanistan, he had the honor of personally escorting Secretary of Defense Gates on a visit to the front lines.   Back in the states, Mike then served as an Operations Officer for the 214th Fires Brigade at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and in 2013, Mike he concluded his military service.
 
As a civilian, Mike assumed a leadership position at a Fortune 100 company, Hospital Corporation of America, and served as Director of Application Services for the Far West Division in Las Vegas, Nevada,  responsible for leading operations in eight facilities across Nevada and California.
 
He has become active in supporting the legacy of those killed in action during the Global War on Terror and an advocate for their families. Recently, Mike teamed up with Freedom Has A Face, a non-profit organization devoted to honoring the lives of those heroes, and to accomplish his mission, has undertaken Mike’s Hike For Heroes.

It's my hope that anyone who reads this page, anyone who's had a connection with the Black Lion Award, anyone who'd like to support Mike's effort, will consider contacting Mike via the info on this link - http://www.mikeshikeforheroes.com

My wife and I have offered Mike food and lodging when he passes through Portland (ETA May 2), but at the very least, we'll settle for a photo-op.

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

Two questions:

1.Talked recently with the father of a coaching friend-the father was the coach at -----  High during the time of that tape I sent you, running the unbalanced wing t.  Talking about his offense, and thinking about it and the old unbalanced single wing, do you know of any program that still runs a primarily unbalanced line offense?  I can't imagine anyone would let you get away with that nowadays.

There are such teams, and they're usually coached by old guys who've run unbalanced for years, and they "get away with it" because they know their offenses so well - and the things that people might do against them - that they can adjust quickly.

2. Saw some internet discussion some time back about the sidesaddle T offense.  Looking at it, it seems like single wing with someone somewhat under center.  What was the purpose of that offense and how common was it during its' time?

It was not common.  It was a part of General Neyland's unbalanced line single-wing at Tennessee, and John McLaughry ran it against us when I was in college and he was at Brown. General Neyland liked to have his blocking back close enough to take a t-formation snap so he could run a sneak.  I have video of one of his disciples, Phil Dickens, running it at Wyoming.  He could run single wing to one side (with the QB as a blocking back) and t-formation stuff to the other side (with the QB taking the snap from center).  When I was a kid playing on the 90-pound team, I remember playing teams who ran it, and thinking how much easier it must have been for the QB because he could actually see the ball!

*********** Do you suppose the Big Ten might want a mulligan on the addition of Maryland and Rutgers?  On Rutgers, at least?

Those dumb bastards just can't seem to figure out how to act like a big-time athletic program.

It wasn't bad enough that their basketball coach was caught on video berating players and throwing basketballs at them in practice.

It wasn't bad enough that after the incident cost them the coach as well as the AD at the time, they went out and hired an AD who, if her former players are to be believed, left a lot to be desired as a coach.

Now, that AD, Julie Hermann by name, has told a class of journalism students that it "would be great" if the Newark Star-Ledger, which last week laid off 167 workers, would fold.

“I’m going to do all I can," she said,  "to not give them a headline to keep them alive.”

Good luck with that one, Julie.

Look -  I often think that America would be a lot better off if there were no New York Times or the Washington Post or major TV networks acting as adjuncts of the Democratic Party, but if I were in a prominent position in an organization, I sure wouldn't express that opinion publicly.

Two good reasons:

Old country wisdom: "never get into a pissing contest with a skunk."

Benjamin Franklin's wisdom:  "Never argue with a man who buys his ink by the barrel."

http://tracking.si.com/2014/04/07/rutgers-ad-julie-hermann-star-ledger/

*********** While back east for a couple of weeks, we spent a lot of time driving, and on the road we listened to a lot of Sirius radio.  Based on the all the commercials by trucking companies (Walmart, too) looking for drivers, I would have to say that there do seem to be jobs for people willing to work.

*********** I feel sorry for Pat Fitzgerald.  He's got his dream job - coaching at his alma mater - and he's doing a great job there.

From the standpoint of Northwestern, an academically prestigious private college managing somehow to keep its head above water in competition with the Big Ten's giant state schools,  he's the dream coach - an alumnus (a Chicago kid at that) who loves the university and understands its mission, and has made its football program competitive without detriment to the university.

Understandably, he is advising his players to vote against a union.

Yes, yes, I know - you'd expect that from someone who's being paid a couple of million by Northwestern to be their coach. 

But there are those of us who believe that he really does have the best interests of Northwestern foremost. And although you'd think from all the headlines (mostly involving a former Northwestern player and some union guy with a strange name) that the voting is going to go the union's way, but these are, after all, Northwestern kids, which means many (most?) of them are real students who take actual classes, and they might actually believe themselves capable of determining what's in their best interests without help from a union…

http://college-football.si.com/2014/04/05/northwestern-pat-fitzgerald-union/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-northwestern-football-spt-0406-20140406,0,7103066.story

Rick Davis*********** Rick Davis, formerly of Duxbury, Massachusetts, never missed a Providence clinic.  Until this year, when a "relocation" made it impossible.  That's because Rick and his wife, Beth, now live New Zealand, and he pulled the tired, old excuse of not being able to fly 20 hours each way just to attend a clinic. Last summer, Rick sent me a photo of his original playbook, covered with name badges from previous clinics he'd attended, so I thought the least I could do was send him a "badge" from this year's clinic to add to the collection.

*********** Well, you mentioned that name again (Larry Coker), so, here's a question for 'ya:

We all know that in any number of "Big Games", it can come down to one play (See: Alabama - Auburn).  Now suppose that in the Miami game against Ohio State, the Referee's Guide Dog didn't bark.

Some short time after the 2nd consecutive undefeated season and second NC, Larry Coker announces that, "I've enjoyed my stay here at the U - the babysitting, the midnight calls from my buddies in the Police Department and my deep and personal commitment to Quest Diagnostics".

"Therefore, it is with some sorrow that I announce my retirement from College Football..."

Would he have had proper claim to being the Greatest Coach Ever?  I know that someone would always say, "Two consecutive undefeated seasons and two NCs are not enough", but still..

Charlie Wilson
Crystal River, Florida


Charlie,


You bring up a great question.

The guy was fired after six years in which he went 12-0, 12-1, 11-2, 9-3, 9-3, 7-6

God Lord, man - that's 60-15.  Even with a 7-6 season thrown in, that's an average of TEN WINS A YEAR.

One national title and, as you say, one visually-impaired  near miss.

But between the crowd in the "OB" demanding national titles, and President Shalala's embarrassment at the near-riot against Florida International (remember that clown in the press box narrating it?), they found their saviour in Randy Shannon, who'd been Coker's defensive coordinator.  How can it ever look good when a school fires a head coach and replaces him with his number one assistant?  Knowing that he got the job because a guy who'd won 60 games in six years didn't win enough,  Randy Shannon had to know that 28-22 in five years, to go along with a lot of off-field turmoil, would get him fired, too.

Hey- if they could count Bobby Bowden's wins at Samford when he was neck-and-neck with Joe Paterno, then Larry Coker ought to be able to count his wins at San Antonio, which means that in another three or four years he'll have 100 wins.  But even if they don't count them, he's still got a national title, two national title game appearances, and an .800 career winning percentage in six years at a major college.

And let them go ahead and say that the first two years were with Butch Davis' recruits - he went 11-2, 9-3 and 9-3 with his own kids.

Like you, I like Larry Coker.

*********** Q. Is it legal for a lineman to cut/shoeshine when you're in the shotgun/pistol?

A. No. For most pistols and shotguns he would have to do it awfully fast - before the ball left the free blocking zone, at which point the free blocking zone dissolves.  In our Wildcat alignment, our QB's heels are at 4 and he is low in his stance and he catches the ball at about 3 (within the free blocking zone) so by our measurements it's still in the free blocking zone and it would take an Einstein with GPS to prove otherwise. But we're prepared for the day when low blocking is outlawed- that's why we teach the Cut-Off/Turn-Back technique.

*********** Spring break meant college choices for two of our grandkids - granddaughter Chrissie, from Denver, becoming the third member of her family to choose Vanderbilt (Yay! Four more years of an excuse to visit Nashville!) and grandson Nick, from Seattle,  deciding to head to his dad's hometown and become a Houston Cougar.

*********** Reporter San Interdonato of the Middletown, New York Times-Herald-Record  tells another New-Sheriff-in-Town anecdote about new Army coach Jeff Monken...

Monken called for a kicker following a scrimmage-like practice on Wednesday. The kicker jogged onto the field without full pads and was sent to the sideline.

Monken asked for another kicker in full pads and only one ran onto the field. The coach told the rest of the special teams to go to the locker room and come back in full pads.

After the period, Monken asked the special-teams group why they thought it was all right to not wear full pads during practice.

"That's what we did last year," one player said.

That's not the answer Monken wanted to hear. Kickers and punters stayed after practice. Monken told them to drop to the turf and roll across most of the field in full pads.

"I want everybody to pay attention to all the little things, every detail, and that's a little detail," Monken said. "When you take the field and you are not properly equipped, you are not allowed to play and it's a penalty on the team. So come out to practice appropriately in the dress of the day, that's easy to do. Just do it right. It wasn't just them, there were some other guys."

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

Reading about Coach Monken and his players traveling to the funeral of the Navy player who died suddenly reminded me that I had not told you of my own player's trip to the Naval Academy two weeks ago.

Sophomore Brad Novak (6'6, 300lbs) has a real interest in going to the Naval Academy.  So much so that his mother wanted to take him there over spring break so he could see it for real (and gauge if he was truly interested after seeing things up close).  They were to attend practice and tour the school on Monday.  When they woke up that morning they saw that Will McKamey had died.  Obviously the family would have understood if things were cancelled for their trip.  Instead, after moving the meeting back a bit, Brad was able to visit the Academy, tour the school and sit in on meetings.  

It was a great experience for Brad.  In an odd way, the circumstances showed he and his family what the Academy is all about. When the coaches talked about family during that tour, they saw it for real.  It was very much out in the open on that emotional day, but obviously handled with the dignity you would expect from the type of men and women who attend the Academy.  

Kudos to the Naval Academy and the men they have chosen to coach their football team.

I was very proud to hear Brad's mother say "so many of the things the coaches talked to us about are the same things you tell your players and parents."  

I have to admit, there's a big part of me hoping this works out and in a few years I will be one of those yelling "Go Navy. Beat Army."  Sorry.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach,

That's a great story and I'm sure that the USNA people did everything the right way.  To me, Navy has become the program that Army must aim at as the way things need to be done.  I'm especially impressed by their ability to find and recruit players.

Maybe that's why several people on the new Army staff have Navy experience.

(And you might not have to say "Go Navy, Beat Army" once Army gets into the act with Brad.)

Thanks for writing!

todd spencer*********** On our recent visit to West Point, my wife and I were joined after practice by Army line coach Todd Spencer.  Coach Spencer and I go back to the 1980s and Rich Brooks' Oregon football camp. I was a high school coach and he was an Oregon graduate assistant, a grad of Pacific Lutheran University.

We've crossed paths a few times over the years, but he went the college route, and since 1991, he's been one of the absolute best triple option line coaches in football, starting out at Oregon State under Jerry Pettibone.  From there, he caught on with Paul Johnson and Navy and followed Johnson to Georgia Tech.  This is his second year at Army.

*********** An interesting paradox about Our President, the one who was given a Nobel Peace Prize before his bags in the White House were all unpacked, is that his drive to end American exceptionalism, to defang the United States military and deplete our nuclear arsenal, is almost certainly going to result in a more nuclear (and far more dangerous) world.

If you're one of our allies. writes Charles Krauthammer, once it becomes apparent that despite all our promises, the US does NOT have your back, you have just two options:

"Bend your knee, or arm to the teeth.  Either acquiesce to the regional bully or gird your loins, i.e., go nuclear. As surely will the Gulf states. As will, in time, Japan and South Korea."

*********** A New Hampshire high school basketball player forfeited the Player of the Year award he'd been given as well as an invitation to a pair of postseason all-star games - all because he couldn't keep it in his pants.  His cell phone, that is.

Instead, a couple hours after he'd  scored 15 points to lead his school to a second consecutive state title win, he  had to send out a vulgar, taunting tweet to the opponents:

"You may have won in the regular season… but we won the ship you suck #f--kyourself"

http://extramustard.si.com/2014/03/28/high-school-player-of-the-year-tweet/?sct=obinsite

*********** You "folks" who think, like me,  that Pfc. Tariqka Sheffey, a United States Army "soldier" ought to be kicked in the ass - hard - for delighting in not saluting the flag - you are so-o-o-o Twentieth Century.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2568603/Soldier-ignites-online-firestorm-posts-selfie-avoiding-flag-salute-caption-I-dont-f.html

*********** We've reached this point, I'm afraid…

You might be a redneck if: It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, 'One nation, under God.'

You might be a redneck if: You've never protested about seeing the Ten Commandments posted in public places.

You might be a redneck if: You still say 'Christmas' instead of 'Winter Festival.'

You might be a redneck if: You bow your head when someone prays.

You might be a redneck if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.

You might be a redneck if: You treat our armed forces veterans with great respect, and always have.

You might be a redneck if: You've never burned an American flag, and don't  intend to.

You might be a redneck if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

You might be a redneck if: You respect your elders and raised your kids to do the same.

You might be a redneck if: You'd give your last dollar to a friend.

*********** Hang on, folks… A South Dakota wife and mother writes, "Why My Kids Are NOT the Center of My World"

"Modern parenting," she writes,  "is creating a generation that's not going to be able to function in society."
 
An example of where this woman is coming from:  

Your child, who you cater to every need, who you shelter from all things "evil."  How will this child react when he or she grows into adulthood?  "Debbie" graduates from high school and goes to college.  She writes her first paper and meets with her professor about that paper and the professor tells her that it's junk and it will get a failing grade.  How will Debbie cope with that if she's always been made to feel that no one should ever make her feel sad, or criticize anything she does?

Her thesis:

Everyone parents differently, and I respect that. The current generation may be one that expects nothing less than everything from this world.  But I know of two gentlemen (her two boys) that are going to be able to accept failure and move on having learned something from it. 

I know of two gentleman who will be hurt emotionally, but who will be able to work through the hurt and carry on with life.  I will cushion the emotional fall as much as a mom can, but I will not completely prevent it from happening. They will not expect whoever hurt them to be punished.  Heck, I might even teach my children the power of forgiveness. 

These two gentlemen will understand the value of hard work, and know that hard work is required to get where one wants to be in life. 

They will, while understanding the need for caution, appreciate that not everyone out there is out to get them.  Not everyone is out to do evil things. 

These gentlemen will understand that there are about a gazillion people in this world.  While they are incredibly special to me and my family, they are not special to the world.  That probably sounds terrible, but people!  It's the harsh truth, and it needs embraced!

I know that I can't change the mindset of modern parents.  That's never been and never will be my goal.  I just want to make sure that I raise my sons to grow into respectable men who can thrive and succeed, due to having been prepared to do so.

My kids are not the center of my world because I love them enough not to allow them to be.

http://themetzfamilyadventures.blogspot.com/2013/10/why-my-kids-are-not-center-of-my-world.html

Athens Frittata*********** One of the great attractions to me of an eastern trip is the food.  Hoagies and cheese steaks in Philly… subs in South Jersey…  Italian food of all sorts.

There was Toner's Beef and Ale in Fort Washington, PA… Steak and Hoagie Factory in Abington, PA… Sacco's subs, in Ventnor, New Jersey… DiMarzio's Willow Inn in Willow Grove, PA… Tommy Sullivan's Cafe (fantastic menu!) in Branford, CT...The Parthenon Diner in North Branford, CT (had a souvlaki for breakfast)… The Hotel Thayer bar, in West Point, NY… The South Gate Tavern in Highland Falls, NY… Barnstormer BBQ in Fort Montgomery, NY…  The Shannon View in Warwick, Rhode Island…  The Athens Diner, in Warwick, Rhode Island...

Pictured is the Athens Diner's "Roadkill" Frittata, with a side of home fries and a side of bacon. A Frittata is an Italian dish, an "open-faced" 4-egg omelette, stuffed with ham, bacon, sausage, corned beef hash, potatoes, mushrooms and monterey jack cheese. It's first cooked in a pan, then finished in the oven.  Unbelievable.  (Notice that I used artificial sweeteners.   I'm watching my weight.)




american flagFRIDAY,  APRIL 4,  2014"I thought I knew everything about everything and two years later I realized I didn't know anything about anything." Geno Auriemma, describing his first year as a college head coach

*********** So why might a typical major college need a new, improved, larger "football operations facility?"

Let's let a typical major college AD, in this case Oregon State's Bob DeCarolis, explain, as he did to the Portland Oregonian's John Canzano:

"The original locker space was built for 90 players. We now have 115.

"The original coaches' locker room had 15 lockers. With graduate assistants and support staff, we need 40 there now.

"We used to have two sets of uniforms and one set of helmets.Now we have three sets of helmets and al the different uniforms.

"We've run out of room. Plus (here it comes) you start talking about curb appeal to recruits."

(I'll leave it up to Bob DeCarolis  to explain to the women's sports coaches why they need 115 players… or 40 "graduate assistants and support staff"… or three sets of helmets.  Now  the "curb appeal to recruits" - now, that I'm sure they'll understand.)


*********** It was almost 40 years ago,  in spring, 1974 that I was sitting in my office in Philadelphia when the phone rang and I answered, to hear a voice on the other end say,  "This is Ara Parsgehian."

Right, I thought.  And I'm Vince Lombardi.

Some guy on the other end is playing games with me, I thought, pretending to be the Coach of the Year, the Coach of the National Champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

But I was courteous, ("What can I do for you, coach?") and heard him out.

The hoarse voice actually sounded a lot like Ara Parseghian's, and he proceeded to talk about some of his players -  graduating seniors -  urging me, as player personnel director of the Philadelphia Bell, a pro football team that had yet to play a game - didn't even have a roster yet - to give them a look.

One of them was Dennis Lozzi, a big offensive lineman who'd been born in Brockton, Massachusetts - famed as the home of the legendary Rocky Marciano and, later, Marvin Hagler - and grew up in nearby Whitman.

Those were the days before every player had an agent, and  players who hadn't been drafted by the NFL really had to scramble to find a team willing to give them  a shot.  And here was the top college coach in the country, destined to be one of the great college coaches of all time, taking his time to call around on behalf of players who, let's face it, were no longer of any use to him.

Such was the character of Ara Parseghian, on my list of the top ten coaches in my lifetime.

So we invited Dennis Lozzi to attend - at his own expense - a free agent tryout we held in Medford, New Jersey, just across the river from Philly. Between invites, public announcements and word of mouth, we managed to attract at least 300 eager candidates. Some, back in the days when athletes uniformly wore white sox (and only actors in cheap stag films wore black sox), were promptly cut simply because they didn't have enough football savvy to know what real football players wore.

Others were winnowed out on the basis of their conditioning, their size, their 40-yard dash times, or, after we'd broken them up by positions groups, their performance in simple position-specific drills.

Players were identified only by the numbers which they wore. Out of concern for the feelings of guys who'd made considerable effort even to show up, I convinced our head coach, Ron Waller, that as we made our cuts at different points, rather than read off the numbers of the players who'd been cut, we should  instead read off the numbers of those who were invited to remain for the next session.

At one break, one of the guys whose number had not been called approached our running backs' coach, Joe Gardi, and asked why not.  Joe said that evidently he just hadn't measured up.  "I got a gun," the guy told Joe.  "Maybe you should stay," Joe told him.  I never did find out what happened after that.

Another guy, a quarterback from The Citadel named Harry Lynch, was having a tough time throwing.  I'd taken a special interest in the kid because he seemed like  a good kid, and when I picked him up at the airport, it was obvious to me that he, being a small-town South Carolina kid, was a bit intimidated by what he saw as we drove into the city. (Anyone who's flown into Philly knows that only Newark comes close to it in the griminess of the surroundings.)

Whether or not Harry Lynch's throwing problems were of his own doing, I'll never know, but I'll go to my grave believing that it was the football he was throwing.  Remember, the guys who started the WFL were the same guys who started the ABA, and, still giddy over the popularity of the red, white and blue ABA ball, they were determined to come up with a football just as innovative and marketable .  This one certainly was innovative - instead of the usual eight laces, it had ten.  Hell of an idea, except that none of the quarterbacks could consistently put a spiral on the ball.

I was standing near the quarterbacks, and Waller was standing behind me.  Harry Lynch let a wobbler go, and Waller said to me, in a voice that could have been heard 50 yards away, "You can cut that cocks--ker."   I cringed.  I could tell that the kid had heard Mr. Thoughfulness. Thus are shattered a young man's dreams.

At lunch time, several of the local high school coaches we'd invited to help us out in our drills went out to lunch with Waller and his cronies.  They obviously downed a few, because in the afternoon session, it was apparent to me that as we ran the players through additional 40's, they were a bit buzzed, and not exactly precise in their timing.  Nevertheless, their times were accepted as legit, and, right or wrong, thus were shattered other young men's dreams.

At the end of the day (before that cliche was  invented), we "kept" only two players.  We didn't exactly keep them - we didn't sign them to anything - but we invited them back to Philadelphia for a mini-camp the next weekend, where we could evaluate them alongside players we'd already signed, most of them with some NFL or CFL experience, and if we liked what we saw, we'd offer them a contract.

One of the two was a very athletic receiver from the Philadelphia suburbs named Vince Papale.

The other was Dennis Lozzi.

Dennis and Vince both showed us enough at that second workout, in cavernous old JFK stadium, that we offered them contracts.  Dennis remembers signing his in the back seat of our equipment man's Cadillac.  It was for $18,000,  plus $2,000 if he made the team. (In fairness, $18,000 wasn't that bad at that time, but the hard truth was that if he didn't make the team, he got nothing. Vince was signed to the same deal.)

Dennis Lozzi mug shotDennis became our starting left tackle and played there the entire season. Almost. That's his mug shot from our 1974 game program.

Three of our offensive linemen - Dennis, center Bob Paschall from Temple, and right tackle Pete Horoszko from Virginia Tech - were rookies, straight out of college, yet they helped our QB, the notorious Jim "King" Corcoran, finish at or near the top of the WFL in passing.

I used to enjoy hanging with the offensive linemen on road trips because, well, offensive linemen tend to be  good guys.

The last time I recall seeing Dennis was on November 6, in Birmingham, where we played the Americans in what would turn out to be the last regular-season game for the Bell. (With one more game to go, several teams defaulted, and being one of the few teams remaining, we qualified for a hastily-arranged playoff.  But that's another story.)

We played Birmingham in legendary Legion Field.  I have a lot of memories of that trip and that game. One that really stands out was the ferocity of the fans.  As we left the field following our pre-game warmups, we entered our locker room at the end of the field with a cyclone fence between us and the fans that had to be 20 feet high.  I soon saw why it was that high, when fans began climbing  it, shaking it and screaming at us, as if we were a bunch of Yankee soldiers who'd just laid waste to their town. We kept our heads down and minded our business, doing our best to ignore these animals when suddenly, linebacker Tim Rossovitch, well-known for some eccentric behavior while with the Eagles, took off for the fence on a dead run and leaped, grabbing hold of it as he snarled and shook it. As if shocked to encounter someone who acted even crazier than they did, the fans dropped off and fell back, then recovered and charged back. Omigod, I thought. This is not going to be a lot of fun.

We drew a crowd of some 35,000, small by Alabama-Auburn standards, but large enough to make a lot of noise, especially when they started stomping on the floor of the all-steel stadium.

At the start of the game, I was up in the press box as the teams were being introduced, and when Dennis Lozzi was introduced and the announcer said, "from Notre Dame," the booing that emanated from the 35,000 was the loudest I'd ever heard.  Dennis told me on Saturday that King Corcoran, who was standing next to him waiting to be introduced, said, "What the hell did you do?  I'm usually the one that gets booed."

What did he do?  He'd played on the undefeated Notre Dame team that just a year beat Alabama, then ranked #1 and also unbeaten, in the Sugar Bowl, 24-23.  That's all.  That was enough.

We lost the game.  Combine the fact that paychecks were a hit-or-miss deal for players on both teams with the amazing hostility of the crowd, and there was a lot of pent-up anger when Birmingham quarterback Matthew Reed took a knee and one of our players hit him.

And then it was on.  Both benches cleared, and fights - between individuals and small groups - began to break out all over the field. I was down on the sidelines at that point, making sure to stay well back.  Joe Gardi stood next to me shaking his head and saying, "unbelievable."  Joe had come to the WFL from several years as an assistant at Maryland, and he was often appalled by the less-than-professional aspects of the league, and this, for him, was rock-bottom.

And somewhere in the middle of the chaos, Dennis Lozzi went down.  Someone, somehow, had hit him in the knee, and he lay there until cooler heads were able to pick him up and begin to carry him to the locker room, some 50 yards away.  Somehow they were able to make their way past the high chain link fence, with fans hanging on it like so many angry chimpanzees, shouting all manner of incivilities and doing their damnedest to throw whatever they could get their hands on as our wounded player was carried off.

We played one more game after that, a playoff game against the Florida Blazers, and that was that.  Shortly after, most of us were informed that the team could no longer meet the payroll for us office types, and I headed home to Maryland, where my kids were in school.

The next year, with the restart of the WFL, I took a job in Portland, and for me, the rest is history.  After the league went under a second time, I had to face reality and stop chasing my own silly dream. I went back to school and got my teaching credentials and by the next fall I was a high school coach.

Dennis rehabbed the knee and tried coming back for a second year, but he found it tough going, and on the advice of new Bell coach Willie Wood (former Packer great) he decided it wasn't worth it.

He returned home to Massachusetts, where his wife had a teaching job.  After much cadging, he said, she convinced him to try teaching.  His major was business, which qualified him only to teach business - which in that high school meant teaching typing.  Unfortunately, he told me, "I couldn't type."  He was a fast learner, and caught on temporarily.

Dennis Lozzi, Matt Durgin, MeShortly after, his principal said to him, "I have only one opening next year - in math."

Dennis said he didn't know how to respond, so the principal repeated himself.  "I said, 'I have only one opening next year - in math.'"

This time, Dennis caught on to what the principal was saying - wink, wink, nudge, nudge - and spent the summer taking math courses so he could qualify for the job.

He's been teaching math - and coaching - ever  since.

In the early 1980s, he joined the faculty at Xaverian Brothers High School, a prestigious private Catholic prep school in Westwood, Massachusetts.  Xaverian's football teams, like its academics, are top-notch - this past year, Xaverian finished 10-2, making it to the State Class 1 (largest class) final. Dennis coaches the offensive line as well as the defensive interior people.

I saw Dennis Lozzi  for the first time in nearly 40 years Saturday when he stopped by my Providence clinic.  (That's Dennis on the left in the photo, long-time double winger Matt Durgin of Lynn Massachusetts' St. Mary's High, and myself). Based on the way he looks, he's got a lot more coaching in him.

*********** What software do I need to make highlight films from video that's already on DVDs?

Coach,  Talking as a Mac user...

First you have to extract the video from the DVDs.  I do it in one of two ways---

(1) (The method I prefer) A program called Cinematize lets me convert as little as one play at a time to a digital clip, which I can then save and use in any way I want (such as putting a highlights video together).  It is relatively inexpensive.

Here's a home-made "how-to" showing how I extracted a video clip from a DVD using Cinematize...

http://www.coachwyatt.com/CINEMATIZE/CINEMATIZE.mov

Unfortunately, while Cinematize recognizes most DVDs, there are some exceptions, which can be frustrating.  I am thinking of upgrading to Cinematize 3, which I believe will solve the problem.

(2) A free program called Handbrake.  It's good, and it will "rip" a DVD into digital format, but that's all it does. Unlike Cinematize, it requires you to rip all or most of the DVD, and then you still have to select and save the clips you want to use in your highlights.

Either way, though, once you've saved the clips in digital format, you can then import them into iMovie (or QuckTime Pro) and edit and assemble them  into your highlight video - adding effects, titles, audio (including voice-over) as you wish - and then you can export the finished video to a variety of formats, including a DVD.

*********** This year's Final Four is going to be easy for me.

UConn over Florida. I went to college in Connecticut, we lived there when we were first married, and our son was born there. We visit there every year and enjoy seeing the ols places. Plus, Huskies' coach Kevin Ollie sounds like a really class act, the kind of guy who enjoyed a long NBA career mainly because teams wanted to keep a guy with his character around. And Shabazz Napier is a SENIOR.  Imagine - a college basketball player staying in college for FOUR YEARS!

Florida? They're good, and Donovan is a heck of a coach, but...

Wisconsin over Kentucky . Easy call.  Very easy call. Bo Ryan, a coach's kid and a Philly Irishman, in the long tradition of Philly Irishmen in the coaching ranks. Actually, he's from Chester, a hard-bitten former industrial town just outside Philly, which has a long basketball tradition. Hall of Fame coach Dr, Jack Ramsay got his first coaching job there,  at St. James High. Jack McKinney, who would go on to coach at St. Joseph's and in the NBA, was the son of the Chester police chief, and he played for Ramsay at St. James and later at St. Joseph's. True fact - in the early 1970's, I coached a game at Sun Valley High in Aston, Pennsylvania (named not for warm sunshine but Sun Oil Company, which had a refinery nearby); turns out that the Sun Valley coach at the time was - Bo Ryan. I rubbed shoulders eight greatness.  I also like the way Wisconsin plays, and I really like Frank Kaminsky, a kid who STAYED IN COLLEGE AND WAITED HIS TURN and worked hard to make himself a really good player.

And then there's Kentucky.  Talented as hell, a real tribute to John Calipari's ability to recruit (I think that's what you call it), but the Wildcats are the poster child for the one-and-done syndrome that makes a mockery of the term "college basketball" and infects both the college and the professional game.

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

It was great to see you and Connie at the Providence Clinic.  You made it very interesting and your information on running the double wing from the spread formations was excellent.  Thank you for inviting me to attend.  I have always said that coaching is teaching and you do an excellent job.  The Brian Flinn & Hyak football CDS were super.  Coaches are lucky to have you offer clinics that give them sound information that they can use to make their programs better. You have that ability to influence and cause actions to take place which is a sound way to motivate.  Keep up the good work.
 
Youth football and high school football are better when sound principles are followed.
 
Take care,
Bill Mignault
Ledyard, Connecticut

*********** In a true display of class, new Army football coach Jeff Monken and two of his players, running back Terry Baggest and linebacker Justin Fahn, flew to Knoxville, Tennessee to attend funeral services for Navy running back  Will McKamey.

Coach Monken and Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo go back to  1989,  when Monken was in his first season as a graduate assistant at Hawaii and  Niumatalolo was  in his final year as a player. They were graduate assistants together at Hawaii in 1990 and Navy offensive assistants under Paul Johnson from 2002-07.

"The fact is we are friends," Monken said. "It's a loss for us ,too. We share in their grief."

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140401/SPORTS36/404010343

*********** Hugh,
 
A large number of juniors and seniors from Beloit High School travelled to Washington, D.C., last week for a school-sponsored trip.  One of their many visits was to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  Today Bryce Black, 4 year starter for us and Shrine Bowl selection, stopped by my classroom to give me the pencil etching that he did at the Wall.  He said that he wanted to look up Major Holleder on the wall because of the Black Lion Award and what it means to our program.  I am so pleased that it has meant so much that one of our players would make it a point to bring me a pencil etching from the wall.  What a legacy you have created through the Black Lion Award!


Coach Greg Koenig
Beloit High School
Beloit Kansas

Holleder Wall Tracing

*********** Just when you thought the NFL had run out of ways to make money… NFL cheerleaders offering lap dances? 

Well, not exactly - but what else comes to mind when Big Football tells you that now, thanks to the magic of cell phone technology,  you can order up a "cheerleader" - have her come and "visit" you up in in the stands?

Gee, what could possibly go wrong when a skimpily-dressed young woman climbs up among all those drunks? This sounds like a story with all sorts of possible bad endings.

Plus, it doesn't seem fair to fans in cold weather places like Green Bay and Buffalo, with all that heavy extra clothing they have to wear.

It's also not fair to gays.

http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2014/03/31/nfl-teams-to-allow-cheerleaders-to-visit-fans-in-their-seats-during-games/

*********** Concerning "Hack a Polack,"  Mark Kaczmarek, of Davenport Iowa, (by way of Green Bay, Wisconsin and the World Football League New York Stars) writes,

At least he didn’t use the term “Bossy!”

*********** Full disclosure - I am a Duke fan, which automatically means that I don't care much for Roy Williams, but even if I were a Tar Heel fan, I'd still call him a sellout…

http://www.dailytarheel.com/blog/view-from-the-hill/2014/03/roy-williams-encourages-fans-to-get-insured

Guess what, Roy Ole Buddy. In case you were thinking this might help you out on the recruiting trail (which is probably why you got into an area you know nothing about), it might help you to know that Fearless Leader's own brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is the coach at Oregon State  - and it hasn't been helping him recruit.

*********** Coach

In your dynamics playbook you talk about handling the TNT front, with either a down adjustment where you block the center back and both guard and tackle losing the double teams. You also talk about a GO adjustment where you still double team but now only pull the guard and have the tackle cut off the backside 3 tech. Just wondering what is the techinque for the block by the backside tackle? What are some drills to teach this block? Is this a situation where you'd shoe shine with the tackle?

Ray Dayton
Oxford, New York

Hi Coach-

We can keep the blocking on the frontside intact - including the double-team at the point of attack - by pulling only our backside guard.

Depending on your rules or on your kids' ability, there are two approaches for the backside tackle, but the goal is the same - nothing can run between him and the center's block.

(1) Is the scramble, or "shoeshine" block, which is very effective. There is a cautionary note - if the tackle is lazy and just flops in front of the "3" tech, a good athlete will simply hurdle him; but there is also a chance that if he comes low and hard toward the center, with our tight line splits it could accidentally result in our being called for a chop block -defined as one blocker contacting a defender high and another contacting him low.

(2) More and more, we employ what we call the "Cut Off Turn Back" (abbreviated COTB) which has him take a large slide step toward center, keeping the shoulders square,  to cut off anyone - lineman or linebacker - trying to penetrate between him and the center; We are far enough off the ball that he can close that gap before the defender arrives. If no one threatens, he turns back and blocks anyone coming from the backside.

We don't use any specific drill to teach this, but we do work on the slide step, making sure that the tackle keeps his shoulders square so that he can turn back to the outside if necessary.

Here's an example of our left tackle doing this on a play we call 44-X-O.

http://youtu.be/RaFBEF4aaB4

We are pulling our left guard around ("O" block) to lead through the hole made by the "X" block of the guard and tackle.  I'd have preferred that the backside tackle's first step be more of a slide, but he's effective. Notice how he first cut off any penetration to his inside, but when it's apparent that he's cut off successfully, he's able to turn out and take care of the chase.

(We're running from Wildcat, with a split end, but the principle is the same).



american flagTUESDAY,  APRIL 1,  2014"If somebody is gracious enough to give me a second chance, I won't need a third." Pete Rose

*********** On Sunday, Pete Rose spoke to the congregation in Royersford, Pennsylvania's Christ's Church of the Valley - more than 2,000 people in three different services.

His theme, not surprisingly, was "second chances."

"If somebody is gracious enough to give me a second chance," he told the worshippers, "I won't need a third." 

He also broke them up when he said that if he could have a conversation with Jesus, "I'd want to ask him who the hell is going to win the game tomorrow, the Cardinals or the Reds… Not that I'm going to bet on it."


*********** Possibly in anticipation of the National Labor Relations Board's approval of the right of college football players to unionize, at least 50 former BCS schools will soon announce that they are divesting themselves of their football programs, which will then operate independently as  Subchapter 501 (b) 1 (non-profit) corporations.

Through the Association of American Universities, the colleges have already agreed on terms that will permit the teams to continue on, bearing the names of  the colleges from which they broke away, as well as  the mascots which the public associates with them.

For example, the Alabama team will still be known as the "Alabama Crimson Tide," although there will no longer be any references to the University of Alabama except as it pertains to the team's history.

The colleges have also agreed to permit teams to use all facilities as before, and the teams have agreed to give seating preference to current ticketholders and alumni.  All college presidents were in agreement that players for the teams, as with any non-student, would not be permitted on campus, although they did agree to give all players for "their" teams the right to qualify through testing for admission, as well as for in-state tuition.

The NCAA would continue to administer all other college sports, but without the revenues from football, colleges would almost certainly cut back on scholarships and other expenses related to non-revenue sports.

By handing off their football programs, the colleges immediately relieve themselves of the need to provide as many as 85 scholarships a year to women, many in such made-for-Title IX sports as equestrian, bowling and rowing.

Said one university athletic director who preferred to remain anonymous, "You have no idea what a relief it is not to have to walk the campus looking for women willing to take athletic scholarships in sports they've never even played. As a matter of fact, we're even considering bringing back wrestling."

The football teams, operating under the tentative brand of College Level Football (CLF), plan to adopt the MLS model in which the teams will be owned by the CLF (although operated separately), with payroll limits, shared expenses and shared profits.  The public will be able to purchase stock.

Said one current conference commissioner, "The beauty is that unlike the previous college football model that we've been working with, with each conference negotiating on its own, we're going to be able to sit down with TV networks as one unified force, the way the NFL does."

Players will sign three-year contracts initially, although either party can buy its way out after one year.  After three years, players' contracts will be renewable annually on a year-to-year basis. When released by a team, a player would first have to clear CLF waivers before becoming a free agent.

When a CLF player signs an NFL contract, the CLF will receive 10 per cent of his first-year's salary.

Plans are already under way to hold a 40-round draft of high school players, after a series of combines to be held nationwide.  Players choosing not to play for the team that drafted them would have the option of attending a non-CLF college, or waiting until the next year's draft.

The CLF business plan calls for a split season, half to be played in the spring and half in the fall.

Still under discussion is the idea of two or three divisions according to anticipated strength, with a "relegation" system similar to that employed by European soccer clubs,  in which the bottom finishers in a division are moved down for the next season, and the top finishers are moved up.

The threat of players' unionizing does not seem to concern the CLF people. Said one of them, "In case you hadn't noticed, most college football powers come from Right-to-Work states."

*********** Not saying where  our society's abandonment of religion is taking us, but...

According to Juliet Macur in the New York Times, Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, who blew his chance to coach at South Florida after it was discovered he'd falsely claimed a bachelor's degree from Kentucky, looked for guidance at tough times to… Rick Pitino (?!?!)

Masiello said when he needed guidance, he looked at a framed photograph of Pitino on his office wall and asked himself, What would he do?

It didn't say whether he has a WWRD tattoo.

*********** What's wrong with college basketball (besides the fact that nobody seems to know what a charge is anymore)…

Kentucky, already  the nation's best U-19 AAU team, is in the Final Four. One or two more games and then, poof - they'll all go their separate ways.

Pretty bad when a college cares less for tradition than an NBA team.

*********** There seems to be a uh, "discrepancy" between the President's recollection of what he and the Pope talked about and the Pope's version.

Hmmm.  Let's see.  Hmmm. Damn.  Who to believe?

Lessee - One of them is considered, by more than a billion people, to be infallible.  The other has no compunctions about telling lies to advance his position.

Me, I'm going with Obama on this one. He gives me more goodies than the Pope.  Free phones and stuff like that.  And all he expects from me is a lousy vote - or two or three -  while the Pope's always telling people to be good  and to give up a lot of fun stuff.

*********** Driving across Connecticut on I-84, I saw the sign, "NEWTOWN," and asked my wife if she was willing to take a swing through town.

Newtown, you will surely remember, is where some demented social misfit with access to a lot of weapons killed 26 people - 20 of them elementary school students.

My wife and I are not what you would call ghouls.  We're not taken by the need to visit disaster scenes.

But this was a part of Connecticut we'd never seen, and we wanted to see what the town looked like.

Well.  I would call it Mayberry with money. Peaceful and prosperous.

You can't get near the school, Sandy Hook Elementary, but no matter.

The town is quaint.   Idyllic.  Almost set back in time.

You look around and even now get the sense that you're isolated - and insulated - from the evils of the outside world.  If ever there was a place where you could raise your kids safely, this was it.

I can only imagine the disillusionment people in the community felt when they discovered to their horror that wherever you are, evil can still find you.

*********** Amazing thing pointed out in the Orlando Sentinel:

Eight college football coaches have won national titles with Florida schools: Bobby Bowden, Larry Coker, Dennis Erickson, Jimbo FIsher, Jimmy Johnson, Urban Meyer, Howard Schnellenberger and Steve Spurrier.  Together, they've won 11 national titles.

But only Billy Donovan has won a basketball national championship at a Florida college.

*********** Jim Tressel has applied to be President of the University of Akron.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/10648141/former-ohio-state-buckeyes-coach-jim-tressel-applies-become-university-akron-president

Okay, okay.  Laugh if you will.  At the least, I'll bet the guy would be a great fund-raiser.

My personal feeling is that it's time for the NCAA to lift its ban on him and let him back into coaching.  How's this look, NCAA - thanks to you, a guy who isn't deemed fit to coach could be running a university.

The guy is a very good coach who lied to keep his job.  Doesn't that sound like a certain William Jefferson Clinton, who's now less than three years away from a possible return to the White House (even if it does mean sleeping on the couch)?

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

How are you?  My name is Tom Dwyer from East Rockaway, NY.  I attended the clinic in Fort Washington and it was great.  It was extremely helpful and insightful and gave myself and the other coaches I was with in attendance a lot to think about and work with.

I am writing to you to see if it would be possible for you to email me the PowerPoint presentation from the clinic.

I loved the way it was broken down into steps from beginning to end culminating in a video of the full play underneath the responsibilities of each player for the play.

Thank you so much Coach.  Enjoy the weekend.

Sincerely,

Tom Dwyer
East Rockaway Football
East Rockaway, New York

Coach Dwyer,

Nice to hear from you.  I'm glad that you found the clinic helpful.

In answer to your request, my longstanding policy has been not to share my clinic PowerPoints.  You can probably imagine the effort and time it took to put them all together.

I have, however, been filming my clinics, and when I return to the Northwest next week (after this Saturday's Providence clinic) I hope to be able to produce a DVD that will provide basically what you are looking for.

You might want to check in on my "NEWS" page to see when it goes on sale.

In the meantime, should you have questions on the material covered, I hope you'll feel free to email me.

*********** Dave Kemmick, new head coach at Eastern York High in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, wrote to tell me how his first week went.  I really got a kick out of his description of his meeting with the seniors:

"I originally scheduled the meeting for the morning and was informed that the afternoon might be better since Saturday morning was the first day of trout season.  The kids showed up at the meeting and were removing their waders in the parking lot!"

*********** This idea of unionizing college athletes is B-S.

If Kain Coulter and the United Steelworkers Union (anybody seen what a great job they did for the steel industry and steel workers in places like Western Pennsylvania and Northeastern Ohio?) were really  interested in getting the best deal for college football players they'd spend their time organizing - and educating - high school football players.

Just about every grievance I've heard from Mr. Coulter, whose heart is in the right place, I believe, is something that could have been avoided if impressionable young players knew exactly what they were getting into before they signed a grant-in-aid.

There wouldn't be a call for unionizing if the NCAA would set aside a small percentage of what it rakes in from "March Madness," and set up a nationwide network of "grant-in-aid counselors" charged with  making sure high school athletes understand what they're signing.

Then, no more of this "it's taking up too much of my time," or "I don't even have enough money for pizza," or "they won't let me major in pre-med."

*********** Long ago, in my advertising/marketing days, I fought the Anheuser-Busch dragon for the better part of three years.  In the beer business, they were formidable.  Their product (Budweiser, mainly - Bud Light hadn't yet been introduced) was good enough, but it was their nationwide distribution that enabled them to advertise on national media, and to have "Bud" on sale in practically every place in American licensed to sell it.

They charged more for their product and they got it. When "local" beers sold for 25 cents a bottle, Bud sold for a nickel more. But young people especially had no problem spending a nickel more for a bottle of something that implied class and, even more important, something other than what their old man drank.

And with that extra nickel a bottle (multiplied by millions and millions of bottles of Bud sold), Anheuser-BUsch bought more advertising.

As the gobbled up more and more of the American beer market, they crushed smaller "regional" brewers, such as Schmidt's, Schaefer, Lucky Lager, Narragansett, Stroh's, Grain Belt, and, finally, National, the company I worked for.

So there's no chance, after what I saw them do to our industry, that I could ever like them. And when the Busch family decided that they liked money more than they liked making beer, and sold out to a Belgian firm, I hated them for real.

I hate the way they keep hiding bend the American flag in their lame ass attempt to pass themselves off as an American company.

But I really hate them for the deceptive way that they're now going after craft brewers.

Craft brewers are popping up in every corner of the US. There are literally dozens of them in the Portland area alone.  They don't make large quantities of their brews, but what they made is quite good, and they're able to command a decent prize for their product.

And much to the chagrin of the giant white-bread beer guys - AB Inbev and MillerCoors - the craft segment is the only part of the US beer market that isn't shrinking in size.

So what's a giant white-bread beer guy to do?  Why, produce his own "craft" beer under  an alias that would trick 90 per cent of the American beer drinking public.

You know - like WalMart, wanting to kill off all remaining mom-and-pop grocery stores in the US by opening up a nationwide chain of tiny corner grocery stores called "Mom and Pop's Corner Grocery."

In the beer business, there's Blue Moon - made in Canada by Coors-Molson and sold in the US by MillerCoors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Moon_(beer)

And there's Kona and Redhook, made by a company 35 per cent owned by AB Inbev.

And Goose Island, 100 per cent owned by AB Inbev.

There's Leinenkugel, 100 per cent owned by MillerCoors. In fairness, it spent many years as an independent regional brewer in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and although it does masquerade as being made by some small-time, small-town brewer instead of a corporate giant, it makes no claim to being a craft beer.

But the one that really galls me is Shock Top. 

Shock Top is made in St. Louis by AB Inbev. but you'd never know it, since the label indicates only that it's made by a company called Shock Top Brewing Company.

One sure sign that it's an industrial beer trying to pass as a craft beer - there's not a craft brewer in American that could have afforded to buy all those Shock Top commercials that have been running during NCAA tournament games.

Craft beer my ass.

http://coolmaterial.com/feature/9-craft-beers-you-didnt-know-werent-craft-beers/

***********  My daughter-in-law Michelle, an Aussie born and raised and a huge Australian Rules fan, sent me this.  Said she thought I'd "like" it.

Essentially, the Australian Football League (AFL) has decided to play down the competitive aspects of "Junior Footy." Among the changes it is requiring: no longer keeping score (and, therefore, playing to win).

You may mock, but if you're at all aware of what the NFL is pushing, though its stooge, USA Football, you will recognize a parallel.  USA Football has proudly announced that thanks to a multi-million dollar grant from the NFL, it will be expanding the reach of its "Heads Up" campaign to high schools - and among the aspects of its program is "certification" of coaches. In other words, the day isn't far off when Big Football will decide whether or not you or I are fit to coach.  Doubt me?  Check out the USA Football ads (paid for with NFL money) urging mothers to find out if their little boy's coach is "certified."

By Peter Rolfe - Melbourne Herald …

Thousands of junior footballers in up to 150 leagues will be forced to play with no scoreboard, ladders or match results under the shake-up designed to promote participation rather than competition.

Footy-loving kids will this year also be barred from representative sides, play on smaller grounds, in smaller teams for less time under changes to be unveiled by the AFL in the next fortnight.

The scoring ban, previously restricted to under-8 and, in some cases, under-9 competition in Victoria, will this year be phased into many under-10 competitions.

Other leagues will phase in some changes this year and the remainder next year.

AFL national development manager Josh Vanderloo said the new rules had been drafted in consultation with leagues to give children “an enjoyment philosophy rather than a winning philosophy’’.

“Our research shows that kids play the game to have fun and not just to win,’’ he said.

“This game is for kids and these rules and regulations have been prescribed for kids so it will be better for them.’’

In another shift, strict rules about contact have been relaxed so that “full tackling’’, usually confined to under 13s, will now be acceptable among under 11s.

An AFL guide for the conduct of players aged five to 12, titled “This is Our Game’’, spells out the match-day regulations for under-9 and under-10 players.

“No premiership points, no finals, no ladders, no match result (no score) and no names of players published,’’ it says.

Representative teams will not be allowed at under-11 level, under-9 and under-10 teams will be reduced from 18 to as few as 12 players.

And ground sizes will be restricted to 100m x 80m divided into three equal zones for under-9 and under-10 ­matches.

The Northern Football League will this season apply the no scoring, no ladder, no match result philosophy to its under-10 players.

League chief Peter McDougall admitted the changes would be contentious and said he had ordered 5000 flyers to help explain their ­implementation.

“You’re always going to get some coaches and parents who think their kids should be playing for sheep stations,” he said.

“Some parents will be shocked, no doubt, but our focus is on education and helping them understand the philosophy of the changes.’’

Laurimar Junior Football Club tried the changes on Sunday, putting under-10 player’s through their paces with revised rules.

Club vice president Andrew Jamieson said children were “not very happy”.

The AFL drafted the new guidelines in conjunction with Deakin University research.

peter.rolfe@news.com.au

Several thoughts...

I thought maybe I'd been had - the article was sent to me on March 31, but in Oz it was already April 1.  But no...

Took it a while, but the wussification of little boys that has overtaken America has finally reached Australia.

It's only a matter of time before girls are playing right alongside boys.

Here in the US, the NFL is attempting to exert the same sort of control through a front organization called USA Football, to which it provides "grants."

On the basis of this questionable "research," a strong, viable league seems willing to put its future at risk.

The soccer people are behind this. Once Aussies grow accustomed to not keeping score, they'll be able to watch games in which nobody scores.

Boys being boys, Australian 10-year-olds will still keep score.

Maybe, having played without keeping score as 8-year-olds and then as 9-year-olds, they'll have forgotten what it is to compete.

Or maybe, having played without keeping score as 8-year-olds and then as 9-year-olds, they've been looking forward to actually competing.

I do see some good coming from this - without keeping score, the win-at-all-costs youth coach will have to find something else to do, and without individual awards, the "daddy coach" will stay home.

And I see great growth potential for other sports, ones that dispense with the social engineering.

Aussies would be speaking Japanese and we would be speaking German if we'd raised boys this way in the 1930s.


*********** Hudson's Bay High, in Vancouver, Washington, is looking for a new head coach.  Again.

Whoever they hire, he'll be their fourth hard coach since 2010.

Lately,  "Bay" goes winless most years except for those years when it defeats its crosstown rival, equally woeful Fort Vancouver High.

I coached at Bay from 1980-1987 and we were pretty competitive.  I had a great bunch of kids.  It was a good place to coach and to teach.

But times have been tough on that part of town, and the Bay demographic isn't the same as it was when I was there.

Now, noted the AD, some of the guys who turn out for football are new to the game.  In a high school of 1,000 kids!

Can you imagine a high school basketball team with players "new to basketball?"  Or a baseball team with players "new to baseball?"

I sense a potentially dangerous situation.

*********** During last Friday night's Gonzaga-Oklahoma State broadcast, CBS Sports play-by-play guy Andrew Catalon  referred to a foul on Conzaga's Przemek Karnowski as "Hack a Polack" strategy.

To Karnowski's credit, he didn't make big deal of it, tweeting  "Mr. ‪@AndrewCatalon‬ has just apologized in my person and I really appreciate it! But the most important thing right now is we have this W!"

And Catalon's broadcast partner, Mike Gminski, helped as well, tweeting:  "My partner, Andrew Catalon apologized to Mr Karnowski. As a man of polish descent, I stand by him."


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 28,  2014"A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money."  G. Gordon Liddy

*********** ESPN felt it necessary to apologize for Bob Knight's assessment  of the NBA's drafting of freshmen: "it's as though they've raped college basketball, in my opinion."

Once, we might have said, "gypped," but Coach Knight couldn't say that, for fear of offending America's huge Gypsy -Sorry, I meant Romany - population.

Now, it appears the PC police have taken "rape" from us.

I know that  there are those who will claim that Knight's remark "trivializes" rape, but in my opinion, he used it in that context because he's fully aware of the seriousness of the word.

Hey - was Coach Knight's use of the word any worse than a woman saying "yes," and then, having misgivings the next morning, claiming rape?

*********** In my opinion, last weekend's Philadelphia clinic was one of the best I've ever held, at least in terms of the attendees' enthusiasm.  Whether their intentions were to go all-in and run everything I showed, or just to run a series or two, or just a play or two, I think every coach there went away with a lot of ideas.

Villanova Chair DrillAs always, Coach Brian Flinn, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Villanova, was a great contributor to the clinic.   When I decided to split an end or two, he was a great help to me, particularly in teaching those guys how to block.

Coach Flinn showed us a drill that he likes to use to teach stalk blocking, using a folding chair. As shown in the series of stick figures,  first, the receiver "oozes" off the ball in three running strides… he breaks down - feet pounding, never stopping - and, facing the chair,  "oozes" onto it.  He's broken down, in a good football position, straddling the seat.

When that's been mastered, the next step is to approach the chair as before, but now, on command, to pick up the back of the chair and shuffle while holding it.

*********** Small World Society, Villanova Division, Part One.  Following the Wildcats' spring practice Tuesday, a coach introduced himself to me.  His name's Joe Trainer, and he's the new DL coach.  Prior to coming to Nova, he was head coach at Rhode Island. I thought I detected a Philly accent, and asked if he was from the area.  When he said, "Abington," I naturally asked if, like my wife, he was a "Galloping Ghost." (I know I've told the story about how Abington chose to honor the legendary Red Grange.) He said, "No - I went to Germantown Academy."  Bingo.  That's my school, too.  Joe played there for a classmate of mine,  Jack Turner.

Part Two. Another coach came over after practice, too. He was Tony Trisciani, the Wildcats' second-year DB coach.  Prior to Villanova, he was head coach at Whitehall, PA high school, but he's originally from Manchester, New Hampshire.  His older brother, John Trisciani, was a full-blooded Double-Wing coach at Trinity HS in Manchester, and used to be a regular at my Providence clinics until he got a job as defensive line coach at St. Anselm's College.

*********** Jim Geraghty in National Review Online…

Women of the world . . .

I know I'm not the most sensitive man in the world. I have my times where I am particularly insufficiently attuned to your needs, particularly during football season. From time to time, I find your thinking illogical, contradictory, or simply not sensible, and I express that opinion, with usually deeply regrettable consequences.

But to the extent I understand you, I grasp that you've got a lot on your shoulders. You feel like everyone is always counting on you, and you feel that way because usually, everyone really is counting on you. Your husbands and boyfriends may try their best, but there's always more to be done, and it falls to you. You keep track of all the little things. You're not appreciated nearly enough. Toddlers with peanut butter on their fingers hug you when you're heading out the door in your work clothes.

Your bosses expect a lot of you, your kids expect a lot of you, your parents expect a lot of you, your spouses expect a lot of you, you want to be there for your friends when they need you, your siblings fit in somewhere between the friends and the parents, and if you're going to take care of the caretaker, as they recommend, that requires time and energy and attention and mental space, all of which feel like valuable and increasingly rare resource. It feels like there is never, ever, ever enough time.*

So I get that life throws a lot of problems and challenges at you, day after day.

But if I asked you to list the ten, or twenty, or a hundred, or five hundred biggest problems in your life . . . I'm guessing "being called bossy" wouldn't make the list.

It's just not a big enough problem to warrant a celebrity-laden national awareness campaign, compared to everything else. People have been calling you names since kindergarten. The Internet is one giant F-bomb-laden torrent of abuse, assessment of your appearance, and vulgar threats. You get called worse names by the guy trying to cut you off on your morning commute. Compared to all that, being called "bossy" is almost quaint in its passive-aggressiveness. I'm betting you would happily trade a half-hour of being called "bossy" by everyone you know in exchange for two hours of uninterrupted "me time" once a week.

I'm sure someone will call me a jerk for saying this aloud, but trying to ban the word "bossy" sounds whiny. Allegedly, a big part of feminism is celebrating strong women, and encouraging them to express that strength and determination and ability to overcome adversity; a strong woman doesn't crumble in the face of criticism or even nasty names. Nobody ever thought better of someone else because they whined, and if calling a woman "bossy" really could hold her back, no woman would ever run anything. As a criticism, the label "bossy" is pretty impotent, to offer a metaphor that Freudian psychologists will analyze for weeks.

You know who gets called "bossy" a lot? Bosses. And bosses run things. They get stuff done. That's why they became the boss, and why they're still the boss.

***********The Chicago-area regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Wednesday that Northwestern football players are employees of the university and can unionize.

But in a sense, football players work at different trades, like carpenters and electricians and structural iron workers on the same construction site.  So - Will different position groups form their own unions?

TIME: SOMETIME IN THE NOT-TOO-DISTANT FUTURE

PLACE: ON THE SIDELINES AT A BIG GAME

THE HEAD OF A UNION LOCAL IS TALKING WITH THE COACH::
I don't care what you want to do. If you let that running back throw a pass, we're walking out. If you want to throw a pass, you have to use a card-carrying member of the Amalgamated Brotherhood of Quarterbacks.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/10677763/northwestern-wildcats-football-players-win-bid-unionize

*********** 19-year-old Navy slotback Will McKamey, who collapsed on the practice field last Saturday, died Wednesday.    Say a prayer for Will McKamey and his family.  His dad was his high school coach.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140326/navy-freshman-running-back-will-mckamey-dies-in-coma/

*********** Budweiser - that All-American beer made by AB Inbev, a Belgian company - continues to masquerade as an American product.  Now, in an effort to show that it's as American as baseball and apple pie, it's pushing a petition to make "Opening Day" a national holiday.  

Right.  I bet there's not a f--king suit at AB Inbev headquarters who knows what the infield fly rule is.

Yeah, good old Belgium-based AB Inbev has such high regard for American traditions. Listen - the minute they think they can get away with it, the Budweiser Clydesdales will be steaks and roasts in European supermarkets

http://www.budweiser.com/opening-day.html

*********** (From a long-time successful youth coach who's taken a few years off and now wants to get back into the game)

Hey Coach!

I'm so frustrated I could have a coronary, so I knew I could vent to you and make myself fee better. I submitted an application and a detailed coaching philosophy with goals and a pretty comprehensive resume explaining things I'd learned over the 20 consecutive years I coached youth football.

One of the interviewers said I see you coached a long time but haven't coached in seven years. He said that football has changed drastically over those seven years and wanted to know what I'd done to keep up with the modern game. I told him I had been to several clinics and watched several coaching DVDs besides watching football on television during the seasons non-stop. I added that football hadn't changed drastically over the last seven years, there was just a new kind of recycled offense which was now in vogue but youth football hadn't changed at all.

He looked at my resume and said you plan to run the Double Wing or Single Wing schemes on offense and my question is how is that going to prepare the players for high school and college? I was astounded! I said coach, 8 & 9 years olds will have plenty of time to learn that offense if it's still around in 7 or 8 years. You don't even know if the present coach will be around then. Besides 8-9 year olds can't run the spread offense. They might run a few plays from the formation but in order to run the spread offense you must be able to develop a consistent passing game, an offensive line that can execute zone blocking which demands better athletes who could execute the double team and resulting combo blocks required of them, and learn pass blocking and a consistent running game. And you must have a QB who can run and execute the read option which a player that age can't do. I told him I had watched several youth teams in our district last year and none of them really ran the read option. They had a predetermined run by the QB at times but there was no read.

I told the panel that I have never been able to run a consistent passing game in youth football and for that matter I've never seen a team in little league run a consistent passing game period. The moderator said he loved to coach against Single and Double Wing teams because he knows where the ball is going; the power play. To which I responded that if he's committing extra personnel to stop the power what if I run counters, reverses, traps, wedges, bootlegs and play action passes? He later qualified his answer to say he loved running against those teams when they weren't well coached. Me too coach! I love to play any team that is not well coached.

I asked the panel if they would rather have a team of 8-9 year olds who were successful running my schemes or have that team tries to run the high school schemes and not be successful. One of them answered it depends on what you mean by successful. If you mean winning then that isn't necessarily the most important thing. I had spelled out In my first paragraph the definition of successful, which is winning isn't everything but trying to win and having fun while doing it and performing to the best of their ability is. If we do that we are winners.

One of the panelist replied that he had run a very successful awesome passing game last year with 11 year olds. You should have seen them. When I cam home I checked their record last year and they went 3-6. Of course to him winning wasn't important but that they were being taught the new way to play football. I really held my own as they tried to turn it into a debate without sounding defensive. You would have been proud of me but I don't think I changed any minds. I have two grandsons who will be 8 year olds this fall and they want their Papa to coach them. They may be disappointed.

I don't know where to begin, other than to say that ignorance is never in short supply.  And the air of self-importance seems to increase as the real importance of a person diminishes.

I guess all I can suggest is to tell them what they want to hear - and then do as you damn please.

Politicians do it all the time and it works for them!

*********** The basketball coach at Manhattan was all set to take the job at South Florida. It would have paid him more than $1 mill a year.  But wait - South Florida requires a bachelor's degree, and an investigation by South Florida's search firm disclosed that the guy attended the University of Kentucky but did not, as he claimed on his resume graduate.

Tsk, tsk.  It's not good to lie, boys and girls.

But if you like your doctor...

*********** My recent stop in Philly was the first time in more than 20 years of visits to my native city that I didn't listen to WIP radio.  Not once. WIP, which for years was my go-to station the minute I started up the rental car, was in-your-face, smart-ass Philly sports talk. But it's been taken over by CBS Sports, and now, with a bunch of non-Philly types trying their damnedest to get Philly people interested in things that don't interest them,  it's virtually unlistenable.  Radio white bread

*********** This is no bullsh--

Our President arrived in Belgium Tuesday night with an entourage of 900 people - that's 900 people - plus 45 armored vehicles and three giant cargo planes.

*********** On our eastern trip, I was fortunate enough to be able to stop off at West Point Tuesday and watch the Army football team's first-ever practice under Coach Jeff Monken.

My overall impression was, "Wow!"  I loved it.

They started at 5 PM.   Outside.  It was maybe 33 degrees and getting colder.  They went past 7, and  stayed outside the entire time.  

Things  were fast-paced.  The hustle was evident.  They made use of both  the artificial turf field next to the Foley Center, and the field at Michie Stadium, and they wasted no time moving between them.  (Some of the players must have run close to a mile just moving between fields.)

in preparation for this day, the coaching staff had been engaged in what they called a "Kamikaze mission," a long stretch of 5 AM to 7 PM days, and once the team hit  the field it showed.  A lot of planning had to go into making a first practice run as smoothly and crisply as this one did.

Out on the field, the coaches were everywhere - active and vocal.  And positive. The players hustled, but probably because everything was so new to them, there wasn't the amount of chatter I'd heard at a practice I'd watched at another college  earlier in the day.  Not that they were dumb cattle, either.  I'd call their approach "enthusiastically businesslike."

I watched mostly offense.  Coach Monken, whose last stop was Georgia Southern and who coached under Paul Johnson at Navy and Georgia Tech, is flexbone - spread triple option - all the way.  As you might expect, they spent a lot of time on fundamentals - the QB steps, the mesh between the QB and the fullback, the steps and fit and drive of the offensive linemen, the stalk blocking of the split ends.  The ball was always carried high and tight.

When they began running the offense, I was impressed by the quickness of everything - not only the players themselves (was it wishful thinking?) but the speed of the overall operation.  There wasn't a lot of standing around between reps.

They sprinted - really sprinted - from the huddle.

Although, as you'd expect,  the major emphasis of the offensive backs' and ends' work was on the triple option, they did throw quite a number of play action passes. Especially in view of the cold, the QB's threw rather well and the receivers caught just about everything thrown to them.

Coach Monken is INVOLVED.  He took a very personal, intense interest in the offense, and coached individuals wherever and whenever he saw the need.  At one point, frustrated by a blown assignment in the perimeter blocking, he said, "You guys act like you've never run this offense before. IT AIN'T THAT HARD!"

That  comment, well-deserved,  was as close anything ever got to being anything other than constructive.

Nothing was allowed to slide.

When a fumble occurred, the ball was covered immediately by the fumbler, who was given instruction on the proper way to cover the ball.  When a throw was clearly off the mark, the quarterback had to go get the ball.   On one occasion, I don't know what went wrong but the entire offensive unit had to do up-downs, not so many that it was punitive or cost precious practice time, but enough to remind that whatever it was wasn't going to be tolerated.  That happened early in the going, and evidently wasn't necessary from then on.  Point made.

Twice, at the end of offense vs defense sessions on the MIchie Stadium field, Coach Monken told the players, "Everybody find a teammate (and shake his hand)!"

At the conclusion, he addressed the players for maybe ten minutes.  All I could hear was the very start - "We've got a lot of work to do."  And I did hear another coach read off the names of several players (perhaps the 13 who didn't practice?) who would be "meeting" at 5 AM the next day.

And then coaches - including Coach Monken - stayed around after practice to work on individual skills.

This is going to be a very well-coached team.  I'm looking forward to the spring game.

*********** Ever notice how often politicians who aren't sports fans - but want us to think that they are - get tripped up?

The latest is Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, whose campaign ran an ad showing a montage of scenes - images of the flag, farmers, guns, horses in the field (this is Kentucky, after all) and - also because it's Kentucky - a quick shot of a basketball team in the beloved Kentucky Wildcats'  blue-and-white uniforms.

Except the team in the blue-and-white uniforms was Duke.  Duke, for God's sake! Years later, Kentuckians have yet to forgive the Blue Devils for Christian Laettner's last-second turnaround jumper.

Tweeted Mr. McConnell’s opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, “KY, as your next senator, I promise to never glorify a Duke championship in a campaign ad."

american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 25,  2014“Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.” Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** I certainly don't wish anything bad for Jim Irsay, owner of the Colts, who has reportedly been "struggling" with drugs and was picked up last week for DUI.

But it sure sounds as if he's becoming more and more like his old man, the late Bob Irsay, an insufferable drunken ass who, upon seeing a greener pasture in Indianapolis,  made off in the dark of night - literally - with the Baltimore Colts.

So let's all hope that Jim Irsay wins his struggle and doesn't become a reprise of Bastard Bob.

But in the meantime, you Indianapolitans, if I were you I'd be watching out for moving vans pulling up to Colts' headquarters.

Just don't make the mistake the Baltimoreans did: don't let them get out of town with the logos, the name, the colors and the records.  We Baltimore Colts fans will be glad to make you a nice offer.



*********** A week ago, I attended the Washington Huskies' spring clinic, along with 500 other coaches from the Northwest, all of us eager to see the new staff in action.

I personally was excited because as a Washington resident for going on 40 years, I want to root for the Huskies, but first and foremost, I don't root for a college as much as I root for the coach.  I could even root for USC if I liked their coach, as I did when John Robinson was the guy.

I even rooted for Notre Dame when Ara Parseghian was the coach, and again when Tyrone Willingham coached the irish.  But throw Willingham overboard and put Charlie Weis on the ND sidelines, and that was that.

I became a Washington Husky fan shortly after moving to the Northwest, when Don James arrived from Kent State.  Those were wonderful years for us Washingtonians, and Coach James, although not exactly  a back-slapping hail-fellow-well-met, was open and accessible to high school coaches, and I deeply admired his leave-nothing-to-chance approach to coaching.

And then the roof fell in. The University administration, almost certainly motivated by professional jealousy, voluntarily imposed sanctions designed to put the football program - and Don James - in its place.  Coach James, refusing to work for people like that, retired and never coached again.

The Washington AD, Barbara Hedges,  hired to make a show of diversity, actually set back the cause of women in high athletic positions by orchestrating Washington football's dive from the top of the then-Pac-10 to an 0-12 season in 2008, a dive which included her panicked hiring of Rick Neuheisel from Colorado at a highly-inflated salary, when a more experienced, football-savvy AD would have known that Colorado was as eager to dump him as she was to hire him. 

She then found herself forced to fire Neuheisel following a bogus "gambling" scandal related to his involvement in a Final Four pool, but in reality, his days were numbered after he was caught in a major lie - he was at the San Francisco airport, overheard by a Seattle reporter  telling someone on his cell phone how  his interview with the 49ers had gone, when all the while, he was supposedly in Idaho, golfing with some buddies.  Thanks a lot, Barb.

The last Washington coach, Steve Sarkisian, is now The Guy at USC, and although he is a step up from Lane Kiffin - I think - it's by no means a giant step.  Yes, Sarkisian was hailed by PR types when he left Washington as the guy who brought the Huskies back from 0-12, but in truth, it was no great accomplishment - just as he had at Notre Dame,  his predecessor, Tyrone Willingham, had left behind some talent, including a pretty good QB named Jake Locker.

There was always something about Sark that made me uneasy,  and now that it's obvious that he leveraged the Washington job into the USC post, I'll have no problem at all with continuing to dislike USC.

Which brings us to the present, and the new staff of Chris Peterson, whose last post was Boise State.  As many jobs as coach Peterson was rumored to be taking over the years, he turned them all down to stay at Boise, so it's obvious to me that Washington was a job he finally felt was worth leaving Boise for.

The clinic followed a familiar format of a morning practice, a talk by Coach Peterson and the introduction of his staff, and breakout sessions with the various position coaches, one hour devoted to offense, and one hour to defense.  Coach Peterson wrapped up the day with a great presentation on developing leadership.

As a teacher, I was impressed by Coach Peterson's and his staff's "lesson plans" and their emphasis on the teaching of fundamentals.  One of the assistants confided that, as preparation, every coach had to make his presentation to the rest of the staff.

I especially liked what Coach Peterson called their coaching objectives - not unlike what I would call my "Mission Statement."

Washington's 3 Coaching Objectives

    1. Build self-esteem
        Build it through "compassionate interaction" with the players
        Make them feel good about themselves through improvement
        Stress that they are special -
            What we ask of them is tough, and others can't (or won't) do it -
        (Kids appreciate this stuff)

    2. Add VALUE to their lives
        Push them to become their BEST VERSION -  to become REAL MEN
        (What is a "Real Man?" - it's not just being the best athlete - having the most girls)
        So many kids don't know what a Real Man is -
            many of them either don't have any mentors - or they have bad ones
        Set and adhere to high standards ourselves
        CONNECT - touch their hearts - form life-long bonds
            "You're not  coach if you don't connect"
       
    3. Enjoy the process
        "Why do we coach?" he asked. Most of us would say, "Because I love football!"
        But, he said, there needs to be more: "Just winning games isn't enough."
        Sports are meant to be enjoyed and celebrated
        Keep things in perspective - laugh and smile
        Appreciate this opportunity, even though it's hard

*********** Coach,
 
(After the Philadelphia clinic) I can not even begin to tell how amped and excited I am for this up coming season.  With the knowledge you have passed on to me regarding your new adaptations I wish the season could begin NOW!
 
I only have to add the new changes and it shouldn't be too much of a learning curve for me because I picked up and grasped it quickly.  The kids will love it because I do have legit receiver types that physically could never be TE's.
 
Gazelles don't like smashing into hippos every play, but put them out in space and let them run, they can do wonders.  I admittedly have neglected that phase of the game when it comes to teaching it, because for over a decade my thought process was to Power the opposition into submission and on occasion line my receiver types up in Spread and run All Seams and pray for the best.  :-)
 
Not any more!!!  As you said, your adaptations now give me that fighting chance that DTDW never could give no matter how greater my athletes were than my opponent.  It's pretty hard to fool a team on a passing down with play action or the quick passing game when they know it's coming.
 
The clinic saying is that "if you can learn just one thing from a clinic then that's great."  Well, damn that, I learned more than just plays formations, I learned many things that I can easily remember, apply, teach, call and have full belief that will work.  The proof is in your footage.
 
As always, through you I have become a better coach and mentor and that is in addition to what I learned in Philly, the ONE THING that I took away from your clinic.
 
My regards always,
 
Brian Mackell
Glen Burnie, Maryland

*********** Say a prayer for Navy slot back Will McKamey, who was last reported in critical condition after being airlifted to the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Unit on Saturday following his collapse at spring practice.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/10655600/will-mckamey-navy-midshipmen-collapses-practice

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/football/bal-navy-freshman-slotback-will-mckamey-taken-to-shock-trauma-after-collapsing-at-practice-20140322,0,3842385.story

LATEST:  http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/no-change-in-will-mckamey-s-status--family-said-navy-did-nothing-wrong-194325334.html

*********** "I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion," Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban told espn.com's Tim McMahon.

"I'm just telling you, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they're getting hoggy. Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way.

"I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule number one of business."

Cuban said that he believes the NFL is making a mistake by playing games on more and more days other than Sunday, putting TV money ahead of the convenience of fans who are used to planning for their NFL teams to play on Sundays (with an occasional Monday night game).

So who's going to take up  Cuban's banner against the colleges and their Thursday and Friday (and Saturday) night games  and the inconveniences they cause their  fans who have to drive long distances, plus those TV-accomodating "TBD" kickoff times that leave people guessing right up until the last possible minute?

http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/10662203/dallas-mavericks-owner-mark-cuban-says-greedy-nfl-10-years-away-implosion

*********** F- YOU, CBS,  and your insistence on showing us how distraught Kansas coach Bill Self's little son was after the Jayhawks were upset by Stanford.  It's not the kid's fault, of course, but when we watch a basketball game, who, other than the so-called casual viewers who only look at basketball once or twice a year (in March) gives a rat's ass about watching the tears roll down a little kid's face?

*********** At our dinky little school, the powers that be are so-o-o-o well-versed in the Constitution - a document that our own President blithely ignores - that they instructed us not to pray, before or after games. And after we dared to hold our post-season banquet at a (gasp) church we were forbidden to hold one in the future anywhere but at the school.

But there's still hope for people who still believe in our nation's founding principles (which did not include stifling religion): right after beating Duke to win the ACC tournament, Virginia coach Tony Bennett dared to say - ON NATIONAL TELEVISION -  "I just want to say this first - I'm so thankful for my faith in Christ that kinda sustained us when we struggled..."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/acc-tournament-2012-virginias-tony-bennett-buoyed-by-his-faith/2012/03/06/gIQAPUlzzR_story.html

*********** David Brenner died recently.  Very funny man.

He once said the way to cure corruption in Washington was to make congressmen wear patches on their suits, the way NASCAR drivers do.  Instead of sponsors, Congressmen's patches would represent all the lobbyists whose money they'd taken.

*********** I've been a Ford guy for years, but after looking at this, a VW is pretty tempting...

https://www.youtube.com/embed/nd5WGLWNllA?rel=0

*********** Imagine…

The coach of your favorite football  team doesn't wake up in the morning until seven.

He starts every day  working out for 45 minutes in his personal gym, and later he regularly  plays a game of  basketball  with a handful of his buddies.

He finds time to watch a lot of SportsCenter.

Whenever he's in town, he makes it a rule to have dinner  with his daughters.

But he's out of town a lot, often on vacation (although he is in constant touch with his assistants).

With his record - which is kinda shaky -  you'd think he'd be putting in a lot more time on his job.

It's a good thing for you he's not the  coach of your team.

He's only President of the United States.

*********** Longtime Double-Winger and clinic attendee Dave Kemmick has just been named head coach at Eastern York High School in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania.  Coach Kemick and his brother, Dennis, who will be on his staff, were at my Philadelphia clinic on Saturday.

http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=goldenknightfootball


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 14,  2014"Perfection is rarely reached. The good news is it's rarely necessary and often subjective."  Andy Bailey business coach

*********** Former test pilot, astronaut and United States Senator John Glenn and his wife, Annie, recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.  They have known each other since they were toddlers - iterally sharing the same playpen (anybody remember when we used those things, and babies somehow survived the ordeal?).

Two years ago at about this time, Bob Greene, in cnn.com, wrote about their remarkable relationship - about Mr. Glenn's devotion to Annie, and her amazing strength in the face of constant difficulty.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/19/opinion/greene-john-annie-glenn/

(Thanks for the story  tip to Jim Sinnerud, of Omaha, Nebraska)


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

So our numbers look like they are going to be a little lower this year and we will be playing 9 man instead of 12. Just wondering what plays you would run have been running your double tight for 4 years now so am relatively familiar with your Playbook.

Thanks so much,
(A Coach in Canada)

Coach-  Your situation is made to order for something I did this past season.

Take this formation and just eliminate the two wide men.


*********** Ken Hampton, of Raleigh, North Carolina also furnished proof that he, too, identified George Taliaferro.

*********** You wanna see teamwork?  I'll show you teamwork.

http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/pitstop.html

(Link thanks to Lou Orlando, Sudbury, Massachusetts)

*********** God help us all…

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — An independent commission led by a former U.S. surgeon general (that would be that wacko Dr. Joycelyn Elders - HW) has concluded there “is no compelling medical reason” for the U.S. armed forces to prohibit transgender Americans from serving and that President Barack Obama could lift the decades-old ban without approval from Congress, according to a report being released Thursday.

Uh, considering what we expect our military to do for us, my question would be, "Is there a compelling medical reason for us to include 'transgender Americans' in the armed forces?"

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/03/13/commission-finds-no-compelling-medical-reason-to-exclude-transgender-americans-from-military/

*********** Hi Coach Wyatt-
 
Ran across this article today. Looks like"football's national governing body" has got hold of a few of our state's legislators. Gee, I wonder who will be providing this "safety" training?

http://usafootball.com/blogs/heads-up-football/post/8278
 
Carl Kilburg
Hebron, Indiana

A bill designed to protect high school student-athletes cleared its final passage in the Indiana General Assembly today. The bill now moves to the governor’s desk, where it could be signed into law.

The bill would mandate safety training for football coaches who instruct athletes younger than 20 years of age and who use a state or municipally owned facility. Coaches would be required to complete a training course at least once during a two-year period, which would include content on concussion awareness, equipment fitting, heat emergency preparedness and proper technique.

Under the legislation, a high school athlete who is removed from play because of a suspected concussion or head injury would not be allowed to return to play until at least 24 hours have passed.

“In high-contact sports like football, students are more vulnerable to serious injuries that can have long-term effects,” said Sen. Travis Holdman, the bill’s author. “But this shouldn’t keep them from playing a sport they enjoy. The training and procedures outlined in this bill will give coaches the resources and knowledge they need to keep their athletes safe.”

The bill also provides civil immunity for football coaches who comply with training requirements and act in good faith. Coaches would not be personally liable for a student athlete’s concussion or head injury, except in cases of negligence or misconduct.

Holdman said more than 30 medical and sports organizations have expressed support for a coaches’ training program. These include the Amateur Athletic Union, NCAA, NFL, Big Ten Conference, Indiana Football Coaches Association and Indiana High School Athletic Association. USA Football also supports the bill.

“The Indiana High School Athletic Association applauds the work of Senator Travis Holdman to assist in the ongoing mission of providing safe and healthy sporting experiences to Hoosier youth,” IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox said. “In concert with the efforts of the senator, the IHSAA continues to augment educational opportunities for our dedicated adults that choose to work with students in the interscholastic arena.”

Former NFL linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, an Indianapolis native and current resident who helped the New England Patriots win two Super Bowls, also expressed his support for the bill. Colvin has two grade school-age boys who play youth football.

“Speaking as a youth football coach as well as the parent of two boys who love playing football, I can assure you that this is a strong step forward for our kids,” Colvin said. “Every young player’s mom and dad also chalks up a win with this news. Nothing is more important than our children’s health, and until other sports catch up to football, we’ll take the lead in coach education.”

(No mention, of course, of any connection between USA Football and The Octopus, Big Football itself, the NFL)


***********  Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook,  is behind a move to "Ban Bossy."

See, her theory, for which she's gotten a lot of publicity lately, is that little girls are discouraged from becoming leaders by being called "bossy."

And therefore, if we can eliminate the use of that one word, why, presto- we'll have all the leaders we need. (She conveniently overlooks the fact that boys aren't exactly shoving each other aside to step to the head of the group, either.)

(Isn't it "Bossy" of her to try to tell us we can't say "Bossy?")

(Could it be that they're preparing America for a woman who's been sometimes called bossy?  A certain Ms. Clinton?)

(Is her idea possibly to come out with a reverse Webster's full of banned words?)

Let's see… there's queer…retarded… bitchy… niggardly…thug…

TIME: Sometime in the not-too-distant future.

PLACE: A Elementary school. The principal's office.  The principal is on the phone.

PRINCIPAL: Mr. Clark?  Principal Cornhole here.  Please come get Tommy. I've had to  suspend him for calling a girl the B-word.

MR. CLARK: Oh, man.  I'm really surprised. We've been over this.  He knows better than to call anyone a bitch. 

PRINCIPAL: No no, no - it's much worse than that.  He called her "B-B-B-B-B…" I'm sorry - I can't even bring myself to say the word.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/brave-new-stereotypes_784265.html

*********** As long as Our President is still creating dissatisfaction among the Great Unwashed with his "income inequality" line, it's worth noting that the Saints have agreed on terms with free agent safety Jairus Byrd.  Reportedly he will make $56 million over six-years.

At $9.3 million a year, that's more than 20 times the $420,000 2014 NFL minimum rookie salary.

(Actually, though, it's not as good a deal as it appears to be at first glance.  Only $28 million of it  is guaranteed.)

***********  (You wrote) "Call me old and foolish (get in line) but we're not talking about the Carolina Panthers or Jacksonville Jaguars here. We are talking about the CLEVELAND F--KING BROWNS!    And although it will surprise those who think that "history" started around  2000,  the Browns  have a history that few pro football teams can match."

--And here I thought that the reason Art Modell left the name, colors and uniform to the people of Cleveland is that it was important to them.  I can tell you the people in Baltimore would have loved to have kept the Colts name and uniforms while at the same time getting rid of that jack-ass Irsay.  I guess their history isn't as important to Cleveland as it would have been to Baltimore.

Dave Potter
Cary High School
Cary, North Carolina

Hi Dave-

You make me feel like a guy who's just gotten over something very tragic and traumatic in his life and then somebody has to bring it up - and the pain starts all over again.

I know that there are people in Cleveland who will never forgive Art Modell for moving the Browns to Baltimore, but it's to his great credit that for whatever reason, he left Cleveland with something far more important in the long run, now that they have their Browns back,  than the team that he moved.

I have pretty much gotten over the loss of my beloved Colts - hard to believe that they've been in Indianapolis longer than they were in Baltimore - but I will NEVER get over the callous way that the f--king Irsays not only made off with the team, like thieves in the night, but with it the name, the uniform, the helmet logo AND THE HISTORY AND THE RECORDS!!! Like John Unitas played for the f--king INDIANAPOLIS COLTS!

Frankly, once the Irsays sneaked out of town, I'm just as glad that Baltimore started over fresh with a new name and new unforms, if not a new team.  It was bad enough taking Cleveland's team from them, but I'd never have felt right about the additional insult to Cleveland fans of taking their heritage from them!

"Let's go you Baltimore Colts,
And put that ball across the line..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG9UFUzciBY

************ Google "atheists oppose memorial" some time, and you're going to find a lot of reading material.

It's hard for me to imagine true happiness without a belief in God, but, aided and abetted by sympathetic judges, the Godless gang has been pursuing its version of happiness by attacking symbols of religion wherever possible.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/03/06/mom-who-lost-son-in-fatal-crash-to-remove-cross-memorial-after-atheist-group-complains/

In Lake Elsinore, California a woman erected a cross by an Interstate exit ramp in honor of her 19-year-old son, who was struck and killed nearby. It's been there since 2012. Atheist have sued to have it removed.

In Princeton, New Jersey, atheists are fighting the erection of a memorial cross.

In New York, atheists continue to fight a plan to include a steel cross in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

And in Ohio, an atheist group is opposing a Holocaust Memorial planned for the grounds of the statehouse in Columbus.

When the Christians (and Jews)  finally nut up and take on these a$$holes physically, it's going to win up in the hands of juries, not judges.

And juries, I suspect, might not be as sympathetic to aggressive atheists as judges.

GT Prayer
***********  Too late atheists...

Photo from the 1955 Georgia Tech pre-season guide

*********** Your tax dollars at work in small-town Washington.

The city of Ocean Shores is updating its six-year transportation plan after receiving a grant to begin concept and design work for sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and pedestrian lighting on Point Brown Avenue.

Are you kidding me?  A "grant?"  That's politician-speak for "free money,"  also known as taking money out of the pockets of people in Atlanta, Georgia, Beloit, Kansas, Berwick, Louisiana, Albuquerque, New Mexico and God knows where else to design f--king sidewalks and bike lanes for a tiny town on the Washington coast whose citizens would have had those things years ago if they'd been willing to pay for them.  Yeah, yeah, I know - they rest of you will get it back in "grants" of their own. So we reduce our defense spending in order to provide "grants" for sidewalk design in Ocean Shores and assorted "free" goodies for people in Atlanta, Georgia, Beloit, Kansas, Berwick, Louisiana, Albuquerque, New Mexico and God knows where else.



*********** A star football player, referred to by his coach as "our go-to- guy," Michael Anyisake, of Dawson, Minnesota, was one of a number of high school students at an underage drinking party being held in an unoccupied farm house, as has been known to happen in farm communities throughout the heartland.  And then the sheriff's people arrived, and the party broke up, the praters dispersing in all directions.

But Michael went missing, and when he was found several hours later at another farmhouse, he was dead.  The cause of death has yet to be determined.

And now, instead of following Michael as he went on to St. John's University, his family, the little community, the school and his teammates are left to mourn.

Thanks to Coach Chris Davis, of Slayton, Minnesota for the link.

http://www.startribune.com/local/249271821.html


*********** I’ve been a  head coach for about 13 years at the youth (Pop Warner/ local leagues) and Jr High level in the Anchorage Alaska area.  I’m taking the JV head coaching position at Chugiak High School this season.  CHS has a new Varsity HC and it will be the first time in 12 years that I haven’t run your Double Wing.  We will be running a Flex Bone Pistol.  Looking at the FB I see many similarities to the DW but I will miss the luxury of putting extra force at the point of attack.  Once we get our base FB plays installed I’ll have some leeway to flavor the FB with the attributes of your DW methods.  
 
Coach I have to share a story with you about some “advice” you gave me about 11 years ago.  I was attending one of your clinics in Portland before the second year using the DW.  I was sitting in the middle of the room and the conversation turned to linemen and getting them to pull.  I spoke up and said that I was unable to get my players to pull.  As you continued to talk to the group you walked over to me, reached out and shook my hand and said “Coach Stark, I’ve finally met the only football coach in America who can’t get his guards to pull”.  I took that and your other advice about just assume they will pull and don’t tell them there is another option.   I mention this because I have adhered to that “advice” year after year and when I have coaches (every year) who say “we won’t be able to get the players to do this or that," I say to them…              

Scott Stark
Anchorage, Alaska

*********** Coach,
 
Once again, it was great to finally meet y'all in person.  Miss Connie is a sweet lady and really knows her sports too!  Meeting the other coaches was very insightful and they are great guys.  Thanks again for dinner and lunch also.
 
Anyone who may be shying away from this year's clinic slate because of its content is sadly mistaken.  Whether someone coaches true double-tight double wing, or wing t, or any sort of ball control offense, there's something beneficial in this year's information for them.  Whether someone is looking to consistently move people out the box while staying true to the system, or just wants a two-minute package for quick-strike ability, this information is beneficial.  I guarantee there are folks out there busting their ass and thinking of unconventional things to do to stop us, so if we don't do the same to stay ahead of them, we deserve an ass-kicking if we take one.
 
As I'm sure you anticipated, after processing everything mentally and going back to look at my notes, I have a couple questions.
 
1.  When ya'll run option, is it typically a double option with the corner as a pitch key?  Against an odd front with their OLBs walked up, would you try to double the OLB with the tackle or end and the back and then pitch from the corner?  How about against even fronts?

Usually we pitch off the end man on the LOS.
 
2.  Have ya'll looked at a triple option from Husky/Cougar?

Yes.  But there's only so much you can do without opening up those splits, which I'm unwilling to do.
 
3.  With your ends and wings spread out, and still having a strong running game to keep people honest, do you find you had big play potential with passing to a back releasing out of the backfield?

Oh, yes - in numerous ways.
 
Again, many thanks, coach.  It was well worth the 8-1/2 hour drive.  Glad the jerky and ale were to ya'lls liking!

Josh Montgomery
Berwick, Louisiana

*********** Tom Walls and his wife, Shandy, have taken on a major project - they're actively working to start a youth football organization (that would be "organ-eye-zation") in their community outside Winnipeg. Tom has been head coach at Churchill High School in Winnipeg for the past three years, but he had to resign that position to devote himself to the demands of the startup.  It's not without its rewards already - the long commute from their rural community to Tom's teaching and coaching job in the city meant time away from his family, including son Tommy, a promising young football player.

american flagTUESDAY,  MARCH 11,  2014"If you think that human beings are always rational, it becomes impossible to explain at least half of history."  Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** One by one, we're losing the men who fought - and won! - World War II, and with them goes a standard of manhood that I question whether we'll ever again attain.

One of those men, one of the Band of Brothers celebrated by the movie, was Bill "Wild Bill" Guarnere, who died last week at the age of 90.

Mr. Guarnere grew up an Italian kid in heavily-Italian South Philadelphia who chose to become a paratrooper because he wanted "to fight with the best."

His courage in battle was legendary.

I thank my friend Greg Koenig, of Beloit, Kansas, for sending me his story...

http://www.marcusbrotherton.com/know-bill-guarnere-1923-2014-love/



*********** I almost missed giving credit to Bill Nelson, of Skyview HS in Thornton, Colorado, who was one of the few readers who correctly identified George Taliaferro.

*********** I LOVE the suggestion that if an NFL team chooses to kick an extra point, the line of scrimmage will be the 25.  (If it chooses to go from two, it can do so from the three.)

Putting the ball on the 25 makes it a 42-yard kick.  But even at that, NFL kickers last season made 80 per cent of their kicks from there.

That's almost automatic.  Almost.

Automatic is 99.6 per cent, which is the actual percentage of extra points made last season.

Adam Vinatieri is opposed to the proposal.  He was quoted by USA Today as saying, "if it's not broke don't fix it."

Uh, Adam, I hate to break this to you - but it is broke.

*********** Legendary Harvard coach Percy Haughton was noted for being intense.  He might have fit right in with some of today's coaches, but for his time, so preoccupied was he with results on the field that he was often considered something of a mad man.

One of his players recalled a mid-week practice: "…we were preparing a series of new plays to be used on that following Saturday. Progress had been slow and P. D. was hurrying things along in his race against time. During the scrimmage a certain player was not giving his best efforts on every play. P. D. noticed it and rushed onto the field, grabbed the offender by the neck and shook him till his teeth rattled. 'Get onto the sidelines. The trouble with you is you perspire. We want men to sweat!'"

*********** Nick Saban is still commenting on the safety aspect to his proposal to slow down offense.  His logic - and it's sound on its face - is that more plays in the same amount of game time mean more collisions,  which simply have to result in more injuries.

Most of us, though,  suspect that he has other motives than player safety (such as perhaps slowing down Auburn's hurry-up/no huddle offense) but if he's really serious about the safety aspect, I have a suggestion:

Why not consider eight-minute quarters?  It'd cut the amount of injury exposure - and therefore the number of injuries - almost in half.  Race-horse guys would still have certain advantages, being able to cram in more plays, but there's something for Nick Saban to like, too:   As youth coaches, who play eight minute quarters,  will attest - one good drive can eat up an entire quarter.

*********** How's this for irony? The opportunity to make it to college - and then to the NFL - without doing any of the heavy lifting has created a large and constantly growing number of young kickers. And as a natural result, in order to help them achieve their goals, kIcking camps have flourished. 

And they've been doing a great job.  So great, in fact, that high schools are full of really good kickers. So full, in fact, that colleges don't bother offering them scholarships.  instead, they bring 'em in as walk-ons and then weed 'em out.

*********** I was reading a column written in the Nashville Tennessean by a sales consultant named Tom Black.  His topic was being inner-directed rather than outer-directed - not to let yourself fail because of things you can't control but can overcome. He said that his company used to hand out tee-shirts with "N.E.A.T." on them - NO EXCUSES ACCEPTED TODAY

*********** I liked Jim Geraghty's take on satire, in National Review Online…

At the heart of satire is the notion that you're poking fun at someone or something that is held in high regard, but really shouldn't be. The satirist is usually saying 'the emperor has no clothes,' but for that to work, the audience has to believe that A) the emperor indeed has no clothes and B) that they always knew that the emperor had no clothes.

I wonder if it's getting harder to do satire because we just don't hold many people or institutions in high regard anymore. Or perhaps the only people or institutions that are still held in high regard are ones that you really would have second thoughts about poking fun at - our men and women in uniform, charities, etc.

Or maybe there are so many things now that are untouchable. (Think of it - other than blondes, who can you make fun of any more? Yes, I suppose you could say, "Rednecks," except that those of, shall we say, a "rural persuasion" seem to take great pride in living up to the elites' attempts to ridicule them. )

*********** Coming the longest distance to this past weekend's Atlanta clinic was Coach Josh Montgomery, who drove eight hours from Berwick, Louisiana.  He might have been able to shorten his trip a bit except that he made a couple of stops along the way - one, to pick up a six-pack of a really good brew from Abita Springs, Lousiana - Restoration Pale Ale, so named because a percentage of its sales has gone to help victims of Hurricane Katrina; and another to pick up some of the absolute best beef jerky I have ever tasted in my life, from a place called Bourgeois' Meat Market in Thibodaux (that's pronounced "TIBB-a-doe"), Louisiana.

*********** The Kansas State High School Activities Association has announced that Jadon Adams of Beloit High School is the recipient of  the 2014 “KSHSAA Spirit of Sport Award.”

This award is meant to recognize "the values inherent in high school sports beyond winning and losing."

Jadon was selected from seven nominees submitted by KSHSAA member senior high schools, and now he will be considered for the NFHS' annual “Spirit of Sport" Award.

Jadon, an outstanding prospect as a running back and linebacker, was almost certainly headed for stardom when he was seriously injured in a football game his sophomore year.  He suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that left doctors unsure whether he would ever walk or talk again.  But after a month in the  Madonna TBI clinic in LIncoln, Nebraska, Jadon began to show signs of progress. His therapy required learning how to walk and talk all over again, and he missed more than 2 months of school.

What kept him going - and the  only thing he talked about during his recovery - was getting returning to school and playing  football again with the pals he'd grown up with.

He finally returned to school, determined to return to once again be a normal high school student - and be on the football team.

Although playing football was out of the question, his coach, Greg Koenig, suggested the next best thing: coaching.  And for the past two seasons, Jadon  served as a student coach.  

Coaching his former positions and serving as a mentor to younger players, at in every practice and game, Jadon played a vital role in the Trojans' phenomenal success. 

Said Coach Koenig, in proudly notifying me of Jadon's award, "What a great award to an outstanding young man."

http://www.nckssports.com/d/Jadon_Adams_Award.pdf


*********** In the belief that (1) 13-14-15 yards is too much to depend on for a good snap; (2) a blocked punt is the most demoralizing thing that can happen to a team: (3) we should be able to run most of our offense from punt formation...

I punt from "Tight Punt" formation. The punter is 10 yards deep. He is usually my quarterback - the guy who runs my offense.  I know he's got good hands and he's used to handling the ball. And I I can trust him with the ball if anything goes wrong. I also believe, along with the great Bobby Dodd, that any decent athlete can learn to punt adequately. (I am not interested in the punt that makes everyone go "oooh" - I just want to make sure that (1) we get it off and (2) they don't return it.

We start out with the B-Back at 4-yards' depth, offset behind right guard.  He must NOT step back. (Trust me - it is VERY embarrassing to have a kick blocked by a blocker's butt.

The ball is snapped "AFTER Ready."

This means that any point AFTER (but not ON) the "Ready" signal, the center may snap the ball.  It is up to him.

We work on punting the ball with one step.

We mostly practice punting in a worst-case scenario, with the ball on our own one-yard line, with the punter standing a yard from the end line. There. we deal with  what to do with a mishandled snap in the end zone (fall on it or kick it out the back of the end zone) and how to take an intentional safety (run around back and forth as long as you can until you have to step out of bounds or over the end line.)

*********** By any standards, Bruce Larson, of Somerset, Wisconsin, is a winning football coach. He's won at least 10 games in seven of the last ten years.  His worst year in that span was 6-4 in 2006.  HIs 2012 team won the state Division IV title, and this past season finished 12-3.

The interesting thing is, he not only doesn't emphasize winning - he doesn't even talk about it.

Instead, he places his emphasis on character and values, as part of what he calls the "Spartan Creed."

I came across it in an interview he did with  Tim Leighton of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in an interview just prior to winning last year's state championship.

"There are no reasons to talk about winning," he said. "We talk about honor, courage and loyalty, things that are really important. If you do things right in life and make the right decisions, you'll end up where you want to be. The more you talk about winning, I'm telling you, it's the wrong thing to do. It's the wrong thing to focus on. Winning is a byproduct, I guess, of doing things the right way in your life."

"You have to do what you believe will work," he said. "I don't think since 1999 we've had the best athletes in the world, but we do have kids that understand they have to work hard in the classroom, the weight room, in their other sports and to stay away from things that will cause trouble. If you can do those things, you'll be just fine. The people we play against don't do those things.

"In the past 14 years, we haven't put a kid in the NFL, but I think we've made some really good fathers, some great employees, people that will look you in the eye and will do what is right and honest."

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_21989304/prep-football-somerset-takes-spartan-creed-another-wisconsin

*********** The intersection of North Broadway and Lincoln Park Avenue in Los Angeles was named Kenny Washington Square, in honor of College Football Hall of Famer Kenny Washington, who was UCLA’s first All-American and broke the NFL’s color barrier.

*********** The Cleveland Browns, who other than switching  helmet colors from white to orange many, many years ago haven't made drastic changes to their uniforms since they first hit the field in 1946 (and so dominated the All-America Football Conference that they basically put it out of business) have announced a make-over, which they'll unveil before the draft.  Maybe somebody at Nike told them that if it worked for Oregon it'll work for them. Except they're not recruiting teenagers.

Call me old and foolish (get in line) but we're not talking about the Carolina Panthers or Jacksonville Jaguars here. We are talking about the CLEVELAND F--KING BROWNS!    And although it will surprise those who think that "history" started around  2000,  the Browns  have a history that few pro football teams can match.

Yes, they've sucked in recent years, but most would have to agree that the uniforms were not a major reason.  And it's not as if the long-suffering Cleveland fans are going to be fooled if underneath the flashy new duds are the same old Browns.

Nike designers be damned, it seems to me that if that Browns' uniform was good enough for Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Jim Brown, Mike McCormack, Dick Schafrath, Leroy Kelly, Lou Groza, John Wooten, Gary Collins, Horace Gillom, Dub Jones, Bill Willis (I could go on) it's good enough for whatever bunch they call the Browns this year.


american flagFRIDAY,  MARCH 7,  2014"Evil always arrives on earth by means of some man of genius."  Denis Diderot, French philosopher

*********** Just to show Vladimir Putin isn't as smart as everybody's giving him credit for - to justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he had to resort to claiming that Russia had to take action in order to stamp out fascists - nazis, even.

Ho-hum.  Who even knows what the hell fascists are? Who gets fired up about Nazis anymore?

If Putin wanted to get the world on his side - certainly to win the hearts and minds of the American people -  he'd have announced he was invading Ukraine to stamp out homophobia there.

Oh,  wait - he'd have a hard time explaining that one to his own people, wouldn't he?


THIS YEAR'S LAST BLACK HISTORY MONTH QUESTION - A native of Gary, Indiana, he was one of the greatest players in the history of the University of Indiana; in 1949, he became the first black man drafted by the NFL; and before Johnny Unitas - and long before Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck - he played quarterback for the Colts.

Identifying George Taliaferro...

Adam Wesoloski
Pulaski, Wisconsin

Adrian Mills
China Grove, North Carolina

Coach Wyatt-
 
I believe the first black player drafted by the NFL was George Taliaferro. He was drafted by the team I follow, the Bears, but did not sign with them. He signed with the AAFL. Gary, IN is not too far from where I live in our great state. Although the city is a mere shell of what it once was, it has produced it's fair share of pro athletes.
 
Thanks for the NEWS, always enjoy reading it, and always learn a thing or 2 about our great game.
 
Carl Kilburg
Hebron, Indiana

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Taliaferro

http://www.indiana.edu/~radiotv/wtiu/legends/episodes/taliaferro/timeline/index.html

Read about his wonderful works, long after his football days were over…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugnbNRwYoW0

*********** From Tim Brown, in Athens, Alabama…

(1) The US Military Academy does not have any lightweight majors - none of those things ending in "Studies" - where they can hide dummies. So given the rigor of the West Point curriculum,  if West Point has, in fact, been admitting academically unqualified football players, you'd expect them to be dropping out at a scandalous rate.  That hasn't been happening.

Q. How many Army football players spend a year at USMAPS?

USMAPS - The US Military Academy Prep School is designed to prepare kids who qualify for admission but are not prepared for the demands of the classroom. I'd say that maybe 2/3 of recruited football players attend here before moving on to West Point.  The Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy have similar prep schools. The service academies, it should be noted, do not accept junior college transfers and do not permit redshirting. Those admitted to the prep schools are assured admission to the academies upon graduation, but for the purposes of the academies' football staffs they are still considered high school athletes and can only be contacted within the NCAA recruiting rules.  Also, they are not committed to attend the academies, and it is not unusual for certain other colleges to try to poach these athletes.  it should also be pointed out that the costs of sending a student to USMAPS are not borne by the US taxpayer, but by donations.

(2) If 12 straight losses to Navy - and just one (7-6) winning season since 1996 - are what you get from overemphasis, how bad is it going to be if they pull back?

Q. Does this mean a drop to 1-AA?  We can't beat Stony Brook now.  

Bear in mind that all their other sports compete in the Patriot League, which is I-AA (FCS) in football.  Only football plays at the top level.  A drop by Army to FBS would be disastrous to the other 20+ Army sports which depend on football for financial support.  Despite all those losing seasons, Army football is still a revenue-producer, thanks in large part to the TV money from the Army-Navy game. It's hard to believe that that money would still be there if Army were to drop in class.

(3) If I had written something to our local paper questioning my school's policy, without first having gone to leadership with my concerns, I think that my work life would become a little tougher from that point on.  Deservedly so.

Q. Is this guy a part of the TOXIC Army leadership?

People on the inside tell me that there is a VERY strong anti-football element among the West Point faculty, dating all the way back to the Col. Blaik era, when Army football was among the nation's best.  It is as strong as ever, and I suspect that this article was meant to be, if I may use a Navy term, a shot across the bow, warning the new superintendent that his any efforts to help football succeed will be met by faculty resistance.  I'm sure that this guy is a hero among the pseudo-Ivy faculty.

*********** One of the most important ingredients of success, I think, is learning what your limits are.

This, of course, runs counter to the emphasis we place in education on equal outcome.

Without paying the slightest attention to the age-old reality that people have unequal talents and abilities, we plow ahead toward the unattainable goal of equal outcomes, blowing smoke up kids' butts telling them that they can be anything they want to be - emphasis on "want" -  instead of preparing  them for being the best they can be - emphasis on "can."

***********  Coach,  if you have a Friday game what does your practice week look like as far as pads and amount of contact?  Does your state have any regulations on practice contact, etc.

Thanks,

John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

Coach-

Our state does not yet regulate our practice times.  But I can see it coming.

Typical week:

MON:  Study table 2:30-3:15 -    Practice 3:30-5:30 - full pads - about 45 minutes of thud scrimmage
TUES:  Practice 3:00 - 5:30  - full pads - about 60 minutes of thud scrimmage
WED: Practice 3:00 - 5:30 - full pads - about 60 minutes of thud srimmage
THURS: Practice 3:00 - 4:30 -  full pads - almost no contact

Contact time is a rough estimate.

We always go out in pads simply to avoid the kind of injury that can happen even in a "non-contact" drill.

*********** John Madden came up with an all-timer when he said who has to go if the 49ers can't resolve the now-public spat between their coach, Jim Harbaugh, and their GM, some guy named Trent Baalke: “It’s a lot easier to get a suit than it is to get a coach.”

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/28/john-madden-if-needed-49ers-should-choose-harbaugh-over-baalke/


circle*********** Coach what do you use to make the circle for the circle drill and how big is it?
 
Ocie B Johnson
St. Louis, Missouri

Coach Johnson-

I use three 10-foot lengths of PVC pipe.  To connect them I tape a sleeve of slightly larger diameter PVC pipe at end of each one.

You could also use conduit, which will already have a slightly larger end for ease in connecting.

Hope that makes sens

*********** Turning our kids into tolerant environmental activists who know they must never, never fight, even to defend themselves, has been the signature achievement of the Great American Educator.

Actually educating the kids? You can't be serious. You ever seen the way they write?  Ever asked one what Separation of Powers is all?  Ever asked one to do a simple math problem in his head?

Hey - when you're busy expelling kids who point finger guns at each other, who's got time to teach?

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/04/us/ohio-boy-suspended-finger-gun/

*********** Bad enough that a school spends time celebrating Cinco de Mayo - a minor holiday of little importance in Mexico that seems mostly to have been appropriated by the US beer industry, but it's f--king disgraceful when the cowardly school administration sends non-celebratory kids home for wearing attire with the American flag on it, for fear that it might incite violence. 

Surely that school has required its kids to undergo anti-bullying training.  And surely they'd spent hour upon hour teaching the importance of tolerance.  So wouldn't it be "bullying" if some students were so intolerant as to beat up on a kid because he displayed our country's flag?   Nah.

So to protect some bogus "right" to celebrate something - in a school, yet - the school administrators will tread on other students' actual first-amendment rights.  And, this being California, where up so frequently  is down and down so frequently  is up, and judge supported the administration.

http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/02/28/court-school-ok-banning-american-flag-t-shirts-cinco-de-mayo

*********** Syracuse coach Scott Shafer, in an interview with si.com, told about some of the things Jim Harbaugh's staff did at Stanford to try to make those kids competitive.

When the kids were stretching and warming up. Jim would go out there and start doing some push-ups. He was offense, and I was defense. We used to talk a little junk. We were trying to foster that environment because the Stanford kids were the opposite of a lot of other kids at that time. They were downtrodden and hadn't won many games. They were almost too, "Yes sir, no sir." We were like, Hey, we've got to get these kids to loosen up.

Everything was a competition. Everything. I remember Jim played running back in [an] Oklahoma drill and didn't have any pads on. The kid thudded him and everyone went nuts. Everything turned into such a great competition. I can't tell you how many times we went off script in practice because it turned into a war. They were fighting to win a competition, every single warm-up and practice. He was doing push-ups up there.

One of my players, I don't remember who, said, "Coach are you going to let him do that?"

I said, "What?"

He said, "He's trying to show you up doing push-ups."

I ran right up next to him and said, "I'm in."

We started with, like, 25 push-ups and added one every day. By the end of the season, we're up to the worst 150 push-ups you ever saw. It kind of got the kids going and got 'em fired up. At our banquet, we had a highlight video and they showed us, and (AD) Bob Bowlsby said, "I think those are the worst push-ups I've ever seen."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140217/syracuse-orange-scott-shafer/#ixzz2v0zJMyGf

*********** It may look like the brink of nuclear war to you and me, but if the Russians were worth really worrying about,  would the  guardians of our life and be cross-dressing on a US military base?

http://theweek.com/article/index/257285/speedreads-gay-and-lesbian-troops-perform-in-drag-on-american-military-base


*********** Read this article by Tom Oates, a long-time sports writer in Madison, Wisconsin and you'll see why college athletic directors aren't sleeping well these days.

host.madison.com/sports/college/football/article_46c9fa24-9fe4-5c2c-b2d6-454d2971f842.html#.UxV8xLjupgs.twitter

*********** With the discovery of CTE in the brain a soccer player, a rugby player and an Australian Rules Football player, it appears that maybe those kids who stay in their bedrooms playing Madden had the right idea after all.

*********** The National Football foundation reports…

Dr. Richard Diana, a 1981 NFF National Scholar-Athlete from Yale, has penned a groundbreaking book, “Healthy Joints for Life” that offers individuals a proven plan to reduce joint pain and inflammation with the goal of avoiding surgery.

Rich Diana, a running back for College Football Hall of Fame Coach Carmen Cozza at Yale and then for Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach Don Shula with the Miami Dolphins, attended Yale School of Medicine after his playing days. He then combined his unique knowledge of sports and medicine to become one of the nation’s leading orthopedic surgeons.

His experiences and research have led him to develop a scientifically backed program that uses diet, exercise and the supplements to reduce inflammation and increase mobility for those suffering joint pain without surgery, which he now details in his book for everyone, not just elite athletes.

Diana, a clinical instructor at the Yale School of Medicine and attending surgeon at Yale-New Haven Hospital, lays out the plan in the new book. The eight-week regimen has received powerful testimonials from a wide-range of people, including College Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (Missouri), former Yale and NFL player Calvin Hill and Emmy Award-winning MLB broadcaster and World Series champion with the New York Mets Ron Darling.

The book can be ordered on Amazon.com or at Harlequin.com.

*********** College Football Hall of Famers Willie Totten (Mississippi Valley State) and coach Marino Casem (Alabama State, Alcorn State, Southern) were officially inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame on March 1.

***********  Dan Jenkins, a native Texan and an all-time great sports writer and story-teller,  sat down with Texas Monthly to discuss his new book, “His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir,” due to  come out later this month.   What I wouldn't give to sit at a bar and listen to him tell stories.  But failing that, I'll settle for the book.

Some exceprts from the interview...

the Darrell Royals, the Bear Bryants, the John McKays. They were fun. You could drink with ’em. My favorite was obviously Darrell Royal. I covered all his great teams. He was smart and funny, and it was just so natural. Now everyone’s so guarded. There’s so much electricity out there, they’re afraid of it.

It started with television. And then it just grew from there, while my back was turned. The athletic directors became CEOs instead of travel agents. Title IX came along and changed a lot of things for the better, but nevertheless, it meant that money became more important. If we gotta send the girl’s archery team to Hawaii, where we gonna get that f—in’ money?

       *******

TM: You say in the book that “political correctness is a plot to destroy America.” That’s not a very PC thing to say.

DJ: Good! I take a backseat to no one in my hatred of it. I don’t get it. I don’t know how anybody let it out of the box. If they can’t take a joke, f— ’em. It was the Modern Language Society that did it, and everybody bit on it. The academics loved it because it gave them something to do. The sad thing is that the newspapers fell into it. That was the bad part. I blame teachers. The whole thing about you gotta be liberal or you can’t advance in the profession if you’re not liberal. That may be true, but it’s time it stopped being true. Hell, we had liberal teachers when I was in college. We laughed at ’em. We had one conservative and everybody wanted to take his course because he was funny. It was like taking a course with Hitler. But we didn’t take him seriously either. But now everything’s from one side.

       *******

TM: With all the concern over head injuries, people are starting to suggest that football itself is politically incorrect. Do you think the handwringing about concussions is overblown? 

DJ: Yes. It’s a tough game, and they know what they’re getting into. But I do worry about what’s going to result from that. My greatest fear, and I won’t live to see it happen, is for the United States men to win the World Cup [in] soccer. It would start something.

       *******

Why he hates the NBA.

Every game’s the same. Every player’s talented. All they do is kick it in and dunk it or kick it out and hit a three. That’s it. I like college basketball and women’s basketball. They’re still coachable. They play below the rim. But they’ll find a way to ruin that too. They’ll go out and get some tall girls from Australia or something. It’s not just the NBA. There’s a certain sameness to pro football too. They’re about to chase me back to being a baseball fan.

http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/dan-jenkins-on-covering-sports#.UxUJsr5qY6Y.facebook

*********** Irv Wisniewski passed away a week ago.  He was 89.  Coach Wisniewski, a Michigan grad whose first coaching job was at Hillsdale College, joined Dave Nelson and Mike Lude at Delaware in 1950, just after they'd moved from Maine, which meant he was in on the ground floor of the Wing-T.  At first he coached the ends, but after Mike Lude took the head coaching job at Colorado State, he moved over to coach the offensive line. He coached at Delaware until his retirement in 1976.

http://www.bluehens.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=670298&SPID=110416&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=209422086&DB_OEM_ID=29100

*********** New Army head coach Jeff Monken has announced that the Army Football Coaches Clinic will take place at West Point on Friday-Saturday, April 4-5.
For reasons unknown to me (or anyone else I know), there hasn't been an Army Football Coaches Clinic for at least 10 years, so this to me is a big statement that Coach Monken means business.

For anyone who runs a triple option or is giving serious thought to doing so, this ought to be a great opportunity to get to learn the offense from a head coach and a staff that know it inside-out.

Army Clinic


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 28,  2014“The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies.”  Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** Have you ever eaten 5 Spanish olives - and stopped?

Likewise 7 Tostitos chips?

A half-cup of ice cream?

A half-cup of Dinty Moore Beef Stew?

A one-inch cube of sharp cheese?

Hey -  if you eat portions that small, you're probably as skinny as Barack Obama.

Nevertheless, those are what their manufacturers call "serving sizes."  No wonder we simpy read the "calories per serving size," without seeing how f--king small the "serving size" is.

But not any more, if the FDA has its way with the labeling of food products.  I'm not a big one for government interference, but I'm with them on this one.  Manufacturers are already required to post nutritional information on their packages, so what the hell - why not make it information that's actually useful?


*********** BLACK HISTORY MONTH QUESTION -  HORACE GILLOM was "discovered" by Paul Brown when he played for Brown in high school in Massillon, Ohio, and then on the freshman team at Ohio State.  Following World War II, Brown signed him to play with the Cleveland Browns in 1948, and he became not only the first black  punter in pro football, but one of the greatest punters in the history of the game.

Horace Gillom

Joe Gutilla, Austin, Texas

Adam Wesoloski, Pulaski, Wisconsin

Bill Nelson, Skyview HS, Thornton, Colorado

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Gillom

http://www.cleveland.com/ohio-sports-blog/index.ssf/2012/09/cleveland_browns_100_best_all-_12.html

http://www.cantonrep.com/x931227742/Hall-inductee-Horace-Gillom-was-Massillons-scoring-machine


*********** What a world this would be with Eric Holder in charge.

Seems our Honorable Attorney General has told state attorneys general that if they disagree with some of their state's laws - specifically those banning same-sex "marriage" - why, they can just do what he's been doing with laws he and his boss don't agree with: just don't bother to enforce them. In other words, just ignore them. 

Hey, who needs legislators, anyhow? 

Just wondering… do cops get the same leeway? 

Uh-oh.  Do referees?

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/us/holder-says-state-attorneys-general-dont-have-to-defend-gay-marriage-bans.html?referrer=

*********** There's going to be a new college football poll next season, a collaboration of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation, the foremost advocate of the college game.  Years ago, the Football Writers Association conducted a poll, but it was overshadowed by the Associated Press and the UPI Polls. 

Interestingly, the poll will list 16 teams - a "Super 16."

Why 16, and not 10, or 25? Think maybe they're anticipating the day when there'll be a 16-team playoff?

Here's the release...

IRVING, Texas (Feb. 25, 2014) – The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF) announced today that they will jointly conduct a weekly  major-college football poll during the 2014 season.

Officially, the poll will be known as the “FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16” poll, named in honor of the great sportswriter who became an influential leader of the NFF during its early years in the late 1940s. Rice played a key role in the history of both organizations as an FWAA member and NFF president. His name adorns the FWAA national championship trophy that has been presented since 1954, and he helped select the FWAA All-America teams until his death in 1954.

“We are proud to partner with the FWAA on the launch of the Grantland Rice Super 16 poll,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “Objectivity represents a core value for both our organizations, and we hope that by combining the credibility of both our organizations that we’ll provide a fun reference point for fans to follow during the college football season.”

The pollsters will consist of FWAA writers, College Football Hall of Famers and NFF Board Members. The poll aims to draw on the vast knowledge of the nation’s top journalists with extensive experience covering college football in combination with some of the greatest legends to have ever played or coached the game as well as the perspectives of several of the gridiron’s most respected and influential administrators.

“We are extremely excited to announce this first poll in conjunction with the National Football Foundation at a time when major college football is ushering in a new era,” said 2014 FWAA President Kirk Bohls. “I can’t think of a better partner in jointly producing the ‘Grantland Rice Super 16’ poll of the best teams in the nation.

“Our poll will include distinguished past presidents of the FWAA as well as outstanding NFF Hall of Famers who have given so much to the game we all love and who hope to bring more insight to college football and enjoyment of this fine game. We feel we can provide a very valuable poll of some of the best-credentialed voters and most knowledgeable, objective college football minds around.”

The decision to conduct the new poll was made in December and January by the boards of both organizations at the conclusion of the 2013 season. Long-time partners since the formation of the two organizations in the 1940s, the FWAA and NFF will pool 36 voters (26 from the FWAA and 10 from the NFF) ranking the top 16 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision. The poll will be announced on Sundays during the 2014 season, culminating with a final release on Dec. 7, the day after the conference championship games.

The 26 FWAA voters, all current or past writers of national stature, will be selected to ensure balanced-geographical representation. The 10 NFF voters, comprised of Hall of Fame players, coaches and administrators, will also add to the diversity of perspectives, coming from different conferences and regions of the country. The names and affiliations of the voters will be released to the general public in early summer, and their votes will be made public each week during the season.

The FWAA, which possesses a reputation as one of the foremost objective voices in college football, has conducted a pre-season poll for a number of years and has also had a weekly poll in the past. Both organizations have used panels at the conclusion of the college football season to determine the recipients of their respective national championship trophies. Since 1959, the NFF has presented the MacArthur Bowl, named for the famous Army general who was a guiding father of the NFF in the early years, and since 1954, the FWAA has bestowed the Grantland Rice Trophy to its national champion.

*********** From the Internet… "Idiots" by Junius P. Long
 
If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing with out a license, but not for being in the country illegally ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.

If you have to show identification to board an airplane,cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book,but you don't have to show ID for the right to vote on who runs the government ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in  Egypt ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If, in the largest city of the country, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas,but not a 24-ounce soda because the government says a 24-ounce sugary drink might make you fat ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hi-jab is only subject to having her neck and head searched because of her religion ... Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher’s "cute," but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If hard work and success is rewarded with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell phones ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If the government's plan for getting people back to work is to reward them with 99 weeks of unemployment checks with no requirement to prove they applied for it ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more "safe" according to the government ...Then you might live in a country run by idiots.
 
If you are offended by this article, then I'll bet you voted for the idiots who are running and "ruining" our great country!


*********** Thank, Coach!  I love this sort of stuff.  You may know that many Finns emigrated to the UP of Michigan, the "Yoopers." They are also in northern Minnesota.  Who else will endure such a harsh winter?

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

Jim,

There are pockets of Finns in several parts of the country - mostly in the north.

One reason they can endure the cold is sauna.  Other cultures have their various ways of using hot steam, but in none, so far as I can tell, does it play such a prominent role.

It is also the only Finnish word in our dictionary.

There is also, I am told, a large group of Finns in Lake Worth, Florida.

If you ever get hold of a copy of an English translation of "The Unknown Soldier" (Tuntematon Sotilas) by Väino Linnä, it is well worth the read. Finns all tell me that if you want to understand the Finnish character, it is essential reading.  The film is good, too, but not so easy to understand.  It's in Finnish)

*********** Coach:

I linked to the NYT article on woodpeckers/big horn sheep and as I was reading it, something struck me (but didn't cause a concussion). Let me explain:

On April 1, 2013 I went into the emergency room with extreme abdominal pain due to an intestinal blockage. I had emergency surgery and was laid up for a couple of weeks in recovery. The short of the long is that I weighed in around 300 pounds and needed to make major dietary changes. Of course, the doctors never mentioned diet changes, only medication. Despite the lack of help from the 'experts' I stumbled on the Primal/Paleo diet. I have stuck to that diet for the 10.5 months since then and have lost 85 pounds and have felt great during the entire process all with a minimal amount of exercise.

One of the key observations that proponents of the Primal/Paleo diet make is that the diabetes explosion and Alzheimer's blight have all occurred in the last 30 years or so. The closest correlation between these two factors is the low-fat, high carb diet.

Another important thing that gets pointed out is that the brain needs fat to survive. It is made up of fat for the most part and the sheath that surrounds nerves (called mylien) is made up of fat as well. The thing that turns people off is that the Primal/Paleo approach is by definition a ketogenic diet which is very high in fat (Michelle Obama would be horrified) and very low in carbs (under 50 g per day). Nonetheless, I am leaner, and more clear thinking than I have been in my entire life. This is merely anecdotal, but for literally hundreds more of these kinds of results check this out: www.marksdailyapple.com

Besides the fat loss benefit, I've tried to hunt around the internet for any research that talks about the makeup of the fluid that surrounds the brain and whether a high fat low-carb brain fluid becomes more robust and "sloshes" less than brain fluid that is produced by a government-inspired food pyramid diet.

My basic hypothesis would be that a high-fat/low-carb diet would produce a more firm brain fluid which would prevent the rattling of the brain that inhibits concussions. I recall reading some material involving the development of the original 'air' helmets that were actually tested at the University of Michigan. I don't recall the player who was being quoted, but it was asserted that one of the goals of the test was to make sure that players brain fluid had in their words "gelled" to the point where it was in 'football shape'. If this "gelling" effect can be achieved through diet, and is shown to lessen the internal impact of the brain against the cranium, then it would be a far better solution than the continual to weaponization  (a word I often use to describe what's happened to our helmets over the years) of our helmets.

That's pure speculation on my part, but the more I read about the damage that the hi-carb/hi-grain diet (pushed on us by our all-wise federal overlords) has caused, the more I am convinced that eating the exact opposite of what the FDA recommends would produce better health, brain and even concussion results too boot!

Jeff Degner
Three Oaks, MIchigan

Coach,

There may or may not be validity to your hypothesis.  The important thing, I think, is that in the absence of absolute scientific proof one way or another, we not reject any reasonable speculation.

What bothers me is that as we retreat from our masculinity and our position of world prominence, we are in danger of shutting down football,  a major masculine  institution that has contributed to our national virility, largely on the basis of scientific claims that have not yet, possibly for political reasons, gone challenged.

It just so happens that the claims of football-caused dementia serve very nicely the agenda of those who hate men, masculine pursuits, and football.

As with what Our President would like us to swallow on the subject of Global Warming, I don't accept that "the science is settled."

I appreciate your writing.

*********** In all the talk about reducing the size of our Army to pre-World War II levels, conveniently overlooked is that fact that there are now 170,000 women in the Army - about 170,000 more than there were in that  pre=World War II Army.  And at any one time, many of them are pregnant.

http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/24816653/ap-exclusive-few-army-women-want-combat-jobs#axzz2uMkFFoQu

*********** Agree completely on the makeup of the rules committee.

It looks like Saban messed up when he went the player safety route.  Similar to "if it only helps one person" bull or "it's for the children" malarkey that many politicians and leaders try to spew, he though that player safety was the magic bullet to get what he wanted. As I stated in our previous emails, tweaking the new 2008 clock rules had football merits on its own.

He also has lost the PR battle with the sound bites of "the new rule will force offenses to wait TEN seconds."  As you know, the 40 second clock starts when the previous play ends.  I bet the refs don't even get the ball marked before five seconds later.  Teams then have to line up, the center has to grab the ball and the QB has to make sure everyone is set and snap the ball.  I actually think it might be physically impossible to snap before 9 seconds even if that is the offense's only goal.  Again as stated in an earlier email, offense will be forced to wait no more than possibly ONE second. In reality, they will almost never be forced to wait at all.

So that leads me to revising possibly the best Auburn/Alabama joke ever, "Coach Saban, you got a sec? Or do you need Ten?"  LOL

Robert Johnson
Head Football Coach
Tuscaloosa Academy
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Coach,

Seems to me that Saban would have been smarter to have used a surrogate to take up his cause for him.

Great joke.  Bet you have to be careful where you tell that one around Tuscaloosa.

Is it safe for you if I print it?

Yes. It is safe. Tuscaloosa is a great, good-natured town.

Come to think of it, it looks as if Saban found his surrogate.   The Great One seems to have stepped back from the fray, leaving poor old Brett Bielema alone on the point, catching hell all by himself.

*********** Coach Wyatt: Posted your interview on the home page of our website today. It is at

www.preptalkeugene.com

Thanks again.

Chris Park

*********** Not that he wants to make an issue of his gayness or anything, but Jason Collins wears Number 98 because that's the year Matthew Shepherd was killed…

This wouldn't even be an issue if the NBA had stuck with the NCAA rule limiting player's numbers to numbers referees could signal with the five fingers on each hand: 1-5, 10-15, 20-25, 30-35, 40-45, 50-55.

*********** The talk on the Rush Limbaugh show was about the NFL's proposed gag rule that would call for penalties or worse for use of the N-word. Some member of the media was quoted as suggesting that the rule should only apply to white players, since black players frequently use it among themselves as a term of endearment.

We've all heard by now that California judges think it's just fine for little boys to use the little girls' room if they "identify" as girls, right?

So with that in mind, a guy called into the show and posed an interesting question: suppose they pass that rule, anda white guy self-identifies as black?

*********** In my opinion, our society is going to hell in a handbasket and it's taking our country down with it.

I could argue that it all started with the takeover/surrender of our universities back in the 60s.

I could also argue that it started before that, when the Greatest Generation, who'd suffered through the Depression and then World War II finally experienced peace and prosperity - and proceeded to raise a self-centered bunch of brats who never knew the hardship they did and never learned what "no" meant.

And I could argue that the all-volunteer military had something to do with it, too. Because not only did it mean that service would come to be seen as something for the "other guy" to do, while the rest of us went about our pursuit of pleasure, but it relieved the elite from service and gave them a pass on doing masculine things.  Now, years later, almost none of the people making our laws have any idea what's it like to have been in the service.

*********** “I can talk, my team can talk here in Washington, but it’s not going to make as much of a difference as if you are out there making the case. The work you’re doing is God’s work. It is hard work.”

Thus spake the Lord, er, the President, to a bunch of volunteers who've been out trying to sell Obamacare to the public.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/barack-obama-organizing-for-action-volunteers-103954.html#ixzz2uT0zhVCm

*********** Tim Glodowski is 25 and he's just been named head coach at Newbury, Ohio High School.

It's a tough assignment.  Newbury has won a total of nine games in the last seven years.

He's ready.

He's been a high school assistant for the past four years.

He started at center in 39 of the 40 games while he was at Hiram College.  And he can tell his players that he knows what they've been gong through - Hiram was 3-37 in his four years. 

He started out young as a water boy for his dad, Mike, a long-time Ohio high school coach and college assistant, who was one of the first high school coaches in the US to adopt my Double-Wing system, in 1998.

Tim is already starting out ahead of the game by bringing in dad as his offensive coordinator.  Hmmm. Maybe some teams in Northeast Ohio will be seeing a little of the Wedge.  Or a lot.

http://www.geaugamapleleaf.com/sports/newburys-new-coach/#

*********** Not so fast, Vladimir…

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia that any military intervention in Ukraine would be a "grave mistake."

*********** The NFL is debating whether to penalize or fine players who use the N-word during games.

It all started with John Wooten, once an All-Pro guard with the Cleveland Browns and now head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes diversity in the NFL.

"Don't tell me the word is desensitized," he told a group of NFL higher-ups,  "or that it's a term of endearment. The word was used to make black people feel inferior.  If you're using it, it tells me you don't respect yourself."

He's right. But then,  a lot of the stuff that professional athletes do tells me that they can't make the distinction between conceit and self-respect.

I thought, What an opportunity for the NFL to get out front on this.  To do something of value to society, and something for which society would be grateful.

"I'm (well-known black NFL player) and I play football for the (NFL team). I graduated (or I'm studying to graduate) from college. I'm proud to be an American.  I obey the law and I treat women with respect.  I'm a proud black (or African-American) man.  I don't use the N-word and you shouldn't, either."

*********** A lot of people are unaware that the service academies' athletics programs don't get a nickel of taxpayers' money.   From coaches' salaries to equipment to transportation, the money all comes from ticket sales, TV money, and donations. Needless to say, this puts a lot of pressure on the football programs at Army, Navy and Air Force, on which the academies' numerous other programs depend for their revenue.

It is alarming to learn that  Air Force is considering cutting baseball.  And lacrosse.

http://www.collegebaseballdaily.com/2014/02/26/air-force-baseball-on-the-chopping-block/

*********** A West Point assistant professor, himself a graduate of the Academy, has an axe to grind.  He thinks that at Army, football is overemphasized - that academy athletes, especially football players, are being held to a lower admissions standard than other cadets. 

But he didn't take his complaint to the faculty dining room.  Or to the Superintendent.  No, he decided to go nuclear, and on the very day that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced drastic cuts in the size of the Army, this giant of academia chose to pile on, with an op-ed piece in the nearest major newspaper to the Pentagon - the Washington Post, for God's sake.

Seems to me the guy has a serious case of Ivy envy - he wishes he could be living the good life at Harvard or Yale, instead of at some institution where they're also expected to train leaders of our military.

I won't dignify his argument other than to say three things:

(1) The US Military Academy does not have any lightweight majors - none of those things ending in "Studies" - where they can hide dummies. So given the rigor of the West Point curriculum,  if West Point has, in fact, been admitting academically unqualified football players, you'd expect them to be dropping out at a scandalous rate.  That hasn't been happening.

(2) If 12 straight losses to Navy - and just one (7-6) winning season since 1996 - are what you get from overemphasis, how bad is it going to be if they pull back?

(3) If I had written something to our local paper questioning my school's policy, without first having gone to leadership with my concerns, I think that my work life would become a little tougher from that point on.  Deservedly so.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/west-point-is-placing-too-much-emphasis-on-football/2014/02/23/a4f08694-97fa-11e3-afce-3e7c922ef31e_story.html



american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 25,  2014"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."   Winston Churchill

*********** Did you happen to check all the f--king American figure skaters who were skating for other countries?

What a thrill it must be to represent "your" country in the Olympics.  Even if you've never been there. But, hey - your grandmother was born there, and they didn't have any figure skaters of their own, and you were available because you weren't good enough to make your own country's team, so...

And then there was the Russkie from right here in Washington state.  It's hard to imagine a person so ambitious, so hungry for f--king Olympic glory, that he'd become a Russian citizen in order to make it happen, but that's what a snowboarder from White Salmon, Washington, a small town about 60 miles to the east of us, did.  And as his reward  for his change of colors, he won a gold medal in some damn event.  Hard to believe that we're coming to blows over citizenship for 19-year-old Hispanic kids who've lived here most of their lives - and want it - when it has so little value to a puke like this guy.

He announced  plans to visit White Salmon in March. Knowing today's America,  they'll probably  have a parade in honor of the local kid who won a gold medal - for the f--king Russians.


*********** Last Black History Month question:  He was... First black man to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame…  First exclusively defensive player to be admitted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame…  First black man to play for the New York Giants.  

He was Emlen Tunnell - identified only by Manny Juncos- Chino, California

http://www.coachwyatt.com/emlentunnell.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/sports/football/emlen-tunnell-the-giants-greatest-packer.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0

*********** NEW BLACK HISTORY MONTH QUESTION -  He was "discovered" by Paul Brown when he played for Brown in high school in Massillon, Ohio, and then on the freshman team at Ohio State.  Following World War II, Brown signed him to play with the Cleveland Browns in 1948, and he became not only the first black  punter in pro football, but one of the greatest punters in the history of the game. email me your answer, making sure to give me your name and the town you're writing from

*********** Watching the NFL combine, I actually heard one of the experts ask another, "What's the significance of the 40-yard dash time?"

The other one suggested that it was probably something the combine guys came up with years ago.

Wow, I thought.  These guys may know everything about what's happening now, but they don't know squat about the history of the game.

Unless and until someone can prove otherwise, the 40-yard dash originated with Paul Brown, founder and legendary coach of the Cleveland Browns (yes, they were named for him, but those combine TV guys probably don't know that, and they probably don't even know that in the late 40s and throughout the 50s the Browns were among the very best teams in pro football).

The Browns had a great punter (look that one up, you Black History Month fans) whose punts consistently averaged over 42 yards - and he was the first punter to stand back 13 yards from scrimmage.  His punts also were unusually high, and Paul Brown's theory was that since his punts travelled at least 40 yards, often more, speed in a 40-yard dash was a way to determine which players he wanted on his punt coverage team.

So the idea of speed in the 40 goes way back before the invention of the combine.  In fact, I can't imagine Paul Brown, who prided himself on being smarter, better-organized and harder-working that his opponents, going in with other teams on something like a combine.
 
 *********** Mike Emrick may be considered a good hockey broadcaster, but his non-stop chatter and hysterical shouting whenever the US did something noteworthy made even US-Canada very hard to watch with the sound up.

*********** Long ago Sweden dominated Scandinavia. Two generations ago Finland fought the nasty Winter War with the Soviet Union. My guess is this motivates Finland.

Jim Franklin
Flora, Indiana

Jim,

Your knowledge of history is good.

In the case of both the Swedes and the Russians, Finland is a classic example of a people and a territory that can be ruled, up to a point, but never conquered.  Much of the population is rural, which means that country Finns have guns and love to hunt.   The countryside is heavily wooded, and the climate is harsh.  The Finnish language is spoken no place else on earth, although Estonian, across the Baltic Sea, is fairly close, and Hungarian shares a word or two. The Finns take a certain pride in being hard-headed and not easily dominated.  And, too, there is the Finnish quality known as SISU.  It's not easily translatable, but it's roughly doggedness, determination, hanging in there, not giving up.

Frankly, the Swedes and the Russians had to find the Finns more than they bargained for, and didn't bother venturing into the countryside to try to assert their rule.  I'm reminded of the British occupying Boston while in the surrounding villages the farmers were stockpiling arms - and how the whole damn Revolution got its start when the British headed out into the countryside to try to show them who was boss.

Finland was once part of the far-flung Swedish empire, and the Swedes thought of Finland as the sticks (which it undoubtedly was).  Traces of Swedish rule are still evident. Swedish is still one of the official languages of Finland, and it's still taught (but seldom used) because although Swedish Finns are a small minority, they are generally wealthy and influential.  Overall, Finland and Sweden enjoy a good relationship, and I never saw any trace of bad feelings by Finns toward "Swedish Finns."  

The Russian relationship is different.  For many Russians, until the breakup of the Soviet Union, Finland represented western culture.  Excepting a tiny bit of Norwegian Lapland, Finland was the only free, non-satellite nation on which Russia bordered.

When I lived there, the Finns did not like Russians and definitely looked down on them. They saw a fair number of them, and didn't like what they saw. Those Russians who happened to be in Finland on one type of business or another (usually soldiers and sailors) coveted the things they saw on sale in Finnish stores, but knew that to be able to buy Finnish goods they had to obtain Finnish marks (or American dollars).  Russians rubles were useless.  And the only way they could get Finnish marks was to sell something to a Finn that he might be able to resell.  And that explains how I managed to buy Russian Army and Navy hats and assorted medals and a Russian sailor's wristwatch.  

For four years, I coached in a couple of small cities,  Hamina and Kotka, which were less than an hour's drive from the Russian border.  My first year there, the Iron Curtain had not yet fallen, and that border was one scary-looking place.  Barbed wire, Watch towers, and dogs on patrol.  (Hey - why didn't we think of that?)  And it was all there not to keep Finns out, but to keep Russians in.

When the Soviet Union broke up, and passage across the border became easier, busloads of Russians would arrive in our towns every day, setting up in the open-air markets in the town squares, selling their trinkets and gee-gaws (nesting dolls, of course) and occasional items of some quality such as binoculars. And at the end of the day, they'd reboard the bus, after first giving their boss, Mafia-style, his cut of the day's proceeds) and head back.

At the same time, crime in Hamina and Kotka picked up tremendously.  This really knocked the Finns off-balance, because Finland then had to be one of the most crime-free places on earth.  This is not to say that all Russians are criminals and members of the Mafia, as many Finns believed, but simply that for Russians criminals, there was a lot more worth stealing over on the Finnish side of the border.  We lived in a hotel room in the center of Hamina, and one night I caught a guy trying to come in our window.  Actually, I think maybe he was working his way along the ledge, trying to sneak into the disco on the same floor, but I didn't appreciate his way of entering without knocking so I slammed the window on his arm and held him there while my wife headed to the disco to get Isto, the bouncer.  Isto handled things from there and we never saw the guy again.  Well, we did see him the next day when we had to identify him.  I assume that the Finns sent him back to Russia, and I assume that shortly afterward he was back in Hamina.

The Finnish history with Russia is a complicated one.  There are few signs of Russian rule.  There is a magnificent Orthodox Cathedral in Helsinki,  and the Tsar's summer fishing cottage on the Kemi River - Kemijoki - still stands in Kotka.  And there is the fact that the Finnish national alcoholic drink, Koskenkorva, is somewhat like vodka.  But that's about it.

Every Finnish town has a Lutheran church at its center. (Although Lutheran is the official state religion, the Finns, like other Scandinavians, are not a religious people. A standard joke is that a Finn is inside a church only three times in his life -at baptism, at his wedding, and at his funeral.  Another joke comments on Finns' unfortunate tendency to drink to excess: Q.  What's the difference between a Finnish wedding and a Finnish funeral? A.  There's one less drunk at the funeral.)

In every churchyard is a section of graves set aside for men who died, essentially,  at the hands of Russians. The older graves are those of the Finns who died in the fighting between the Reds and Whites during the Russian Revolution, when Finland was a part of Russia.  

Then there are the graves of those men who died fighting the Russians in the Winter War and the Continuation War (where they convinced the Russians that fighting the Finns wasn't worth the loss of Russian men and materials.

And there are those who died as the Nazis were driven back.

Every year, at graduation time, the towns' high school graduates march to the cemtery and place flowers on the graves of those men who died so that they could live in a free nd independent state.  For us, it would be as if the Revolutionary War had take place in 1940.

So, right up against the Communist giant, one of the most backward nations on earth, the Finnish people managed to build a prosperous nation.

They are a brave people, but they are not stupid.  They know that it is not in their best interests to antagonize Ivan. They have a decent army. All young Finnish men are required to serve for a year on active duty, and then to attend reserve camp thereafter.  ("Alternative service," such as working in a hospital, is an option, but at least when I was there it was frowned on. All the guys I knew had served in the military, and the joke was that there was "some guy" in northern Finland who has chosen alternative service.)  So as not to alarm the Russians, their armed forces are officially called "puolustusvoima" literally, "defense force."

I was once sitting with a group of my players, all of whom had served in the Army, and we got going on the Russians and their enormous superiority, and I asked them what they would do if the Russians were ever to invade.  They all looked at each other, maybe in wonderment that the American coach didn't know them as well as they thought he did, and one of them, as the rest of them nodded, said, "We will fight."

Hyvää  Suomi!

*********** It was, oh, 1993, I think, and I was driving on the outskirts of Tampere, Finland, speeding, I must admit, when a cop on the side of the road waved me over.

Uh-oh.  Radar.

In fairly decent English - most Finns under 50 speak English pretty well - he invited me into the back seat of a cruiser and after looking over my papers informed me that I had been caught exceeding the speed limit, "And now I must give you a fine."

With that he pulled out a book and asked me what my income was.  "In Finland?" I asked.

When he said, "Yes." I was able to answer "Nothing."  It was true.  I had a nice deal - apartment, meals, car, gas, and round-trip tickets for my wife and me.  But no cash.

Opening the book, he looked at a chart, and found where my speed intersected with my income. "Your fine," he informed me, "is three-hundred marks."

Sounds like a lot, and $75 (which is what it was in USD) wasn't trifling, but it could have been a lot worse.

You see, Finland's fines are based on the miscreant's ability to pay.

I was reminded of this when I read that Finnish hockey star Teemu Selanne, whose off-ice hobby is rally (a very popular sport in Finland), was involved in a crash in 1999 while practicing for an event.  He was fined $50,000.

*********** There were two guys on the Finnish hockey team from Jyväskylä.  That's where I coached my first two years over there.  It's a small city of about 75,000, roughly in the middle of the country, in a region of lakes several hours north of the capital, Helsinki.

Like so many Finnish words and names, it is a compound word meaning, "grain village."

(Jyväs: grain, kylä: village)

The name is about as unpronounceable as a name can be.

Several years ago, Kansas had a basketball player from Jyväskylä named Pekka Markkanen, and the PA announcer in presume introductions pronounced it  JYE-viss-KYE-la.

Uh, no. Not even close.   It's  YEW-vass-kew-laa ("a" as it "hat")

*********** If I were younger, wealthier, smarter…

If I had the connections and the know-how…

I'd figure out a way to make money off the recent USA-Canada women's hockey game.

Yeah, the US women lost, blowing a 2-0 lead with only minutes to play.  But they can still come out of this as winners.  Big winners.

Here's my idea - A Barnstorming Tour, over the next couple of months, between Team USA vs Team Canada.  Call it the Revenge Tour.

With no prospects of playing professionally, it's a chance for the women on "Team USA"  to pick up a little money before they disband.

Also a chance to expose little girls to the great sport of ice hockey.  It's not as if this hasn't happened before, with figure skating, gymnastics, soccer. basketball, and tennis. Hey, it helped launch a soccer league.

(And. of course, it's a chance to sell jerseys, sticks, programs, not to mention parking and concessions.)

There might be a problem arranging to get Team Canada on board, but listen - do we really want them, anyhow?  I mean, this is about getting revenge, and there's always the chance that they'll beat us again.

No, what we want is a hockey version of the Washington Generals, those lovable losers who for decades have served as foils for the Harlem Globetrotters.

We'll hire a bunch of ex-college players, with explicit instructions to lose.

We'll dress them in red-and-white uniforms.

To avoid legal and diplomatic problems with our friends to the north, we'll have to change the leaf on the jersey somewhat, and we'll have to work around the issue of the opponents' name.

But I'm excited.

I can see the marquee now:  HOCKEY TONIGHT: TEAM USA VS  TEEM KANADA.

*********** Toward the end of his life, John Wooden said that women's basketball was fundamentally better than the men's game.

Ted Williams once said there was no room in major league baseball for anyone who couldn't hit at least .250.

Last I heard, Chuck Bednarik, the NFL's last two-way player, still thinks today's one-way players are a bit wussified.

Now, I'm sure that such criticism by old-time legends was not universally appreciated by  current players.  But they had the good sense to keep their mouths shut.

And then there's Tony Stewart.

He decided to take on  a John Wooden…  aTed Williams… a Chuck Bednarik.  He took on Richard Petty. King Richard. The King. One of the dudes who helped build NASCAR to the point where now you can become a millionaire without ever winning a race.

The King was asked about of those non-winning millionaires, Danica Patrick, who happens to be a female, telling a Canadian audience,   "If she'd have been a male, nobody would ever know if she'd showed up at a racetrack.  This is a female deal that's driving her."

And then Stewart had to go and play Sir Galahad, and defend the fair lady (who happens to race for his team). He said Richard Petty and Danica should race.

"I think that would pretty much settle it once and for all, maybe get him to shut up a little bit, too," he said.

And if Patrick were to win, Stewart said, "If I were her, I'd take (the checkered flag) over there and cram it up his (rear)."

Damn.  Too bad King Richard's 76 years old.  I'll bet he could still drive.

I'm reminded of the story Chris Berman once told about Red Grange. "I was interviewing George Halas and I asked him who is the greatest running back you ever saw. And he said, 'That would be Red Grange.' And I asked him if Grange was playing today, how many yards do you think he'd gain. And he said, 'About 750, maybe 800 yards.' And I said, 'Well, 800 yards is just okay.' He sat up in his chair and he said, 'Son, you must remember one thing. Red Grange is 75 years old.'"

*********** I had to laugh at the "Medals Count" that the newspapers insisted on printing.

What, exactly did it mean? 

Some sports, such as bobsledding and ski jumping, are dominated by the countries that actually have bobsled runs and ski jumps.

Some sports, such as speed skating and snowboarding, have numerous events - three medals in each one  - that to my untrained eye sure seem to require pretty much the same skills.

Some countries have decided to throw everything they have into  one particular sport, and sometimes their athletes  finish 1-2-3 in some of those events.

Ice hockey, far more popular with spectators and TV viewers (and sponsors) than anything other than perhaps figure skating, awards exactly one set of medals.

*********** The poor NBA.  There they were, coming off their All-Star break, and with the sports pages full of the Winter Olympics, Michael Sam, and the NFL Combine, they might as well have been out of business.

But they're fighters. So what did they do?  They put in a call to Jason Collins.  Told him to dust off his sneaks, and get ready to play.  And "invited" teams to sign him to a 10-day contract.

Well. Up stepped the Brooklyn Nets, and voila - just like that, Jason Collins played in a regular-season game Monday night.  And, much to the chagrin of the NFL, the NBA will forever be known as the first of the four major leagues to employ an openly-gay player. 

In your face, NFL.

Aced out of the historic first, the NFL is now forced to scramble to regain the edge that Michael Sam had given them. Undoubtedly someone in the NFL offices will suggest  cross-dressing cheerleaders.
  
american flag FRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 21,  2014"I am so old that I can remember when sex was private. 'Don't ask, don't tell' applied to everybody." Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** The highlight of the Olympics for me was Finland's defeat of Russia in ice hockey. I'm sorry that the Russians disappointed their followers, but Hyvää Suomi!  (Hurray, Finland!)  After seven football seasons in Finland, I'm a Finn at heart.

Now come the Swedes.  Hard to say whether the Finns would rather beat the Russians than the Swedes, with whom they have an interesting relationship.   I compare it to the Minnesota-Wisconsin relationship - the Finns think the Swedes are effete and the Swedes think the Finns are rustic and backward.

If the Finns were to beat the favored Swedes - on top of beating the Russkies - I'd be surprised if they had anything left for the USA or the Canadians.

Yes, the gold would be great, but for Finland, a tiny nation of fewer than 5 million people, beating both the Russians and the Swedes would be almost as good.



*********** Correctly identifying Willie Thrower as the first black man to play quarterback in the NFL...

Adam Wesoloski, Pulaski, Wisconsin - Who adds, Pretty interesting stuff right here: http://deadspin.com/the-big-book-of-black-quarterbacks-1517763742

Manny Juncos, Chino, California

A year before he died, he was featured in an ABC Black History Month special.

Wrote the New York Times in his obituary…
 
Afterward, he told The Valley News Dispatch of Tarentum, Pa., that even some of his neighbors did not believe his stories.

''A lot of people called me a liar,'' he said. ''Now they say: 'Gee whiz, here's a guy living in our hometown. We didn't know he was the first black quarterback.' Just like they didn't know, the rest of the country didn't know.''

Mr. Thrower died on February 20, 2002.

http://www.biography.com/people/willie-thrower-213033

http://espn.go.com/classic/obit/s/2002/0221/1338084.html

*********** I used to comment, until I finally grew weary of doing so, about the stuffed-sausage look that today's tiny shoulder pads give NFL offensive linemen. Now, it's the defensive linemen, too. And then there's Johnny Manziel and his Pop Warner attire.

Wrote the New York Times…

As players have grown heavier in the N.F.L., shoulder pads have become lighter by as much as 50 percent over the past 10 to 15 years, manufacturers said. Gone the way of other fashion excesses of the 1980s are enormous pads that once cantilevered out from the shoulders and seemed to engulf a player like a treehouse for the head.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/sports/football/shoulder-pads-slim-down-in-faster-sleeker-nfl.html

*********** Years ago, my son was a writer-performer for a TV comedy-sketch show in Seattle called "Almost Live." (Many of their pieces can still be seen on YouTube.)   One of his fellow comics was a guy named Bill Nye, who would go on to fame of some sort as "The Science Guy."   Another was Bob Nelson, who you might say has hit it big, having written  the screen play for "Nebraska."  Success is not likely to go to his head.  His roots are in the Midwest, and he's happy living a writer's  life on an island in Puget Sound.

http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303973704579355283928641204?mg=reno64-wsj

*********** Satire from The Onion… New Poll Finds Most NFL Players Still Not Ready To Date Gay Teammate

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-poll-finds-most-nfl-players-still-not-ready-to,35267/

*********** Pity the Olympians.

First it was those poor, poor speed skaters, claiming that the much-touted aerodynamic suits created for them by apparel manufacturer (and team sponsor) UnderArmour slowed them down.  (Well, at least the thought that they might affected the skaters psychologically, to the point where they just couldn't do their best.)

And then, there's the matter of the IRS.

See, even when an athlete does medal, the tax man is waiting to take his bite.

Maybe you didn't know that when US athletes medal, they get $25,000 for a gold, $15,000 for a silver, and $10,000 for a bronze. 

So how could you know that they also have to pay taxes on their winnings, just as if they were ordinary schlubs like you and me.

President Obama doesn't think they should have to pay income taxes on the medals they win.

“The president believes we should support efforts to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to honor and support our Olympic athletes who have volunteered to represent our nation at the Olympic Games,” a White House spokesman  told Yahoo News.

I say, screw 'em. Let 'em try real jobs.  They won't, of course, because for all the talk about the "hard work" that goes into their medals, the fact is that they like what they're doing, and the thought that they might have to teach school or drive a bus or wait on tables terrifies them.

And what is this "volunteer" sh--, anyhow?

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/198372-white-house-dont-tax-olympians-on-medals

*********** Richard Cabela died Monday.  If you've never been to a Cabela's outdoor store, you've got to check one out.  A Cabela's is such a draw that wherever one  is built, often in the middle of nowhere, restaurants and hotels always follow, until that one outdoors store has spawned a virtual town.

NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre once asked Mr. Cabela what he would say to a hunter who isn't a member of the NRA.

"I'd say, how are you going to hunt without a gun,"

*********** "I really like the fact that Michael (Sam) did it before the draft, because his attitude was, 'You know what? I know who I am. I know I can play great football and judge me on the merits,'"

So said President Barack Obama (You knew he couldn't pass up the chance to insert himself into this).

Meantime, Kiev is burning, citizens are being shot in the streets  by government snipers,  and the Iron Curtain is about to descend over the Ukrainian people.  It's 1947 all over again.  But who can be bothered with such trifles when there's a courageous gay pioneer to applaud?

*********** Since this is not a scheduled year for college rules changes, the only thing that could have brought about immediate action was an issue of safety, which explains why Alabama's Nick Saban claimed that imposing a ten-second no-snap rule was, in fact, a safety issue.   Trouble is, he had no statistics to prove his point, and in the absence of proof, Rules Committee Chairman Troy Calhoun chose to table the proposal until next year, when Saban won't have to hide behind the safety argument and can just come out and admit he doesn't like playing hurry-up teams.

********** I think the 10 second no snap rule is a good one. I actually thought they should propose this exact rule the last couple of years.  

I don't like the hiding behind player safety issue. I think it is a competitive balance issue.

First, the new clock rules have only been in effect since 2008. I do not know how long the rules were in effect before that, but I am guessing 50 plus years. So it makes sense that the new clock rules might need some tweaking. It used to take the refs 15 seconds to spot and mark the ball and blow it in. The. Even the fastest teams would snap it 2 seconds later. So it used to 17 seconds after the previous play was as fast as you could go.

Second, the ball is hardly ever and maybe never snapped before 10 seconds anyways. I do not think this will affect how the game is played by the players at all. It will affect how the game is called by the coaches. DC's now know they have 10 seconds to send in subs. In reality that means, they have about 2 seconds to decide to send in another group or subs so the others can get off the field.

I just think that offenses have almost been holding defenses hostage by having the threat of snapping the ball.

Something interesting happened with my thought process this past year. They took away loss of down on offensive pass interference. But they also took away the automatic first down for defensive pass interference. One reason the committee sited as doing both  instead of just one or the other was to keep the competitive balance between offense and defense.

I do believe that should be part of the rules committee job. So, I think that this new restriction of waiting 10 seconds before snapping does just that. I look at it as a tweak of the new 2008 rules.  By the way, there will be no real waiting. At most, that means the offense will have to wait 1 to 2 seconds.

Surprisingly, I am an Auburn graduate and an Auburn and Malzahn fan. I just think this is a good rule for all of college football.

PS: Calling it delay of game is stupid. LOL

Robert Johnson
Head Football Coach
Tuscaloosa Academy
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Coach Johnson-

Good argument.  I must say that the first sentence had me thinking that perhaps Nick Saban had possessed, but your being an Auburn alum disabused me of that suspicion.

This isn't going to affect me one way or the other, because as a small school with little depth and most of our players going both ways I don't think it's in our interest to go the racehorse route.  And even then, as you say, 11 or 12 seconds is plenty fast.  And Lord knows I'd prefer not to have to go up against a good Hurry-Up-No-Huddle offense.

More than this particular rule, though, what alarms me is the qualifications (or lack of same) of the people in whose hands the NCAA has put the overall direction of our game.  

We both agree that the "safety" argument is a sham, but looking at the makeup of that NCAA Rules Oversight Committee, there's a chance that some of those suits (and skirts) will buy it.

Maybe if I could leak a story about research showing that carpal tunnel syndrome in old former offensive linemen has been traced back to blocking with open hands...

Agree with you also that calling an early snap "delay of game" is sure to subject the rules - and the rulesmakers - to well-deserved ridicule.

Nice to hear from you, as always.

***********  Hugh,

Just read your news regarding the NCAA ten second rule proposal.  It used to be a coach was praised for being innovative.  If it wasn't for a plethora of coaches over the years that changed the game through innovation we'd still be playing on a checkerboard field!  And now the almighty NCAA wants to change all that because a couple of big name whiners who represent a small minority of coaches, and who don't have the gumption to come up with something on their own to defend the hurry-up, instead try to use the "safety" card to disguise their failings?

Looking more and more like what we see in the political process of this country every day, doesn't it?.  God help us all.  

Joe Gutilla
Austin, Texas

Hi Joe-

Tell you the truth, this isn't going to affect me as a coach.  And as a fan, I'd just as soon they required everyone to huddle.

But I object to the "player safety" crap.  If that's their worry, why not play 12-minute quarters?

And I am sickened by the knowledge of who is involved in the rulesmaking.

ADs at schools that don't even play football.  Sheesh.

*********** And they wonder why poor people are forced to  defecate on the sidewalks…

Starting in June,  a company called   Posh Stow and Go will offer New Yorkers “clean, safe and soundproof” bathrooms in a midtown location, with other locations planned around the city.

To make sure that the place isn't infested by the kind of roaches who leave drops on airport toilet seats, the company will sell memberships, and promises that memberships will be limited, to "provide the best possible experience.”

It will not be cheap.  After paying the annual membership fee, a three-day pass will go for $24.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/flush-with-cash-posh-pay-toilets-in-the-big-apple-2014-02-19?link=MW_home_latest_news
 


american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 18,  2014“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”   Patrick Henry

*********** Attorney Ted Wells' investigation of the Dolphin Dickheads is complete.  It's 148 pages long.  I'm more than halfway through, and if you don't care to read it all, take it  from me -  it ain't pretty. There is no longer any doubt that there are at least three certified a$$holes on that team, and considering the number of coaches, assistants, assistants to assistants and assorted flunkies floating around the average NFL organization, it sure is hard to believe that no one - no one! - knew WTF was going on.

The NFL is a business, right? (Must be, to pay its commissioner 44 f--king million a year.)

So show me another business  - a legitimate business, that is - where the kind of crap that went on among the Dolphins' offensive linemen would be tolerated.  And where "I didn't know" is an acceptable defense for the people at the top.

***********  As thorough a job as he's done on the  Dolphins' investigation, I'd like to see Ted Wells tackle Fast and Furious. And Benghazi.  And the IRS.  And Penn State.


http://www.coachwyatt.com/clinics14.html

Q. Who was the first NFL player to come from a Historically Black College? (Played for the Los Angeles Rams.)

A. Tank Younger, from Grambling

Correctly Identifying Tank Younger...

Dennis Metzger - Fountain City, Indiana
Josh Montgomery - Berwick, Louisiana
Manny Juncos - Chino, California

In his four years at Grambling, Tank Younger scored 60 touchdowns. Following his senior season, he was voted Black College Football Player of the Year and named by the Pittsburgh Courier, then the leading reporter on black college football, to its All-America team.

Nevertheless, coming from a small, relatively unknown all-black school, he went undafted by the NFL, and was signed by he Los Angeles Rams as a free agent.

Those Rams of the early 1950s had unbelievable offensive talent.  To go with the passing of Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin and the receiving of Tom Fears and Elroy "Crazylegs" HIrsch , they had the so-called Bull Elephant Backfield of Younger, Deacon Dan Towler and Dick Horner, all of them sizable and all of them fast. 

In his ten years with the Rams and the Steelers, Tank Younger  rushed for 3640 yards, caught 100 passes for 1167 yards and scored 35 touchdowns. He was named to four Pro Bowls and was  the first black player to play in an NFL All-Star Game.

He later became  the league's first black assistant general manager, serving with the San Diego Chargers from 1975 to 1987.

He is in the College Football Hall of Fame.

*********

In Tank Younger's obituary in the New York Times, legendary publicist Collie Nicholson, the man who helped bring Grambling - and black college football - to the nation's attention, told where the nickname "Tank" came from.

''It was just after World War II,'' remembered Collie Nicholson, who was Grambling's sports information director. ''I was watching him run over everybody he couldn't run around. I'd been a Marine in the South Pacific, and it reminded me of what I saw those tanks doing down there.''

''When Tank made it in pro football, he paved the way for everyone else in the black colleges,'' Nicholson said. ''He made it possible for a lot of young players who had been overlooked before.''

OBIT - http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/19/sports/tank-younger-73-first-star-from-black-college-to-play-in-nfl-dies.html

Jerry Izenberg of the Newark Star Ledger told of the day Coach Robinson saw Tank Younger off on his trip to the Big Time…

On a day when you could almost see the Louisiana heat shimmering at ground level along the tracks as far as the eye could see, Robinson and Younger went out to flag down the train. You could not help but wonder how out of so desolate a setting would come a player that would change the complexion of professional football forever.

"Now Tank, you understand you got to make this team," Robinson said. "You got to make it for all those who can come after you. If you don’t, it will never happen. Can you make it, Tank?"

There was just the two of them, standing in front of a boarded-up wooden shack that had once passed for the depot. Younger reached down for his cardboard suitcase, looked at the coach and said:

"If they playin’ volleyball, I don’t know. But if they playin’ football, I’ll make it."

Jerry Izenberg  is one of only three men to have covered every single Super Bowl.  He says that Tank Younger belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

http://www.nj.com/super-bowl/index.ssf/2011/02/izenberg_ignorance_keeps_paul_tank_younger_from_pro_football_hall_of_fame.html

Black HIstory Month Question (From the Home Page) :  Who was the first black man to play quarterback in the NFL?   email me your answer, making sure to give me your name and the town you're writing from

*********** Hey - a little anger management and Jayru Campbell's good to go. 

http://college-football.si.com/2014/01/23/michigan-state-commit-body-slam-security-guard-jayru-campbell-video/?sct=obinsite

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

I'm contacting for two reasons, one, I just went on News You Can Use and saw that you posted dates for all of the East Coast clinics.  Mark me down for Philly because I will be there to learn the new package and plays.

The second reason I am emailing you is because what are your thoughts about the newest NCAA proposal?

I saw on Sports Center that the NCAA is proposing a rule that needs to be voted on in the attempt to slow down the college football no huddle fast paced up tempo offenses.

The most ignorant part of the proposal is that offenses are NOT allowed to snap the ball prior to TEN seconds running off the 40 second play clock. Their BS reason is that this will help prevent injuries because certain teams are averaging 100+ plays per game.

Are you really serious?

Sorry NCAA but you can't politic injury out of a contact sport (excuse my language but) $×!+ Happens!!!

If my job is being a TNT tester then at some point - BOOM! Why because $×!+ Happens.

If you play football at some point unless you have a four leaf clover in your cleat or a guardian angel watching your every play then unfortunately at some point you will get injured. God willing it's not the career ender.

The NCAA is a joke and whom ever thought this proposal in my opinion is a clown.

Leave the game alone, if it ain't broke...

Play better defense or get blown out. Period.

I love everything Mike Gundy tweeted and agree 100% with Rich Rodriguez's comments.

Saban is a funny man after NOT making an appearance in the BCS Championship. SMGDH!

Why NOW try to slow the game down when the 40 second play clock was installed to speed the game up?

It wasn't the No Huddle that beat Saban and Bama, Sabana beat himself by going for a 99 yard field goal and had Slugs on the field to cover.

But I guess 10 seconds would have a difference in that outcome.

The funny thing about Air Force chiming is is what are they going to do when someone proposes to do away with Cut block because of potential injury to knees? All the schools that run Flex Bone or old school option would be out of business.

Saban is on crack because last I checked Bama has many a defensive player in the NFL from under his watch and his championships (for me) toss his argument out the window because hate the Hurry Up or not it didn't stop those prior championships.

Arkansas is just riding Bama's coat tails because maybe they think by holding up an offense for 10 seconds will help them compete in the SEC, but I thought that was what recruiting and coaching was supposed to do.

These clowns!

Just my venting and thoughts on these fools attempting to mess up the purest football we have going.

My regards,

Brian Mackell
Glen Burnie, Maryland

Coach-

My, you feel pretty strongly about this, don't you?

I'm not a hurry-up guy, and I don't particularly care to watch Hurry-Up football, but I agree with you on this.

The Hurry-Up-No-Huddle people are not violating either the letter or the spirit of the rules.  They are working their asses off in practice to have their teams ready to play football in a hurry and my hat's off to them for being able to do it so well.

My friend Mike Lude was chairman of the NCAA Football Rules committee for five years, and his feeling is that when you go hurry-up, you've got to be willing to accept that you're going to have more errors and more penalties, but if you can bring it off, it's not up to the rules people to stop you -  it's the defense's job.

The injury argument is a sham.  It's like politicians selling something by saying it's "for the children."

It's clearly an attempt by people who can't/don't play the hurry-up game to give their defense an answer for Hurry-Up-No-Huddle opponents.

So is the idea that it's designed to slow down offenses, because very seldom does even a Hurry-Up-No-Huddle team snap it in less than 10 seconds.

What it's about is allowing defenses a chance to substitute fresh players.

When you're at the line, and able to snap the ball at any time, the defense doesn't dare substitute because you'll snap the ball while they're doing it, and at the least you'll catch them unprepared.  Maybe you'll catch them, coming and going,  with too many men on the field.

But if they can guarantee a 10-second period during which the ball won't be snapped, that's all the defense needs. Until they say they need 15 seconds.

*********** Rich Rod is pissed.

http://azstarnet.com/sports/football/college/wildcats/proposed-football-rule-has-richrod-seeing-red/article_4aa2a710-d1b8-550a-baac-354a0aa24ccc.html

*********** With all the uproar about a proposed rules change that would strike at "Hurry-Up" offenses, it's instructive to take a look at the people who will ultimately make the decision.  Good men all, I have no doubt.  Many of them good football men. But what's interesting to me is that, with all the money that Big-Time football brings in to colleges to support all their non-revenue sports, it's so poorly represented.

TROY CALHOUN, AIR FORCE - CHAIRMAN

KEN BEAZER (AD) SOUTHERN UTAH (FORMER ASST COACH)
TODD BERRY, LOUISIANA-MONROE
MIKE MATTIA (ASSOC AD), JOHNS HOPKINS (FORMER ASST COACH)
BOB NIELSON, WESTERN ILLINOIS
PETER ROSSOMANDO, NEW HAVEN (NOW AT CENTRAL CONNECTICUT)
DAVID SHARP (AD), OUACHITA BAPTIST (CURRENT HEAD GOLF COACH)
BRIAN SURACE, FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON
GREG WALLACE (AD), GRINNELL COLLEGE (FORMER HEAD FOOTBALL COACH)
ALFRED WHITE (ASSOC COMM), CONFERENCE USA (CAREER ADMINISTRATOR)
THOMAS YEAGER (COMM), COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (CAREER ADMINISTRATOR)

Of this group...

Only five of the 11 are active as head coaches
Only two  - Troy Calhoun and Todd Berry - currently coach at the FBS level.
Only one other - Bob Nielson - coaches at the FCS level
Only three represent FBS schools
Six of the members are administrators.
Three of the members have never coached college football


NOW, TAKE A LOOK AT THE NCAA FOOTBALL RULES COMMITTEE BACK IN 1991, WHEN MY FRIEND MIKE LUDE WAS CHAIRMAN

MIKE LUDE (AD), WASHINGTON - CHAIRMAN (FORMER ASST AND HEAD COACH)

MARINO CASEM (AD), SOUTHERN (HAD JUST RETIRED AS HEAD  COACH)
FISHER DE BERRY, AIR FORCE
DOUG DICKEY (AD), TENNESSEE (FORMER HEAD COACH)
RON HARMS, TEXAS A & I
KEN HATFIELD, CLEMSON
BILL MANLOVE, WIDENER
KEITH PIPER, DENISON
BOB READE, AUGUSTANA
JOHN WILLIAMS (AD), MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE (HAD JUST RETIRED AS HEAD COACH)
RICHARD YODER (AD), WEST CHESTER (LONGTIME ASST COACH)
JOE PATERNO, PENN STATE

Of the 12 members, seven were active head coaches
Four of the five ADs had significant head coaching experience, and the fifth had been an assistant
Only one person on the committee had never been a college head coach
Five of the members represented major college football

Now, I have two questions:

1. BASED ON THEIR OVERALL FOOTBALL COACHING EXPERIENCE, WHICH GROUP WOULD YOU TRUST TO LOOK OUT FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF BIG-TIME COLLEGE FOOTBALL?

2. HOW DID THE AFCA ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN?

Now, as if that weren't bad enough, I'm going to give you the scare of your life...

If the proposal should pass the Rules Committee, it then must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel if it's going to take effect this coming fall.

See how much confidence you have in this bunch:

Larry Scott, Commissioner, Pac 12.  Larry Scott is a suit.  He played tennis at Harvard and then professionally.  Before taking the Pac 12 job, he was CEO of the WTA, the Women's Tennis Association.

Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, Commisioner, MAC.  Dr. Steinbrecher played college football at Valparaiso, but since then he's been a career administrator.  He has never coached.

Jeff Hurd, commissioner, WAC. He is a lifelong PR guy. He has never coached.

Still not scared? Then take a look at the rest of the cast entrusted by the NCAA to  make a decision that will drastically affect the type of football that we see, not to mention the careers of dozens of coaches...

Shelley Appelbaum, senior women's administrator, Michigan State.
Derita Ratcliffe, senior women's administrator, UAB.
Noreen Morris, commissioner, Northeast Conference.
Lisa Sweany, AD, Armstrong Atlantic State University. (Raise your hand if you've ever heard of Armstrong Atlantic State. Honestly.)
Kristy Bayer, senior women's administrator, Arkansas Tech.
Doug Zipp, AD, Shenandoah University.
Lynn Oberbillig, AD, Smith College.(Smith is an all-female college.)
Sue Lauder, AD, Fitchburg State University.

Holy sh--.

*********** I was talking recently with Steve Staker, coach at Coe College in Iowa, and a one-time high school coach (who won an Iowa State championship running the Double Wing).  He's not in favor of the proposed rule requiring the offense to refrain from snapping for ten seconds.  We both believe that defenses will soon enough come up with an answer, just as they' have for every other offensive innovation that's come down the pike and threatened to revolutionize the game.

But he also brought up the new targeting rule, and noted something that I hadn't seen discussed anywhere: in Division III football, no one has the video capability to review a play immediately, before a player is unfairly ejected for targeting.  Instead, they'll have to wait until the end of the half, and then review the game video.  In the meantime, though, even if the kid's ejection is ultimately overruled, there'll be no recourse for his team, no matter what harm the 15-yard penalty that accompanied the ejection might have caused.

*********** Online satire…

NCAA Rules Committee

“The NCAA to consider new rules change to insure safety of the quarterback”

A new rule designed to insure the safety of the quarterback called the “# Mississippi Rule” will be instituted during the 2014-15 season. This rule described below is designed to lower the number of concussions sustained by quarterbacks.

Rule 14.204.333

Upon the snap of the ball, a defensive player shall NOT cross the line of scrimmage until said player has counted out loud to three, Example ”One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Three Mississippi”. At the completion of counting to three the defensive player may proceed across the line of scrimmage and attempt to tackle the quarterback.

We hope the institution of this rule will not change the true meaning of the game and is not intended to give one team a unfair advantage over another team.

Sincerely,

NCAA Rules Committee

*********** I asked, "Why is the Federal Government purchasing enormous amounts of ammunition?"

Jim Franklin, of Flora, Indiana answered - "To keep it away from you and me."

*********** What I said: Damn, why didn't somebody tell me how exciting curling was?

What I meant:  Damn, why didn't somebody tell me how foxy those Russian women curlers were?

*********** "I'd rather not be part of a league that sends its scouts and GMs to 10th and 11th grade games so that they can watch high schoolers. It's not something that we're particularly proud of." David Stern, 2004

So what do you think about college football coaches scouting middle school games?

http://msn.foxsports.com/buzzer/story/daily-buzz-florida-state-is-recruiting-a-middle-school-football-player-021414

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

My dad would point out an interesting corollary to  "...why so many professors and similar experts in their fields are often so bad at communicating their ideas to others."

He would point out that the best players ("experts") are usually NOT the best coaches - because they did not know how to TEACH what they did.

That's the difference.

Interestingly, a couple of the best "teachers" I had in undergrad were at JC's.

One taught Calculus AND Organic Chemistry - very difficult and disparate disciplines.

The other taught Biology - but graduated from UT (Texas) Medical school Summa Cum Laude - in Radiology! (both were "doctors")

Another interesting tidbit, the word "doctor" is from Latin "docere", meaning - to teach. (docent - the museum guide, or the Dickensian tutor, is another derivative from the Latin)

Regards,

John Rothwell
Austin, Texas

PS - I think I'll start calling you "Doctor Coach"

John,   Your dad was a wise man.  As you are undoubtedly aware, quarterbacks seldom become coaches.  Maybe it's because they're poor at communicating and maybe that's because they've been students of the game and they can't put what they know into terms that other players will understand.  Jim Harbaugh seems to be one example of a QB who can do it, but he's been coaching at selective colleges, where the players aren't exactly knuckleheads, and now that he's in the NFL, he's in a position where he can control to some extent the intelligence level of the players he coaches.

Another reason why the best players are not usually the best coaches is that during the years when the best players are playing, the not-so-good players (or even non-players, such as David Cutcliffe and Mike Leach) are starting out on the ground floor and working their way up as coaches.

***********"When a politician says, 'The debate is over,' you can be sure of two things:

The debate is raging;

"And he's losing."

George Will


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 14,  2014"When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination." Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** My friend Greg Koenig, in Beloit, Kansas, wrote to tell  me of the death of Jeff Giles, head football and wrestling coach at Minneapolis High School, in Minneapolis, Kansas. Coach Giles suffered a stroke Saturday  while coaching his wrestling team at a tournament in Phillipsburg.  Wrote Coach Koenig, "I believe that he was 54 years old, and he leaves a wife and at least 2 children behind.  Jeff was a great guy who really loved the kids that he coached.  Such a sad day."

Very sad, indeed. Say prayers, if you will, for coach Giles' family and for all the kids whose lives he touched.


*********** Minnesota's Sandy Stephens, from Uniontown, Pennsylvania, was the first black player to be named first-team  All-American.  He led the Gophers to the 1960 national championship, and to Rose Bowls in 1961 and 1962. He finished fourth in the Heisman voting and was named MVP of the Big Ten by the Chicago Tribune.  He is a member of he College Football Hall of Fame.

Correctly identifying Sandy Stephens -

Mick Yanke, Cokato, Minnesota
Nick Mygas, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Greg Koenig, Beloit, Kansas
Thomas Caudill, McDermott, Ohio

The following excerpt from "Autumn Warrior," the biography of Murray Warmath,  Minnesota's all-time great coach, tells how Warmath, a Tennessee native who played his college ball at Tennessee under legendary coach General Robert Neyland, made a conscious effort to recruit "speed," then as now a code word for "black players."

Following the 1957 season Warmath and his staff began to make recruiting moves which would pay enormous dividends three years later. "It always had been evident to us from the time we arrived at Minnesota that we couldn't win consistently with teams comprised almost entirely of homegrown players," he pointed out. "There simply were not the speed players coming out of the upper Midwest."

In late 1957 and early 1958 the staff began to go to places like Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina and Illinois to seek top high school football players. When school started in 1958, Minnesota had secured players who in 1960 and 1961 would lead the school to its finest years since the Bierman era. They included Sandy Stephens, Judge Dixon, John Mulvena, Bob Frisbee and Tom Hall from outside the upper Midwest.

Not only was Warmath flying in the face of tradition by recruiting kids who were non-Minnesotans which irritated a lot of the old guard from the Bierman era, but he recognized the talents of the black athlete and made an effort to land them.

"It's tough enough for any kid to go away to school but if you're black and going to a place like Minnesota with a very small minority population, it's doubly intimidating," said Stephens. "One of the key people who made the transition easier was Carl Rowan, a black columnist for the Minneapolis papers. He impressed upon me and the other black recruits that the Twin Cities was a decent place to live and is a graduate of Minnesota, gave very high marks to the University."

"Rowan was instrumental in making the black athletes feel at ease and telling them that an education from Minnesota and life here was worth the commitment." Warmath added.

I was upfront with Warmath when I first met him," Judge Dixon remembered.  "I told him that I had some doubts. I was black and he was a white Southerner. This was 1958, remember, and the South was still steeped in Jim Crow.  But Coach Warmath was straight with me as he was with everybody. He said if I played by the rules, went to class and put out, he'd treat me fairly and didn't give a damn what color I was.  He always kept his word on that in my four years there."

Both Dixon and Stevens were highly recruited.  As stars out of the very competitive western Pennsylvania prep scene they had schools such as Michigan, USC and Ohio State recruiting them. Minnesota was chosen for a variety of reasons, Warmath being the most important.

"Murray told me from the beginning that he'd give me a shot at quarterback," Stephens remembered. "There were no black quarterbacks to speak of at the major college level in the late 1950s. I was taken by his honesty."

The 1958 incoming class was not only a turning point for Warmath and Minnesota football , it was a major milestone in the development of college football.  That year and in the years that followed, Warmath and his staff were at the vanguard in the advancement of black high school players into the college football scene, particularly when it came to recruiting players out of the South.  It wasn't until nearly 10 years later that Southeastern,  Atlantic Coast and Southwest Conference schools would knock down the segregation barriers. Until then,  it was the northern schools,  while not without their elements of racism, that offered the only chance for the black collegiate players.

Warmath was a force in starting that process.  True,  he needed their athletic abilities to turn his program around.  At the same time, he gave them opportunities they wouldn't have gotten elsewhere.
 
"Coach Warmath gave us opportunities not just on the football field, but in the classroom and later life that we would otherwise not have had," Stevens added.  "I will always be indebted to him for what he did for me."

(NOTE: "Bierman" was Bernie Bierman, considered the standard by which all Minnesota coaches are judged. In his 16 seasons there,  the Gophers  won FIVE national championships. Carl Rowan would go on to serve in a number of high government positions, including Ambassador to Finland, and to work as a nationally syndicated columnist.)

*********** Hey- how come woodpeckers don't get concusssions? Or bighorn sheep?

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/01/03/opinion/can-animals-help-limit-concussions.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140103


*********** A friend who's taken on the task of starting youth football in his town asked me  if I had any advice to offer, and here's what I wrote…

Your biggest assignment, it seems to me, is getting kids to play.

This means getting to the parents. That issue, it seems to me, is two-fold: (1) Some people need to be asked; and (2)  The concussion issue really does have some people worried, and while some of them will never be swung over, many simply need assurance that the publicity relates primarily to professional football players who have played the game for years at a very high-intensity level, and that you will do everything possible to see to it that, while every activity has its dangers,  the game is made as safe as possible.

Either way, you must see people in the home.  Don't attempt to do this in a large-group session, and don't attempt to do it over the phone. It is too important, to them and to you.

You have to get to people face-to-face.  However you get their names - at school, church, in stores, word-of-mouth, you have to see them in their homes.  .

Let them meet you, person-to-person.  As you expand, train others to do this, too.

You can probably see two families in an evening.  Maybe three.  More on weekends.

When you're done, give them your card and ask if they know any other parents who might be interested. (You may also find that there are parents interested in helping, too.)

Stress player safety above all - Tell them that, yes, like so many things that young boys like to do, there is an element of risk in football - but unlike many of the things boys do on their own, when their son plays football he'll be properly supervised and taught.

Go over the five key ingredients of player safety -

1. Conditioning - Assure the parents that no boy will be asked to do something he isn't physically capable of doing. Assure them that no one will be allowed to put on equipment until he is in good physical condition, with  special attention paid  to strengthening the neck muscles.

2. Equipment - Show them what the equipment looks like.  Take it with you.  Show them how it's put on and what it's purpose is.  Assure them that their son will be properly fitted and his equipment will be checked.

3. Techniques - Stress self-protection above all. How to deliver and receive a blow.  How you'll insist that the head and eyes are kept up at all times.

4. Coaching - Have a mission statement and stick to it (I do)   Stress that coaches will be carefully selected and properly trained in working appropriately with young boys. Dismiss any preconception they might have that brutality and verbal abuse will have any place in your organization. I offer you my materials on coaches' qualifications, parents' responsibility, etc.  Practice Without Pads might be helpful.

5. Medical - Explain what first-aid training and medical assistance will apply.

The main thing is that asking people to entrust you with their sons is way too important to be done on any but a person-to-person basis.

*********** I feel sorry for the team that drafts and/or signs Michael Sam. They'll really be under the microscope of world-wide media.

And I feel sorry for him, too, because he does seem like a good kid who's going to have a tough enough time making a pro team as it is, without carrying the tag of The First Openly Gay Pro Football Player, wherever he goes,  for the rest of his life. He's going to have to be damn good for people to think of him in any other way.

Actually, it's a damn shame that all the to-do about his being gay is detracting from the fact that his is really an amazing life story all on its own.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/sports/football/for-nfl-prospect-michael-sam-upbringing-was-bigger-challenge-than-coming-out-as-gay.html?referrer=

*********** Ray McDonald was a running back for the Redskins - their first-round draft pick in 1967. He was 6-4, weighed 245, and ran like an antelope. And he was gay. But he wasn't "open" about it - although it wasn't exactly a secret - and he kept his position with the team until, a year later, he was arrested for having sex with another man in a Washington, DC park. 

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2007/12/30/250654/lives-of-three-u-of-i-stars-unfolded.html

*********** 50 years after the  Beatles' arrival in the US, columnist Leonard Pitts noted that there's something missing from today's pop culture in general, and pop music in particular:

Popular music is about breaking away from the staid normalcy of what came before. But maybe in an era where mom has tattoos and dad has a boyfriend, there's nothing left to break away from.

*********** I am not a conspiracy nut and I have no plans to march on Washington - armed or unarmed - but can someone please tell me why numerous government agencies have been purchasing enormous quantities of ammo?

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=94034530e947269f2603ada738cbbdb1&tab=core&_cview=0

*********** Some Western Maryland residents want to secede and form their own state. We lived in Western Maryland for nearly ten years and loved it there, and if they pull this off, we're there!

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/02/10/some-western-md-residents-want-to-form-their-own-state/

*********** Press Release from the National Football Foundation…

A Proven Path to College

More than 40 colleges - with scholarships in hand - are slated to attend the Sixth Annual Greater Houston Senior Football Showcase, a free event for high school seniors to compete in front of college coaches.

IRVING, Texas (Feb. 13, 2014) – For the past six years, a group of passionate volunteers have staged an impactful event in Houston that annually garners between $10-12 million in scholastic aid for Houston-area high school football players to attend college. The group of approximately 175 volunteers, including high school football coaches from the Houston Independent School District (H.I.S.D.) will join forces Feb. 15 with the National Football Foundation (NFF) Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter for a repeat performance, staging the Sixth Annual Greater Houston Senior Football Showcase.

“Credibility has been fully established with the local high school coaches and colleges,” said Chris Vaughan, a key organizer of the event and a board member of the NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter.  “People were a bit skeptical at first that somebody might be making money at the event, but nobody is making a dime off this. It’s all for the kids, and it’s been fully embraced by the Houston coaches and the college coaches. People really understand it and realize that it’s a heck of a deal for the kids and the colleges.”

The event will take place at the Methodist Training Center, home of the Houston Texans, starting at 6:30 a.m. with recruiters from more than 40 small colleges and 18 states in attendance. The college representatives will have an opportunity to connect with more than 500 high school seniors who will vie for academic and participation scholarships at the Division II, III and the NAIA levels. Open to all academically eligible seniors nationwide, the event attracts a high percentage of students-athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds with 50 percent of the participants on free or reduced lunch plans.

“Inner city kids go to work,” said Milby High School head coach Philip Camp, a driving force behind the event since its inception. “They don’t have a chance to go to college. Everybody knows who the Division I kids are, but what about the kid who was your starting guard who gets overlooked for college. We use football as a tool to give these young men a chance to go to college.”

The Greater Houston Senior Football Showcase distinguishes itself from other camps and combines because the event is entirely free for the participants and colleges. Academic binders (verifying academic eligibility) are the only information distributed. Organizers do not create a database based on athletic performance of a participant at the event. Coaches must make their own athletic assessments, subsequently inviting a participant to the sidelines for a face-to-face meeting.

“This is 99.9 percent the result of volunteers who get up at 5 a.m. in the morning and who are helping put this event on,” said Camp. “We have close to 200 volunteers, including 75 coaches for the drills and 125 people helping with registration, handing out t-shirts, handling the timing, counting the reps at bench press and setting up the college tables.”

In the time of tight budgets, the event allows smaller colleges to see 500 student-athletes at one time while minimizing their travel costs. Recruiters will travel from more than 18 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.  It could cost as much as $4,000 over multiple weeks to individually recruit all the schools in the Houston area, and the Showcase allows a college to potentially see more than 500 seniors within 24 hours on a budget of $150 to $200 to cover gas and meals with the hotel room covered by the NFF Houston Touchdown Club Chapter.

“I have been going for the past six years,” said Coach Steve Miller, the defensive coordinator at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., who previously coached at William Penn University in Iowa.  “It is great for a small college such as William Penn and Tabor who don’t have big recruiting budgets. You can see more than 500 athletes at one time, and the paper work is already done on their academic eligibility. It helps college coaches like me out a lot.”

Miller estimates that he has recruited more than 100 student-athletes, signing 35-40, during the past six years. He praised the organizers for the comprehensive binders that are shipped to the coaches in advance of the event and videos that are available on Hudl.

“You know who is going to be there before you arrive,” said Miller. “The athletes that we have signed have gone on to be first team and second team all-conference. It has meant three or four wins a year for our program based on the athletes alone. Without this combine, we would not be conference champs. It’s much needed talent to go along with the local talent, and the kids from the Houston graduate with a quality college education and prove to be great citizens and leaders in the community.”

Darrius Jones, who attended the combine in 2009 during his senior year at Sharpstown High School in Houston, credits the event with giving him the opportunity to go to college. Jones had hopes of playing at the Division I level, but when those failed to materialize the Showcase provided him a new set of options.

“I ended up going not expecting much, and I really went to push my teammates to do their best,” said Jones, a wide receiver. “A couple days later, the William Penn coach contacted me. He said he liked my talent and work ethic, and he was going to offer me a scholarship to come play with them… The combine gave me the opportunity to play at the collegiate level and get an education at a private institution.”

Participants, who all have to meet minimum academic standards, compete in a series of athletic events designed to let the college coaches assess each player’s potential, including a 40-yard dash, a bench press and several agility tests. Academically, participants must meet at least one of three benchmarks: an 810 on the SAT (math and verbal score) or an 18 on the ACT; or be accepted to three of the participating schools. Each participant must submit his SAT scores and transcript in advance, ensuring that they meet the minimum requirements.

Organized through the local coaching network, the chapter’s relationships, letters to athletics directors and Website postings, the event now attracts more than 700 applicants each year, but space limitations only allow around 500 to actually attend. The event is not open to student-athletes who have already signed Division I letters of intent, and participants must register in advance.  Coby Rhoden, a counselor at Reagan High School who has worked with Coach Camp since the first event, oversees registration and data collection, which helps measure the event’s impact.

“Coaches are getting the word more and more, and it’s getting easier to run,” said Rhoden.

“We are adding a couple parent seminars that have been very successful to close the gap between 90 percent who receive offers because of the event and the 25 percent who end up on a roster.”

Rhoden explains the main reason for the attrition is that the kids fail to apply to the schools or fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. He said educating parents about the college application and financial aid process should help address the issue.

“Whenever you take an 18 year-old and you take him away from his parents and football, you remove the two biggest elements of structure in his life,” said Rhoden. “We ship him off to college and we wonder why he is not successful. If we can keep football in his life, they are usually more successful…. We use football to further a student’s education. The only way that we’re going to get him out his environment is through football and football provides that structure.”

The cost of the event, approximately $7,500 for the organizers, is offset through sponsors, including Balfour/Dilly, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Bull Shirts, Frenchy's Chicken, Chick-fil-A, The Deck on Fountainview, the Houston Texans and Pinks Pizza. The major costs include t-shirts, insurance, catering, the recruiting binders and hotel rooms. NFF Board Member and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Murry Bowden (Dartmouth) and his real estate firm, the Hanover Corporation, are providing the t-shirts along with the North Shore Rotary Club. College Football Hall of Famer Don Trull (Baylor), who serves as the president of the NFF Houston Touchdown Club, and Houston Texan Minority Owner Javier Loya, who played football at Columbia, also are providing crucial support in staging the event.

Based on the success of the Houston event, the NFF California Showcase, organized by College Football Hall of Fame coach Terry Donahue (UCLA) and hosted by the NFF Newport Beach Chapter, will take place for the second consecutive year at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., on Feb. 22. Organizers anticipate a strong showing with more than 40 college coaches already scheduled to attend. In December, more than 250 student-athletes displayed their skills in front of college recruiters at the El Paso Showcase at the Soccorro Athletic Complex in El Paso, Texas. Camp estimates the combined and six-year cumulative impact of the three events will approach an astounding $100 million in college aid for the participants with the conclusion of the 2014 events.

“We salute the leadership of the NFF chapter in Houston for making this happen,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “They have done this for many years, for many kids, and they have set the tone on how to make a difference in football.”

*********** Hey,  you kids at Durham Academy - I think this means there's no school...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhtqjdUi0nw&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DHhtqjdUi0nw&app=desktop

*********** Hi Coach

Hope all is well. Are we headed to no more kickoffs? Onside kick is a big part of our special teams...we do it often.

Targeting rule is no surprise...http://www.nfhs.org/content.aspx?id=10392

John Lambert
LaCenter, Washington

Hi John,

I've said for a long time that the way to eliminate targeting is to require use of the arms in tackling, as rugby does. Amazing how very courageous defenders become when they can  tuck their arms and drive their shoulders into defenseless opponents.  

On the kickoffs, I'm surprised that they stopped where they did . I can see the end of the onside kick before too long.  The injury potential is obvious.

In many ways it's beginning to look like the reincaration of the flying wedge, and I do think it's a good idea for the rules guys to try to get out ahead of it.

Strategically, I don't see this affecting us in any way.

If you want to onside kick, six guys to one side of the kicker is enough. There's nothing to prevent you from packing them tight.  I'm surprised that they didn't say you couldn't have more than four players in any third of the field.

The rules change preventing any coverage guy from starting more than five yards back of the ball won't make a difference in reducing injuries, I don't think.  It may help return teams by  eliminating the confusion in blocking assignments caused by guys crossing.

*********** I'm sure that you recall the big deal that was made when the first black player roomed with a white player.  (Was that Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo?)  How big of a deal will be made of the straight player who ends up rooming with Michael Sam?  Tell me that that straight player's rights will not be abused in that situation.  And God forbid that that straight player share his feelings about that room assignment.  And if no one agrees to room with Michael Sam, what an outcry there will be.  What a world we are living in!

Greg Koenig
Beloit High School
Beloit, Kansas

I don't know if  Sayers and Piccolo were the first black-and-white roomies, but that was  the background story of "Brian's Song," that tear-jerker about the way-too-early death of Brian Piccolo. I do know that when Curt Warner (the running back, not the quarterback) and Todd Blackledge (yes, the announcer) roomed together at Penn State in the early 80s' it was considered ground-breaking.  Those were great times - the days when America felt good about the growing racial togetherness in our society that, sadly, never fully came to fruition.

What happens when a homosexual's straight roommate comes back to the room unexpectedly and discovers his roomy has a, um, "visitor?"

*********** Ah, for the good old days, back before Openly Gay Pro Football Players.

It was 1974, and we, the Philadelphia Bell,  were someplace - Orlando, I think - to play a game.

Two of our players, Tim Rossovich and Rick Cash, were NFL vets who still had a little football left in them, but what they really were was first class practical jokers.  They roomed together, which was a blessing to other players, because based on stories of one roommate, Jerry Warren, rooming with Rossovich was an adventure.

Warren was a kicker out of NC State.  He told me that the entire time they roomed together, Rossovich never called him anything other than "Kicker."  Said he went to sleep one night while Rossovich was still reading the papers. Woke up thinking he was seeing stars until he realize that what he was seeing was sparks - Rossovich had placed the paper on his bed and set it on fire, waiting to see what would happen when he woke up.

So there we were in this hotel,  early in the morning.  We had a game that night. Our trainer, Tom Alfieri, was sitting in the lobby, shaking his head.  "Hugh," he said, "You're not going to believe what I just saw."

And then he told me.  On his circuit around the hotel to give players their B-12 shots (whatever the hell good that was supposed to do), he knocked on Rossovich's and Cash's door, and when no one answered, he tried the door. Finding it open, he entered the room.

And there on a bed, Tom said, were Rossovich and Cash,  two large professional football players, bare-ass naked, arms around each other, kissing and whispering sweet nothings.

Tom, as quietly and quickly as he could, backed out the door and headed for the lobby to collect himself.  That's where I found him.

Tom had been punked. Big time. Needless to say, many laughs were had at his expense.

Ah, for the good old days.

***********  SNOW IN 49 STATES was the headline on the Drudge Report

Which means, by his count,  the President's got only  eight states  he can go to to get away from all that white stuff.

*********** I get the idea that Richard Petty doesn't think much of Danica Patrick’s racing ability.

Asked if he thought she'd ever win a Sprint Cup race, King Richard  said, "Only if everybody else stayed home."


american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 11,  2014 "We can honor the universal virtue of work by making it the prerequisite for government benefits wherever possible. There's a reason Social Security checks are respectable and politically untouchable - unlike food stamps, they only go to Americans who've worked." Author Mickey Kaus

*********** Great story from a friend who is leaving his current coaching spot to take another position...

I announced to the players that I would be resigning as the head coach yesterday. That was harder than I expected. A few tears and a few angry faces.

However, as I was walking out of the school, a young  girl stopped me in the halls and asked if the rumor was true. When I told her it was, she responded. "Damn. You're not taking away the Wedge are you?"


***********  A study published recently in the Journal of Neurosurgery acknowledged that no helmet will ever be able to prevent all concussions, but it does suggest that there are certain helmets that can reduce the concussion risk by 50 percent or more.  One such helmet is the Riddell Revolution.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/sports/football/study-suggests-that-some-football-helmets-are-more-protective.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140131&_r=0&referrer=

***********Next time you hear the bleeding hearts whine about how our prisons are overcrowded because of all those young man serving time simply for "drug offenses", next time the politicians tell you that the prisoners they're releasing in order to ease overcrowding are merely "drug offenders,"   try to remember that there's usually more to the story - that those guys are not eagle scouts who got caught while holding a joint someone just handed to them.

Take this little piece from the Vancouver Columbian…

An 18-year-old man was sentenced Thursday in Clark County Superior Court to 366 days in prison for a Dec. 15 drive-by shooting in an apartment complex parking lot in Hazel Dell.

( ------- ------- ) of Vancouver pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and possession of cocaine as part of a plea agreement negotiated by York's attorney, Diane Grecco,and Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu. In exchange, Vu dropped charges of drive-by shooting, unlawful discharging of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, obstructing a public servant, third-degree theft and reckless endangerment.

Yeah.  Just a "drug offender."

*********** Joseph Epstein, author of the book "Essays in Biography,"  wrote in The Wall Street Journal about his experiences working among the poor in Pulaski County, Arkansas back in the early days of the so-called War on Poverty.

He recalled that not long after he left the antipoverty program and moved to Chicago,  he heard from a former associate in Arkansas that things weren't working out as planned - that the legal aid that the program had provided the poor people was not being used to sue the city and the school board, but instead was being used mainly to pay for divorces and paternity suits, and that the middle-class had begun sending their children to Head Start programs, which in effect eliminated any "head start" it might have provided the children of the poor.

And he told another little story...

"I remember remarking to a female black schoolteacher, with the heavy irony available to the ignorant, that shabby as these houses were, almost all of them had television sets. "Please don't knock those television sets," she said. "They give these children the only chance they will ever have to hear decent English."

*********** Against my better judgement I agree to watch the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and what do I get for the first half hour?

A cloying feature on all the marvelous American athletes who have worked so-o-o-o hard (much harder than farmers or fishermen or loggers or steelworkers).  Please spare me all the talk about how hard athletes "work."

And then, a f --king ten-minute interview of Our President by that little over-the-hill weasel Bob (confiscate everybody's guns) Costas.

***********  Oregon, that progressive Utopia, sits near the bottom of the states in almost any measure of student learning.

It's not that nobody cares. The headline at the top of the front page of Sunday's Portland Oregonian was bold: "ATROCIOUS ATTENDANCE PUTS LEARNING AT RISK."

Turns out that in 2013, a typical year, almost one in five students statewide were absent at least 10 per cent of the school year.

Only half of Oregon students were in attendance 95 per cent of the time or better.

At one Portland High School, where the taxpayers have  spent bundles on  practically every educational innovation known to man, the chronically-absent figure was 39 per cent.

At a Eugene-area high school, at least 50 students had missed more than 10 weeks of school each.

What a surprise - the schools with the worst absentee problems were the same ones at the bottom of test results. 

What a surprise - an Illinois study of 21,000 students found that the graduation rate of students who missed 10 per cent of school days their freshman year was under 40 per cent.

Not surprisingly, chronic absenteeism in Oregon increased with each year of school from sixth grade on - the start of middle school - but what's really scary for all concerned is the fact that fully one in six first- and second-graders were chronic absentees, which meant that those children are likely to lag behind for the rest of their school careers.

Absenteeism is both a cause of academic failure, and a corollary, since it often tends to indicate a lack of family concern for education. 

And, to a certain extent, the absentee rate, at the high school level at least,  reflects conflicting state goals: in the much-hyped effort to keep the dropout rate down,  some kids, despite their nonattendance, are kept  on schools' rolls to make the dropout rate look better than it is.

So - those of you out there who say that education should be run like a business, who say that "holding principals and teachers accountable" for their students' results is the answer - would you call it smart business to blame the supervisors and the factory workers for low productivity and poor quality, when the parts they're supposed to assemble into finished products arrive late - if at all - and often in bad condition?

*********** Somebody's not telling the truth…

A. This is the best recruiting class we've ever had…

B. We got exactly what wanted…

C. We filled all of our needs…

D.  If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor…

E.  All of the above

*********** Villanova, a small Catholic college located on Philadelphia's prestigious Main Line,  plays football in FCS and does a great job of it. At one time, though, the Villanova Wildcats played in the Big Time, playing as an independent and taking on all comers. Howie Long is one of the last and best-known products of that era.  But as a small, selective private college, Villanova's leaders determined years ago that playing with the major powers was way too expensive, not to mention inconsistent with its academic mission.

Now, basketball - that's different.  Villanova is as Big-Time as you can get.  Always has been.

This past weekend, Wildcats' coach Jay Wright got his 400th win, and he was very gracious in acknowledging that Villanova is a great place to coach basketball.

"I just feel very fortunate to be able to coach at Villanova," he said. "Whoever coaches at Villanova is going to get a lot of wins."

The quote was in a wire service article  - writer uncertain -  that went on to say that Villanova's winningest coach was "Alexander Severance," who won 413 games in 29 years.

I almost choked.  "Alexander" Severance?  "Alexander?" I wanted to holler, "you mean 'Al' Severance?"

Isn't a little knowledge of sports history a requirement in sports departments anymore? Isn't it possible to do a little research?

Come on - the guy coached through the war years, until 1961. In Philly.  No way in hell a guy named "Alexander" could have made it through those games against those fans from St. Joe's, or LaSalle or Temple.  Those were times, and Philly was certainly the kind of town, where it was considered ultra-stuffy for anyone other than political leaders, academicians, or bankers to go by their long, given names.  Otherwise, you were putting on airs.

Besides, a nickname was a sign that you were accepted.

The first time you stepped onto the playground or the first time you lined up for PE, you were given one.  Didn't matter what you mother wanted you called, the way it is nowadays.  If you were red-headed or left-handed or extremely tall or short, it was almost automatic.  For most of us with no physical distinctions, it was a shortened form of our given name.

I read on in the article.  It said that "John" Kraft won 238 games at Villanova.

John, my ass. That would be Jack Kraft.

*********** It's momentous.  Historic. Not on the order of the first Catholic President. (Only an old-timer like me remembers when that was important.) It's bigger than that.

Or the first black President.

Oh, no.  In today's America, it's  MUCH bigger than that.

We're talking about nothing less than the FIRST OPENLY-GAY PRO FOOTBALL PLAYER!

Hey - We can live with the  story for a week or so until it goes away, right? 

No such luck.  For the news media, this is the Gift That Keeps On Giving.

The first lady has already tweeted the guy, telling him how courageous he is. (I have no idea how she gets involved in this.   Maybe the President was too busy getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal. Oh, wait - that's right - he told Bill O'Reilly there's "not a smidgeon" of evidence that there was any corruption involved there, and he would know.  Okay, so maybe he's digging into Bengazi. Or Fast and Furious. Oh, well. There'll be time enough later to arrange a visit in the Rose Garden.)

But I digress. The draft is coming up, which means we can look forward to interview after interview with GMs, player personnel directors, coaches.  Some of them anonymous.

Diversity experts and well-known gays will weigh in on the subject. GQ will run a four-page feature on him and what he wears to the combine.  At least one NFL veteran will make himself a pariah by tweeting something.

Then the draft itself.  The telecast will draw ratings equal to those of conference championship games, as Americans wait breathlessly to see what team chooses him. If any.  Before he came out, he'd been projected as a mid-round choice, but what if he - gasp! - isn't drafted at all? (If the NFL owners are dumb enough to allow that to happen. They'll duck the charges of "homophobia" by holding a secret lottery beforehand to decide who takes the guy.)

And then, either as a draft choice or a free agent, he'll be going to OTA's and training camp.  Think those won't be media zoos, recording everything the World's First Openly-Gay Pro Football Player does? (Well, on the field, at least.)

It doesn't end there.   As I write, numerous literary agents are undoubtedly  competing for the rights to tell the guy's life story. A major Hollywood studio has probably already obtained the film rights to the story of THE FIRST OPENLY-GAY PRO FOOTBALL PLAYER!.

Okay, okay - enough with the "gay" already.  We get it.  Let it go. We can deal with it.

Actually, it's the "openly" part that I object to.

I don't have the slightest interest in what you do in private with your wife.  Or girlfriend.  I can't remember the last time anyone even started to tell me.  So why should I care to know that you belong to a class that's defined by what you do in privacy with another male?

Years ago, a poet called homosexuality,  "The love that dare not speak its name."

But a more recent writer, up to here with our media's obsession with gayness, called it,  "The love that won't shut the f--k up."

http://mmqb.si.com/2014/02/09/michael-sam-monday-morning-quarterback/

*********** No doubt you've seen highlights of the basketball player from Oklahoma State who flew into the stands at the end of a play and then, apparently in reaction to what a fan said to him, gave the fan a shove. For this, the kid has been suspended by the Big 12 for three games.

Look - the player was dead wrong and he knows it.

But in my opinion equal outrage should be directed at the fan, because he undoubtedly said something out of line to the kid,  in the mistaken belief that the kid wouldn't do anything - in the conceit of the anonymous online poster, who can take shots without fear of retribution.

Yeah, he's probably a season ticket holder - probably a donor, too - and yeah, they need his money, but he's as responsible as the kid was for what happened, and he ought to be suspended for three games, too, same as the kid.

(Guy's lucky all he got was a shove.   He looked like he was 50 or so, which means he's lived long enough to acquire the sense not to holler ANYTHING at a big, strong, young guy  who could probably break his neck with one punch.)

*********** It would be hard to call me a Russophile (a Russia-lover), but I do know my Russian history and I know how much Russians love their native land.  Those men (Did you get that? Men?)  who sang the Russian national anthem at the Olympics' opening ceremonies showed their love of country by singing it way a national anthem is supposed to be sung - boldly and proudly and with vigor.  No, I'm not planning on moving to Russia anytime soon, but I'll give the Russians this - I'm confident that they wouldn't stand idly by, as we do, and allow someone to sully their national anthem.

*********** With David Stern's retirement, sport loses one of its all-time most effective commissioners.  Love him (as they do in Oklahoma City, for allowing the Thunder to move there) or hate him (as they do in Seattle for allowing the Sonics to move to Oklahoma City), you have to admit that he did a fantastic job of taking over a league that was in trouble, perceived as populated by thugs and lowlifes, and steering it to where it is acknowledged to be right alongside  Major League Baseball in fan appeal, and probably ahead of all US sports leagues in international recognition.

He's always been willing to speak his mind on some of the issues affecting his league...

"What I would say to you, as diplomatically as I can, is when somebody invents a painless way to remove tattoos, there is going to be a lineup of players saying, "Good heavens! What was I thinking when I did this to myself?"

*********** Another example of how things are seldom what they seem...

Remember the Super Bowl Bud ad - the surprise parade for the returning serviceman, who sat on the beer wagon as it was pulled (by the Clydesdales) past the welcoming hometown folks?

Turns out,  the whole thing was a LOT less spontaneous than we were led to believe.

I'm glad that the criticism of Bud's blatant exploitation of American patriotism - and the soldier's role in it - comes from fellow service members, and not from me.  

http://gfor3.com/2014/02/04/the-great-budweiser-lie/

*********** A comment by an online poster...

"Next year Budweiser is going to have a team of puppies pulling an orphan through a street filled with topless college girls."

*********** The sense of impending peril that arises from the weathercasts has a name here in the “snowy” Quad Cities…Weathergasms

Coach K
Davenport, Iowa

Ha- Pretty Good.

We had three inches and it tied up the entire Portland-Vancouver area.

But it's the cold that caught everyone unprepared...

PULLMAN — A Washington State University student was treated for hypothermia after he was found unconscious on campus when the temperature was minus-3 degrees.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports emergency crews responded about 2:30 a.m. Thursday and found the 36-year-old Pullman man highly intoxicated outside the Honors Hall residence building.

He was transported to Pullman Regional Hospital for treatment of hypothermia and detoxification.

*********** Someone asked Dan Ariely ("Ask Ariely") in the Wall Street Journal why so many professors and similar experts in their fields are often so bad at communicating their ideas to others.

His response:

Here's a game I sometimes play with my students. I ask them to think of a song, not tell anyone what it is, and tap its beat on a table.  Next I ask them to predict how many other students in the room will correctly guess the song's name. They usually think that about half will get it.  Then I ask the rest of the students for their predictions - and no one ever gets it right.

The point is that when we know something and know it well, it is hard for us to appreciate what other people understand. This problem is sometimes called "the curse of knowledge." We all suffer from this affliction, but it is particularly severe for my fellow academics. We study things until they seem entirely natural to us and then assume that everyone else easily understands them, too.

(Doesn't that apply to us as coaches, too?)


american flagFRIDAY,  FEBRUARY 7,  2014 "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good."   Dr. Thomas Sowell

*********** As I write this, we're having a weather episode, right here in Southwest Washington.  We don't have many of them. 

What it is is snow - pretty rare down here in our valley, a trough between two mountain ranges.

It's blowing pretty hard, too. From the East, down the Columbia River Gorge.  East winds are hot in the summer, but cold in the winter,  and our temperatures are down in the teens.  That's pretty rare, too.

The snow results when moist air blowing in off the Pacific collides with the cold air coming out of the Gorge.

My wife and I are like little kids.
The countryside, with all the evergreens covered with snow, is beautiful. We don't have to go anywhere except take the dogs for their walks and watch them romp in the snow, and if we do need to go anywhere we've got a couple of 4X4 rigs.

But the idiot TV weather people - they act as if the snow is the absolute worst thing to ever happen (find a school kid or a school teacher who agrees).  They reassure us by telling us that by Monday, it'll all turn to rain.

Thanks a lot.


*********** I was talking with Coach Pete Porcelli of Troy, New York, and he commented on the quality of offensive football played by the pros.  Said they often looked like semi-pros.

Having seen my share of semi-pro ball, I said I had to agree - that the pro offenses are totally based on having better players. Without a doubt, they have players who are incredible passers and receivers, but otherwise,  there's very little in the way of scheme, and even less in the way of execution.

Doubt me?

Author Nicholas Davidoff spent more than a year inside the Jets' organization (some people would call that an oxymoron) doing research for his book "Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the World of NFL Football."

He wrote, in the Wall Street Journal (Nov 30-Dec 1, 2013), "NFL coaches say that plays are performed correctly only 10 per cent of the time."

Watching pro offenses, I can believe it.

Now, if it was that way with us, we'd either have to find another offense or another job.


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

Where do the terms "Belly" and "Veer" come from?

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Canada

The Belly Series, as it has come to be called, was also called, at the time, the Drive series and the Ride Series.

It was a series - an add-on to the full-house T formation offenses that were common in the 1950s when it caught fire, but for most teams that employed it, it became an option in itself.

It was in many ways a precursor of the wishbone, in that the QB would "ride" the ball in the "belly" of the fullback, sometimes giving it to him, but sometimes pulling it out and keeping or handing - or pitching - to another back.  It was such an innovation that on many occasions in its early going, college teams had touchdowns called back by officials who weren't aware that the QB had not actually given the ball to the fullback.  

In Bobby Dodd's book, "Dodd's Luck," he recalls that at the 1950 College All-Star game, he was coaching the quarterbacks, and little Eddie LeBaron, who would go on to enjoy a nice career in the NFL, showed him something they'd been doing at the College of the Pacific, where he'd played.  "Eddie and I were out there fooling around, which we'd do every once in a while," Dodd said.  "Hiding the ball, talking about different things. And he told me they had this play at Pacific which they got a lot out of, called the belly series. I said, 'Show it to me.'"

Said Dodd, "I immediately knew it was good."

Thanks to the Belly Series and the refinements added by coach Dodd and his offensive assistants, including Frank Broyles, Georgia Tech was consistently among the outstanding teams of the 1950s.

About ten years after the Belly, the "Veer" came along. It was also a T-formation (QB under center) offense, and was so-named because of the way that the dive back would hit straight ahead, just to the outside of a lineman who was being blocked in and to the inside of a lineman who wasn't being blocked at all, and then, once past the line, veer slightly to the outside, away from the linebackers. The veer was run from a "pro-set" backfield - two running backs, with the fourth back set wide as a flanker or a slot.  Although the action of the veer resembled very closely that of the split-T, what made it unusual was the way it expanded on the option.  With the split-T, after faking a halfback dive, the quarterback would approach the defensive end - who wasn't blocked - and, depending on the end's reaction, would either keep and turn upfield, or pitch to a trailing halfback.  What made the veer so radical was that in addition to the defensive end,  the defensive tackle wasn't blocked either, creating a situation where the offense truly didn't know what it was going to do until the defense showed it what to do, and quarterback truly had a triple option: (1) hand off to the dive back (the veer back),(2)  keep and turn upfield, or (3) pitch.

The veer was discovered totally by accident.  I have it on first-hand authority (a Houston assistant)  that as Houston was preparing to play Mississippi State, the Houston scout team ran a dive and by mistake the offensive tackle blocked to the inside instead of blocking the man on him. Although he missed his man, he blocked the linebacker instead. And the dive back was past the unblocked defensive lineman so fast that the defender had no chance. With the linebacker walled off by the offensive tackle,  the play broke for a touchdown.  Houston coach Bill Yeoman was at the other end of the field but he saw what happened and, as coaches are accustomed to doing, insisted on finding out what had gone wrong.  What had accidentally gone wrong - the lack of a block on a defenssive lineman - became the basis of the Houston Veer, which took college football by storm in the 1960s.  (It didn't hurt that Coach Yeoman had some fantastic athletes running his offense.)

In some ways you could make the argument that the Wishbone, which derived from the Veer, was the marriage of the Belly and the Veer.

As for who gave them the names, who knows?  The name "Wishbone" was conferred on Texas' new formation by a Houston sportswriter named Mickey Herskowitz.

*********** My grandson the star…

Sam Wyatt, our youngest grandchild, is the star of an Australian Jeep commercial.

He lives in Melbourne, and his Aussie accent is a delight to my ears.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TL6CX_YaDY&list=UUuQfR7KjxbmYBuJmWV56gJQ&feature=c4-overview

*********** Just opened up a used copy of the book Offensive Football from Jordan Olivar that I got from Powell.  It cost me $8.95 total for book and shipping.  I evidently put it on a wish list several years ago and they got a used copy.  I followed up on the email and now here it is.  I learned about the book off of your website years ago.
 
Thanks, John Bothe
Oregon, Illinois

Coach,

Glad you got it.  I think you'll like it.

Coach Olivar was a very bright man.  When he played at Villanova in the late 1930s, he called the offensive plays - even though he played tackle.

The guys in the photos were our starting backfield my sophomore year.

Thanks for writing!

*********** Q. What was most watched on television after the Super Bowl was over Sunday?

A. The second half

Tim Brown
Athens, Alabama

*********** From one of the nine people charged with upholding our laws…

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, asked about her use of the term “undocumented immigrants” (rather than "illegal aliens")  said calling immigrants criminals seemed insulting to her.

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/02/04/sotomayor-labeling-illegal-immigrants-criminals-is-insulting/

*********** For businesses that pride themselves on their businesslike practices,  pro football franchises come up really short in one area - in the people they employ.

It's probably because of the personnel turnover created by free agency and the salary cap, but one of the areas in which NFl teams show their near-total focus on short-term results at the expense of building an organizational culture is in their tolerance of a$$holes in their midst.

It's a given that  NFL rosters are  full of talented a$$holes. But just think - every single one of them played in college, where he was - a talented a$$hole.  And just about every single one of them played in high school, where he was…. a talented a$$hole.  And so, down through middle school and youth ball back to the day he put on his first helmet.

Yes, we see the a$$holes starring for NFL teams. (How can we miss them?)  In some cases, they actually may make their teams better on the field, but they enact  a high price in team tension, in distractions from the mission at hand, and in the public's perception of the team and of pro football in general.

And other than a handful of really good teams, there are an awful lot of poor-to-mediocre  NFL teams - and they're all harboring a$$holes, too. Those teams serve as the proof that however talented those guys might be, they aren't  enough  by themselves to make their teams winners.  And whatever tensions the a$$holes might cause on better teams, they're even worse on poorer teams.

Yet despite all their known character deficiencies,  there always seems to be  at least one team willing to take even the most insufferable lout,  given a little bit of talent.

I find myself constantly asking the question -  would that bad team be any worse if it just cut the creeps loose?

It seems to me that even in spite of the rules-enforced turnover, successful teams can and should take a longer-term look at the malignant effects on their organization of  a$$holes in their midst.

Finding the right people is so vital to a business that  one highly-successful company, Amazon, puts much of the burden for hiring new workers on its established employees - people who know and value the company's culture.

The main goal:  "Screen out cultural misfits."
To do that, Amazon has what it calls its "bar raisers,"  employees who play a key role in the company's hiring.

They're frequently called on to stop whatever they're doing and interview job candidates for jobs in other departments, even those far removed from their areas of expertise.

Writes Greg Bensinger in the Wall Street Journal,

To become a bar raiser, a worker generally must have conducted dozens or hundreds of interviews, and gained a reputation for asking tough questions and identifying candidates who go on to be stars.

Bar raisers typically interview candidates in another part of the company, posing unexpected or challenging questions to gauge an applicant's analytical skills.
Amazon's hiring process is long and drawn-out, and that in itself can help screen out some applicants. Says John Sullivan, a San Francisco State University management professor, "If a job seeker feels like they want to run away from the building screaming after the interview, that's a probably a good sign that they don't belong there."

Amazon believes it's worth the effort.

Says a former Amazon HR executive,  "It can be an expensive process because it takes longer, but think of how expensive it is to hire the wrong person."

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB20001424052702304753504579285133045398344


*********** The NFL office has proudly announced that 25,000 people slid down the toboggan set up on Broadway during Super Bowl week.

If what's taken place in our community, on our playgrounds - tall, slippery, stainless steel slides torn down and replaced by lower and slower (but much, much safer) fiberglass versions - is any indication of what it's like everywhere, it was probably the first time down a real slide for a lot of those people.

*********** I have to admit that I hadn't even heard of Philip Seymour Hoffman until this past weekend, but I was still sorry to hear of his death by drug overdose.

Nevertheless, in view of our society's unwillingness to hold anybody responsible for his own actions, I find it almost amusing to hear how relentless the search will be to find the culprits who sold him the drugs - as if they'd broken into his apartment and filled him full of bullets.

*********** Just in case you thought today's coaches invented everything -  this, from "Tales From the Iowa Sidelines," by Ron Maly…

"The Ironmen (Iowa's 1939 team, so-named because so many of its members played the full 60 minutes of every game) usually employed a  no-huddle offense, with quarterback Al Coupee calling the plays at the line of scrimmage."

(Coupee was a single-wing quarterback, aka the blocking back. He set up roughly back of the B-gap, near the line of scrimmage; the ball was not snapped to him, but to the tailback.)

"Coupee would call numbers like 43 and 82," end Erwin Prasse said. "We'd pick out the first digit of the first number and the second digit of the second number, and that was the number of the play. Whatever came after that was a little diversion from it."

(Coupee's job was made a lot easier for him by the fact that the tailback on that team was Nile Kinnick, who won the Heisman trophy that year. Iowa's stadium is named in his honor, and his head is on the coin tossed before every Big Ten game.)

Learn more about Nile Kinnick (the un-Manziel)

http://espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/Kinnick_Nile.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYS3zgVogKM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-PyhRRY-wk

*********** Jim Geraghty writes, in the National Review

Dear International Olympic Committee: You Had ONE JOB!

When Charles Lane wrote this piece (in the Washington Post) calling for an end to the Olympic tradition last month, it seemed hyperbolic: "Any benefits have to be weighed against the Olympics' costs, which are political, financial, moral and — for athletes ravaged by steroid abuse — human. . . . Supporters speak of the Olympics as a 'movement,' as if the Games were some sort of insurgent force for good, not the leviathan they are. What we really need is a movement to get rid of them."

Now, as we look at the worsening mess that is the Sochi Winter Olympics, we have to wonder whether the International Olympic Committee can be stopped before they run the games into the ground. Next stop, Brazil, where they're not sure they'll be ready in time, part of a stadium collapsed during construction, and the locals are protesting the billions going to stadium construction and other costs instead of helping the poor. Did I mention the drug traffickers shooting down police helicopters in Rio?

I know you're wondering how the IOC picked that city, but they had to; Mogadishu, Somalia, was already booked those weeks.

Russia was an astonishingly bad choice to host the games for so many different reasons: Putin's authoritarian tendencies, the country's ludicrous anti-gay law, and the massive threat of terrorism are three big reasons. But recent days have shown us so much more.

For starters, some of the basic structures and facilities aren't finished yet:

From the Black Sea resort of Sochi to the snow-draped peaks dwarfing the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Olympic fervor is mounting as thousands of workers scramble to finish grandiose projects. This isn't polishing the silver or closing out a punch list. This is full- blown construction, with the Opening Ceremonies on Friday and the first full day of competition Saturday.

Backhoes and dump trucks weave between buses full of reporters. Hotels seem weeks away from opening. Tile saws send dust spewing from restaurant doors draped in "Coming Soon!" posters. Roadways are clogged with cranes erecting street lights alongside crews installing guard rails.

Wait, there's more! "The Olympic Village in Sochi still looks very much like a work-in-progress. Sidewalks are half built; wiring is still unfinished; and piles of trash are collecting within a short distance from the Olympic Park. Of the nine media hotels planned for the Games, only six have been built with a last minute sprint to get the others finished before the Olympics officially commence."

Or how about the brutal approach to stray dogs? "The city of Sochi has hired a pest-control company to kill homeless animals by the hundreds, all in an effort to clean up the streets in advance of the Winter Games."

And apparently "hacking" is now an Olympic sport this year:

According to an NBC News report, unprepared Olympics attendees are being hacked the second they fire up their electronic devices.

NBC reporter Richard Engel worked with a security expert to set up two test computers in order to see just how quickly he'd be attacked when logging onto Russian networks. But, he reported, when sitting down at a cafe with the expert, "before we even finished our coffee" the bad actors had hit, downloading malware and "stealing my information and giving hackers the option to tap or even record my phone calls."

Once the two test computers went online, the hacking happened just as fast, Engel said. It took "less than 1 minute [for hackers] to pounce, and in less than 24 hours, they had broken into both of my computers.

But the story of the Sochi Olympics is one that must be seen, not told. From various reporters' Twitter feeds, we can see what we're missing by not shelling out the money to go.

For starters, you can't  drink the water in the Sochi hotels! Or even use it on your face!

(Hey, America -  considering that Vladimir Putin, who has powers that Barack Obama can only dream of having, may not bring this off - it ought to give you a lot more respect for what Mitt Romney did in Salt Lake City.)

*********** "I totally believe those involved in the leadership of intercollegiate athletics are held to a higher standard. They should be held to a higher standard and conduct themselves with the knowledge of that standard.

"In my view, anybody who says he or she shouldn't be or doesn't want to be a role model shouldn't be  a teacher.

"When I was athletic director at Kent State, Washington and Auburn, I made a point of meeting personally with each squad and their coaches in every sport once a year and talked about this responsibility. I made it an absolute must to go over the rules and regulations and the forms the student-athletes had to sign for the NCAA,  I would read the rules and emphasize my philosophy and beliefs. I emphasized that each of them would be identified as an athlete the rest of their lives.  I told them, 'Good or bad, you will carry that label.'

"Right now I may be retired, but if I go out and misbehave - whatever way - the media will refer to me as 'former athletic director at the University of Washington.'

"When coaches and athletes said they didn't want to be considered role models, and protested, 'I'm on my own time,' I had a standard response: 'You are until you get into trouble.'"

Mike Lude, from his autobiography, "Walking the Line," 2004


*********** Bob Novogratz is a member of the Black Lion Award Board of Advisors.

Bob was a high-school All-American wrestler who went to West Point and while wrestling for Army was persuaded by Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik to turn out for football. By his senior year, he was an All-American as a two-way guard and linebacker on Army's unbeaten 1958 team.

After a brief tryout with the Baltimore Colts, the Army called, and he went on to a career in the military which included a tour in Vietnam. After that came a successful career in business.  But Bob will probably agree that his greatest accomplishment has been raising, with his wife Barb, some remarkable children.

Son MIchael, a former All-American wrestler at Princeton, runs an investment firm and has promoted the sport of wrestling worldwide, spearheading the successful fight to keep it in the Olympics.

Son Robert and his wife, Courtney are featured on the HGTV series "Homes by Novogratz."

And then there's daughter Jacqueline, who through her founding and management of the Acumen Fund has raised millions to help build and  improve infrastructure in Third World Countries.

She's described in The Daily Good… http://www.dailygood.org/story/638/the-marriage-of-love-and-power-gina-murdock/

Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a non-profit that raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. In this interview, she talks about her revolutionary approach to philanthropy that has impacted the lives of over 100 million people, what moved her to leave her safe world of banking to work with the poor, and the importance of humility and deep listening for anyone hoping to create deep change. Read on to learn about the journey of this self-proclaimed "relentless, pragmatic, determined optimist" who deeply believes in people and in human potential.

Listen to her describe her approach to helping people help themselves...

When I first went to Africa, I thought that I was personally going to save the continent, if not the world. The only way we really create change is to enter any situation with the humility to listen and to recognize the world as it is, and then the audacity to dream what it could be, to have the patience to start and let the work teach you, to be willing to lead when you need to lead, and to listen. To have a sense of generosity and empathy, but not over-empathy, because accountability is so critical to building solutions that work. If there’s one value that is immutable, it’s integrity or respect, for others and for yourself. The best change that comes to the world is when all parties are seeing each other as equal, and all parties have the opportunity to be transformed. That really goes back to the idea of dignity.

*********** I'm not a Beatles' historian by any means, but I was alive and breathing when they first arrived on the scene.  It was  February 9, 1964 - 50 years ago this Sunday - that they appeared on national television on The Ed Sullivan Show.  To be on The Ed Sullivan Show was to be in The Big Time. Now, though, 50 years later, few people have even heard of Ed Sullivan - but it's hard to find anyone, of any age, who hasn't heard of the Beatles.

For what it's worth, here are the songs they performed on that first-ever appearance in the US (great trivia question):

1. "All My Loving"
2. "Till There Was You," from the Broadway Musical "The Music Man, " in the words of Joe Fusilli, the Wall Street Journal's rock and pop music critic "a bone thrown to Sulivan's traditional viewership."
3. "She Loves You"
4. "I Saw Her Standing There"
5. "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Songs 1, 3, 4 and 5 were their own.

The Beatles, wrote Fusilli,  believed that their future lay in songwriting as much as in performing -  that their own original music would enhance their prospects of success. 

Good thinking, fellas.   Every one of their own songs that they performed that night, 50 years ago,  are considered  standards - all over the world.

*********** Attention Richard Sherman:  I'm reading a book given me some time ago by my son, entitled, "Among the Thugs," by Bill Buford. Fascinating. It was published in 1990, and it tells of the author's adventures among England's thuggish football (soccer) fans.  Believe me, the word "thug" is code for nothing.  It means what it's meant to mean. These guys were as rough and rowdy and nasty and, yes, criminal  as they come.  And,  with one or two notable exceptions, all-white.



american flagTUESDAY,  FEBRUARY 4,  2014 “The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense — he is always satisfied with himself.” Napoleon Bonaparte

*********** As the score mounted in Sunday's Super Bowl, the excitement I felt with every big Seattle play and every Broncos' screwup began to be tinged with more than a bit of sadness, not only for Peyton Manning, whose dismal performance took me back to the last days of John Unitas' career, but also for Denver's fans, as passionate a bunch as there is in the NFL.

And I did feel a bit of pity for the Fox network, because as the rout went on, fans everywhere tuned out.  I'm pinpointing  Percy Harvin's return of the second-half kickoff as the point where the TV ratings began to plummet.

Here's how it costs Fox money: advertisers are charged a certain fee - in the millions in this case - for time in the broadcast during which they run their commercials.  They are paying for an audience of a certain size, which the network guarantees. 

Should the audience fall below a certain size, as it undoubtedly did in the second half Sunday night, the network, rather than issue refunds, has to "make good" on the audience size it guaranteed. In this case it will do so by issuing what are called in the trade "make-goods" - free commercial time in other Fox broadcasts. This costs Fox money because when it gives away time in the form of make-goods, it's not able to sell that time to anyone else.

Dear Seahawks:  Thanks a lot.

Signed: Your friends at Fox

*********** That guy who ran the offense beautifully, without a single mishandling of the ball?  That was Russell Wilson, the Seahawks' quarterback.  Supposedly, if his team's good enough to make it to the Super Bowl, all a QB has to do is be a "caretaker."  To "manage the game." 

But Russell Wilson did more than manage. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and 2 TDS.  No interceptions, no sacks. At one point, he completed 11 straight.  Some caretaker.  Many of the completions were thread-the-needle, third-down jobs that kept drives alive. Oh - he was never sacked, and he ran for 26 yards.  That's more than Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball combined.

Yet the Super Bowl MVP is a linebacker?

Yes, yes - I know - he recovered a fumble and returned an interception for a TD.

Yes, yes - I know - the play of Seahawks' defense was the main reason they won the game.  But he was just one member of that unit.

And very term "MVP" means Most Valuable PLAYER - one player, singular - and it seems to me that the single guy most responsible for Seattle's win, other than Peyton Manning (sorry about that cheap shot, but it's true) had to be Russell Wilson.

Oh, well.  Life's not fair.  So they tell me.

*********** Give someone in Seattle credit.  In a league where money talks, it's not unusual for the money side of the organization to decree that solid veteran be benched and the high-priced rookie sent out to play, ready or not.

By the same token, what organization would spend a lot of money on a veteran quarterback, and then give the job to a 5-11 rookie, drafted in the third round?

I doubt that many organizations would have given Russell Wilson, the rookie, the job ahead of Matt Flynn, the veteran.

But the Seahawks did. And there they are.

*********** Tripping is really a chickensh-- act, unbecoming a football player.  I can't believe the penalty for it is only 10 yards.

*********** The NFL keeps telling us that player safety comes before anything else. So why, I can hear the lawyer for the injured player asking the NFL lawyer,  do you permit players to take part in this dangerous sport, without making sure they've fastened their chin straps?

Why, since you assure mothers of young players that you're seeing to it that their little boys' coaches are
trained in the proper fitting of helmets - by your designates - don't you afford that same protection to your own players?

*********** "It's not embarrassing at all. I would never use that word," said Peyton Manning, after some twerp asked him if it was. "There's a lot of professional football players in that locker room that put in a lot of work into being here, playing in that game. That word 'embarrassing' is an insulting word, to tell you the truth."

Spoken like a man who knows how to handle life's highs and lows better than most.

*********** Jeez, Joe Namath's a pain in the ass.

Full disclosure: I didn't like him when he played. I thought he was a jerk.  Yes, he was good.  But he wasn't that good.  In Detroit or Cleveland, he'd have been just another guy with a good arm.  They would never have understood full-length mink coats. But he played in New York, where the media swallowed his act whole.  (I also didn't like him because he and the Jets beat the Colts in that  %$#@#$^ Super Bowl.)

To say the least, he hasn't aged well. And as happens so often to young playboys grown into old rakes, he comes across as a dirty old man.  And no one seems to have the heart to tell him.  I mean, please - wearing a fur coat out to the coin toss?  For once, I found myself rooting for PETA - wishing an activist could break through security and come rushing onto the field with a bucket of red paint.

Anyhow, in the days leading up to the game, he reveled in all the attention, talking about his many ailments to media dwarfs who've only recently discovered that football results in injuries.  And one of the things he said was that he couldn't blame parents for not wanting their little boys to play football.

This from a guy completely oblivious to the irony that instead of begin adored by the New York media, without football he'd have been sitting on a park bench back in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania drinking cheap wine and feeding pigeons.

*********** I have to admit that after all my complaining about how tired I was of the TV peoples' infatuation with  Peyton's actions at the line, I laughed  when the first snap went flying past his ear and into the end zone.

*********** The Denver defense looked absolutely befuddled by a couple of fly sweeps.  Laughed my ass off.

These, remember, are the pros,  the people who like to use terms like "high school offense" to deride something like - a fly sweep.

The TV guys kept referring to it as a "reverse."

*********** That opera singer who sang the national anthem? I imagine they paid her by the hour.

Enough.

If I should return to this world - if that's the Lord's will - I will request that it be to some land with a stirring national anthem that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stick out.

*********** It was Super Bowl Sunday, and I bet you thought you could get away from Washington bullsh-- for a while, didn't you?

Yeah, right. Think again.

There's an interview with His Worship, on Fox.

There's a recitation of the Declaration of Independence - for what reason I have no idea, unless the NFL is trying to turn Super Bowl Sunday into the winter version of July 4 - by various NFL types… with, batting cleanup,  the wives of Biden and Obama.

And - to show that even in Puppy Bowl there's no escaping it, there's Mrs. Obama and the first dogs, enjoying a romp on the White House lawn. (White House. You know - that place that belongs to you that you can't visit.)

*********** I thought the commercials were a bit lame this year.

There was the usual potty humor,  to go with the requisite shot or two to a guy's crotch (why is it usually an older guy?)

And there was the commercial in which some guy was eating Greek yogurt and left some on his lips.  A pretty girl swipes it off with her finger and licks the finger; then - he's very clever - he informs her that he's got some more on his lips, and this time, she kisses it off.

Not one to stop there - I told you he was clever - now he informs her that's he's spilled some more, and indicates that this time it's down in the nether regions.

Now granted, my vision of a woman smacks the guy and/or says, what do you think I am, anyhow?  But this one, as if to confirm the unfortunate image of today's woman as being, um, "sexually loose," looks as if she's giving the idea of a BJ serious consideration.

Better watch out, fella -  tomorrow she'll claim you forced her to do it.

But generally speaking, they were at least watchable by kids.

There was the usual Budweiser horse spot, aimed mostly at people who don't drink beer, but at least this year they didn't  insinuate that they were an American company.  No, patriotism being the last refuge of a scoundrel, this year AbInbev, the Belgian corporation that owns Budweiser, went the patriotic route, featuring a soldier just returned from overseas being given  a parade in his honor - incuding the famous Clydesdales.

The horses were the pride of the late August "Gussie" Busch, one-time owner of Anheuser-Busch (and the St. Louis Cardinls), back when A-B was a real American company.  It costs AbInbev a lot to keep them. My prediction is that most of you will live to see the day when those magnificent animals wind up on the menus of European restaurants.

*********** Creepy. David  Beckham romping around in his skivvies.  Didin't he used to play soccer or some damn thing?  Are washed-up soccer players really that good at selling things?

Are women really turned on by all those tattoos?  What sort of women would they be, anyhow?

*********** Love the GEICO pig at the DMV counter.  The woman is really good.  I swear she's the one who  once told me to get back behind the red line.

*********** The Tim Tebow ("Having a contract holds you back") T-Mobile ads are really good.  They used the fact that he is highly recognizable and that everyone knows his contractual situation to make their point (T-Mobile doesn't require a contract), and with it all, he does a pretty good job of acting.

*********** I'm a Ford guy but I really liked the Chevy truck commercials.  The one with the bull being hauled in the trrailer en route to a romantic assignment with some lovely females was pretty funny.

And the one showing the farm/ranch couple driving through a western scene is very touching.  The woman looks out the window, pensive, and then reaches over the console for her husband's hand.   He's a man's man, and salt-of-the-earth pickup-driving kind of guy, and he holds it reassuringly. She's wearing a wedding ring.  You get the idea they've been through things together, and then at the end we're told to support this or that cancer fund.  The only negative - for me - was the music.  It really sucked, and I almost didn't stay to the end.  The second time I saw it, I muted the set and really enoyed the spot.

*********** Liked the Toyota Highlander commercial with the guy being abducted by Muppets - "Singing Vegetables!"

*********** Chrysler's ad - Bob Dylan or not - was some POS saying that you don't want you beer made in Germany and you don't want your phone made in Asia, so we Americans will build you car.  I suppose they're banking on the fact that most Americans don't know that Chrysler is 100 per cent owned by Fiat - an Italian company - making this commercial just as suitable for any Japanese, Korean or German car made someplace in America by Americans.

*********** Liked the Radio Shack commercial introducing the New Radio Shack - "The 80's are calling and they want their store back."

*********** I think Bank of America wants you to buy some music and they'll contribute money to fight AIDS or some damn thing.

*********** I was shocked and appalled by the Coca-Cola spot in which "America the Beautiful" is sung - in several different languages.

Shocked that the people at Coke have so little respect for those of us old farts who've lived here long enough that we can remember a country where being American and speaking English were one and the same. No, we weren't perfect.  Our President has been pleased to make that clear to other nations.   But I have to tell you that, with a few exceptions, it was a better America than the one we live in today.

Appalled that the Forces of Those Who Know What's Best For Us (those folks who gave us gay "marriage" and took away trans-fats) continue to hammer away at their "our diversity is our strength" message, as if it's an indisputable truth.

Yes, perhaps anticipating the anger of people like me, the Coca-Cola people did include an American Indian speaking