2015   CLINICS

Coach Wyatt's "News You Can Use"

american flag TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1,  2015

*********** Saturday’s games produced some very interesting results…

Houston over Navy.  Wow.  The big Houston crowd got its money's worth.  (My grandson, who goes to Houston, was in line at 7 AM Saturday when student tickets went on sale.)   When Navy’s QB throws for over 200 yards, you know something’s wrong.  That something was Navy’s running game, shut down by Houston’s defense.  And Navy's defense was no match for Houston's offense. 

Florida had a great season - Jim McElwain may be the Coach of the Year - but the Gators simply aren’t ready for the Seminoles yet.

Ditto Michigan.  Harbaugh did a great job of coaching this season, but Michigan hasn’t closed the gap between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes. My wife and I joked about what the over-under was on the number of times the announcers would say “Joey Bosa.”

They played in two separate games, but with a conference championship at stake, Iowa (over Nebraska) and Michigan State (over Penn State) both  showed that they’re solid clubs. The winner of their game next week will be a worthy representative of the Big Ten in the Playoff.

Oklahoma went into Stillwater and proved - to me, at least - that the Big 12 deserves a team in this year’s playoff, and the Sooners are it.

Washington State showed that a passing team,  built as most are around a  QB, is only as good as that QB, and with theirs, Luke Falk, sidelined by a concussion, they got run off the field by the Washington Huskies.

Auburn gave Alabama a game of it for a while, but Bama was just too tough.  Derrick Henry? 46 carries for 271 yards? I mentioned the 271 yards at dinner and my daughter said, “yeah, but he had 46 carries…” And I answered, “Can you imagine how it would feel after running the ball 46 times against an SEC team?”

Mississippi over Mississippi State.  It was 38-27, but it appeared like a worse beating.

LSU over Texas A & M, and Les MIles saves his job.

Georgia over Georgia Tech, and Mark Richt loses his.

TCU over Baylor.  Sorry, but there’s something about Baylor’s Art Briles that comes across to me as arrogant - we’re just gonna spread you out and throw the ball all over the place, blah, blah, blah.  Maybe that’s just me.  But it happened to rain like hell all game, stifling the Baylor passing game somewhat, and when it came down to a real football play, when Baylor faced a fourth-and-one, the Bears came up short, looking as if that type of football was something new and strange.

Oregon and Oregon State?  The final score was 52-42, Ducks, but it was much closer than that.  At the half it was 31-7, Ducks.  Game over.  And then evidently the Oregon guys forgot how the resentment felt by a bunch of guys only a half hour away in distance but light years away in national reputation and advantages can motivate them.  The Ducks, who’d been running wild in recent weeks as their rent-a-QB Vernon Adams adjusted to their offense, jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead.   But the Beavers, winless in the Pac 12, scored 35 second-half points.  Held to just 96 yards of offense in the first half, they shredded the Ducks for 331 in the seconds. With mere minutes to play, Oregon was barely hanging onto a 45-42 lead.

USC over UCLA. Jeez.  Those Trojans, after all they’ve gone through, are going to the conference championship game against Stanford.

The Notre Dame tradition of getting calls to go its way worked against the Irish when the official replay ruled (incorrectly, it appeared) that Irish QB DeShone Kizer had bulled his way in for a score with 30 seconds left.  Notre Dame kicked the extra point to go ahead, but Stanford still had three time outs remaining, and that was enough time for the Cardinal to move into range to make the game-winning field goal.   Had Kizer been ruled down a yard away from scoring, the Irish probably would have scored on the next play, or the one after that, and Stanford wouldn’t have had enough time - or timeouts - to come from behind.

BROWNS FG TEAM*********** Monday Night Football... Poor Cleveland fans.  Their Browns tie the game late, then get into position for a game-winning field goal, only to lose on the last play of the game - when the field goal is blocked and returned for a touchdown - but they have to lose to the RAVENS - the reincarnation of the old Cleveland Browns after Art Modell moved them to Baltimore.  

Now, then - if you have a chance to look at any replays - check out how TWO men on the left side of the Browns’ field goal team get absolutely blown backward, enabling  a Raven to slip through a gap and get his hand up to block the kick.

Having the kick blocked is probably poetic jusice, considering the way #72 (who winds up on his back) is clearly cheating, arms outstretched. His inside arm appears locked with that of #74. Ordinarily, hidden away in the interior line, he'd get away with that crap scot free - as if the league's 80+ per-cent field goal rate needs any further assistance. It does  seem to me entirely possible that  the reason he'll end up on his ass is because his "blocking technique" causes him to  stand upright, allowing him to be toppled by the charge of two Ravens. 

John Harbaugh said it was probably one of the greatest games you'll ever see in terms of excitement. Coach Harbaugh can be forgiven, because he's probably working on Saturdays and doesn't get to see any college football, where there are a dozen or so exciting games on the tube every week.

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

First I want to send a quick note to congratulate you on a great season.  I was following this year on "the news" and it was fun reading the stories and cheering you guys on from afar.  One of my favorite things of running this offense is the network of peers across the country that I have great respect for and have learned from or shared ideas with through the years that I check up on each Saturday with hopes of their success.  Although, I'm sure in time we all evolve in different directions many many of us have been greatly influenced by your system.   I also wanted to share that we had a great season this fall finishing 10-3 and earning our first trip to the Semifinals in school history and setting a school record for wins.  In four years we are 34-11 with two district titles and a regional championship.  One of our losses we got redemption in the playoffs this year and the other two were both state finalist in different classes.  We set nearly every offensive record this year scoring 497 points.  In our four years at Whiteford we have had 3 different kids throw for over 1,000 yards but only 1 rusher run for 1,000 yards this is mostly a byproduct of us having numerous talented boys who share the ball in the run game.  I believe we have come a long way since taking over a losing program in 2011.  With my 120 mile drive everyday between my day job, coaching job, and home we are hoping to keep it going as long as we can as our QB and two tackles were sophomores and we had our schools first ever 9-0 JV squad so we are certain there is a bright future.  Although the offense has evolved a great deal since you taught it to Jeff Baker and Ray Schmidt back in 1997 I do think if you watched us play with our formational adjustments and base schemes you would certainly be able to smile and see your influence.  

God Bless, Jason Mensing
Head Football Coach
Whiteford High School Supervisor/Learning Whiteford, Michigan

Coach Mensing,

Thanks for the note.

I appreciate the well-wishes.

My congratulations to you, too, on your successful season.  You certainly have brought the program a long way, and I hope that you are still up to all the driving.

I was willing and able to do it when I was younger, and sometimes it’s a small price to pay to find a good place to coach where you’re appreciated.

And while I’m sure that, just as all coaches are different, and our systems may have evolved in different ways, I’m quite sure that our similarities are more numerous than our differences.

Thanks again.  Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving and you’re looking forward to the Christmas holidays.

*********** New Zealanders paid a  very sad farewell to  rugby great Jonah Lomu, who died way too soon.  Watching his former All-Blacks teammates send him off with one final Haka   is one of the most moving scenes I’ve seen in all my years of watching sports.


*********** There are many examples of people whose lives have been turned around thanks to getting a second chance. 

And then there’s Demarcus Robinson…

A little over an hour before kickoff against Florida State Saturday, Florida announced that the star wide receiver  was suspended from the team.

I can't imagine they hadto print up any special statement - you know, the usual “bad choices,” “violation of team rules” bulls—.  All they had to do was  reach into the  “ROBINSON, DEMARCUS” folder and pull out one of the three already in there.

See, it was the guy’s FOURTH suspension since coming to Florida.  At least.

They’re slow learners down there.


*********** Jonny Manziel… Would you keep a quarterback of such low character - one who’ll lie to you like a seven-year-old?

If a guy will lie to you, he’ll do anything.

Congratulations, all you people who enabled him over the years - instead of stepping up and telling him, “Look, Jonny - this sh—t’s got to stop.”

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

I'm conflicted on the whole Les Miles issue.  On the one hand,  I think he's a classy, high character individual.  He's had a ton of success at LSU, done some great things as a coach, and has been loyal to the program for 11 years now, which I believe makes him the second longest tenured football coach in the school's history.  He's also got the highest winning percentage in the school's football history, ahead of Saban, Arnsparger, and Biff Jones.  You can't argue with his record at all. 

On the other hand,  the offensive issues are frustrating, to say the least.  You can fire your OC, you can fire your QBs coach, and that may solve the problem,  but those issues were in place before Kragthorpe and Cameron got there.  The  winning percentage in the conference has gone down, and some fairly high profile in-state recruits- Eddie Lacy, Landon Collins, Dak Prescott, IMG's Shea Patterson (formerly of Calvary Baptist in Shreveport), and Ole Miss's Jason Pellerin- have shunned LSU for other schools within the conference.  Something has to change.

I must agree that Alleva made an ass of himself publicly for at least the second time in his career (see: Duke lacrosse); I think he neither had as much support as he thought he might, nor could he get who her high profile candidate he desired (Jimbo Fisher?).

I just want our Tigers to play better. And, to beat Alabama like red-headed stepchildren.  Maybe, as a result of all this unwanted attention, they can refocus and do exactly that.

Take care,

Josh Montgomery
Berwick, Louisiana

I understand your frustrations perfectly.

Unfortunately, I suspect that people at Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, etc.  feel pretty much the same way. They run big-time programs too, with knockout facilties, highly-rated recruits and well-paid coaches.  Their donors stand ready with open checkbooks to do whatever they're asked to do, and sometimes what they're asked not to do.

Alabama with its consistent success is the anomaly, but the reality, despite all the extravagant preseason predictions, is that the most that the rest of the SEC fan bases can reasonably expect is to win a little more than their share most of the time, with an occasional breakthrough.

Mark Richt, who just “came to a mutual agreement” with the people at Georgia that it was “time to step down,” might have been speaking for any SEC coach when he said,  "I think the expectations have been built to the point that if you don't win a championship it's kind of miserable around here.”

***********  Fresh on the heels of the Les Miles lovefest at Tiger stadium,  the LSU suits hit the brakes just inches short of plunging into a deep pool of  sh— that it would have taken them years to wash off, and jammed the gears into reverse.

They still want blood, of course, and if somebody has to die (figuratively, that is), my guess is that it will be LSU AD Joe Alleva, who, in front of a national TV audience,  made about as weak and shifty an announcement as  I’ve heard in a long time.

"Obviously there's been quite a bit of speculation the past few days about the future of our football coach and football program. I made it very clear that my policy is to wait until the end of the season, and obviously it's the end of the regular season right now.

"The season is complete and I want to make it very clear and positive that Les Miles is our football coach and will continue to be our football coach. Okay?”

My guess is that after dumping Alleva,  they’ll bring in somebody new whose assignment will be to bide his time until he can find a way to fire Les -  and then, like a good soldier,  take the heat for it.

I know how things used to work down there, and they probably still work that way.  My former boss, Bob Brodhead, was hired as AD at LSU with (he told me) the specific assignment to fire head coach Jerry Stovall, who had originally been hired in a pinch after newly-hired Bo Rein’s plane went out of control and went down in the Atlantic.

The Stovall firing was highly controversial, because despite his less-than-stellar record (7-4, 3-7-1, 8-3-1 and 4-7), he was very popular as a Louisiana guy who'd played at LSU and then had a nice career in the NFL.  Nobody on the inside dared fire him, so they brought in an outsider, Bob Brodhead, to do their dirty work.

Bob went on to accomplish all sorts of good things at LSU - at one point in his regime, LSU was one of the few colleges ever to have its football team in a bowl game, its basketball team in the Final Four and its baseball team in the College World Series in the same year - but he never could  win over the mass of LSU people, who came to call him “Bottom Line Bob."

While Alleva never got around to pulling the pin on  Les Miles, he’s going to have a very difficult time dispelling the suspicion that he had every intention of doing so, and, only backed off in the face of a popular uprising in support of the coach.

Or after Jimbo Fisher turned him down.


*********** JACOB EASON - PART ONE.

Jacob Eason, considered to be either the #1 or #2 QB prospect in the country, depending on which experts you believe, led his Lake Stevens, Washington team to an unbeaten regular season and into Saturday night's  state Class 4A (largest class) semifinals.

But his high school career came to an abrupt end when Lake Stevens fell to Skyline High of Sammamish, 37-34.

Eason finished the game 24 of 42 for 390 yards, with two touchdowns. But he was intercepted once and fumbled once.

His counterpart from Skyline, Blake Gregory, was no less impressive, completing 22 of 28 for 436 yards and three touchdowns.

The ending of the game came as close to a cluster—k as any game I’ve ever seen  two good, well-coached teams play.

With 4:15 remaining,  down by 3 points and facing a 4th and 23 on their own 18,  Lake Stevens went for it.  And failed.

Skyline took over, and with the game now somewhat in hand, chose to throw the ball.  Three straight times.  The three straight passes produced three straight incompletions.  And barely moved the clock.

And then they missed a field goal attempt.

When Lake Stevens took over again, on their own 20,  3:52 remained.

Figure it out: they’d gained two yards - and a fresh set of downs - and it had only cost them  23 seconds.

They drove the ball to the Skyline 30, doing what they do best - throwing the ball, and with 1:52 on the clock,  plenty of time remained.

But out of nowhere came a decision for Eason to run.

It could only be because the Lake Stevens coaches figured they had the element of surprise going for them - Eason, 6-5, 205,  is a classic pocket passer with enough quickness to move around as a passer, but nowhere need the speed and strength to be a threat as a runner.

Unfortunately for Lake Stevens and Jacob Eason,  the kid fumbled, and Skyline took over.

Even then, Skyline couldn’t close it out.

Lake Stevens got one more chance, but Skyline sealed the deal with an interception at the end.


Jacob Eason, of Lake Stevens, Washington, a Seattle suburb,  is one of the nation’s top QB prospects. He’s  been committed to Georgia for quite some time. 

Said Georgia just felt right.

Said going far away to school didn’t bother him - his dad, who grew up in Snohomish, Washington, did the same thing when he went away to play at Notre Dame.

Said that Georgia coach Mark Richt had a lot to do with his decision.

Coach  Richt caused a bit of a sensation this past season when he hopped a plane after a Georgia game to fly cross-country just for a visit.

Last spring, the Atlanta Journal-Constituion sent a reporter to Seattle to observe Eason during spring practice, and here’s one of the things the QB said to him...

“With Coach Richt, it’s hard not to trust a guy like that. I knew he was going to get a good guy, and that’s what he did. Coach Schottenheimer (new Georgia OC) didn’t skip a beat, and I still stay in touch with Coach Bobo (former Georgia OC) at Colorado State. I wish him the best of luck there. He is a great guy. With Schottenhiemer or Bobo, I would still have gone to UGA because Coach Richt was there. I believe in him. He’s a family guy. He has good faith, and he has good moral values. Those are things I look up to. The coaching staff, the players, the fan base, and the community – it’s all top-notch at UGA.”

Eason’s been planning to graduate early so he could enroll at UGA for spring semester.

And reportedly, he’s been active in helping to encourage other recruits around the country to come to Georgia.

And now…

Once the news of Mark Richt’s firing by Georgia became public, there's no doubt that the phone’s been ringing in the Eason house.

The kid's coach  announced on Monday that the Georgia commitment is now in a "holding pattern," whatever that means, but since MIke Leach had already paid a visit, it would seem that it means all bets are off. 

Eason’s original short list, other than Georgia, was Washington, UCLA, Alabama, Michigan and Stanford.

Nice move, Georgia. Sounds as if you may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.






american flag FRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 27,  2015-   "Yes, alcohol kills. But it's very selective. It kills only the brain cells that contain good sense, shame, embarrassment and restraint."   P. J. O’Rourke

*********** Thanksgiving Day, 2015.  It was only 9:30 AM on the West Coast, but with all the things that I had to be thankful for, I’d already found something else  - the so-called “National Anthem” delivered to us by some teenager at the Lions-Eagles game was finally at an end, and I'd never have to hear it again.

And  then, along came the halftime rapper, and when he was done, I had even more to be thankful for…

*********** Western Washington University closed down - suspended classes - on Tuesday because - I am not kidding - someone reported seeing a threat to  “students of color” on a phone app called Yik Yak.

University President Bruce Shepard said he decided to suspend classes out of concern for "the safety of all students."

At the time of this writing, no one had yet seen any evidence of the actual  threat.

Tuesday was going to be the last day of classes before the Thanksgiving break anyhow, but the drastic action by President Shepard did seem somewhat consistent with the recent wacko goings-on at colleges around the nation.

A quick check of local media indicated that the problem might trace to an on-campus controversy over the school’s mascot - a Viking.  President Shepard poured gasoline on the fire when he sent out an email asking readers, “Does a Eurocentric and male mascot point to the future we wish to embrace? Or to the past we would move beyond? And, is this, then, an image all can identify with?”

Did you get that? The Viking is - gasp! - Eurocentric! And - omigod! - Male!  How can we all "identify with" that?

President Shepard is due to retire soon.  His stay at Western has been, to say the least,  controversial.

In 2012, he told incoming students, "If in the decades ahead we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university."

In April, 2014, still worshipping at the altar of the great god Diversity, he said in a commencement speech that Western was “too white” - that it needed to become “more diverse.”

He really should have done his homework before coming to Washington.  The state’s 80 per cent white, for God's sake.  The next largest group, according to the most recent census figures, is Hispanics, followed by Asians, then “more than one race,” then, in fifth place, blacks. 
Most of the state's minorities live in the large Seattle-Tacoma area, and Western's in a small city, Belingham, two hours north near the Canadian border.

Shortly after he arrived on campus, Shepard infuriated a large number of Western alumni - and wasted one of  Western Washington’s best means of attracting minority students - when  he unilaterally killed the school’s football program,  which had accounted for a majority of WWU’s black male students.


*********** Those damn Scots and their pink soccer uniforms!

How did we let them beat us to it?


***********  Junior John Bledsoe completed 28 of 34 passes - including his first 19 in a row - for 238 yards and 4 tds as Summit High of Bend, Oregon defeated Crater High of Central Point, 41-7, in an Oregon state Class 5A (second largest class) semifinal.

Summit  (11-1)  has won 9 straight and outscored opponents by 352 points, and will meet Ashland (10-2) Saturday for the Class 5A state title

Here’s where it gets good: Summit’s loss came in the third week of the season when it fell, 15-14 - toAshland.

Another point of interest: John Bledsoe’s dad, Drew (the same)  is Summit’s offensive coordinator.

Drew Bledsoe, himself the son of a high school coach, is also a partner in a successful winery venture in his hometown of Walla Walla, Washington.

***********  How the West was won, 21st Century version…

The village alarm bell goes off -

The farmers drop their plows and leave the fields…

The women gather up the children…

All flee to the safety of the tan walls and soft couches and soothing music of Fort Safe Space.  

Someone has spotted hate speechers

***********   If you’re a devout Muslim refugee, you might not feel Cajun Country (Avoyelles Parish, at least) is best the place for you to resettle once you’ve seen your first cochon de lait.


(Spend a little time rummaging around that web site - Southern Foodways Alliance - it’s a fantastic look at real Red State southern culture.)

***********   Coach Wyatt,

I forwarded the Moschino Barbie advert to a few friends of mine along with the header, "The Effects of Youth Soccer."


Dave Potter
Assistant Coach
Durham Strike Eagles
Durham, North Carolina

*********** My friend Steve Jones, longtime coach in Mississippi, write to tell me that he’s retired and taken a job coaching - but not teaching - in Amite (that’s “AY-meet”) Louisiana.

Amite’s having a great year, and Coach Jones wrote to tell me about their playoff game last weekend -

Coach Wyatt, We traveled 6 hours to Springhill, Louisiana Friday to face 10-2 North Webster. About 2 hours prior to game time, we found out their 2 star players with SEC offers had been arrested that morning at school for rape of a 14 year old girl.  The most touted was Devin White, a 6'2" 245 lb. RB/LB. He sports about 20 D-1 offers including Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and many others.

We decided not to say anything to our kids. However, when warm ups begin, the 2 are warming up with the team. White scored 3 TD's against us and rushed for 155 yards and caught three passes for 51 yards. The other kid had 8 tackles.

The Superintendent said the kids were able to play until further investigation.

Well, they will have plenty of time to investigate now. Because we beat them 45-42.

This superintendent and Head coach are now being blasted by the media. Check it out in the SHREVEPORT TIMES. 

Steve Jones
Amite, Louisiana

(The story)

Roy Lang III, Shreveport Times

Here’s the plan if you happen to get arrested at school on game day — even if you pose for your mug shot wearing your school’s latest playoff football shirt or jersey with our name on it. Even if you, at the age of 17 or 18, admit to “trying” to have sex with a 14-year-old.

Just post bail and be at the stadium in time for kickoff. If you can make that happen, you’re good to play.

That’s the precedent that’s been set at North Webster High School.

This is completely and incomprehensibly unacceptable.

Friday, less than 12 hours after Devin White and Keuntra Gipson were arrested and charged with misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile, they took the field in Springhill for a second-round playoff game against Amite.


***********  Don’t look now, but it sure seems as if the NFL is starting to relapse  into its old self -  a series of  field goal kicking contests.

*********** There can no longer be any question… Jonny Manziel is one sick puppy.

There are reports that  despite his pledge to stay clean during the Browns’  off week, he not only got caught red-handed drinking and partying but then, confronted with video evidence, he lied, saying that the video was a couple of year old, and persuaded his friends to cover for him.



flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 24,  2015-   "Leadership is the skill of infusing your teammates to work enthusiastically toward our team goals."   Chris Peterson


***********   Several years ago, my wife and I were back in Lexington, Virginia, visiting one of her classmates from college, Virginia Dabney, and her husband, Bill.  

Bill Dabney was quite a guy, a retired Marine colonel who as a young platoon leader in Vietnam had endured the terrible 77-day siege of Khe Sanh.  For his bravery in combat, Bill was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest honor (other than the Medal of Honor) that the Marines can bestow.

Virginia’s father - Bill’s father-in-law - was the legendary General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller.  You want to know how respected General Puller is, even still?  Go up to anyone you know who’s served in the Marine Corps and ask him what the name “Chesty” means.

General Puller’s biography is entitled, simple, “Marine.”

Needless to say. Bill had quite a few Chesty Puller stories that he was kind enough to share with me.  And he passed along some of Chesty’s wisdom as well.

He said that Chesty maintained that there were only four reasons we should ever go to war:

1. National security

2. Resources

3. Markets

4. Cultural affinity

*********** “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.”

That's the mission statement, believe it or not.

“Excellence with integrity," muses Thom Loverro in the Washington Times.  “Who would have thought?”

Loverro runs down the list of those recent winners (Newton, Manziel, Winston) who came up short - way short - on the integrity, and without disparaging any other contenders for this year’s award, makes a strong case for Navy’s Keenan Reynolds.

Count me as a supporter of Reynolds, a great option quarterback and, by all accounts, a great young man.

*********** I read recently that sometime in the 1980's, after Army lost to Oklahoma, Sooner coach Barry Switzer said to Army's Jim Young, "You don't have a player who could make the Sooner scrub team," to which Coach Young replied, "And you, Sir, don't have one student in the University of Oklahoma that could be a Cadet at the United States Military Academy."

Wow. Touche.

Great story.

Except for one thing - it didn't happen.

Couldn't have.

Jim Young coached at West Point (Army) from 1983 through 1990 but he never coached against Oklahoma, much less Barry Switzer

Barry Switzer coached at Oklahoma from 1973 through 1988 but he never coached against Army.

The story is just believable enough, given Switzer's tendency to crack wise, and given some of the characters that he recruited to play at Oklahoma.

But it's only fair to mention that he also recruited people such as J.C. Watts, who would be a credit to any university and in my view would have been an excellent West Point cadet and US Army officer.

And in fairness to the University of Oklahoma itself, Bob Kalsu, the only NFL player killed in action in Vietnam, was a Sooner.

***********  Mike Tirico  is just the fourth person to do the  the play-by-play in more than 40-years of Monday Night Football.  

FYI: He was preceded by  Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford and Al Michaels

*********** A week ago it was the Jets in all-green against the Bills in all-fire-engine-red.

This past week it was the Titans in all-Carolina-blue versus the Jaguars in all-uh, what?

Covered in a gold/yellow/mustard hue so ugly that the traces of chocolate-brown on them would have be classified as highlights, the Jags were hideous from the shoulders down to their shoes.  Only those goofy-ass helmets would have given viewers any clues that they were watching the London Jaguars.

Given that Jacksonville might have looked good in nearly any combination of black, gold or white shirts and black, gold or white pants, you just knew that given NFL tastes, they’d opt for either all black or all gold.

Actually,  their color was teal, which at the time was the colour du jour but evidently has lost its cachet.

Someone with a real sense of design has got to get to these people and inform them that a solid  color, especially without a contrasting color to separate top from bottom, defies all design standards.

But then, perhaps it’s in the standard  NFL contract  that every so often the players get to design the game uniforms.  If you’ve seen what some of those characters wear off the field, it makes sense.

*********** You can call it what you want.  But when a toy company thinks it’s safe to show a rather effeminate little boy in a commercial for the latest Barbie doll, I call it another sign of the degradation of our society.


*********** A recent poll showed that 53 percent of Americans say they “feel like a stranger” in their own country.

For the most part, those disenchanted Americans are older, white southerners with less than a college education.

Maybe so, but here’s one older, white Northwesterner with a Master’s degree and enough credits for a doctorate, and I feel the same way.

I see gay marriage and legal marijuana and teenage abortion  and a war on religion and sievelike  borders admitting people with no intention of assimilating  and unspeakable corruption at the highest levels of government and a lack of trust in our election process and a President who acts independent of the Constitution and the breakdown of  the family and… the list is endless.

What it all adds up to is that simply, this is not the America that I grew up in and had faith in.

The news media have had great fun ignoring us, if not deriding us, but while our numbers are declining as a per cent of the population, there’s still an awful lot of us - a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by at least one clever politician.
We remember an America better than the one we’re living in now - an America whose people loved it and respected it, who shared common values and aspirations.  And Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” hits home with us.


*********** There’s no doubt that racism exists in the United States. Show me the place in the world where it doesn’t.

But what does racism - real, ugly racism -  have to do with what’s going on in our  colleges, where spoiled, narcissistic brats, most of whom have never known hardship and few of whom have ever held down a job insist on speech restrictions, “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” to protect them from the bogeyman.  And special “sensitivity” classes for all students.

With a world on edge, college students with way too much time on their hands occupy themselves by insisting on “safe space” to shield them from what they insist are racist slights.  “Safe space” certainly sounds like segregation. Self-segregation, for those and others who look like them.

Sorry, guys.  But  thanks to the efforts of thousands upon thousands of courageous Americans,  ours is no longer a segregated society.

In a well-intentioned effort to help things along, colleges all over the United States have bent over backwards to foster the cause of “diversity,”   providing special remedial programs,  specially-designed majors, special advisors and tutors, funding for student organizations, a host of diversity and affirmative action administrators and copious amounts of financial aid. And spineless college administrations eager to cave in to their every “demand.”

If after all this,  minority students still require a “safe space,” then maybe what they’re saying is that despite what their elders claimed in their struggle for civil rights, they’re not ready to deal with the demands of an integrated society, and they need to stop taking up spaces in those colleges that other students were denied.

***********A black student at Columbia University claims she has suffered severe emotional trauma from having to take Columbia’s current Core Curriculum, which requires all students to take a series of six classes which focus on Western  European civilization.

(Meaning - gasp! - lots of white people.)

“It’s traumatizing to sit in Core classes,” she said. “We are looking at history through the lens of these powerful, white men. I have no power or agency as a black woman, so where do I fit in?”

My response to her would be, "Maybe you don't.   Maybe it would be best if you were to go someplace else where you do fit it, and give up your spot to someone who will appreciate - and benefit from - a Columbia education."


***********  Sorry to hear about your loss on Friday.  Know the feeling when you are out manned.  Just wanted to let you know I'm still at St Joseph's coaching 8-man.  This season we didn't have the most athletic lineman so I decided to use inside hand down like you teach to get to the POA faster.  Tried it my first year coaching but it didn't do anything special  Guess it was the rookie coach.  This season a different story.  We had over 4200 yards rushing and had a back with over 2000 yards and another a freshman with almost 1200. The biggest thing I noticed was how much easier it was to run wedge.  The lineman loved it.  I worked less on wedge this season and had more success the only thing I can really attribute that to was going to an inside hand down stance.  Thanks again.

Thank You,

Tom Davis
San Marcos, California


Thanks for the thought!

Very glad to hear of your success - also that the “inside hand down” was helpful.

Wish I could take credit for the idea, but it came to me via Woody Hayes, who said that the number one job of a lineman was to protect his inside gap, and if he could he’d have all left-handers on the right side of the line, and all right handers on the left side, and he’d never worry about the inside gaps.

I have found plenty of other advantages to having the inside hand down, and I’m glad that you have, too!

(Whenever I watch a Double Wing team, that’s one of the things I look at in trying to determine where they got their info.)

Thanks again for writing!

*********** A great article on the the “unique relationship” between Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo…



IRVING, Texas (Nov. 20, 2015) – Yale University and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Dick Jauron with an NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute, presented by Fidelity Investments, on Saturday, Nov. 21, in New Haven, Conn., during the 132nd edition of the Harvard-Yale game. Coverage of the game will start at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

“I am extremely honored to represent my family, my teammates, my coaches and Yale University in the College Hall of Fame Class of 2015,” Jauron told the New Haven Register after the announcement in January.

The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program, which began with the inaugural class in 1951, has become a hallowed tradition, and to this day the singular events remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.

“Dick Jauron was simply one of the greatest running backs in Ivy League history,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “The All-American set multiple school records while excelling off the field as an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. We are thrilled to honor him in front of the Eli faithful at the Yale Bowl.”

A First Team All-American following his senior year, Jauron received the Asa S. Bushnell Cup as the league’s Player of the Year and was a First Team All-Ivy League selection all three years of his career from 1970-72. Yale’s team MVP in 1972, he led the Bulldogs in rushing all three seasons and his 2,947 career rushing yards remained a school record until 2000.

Playing under College Football Hall of Fame coach Carm Cozza, Jauron also set school records for consecutive 100-yard rushing games with five and career 100-yard rushing games with 16. Named the Outstanding Player in New England in 1972, he also received the Nils V. “Swede” Nelson Award for sportsmanship as a junior, and he played in the 1973 East-West Shrine Game. Jauron also excelled in the classroom and was named an NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 1972.

Taken in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, Jauron spent five seasons with the Lions and three with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was named to the 1974 Pro Bowl in his second season after leading the NFC in punt return average.

After his playing career, the Swampscott, Mass., native turned to coaching, spending 28 seasons in the NFL as a defensive backs coach, defensive coordinator or head coach. Jauron served as head coach of the Chicago Bears, where he was named AP Coach of the Year in 2001, and the Buffalo Bills. Having retired from coaching, Jauron currently lives with his wife in Swampscott.

Jauron becomes the 24th Bulldog to be inducted, joining Mal Aldrich (1919-21), Doug Bomeisler (1910-12), Albie Booth (1929-31), Gordon Brown (1897-1900), Pa Corbin (1886-88), Ted Coy (1907-09), Clint Frank (1935-37), Pudge Heffelfinger (1888-91), Bill Hickok (1892-94), Frank Hinkey (1891-94), James Hogan (1901-04), Art Howe (1909-11), Larry Kelley (1934-36), Henry Ketcham (1911-13), John Kilpatrick (1908-10), Bill Mallory (1921-23), Bum McClung (1888-91), Century Milstead (1923), Tom Shevlin (1902-05), Amos Alonzo Stagg (1885-89), Mal Stevens (1923), Herbert Sturhahn (1924-26) and Sam Thorne (1893-95). Four coaches with stops in New Haven are in the Hall: Walter Camp (1888-92), Carmen Cozza (1965-96), Howard Jones (1909, 1913) and Tad Jones (1916-17, 1920-27).


*********** I played rugby in college but never really understood what I was doing.  In fact,  I played it for two years with little  knowledge of the rules.

What the hell.  Tackle the guy with the ball.  Get the ball.  Run like hell.  Pass it (backwards - I knew that much) before you get tackled yourself.

In other words, a sort of grown-up  Smear the Queer.

And then the best part - getting together with the other team afterwards and drinking lots of beer and singing raunchy songs.

But years later,  my son moved to Australia, where rugby is huge, and he began providing me with video of the games between the top teams in the world - mainly  the Australia Wallabies, the South Africa Springboks and the New Zealand All Blacks.

From my college days, I knew of the All Blacks, the Yankees of their sport.  And I knew a little about the Haka, the fearsome dance that they do before a match.

But I wasn’t much into rugby until I saw  Jonah Lomu on video.

An All Black, Lomu was a very big man - 6-4, maybe 235 or so. He had great hands, and he was shifty, with the speed to outrun any man on the field.  But  he was not averse to using his size to advantage, and when necessary , he could run right over the best of them.

I would often picture what he might have done in the NFL, but then I’d realize that with the NFL’s unimaginative offenses, he’d have touched the ball maybe once or twice a game, while in rugby, he got to handle it many times a game, at any time.  He was meant to play rugby.

Jonah Lomu was possibly the greatest player in the history of his sport.

He died last week.

He was only 42.


*********** In Canada, the University of Ottawa has cancelled a yoga class after receiving an email complaining that the lessons were an "unacceptable cultural appropriation” of a “non-Western practice.”

It went on about the countries where yoga is practiced having suffered under colonialism, etc., etc.

The instructor’s suggestion that the name of the classes be changed to “mindful stretching” was rejected.


*********** Meanwhile, as Donald Trump raises hell about Mexicans, it’s causing us to take our eye off the ball…

According to U.S. Census Data, the United States admits roughly 100,000 Muslim immigrants legally each year.

Pew Research estimates that  as a result of immigration, the population of U.S. Muslims will more  than double by 2030 - from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million.

Here's the amazing part - ALL of this is through LEGAL immigration. Our government is allowing it.

According to federal government statistics, in 2013 Florida alone  "welcomed" 43,184 refugees.

Most of them were from Cuba, which is understandable, but  next in order of numbers were  Iraq, Myanmar (Burma), Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Colombia, Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, and Palestine.

Can you say  "home-grown terrorists?"



*********** The dishonesty of the people in charge is one reason why Donald Trump has a following…

A deranged white kid with all sorts of problems kills nine black people in a church in Charleston and the self-appointed experts instantly know why he did it.

Not long after, a deranged Muslim kills five US servicemen and the full force of the FBI is assigned to try to find a motive.

*********** It was senior night, Brown against Columbia, and Brown coach Phil Estes started several seniors who'd never played a down of football in their four years there.


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 17,  2015-   "Here's my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose."Ronald Reagan

*********** Down on the Cardinals’ one-yard line, the Seahawks gave the ball to their fullback Will Tukuafu.  Touchdown.

What a concept.  Running, not passing, when you only have a yard to go. 

Better yet, giving it to the guy who’s only a yard or two behind the QB, instead of the higher-paid guy who’s six yards deep.

There's little danger that the Seahawks could make a practice of this, however. This is Tukuafu’s sixth year in the NFL -  and it was only the second time he’s ever carried the ball.

*********** At North Beach, our season is over.  For the second year in a row, we finished unbeaten in the regular season only to fall in the state playoffs.

This year, our season ended with a 20-14 loss in overtime to Napavine.

(My friend Josh Montgomery, in Morgan City, Louisiana, suggests I take Les  Miles' approach: we're unbeaten in regulation.)

We jumped out to a 12-0 lead after the first quarter, and increased it to 14-0 at the half after a Napavine snap sailed over the punter’s head and out of the end zone.

But we failed to capitalize on a couple of good scoring opportunities, and Napavine, last year’s state finalist, seemed to grow stronger as the game went on.

With 3:35 remaining in the third quarter, we fumbled at midfield, and as we appeared to wander around dazed at the sudden turn of events, Napavine quickly set up and snapped the ball before we could get set, and their back went all the way for a TD.

Their second score came with 3:48 remaining in the game following a long drive.

We had one last shot in regulation when we intercepted them on their 36 with 31 seconds remaining, but we couldn’t score.

We failed to get a first down in the top half of overtime, and our defense, which played lights-out throughout the game, stopped the Tigers for three straight plays,   but with fourth and five from our 20, Tigers’ QB Wyatt Stanley hit an open receiver in the end zone to end it.

My assessment is that we played the best game I’ve seen a North Beach team play - on defense.  On offense, it was not our best effort, but credit has to go to Napavine, a much tougher team physically than we had become accustomed to in our league.  In reflection, I think that if we had played our absolute best game on both sides of the ball, we had a decent shot at winning, but I think if we were to play them 10 games, they’d beat us eight times.  They were simply, in my opinion, the better team.

***********I’ll never enjoy losing, but I’m old enough that I can put it in perspective.

What’s always difficult for me at the end of any season is the sudden sense of emptiness - that what was very real just days ago has gone “poof!” and vanished into thin air.

What hurts most is knowing that after having coached some of these kids since they were freshmen, I’ll never again have the same association with them.  I’ll never again shake their hands when they come into the locker room and when they go home after practice.  All those little things.

As is our custom, following the final game we locked the locker room doors and spent an hour or so together as our seniors poured out their hearts about what football has meant to them, how much they loved their teammates, how much they appreciated being a part of the team, the things they’re going to miss most, and so forth.  It always turns out to be something like a “celebration of life”: we’ve just come off a painful loss, and so it starts out on a sad, tearful note, but soon enough, guys begin injecting humorous memories into their talks, and by the time it’s all over, the pain of the loss has at least been pushed into the background.

Another tradition - not sure the basketball coach likes it - is the “last practice.”  Begun a few years ago by players’ request, the Monday following the last game (today), we pad up and go outside and do a lot of fun drills (usually in the rain and mud), followed by the seniors’ “last tackle” - one by one, they run through two lines of cheering teammates and make a flying tackle on a stand-up dummy. Today it rained hard, and the wind was so stiff that it blew dummies the length of the field.  And a good time was had by all.

John Wooden once said after he retired that what he missed most was the practices, and the longer I’m in it, the more I understand.

*********** What is absolutely stunning to me is the growing, nearly-total disregard for the rules of the game by NFL players and, obviously, the coaches who don’t discourage them.

Increasingly, the NFL is taking on all the appearances of a game played by outlaws who seem quite willing to defy its rules in the belief that officials can’t possible see everything.

Just this past week I saw plenty of the usual holding by offensive linemen, but I saw two teams - the Cowboys and the Ravens - lose games because players simply couldn’t play the game the right way and penalties against them led immediately and directly to their teams’ defeat.

In the Cowboys’ case a blatant act of defensive holding nullified a fumble recovery, and on the next play the Bucs won.

In the Ravens’ game, a defensive lineman grabbed the Jag’s quarterback’s face mask on the final play of the game, and the 15 yard penalty and one final untimed down was enough to allow Jacksonville to kick the game-winning field goal.

*********** Whew.  Michigan and Oklahoma State had close calls, against Indiana and Iowa State, respectively.

Sure makes you appreciate how fine the line is between ranked teams and those that struggle.

Ali Villeneuva***********  Hello Coach Wyatt,

I hope this email finds you well.  A long (in time, not enthusiasm!) season has finished and we once again are proud to nominate our players for the Black Lion Award.

Being in the shadow of the United States Military Academy, and having half of our league as military families, and playing our games on post, makes the opportunity to present the Black Lion Award at our banquet a great experience for our kids and the league. 

Last season we had the Garrison Commander, COL Landy Dunham, in full dress uniform, present the award to the players.  It was an incredible experience for all involved.

We again have four teams, Mighty Mites, ages 5-7; Division 1, ages 8-9;  Division 2, ages 10-11; Division 3, ages 12-14.  Our event this year is Saturday December 5th. 

I have attached the nominee write ups from our head coaches.  I think you will find all are amazing young men, deserving to wear the Black Lion patch honoring the life of MAJ Holleder.

Thank you and the members of the Black Lions for creating this award, for the tireless work  administering the award, and for extending the opportunity to youth teams.

Best Regards,

Ben Liotta
Black Knights Youth Football
Division 2 Coach
West  Point, New York

(Coach Liotta sent me the photo from their 2009 presentation.  The Army football player is Ali Villenueva, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers and still in the US Army. The player, six-year-old Bryan Jones, is now a 12-year-old Division 3 player and, according to Coach Liotta, "still wearing his patch this season.")

Sign your team up! Present the Black Lion Award to a player on your team!



A Poem
By Hugh Wyatt, noted poet


Large, fast  men
Real football players
Grunt and groan
Block and tackle
Run and Pass


Mere seconds remain!
Time for just one play!
The breathless crowd watches
As out trots
A f—king Kicker

*********** In another couple of weeks it’ll be 90 years since the Pottsville Maroons beat the Four Horsemen and claimed the championship of the National Football League.

The Maroons, representing a then-bustling Northeastern Pennsylvania coal mining town, were undefeated in the new National Football League, and in front of a large crowd in faraway Philadelphia, they defeated “The Notre Dame All Stars”  (the famed Four Horsemen and Seven Mules) in a post-season exhibition contest.

Pottsville claimed to have had league permission to play the game, but Philadelphia was the proclaimed  territory of another league member, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, and under pressure  from the Yellow Jackets the league vacated Pottsville’s title and offered it to the second-place Chicago Cardinals, whom the Maroons had beaten a few weeks earlier, 21-7.

The Cardinals’ owner, however, declined to accept on the grounds that Pottsville had beaten his team fair and square, and in Chicago at that. Only years later, after the Bidwill family had bought the Cardinals, did the team claim the title.

Pottsville has had its share of hard luck over the years, thanks largely to the decline of  anthracite coal as a home-heating fuel, but the loss of the NFL title, and the eventual loss of the Maroons themselves, was an enormous blow to its civic pride, and for years afterward a contingent of Pottsville fans would attend NFL league meetings, hoping in vain to get the league to restore its championship.

(There are still old-timers in Pottsville who claim that a curse on the Cardinals - and the Bidwills - for their claim to the 1925 title is why they have won only one NFL title on their own, in 1947.)

A few years after the loss of the title, the Pottsville franchise was moved to Boston, where it eventually folded. The fact that the current Washington Redskins started out in Boston has led to the myth that today’s Redskins are descendants of the Pottsville Maroons, but there is no truth to it.

(The myth might be worth reviving - those opposed to the Redskins’ name could do worse than propose “Maroons” as an alternative.)

The Yellow Jackets?  They survived the invasion of their territory, and eventually moved from Frankford, a section of Philadelphia, renaming themselves the Philadelphia Eagles.





I was watching the Giants game at the end and as a Miami fan and having a general dislike of everything about the patriots, i was excited when they drove down to beat them.  I thought to myself that all they had to do is run the ball three times and make the patriots use their timeouts then run the clock down to under a minute (I might have been wrong about the number of TO's they had).  I understood that they wanted a TD so a quick drive for a FG wouldn't have lost the game, but still...  When the Giants threw the ball for a TD I was still thinking that is a lot of time for Brady to get a TD of his own.  Of course I clearly don't know what a TD is anymore, I thought it was good.  I like to think I have good clock management skills, maybe I should apply for a position on the Giants staff.  

Dave Kemmick
Head Football Coach
Eastern York Golden Knights
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania


I’m constantly surprised at how inexpert many pro teams, given their 20-man coaching staffs, are at clock management.  A fewyears ago, a youth football coach named Jack Reed published an outstanding book on clock management which I felt ought to put an end to most of the crazy, nonsensical things we saw at the end of games.

But no-o-o-o-o.

Go ahead and apply for an NFL job.  Tip: bank every paycheck, because you are going to get tired of dealing with those pampered prima donnas (guys who can’t even squirt their own Gatorade into their own mouths) very fast.  You will find yourself longing for the good old days of coaching high school kids.  Even the ones with stage parents.

*********** I do need some advice when you have time on developing a young quarterback, I know you used to have a dvd.


Before you spend any time on  a young quarterback you need to ask - and answer correctly - the three key questions:

(1) Does he want to be the QB?  Does he have the strength of character to be the team leader?  Is he willing to put the time in?

(2) Is he coachable?  Can he take correction positively?  Can he make the corrections?  Is he smart enough to make the corrections permanent?

(3) Can I trust him?  Is he a good citizen and a good student?  Will be do the right thing when I’m not around?

If a guy doesn’t measure up in these areas, forget him.  He will wind up killing you.

*********** I saw the Baylor guy go down, and then get up and limp around, and then go down again…

And I heard Kirk Herbstreit say, in some of the strongest language I’ve heard on a football broadcast,

“That is awful…”

“Now he's gonna fake a limp…”

“That is bush league…”

Imagine - a football player taking a dive.

Sure, basketball players take charges. And the shame of soccer is all those wimps who lie and writhe in pain and get carted off, only to return to action minutes later, miraculously healed as if they’d made a lighting trip to Lourdes.

But a football player?  Nah.

Actually, coaches of hurry-up offenses have been accusing defensive coaches of staging injuries to try to slow things down.

So Herbstreit called a guy on it.

But this time, evidently, the guy actually was injured.

Herbstreit has apologized.

And now the farce can go on.


*********** Late Saturday night, while most of you slept,  Luke Falk did it again.

Out on the West Coast, Falk, the Washington State QB, threw a touchdown pass to defeat UCLA, 31-27 with three seconds to play.  75 yards in seven plays in 103 seconds - against the number 18 team on the country.

Falk, a 6-4 redshirt sophomore from Logan, Utah is without a doubt this year’s Mister Clutch.  This was the fourth time this year that Falk had driven the Cougars to last-minute, come-from-behind wins. Clutch? WSU leads the nation in fourth-down conversions.

After a shocking season-opening loss to FCS Portland State (which has turned out to be a pretty decent club) Washington State is now 7-3, including the win over UCLA, a double overtime win over Oregon and a narrow two-point loss to Stanford.

For years, dejected Washington State fans  have referred to their Cougars’ unfortunate tendency to disappoint just when they seem to be on the verge of great success as “Cougin’ it.”

Not this year.  Instead, they're exulting in their team’s newfound ability to “Falk It Up.”


american flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 13,  2015-   "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." Thomas Paine

*********** Our Thursday practices are traditionally slimmed-down versions of our usual Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday  routine.

Not this week.

The foul weather that had been predicted for days hit Ocean Shores a little before noon Thursday, and by the time we hit the field at 3 PM the rain was coming down sideways, driven by winds of up to 40 miles an hour.

In 39 years of coaching in the Northwest, and six on the Washington coast, today’s weather was as bad as I’ve ever seen it.

We could have stayed inside, but that's not us, and our kids know it. Our deal is to play you in any kind of conditions -  anybody, any time, anywhere.

We spent our offensive period concentrating on ball protection, and using the same ball the entire time, in 40 minutes of running plays it  hit the ground just twice.

It’s times like that you’re grateful for a running offense.

It’s times like that you’re glad you’re not dependent on a shotgun snap.

Tomorrow night we’re set to face the best passer in the state in our class.

I don't believe in praying for a win, but I'm considering praying for wind.

*********** The North Beach Hyaks open playoff play Friday night against the Napavine Tigers.  It’s North Beach’s home game, but state officials ruled that with wild storms predicted, North Beach’s grass field would likely be unplayable, so the game has been moved to the artificial turf of Stewart Field in Aberdeen, Washington.

The Hyaks’ opponent will be the Napavine Tigers (8-2), defending state runners-up.  The Tigers’ record is deceiving - they lost early in the season, 28-27, to the current state Number One team, unbeaten Pe Ell/Willapa Valley, and they dropped another one in midseason to once-beaten Toledo when their star quarterback, Wyatt Stanley, was sidelined with an injury.

Stanley has been healthy the last two weeks, and last Friday night, Napavine advanced by beating Ilwaco, our league’s fourth-place team, 55-27.  Although Ilwaco surprised by putting up 27 points on the Tigers - they did rush for 171 yards and throw for two scores -  Napavine’s dominance was never in question.  The Tigers gained 488 yards - 290 of them in the air - and never had to punt.

Napavine scored on every first half possession,  jumping out to a 21-0 lead, and after an Ilwaco score, they increased their lead to 35-7. 

Ilwaco scored just before the half to go off at 35-14, but Napavine came out in the second half and scored on its first two possessions to make the score 49-14.

Not to say that the Tigers went conservative in the second half, but 236 of Stanley’s  290 yards passing came before halftime.  One receiver, Mac Fagerness, caught six passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

The last time the two teams met was in 2012, when this year’s North Beach seniors were freshmen.  It was a first-round playoff game, the first playoff appearance in years for  a very young North Beach team whose fifth-place finish in its league had earned it the dubious honor of playing against Napavine, winner of its league.   The result, a Napavine runaway, was as ugly as it was predictable.

*********** I suppose that when you admit ultra-bright kids to your college, it’s inevitable that many of them will come from environments in which they’ve not just been coddled, but they’ve been told repeatedly that they can “make a difference,” and that the world is just waiting for them to tell it which way to spin.

But before they can take on the world,  they first hone their difference-making skills by trying to change the university that was good enough to accept them.

Forget that in Yale's case it’s been in existence for 300 years, and forget that for the most part it’s done a pretty damn good job at what it’s set out to do. 

Sadly, though,  it's often  not even aware of all the things that are wrong with it, but fortunately for it and the the world, along comes this group of “change agents.”

Only one problem.  Before they can change the world - or just their university -  they have to deal with “microaggressons,” the little “hurtful” things unknowingly done to them and others like them by members of the “power elite.” 

At Yale, where at least 10 well-qualified applicants were turned away for every one accepted, a relative handful of aggrieved students with time on their hands have taken to screaming at faculty members who dared to suggest that if they’re offended by certain other students’ choice of Hallowe’en costumes, well, er, maybe they ought to move on to greater concerns.

Another of the things that really bothers them is that the person  in charge of each of the university’s residential colleges, whether male or female, is called the “Master.”   Whoa.   See, that brings back memories of slavery.

Really?  Seriously?  The title goes way back to English days, when what PC-shackled Americans now call the “head of school” was called the -gasp! - Headmaster.

Right from the start, I must confess to an inability to identify with protestors. I further confess to having used my free time at Yale for more productive pursuits than protesting.  Drinking beer, for instance.

Like all Yale undergraduates, I lived in a residential college.  Mine was  Berkeley College, whose master, professor Thomas Mendenhall, was a renowned faculty member who would go on to become president of Smith College. He was a very affable sort who would often host parties at which, along with beer, he would serve a lethal punch which he called Old Tennis Shoe.

We all called him “Mister Mendenhall,” “Professor Mendenhall,” and sometimes even “Tom.”    But I never heard the word “Master” used in addressing him.  It was just his title.

The master of a nearby college, Pierson College,  was the university chaplain, the much beloved Reverend Sidney Lovett.

Master?  Hell, students all called him “Uncle Sid.”

So, get over it children.  It’s just a f—king title.




Let's talk tackling.  I would like to introduce into evidence the Florida State-Louisville game, and  FSU's 38 yard go-ahead TD run by Dalvin Cook.

One Louisville man had a shot at him but he missed what turned out to be an arm tackle.

Why? A pretty simple fundamental mistake, based on the way most of us were taught: he didn't have his helmet "across the bow" of the runner.

Interestingly, a young acquaintance of mine tells me that's how the coaches at his college  are teaching him to tackle (undoing, I might add, everything we taught him, every day of practice, for his entire high school career).

I suspect this is either the work of some young coaching genius who thinks he just reinvented the wheel, years of doing it another way notwithstanding, or they are perhaps preparing those kids for the "next level," The League, where you seldom see an authentic tackle anyhow.

*********** A very dear friend, a Chicago cop who once took me on a ride-along on the South Side, wrote to tell me, “ I would be embarrassed to take you on a ride-along now. You cannot imagine how badly things have changed, particularly on the west and south sides of the city. The overwhelming feeling of entitlement that these areas have, it is sickening.  Hope and change, my ass!”

He went on,

“I’m sorry I haven’t kept up with the E-mails as much. I have to do better. However, in my defense, currently it is because I am one-handed. Got into a little scuffle with a “street level pharmaceutical sale representative” at work and now Tommy John has nothing on me.

“Damnedest thing, when we got to scuffling, after he disagreed with me for my insistence at wanting to take him with me for selling some of his merchandise to my undercover partner, I looked up and there were about 7 or 8 of the embedded street level photo journalists, all with their government-issued smart phones, all recording our conversation and subsequent battle royal.

“I was reminded several times that black lives matter and that I had a striking resemblance to some guy called ”The White Devil”. Funny thing is, all those shootings and killings in that area - and yet not one of them ever recorded on the government-issued smart phone. Very puzzling.???

“The irony of it was not lost on me. Apparently black lives do not matter when you’re killed by another black life. A mere 400 feet away from where the young lad and I were getting to know each other better (and he was grabbing me in places even my wife didn’t grab on our honeymoon) somebody was shot dead the day before.

“I tell you, that street level pharmaceutical trade stuff can be a rough business. (Each time they shoot and kill somebody, we are sent out there the next day - I’m starting to think they don’t like us??)

“So during the melee I ripped my “Tommy John" ligament, tore part of the elbow tendon and caused some nerve damage to my elbow, arm, hand and fingers. I just regained some of the feeling back in my hand but I still have some issues with my pinky and bottom of my hand going numb.

“The great news: I will have Christmas and New years Eve off, for the first time in six years, so I got that going for me. Bad news: it’s my gun hand, so I have a long road ahead.

“It takes me some time to type left-handed but I am getting better at it. Using the mouse and point and clicking is still a pain in the butt, but that is what PT will be for.”

I told him that he has writing talent, and that he ought out to spend the down time working on a book.  I would be first in line to buy it.

*********** It's possible that Deion Sanders and Bill Cowher are the most overpaid guys in sports. There they were, at Thirsday night's Jets-Bill game, standing by to, as the anouncer told us, "give us all the highlights of the first half."

How hard could that be?  The score was 12-3.  Four field goals and fumble returned for a TD.

That's action?

*********** A bit of Stanford trivia (from my son, Ed, Stanford ’82)

The first collegiate touchdown pass for Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, and the last collegiate touchdown reception for David Shaw, came on the same play.

Frost, a sophomore making his first collegiate start as a replacement for injured Steve Stenstrom, fired a 13-yard strike to Shaw on Nov. 12, 1994, late in a 55-21 loss to Oregon at Stanford Stadium.

A big-time recruit who came to Stanford to play for Bill Walsh, Frost transferred to Nebraska after that season and led the Cornhuskers to the 1997 national championship before a five-year career as an NFL safety.

His brother and Stanford teammate, Steve Frost, is Stanford’s football public address announcer.

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

Great to see you are having a great season, hope your success continues. This season we finished
7-3. That is the second best record in our schools long history. It's our first winning season since 1995, and only the second time that we have had back to back seasons over .500. We missed the playoffs but we were still in contention in week 10 and that has also never happened before. This season our A back rushed for 1300 yards on 184 carries. Our C back rushed for 1050 yards on 98 carries. We rushed for 3100 yards and passed for an additional 500 yards. I would like to thank you for your materials and all the help you've been over the previous 3 years. This would not have been possible without you and your system.

Thomas Caudill
Offensive Coordinator
Northwest High School
McDermott, Ohio

***********  Coach,

The Elmwood/Brimfield Trojans season ended with a second round playoff loss to Elmhurst Immaculate Conception.  After tying the game 7-7 early in the first quarter, things went south for us.  Elmhurst found our defensive weaknesses and exploited them over and over.  Offensively, we were stiffled up front after that first long drive.  In the end, our size was beaten by their size/speed combination.  The final score was 48-7, and it felt like that.  They were good and we couldn't keep up with them.  

It was a good season for us.  We had nine new starters on both sides of the ball.  The result was a 9-2 season, fifth consecutive conference championship, twelfth playoff birth in the last thirteen seasons.  I'm proud of our guys and our coaches.  And, given the "sickness" that is coaching, I can't wait to start getting ready for next season.  But I will force myself to wait until after Thanksgiving.

One parent of a senior found me after we 'circled up' with the team and families.  The coaches hugged all seniors.  Tears were shed as they always are after that last game.  Anyway, the father thanked me for being his son's coach.  He mentioned how tough the day was.  And then he said "I can't imagine what it's like for you (coaches).  You guys get your hearts ripped out every year."  I told him that the day it stops affecting me in that way is the day I need to get out.

Todd Hollis
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


I’m sorry it had to end for you, but unless we’re among the fortunate few that manage to survive to the end, it’s an inevitability for all of us, one that that parent was perceptive enough to understand.

One grateful, understanding parent like that goes a long way toward offsetting the demanding/entitled/neglectful/selfish/backstabbing others who don’t appreciate what we’re doing for their sons.

Great season!  Another brick in the program!

*********** Considering that despite the supposed racist climate at  the University of Missouri, he spent seven years there…

And considering that his father, the vice-president of marketing for the Union Pacific Railroad, earned $8.4 million in 2014…

What, exactly, do you suppose was the grievance that caused that graduate student at the University of Missouri to go on the much-publicized hunger strike, the one that nearly set off a strike by its football players?

*********** I have to wonder how excited  the people of LA are about having one, or maybe even two, NFL franchises move in.

The irony of all the maneuvering and politicking that’s taking place among NFL owners is that there are three teams who’ve been holding their current fans hostage until their current cities build them new stadia, and every damn one of them - the Chargers, the Raiders and the Rams - has left Los Angeles once before.

How quickly they forget.

Meanwhile, despite its long spell without an NFL team, Southern California seems to have managed.

For those who crave live football,  the college game seems to satisfy, based on the attendance at USC and UCLA home games.

And for those whose love for football runs to the NFL, there’s a game on TV for everyone’s tastes.

The population of the LA-Orange County area is huge, and lot of its people are relative newcomers to the area,  many of them hailing from other NFL cities, especially those in the Rust Belt - Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh.

Instead of allowing one or two franchises to bring crummy teams to LA while pissing off the people in the cities they left behind, I think it would make more sense for the NFL to treat the Southern California market the same way it does London, bringing in several regular-season games every year between teams from cities with  large local fan bases.

You telling me there aren’t more NFL fans in the LA area than there are in London?

The area economy would benefit from all the Lions, Steelers, Browns, Bills fans looking for an excuse to spend a long weekend on the West Coast.

One slight hangup.  LA fans are way too sophisticated  to settle for the Jacksonville Jaguars more than once a season.


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 9,  2015-   "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else"  Frederic Bastiat, French economist

*********** UNC 66, Duke 31. Partly it was North Carolina’s being a really solid team; partly it was Duke’s looking shaky on defense; but partly it had to be the lingering effect on the Duke team of last week’s Miami “win” and one of the worst screw-overs in the long history of bad officiating.


*********** Only us old-timers recall the time when the status of blacks in the LDS Church was cause for black players at BYU’s opponents to threaten not to play against the LDS school.

It’s not likely that any of the Missouri players would know the history, but given the involvement of other, savvier protestors, the fact that Missouri’s opponent this Saturday is BYU has got to be more than coincidental. 

*********** Unless he plans on staying at Missouri until he retires (or he’s fired), Gary Pinkel’s career as a coach is over. Finis.  Kaput.

Missouri has been having a bad year, and possibly by supporting a dissident group of players who threatened not to play unless certain of their demands were met, he bought himself a little bit of protection from being fired.  This year.  I mean, who’s got the nerve to fire him now, knowing the firestorm that would ensue?  Imagine, the coach takes a stand with his players - and for that, he gets fired?

He’ll keep his job, for the moment, but the memories of his supporters are short, and those of his detractors are long, and unless he turns the ship around, Missouri will continue to lose, and hard-core simple economics plus pressures from other, more influential groups will bring about his dismissal.

I rather doubt that he’ll ever find another job.

Another job?  At another college?  Make me laugh. 

Try to picture a police chief who sides with his officers against the mayor… a plant manager who supports a wildcat strike by the workers… a ship captain who supports a mutiny by the crew.

Show me an AD who would hire a coach who would side with his players against the school administration.

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

Thanks for posting the list of books in the news today, as usual it was right on time for me.  I finished reading "The Winning Edge" by Don Shula recently and was looking for my next read.  I enjoyed the book but have to admit that it may have mostly been because I am a Miami Dolphins fan.  Before that I read "The score takes care of itself" about Bill Walsh by Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh.  That was pretty good also, I particularly like the parts about taking over the program and changing everything.  My favorite book is still "When Pride Still Mattered" by David Maraniss.  If I remember correctly you recommended that one to me.  I recently started reading it again and am enjoying it all over again.  I let a friend and coach borrow it and he thought it was dry and never finished it, not sure what's wrong with him.  I now have a list of books to look for, I hope I can find some.

Good luck in the playoffs.

Dave Kemmick
Head Football Coach
Eastern York Golden Knights
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania


Glad you liked the short list.  There are plenty more in my library, many that might be of more interest to other coaches than to me.  

They are all, I should have noted, “serious” football books, written for other coaches.  One possible exception might be Dave Nelson’s “Anatomy of a Game,” which was written for a wider audience than just coaches. Any serious student of football would enjoy it.

I didn’t include other categories, such as books written for the general reading public (i.e., to make money), and often “written” by an “author” in name only, instead  “as told to” a professional writer.  In that category would be books such as Shula’s and Walsh’s.  

I also didn’t include football fiction such as “North Dallas Forty.”

And I didn’t include true biographies and books on football history, a category which overall constitutes much of my favorite reading.

Maybe I should include a list of them as well.

In that last category, I rank “When Pride Still Mattered,” David Maraniss’ epic biography of Vince Lombardi, right at the top.

I have recommended it on numerous occasions.

Thanks for writing.

*********** A coach wrote me to say how shocked he was when one of his veteran players asked him, “What is play action?”

He shouldn't have been shocked.  Few football players understand coaches’ jargon.

And yet, in my travels, I frequently hear coaches use terms that they simply assume that players will understand - because, well, because everybody knows what they mean.

Except, everybody doesn’t.

A big mistake we coaches make, I think, is not being aware when we are using coachspeak, and carefully explaining any football term we use. I learned that from coaching overseas. When I coached in Finland and I used an unfamiliar term, those guys were quick to ask me what I meant.

Not American kids, though. There's the problem.

In the classroom or on the field, American kids are afraid to ask questions. (Who wants to learn something if it means looking stupid?)

Instead of waiting for kids to ask, I suggest asking them: "What do I mean when I say, 'play action?'"

Greenwich Police Patch*********** Everyplace else, it’s “GREN-itch.”

But in upstate New York, it’s pronounced GREEN-witch.

Which is undoubtedly why Greenwich, New York’s High School teams are the Witches.

Why no complaints from Wiccans?  Doesn’t the school’s logo marginalize them, make them feel disrespected?

How do you think a Wiccan feels when he/she gets pulled over by a Greenwich cop?


*********** A  Florida player was ejected for targeting even though replay showed that he led with his arms and made primary contact with his chest on the Vanderbilt QB’s chest.  “Upon review,” they upheld his ejection.

*********** I’d sure like to hear what the Republican candidates have to say about the despicable practice of professional teams charging for - and the armed forces paying for - recognition of our service people at games.

My suspicion is not that the services first approached the teams and offered them money.  No, it’s that the teams had their hands out. 

Shame on the Pentagon for not exposing them for the greedy, money-grubbing shakedown artists that they are.

And further shame on the Pentagon for implying by their participation in this sham that the honor due  our service people hasn’t already been earned, and has to be bought.

*********** Could Nike (or Adidas, or UnderArmour) really have enough money to change the classic uniforms of USC? Of Alabama? Of LSU? 

I’d like to think not, but we’ve already seen them persuade Ohio State and Michigan to go along with their “throwback” grotesqueries.

I’m sorry to say that now Army - the Army of Blanchard and Davis and Novogratz and Dawkins, the Army of gold helmets and gold pants - seems to have succumbed to the lure of apparel-company money and agreed to play poor man’s Oregon.

Saturday, damned if the Army team - whose official colors are black, gray and gold - didn’t come out against Air Force in all-white, as if they’d been given a set of Penn State’s hand-me-downs.

***********  From Fox News...

A handwritten manifesto carried by a California college student whose stabbing spree Wednesday left four wounded bore names of his targets, a vow “to cut someone’s head off” and as many as five reminders to “praise Allah,” law enforcement authorities told FoxNews.com, while insisting that neither terrorism nor religion appear to be motives in the attack.

(Am I missing something?)


*********** Enjoyed watching Dabo beat Jimbo in the Bo Bowl…

************  Walking on water?  Not exactly, but almost.  Walking on a mixture of  water and


*********** Cumberland, Maryland, way out in the mountainous western part of the state, is different from the rest of the state. Unlike the rest of Maryland, which is split between Ravens and Redskins fans, Cumberland looks westward.  Cumberland pulls for the Steelers.

Mountainous terrain and love of the Steelers is not the only thing that Cumberland has in common with western Pennsylvania.  Cumberland is also a big high school football town, split down the middle between its two schools, Allegany and Fort Hill.

They’ve have been playing each other since 1936, and Fort Hill has a 53-32-4 edge in the series.

Their meeting is typically the last game of the regular season.

It’s played at Greenway Avenue Stadium, a really cool bowl on a hilltop with stands that seat 6,000 -  but there's room for at least that many more on the grassy banks surrounding the field.

It serves as the home field for both teams, but it’s actually on the Fort Hill campus, and before a game the Fort Hill team descends down a long flight of stairs from the school building to the field; all that’s missing is Howard’s Rock at the top.

Although Cumberland’s population has dwindled as its industries have closed, it still holds steady around 20,000, and the Allegany-Fort Hill game normally draws crowds of more than 10,000.

One reason for the large crowds might be the fact that the game is Homecoming.  For both teams.  You think your homecoming halftimes are long? At halftime of an Allegany-Fort Hill game, both homecoming courts are introduced, and both homecoming queens are crowned.

This year, Allegany came into the game 8-1, Fort Hill 7-1. 

When it was all over, Fort Hill came out on top, 17-7.


*********** Wow - the Eagles-Cowboys’ game got under way with the playing of our national anthem -  by a band. A real band.  No grammy award winners, no precocious little children.  Nobody inventing notes that aren’t there. Nobody trying to set an endurance  record. 

Absolutely inspiring.

*********** I was sorry to see Temple, Toledo and Memphis fall.  That leaves Houston as the only undefeated team left from the Group of Five, the only one left with even an outside shot at making the Playoff.

But sorry as I was to see Memphis lose, I was just as pleased to see Navy win.  Sure is fun to watch Keenan Reynolds run that Navy ‘bone.

*********** The threat by Missouri’s football players to go on strike is reminiscent  of the late 1960s and the emergence of the term “Black Power.”

At numerous campuses across the country, assorted grievances  pitted black football players against their white coaches, and the results were seldom pretty.

Even at a time when there was no social media - only telephones, with ridiculous long-distance charges - word spread like wildfire of this walkout or that strike.

In some cases, the split was generational as much as racial, as older coaches failed to recognize what was going on in society as large.   Those were the days, you young guys may not know, when “Question Authority” came the mantra; when it became fashionable to say “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”

There are differences, of course.  In those days, there were fewer black players on college rosters.  And the target of the strikers/protestors was the coach, not the university president.

Okay. So the MIzzou president has resigned.

Does anyone think that's going to be the end of it? Appetite, as the French saying goes, comes from eating.

Are things going to be better now?

Is the resignation of the president going to make campus racists say, “You know - maybe those black fellows have a point. No more racism for me?”

What, exactly, is the next president going to be able to do to purge young minds of racist thoughts?

There's obviously more at issue here.

I have no great love for college presidents, overpaid and under endowed with courage as they are, and knowing how they usually kowtow to any left wing group that makes noise on their campuses, I lick my lips at the prospect of watching their  "negotiations" with people whose "demands" they can't possibly satisfy.

If this stuff is about to break out the way it did in the 60s,  I can’t see too many people lining up to become college presidents.

So this is social justice, is it?


*********** “It’s what we do from here with this issue that will actually determine really what this league is all about.”

So said a speaker at a September 16, 2014 meeting held in New York by Sports Business Daily to “discuss issues relating to women and the (sports) industry.”

The speaker was Charlotte Jones Anderson of the Dallas Cowboys. 

The “league” she referred to was the NFL.

Ms. Anderson's  father happens to be THE Jerry Jones, who continues to show what this league is all about with his defense of Greg Hardy.


*********** Anybody else see what a difference having Marcus Mariota back  made in the play of the Tennessee Titans?

Hi Coach,

We haven't had a chance to communicate this season but I wanted to congratulate on your season thus far and wish you continued success in the playoffs.  I am sharing the articles from this past weekend's game.  Pretty amazing numbers for our team rushing and one individual in a game. We have a Chance to advance to the State Final 4 for the second time in 2 years with a Victory next Saturday. And Yes we are still Traditional Double Wing in the Highest Classification in NYS.

Hope All is Well,

Mike Johnston
Elmira HS
Elmira Express Football
Elmira, New York

Pre-Sectional Final Article:

Post Game Article

flagFRIDAY,  NOVEMBER 6,  2015-   "'No one was ever ruined by a movie,' insists the anti-censorship group. Then, they go out and lobby against stars smoking on-screen."  Jim Murray

*********** Byron “Whizzer” White was a great college football player who graduated from the University of Colorado where he was president of the student body.  Although awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, he delayed going overseas for a year in order to play for the Steelers, who drafted him first (1938).

He had a good rookie year with the Steelers, and then went off to Oxford on his Rhodes Scholarship.

He returned to play a few more years in the NFL, then went on to a distinguished career in the law.

Many people who knew nothing about his football background remember him now as the late Supreme Court Justice Byron White.

Said Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney when people said he’d paid White too much money to sign with the Steelers, ”If I never get anything else out of football, it's worth what it has cost me just to find out there are people like this in the world."

*********** Susquehanna University, in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, is a small school but it's famous in football circles for a couple of things.

From 1947 to 1952 it had a head coach named Amos Alonzo Stagg, Jr., and one of coach Stagg’s assistants - actually his co-head coach - was his 90-year-old father, the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg.

Many years later, in the 1960s, it had a head coach named Jim Garrett, a fiery young guy from New Jersey who led Susquehanna to several good seasons before being fired for (allegedly) hitting a player.

From there, Garrett went on to assistant jobs in the NFL, with a short stint as head coach of the Houston Texans of the World Football League (the league in which I worked).

In 1985, he was hired as head coach of Columbia University, but he got himself into trouble there when in a post-game tirade he accused his players of being “drug-addicted losers.” No doubt he meant that they had become addicted to losing, in the same way that druggies are to their drug of choice, but the poorly-constructed metaphor was lost on university administrators, and he was fired.

The tragedy for Columbia football was that it cost them three very good football players - John, Judd and Jason Garrett, Jim’s sons - who transferred to Princeton and excelled there.

Jason, of course, is now the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Now, the folks at Susquehanna have decided to change the school’s nickname.

They’ll no longer be known as the Crusaders.  Guess the nickname’s been making it hard to attract students from the Middle East.

So now there’s a third thing that Susquehanna will be known for.  Cowardice.


*********** A coach in the process of building his football library once asked me for a list of my favorite books. I hate to list or rank anything (my favorite sport when I was a kid was always the one in season; if you should ever ask me at any time what my favorite place is - other than home - I'm likely to say, "Right here, right now"; and my favorite company, other than my family, is whoever I'm with right now), but there are many books that have made a difference to me in one way or another over the years. Although this is by no means my conclusive list, these books would certainly be on it:

AT THE TOP OF MY LIST: Nelson, David M. - Football Principles and Play - Ronald Press, 1962 - The absolute best book ever written on the basic principles of offensive and defensive play. Although Dave Nelson is considered to be the father of the Delaware Wing-T, this book is general in nature and even in these days of spread, no-huddle offenses it could still be used as a coaching textbook.

Blaik, Earl and Cohane, Tim - You Have to Pay the Price - Holt, Rinehart and Winston - 1960 - The legendary Army coach's perspective on a career in coaching - the agony and the ecstasy

Bryant, Paul W. - Building a Championship Football Team - Prentice-Hall, 1960 - The Bear's master work - includes his explanation of Bum Phillips' defensive numbering system

Caldwell, Charlie - Modern Single-Wing Football - Lippincott & Co - 1951 - The first football book I ever owned, given to me as a Christmas present when I was a kid. Very technical, it took me years to understand it, but the section on the wedge alone was a real eye-opener for me

Danzig, Allison - The History of American Football - Prentice-Hall, 1956 - A look at the men and their teams - and their thinking - that built the game we have today

Dodd, Bobby - Bobby Dodd on Football - Coach Dodd enjoyed a fabulous career at Georgia Tech. He was an early adopted of the Belly Series, and one of its most successful practitioners, so as you might expect, there's a lot devoted to the offense.  But his defensive section is really interesting, and - perhaps because he had to face his old mentor, General Robert Neyland and his Tennessee single wing every year - he includes a look at defensing the single wing.  HIs section on special teams has been helpful to me on more than one occasion.

Ecker, Tom and Calloway, Bill - Athletic Journal's Encyclopedia of Football - Parker Publishing, 1978 - A compilation of offensive and defensive ideas from top college and HS coaches

Ellison, Glenn "Tiger" - Run and Shoot Football - Parker Publishing, 1965 & 1984 - The original offensive system written by the Ohio high school coach who devised it

Evashevski, Forest and Nelson, David - Scoring Power With the Winged T Offense - Brown Co., 1957 - The original book on the offense now known as the Delaware Wing-T that took the football world by storm  (Nelson, coach of Delaware, actually wrote it - and invented the offense -  but Evashevski, coach at Iowa, was better known, so he got top billing.)

McKay, John - Football Coaching - Ronald Press, 1966 - The basics of the USC I-formation attack and his 5-2 Rover (Monster) defense - and much more

Nelson, David - Anatomy of a Game - 1994 - Dave Nelson is most famous as the inventor of the Delaware Wing-T, still, more than 60 years later one of the most popular offenses ever developed.  But he also served for years on the NCAA Rules Committee, and this book, a history of the rules and how and why they came to be, was his life’s work.  In fact, it was incomplete at the time of his death, and was finished afterward. It is a wonderful reference work. If you can find a copy, you'll need money - it’s VERY expensive.

Parseghian , Ara - Parseghian and Notre Dame Football - Doubleday & Co, 1971 & 1973 - Coach Parseghian's adaptation of the Wing-T offense and his Split-4 defense - and a whole lot more

Pool, Hamp - Fly-T Football - Prentice-Hall, 1957 - I have to include this, because it first got me interested in coaching - it was my senior year in college, I was injured, and I was pressed into service coaching our intra-mural (yes, tackle football) team - Hamp Pool's Los Angeles Rams of the early 1950s put up incredible numbers because (1) he had one of the best assemblages of offensive talent ever put together on one team, and (2) he was light years ahead of other coaches in his offensive thinking. After four years of having played belly-T football, mostly from a full-house T backfield, I was blown away by the stuff I saw in this book. And doggone if it didn't work when I tried it!  That hooked me on coaching.

Reade, Bob - Coaching Football Successfully - Human Kinetics, 1994 - Back in the 1980s, several of the Wing-T coaches in the Portland area pooled our resources and flew Coach Reade out to put on a clinic.  He was great. His Wing-T wasn't my Wing-T, which was the Delaware version, but no matter - I got so much from listening to Coach Reade talk about offense, defense and football in general.  This,  clearly, was a man with information we could all use in our own programs.

Royal, Darrell and Sherrod, Blackie - Darrell Royal Talks Football - Prentice-Hall - 1963 - Just some plain old coaching wisdom that I was badly in need of in my early days

Smith, Homer - Handbook for Coaching the Football Passing Attack - Parker Publishing, 1970 - The great offensive coach's book on the passing game and its very basics - the fundamentals necessary for the simplest or most sophisticated passing attack

Tallman, Drew - Directory of Football Offenses - 1978 - incredible resource - pocket-sized diagrams of common formations - their strengths and weaknesses

Tallman, Drew - Directory of Football Defenses - 1980 - likewise

Coach of the Year Clinic Manuals, any and all you can get your hands on (I go back to 1970 with them) - contact Earl Browning, PO Box 22185, Louisville, KY 40252 (telecoach@mindspring.com)


Army Edge whiteboard

It’s really cool to be able to diagram plays with the Go Army Edge software  (as shown above).

It’s even cooler to be able to see what that same play diagram would look like in your team’s - and your opponents’ - uniforms  (shown below).

Army Edge 3D

And it’s absolutely mind-blowing to be able to push a button and watch the “players” actually run your play. Full speed or slo-mo.

You can change the defense.   Change the formation.  Change the blocking scheme. Quickly and easily “flip” the play and run it the opposite way.

It’s the Go Army Edge app, a really neat bit of cutting edge coaching software, and as some of you know, I’ve been working with it since last spring as a coach/consultant.

Pro teams and colleges are paying tens of thousands of dollars for competing virtual reality systems, but the Go Army Edge app is free, compliments of the United States Army.

If you’d like more information about it, check it out here.


If you’ve already tried it and there’s something I can do to help you make better use of it, drop me a line coachwyatt@aol.com

*********** One of the unintended consequences of sculpting the NFL game into its current pass-first, pass-last, pass-always form is that there simply aren’t enough good quarterbacks to go around.

Used to be that even so-so teams had really good quarterbacks. Archie Manning, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Sonny Jorgensen come to mind.

It also used to be that almost every team had a decent backup. (Quick: who started at most games for the Miami Dolphins the year they went unbeaten?)

Now, there are a lot of really bad NFL teams, and for most of them a reason they’re bad is that they have a bad quarterback.

Conversely, there are a handful of good teams, and one thing they all have in common is a very good quarterback. 

It’s a far cry from 20 or 30 years ago when it was considered idiocy to start a rookie quarterback.  It was widely believed that a guy needed at least two years serving as an understudy to a veteran before he was ready to take over.

Those were the days, we’re constantly told, before offenses became super-sophisticated.  Yet today, playing a game that’s more intricate, against defenses that are super-talented, owners pay large sums to sign college quarterbacks in the expectation that they’ll play right away.

So desperate are most NFL teams to find that quarterback who’ll take them to the promised land that they keep drafting promising young college quarterbacks and then throwing them right to the wolves, with little preparation.

If a guy doesn’t make it quickly, he’s sent on his way, an instant journeyman.

The NFL, in its haste to turn high draft choices into box office start, destroys far more young quarterbacks than it develops - and then has the gall to blame it on the offenses that the colleges run.

Funny.  Back in the days when the colleges ran the ball and the pros passed, the NFL still managed to find and develop enough quarterbacks to go around.   The key word, I would suggest, is “develop.”

*********** I heard wise guy Bernard McGuirk refer to Lady Hillary as “Tonya Harding in a pants suit.”


A little late with this update.  We won our first round playoff game against a Catholic team from Chicago.  We played our best game of the season.  We allowed just 19 yards of offense (-52 rushing, 90 passing and 19 yards in penalties).  Offensively, we rushed 81 times for 341 and were 4 of 6 passing for 72.  It was a sloppy a field as we've every played on and the double wing rolled through the muck and mud!  "The rolling blob of death" as one opponent calls it.  Final score was 40-0.

We face the real deal this week.  A suburban Catholic school (big difference from the inner-city Catholic league) in Elmhurst Immaculate Conception.  Their junior running back supposedly has a scholarship offer from Iowa.  We are bigger.  They are faster.  Should be interesting.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


Never too late to keep me updated - especially with news of a win!

The Double Wing still works!  Imagine!

I keep hoping that not too many people will run it so that we’ll remain outliers - the skunk at the garden party.

I imagine the fact that it’s not sexy ( a “blob” - I love it) will immediately eliminate all the me-too guys.

Good luck this weekend.

*********** The Palatine, Illinois school district is under attack by the Department of Education because it hasn’t been sufficiently accommodating of a “transgender” student.  They have allowed him/her to compete on girls’ teams, and they have even used the pronouns of his/her choice in referring to him/her.   But they drew the line at allowing him/her to use the girls’ bathrooms or the girls’ locker rooms, and now they’re in trouble with the feds.

Your government in action.   That’ll go a long way toward getting those test scores up.

Meanwhile, Houston voters, by a 2-1 margin, voted down a proposed ordinance that would, among other things, have extended protected status to the “transgendered.”  Those opposed to the ordinance were accused of playing dirty by stressing that the law would allow anyone deciding that they’re “transgendered” to use the rest rooms of whatever sex they choose - rest rooms intended for those actually born with the appropriate  chromosomes.  Playing dirty, perhaps, but no one who favored the law denied that it would, indeed,  enable an intact man to “decide” that he was a female and enter a women’s rest room. Or locker room.

It’s time someone put a stop to this “transgender” nonsense - this idea that even though your name is George and you were born a male, with all the necessary equipment (including a Y chromosome), all you need to do is simply announce that you now “identify” as a female and - shazam! - you’re a female.

To validate the sham, a number of traditional women’s colleges have announced that they will welcome as students - as “women” - anyone who “identifies” as a woman.   (“Hi.  I’m your new roommate…”)

Come on - who’s kidding who?

I mean, I know we delude our youngsters nowadays by telling them they can be anything they want to be, but members of the opposite sex?

As I recently read in a forum,

There is no medical or scientific evidence that anyone is born gay and even less that anyone is born transgendered. No physical mechanism for either has been identified. They exist only in the psychology of individuals and among those demanding validation of their delusions.

Got that?  Delusions. 

And then, on the basis of those delusions, the rest of us are supposed to grant them special “civil rights” status, as if they were members of a racial or ethnic group.

How, other than being insane ourselves, can we seriously consider the wish of a man to “identify” as a woman - or the converse - as anything other than a mental disorder?

*********** Jeez, it’s nice to see the Mid-America Conference back on weeknight TV!

My wife was watching the Toledo-Northern Illinois game, and asked, “Is it me, or is this football faster?”

Yes, I said. Compared with the average pro game, the MAC game really did look like an old electric football game cranked up  a couple of notches.

I really like those “Power Five” conference teams.

I was sorry to see Temple lose to Notre Dame, and sorry to see Toledo lose to Northern Illinois - actually, I hate to see any MAC team lose - and now I have to go with Houston and Memphis to break into the Monopoly Bowl, aka the College Playoff.

Memphis may get shafted even if it should win out.  I mean what chance does it have when it beats Ole Miss, which beat Alabama - and then it’s ranked way below Alabama?

Nothing against Alabama, a very good team, and depending on the outcome of its game with LSU this weekend, definitely a title contender, but shouldn’t Memphis’ unbeaten record, combined with its decisive win over Ole Miss, move it a little higher than it is?


american flagTUESDAY,  NOVEMBER 3,  2015-   "There's no such thing as casual Friday in law enforcement."   Greg Gutfelt

*********** I laugh like hell at Mike Leach’s deadpan manner whenever he deals with those professional pests they call sideline reporters.

At halftime of Saturday night’s game with Stanford, one of them tried to pin him down, asking him whether his quarterback, Luke Falk, who appeared to be limping, was okay, and he responded,

"He's 100 per cent healthy and just as fast as he usually is - which is 4.9."

*********** The North Beach Hyaks celebrated Senior Night by trouncing across-the-harbor rival Ocosta, 60-7.

It took the Hyaks, now 9-0, just 46 plays to amass 503 yards of total offense - 391 rushing and 112 passing.  The game was shortened when by  mutual agreement a running clock went into effect midway through the second quarter when the Hyaks took a 44-0 lead.

North Beach went to the air a bit more than usual - 15 times - with Alex McAra completing eight passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Saul Gonzalez carried the ball just three times for 100 yards and a TD (72 yards). He also returned a kickoff for a 78-yard touchdown, and had a 60-yard punt return called back because of a block in the back.

Skyler Wells gained 85 yards on seven carries, and scored TDs on runs of 25, 20 and 14 yards.

The regular season concludes with the Hyaks unbeaten for the second straight year.   They’ve outscored opponents 481-91, and lead all state high schools in scoring with an average of 53.4 points per game.

This week  is an off-week for the Hyaks, thanks to a first-round playoff bye that goes to the league’s champion.

In two weeks, they’ll face the winner of this Friday night’s game between the Napavine Tigers (7-2) and  the Ilwaco Fishermen (5-4). Napavine, which made it to the state semifinals last year, was a co-favorite to win its league this year, but a costly injury to their QB led to a third-place league finish. The QB is back and, I can attest from scouting him personally, as good as ever.  North Beach and Ilwaco met in the season-opener, won by North Beach 38-7, but the Fishermen have won five of their last six games, losing only to second-place Raymond, 13-12.

Hyaks Seniors on Senior Night

*********** Following their 60-7 defeat of Ilwaco, the North Beach seniors modeled their League Championship hoodies, the two crowns representing their two straight league championships. 

Considering how as the North Beach program had been through the years, it’s impossible to understate what two straight league championships - the only two  in the school's  history - mean.

This senior class is by far the most successful in school history: although North Beach did finish just 4-6 their freshman year, they’ve since gone 26-4 (7-3, 10-1 and - so far - 9-0) over  their last three years.

In the photo, from left to right: Tim Poplin (OG-DT), Austin Perez (TE-DE), Andrew Wagner (SE-DB), Alex Horn (C-DT), Skyler Wells (RB-OLB), Jonny Law (OG-MLB), Saul Gonzalez (RB-OLB), Chris Harms (SE-DB), Alex McAra (QB-DB)

*********** Now, look - this is by no means a claim that a high school quarterback at a small school in rural Washington State is in any way comparable to any NFL quarterback.

But using the NFL’s QB rating system as a measurement of  effectiveness as a passer, North Beach QB Alex McAra has a rating comparable to the best NFL quarterbacks.

The rating system puts special emphasis on three factors: yards per attempt, touchdowns per attempt and interceptions per attempt.

In Alex’s case, in 64 attempts, he has thrown for 607 yards (9.5 yards per attempt), 13 TDs (20.3%, or one in every five attempts), and only 2 interceptions (3 %, or one in every 33 attempts).

It figures out to a rating of 115.0

Compare that to the NFL’s leaders, only seven of whom have ratings of 100 or more:

Andy Dalton - 116.1
Aaron Rodgers - 115.9
Tom Brady - 115.8
Ben Roethlisberger - 113.9
Carson Palmer - 108.9
Tyrod Taylor - 103.6
Derek Carr - 101.0

Again, this is not meant in any way to compare a high school kid to an accomplished professional, but as a measurement of our quarterback’s effectiveness in our system, it is very revealing.

Alex McAra’s rating, using three different calculations…

Alex QB Ratings

Now, here's the best - he's thrown effectively, he's an excellent runner, he's done a tremendous job of running a fairly complex offense and in two years he's played in only one losing game, a state quarter-final game.  But he hasn't thrown that much, so he doesn't have  the yardage (forget the wins).   So he won't even be second team all-star in our piddlyass little league.

*********** The Duke-Miami game had to be one of the worst-officiated games I have ever seen, with an ending that resulted in the officials’ suspension.  (In my opinion, a case could be made for their execution.)

I won’t go into the officiating errors that took place on just one play - the ACC itself has done that.

In fairness to the officials, so despicable was the conduct of the Miami players, so nonexistent was the discipline, that even after calling an ACC-record 23 penalties against the Hurricanes, they couldn’t possibly have called every penalty Miami deserved.

As for the injustice of Duke's loss owing to official's incompetence,  there’s no provision in the rules for a reversal of a game’s outcome, but like most of the current rules,  NCAA Rule 1, Article 3, Section B:

“When the referee declares that the game is ended, the score is final.”

was written before instant replay.  Instant replay was intended to correct such travesties as the ending of the Duke-Miami game, and it’s time that the rules are rewritten to acknowledge that.

I continue to be dismayed at the way instant replay fails to correct on-the-field errors, even those seen rather clearly by TV announcers, and the failure of the field officials and the replay officials to get the final, wacko kick return correct is a smirch on the game itself that no suspensions can wipe clean.



*********** It was bad enough the way the Duke-Miami game had to end, but even worse that it benefitted a MIami team that pushed way past the limits of acceptable conduct on the field, seeming almost to dare the officials to keep throwing flags on them.

It was like a return to the old days of The U - the days of quasi-criminal conduct off the field, and deplorable conduct on. The only thing missing in this reincarnation was the talent.

The Hurricanes were penalized an all-time ACC-record 23 times, and no doubt the officials had grown weary of taking Miami to the woodshed when Duke scored what just about the entire free world thought was the winning touchdown, with 3 seconds remaining, and a Miami player kicked the ball in disgust. The officials didn’t call it. In my opinion, they were anxious to get the game over with and  reluctant to stir the pot any further.

Had they made the appropriate unsportsmanlike conduct call, Duke would have been kicking off from 15 yards closer to the Miami goal, and the bizarre multiple-lateral return might never have happened.

*********** When I was in high school - seems like yesterday, honestly - my friends and I could have named for you the world record holders in just about every track and field event up to the mile.

In most cases, we could even tell you what the record was.

Indoor track was very big in the winter, especially in New York.  A chance to see a four-minute mile or a (get ready for this) 15-foot pole vault was sure to pack Madison Square Garden. 

This was before there was any international competition other than the Olympics, every four years.

It was also before we went along with the rest of the world and changed to metric distances.

Professionalism is one thing that’s killed America’s interest in track and field.  Where once new, exciting faces burst on the scene every year, now it’s the same dreary cast, year after year.

Overexposure is another killer. Now,  there are so many meets in so many places that no one can ever say for sure who the world’s fastest human is. 

Equipment has also played its part in diminishing interest in field events. High jump? Consider the port-a-pit.  Dick Fosbury would never have done his Flop if he’d had to land in a pile of saw dust.  Ditto the pole vault, which has also benefited from exotic materials that have allowed for poles that catapault leapers far above the 15 feet considered astounding with aluminum poles.

Consider, too the influence of performance-enhancing drugs in making athletes bigger, faster and stronger.  (And richer.)

There’s another factor that’s seldom mentioned, but it’s the adoption of metric distances.  The 1500 meters (the so-called “metric mile”) generates none of the interest that the mile once did.

What a damn shame that for the sake of an event that takes place once every four years, we adopted international standards, and in the process helped kill a great sport for the other three years.  And the sports media and American sports fans stood by and took it.

Thank God the hoop is still 10 feet from the floor and first base is still 90 feet from home plate.

How long do you suppose the NFL  could get away with shoving  “First and 9.144”  down the throats of the American public?

*********** It’s Black Lion Award time again, and you’re invited to name a player.

Time to write those letters nominating your player.

Here are some things to include in writing your letter:

Examples of his toughness/courage  

Ways that he showed leadership in battle/inspired others to follow his lead  

Ways that he showed that he’s a great teammate

Examples of his unselfishness.

Remember - no “most improved,” no “most inspirational,” no “hardest worker.” None of that consolation prize B-S.

For sure, no backups.  Can't be a Black Lion if you're not out on the field!

(Don Holleder, who inspired the Black Lion Award, was no backup - he was in the thick of things,  on the field and in combat.)

And remember - lay it on.  Don’t hold back. Be as "vocal" in writing to us  as you are when describing your guy to assistants or friends.

(There is absolutely no cost to you to participate in the Black Lion Award program:  http://www.coachwyatt.com/blacklionhomepage.htm   )

Ralph and Frank Kush***********  My friend Ralph Balducci was in Tempe to see the Oregon play Arizona State. (Ralph’s son, Alex, is a senior, a starting defensive lineman for the Ducks.)

While there, Ralph had his picture taken outside Sun Devil Stdium,  in front of the statue of a great Wing-T coach, the man who built the Arizona State program almost from scratch - the great Frank Kush.

With our game on Thursday night, and the Ducks on TV, my wife set the DVR to record the Oregon game.  She even allowed an extra 60 minutes in case it went extra-long.

We came home after the game and started to watch, but we finally tired about halftime. By then it was 1:00 or so.

We woke up on Friday and, careful not to listen to any radio sports, started to watch the game from where we’d left off.

Really an exciting game.  Back and forth, back and forth. 

And then, as the Ducks mounted a drive - doink!   There were still maybe five minutes to play and we ran out of time on the recorder.  Talk about pissed.

Imagine our anger when I went online and learned that the game had gone into FIVE overtimes.

At least the Ducks won.

*********** After what I said about my never having the number 69 and never giving out the number 1, I found it interesting to learn during the Temple-Notre Dame game that under Coach Matt Rhule, the Owls reserve single-digit numbers for special guys - “Tuff Guys” - as voted on by the members of the team.

*********** It saddened me greatly to learn of the death of Fred Thompson, former Senator from Tennessee.  Even after he he decided not to run for President, he still struck me as a very good man who would have made an excellent President, a damn sight better than what we've had to live with.


*********** Never bet on a cool-weather team playing an early-season game in the South.

And never bet on a warm-weather team playing a late-season game in the North.

In the former case, for some reason (maybe money?), northern schools allow themselves to be gulled into playing preseason games in places like Louisiana. Alabama. Texas. Florida.  It seldom ends well for the Yankees.

But toward the end of the season, most teams are into conference play, and north-south games seldom occur.

Except, that is, in far-flung conferences with both warm-weather and cool-weather teams.  Among the Big Five conferences, the Pac-12 stands out.

So on a chilly, rainy Saturday night in the Pacific Northwest, Arizona got hammered by Washington, and Stanford escaped being upset by Washington State by the margin of a missed last-second field goal.

american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 30,  2015-   "It's better to stay too long than to leave too soon."    Julius Erving

*********** Unless he’s just a dumb ass, I’m willing to bet that Ryan Mallett, a starting NFL quarterback who skips team meetings (“alarm didn’t go off”) and misses team flights (“heavy traffic”), has something far more serious going on in his life than failing to set his alarm clock and not leaving for the airport early enough.

********* Late result from Thursday night's
game - North Beach 60, Ocosta 7. North Beach (9-0) finishes unbeaten for second straight season, and with a first-round bye next week advances to the state Class 2B playoffs starting in two weeks.

*********** For me, the biggest game of the weekend is Notre Dame at Temple.  After years of watching the Owls suffer, either from losses on the field or from civic apathy (they play at Lincoln Financial Field, but at most Temple games, they’re missing 50,000 or 60,000 of the 70,000 usually on hand in the same stadium for Eagles’ games).

I remember as a kid, when Penn (not Penn State, but Penn, the Ivy League school) was really good, going to a  Penn-Notre Dame game and being shocked to discover that there were Notre Dame people there!  And - this was hard for me, a Philadelphia kid to understand - they were rooting against our Quakers!  They were rooting, loudly, boisterously, obnoxiously I thought, for NOTRE DAME.

And, 50 years later, that’s the way it’s going to be Saturday.  Temple’s players and fans will feel like they’re playing an away game in their own stadium.

Well, that’s the way it was when they played Penn State at "The Linc" to open the season - and damned if they didn’t beat the Lions for the first time since World War II.

So, here they are, still unbeaten and playing the Irish for serious national ranking.

Go Owls!

*********** The Australian Rugby Union  put down $300,000 with a bookmaker, betting on their national team, the Wallabies, to win this weekend’s World Cup (they play th New Zealand All Blacks at noon Eastern Time Saturday - I think.  Better check to make sure.  What I do know is that
in the two home countries, the game will take place between midnight and 5 AM ).

The ARU calls it “insurance,” but most others see through the masquerade and call it a bet, many questioning the propriety of a national organization betting on its team.

Should the Wallabies win, the wager will pay the ARU $3,000,000, which in view of the its obligation to pay each of the 33 team members a $100,000 bonus for winning, would be much needed.


*********** A lot has been made of the unusual  number of good NFL quarterbacks who hailed from Western Pennsylvania - Unitas, Blanda,  Hanratty, Hostetler, Kelly, Lujack, Montana, Marino, Namath, Parilli. Six are in the Hall of Fame.

But in a book of memoirs of numerous old Baltimore Colts, former Colts QB great Bert Jones, a native of Ruston, Louisiana, recalls that there were once five guys starting at quarterback in the NFL at the same time - himself,  Joe Ferguson, Terry Bradshaw, James Harris and Doug Williams - who all grew up within 40 miles of each other in north Louisiana.

*********** From New Criterion: 

The William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale recently commissioned a survey from  McLaughlin & Associates about attitudes towards free speech on campus.  Some 80students at a variety of colleges across the country were surveys. The results, though not surprising, are nevertheless alarming.

By a margin of 51 percent to 36 percent, students favor their school having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty. Sixty-three percent favor requiring professors to employ “trigger warnings” to alert students to material that might be discomfiting. One-third of the students could not identify the First Amendment as the part of the Constitution that dealt with free speech.  Thirty-five percent said that the First Amendment does not protect “hate speech,” while 30 percent of self-identified liberal students say the First Amendment is outdated.

This is the “free” college “education” that a certain Bernie Sanders thinks American taxpayers should provide.  If you happen to be currently employed, you should be grateful for the opportunity to pay for it.  Now - get back to work.

*********** Tom Brady may or may not be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play the game (depending on how far you live from Boston), but he sure does come across as sometimes as having roughly the same IQ as owl - - -.

For instance, let’s hear what this guy who makes millions thanks  to the willingness of sponsors to pay to advertise on NFL games has to say about a couple of those sponsors:

“just the fact that they can sell that to kids? That’s poison for kids,”

Mr. Genius was referring to  Coca-Cola.

“You keep eating those things and you keep wondering why we do have just incredible rates of disease in our country.”

That was Dr. Brady, the nation’s self-appointed Nutritionist In Chief  looking down his nose at all the proles out there who think Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes is “actually a food.”

Maybe somebody should remind Dr. Brady that there were days, back  before television (and sponsors), when football players every bit as talented as he made about as much as school teachers, and held real jobs in the off-season.  And married girls named Jane and Martha instead of Brazilian supermodels.


HELMET TO HELMET*********** “Eyes to the thighs, Fellas,” goes the Hawk Tackling mantra.

So last weekend, two players, eyes to the thighs, collided, and this was what it looked like, split seconds after the collision.  That’s Baylor QB Seth Russell (on the left) being "tackled" by Iowa State defensive back Jomal Wiltz.

Russell suffered a fractured cervical vertebra (that’s a broken neck, in layman’s terms) and required surgery.  He’s done for the season.  Lucky, actually, that he wasn’t paralyzed.

I have no idea what happened to Wiltz, but the outcome could have been just as bad for him.

Either way, 
how much longer can this be tolerated?    Just elect me king, and both of the players will be ejected, and any announcers will be fired for using  terms like "nice hit!" when a player leads with his head.

Even if he's trying to make a Hawk Tackle.

*********** Bremerton, Washington is a Navy town, home of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  It’s about a one-hour ferryboat ride west of Seattle.  (Driving, given the hellish traffic you can run into, takes longer.)

Bremerton has been in the news lately because its spineless school board has been bedeviling (a carefully chosen  word) a Bremerton High football coach named Joe Kennedy who for years has made it a practice to pray at games.

He’s been doing it since 2008, but this year someone complained, and as we all know, if anything the majority does makes even one person “uncomfortable,” well…

So, fearful that someone might sue, the school district  told Coach Kennedy to cease and desist.

He was not even to kneel by himself.  Not on the field.  Not even for 20 or 30 seconds.

When he persisted, he was placed on administrative leave.  But while he can’t coach, he can still attend games and sit up in the stands if he wishes.

(Up to a point, it’s still a free country, right?)

Meantime, something called the Satanic Temple of Seattle has announced that if Coach Kennedy should start to pray after any game…

We’re going to be in black robes, heads covered like Sith Lords. If Joe Kennedy starts to pray, we will begin our solemn march accompanied by a gong to the 50 yard line in a V-formation, with Lilith in front. She will have an incense burner in each extended arm. When we get to the 50 yard line, she hands the incense off to people behind her and begins the invocation… With each sentence the gong will ring.
The invocation will likely end with a repeating “Ava Satanas!” (Hail Satan) lead by Lilith.
We encourage any student or attendee to wear black to show solidarity.

The Satanists claim that they will be attending at the invitation of a Bremerton student.  (Bet that student doesn’t want his/her name getting out.)

Satanists = Christians


Not exactly  what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the First Amendment.

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

My assistant coaches were looking over your practice planner and we want to know about a couple of drills you listed in there. They are the Triangle drill and the Point of Attack drill. I have never heard of these drills so I could not tell them what they are.


The  triangle drill is a way to teach the QB to look at his playside receivers in order of priority - deep, short, crossing (or, sometimes, short, deep, crossing).

Before the play, we’ll instruct different players to fall down during their routes - either the first one, or the first two, or all of them.  QB, realizing that his first option has “gone down,” immediately fixes on the next receiver, and if he’s gone down, also, he goes to the crossing man.  If he’s also gone down, QB tucks and runs.

The Point of attack drill is helpful when you’re short of players.  In the case of super power, it requires a man for the B-Back to kick out, another for the TE/T to double team, an inside LBer for the wingback to block, and a corner, for the QB to control with his fake.

*********** I feel terrible for Jerry Kill, the University of Minnesota -  and the game of football itself - at hearing that Coach Kill’s problem with seizures has reached the point that he can’t continue as the Gophers’ coach.

Coach Kill was just what the doctor ordered for the Minnesota football program, and his loss, especially at this point in the season, jeopardizes the great job of program building that he’d been doing.

But far worse, at a time when the game of football itself is under attack, Coach Kill, a plain spoken, hard working, regular guy, epitomized the sort of coach the game needs more of.

***********A coach writes, “I think I found our biggest problem on offense.  We just aren’t tough.   I figured it out in the film room this past Monday when we were watching 2 wedge, and my biggest  (and supposedly best) lineman said, “I hate wedge”.  I have never heard a kid say that.  Last year’s group and every team before that asked to run wedge.  That spoke volumes for me as to his toughness.”

I replied…


In all my years and all my travels I have never come across a lineman who didn't love the wedge.

There’s definitely something wrong with that kid. (Maybe somebody's been telling him he has a future in the NFL as a pass blocker.)

Somehow, in order to try to save the kid as a player, you  have to deal with this. With an attitude like that, he's probably not very good on defense, either.

Based on his statement that "I hate wedge” - I have to wonder if maybe he doesn’t really want to play football. Maybe it’s one of those deals where he’s playing mainly because he doesn’t want to disappoint his father.

I personally would confront the kid - with his dad present - and ask him if he really wants to play football.

And then if he says “Yes,” I'd ask him if he was really sure, because I got the impression that something was holding him back.  

If he agrees that that’s the case, I’d go on from there.

But if he doesn’t agree that that’s the case, I'd give him examples that make me wonder, such as his not liking the wedge.  I'd tell him that I’ve never heard of a lineman who didn’t like the wedge - that that’s a dead giveaway that a guy isn’t enjoying playing the game.  

I’d continue and ask him, what are you willing to do to make football more enjoyable for yourself?  (In other words, not what can your coach do - because that’s not his job - but what can the kid himself do.)

If he says, “Whatever it takes,” then you’re on your way.  You have a basis for a working relationship.

If he says "I don’t know," then I’d provide him with a list of things he needs to do, and I’d ask him if he’s willing to do them.

If at any point he  indicates that he doesn’t think he needs to do anything more than he’s been doing, or if he expresses an unwillingness to do anything more, then you have to be blunt, and say, “Then it sounds like you’re saying you’re not willing to do what it's going to take to help yourself and help the team.  Is that right?”

And “That sounds like you're saying you don’t really want to play football.  Is that right?”

Prepare to be shocked.

Ideally, all will go well and you’ll be able to convince the kid that he has potential - but only if he’s willing to pick up his game by doing the things you suggest, and his dad will support you.  

But maybe he’s convinced that he’s already good enough.  Maybe he doesn’t care enough about playing football to do the things that are necessary.   Maybe being told by others that he has potential has become a burden that he’d rather be done with.

Whatever,  you don’t want to have to kick him off.   If he’s going to quit, you want it to be his decision, not yours to force him off.

And by all means, be sure to run this by the AD first so he’s on board.


flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 27,  2015-   "What this country needs is more unemployed politicians."   Edward Langley

***********  Coach Wyatt,
Heard on Philly radio (93.3 WMMR)  that Temple is now 7-0.  Woo Hoo!! Go Owls!!
Anyway, the radio said that this is the first time Temple has been 7-0 since Pop Warner coach Temple a long time ago.
Any truth to this??
Just curious.
Mike Lane
Avon Grove, Pennsylvania


It's quite possible. Temple was his last stop as a head coach (after Cornell, Carlisle, Cornell again, Pitt and Stanford). His 1934 Temple team was 7-1-2 and played in the very first Sugar Bowl.

*********** Week by week, Saturday night’s game with Life Christian Academy had loomed larger and larger on our schedule.

We were unbeaten, and Life Christian had lost just once, an opening-game 26-25 loss to Raymond, which then had lost only once, to us. Since then, Life Christian had swept through the rest of the league, and its 49-21 drubbing of Rainier, whom we’d beaten by a similar score, really got our attention.

For us, a win would mean a second straight league title and a first-week playoff bye.  A loss would mean a three-way tie that would have to be resolved, by coin toss or  playoff, to determine playoff seeding.

The game was a nail biter for us.

Their QB, Jack Hohimer, completed 26 of 44 for 393 yards and two touchdowns, but on the minus side, Life Christian was able to run for just 84 yards, and we were able to intercept Hohimer twice. 

To answer Life Christian’s 393 yards passing, we rushed 50 times for 445 yards, without committing a turnover, and as evidence that our punishing running game was beginning to wear our opponents down, we scored 24 points in the fourth quarter.

After scoring first, we missed the extra point, and fell behind for only the second time all season when Life Christian scored and kicked the PAT.  We came up short on downs deep in Life Christian territory, and Life Christian scored to go ahead 14-6. We came back and scored, but after missing the PAT once more,  we trailed 14-12 at the half.

That’s the way the score stayed until two minutes remained in the third quarter, when on a fourth-and-four on the Life Christian 43, our QB Alex McAra hit split end Chris Harms on a fade.  We made the two-point conversion to lead, 20-14 after three.

We pulled out to 28-14 early in the fourth quarter, but they answered to make it 28-21. Two straight scores by Saul Gonzalez, who wound up carrying 14 times for 264 yards and touchdown runs of 80, 58, 34 and 8 yards, extended our lead to 44-21, but Life Christian wouldn’t fold, punching  in one more score with under a minute remaining to make the final 44-27.

We're now 8-0 with one game remaining. We're Pacific League champs for the second straight year. Over the last three seasons we're  25-4, and in the last two seasons we're 18-1.  We've scored 421 point in 8 games, which leads the state in all classifications.

Sounds like boasting, I know, but you'd have to see the state the North Beach program was in back in 2011 when we got started to understand the pride we take in what we've accomplished.

*********** It isn't usual for a newspaper the size of the Tacoma News Tribune to send a reporter to a small-school game, but evidently they considered this one important enough...

Gonzalez makes sure North Beach wears 2B Pacific crown

Staff writer
Tacoma News -Tribune

The battle for the 2B Pacific league crown lived up to expectations: It was high scoring.

Both high-powered offenses waited until the second half to ignite, but a 24-point fourth quarter, led by senior running back Saul Gonzalez, gave North Beach the title with a 44-27 victory over Life Christian on Saturday night.

“Our plan is to stack the box, keep eight in the box and stop the run. That’s our plan,” said Life Christian coach Jess Nelson.

Well, it worked for a little bit.

North Beach (8-0, 7-0 2B Pacific) favors the run, to say the least.

“We are a blue-collar type of team. We’ve got five guys on our team squatting 400 pounds in the weight room, fast guys, too,” said Hyaks coach Todd Bridge.

You can’t talk about quickness and speed without mentioning Gonzalez, who had four touchdowns Saturday, three in the second half.

“14 (Gonzalez) is good,” said Bridge. “During our past two games he has scored seven touchdowns. And here’s the great part, he touched the ball only seven times during those games.”

Gonzalez didn’t skip a beat Saturday. His final three touchdowns were back-to-back-to-back. He scored from 8 yards, 34 yards and 58 yards. And his final touchdown was from 80 yards.

“I have to give all the credit to my offensive line,” said Gonzalez. “Without them, none of this was possible.”

The Hyaks scored on their first drive, when Gonzalez and Skyler Wells split the workload. Gonzalez ran for 35 yards on the drive, but Wells scampered left for the touchdown with 7:57 left in the opening quarter.

After a pass interference call on North Beach, the Eagles started in great field position. On the next play, Wyatt Dunlap bounced in for a 1-yard touchdown.

After a failed Hyaks’ fourth-down attempt in the second quarter at the Eagles 17, Life Christian’s Jack Hohimer carved up the North Beach defense, completing six passes for 78 yards, one of them a 26-yard dart over the middle to Dunlap, putting the Eagles up 14-6 with 3:40 left in the second quarter.

It didn’t take much time for North Beach to answer: 1 minute and two seconds and three plays to be exact. Gonzalez started the drive with a 43-yard play to the 8-yard line. He scored off a sweep on the next play.

The third quarter was quiet until North Beach called a passing play, something it only did three times, and scored on it from 43 yards out.

Life Christian showed some life late, but it was too late. Hohimer threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, both to fellow senior Dunlap (26 and 65 yards).


***********  Our local paper, the Aberdeen Daily World, also sent a reporter...

By Brendan Carl
The Daily World

LAKEWOOD — North Beach locked up its second straight Pacific 2B League championship with a 44-27 win over Life Christian Academy at Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood on Saturday.

The Hyaks rallied back from being down 14-12 at halftime to take the lead in the third quarter and put up 24 points in the fourth quarter. North Beach’s Saul Gonzalez rushed for 264 yards on 14 carries against the Eagles, but the senior came alive in the fourth quarter to score all three of the Hyak touchdowns in the final period. Gonzalez scored on runs from 58, 35 and 70 yards and added an interception in the fourth quarter.

“This (championship) means a lot,” Gonzalez said. “We have been working for this since day one this summer. It’s hard work paying off. Being down at halftime encouraged us to go all out and be a second half team. It wasn’t the coaches, but all of the players encouraging each other.”

North Beach got on the scoreboard first on a 7-yard run by Skyler Wells with eight minutes left in the first quarter, but the Hyaks struggled with the LCA spread offense. The Eagles moved the ball steadily through the air for much of the night and finished with 393 total passing yards. The passing set up a 12-yard run by Wyatt Dunlap to give LCA a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Dunlap scored the next LCA touchdown through the air on a 33-yard pass in the seam to put the Eagles up with just under four minutes to go in the first half.

North Beach responded less than a minute later. After a 43-yard run by Gonzalez, the senior sprinted into the end zone from eight yards out. The Hyaks failed to add the 2-point conversion again and trailed 14-12 at halftime.

Late in the third quarter, it looked as though North Beach’s drive had stalled. With the Hyaks facing a fourth-and-5 play just into Eagle territory, quarterback Alex McAra threw a fade route up the left sideline and senior Chris Harms caught the pass in stride for a 43-yard touchdown. Wells busted through to add the 2-point conversion and the Hyaks led 20-14 at the end of the third.

The Saul Gonzalez show began early in the fourth quarter on a third-and-1 play. Gonzalez followed his blocking past the first down marker and cut back to the left, beating a pair of Eagle defenders to the end zone.

LCA proceeded to put together an 8-play, almost four-minute drive, which ended on a 15-yard run by Ezra Miller, but the Hyak response came 33 seconds later. Gonzalez found room behind the Hyak linemen and made one cut left before racing his was for a 35-yard touchdown. The senior didn’t even need to cut for his third touchdown of the quarter on a 70-yard burst up the middle with 5:46 left to go in the game.

The Eagles added one more score on a 63-yard run by Dunlap, but the Hyaks had put the contest out of reach.

“This is a tribute to how hard these kids work in the offseason,” Hyak head coach Todd Bridge said. “I’m really proud of the kids’ resiliency. They were fantastic. We knocked them down in the fourth quarter and they were checking out of the game.”

North Beach rushed for a total of 445 yards as a team. Wells accounted for 69 yards on 17 carries, while Ben Poplin added 57 yards on 11 carries. Along with Gonzalez, Wells had an interception on the night.

The Hyaks host Ocosta on Thursday to close out the regular season.


*********** Because our opponent, Life Christian Academy of Tacoma plays its home games at a local stadium used by several public high schools, Saturday nights are the only dates available to them, so that’s when we play when we visit them.

Any high school coach who likes Saturday night games ought to have his head examined.  It’s one thing getting high school kids ready for a Friday night game, with the normal school day keeping them busy and their minds occupied.  If it’s a home game, all you have to concern yourself with is the short period of time between the end of school and the time they report to the locker room.  (We deal with that by keeping them on school grounds, and feeding them at about 4 PM.)  If it’s an away game and your shortest trip is 1-1/2 hours, you don’t have too much spare time to worry about.

But what if the kickoff is 7 PM Saturday night?

Allowing for a 2-1/4  hour bus ride to Saturday’s game in Tacoma, we arranged for a 2:45 departure time.

But, partly to make sure they woke up, we brought the kids in at 11:30.  To their credit, every kid was on time. That’s no small deal - some of them live more than 20 miles “up the beach.”

We fed them sandwiches, then after a chalk-talk, we went out onto the field for a walk-through, covering last-minute details and reinforcing several of the key points of the week’s work.

Then, before it was time to board the bus, we went through a pre-away-game ritual that I started back in 2008 when I was the head coach at North Beach: each kid packed his equipment bag in front of a coach, who checked him off after making sure that nothing was missing.  (Painful experience over the years taught me this one.)

Along the way, the kids ate lunches packed for them by parents, and the team arrived at 4:45, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.  (Our bus drivers are good, and they compete for the privilege of driving the team.)

Our backs, receivers, snappers and kickers were out on the field at 5:45, they were joined by the rest of the team  at 6:05, and at 6:40 we returned to the locker room for final instructions.

Between the twin facts that (1) it was our opponent’s homecoming and (2) their quarterback threw the ball 44 times, the game wasn’t over until about 10.

Because our opponent is a Christian school, we joined them for a postgame prayer of thanks, then, with the large number of our fans who’d travelled to watch the game, a North Beach tradition, we formed the “Hyak Circle”: players, students, parents and community members joining hands on the field in a large circle,  chanting the “Hyak Creed.”  Of course it sounds corny to an outsider, but so, maybe, does Hotty Toddy if you’re not from Ole Miss.

Finally, a gathering of the team out on the field, and as onlookers gathered around, Coach Todd Bridge talked to the kids about the importance in football - and life - of fighting through adversity, and then, one by one, our seniors shared their impressions of the game.

The players dispersed to share some time with parents and girlfriends, and then headed to the locker room, where the people from Life Christian Academy had very graciously provided a huge supply of pulled pork sandwiches.

And then departure, at about 11 PM.  ETA in Ocean Shores for the team bus: about 1:15 AM.

Arrival time for the Wyatts in Camas: 1:30 AM.

(Fast turnaround: back to Ocean Shores Monday for 2:30 PM practice.)

This week’s final regular-season game is at home on Thursday night. It’s Senior Night against Ocosta, which has won once.

The game was originally scheduled for Thursday because of the chance that we might have to participate in a three-way playoff the following Monday.  With the need for a playoff out of the way, we tried to change it back to Friday, but something else intervened:  Homecoming Dance.

I may have failed to tell you - we did make the Seattle TV news - that our original Homecoming Dance, scheduled traditionally to take place on the Saturday following our Homecoming Game, was postponed when it became known that a kid at North Beach High had been seen researching automatic weapons and reading about the Roseburg shooting on a school computer, and had been heard muttering something about wanting to “light this school up.”

Last I heard, the kid’s still in jail, but I suppose he’ll be back.

Anyhow, the game’s on Thursday this week.

*********** A major problem with playing weaker teams is that you get spoiled by so much easy success and even though you know better, you still let yourself get lulled into thinking that this is the way it’s always going to be.  So if you’re not careful, it can be a bit disconcerting when you come up against a tough opponent and find yourself having to punt.

A play fails to work, and then another, and you begin to think, “they’ve stuffed us.  They’ve got us figured out.”

Bulls—.  It’s just that they’re a good team, and they’re well-coached, and we’re going to have to slug it out.

The real concern, of course, is that if you, the coach, find yourself thinking this way, what do you suppose your kids are thinking?

Here's where mental preparation comes in. Calling any play you want with reasonable assurance that it’s going to go is simply not reality.

Reality is that not every play is going to work perfectly, and you’re going to have to be prepared to slug it out.

Which means you have to prepare yourself - and your kids and your fellow coaches - for what happens when a play doesn’t go.

It doesn't mean that something's wrong.  It just means that you're in a fight.

Which is why we prepare mentally with the “splitting wood” metaphor.

*********** Our win Saturday night assures us of our second straight league championship - not bad, considering that last year’s championship was the first in our school’s history.

The win, and our league’s number one seed, means we get a first-round playoff bye;  the win also gives us our district’s number one seed, which means a home field advantage until the semifinal and final rounds, which, should we get there, would be played in the Tacoma Dome.


Had we lost Saturday night, we’d have fallen into a three-way tie for first in the league.  While the league’s SOP calls for breaking the tie by a coin flip of the three AD’s involved, it does allow for the possibility of a three-way Kansas Plan playoff, provided all three schools agree.

I can hear them all now - the media types and fantasy fans, the ones who insisted and insisted that we have a college football playoff.   This is America, where things should be settled on the field, right?

Who wouldn’t want a playoff? 

The coaches at North Beach, that’s who.


We would play our final regular-season game this Thursday night;

Then after a light workout on Friday, we’d practice Saturday and Sunday, preparing to meet two different teams on Monday (in our case, one runs a spread, the other a wing-T).

On Monday, we’d meet at a neutral site, with the first one out getting the league’s number three seed and the winner - the last one standing - getting the number one seed.

Then, and only then - about nine o’clock Monday night - would we know who we’d be playing in the first round.

No problem if you finish first - you get that first-round bye. Otherwise, you’ll somehow have to get a plan together in a hurry in time for a playoff game the following Saturday.

Meantime, of course, our kids are expected to keep up with school work.

Finally, most important of all at this point in the season, there's the risk of injury to a key player.

Our thinking, at North Beach, was that the coin toss has many positives, and only one negative, a debatable one at that.

Number one positive?

Reduced risk of injury.

Number two?

Elimination of the chaotic schedule we’d have to deal with between now and the first-round game.

Number three?

If we were to finish second or third in the coin toss, we would know by this coming Friday  - not the following Monday  night - who our first round opponent would be, and we could spend the weekend getting ready.

About the only negative we could think of was the possibility of finishing third.  But that’s also a real possibility if we “settle” things in a playoff.  After all, we wouldn’t be in a three-way tie in the first place if one of those other teams hadn’t already shown it can beat us, right?

Yes, we might not get first round bye, but finishing either second or third, we’d still draw a lower-seeded first-round opponent: a third-place finish would put us up against the fourth-place team ifrom another league, and a second place finish would send us up against a fifth-place team.  In either case, second or third place, we’d get to play that first-round game at home.

Our decision, all things considered,  was to stay with the league SOP and deal with the outcome of the coin toss.

So go ahead and call us cowards.  The point, as I understand it, is to advance in the state playoffs, and you do that with good planning and a healthy roster; playing in a series of Monday night mini-games with little or no time off disrupts planning and jeopardizes our players’ health.  I won't even mention school work.

Fortunately, our kids handled business on Saturday night, so now it’s all academic.

***********  Ironhead Heyward's son can't wear a small, non-intrusive tribute to his Dad -- who died of freakin' brain cancer -- but NFL pros, as well as high school players, have to cover themselves in pink accessories, because...breast cancer?


By the way, kudos to you and Todd for bucking this odious trend.

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington

Thank you for being on our side -  obviously the wrong one in today’s sensitive America.  We’re simply insensitive Neanderthals that don’t get into social causes.

But I guess with all the domestic violence perps wearing NFL uniforms, the League sports pink as Kevlar to keep the feminist activists off them.

While we’re on the subject of what players can and cannot wear, don’t forget that the NFL once refused to let Peyton Manning wear black high-top shoes to honor Johnny Unitas, the greatest Colts’  (at least Baltimore variety) quarterback of all time.

*********** An article by one Laura Frazier in the Portland Oregonian dealt with excessive school absenteeism among the state’s native-American students.

She enlightened her readers with this beauty: “state research has shown that missing too much school is strongly connected with a student’s failure to graduate.”

Wow. The Oregon taxpayers sure are getting their money's worth  with “state research” like that.

*********** With most advertisers pushing the soccer culture ad nauseum (Latin: to where it makes you want to throw up), you’ve got to love that new KIA commercial: “Built for Football Families!”

*********** Hoosic Valley (New York) won the first playoff game in school history Saturday, rushing for 508 yards in defeating Fonda-Fultonville, 42-19.

The Indians (6-2) face Mechanicville next Saturday.



american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 23,  2015-   "Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us." Thomas Paine

*********** Win a bet some time by asking which sport is the only one dominated by teams from the Southern Hemisphere.

It’s rugby.

No, not the rugby that they'll play in the Olympics, a sort of Arena Rugby, with 7 men on a side. 

Real rugby,  with scrums and everything.

In the Rugby World Cup semifinals, being played this weekend,  all four teams are from south of the Equator: the Australia Wallabies vs. the Argentina Pumas and the New Zealand All Blacks vs the South Africa Springboks.

The US, where rugby doesn’t enjoy anywhere near the status it does in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (I can’t speak for Argentina), was  eliminated early.

*********** When I first came to North Beach as head coach in 2008 my first act was to meet with the returning players and some of their parents.  They had had several down years, and several coaches in a few years' time, so it was understandable if they looked on me a bit skeptically.

One of the kids asked me if I had any special plans to build team unity, and I said one of the things that we'd do was to have a team meal before every game.  The kid asked, in all seriousness, “What’s a team meal?”

I explained that it was something I'd always managed to arrange wherever I'd coached, a way to bring the guys together before the game.

I didn't know a soul in the community, and I had to cook the first meal myself - a huge pot of jambalaya - but from that point parents began to volunteer. One mom, Jody Ray, had two boys on the team, and she really saw that our kids were well fed.  (She moved away following that season, but coincidentally she showed up at our game in Puyallup two weeks ago and made it a point to come down onto the field and visit with me.)

I don’t know whether the meals had anything to do with it, but we finished 7-3, the school’s best record in years.

I left North Beach for two seasons, but I came back in 2011 to assist Todd Bridge, who’d been my middle school coach in ’08, and one of the first things he did was to bring back the team meals.

His wife, Chris (like my wife Connie, a great coach’s wife) had to get things started off on her own, but one by one other parents came on board to help.

Now, our small but active group of team parents sees to it that our kids are well-fed before every game.  On road trips, they send them off with something to eat along the way, but before home games, they really go all-out.

Parents sign up  for specific games before the season starts, and there’s a bit of a competition to see who gets the assignment for homecoming and for senior night. Last Friday’s homecoming-game meal was provided by Skyler Wells' dad Shan Teague, who got his bid in early.

Shan, a professional fishing guide, served up salmon steaks, cut from a fish he’d caught earlier that day, and slabs of beef sliced from a prime rib he’d marinated for days.

shan prime ribTavo Muro serving

(Above Left) Sophomore Ben Poplin eyes a slice of roast beef being cut by Shan Teague. 
(Above Right) Sophomore Tavo Muro makes room on his plate for a salmon steak.

seniors homecoming

The seniors gather behind the traditional homecoming cake.

Front row, from left to right: Alex McAra, Skyler Wells, Andrew Wagner, Chris Harms, Coach James Vogler

Back : Coach Hugh Wyatt, Alex Horn, Jonny Law, Tom Poplin, Austin Perez, Saul Gonzalez (standing on a chair), Coach Todd Bridge  

If the jerseys look a little ragtag - no, we’re not a wealthy district, but we’re not that poor. They’re our practice jerseys.   I can’t remember exactly how it started,  but in the five years since Coach Bridge became head coach here, it’s become a tradition to “dress down” - to wear practice jerseys - for our homecoming game.  The first year we did it , we won (very big deal - we were only 3-7 that year) and it's become a tradition. We haven’t lost a homecoming game since it started.

***********   Hey Hugh -

The Ute Conference youth football league in our area has a minimum play rule for all players during a game. The bylaws state that: "Each player must play a minimum of 10 plays in every game. A play is defined as any time the official puts the ballin play." Over the years someone in the league complains that special team play should not be counted as a play in that regard. And the Conference has always ruled that special team play counts. As a head coach in that league I have always coached the special teams myself to ensure the value of those teams and the players on them.

My son is the head coach of a team in Ute Conference this season. He has acquired the same attitude I have taken on special team play. My son keeps track of the number of plays each minimum play player participates in every game. A parent complained to him that her boy didn't get ten plays. When my son showed her the stat sheet she responded that special teams play doesn't count. (She would like the rules to say all players must carry the ball in every game.) She contacted the district Coaches' Liaison who has now told my son that special teams play doesn't count because of the phrase, "A play is defined as any time the official puts the ball in play" and that is only on scrimmage plays he has deemed. My son tried to reason with him but the issue will now need to go to the Conference Board of Directors again for a ruling.

Although I'm confident the Conference will rule again that special team play counts. But I'm dumb founded at the Liaison's logic on this issue. I'm pretty sure, after coaching and studying football for the better part of the last 31 years in the same district, that game officials must signal the ball ready for play after a "dead" ball before the next play can be executed. (note sarcasm).

Thanking you in advance for your comments.

Al Andrus
Salt Lake City, Utah

I think this is stupid, just another branch on the Trophies for Everybody tree.

My friend Coach Kevin Latham  in Decatur, Georgia liked to call it “Make a Wish” football.

Here’s a strange parallel to your situation:

It’s the rule in our state that kids are limited to a certain number of quarters in a season - JV or Varsity.  And I believe it’s still the rule that while appearance in just one play in a quarter counts as a “quarter,” kicking plays don’t count.

Theoretically, in Washington at least, you can let a younger kid play on all of your kicking teams in all of your varsity games - and still play in every quarter of all your JV games.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.  If it’s player safety they’re thinking about, there’s just as much danger playing on kicking teams.

Along those lines, I suspect there are people in the NFL who would like to do away with the kicking game entirely.

*********** Hugh, this article has it all:

 1. Rugby tackling.  AKA arm tackling.

2. A girl displaying situational dominance over a group of young men...boys who should be experiencing football as a rite of passage into full manhood.  This erodes the value of the experience and puts headworms in their young brains.  It's akin to the action movie syndrome of 120-pound supermodels kicking 220-pound commandos through walls....pure BS.  Sure, I could set up a martial arts demo allow that appears to allow PeeWee Herman to take down JJ Watt, but a "live" situation is different from a demo, as many strip-mall black belts have found out to their chagrin.

3. Rugby tackling.  Hasn't anyone noticed that there are no first down yardage requirements in Rugby, so you can duck, wrap and roll with no bad consequences for the team?  What's another 3 yards downfield in a Rugby game?  What's another 3 yards downfield in a football game?

4. Miscellaneous indicators of societal decay.  Single mom BY CHOICE.  Domestic violence.  Same ol' same ol'. You go, grrrrl!

5. Rugby tackling.

I never thought the Cultural Marxists would be able to destroy American sports.  I thought it was too deeply ingrained in our culture, and I thought it would always provide a reservoir of masculinity that our society could draw on in a crisis.  Looks like I was wrong again.

Can you help me find my passport?  I just want to go back to America.

Shep Clarke
Puyallup, Washington


*********** Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, has donated $10,000  to The Campaign for Houston, a group campaigning against something called Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), aka Proposition 1.


The proposed ordinance would outlaw discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age and assorted other categories, guaranteeing enormous headaches for anyone doing business in Houston (and lifetime job security for every lawyer there).

This can’t go down well with the NFL, because it could undo all the wonderful work done during the Michael Sam period to show how accepting it was of homosexuals.
Obviously,  this calls for sensitivity training for all members of the Texans’ organization.  But I wouldn’t stop there.  If I were Roger Goodell, even before announcing that field goals were now worth just 1.5 points apiece, I would insist that the Texans actively recruit transgender cheerleaders, checking weekly to make sure that all possible sexes are represented.  And I’d require the Texans to  wear lavender tights for the remainder of the season.


*********** Watched Arkansas State against Louisiana Lafayette on Tuesday night.

Talk about entertaining football.

Arkansas State has a great trio of running backs - as good as any Power Five conference team.

*********** Followers of rugby understand that there are two forms - two “codes” - of the game. 

You might call baseball and softball two versions of the same game.

And most of you understand that while essentially being the same game, there are enough differences between Canadian football and our version - which we’ll call “American football” - that we’d call them different “codes.”

Likewise, we have within our game six-man, eight-man and nine-man versions, as well as an indoor variation.

But what’s hard for a lot of people to understand is that there are significant rules variations within the three forms of “our” football -  high school, college and pro - with rules often drawn for different reasons.  The pro game, for example, has done whatever it can to goose the offense, specifically the passing game.

The rules differences often create problems for officials, coaches and players, not to mention members of the media.

In just one example, pros can block below the waist almost anywhere on the field.  Colleges can, too, but with a few exceptions. But the NFHS (high school) rules prohibit blocking below the waist except inside the 8 yards by 6 yards “free blocking zone,” and even there only under certain conditions (both participants in the block must have been on the line at the snap, and the contact must take place before the ball itself has left the free blocking zone - which virtually rules out “cut blocking” by shotgun teams).

But wait - high schools in Massachusetts and Texas employ NCAA, not NFHS, rules, so their game differs from the high school game play in the other 50.

To a high school coach, few rules differences are more annoying than the NFL’s “five-yard chuck” rule, which most high school players - and far too many high school officials - think applies to their game, too, so prevalent is the influence of Big Football.

It sometimes takes a lot to convince a high school kid that it’s okay to contact a receiver more than once, and beyond five yards as well - that in high school football, the presumption is that every play is a running play until the ball is actually thrown, and that even if the line is pass blocking and the quarterback is in the pocket, those “receivers” downfield represent potential blockers, and can be dealt with as potential blockers, until the ball is in the air.

Don’t believe me?  Unless you’ve already dealt with this issue with your kids, ask them how far downfield they’re allowed to hit a receiver.  I’ll bet at least half of them will answer, “Five yards.”

Ask them how many times they can hit him, and I’ll bet at least half will say, “Once.”

*********** One thing that rankles me about a minimum wage - apart from the fact that unless you’re a low-skilled worker who suddenly gets a few more dollars in your pay envelope,  it’s economic fool’s gold - is that it takes away your basic freedom to sell your labor for whatever wage you choose.

Lemme give you an example.

You may not be aware that very few guys get college coaching jobs by mailing out resumes to a number of head coaches.  That's not how it works.

It helps if you know somebody, and if you do, you may be fortunate enough to get a much-craved posiiton as a G.A. - a no pay/low pay graduate assistant.

The vast majority of college coaches start out that way,  not unlike the classic business stories about executives who started out in the mail room.

The work is long and demanding, often menial, and the rewards are few, but the line of guys who want one of those jobs is long, because for some of them,  there’s that pot of gold in the distance - a paid assistantship, and a start up the coaching ladder.

You’d be surprised at the number of guys working for NFL teams for peanuts.  Why?  It’s an internship, a form of “prove yourself” that enables the people in charge to see whether you've got what they need.  Whether you're “their kind of guy.”

Hey - How many of you would jump at the chance to work with a college or NFL team, for next to nothing, on the chance that it might lead to a bigger job, maybe a lifelong career?

I thought so.

Unless you have family obligations, or years invested in a profession, I’d be surprised if you wouldn’t.

So where does the minimum wage come in?  Suppose the feds tell NFL teams (or colleges) that they have to pay their GA’s or interns a minimum wage - and furthemore, they have to pay them overtime when they work more than 40 hours.  (The feds - and the public at large - are undoubtedly  unaware that there's no such thing as a 40-hour week in big-time football.)

Good-bye, graduate assistantships.   Good-bye, internships.

If a minimum wage were imposed on college football programs or NFL teams, you’d no longer have the right to decide for yourself whether to start at the bottom for next to nothing, in the hope of advancing your career.

Oh, no. Nanny state, which knows better than you  what’s good and bad for you, has already decided.

*********** I heard a radio sports genius talking about some promising young athlete and saying, “His future’s in front of him.”

Well, I guess it is.

I may have a few years on that young chap, but my future’s in front of me, too.  Right where it should be.

*********** For the first time in NFL history, after six weeks of play there are five unbeaten teams.

Remember, it’s only been in relatively recent years that  the NFL has had as many as 32 teams, and the figure doesn’t translate to parity, as the NFL would like to think, as much as it does to the reality that there is a handful of good teams and a whole pisspot full of bad  teams.


american flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 20,  2015-   "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”    T.S. Eliot

*********** OSU really looked good against Penn State Saturday.

I don’t know when I’ve seen the Beavers look better.

They had a couple of really good-looking quarterbacks I hadn’t seen before.  O
ne was named Cardale. 

And then I saw the huge crowd and I realized  that the “OSU” team in those hideous black Oregon State uniforms wasn’t Oregon State at all. 

*********** What can you say about a game that you won, 70-14?

That was the score of the North Beach Hyaks’ win Friday night against Tacoma Baptist, but even more noteworthy than the 70 points was the score at the end of one quarter: 40-0.

Only a week before, a supervisor of officials sitting near us in the press box looked at our 38-0 halftime score and said he was kind of sorry that we’d missed a 2-point conversion because he’d never seen a team get to 40 points - and a running clock - with only five touchdowns.

Too bad he wasn’t on hand Friday night when we did it. In all, it took us 10 plays, on “drives” or 2, 2, 3, 1 and 2 plays, and we scored on Saul Gonzalez’ 40-yard run as time ran out in the quarter.

Although state rules call for a running clock if the margin is 40 points or more at halftime or anytime in the second half, by mutual agreement we went to a running clock midway through the second period.

As a result, the stats are somewhat shortened.  We rushed only 28 times, for 372 yards.  Skyler Wells carried 7 times for 137 yards, and Gonzalez carried just twice for 93 yards and two TDs. Gonzalez also caught two passes, both for TDs.  That’s four touches, four TDs.  He also returned two punts, for 59 and 40 yards.

Alex McAra threw only five times, but his three completions all went for touchdowns of 35, 24 and 21 yards, before we shut down the passing game.  For the season, he’s completed 26 of 44 for 450 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’s thrown just two interceptions and been sacked once.

In seven games, we’ve scored 377 points and given up 57.  In fairness, 21 of those 57 were scored against our JVs.

We’re 7-0, but our next game is certain to be a tough one. We play Life Christian of Tacoma, at their place on Saturday night.  They’re 6-1, coming off a 49-21 pasting of Rainier, whom we beat a week ago 54-22.  They are a spread, no huddle team that throws a fair amount and has a lot of playmakers. 

A win assures us of the league championship for the second straight year and a first-round playoff bye.  A loss drops us into a three-way tie for the lead, to be settled by a three-way Kansas Plan playoff two Saturdays from now to decide who gets the league’s playoff bye.

*********** Michigan’s #69 is a good football player,  but he cost them at least one dumb penalty.

Don't know what else you’d expect from a guy who wants that number.  Think about the ones on your team - it’s almost always some character  with a screw loose.

That's why  I’ve never ordered a set of jerseys with the number 69.

Not that I've never had guys who wouldn't love to wear it.  I just can't see the sense of feeding whatever it is that drives them.

Same goes for the number one.

*********** This is what you get when you hire a former keeker to analyze a football game:

Much-travelled former NFL placekicker Jay Feely, doing the color on the Army-Bucknell telecast, commented on a low block (competely legal, under NCAA rules) that led to a Bucknell touchdown:

“Nice chop block!”

Ah hell, Jay.  Don’t worry about it.  We’ve got officials who don’t know what a chop block is, either.

*********** The play-by-play guy, whose name escapes me, referred to Army’s “gut-wrenching loss” a week ago to Duke.  Uh, fella - the score was 44-3.  Ass-kicking, yes.  Gut-wrenching, no. 

Michigan’s loss to Michigan State was gut-wrenching.

One more thing - he insisted on pronouncing a player’s hometown of Lebanon, PA as “LEB-a-NON.”  It’s like the people who think it’s important that they pronounce Oregon “AHR-i-GON.”

If you ever need to get directions to Lebanon and you’re anywhere close, you’d better say “LEB-a-nin.”

*********** Hoosic Valley, New York, just a few years removed from debating whether to even continue to have a football program, has qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in school history


*********** If there’s anything that represents the decay of the type of football us old farts grew up with, it’s the NFL teams’ routinely  throwing the ball on fourth and short. Or two-point conversions.

Sunday, I watched the Browns throw for it on a  2-point conversion. Incomplete  Given a second chance after the Broncos were offside, what do you think the Browns  did? They threw again. From the 1-1/2.  Incomplete.

Of course, given the crude, rudimentary  running games of most NFL teams, what else can they do? Few of them can trap, and for many of them, with no fullback on the roster, a lead power is out of the question. Don’t even get me started on misdirection, which is sort of impossible with only one running back.

*********** I said after the Super Bowl that Smilin’ Pete’s incredibly dumb call that cost his team the Super Bowl could have serious repercussions.    The Seahawks are now 2-4 and  look like a team that’s coming apart.

*********** Speaking of Smilin’ Pete -

Carolina put on four 80-yard drives Sunday against Coach Pete and his Seahawks.


You guys who bought his line of goods - sure hope Hawk Tackling’s working out better for you than for the Seahawks.

But I doubt it.

*********** I’m not normally what you’d call a conspiracy nut, but I do nurse a healthy skepticism of things as they appear to be.

Which brings me to Donald Trump.

I’ve had my laughs at many of the things he’s said, and I’ve said “Right On!” a fair number of times as he’s shown the cojones to say what many Americans are too timid to say.

But at the same time, he’s done more than any member of the opposing party to insult, attack and discredit his “fellow Republicans.”

Lately, he’s gone after President George W. Bush as the one responsible for 9/11.

Which brings me to my point.

Considering the havoc Trump’s wrought, it’s entirely plausible to me that the guy’s actually a Democrat plant, likely funded by an arm of the Democrat Party.

Why would he do it? 

For the same reason he’s “running for President” (which I really question) as a “Republican.”

For money and for publicity, both of which he craves.

***********John Bothe, of Oregon, Illinois, writes,

I was really impressed with some early season comments from David Shaw after they lost to Northwestern and then won a couple including USC…
"The difference between football coaches and the rest of the sane world, we understand sometimes you don't play well,” Shaw said. “Outside of the football coach world, people look for somebody to blame. It's got to be play-calling or personnel usage, this or that. Sometimes, you just don't play well. We didn't play well the first game, for whatever reason. We got back and got after it.
Did this win quiet the sky-is-falling mentality from fans?

“I have no idea, because, ‘The sky is falling’ didn’t come from us. It came from outside the program,” Shaw said. “We talk about all the time, the positive things and the negative things that come from outside the program, we can’t worry about. We know we’re a good football team, and it’s on us to play like it.”

Coach Bothe also noted that “McCaffrey is a young stud.”

Amen to that.

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford’s running back sensation, is the son of two former Stanford athletes.

HIs Dad, Ed, played football for the Cardinal, then in the NFL for the Giants, 49ers and Broncos, and his mother, Lisa, played varsity soccer at Stanford.

His brother Max plays receiver for Duke.

HIs maternal grandfather, Dave Sime, was at one time the fastest man in the world, holder of a number of world records in the 100y, 100m, 220y, 200m.

My hat’s off to Mr. and McCaffrey.  They’re well-off and they’re well-educated.  I mean, who’s kidding who?  They fit the profile of classic soccer parents.

But instead, their boys play football.

God Bless ‘em.

*********** When is the NFL going to begin counting drops by receivers?  At the very least, it’s a stat that ought to be figured into passer ratings, not only in determining a passers accuracy, but in correctly assigning the responsibility for those interceptions caused when a receiver didn’t make a catch he should have. 

There will be those who will say it can’t be done. (Did that sound like President Obama?) That “it’s a judgment call.”  I'm not buying - for over a hundred years, baseball scorekeepers have been able, successfully for the most part, to make the distinction  between a hit and an error.

*********** Back when I was in high school one of the Philly papers had a guy named Jack Ryan covering high school sports. He was good. The LA Times right now has such a guy in Eric Sondheim.

I still remember the day  Jack Ryan retired, more than 50 years ago. There was a nice article in the paper, quoting him as saying how proud he was that he had never blamed a high school kid - never printed the name of the guy who fumbled, the guy who dropped a pass, the guy who missed a tackle.

That lesson stuck with me. I'm certainly not perfect, and I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but throwing a kid under the bus will never be one of them.

We think that one of the most important things we can do as coaches is to earn our players’ trust, and one of the first things we do to earn it is to assure them that we win as a team and we lose as a team, and no matter what happens out on that field, we will never point the finger at anyone. 

Which brings me to Jim Harbaugh.

No doubt you’re aware of the ending of the Michigan-Michigan State game, a shocker on the order of the Alabama-Auburn game a few years ago.

It was a monumental coaching error by Mr. Harbaugh.  But you'd never know it, listening to him.

Having stopped what everyone in the world thought was Michigan State’s final thrust when the Spartans threw incomplete on fourth and 19, Michigan ran off all the clock they could until calling a time out on fourth down, with ten seconds remaining.

Michigan led, 23-21.

The ball was at midfield. On about the MSU 48.  Remember that.

Think about all the options they might have considered, in order of risk:

1. Take a snap and take a knee. 
(This one has the fewest moving parts.) Time elapsed: maybe four seconds.  The ball is downed at midfield (assuming a two yard loss), where it’s now Michigan State’s ball, six seconds to play.  A 67-yard field goal would be out of the question.  A pass into the end zone would have required the MSU QB to set up and throw from seven yards or more on the other side of the 50, meaning a 57-yard heave just to reach the goal line.   (If he has the time.)  After having stopped the Spartans on a 4th and 19 mere minutes earlier, wouldn’t the Wolverines be prepared to stop this one?

2. Take a snap and hand off to a running back.  Google Miracle at the Meadowlands to see what can happen.

3. Take a snap and run around to try to run time off the clock.  Doubtful that you could run off ten seconds, so wherever MSU gets the ball, they still have time for a field goal or a Hail Mary. And they’ll be closer to your goal line than in #1 (Take a Knee).

4.  Punt the ball. 
(The one with the most moving parts.) Come on - think of all the variables that have to go right.  You have to have a good snap… the punter has to catch the ball… He has to get the punt off without its being blocked… And so on.   To me, this is only an option if you’re backed up and have to kick the ball out of field goal range.

But when they came out of the time out, the Wolverines chose #4  and came out in punt formation.

And you all know what happened.

And then Harbaugh came out afterward and told the media that “A mistake was made.”

Really, Coach?  Whose mistake?

Well, based on the rest of his comments,
clearly not his:

“(The punter) said after he bobbled it, he still thought he could get the ball kicked. But it was a mistake, mistakes were made. It wasn't fielded cleanly, and once you bobble it a few times, he should've just fell on it.”

Nice, coach.  Put it on the kid.  Not the guy who called for the f—king punt.

How could it have hurt the Great Harbaugh if he’d simply said, “In retrospect, I shouldn’t have called for the punt?”

I guarantee you that out on the recruiting trail, opponents will be sure to point out to recruits that if Coach Harbaugh will do that to his punter, he’ll do it to them, too, if they ever screw up.

Here’s an original quote from me: “When you speak without taking the time to think about what you’re about to say, you’re liable to reveal your true character.”

One funny note: Given the way Michigan fans lord their vaunted academic superiority over MSU,  I can see Spartans everywhere having plenty of fun with that ungrammatical “should have fell on it.”

*********** Nice, Michigan, nice.

Out of 111,000 people on hand at the game and millions of others watching on TV or listening to radio, there had to be some douchebags in the lot, and they confirmed it for us by sending hate mail to the Michigan punter.

Man, wouldn’t I like to have each of those a**holes, one at a time, stand back in punt formation against 11 Michigan Staters.  Hell, I'd like to put them through a pracice at North Beach.

*********** DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN read the headline in a Chicago newspaper, printed the night before when it appeared certain that Thomas Dewey would surely have defeated Harry Truman when people woke up the next day and read their morning paper.  Alas, it didn’t happen as expected.  Truman pulled the upset, and those headlines earned their creators a place in history.

And then there was the Grand Rapids, Michigan radio guy who, with Michigan leading Michigan State, 23-21 with 10 seconds to play, got the jump on his competitors and broadcast his game wrap-up early, telling everyone out there in Grand Rapids that the Wolverines had finally ended their long string of losses to the rival Spartans…

Old journalistic axiom: Get it first - but first get it right.

*********** There’a already a rumor out that USC is interested in the Saints’ Sean Payton.

I think he’d be a very good coach there, but I’d be shocked to learn that an NFL coach in his position would consider a job that requires pandering to teenage boys with rapidly growing egoes.

Expect to hear lots of names mentioned. By their agents, mostly. It's a great way to get some nice contract extensions, not unlike an NFL owner who'd like the taxpayers to build him a new stadium starting a rumor that another city is interested.



american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 16,  2015-   "No athletic director holds office longer than two losing football coaches."  Bob Zuppke, legendary Illinois coach (quote compliments of Tim Brown, Athens, Alabama)

*********** You East Coasters who didn't stay up past midnight to watch the Catch of the Year by Stanford’s Francis Owusu - don’t worry.  It happened on ESPN, and that means you’ll be watching it. And watching it. And watching it. Over and over and over.

But that’s okay - it was that good. The play itself was so cool, and the catch so incredible (he was being mugged as he made it) that it belongs in the Pantheon of Plays along with Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary, and may even erase the stigma of a certain Cal kickoff return through the entire Stanford team and most of the Stanford band.

*********** The Monday night football game between the Steelers and the Chargers began as a near-farce.  Penalty after penalty after penalty, combining the players’ lack of discipline and the coaches’ unwillingness to do what’s necessary to prevent them.  And, of course, The League’s complacent, myopic belief that there’s nothing wrong with its product.

I haven’t been a fan of pro football for a long time, but I’m nevertheless drawn to its games, like a moth to a flame, hoping against hope that I’ll see some real football break out. 

It seldom happens. Mostly, I change the channel, shaking my head at the colossal waste of talent that the NFL seems willing to tolerate.

Sunrise at OS

You're free to believe what you want, but when I see something like this - Thursday morning's sunrise, exploding over the dune grass as I stand on the beach at Ocean Shores -   I have no trouble believing that it's the work of God.

*********** Saturday, October 17, will be the 48th anniversary of the Battle of Ong Thanh, in Vietnam.  On October 17, 1967,  in jungle north of Saigon,  two companies of the 2nd Battalion of the 28th Infantry - the Black Lions - were ambushed by a Viet Cong force that outnumbered them 10 to 1.

Roughly 150 Americans fought in the battle, against an enemy force of at least 1400, and at the end of the day, few Americans were not casualties: 64 were killed in action, 75 were wounded, and two were missing in action. 

It was a day that produced incredible acts of heroism, much of it recounted beautifully and poignantly by author David Maraniss in his prize-winning “They Marched Into Sunlight,” which I highly recommend for anyone wanting to know what the war was really like for American grunts on the ground.

Among those Americans killed that day was former Army All-American football player Don Holleder, whose leadership 12 years earlier in Army’s win over Navy had earned him a place on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Don Holleder died in the arms of my friend, Army medic Tom "Doc" Hinger, who  was awarded the Silver Star for his actions that day.

By remarkable coincidence, October 17 happened to be the birthday of Dick Stephenson, Don Holleder’s teammate and friend at West Point, who would go on to become an Air Force General, and President of the Army Football Club.

Don Holleder’s story, and the heroism of the Black Lions that day,  were the inspiration for  the Black Lion Award.

*********** From the Philadelphia Inquirer,  Saturday, December 3, 2005

Army's Holleder delivered where he was needed

He led on the ball field and the battlefield.

By Frank Fitzpatrick
Inquirer Staff Writer

In 1955, he had been the improbable quarterback in Army's improbable upset of Navy. Twelve years later, heading into a Vietnamese jungle, into the smoky heart of a battle he did not have to join, Maj. Donald W. Holleder was running again.

"I couldn't keep up with him," recalled Tom "Doc" Hinger, an Army medic during that bloody October 1967 clash with North Vietnamese regulars in Ong Thanh. "His legs were churning. He just looked back and yelled, 'C'mon, Doc, there's wounded in there. Let's go get them.' "

Hinger, who had retrieved several injured colleagues already, got close enough to the powerfully built officer to see a sniper's bullet fell him. The medic lifted Holleder's head into his arms and watched the big man die. The father of four young daughters was 33.

This afternoon's Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field will mark the 50th anniversary of that 14-6 Cadets victory that Holleder led and inspired. That game and his heroic death have combined to make Holleder, little known beyond West Point, an Army legend.

His name, which can be found on an Arlington National Cemetery gravestone and on Panel 28, Row 25, of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, lives on elsewhere, too.

The military academy's athletic center bears his name. So does a plaque in the National Football Foundation's Hall of Fame. And the Army football team's Black Lion Award, presented earlier this week to backup tailback Scott Wesley, honors Holleder and the Black Lions of the Second Battalion who died along with him that distant day.

There is resonance in his story because his final moments - ordering his helicopter pilot to land, jumping from the craft and sprinting toward his wounded colleagues - so closely mirrored the attributes he displayed on the football field that season a half-century ago.

"People just expected Don Holleder to excel," said Jim Shelton, a retired Army major who served with him in Vietnam and scrimmaged against him at West Point as a Delaware linebacker. "And he expected the same thing of himself."

Tall, handsome, a three-sport star at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y., crew-cut Don Holleder was an all-American boy and an all-American end for a 7-2 Army team that had the nation's leading offense in 1954. But quarterback Pete Vann was gone in 1955 and coach Earl "Red" Blaik needed a replacement. He turned, almost inexplicably, to Holleder.

The 6-foot-2 200-pounder had never played in the backfield. He understood that the switch would cost him his all-American status and expose him and his coach to criticism. But, after sleeping on Blaik's unusual proposal, Holleder agreed.

"He understood self-sacrifice," said Hugh Wyatt, a high school football coach in Camas, Wash., who once was the personnel director for the World Football League's Philadelphia Bell and who conceived the idea for the Black Lion Award. "In Vietnam and on the field he was willing to do whatever was best for his team."

The criticism came. Heading into the season-ending Nov. 26 game with Navy, Army was a disappointing 5-3. Blaik was ridiculed for the peculiar move and Holleder, who threw just 63 passes the entire season, completing only 22, was labeled one-dimensional.

Holleder himself heard fellow Cadets criticizing his play and even Lt. Gen. Blackshear Bryan, the academy superintendent, made it a point to tell Blaik how much heat he was getting over the quarterback.

"He couldn't throw," Shelton recalled. "He would just roll left or roll right and run it himself. But he was a load to bring down. Tackling him was like trying to tackle a horse. And after you did, he got up kicking and swinging."

He was someone, as author David Maraniss noted in his book, They Marched Into Sunlight, which focuses on that 1967 Vietnam battle, "people either loved or hated."
But Blaik demanded and prized toughness above all else. He stuck with his tough QB.

"Holleder was a natural athlete, big, strong, quick, smart, aggressive, a competitor," Blaik wrote in his 1960 autobiography. "I knew he could learn to handle the ball well and to call the plays properly. Most important, I knew he would provide... leadership."

Navy, with a 6-1-1 record and the nation's top passer, future Midshipmen coach George Welsh, was a clear favorite when they arrived in Philadelphia.

The night before the game, Blaik gathered his team at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel and told them he was wearying of those long postgame walks to shake hands with winning coaches.

"That walk tomorrow, before 100,000 people, to congratulate [Navy coach] Eddie Erdelatz would be the longest walk I've ever taken in my coaching life," he said.

There was silence in the room. Then Holleder spoke. "Colonel," he said, "you're not going to have to make that walk."

No one in a sun-splashed Municipal Stadium crowd of 102,000 - President Eisenhower didn't come, but Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren was among the 37 trainloads of spectators who arrived in Philadelphia for the game - was surprised when the Midshipmen took the opening kickoff and drove 76 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

Holleder and Army couldn't do anything offensively and Navy looked to add to its advantage. But it was Holleder - in those days of no-platoon football, the offense played defense, too - who kept them from doing so.

He knocked down a fourth-down pass to end one Navy drive and forced a fumble at Army's 13 to stop another.

In the second half, with Holleder now running the ball and confidently directing the offense, Army scored twice to take a 14-6 lead that held up.

Afterward, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was so ecstatic that he sent a gushing telegram to Blaik.

"No victory the Army has won in its long years of fierce football struggles has ever reflected a greater spirit of raw courage, of invincible determination, of masterful strategic planning and resolute practical execution."

A week later Holleder became the only quarterback to appear on Sports Illustrated's cover following a game in which he failed to throw a single completion. One of his two passes was intercepted and the other should have been.

After graduating in a 1956 academy class that included Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Holleder went on to an outstanding career as an infantry officer and even served for three years as an assistant football coach at West Point.

On Oct. 17, 1967, as he sat in a helicopter helplessly observing the closing stages of a North Vietnamese ambush that would kill 58 Americans, Holleder was, in Maraniss' words, "an untamed mustang."

He badgered his commanding officer until Holleder finally got permission to land. The major leapt from the chopper, grabbed a .45 pistol and some nearby soldiers, including Hinger, and made for the bloody jungle.

"He was running hell-bent when automatic-weapons fire got him," said Hinger, who like Shelton is retired and living near Sarasota, Fla. "Then, a moment or so later, he died in my arms. It's funny, I only knew Don Holleder for about two minutes. But that was long enough to know what kind of man he was."

*********** One of the books I’m reading at present is “Sundays at 2:00 with the Baltimore Colts,” a collection of reminiscences by Vince Bagli and Norman L. Macht of members of the great Baltimore Colts’ teams of the 1950s and 60s.  I lived in Baltimore from 1961 to 1966 and I grew more attached to those Colts teams than any others in my life. It’s impossible to describe accurately the hold that the Colts had on that town.  The book was published in 1995, and the fact that many of the guys quoted are now dead makes it all the more poignant for me.

One of the things that made those teams so great was that the guys truly liked each other, and their closeness didn’t diminish over the years.   Another thing that made them great was that their owner, Carroll Rosenbloom, treated the players well and encouraged them to make their homes in Baltimore year-round.  They lived in the community and they were seen as fellow Baltimoreans, who really cared about the fans. (They weren’t yet making the kind of money that enabled them to live in gated communities.  In fact, many of them held off-season jobs, another way that helped people get to know them as real people.) 

I enjoyed especially reading defensive end Ordell Braase’s (it was pronounced “Bracey”) story about Gino Marchetti’s now-famous inspirational pregame speech.  (For the historically-impaired, Hall of Fame defensive end Gino Marchetti was a perennial All-Pro who was named to the NFL Team of the Century.)

To me the most memorable event of that season (1957) was the locker room speech before the game at Washington. We knew we were a good team but after the Detroit loss we had lost the next two to Green Bay and Pittsburgh, two lousy clubs. This was the year Weeb (head coach Weeb Ewbank)  had to win or be a contender and it didn't look like we were going anywhere. We were 3-3 after six games.

So just before game time at Griffith Stadium Weeb stands up and says “We’re not out of it yet, but we’ve got to have this game.   Just before I came up here, Gino Marchetti asked if he could say something to the team.”

Ginos sitting way in the back.  He says, “Who the hell told him that?”

Weeb says, “Everybody else out - coaches, trainers, equipment guys. Just the players.  Gino’s going to say something to the team.”

Gino knows nothing about all of this. He walks up in front of the team, looks around, and says “Everybody know the party after the game’s at my house?”

“Yeah, Gino.”

“Ten dollars a couple.  Everybody know how to get there?”


“Well let's go out and win this game.  We’ll have a lot more fun if we win it.”

We went out and won it, 21-17.

Next day in the newspapers, “Colts spurred on by inspirational speech by Marchetti.”

*********** Seeing James Webb in the lineup for Tuesday’s Democratic “debate” made me wonder once again what a guy like that is doing as a Democrat.

He’s a graduate of the US Naval Academy and a veteran of combat in Vietnam as a Marine Platoon Leader. For his heroism in Vietnam, he was awarded the Navy Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor in the Navy and Marine Corps.

In addition, he was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts.  (Are you listening, Lord Kerry?)

He has a distinguished career as a faculty member at Annapolis, as Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, and as Senator from Virginia.

And also as an author.

I highly recommend his “Born Fighting -  How the Scots-Irish Shaped America .”

It is good reading, about an ethnic group whose extraordinary contributions to our nation’s government, its economy, and its defense few Americans are aware of.

*********** Forget those obnoxious DraftKings and FanDuel commercials.  The fantasy fraud is far uglier than those things.

All those guys on TV who tell you how much money they’re making?  Horsesh—.  There’s a good chance that those “ordinary guys” actually work for one of the two fantasy companies.

Odd are also good that they’re pros, using special automated programs that allow them to change thousands of lineups in a matter of seconds.

Look- when NINETY-ONE percent of the winnings are going to ONE-POINT-THREE per cent of the players, wouldn’t you smell a rat?

Maybe you would, but not the fools who still believe in free lunch.

The DOJ and FBI are investigating, which means… who the hell knows?

There are some major players with a lot at stake here.

The TV networks want the companies to survive - in case you hadn’t noticed how much money they’ve been spending on TV time.

And so do such major investors in the draft sites as Major League Baseball,  the NBA, NBC, Comcast, Fox and NFL team owners Robert Kraft of the Patriots and Jerry Jones of the Cowboys.  Disney is said to have decided against investing, but what the hell - considering the money the two companies are spending on commercial on ESPN, who needs to invest?

(Remember how much the NFL hates gambling?  Well - hold onto your hats - this isn’t considered gambling. It's currently considered a game of skill.  Yeah.  Sort of like the wheel at the carnival.)

But if I were an investor, I wouldn't  worry.   Yes, the politicians are making noise, but that usually means they’ll settle for generous contributions to their campaigns.


*********** David Gillin, a friend of my son, has had a number of jobs in show business, most of them owing to his great sense of humor.  He’s the first I’ve heard refer to the former head coach at USC as Cutty Sark.

Once, when negotiating a contract with Portland's KGW-TV, he insisted on an escape clause allowing him to be released if he were offered the head football coaching position at Notre Dame.

**********How are you. I've been using your system for 15 years. Bought all your stuff. Are you running out of the shot gun now? (Dbl wing.) I haven't made that jump yet but have thought about it. If so do you have any new materials on it?

Chad Harkins

Hi Coach-

Nice to hear from you.  You still in Louisiana?

I’m running some pure Double Wing and some “Open Wing” shotgun with a TE/Wing on one side and Twins on the other.

We go back and forth but right now we’re doing really well running mostly plain old Double Wing.  We’re 6-0. We’ve scored 307 points and depending on which poll you believe, we’re ranked either 2 or 3 in the state.

No new materials yet, but I plan on having some.  If I ever find time.

*********** Portland State’s Bruce Barnum has been given a five-year contract!


*********** It appears that there’s a new trend taking place in college football - dumping head coaches during the season in order to get a head start on finding a replacement lest the school misses out on recruiting while it’s searching for a coach.

For various reasons, three Big Five conference coaches - USC, South Carolina and Maryland - are now without head coaches, which means they’re free to start looking for their new guy.

It wouldn’t bother me at all if USC were to continue its pattern of snipping branches off the Pete Carroll coaching tree.  I mean, Kiffin and Sarkisian did so well…

South Carolina?  I’ll miss Steve Superior, but only because of some of the outrageous things that he’s been known to say.  Overall, though, I haven’t seen much to counter what I heard a guy who knew him from his days when he played for the 49ers: “Steve Spurrier’s an a**hole.”

Maryland?  I’m not going out join a limb in predicting  that athletic director Kevin Anderson, who has built his career on nothing more than deluding the people at West Point and then Maryland into hiring him, will screw things up. One of his first acts at Maryland, recall, was to fire Ralph Friedgen.  Marykand has not been an easy place to win, yet Friedgen was 75-50 in ten years there, took the Terps to a 9-4 finish in 2010 - following which he was dismissed.  (Only a month before the firing, Anderson had announced Friedgen would be back.)

Randy Edsall, Anderson’s hand-picked successor to Friedgen, came off a successful run at UConn, but had rough going at Maryland. He didn’t finish with a winning record until his third year at College Park, but then after back-to-back 7-6 seasons, he was off to a 2-4 start this year when Anderson axed him.

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

I've been at this for a while (23 years coaching high school football), and while I cannot match your breadth of experience, I figure I've seen a lot.  And then Friday night happened.

We played the Farmington Farmers, our neighboring rival, with both of us undefeated in the conference.  Honestly, we were/are the physically superior team, but as you know, things happen sometimes.  So, here's the story...

The final score was 77-64.  The Trojans scored nine rushing touchdowns, a passing touchdown and an INT for a touchdown.  We were 1 of 2 kicking PAT and converted another five for two points.  Offensively, we rushed 57 times for 531 yards and were 2 of 3 passing for 40 yards.  Defensively, not so much.  The Farmers were 17 of 39 passing for 318 and 3 touchdowns (3 INT).  They rushed 35 times for 334 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Their quarterback, Steven Gilstrap, had a night for the ages:  he accounted for all passing stats and rushed 15 times for 245.  One receiver accounted for 300 of their receiving yards.  Additionally, the Farmers onside kicked eight times, seven of which we recovered.  There were 54 points scored in the fourth quarter!

The fans loved it.  The cost of admission was worth it.  As a coach, well, I don't ever want to do that again.

We are now 6-1, have secured a place in the state playoffs and have won five consecutive conference championships.  

Good luck to the Hyaks this week.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois


Wow. All I can say is, Congratulations on the win and the playoff spot.  And thank God for your offense.

That had to be scary as hell.

I can only say I hope for your sake that if you meet in the playoffs it’s windy and pouring rain.

Good Luck next week!


PS- I remember going through Farmington some 25 years ago.  There was a bar on one of the corners of the main intersection, and because evidently Farmington was something of a dividing line between St. Louis and Chicago, the outside of the bar on one street was painted Cardinals’ red, and around the corner, the outside was painted Cubs’ blue and red.  We stopped in and had one.


flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 13,  2015-   "A good coach makes his players see what they can be, rather than what they are."  Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame Hall of Fame Coach

*********** I watched a Wisconsin field goal attempt hit the upright with some 1:30 left and figured that Nebraska was finally going to win a close one at the end.

But the Badgers had three time outs, and when Nebraska couldn’t make a stinking time out (!) they got the ball back with more than a minute to play.

They drove into field goal range, made it, and sent Nebraska to their fourth loss - four losses by a total of 11 points, all in the closing moments.

Mount Rainier from Puyallup

*********** We played on Thursday night last week, at Chief Leschi High in Puyallup, Washington, where I shot the photo above.

Puyallup (pew-AL-up) is named for the Puyallup tribe, the original inhabitants of the Puyallup Valley;  Chief Leschi is their tribal school.

The campus, on the valley floor, offers a fantastic view of Mount Rainier, some 50 miles to the east.

*********** At North Beach, we’re off to a 6-0 start.  

This season, after a couple of big early wins running our Open Wing against weaker teams,  it became apparent to me that while we were pretty good running the Open Wing, as a Double Wing team we had a shot at a state championship.

Fortunately I’d never abandoned the Double Wing. We spent time on it every day, and about this same point last season, we’d begun blending it in with our Open Wing.  Originally it ws intended as a surprise, as a changeup,  but in the playoffs it became a staple, and it served us well.

Three weeks ago, although we’d scored 159 points in our first three games running the Open Wing,  I made the decision to go primarily Double Wing. Other than aesthetics - the Open Wing really is cool - it wasn’t a tough call.  We had three good wingbacks, one of whom, as our slot back, hadn’t been getting enough carries… A good-sized B-Back (6-1, 220) who can block and is a decent runner…  A smart, fast QB who throws well, and who knows the footwork…  Three pretty good tight ends who can block and catch…  Good-sized, athletic linemen who already know all the techniques and the blocking rules - because they’re the same for Open Wing and Double Wing. 

And - maybe most important of all - because the Double Wing’s been out of fashion for a few years now, a lot of opponents have never seen a decent version of it.   (I can only imagine what it’s like for them, having to teach it to a scout team in a couple days of practice.) 

Now, running double-tight, double wing more than 90 per cent of the time, we are tearing it up like the early days.

In the last three games, two of which were against a couple of the top teams in our league, we’ve rushed 112 times for 1349 yards and 18 touchdowns.

In six games we’ve outscored opponents 307-43.  (We play pretty tough defense, too.)

Thursday night, we won 60-0, over Chief Leschi. We scored the first two times we touched the football.   Overall, we rushed for 507 yards on only 30 carries.  (Our JVs got a third of the carries; our varsity backfield got just 20 carries, good for 369 yards and six TDs.  Our starting A Back, Saul Gonzalez, touched the ball only three times on offense, but all three were good for touchdowns - runs of 82 and 41 yards, and a pass reception for 35.

Those of you who’ve attended on of my clinics may remember my quoting Papa John:  "the main thing is to make the main thing the main thing.” (Concentrate on the things you do best.)

To show how closely we adhered to Papa John’s advice, 30 of our 34 plays were runs, and 20 of those 30 runs were Super Powers.

We threw just four times, completing two passes, one for a TD. We ran 4 wedges, one trap, 3 G’s, one Sweep and one Keep, which amounted to one third of our running plays.  The rest, two thirds of our ground game were Super Powers, right and left.  For the first time in my memory, we didn’t run a single counter.

*********** Watching Tennessee come out in those dreary-ass gray uniforms, It's depressing to think of the control that college athletic departments have ceded to apparel companies.

But nice win all the same, Vols.

***********  With under a minute to play and a chance to tie Michigan State, Rutgers spiked the ball on fourth down, never a good idea, and the Scarlet Knights  lost to the Spartans.

Where was the Rutgers head coach while this went down?  Why, watching the game on TV somewhere.  Presumably. 

He’s currently on suspension for contacting a faculty member about a player’s grade.


*********** Mike Leach comes across as not particularly intense, but my friend Ralph Balducci was at the Oregon-Washington State game, and he said that when the Cougars’ offensive line screwed up, Leach had them doing up-downs when they came off the field.

LSU DW *********** Got an email Saturday from longtime Double Winger Mike Benton, in Colfax, Illinois - said he'd just seen LSU score running from Double Wing.  I quickly rewound, and damned if LSU didn't line up in a Double Wing with Fournette at A Back… Sent Fournette in Rip motion, and punched it in from the four with a 2 Wedge.

Not a great wedge, by our exacting standards, but plenty good enough for defenses that never see our kind of football!

PS- Coach Miles said he'd love to hear from any of you who have some good Double Wing plays for him to run next week. (Please don't tell him who told you to do it.)

***********Hey Coach Wyatt, I am a 26 year HS assistant in North Carolina, Bud Vinson. I coached my previous years at a middle school and ran the double Wing and loved it and was very successful. Got a job at a HS on the coast and they run the wing-t veer offense. I'm hoping to become a head coach one day and with out thinking twice I know I'm going to run the double wing. I was wondering how you felt about incorporating some triple option or double dive plays into the double wing without having to worry about putting to much stuff in and getting away from the double wing principles.


Glad you like the Double Wing.

There are some options that we can run, but they are double options (keep or pitch).  And they are options that don’t require a lot of reps.  

The problem with any kind of triple option is that we don’t have the splits that a true option offense requires, and if you were to widen your splits to attempt to run option, you wouldn’t be able to run much of a double wing attack.

You can’t do everything.  My advice is to choose one and run it as well as you possibly can so that the opponents can't replicate it while they’re getting ready to play you.

Good luck and I hope you get that job.  When you do, get in touch.

*********** Coaching Job of the Week Award goes to Charlie Strong of Texas.  Despite what had to be a horrible week of dealing with last Saturday’s massacre at the hands of TCU, he had his Longhorns ready to play Saturday, and they beat a good Oklahoma team in convincing fashion.


The Bills’ kickoff was mishandled and left the Titans pinned inside their own five.  Uh-oh  A guy on the Bills’ coverage team was offside.  Re-kick.

It was overtime, and Washington State threw a bubble screen.  The Oregon defender came up and made the tackle on the sideline - then threw the Coug to the ground, out of bounds.  Half the distance, followed shortly by a WSU TD.

Ed Orgeron*********** My friend Josh Montgomery, who coaches at Morgan City, Louisiana High, was killing time before the game Friday night at South LaFourche High when he came across this photo in a plague in the hallway…

You have to wonder, with Sark headed for rehab (or whatever), how those pompous asses at USC feel now - the ones who argued that Ed Orgeron, the rough, tough Cajun who showed them how to win, didn’t fit the image they desired in their head coach.

Yeah, some image.  First Kiffin and now Sarkisian. (Both Pete Carroll assistants, by  the way.  You know - the guy who gave us Hawk Tackling.  The guy whose cheating got  USC sanctioned.  The guy whose cheating cost Reggie Bush a Heisman Trophy, and his school the Grantland Rice Trophy, then skipped off to sanctuary of  the NFL.)

Wrote Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, "Carroll says he didn't know about the Bush violations. That now seems impossible... ...he made $33 million from violations that will cost his old school its reputation, and folks here will never look at him the same."

Yeah, but that haircut.  And that smile! That's the image they're looking for.

Meanwhile, up in the Northwest, Washington Huskies fans are thanking their lucky stars that Sarkisian was seduced by the bright lights of Los Angeles.

***********  While scouting a small-school Washington high school game Friday night, I saw the Ivory-billed woodpecker of football penalties: saw “Helping the Runner.”

It’s right there in the rule book: Rule 9, Section 1: “An offensive player shall not push, pull or lift the runner to assist his forward progress.”

I felt like a birdwatcher seeing the rarest of birds. An Ivory-billed woodpecker  perhaps (actually, they're extinct).  Maybe a whooping crane.

In a coaching career that dates back to 1970 and includes hundeds of games coached and watched,  this was just the second time I can remember seeing it called.   (The other time was against us, four years ago, when we scored on a wedge from the one,  and an official figured that someone in our wedge had to be pushing on the runner.   For the record, we make sure that our kids know it’s against the rules.)

But God knows it wasn’t the second time I’d seen the foul committed. It’s as common as holding, or blocking in the back on kick returns. I doubt that you can watch a game nowadays without seeing at least one  example of a teammate “pushing, pulling or lifting” a runner “to assist his forward progress.”

Even TV guys notice, but they point to it as a great example of helping a teammate. Oh, well.

It’s so common yet so seldom called  that it’s probably time to either erase it from the rule book or make its enforcement a point of emphasis.

Maybe part of the problem is that it’s considered not even worth the officials’ effort to enforce or a coaches’ to discourage.  I mean, what the hell -  it’s only a five-yard penalty.

*********** Am I the only one who suspects that football games may actually have been better officiated back before they had eight man crews and instant replay?

*********** Oregon scored a touchdown on a pass to a back that clearly should have been disallowed for offensive pass interference.  They picked up the flag, saying that the pass had been completed behind the line of scrimmage (making the Ducks’ downfield blocking legal), but even the announcers caught this one, and the replays clearly showed that the catch  had taken place more than a yard past the line of scrimmage.

*********** Portland State beat North Texas, 66-7, Saturday, running up 670 yards and costing Mean Green coach Dan McCarney his job in the process.

The 59-point margin of victory was the highest ever posted by an FCS team against an FBS opponent, and apparently it was such an embarrassment to the North Texas AD that at the game's conclusion he fired McCarney.

It really shouldn't have been that embarrassing. After all, Portland Stare has beaten Washington State, and after Washington State's win over Oregon Saturday, a Washington State win over Oregon State next week would make Portland State  the best team in the state of Oregon.

Portland State is an interesting story. They are underfunded. They have a weasel of a president who couldn't care less whether they play football or not. And although their enrollment exceeds those of Oregon's two Pac 12 universities, it  struggles to attract 5,000 people to a home game.

When the AD fired the head coach after last season, then moved on, the head coaching job was given to offensive coordinator Bruce Barnum on an interim basis, the idea being that the new AD would be able to hire his/her own man.

But Coach Barnum's amazing success, starting out with the upset win against Washington State and adding in Saturday's trouncing of North Texas,
has thrown a wrench into that arrangement.   His Vikings have lost only once, narrowly dropping one  last week to North Dakota.

We go back a ways. I coached against him when he was a standout at Vancouver's Columbia River High, and I coached him in a summer all-star game. He's a good guy and a career coach who's been around the track as an assistant at several places, including Cornell.  And now he's proving at Portland State that he's a good head coach.

**********“The do-gooders believe that by passing a law saying that nobody shall get less than two dollars an hour, or $2.50 an hour, or whatever the minimum wage is, you are helping poor people who need the money.  You are doing nothing of the kind.  What you are doing is to assure that people whose skills are not sufficient to justify that kind of wage will be unemployed. It is no accident that the teenage unemployment rate  - the unemployment rate among teenagers in this country - is over twice as high as the overall unemployment rate.” 

Economist MiIton Friedman, 1975
(They didn’t listen to him back then, and they sure aren’t listening now.)

american flag FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9,  2015-   "Better to retreat and marshal your forces than to waste a glorious death in sure defeat."  Demosthenes



***********  "I’ve been an athletic director at Montana, Oregon, and Washington State and I’ve used football analogies at all three. When I started five years ago at Washington State, for example, I gathered 185 people in the room and my message was, when you have a football team, the objective in the huddle is to get into the end zone. Now you’re going to have people that are going to be more widely recognized, your quarterback, your receivers, your running back… but as a team, if you try to get into that end zone without that left tackle and that right guard you’re not going anywhere.

"I then explain that it’s the same way we have to look at our business. We’ve got people in the business office, the fundraisers, the marketing people, the trainers, and on down the line and we can’t get to where we want to be without everybody following the same playbook."

Bill Moos, Athletic Director, Washington State 

*********** I don’t know how the practice started.  I first saw it in 2008, when I came to Ocean Shores. It was early in two-a-days, and after running  a play, I looked down on my sheet to see what I wanted to run next.  When I looked up, every kid on the team was kneeling on one knee. 


Turned out, one of our players had suffered some sort of owie and was lying on the ground.

It was, I learned, the way those kids were taught to wait out an injury to a player on either team, a sort of reflex that I would begin to see over and over.

I thought it was sort of silly, a form of quasi-prayer at, of all places, public schools, where as we all know, real prayer is considered to be a gift from the devil.

But there it is, and there’s nothing much I care do to about it.

Which brings us to last Friday night.

We’d just won a tough game, tougher than the score of 54-20 would indicate, and as players and spectators milled around down on our track afterwards, a woman confronted our head coach, Todd Bridge, and berated him for our players’ lack of sportsmanship.

The problem, it seems, was that in one case, when an opposing player was down, NOT ALL OF OUR PLAYERS WERE ON THEIR KNEES!!!

O. M. G.

Now, we work really hard to instill good sportsmanship in our kids.  We teach them to respect opponents and officials and the game itself.   We teach them not to talk with opponents, and to walk away from potential fights (we actually practice this).

As a rule, our players take a knee when an opponent is down.  But evidently, in one such instance Friday night not all of our players did, and our coach, with just a few other things on his mind, didn’t notice! Imagine that!

So Todd, caught off-balance, offered some sort of apology, but it evidently wasn’t enough for the woman, who followed up with a letter to the superintendent (who, I’m sorry to say, didn’t simply reply, “I’m sorry you took offense.  I’m very proud of Coach Bridge and the great job he does  teaching his players how to act, on and off the field.”)

It’s over now, but for those of you who aspire to being head coaches:

The win made us 5-0.  We’re ranked Number 3 in the state. We’ve won 16 straight league games and we haven’t lost at home since October 2013.  We’re 22-4 over the last three seasons, 15-1 over the last two.  One more win this season will give our school the first back-to-back-to-back winning seasons in its history.

And that means we now have  “fans” who have become so used to winning that they have become picky. They show their appreciation of our efforts by accosting us on the field after games and writing letters to our superintendents - because a couple of kids didn’t kneel down on the field.

I told Todd there were two things that lady should be VERY thankful for:

(1) We’d just won.  (Every person in the world should be warned NEVER to approach a football coach after he’s lost)

(2) I wasn’t the head coach.

*********** Saban of Alabama.  Swensen of Yale.  One’s well-known, one’s not.

But both are paid millions by their employers.

So who’s worth more?

That’s easy.

Nick Saban wins football games, which, true, helps put fannies in the seats and keeps hordes of Alabamians (except those who pull for Auburn) happy.

David Swensen makes a rich school richer.  Much richer.

When Saban took over at Alabama, in 2007, the Tide hadn’t won a national title since 1992.

Since his arrival, they’ve won three of them, and they’ve appeared in BCS/Playoff games four other times.

Swensen? When he took over as Yale’s Chief Investment Officer in 1985, the university’s endowment was $1.8 billion.  As of June 30 of this year, it was $25.6 billion.

At a time when your savings account might - might - earn you one per cent interest, thanks to Swensen’s shrewd investment strategy, Yale’s endowment increased 11.5 per cent in the last year alone. (Yale might be having its problems with Harvard on the football field, but that makes it five years in a row that Yale has out-earned its old rival.)

To put Swensen’s value in football terms, if Yale ever felt the need to do so, it could hire a whole staff of Nick Sabans - and never even miss the money.

*********** Maybe if the NFL weren’t so preoccupied with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Profiting from Fantasy Gambling or putting a franchise in London it would find the time to deal with the fact that it's foisting a
shoddy product  on the American public.

Exhibit A: The Seahawks got away with one on Monday night.

My wife saw the Seahawks bat the ball out of the end zone, and was indignant.  “He can’t do that!” she said at the time. To make sure, she looked up the rule.

But not a word from anyone else!

Not a single on-field official (including the one standing five yards away from the play)…

Not a single replay official…

Not a single guy in the broadcast booth…

Not a single ESPN analyst after the game…

And evidently, not a single member of the Lions’ staff, who seemed shell-shocked, resigned to their fate as hapless losers. But not indignant.

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

So many things to comment on.

First, congratulations to North Beach on your continued success.  I look forward each week to reading how the team is doing and truly wishing the best for your program.  I cannot forget reading about the first summer where you conditioned players with strength and conditioning methods you had to make since the program did not have much in the way of a weight training facility.

Second, your team sure is scoring lots of TDs, and not to be critical, but I notice that your PATs do not match up with the number.  Do you kick your PATs in most situations?  If you do have to go for 2, what plays do you recommend or is this strictly based on your opponents defensive weakness.  (First week with my 11, 12, 13 year olds, we ran Wedge on the first three TDs, so I finally am making believers of the other coaches helping me.)

Lastly, my good friend that is coaching at a local high school reports to me almost everyday that his team is having problems with the players, mostly due to discipline issues.  This carried over to the game last week when two of the players decided to change the play the coach had called and free lance, unsuccessfully.  After hearing this, I sent him Bud Wilkenson's quote you began the Newsletter with last week and he presented it at Saturday's coaches meeting.  The quote is now hanging in the locker room and some players have been dismissed from the team.

Continued success and best regards,

Ken Hampton
Raleigh, NC   

Good discipline is the glue that allows you to teach kids the importance of putting something else ahead of themselves, and holds everything together when things should go wrong - which, in football, is a given.

Our foundation is the Three R’s - Respect, Responsibility, Resilience.  Our kids know what those things mean and as coaches we not only demand it but we model it.

I could talk about that for hours.

But I don’t kid myself.

No coach is a miracle worker. Good discipline starts with good kids.  Your ability to turn bad kids into good kids is extremely limited, and it depends on first having a critical mass of good kids.  If you don’t have a substantial percentage of good kids who understand the importance of wanting to please, you’d better hope that your team is extremely talented, so you don’t have to deal with many losing locker rooms. But even with a winning team it’s going to be a challenging season.  I advise you to take the wins and then move on to a better situation.

Once you have established a strong culture on your team - an understanding around  among your players that “this is how we doing things here” - you may have the ability to accept a very small number of newcomers of questionable character.  There’s always the chance that they will adapt to the team culture and become good team members.

But some guys are just outlaws and can’t handle what they perceive as restrictions - not being able to do as they damn please, whenever they damn please, without having to answer to anybody.  They will drop out fairly soon -  or make it necessary for you to remove them.  (If you don’t they will kill you.)

If you don’t, you endanger everything you’ve worked hard to build among your good kids; once you lose the good kids - once they think that you’ve betrayed the  values you espoused -   it’s all over.

Some guys with shaky reputations  can handle your rules and restrictions  as the price they have to pay to play football, but as soon as the season’s over and they’re no longer subject to the team’s rules, they revert to their original state.

Sometimes - rarely, to be sure - you get the kid who adapts to the situation, and in the process of doing so discovers that there’s a whole new world open to them if they’re willing to change.  They’re  the guys who make it worthwhile. 

It’s important to keep in mind - and to keep in your players’ minds - that no player is more important than the team.

PS - We no longer have to improvise.  Thanks largely to the persistence of our head coach, Todd Bridge, and the success of our program, we do have a nice weight room that is put to good use and has translated into stronger players.

Our kids are strong. Some of our strength figures are extremely impressive.

We seldom kick our PATs, and based on the early NFL returns, the pros shouldn’t either.  Fifty per cent of two point attempts yields the same number of points as 100 per cent of kicks.  Not that we’re  bad at kicking it, but I would bet on our making 50 per cent of two-point attempts way before I’d bet on making 100 per cent of our kicks.

*********** In Vancouver, Washington, having enough of the “homeless” camping in the lobby of the county office building, urinating and defecating wherever they please, and leaving used syringes in couches, the county higher-ups decided no longer to allow the “folks” (as our President likes to say) to use the building’s rest rooms.

To try to accommodate the great unwashed, the county and a local charity are working on creating a “day shelter,” which will include bathrooms, showers and - get this - “places where people can charge their phones.”

Only in America.

*********** LSU running back Leonard Fournette became the first player in SEC history to rush for more than 200 yards in three-straight games…

*********** I think I read the release correctly.  It said that Oregon’s uniforms this Saturday will honor the famed explorers Lewis and Clark, whose expedition of discovery led to the opening of the Pacific Northwest.

I’m thinking buckskin… fringe… moccasins… coonskin helmets

*********** “Being nose is a tough job; it sucks.  You’re not making a lot of plays, but you’re making space for the linebackers and the other guys to get free. He knows that, but at the same time he challenges himself to make plays. That’s what he’s been doing.”

That was Oregon’s outstanding defensive end DeForest Buckner, taking about his teammate, Alex Balducci, senior nose guard and son of my friend Ralph Balducci.

Alex was heavily recruited out of high school and chose the Ducks, who took his redshirt off him midway through his freshman year, and put him at nose in their 3-4 defense, where his job has mainly been absorbing blocks so that others could make plays.

Sure would frustrate me, especially when the defense has been catching hell for subpar play.    But not Alex.  He’s a team player. In the Duck’s last game, against Colorado, an adjustment in their defensive scheme gave Alex more leeway to make plays, and he responded by being named Oregon’s defensive player of the game, and earning a nomination as Pac-12 Player of the Week.


*********** Say this for the education bureaucrats  and the parasites who live off them - they may disparage the outside world and those who make their livings there, but when it comes to figuring out ways to turn good intentions into money, they’re as sharp as any hedge fund manager.

Take Recess Consultants. (Please, as Henny Youngman would say.)

As schools debate whether to allow competitive recess games such as tag, or whether to allow recess at all, a new profession has been hatched, dedicated to making money by advising schools on how to have recesses without risk of injury, offense, insult, or damage to self-esteem. 

They call themselves recess consultants,  and when you take a bunch of people who never had kids themselves, who were always the last ones chosen when they were kids,  and then let them watch what goes on at an average recess, there’s no telling what sort of social mischief they can come up with.

One bit of brilliance I’ve heard is that when playing baseball/softball, you shouldn’t say, “You’re out!”  (Instead, say, “Nice try.”)

And we wonder why we wind up with so many entitled young people who go out into the world feeling really good about themselves - and then go to pieces at the first sign of disapproval, not to mention rejection or defeat.

***********  Just this week, Dr. Ben Carson observed that in a situation such as what happened in Roseburg, Oregon, "I Would Not Just Stand There and Let Him Shoot Me." His reasoning was that  while the guy might shoot a few people, he couldn’t kill them all.

Tut, tut, said the liberal news media (an oxymoron).

“Beyond insensitive,” I heard one precious female panelist say.

Was it because Dr. Carson’s remark was tinged with testosterone?  Or with the American can-do spirit?

I doubt it.   Just a few weeks ago, three young men - coincidentally, from Oregon - overpowered an armed Islamist on a French train, and were rightly hailed as heroes.

You don’t suppose, do you, that they’re all over Dr. Carson because he’s a Republican - and he’s rising in the polls?

*********** Sent to me and John T. Reed…

How are you doing coaches,

I’ve been running Coach Wyatt’s double wing since 2003 & Coach Reed’s GAM since 2001.  I’ve gone from youth up to high school now I’m back coaching my nephew’s 4th grade team.  I’ve gone undefeated many times, won a bunch of championships so you’d think I’d have nothing to prove.  I was wrong.  Your systems run so good that I do the unthinkable!  The last few years I’ve been playing all my player EVENLY!  This year I have 30 player, 3 groups of 10, Red, Black, & Blue, all with color coordinated wrist coaches so we obviously will have one that doesn’t match.  We run our team like a hockey line change, 11 players stay out for 6 plays regardless of offense, defense, or special teams then we rotate all 11.  We get our 6 play minimum done usually by the end of the 1st quarter but we keep the kids out all game. I’m the head coach & I have 2 assistants for each color group.  We had a draft just like fantasy football where the person who had the last pick in a round had the first pick in the next round so all 3 groups are as even as possible.  Each coach automatically had their kids, then we drafted QBs, Wings, ………..

Obviously kids learning to bear crawl, contain, mirror, pull, counter, wedge will take some time.  We got our butts handed to us game one, 30-0.  You’d think with my resume I’d get the benefit of the doubt.  I was told, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m running a gimmick offense & defense, you gentlemen the rest.  I knew we had a good players & a great staff.  I paraphrased Bill Belichick after the Patriots got pounded last year in Kansas City, I told the kids in front of the parents, “that game is over, we’re on to Framingham(rival neighboring town)."  We won 14-0, we’ve now been beating teams an average of 30-0 except for the big city Brockton we won 38-12(they got an opening play kick off return & our LB bit inside on a counter).  

At the end of the year I’m going to send you our highlight video on YouTube.  You’ll be shocked that not only a team that plays everyone evenly scored so much but the same team that was shut out game one!  Now we’re being told by opposing coaches that we’re the best team they played, even by the teams that played the team that beat us.  Opposing coaches are shocked that we even lost 1 game!  Just like Sir Isaac Newton said, “I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.”  

Thank you Giants,

Roger Calder
Natick, Massachusetts

american flagTUESDAY, OCTOBER 6,  2015-   "Some people say it's too bad that, when two teams meet on a field of play, one team has to win and the other team has to lose. I think that is the most most American thing there is about the game of football.  Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf, Hall of Fame coach

*********** For all his smarts, it’s still hard not to see Mike Leach as a one-trick pony - a total expert on the passing offense, but indifferent to other aspects of the game.

Saturday, against Cal, the Cougars threw the ball all over the lot - effectively, for the most part - but failed, as usual, in the rushing game category: 25 carries for a net 14 yards.

Their defense actually played fairly well against Cal and their high-powered attack.  (The Cal QB, Jared Goff, may be the best in the country, which may come as a surprise to you easterners and midwesterners and southerners who don’t get to watch a lot of West Coast football.)

Ah, but that still leaves special teams.

The Wazzu  punter ran for it on fourth down.  And fumbled. And Cal DB Stefan McClure scooped up the fumble and returned it for a TD.

Final: Cal 34, Washington State 28

 Flag Raising at North Beach

A look at our final score Friday night - North Beach 54, Rainier 22 - would lead you to believe we cruised. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ever notice how often a college team wins a big game that it has to win - and then, the next week, loses to a weaker opponent?

The phenomenon has been well documented: it’s very difficult for young football players to reach an emotional high, to produce an extreme effort, two games in a row.  (It’s not so common in the NFL, where the players are more mature and the game is less emotional.)

At North Beach, we encountered this  last week.  Two games ago, we came up with a tremendous effort to resoundingly beat the league favorite, Raymond, 34-14.  Raymond had already beaten the two toughest teams in our league (other than us) and a win over us would have given them clear sailing to the league championship, an undefeated season, and a first-round bye in the playoffs.

But we won.  And coming up next was Rainier, which two weeks earlier had lost to Raymond, 28-13, but late in the game had driven deep into Raymond territory with enough time to score twice.

So there we were, coming off a big win, facing a team good enough to beat us.  And for a while Friday night, you had to think that it could happen.

We burst out of the gates, scoring with less than two minutes gone and building a 20-6 lead after one quarter.  And then it happened. After we’d fielded a Rainier punt in our own territory and prepared to launch another scoring drive, we fumbled. Rainier scored quickly and made a two-point conversion, then followed with a successful onside kick. Video shows that two Rainier players crossed the restraining line before the ball did, but you can’t expect officials to see everything. (Not even something they should be looking for). Another Rainier score and another two-point conversion and Rainier led, 22-20 at the half.  We scarcely touched the ball in the second period.

In short, we were rocked back on our heels.

They hadn’t stopped our offense, but to our astonishment, they’d done a good job moving the ball on the ground, so let’s just say that we made a few adjustments defensively.

It turns out that that was all we needed.  We ran off 34 second half points - scored 14 points within a span of 17 seconds - and shut them out defensively.  Rainier didn’t come close to scoring territory until JV time, and even then our reserves were able to keep them out of the end zone.

Final:  54-22, North Beach.  A great performance in retrospect.  But scary as hell at the time.

In all, we amassed exactly 500 yards of total offense, 453 rushing and 47 passing.

Saul Gonzalez carried 13 times for 224 yards, and touchdowns of 45, 82, 46 and 45 yards.

Skyler Wells rushed 14 times for 196 yards and touchdowns of 65, 30 and 32 yards.

Alex McAra completed 3 of 5 for 47 yards and a TD.  He also ran five times for 18 yards.  Of some note - although he did throw his first interception of the year late in the first half, when we were playing hurry-up, on the plus side of the ledger he’s thrown eight touchdown passes.

But we lost two fumbles.  Grrr.

Rainier rushed 55 times for 233 yards, by far the most yards rushing we’ve given up in two years,  but in the air they were one of 10 for 15 yards.

Our middle linebacker, Jonny Law, was credited, after film review, with an amazing 19 unassisted tackles and 13 assists.

This week we play a Thursday night game against Chief Leschi High in Puyallup.   To be generous, they have not been very good, but under a new coach, who in the past has coached powerhouse teams in the Tacoma area, they are showing improvement.

*********** The Aberdeen Daily World’s Rick Anderson, one of the best I’ve ever known, covered our game Friday night…

Second-half eruption lifts Hyaks over Rainier

By Rick Anderson
The Daily World

OYEHUT — In the blink of an eye, North Beach emphatically pulled the plug on Rainier’s upset bid.

Skyler Wells’ two touchdown runs in a 17-second span in the third quarter ignited an explosion of 34 unanswered Hyak unanswered second-half points in a 54-22 Pacific League football victory over Rainier on Friday night at Lt. Jim Davis Field.

Saul Gonzalez rushed for 264 yards and four touchdowns and Wells logged 189 yards and three TDs as the third-ranked Hyaks (4-0, 5-0) logged 502 yards rushing.

Although the final score scarcely reflected it, the Hyaks overcame some adversity in this one, due to a near-disastrous second quarter.

Up 20-6 after one period, North Beach lost two fumbles, threw an interception and saw the Mountaineers (2-2, 3-2) recover an onside kick in that period. The Hyaks possessed the ball for only four plays in the first 10 minutes of the quarter.

“We’ve just got to hold onto the ball,” North Beach coach Todd Bridge emphasized.
“That’s two weeks in a row we’ve had costly turnovers. That’s going to bite us in the rear end if we don’t take care of the ball in the future.”

With quarterback McKoy Bichler running the read-option effectively, Rainier capitalized on Hyak miscues to score twice in the quarter. Bichler’s 4-yard run and ensuing 2-point conversion with 1:54 remaining gave the visitors a 22-20 halftime lead — North Beach’s first deficit of the season.

Matters changed dramatically after North Beach’s defense forced a Mountie punt on the opening possession of the second half.

Four plays later, Wells popped free on a run off left tackle and raced 65 yards for a touchdown with 7:44 remaining in the third quarter. The conversion pass failed, but the Hyaks led for good at 26-22.

It was 34-22 just 17 seconds later.

The Hyaks knocked the ball loose on the ensuing kickoff return, with North Beach freshman Michael Almendarez recovering on the Rainier 30-yard line.

On the first play from scrimmage, Wells again started off the left side, cut back against the grain and took it to the house. He also ran for the conversion.

Those runs proved to be only the beginning of what was a big-play showcase for the Hyaks in the second half. For the game, North Beach had seven scoring plays of at least 30 yards.

Wells’ third TD of the contest came on a tackle-busting 32-yard run late in the third quarter.

After waiting for his blocking to form, Gonzalez broke a 46-yard scoring run at the 5:24 mark of the fourth quarter and added a 45-yard touchdown sprint about 90 seconds later. Alex McAra’s conversion pass to Chris Harms concluded the scoring.

Led by senior linebacker Jonny Law, who easily exceeded a dozen tackles in a magnificent display of sideline-to-sideline pursuit, North Beach’s defense shut down the Mounties in the second half.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Bridge reflected. “It comes back to our conditioning. Our big guys wear you down.”

Gonzalez’s 45-yard run in the first quarter opened the scoring. Rainier’s Nathan Anderson countered with a 45-yard TD scamper of his own, but McAra connected with a wide-open Harms on an 18-yard touchdown pass. After running for the conversion following the latter TD, Gonzalez took flight on an 83-yard scoring run to make it 20-6 after one period.

Rainier took advantage of a short field following North Beach’s first fumble of the second quarter, with Israel Elwell scoring on a 6-yard fly sweep. Alec Miller ran for the conversion.

Aside from the turnovers, the Hyak offense was in fine form. North Beach did not have to punt until the fourth quarter.

In addition to Law, Gonzalez and Seth Bridge were among the notable Hyak tacklers.

The Hyaks will take to the road for a rare Thursday night game when they journey to Chief Leschi next week.


Pink Stockings

It's October again - and If you’ve ever read this column, you don’t have to guess which team in the photo at left is the one I coach.

*********** Arizona lost Saturday night.  It may have been because Stanford is just better than the Wildcats.  But maybe it was because  their weakling school administration caved in to a protest by some weenies who claimed the team had no right to do the Haka before the game.

By now, any school in the United States with a Polynesian player on it - and many who don’t - has probably done a Haka dance before the game.

The Haka’s origins are in the Pacific Islands, especially among the Maori, the native people of New Zealand, and for many years New Zealand’s national rugby team, the famed All Blacks, have performed it before their games.

Evidently the argument put forward against the Arizona Wildcats’ doing the Haka is that they are not doing it properly. Or that it is a desecration of something sacred.  Or maybe both.

I call bullsh— on the protest, started by a faculty member at  Cal State Northridge, a native New Zealander who obviously doesn’t know about our Constitution and this thing called the First Amendment. Sadly, like way too many newcomers to our shores, she evidently thinks that she has the right to tell Americans what we can and cannot say and do if it makes her uncomfortable.

Somebody needs to tell her that we already have liberals for that.


*********** Army could have beaten Penn State.  Partly, it was due to Army’s playing its best game overall in several years (in my opinion) and partly it was due to this being the worst Penn State team I’ve seen in a long time.  Maybe ever.

Final score: Penn State 20, Army 13.

Throwing against an until-now porous secondary and a previously nonexistent pass rush, Penn State's supposed pro prospect Christian Hackenberg, looked exactly as he did in the Lions’  loss to Temple (which should no longer be viewed as an upset), missing countless receivers and taking numerous sacks.

The Penn State running game, like the passing game,  was weak and unimaginative. 

Army’s triple option offense, finally clicking despite being run by the backup quarterback  clearly began taking its toll on the Penn State defense.  Despite committing several inexcusable turnovers,  Army was still in a position to punch it in right up until the end when the Army QB was sacked attempting to pass in a long-yardage situation - always a risky proposition when you’re a triple option team and the whole world knows you have to pass.

God help Penn State  when they play Ohio State.    I was talking with a friend, like me a native Pennsylvanian, who wondered whether the Sandusky scandal might not have taken a greater toll on Penn State recruiting than anybody let on.

*********** And to think that they pay these guys to make mistakes we wouldn’t tolerate in a high school kid…

The Browns did a great job of driving for a late TD and making the two-point conversion to tie the game at 27-27.

Unfortunately, though, they left  enough time for Philip Rivers to drive the Chargers downfield and into field goal position with just enough time for the final coup de grace.

But the field goal attempt was wide, sending the game into OT.

Mais non.  (But no.)  PENALTY

The end man in the Browns’ front line had jumped offside.  And it wasn’t even close.

From five yards closer, the kick was good.  Chargers 30, Browns 27.

The guy who jumped probably earned as much in that one game as you schoolteachers do in a year.

*********** What in the world has happened to Colin Kaepernick? 


*********** How many times, when an official makes a tough call in crunch time, have you heard some “expert” say, “Why don’t they just let them play?”

Or some other expert pontificate that when you get down to the final minutes, the game should be settled by the players, not the officials?

Well, guess what?

A study shows that for some time now, the officials have evidently been listening to those experts.

The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton writes about an article in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports (betcha no one reading this has a subscription), two college assistant professors published the results of a study they conducted of penalties in NFL games from 2002 to 2012.

Dealing mainly with “discretionary” penalties in which officials use their judgement (such as offensive holding and defensive pass interference) as opposed to other penalties such as false starts, which are rather obvious and require little judgement, they found that holding and pass interference are three to five times more common in the middle of games than in the beginning and at the end.

Meanwhile, the false start and offices penalties show no such variation.

The authors’ theory is that discretionary calls at the end of the game reflect the common belief that officials themselves would prefer that the players decide the outcomes.  (The authors very graciously avoid suggesting that there might be an element of cowardice at play.)

Their explanation for the disparity at beginnings of games is that the players and the officials may be feeling each other out. One of the authors likens it to police letting speeders off with a warning.

The question has already arisen: as sophisticated as NFL teams are, wouldn’t you think that they’d be working on ways to exploit these statistics?

Do you think for a minute that Bill Belichick hasn’t been on this?  For maybe five or six years?

***********  It’s October, so it’s breast cancer awareness month. But all that “awareness” doesn’t always translate into legitimate investment in cancer research. For example: Only an estimated 8.01 percent of the revenue from NFL breast cancer awareness merchandise goes to cancer research. [Business Insider]

Tim Brown
Athens, Alabama

*********** Any serious look at the history of human beings over the millennia shows that the (human) species began in poverty.

It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining. Poverty is automatic, but prosperity requires many things - none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.

In 1900, only 3 per cent of American homes had electric lights, but more than 99 per cent had them by the end of the century. Infant mortality rates were 165 per 1,000 in 190 and 7 per thousand by 1997. By 2001, most Americans living BELOW the poverty line had central air conditioning, a motor vehicle, cable television with multiple TV sets and other amenities.

A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left.

Dr. Thomas Sowell


In Washington, the almost unbelievable cheating that’s been uncovered in the nationally-renowned Bellevue High School football program has resulted in the usual bureaucratic response - a thorough investigation.  Expect nothing to come from this and you won’t be disappointed.

In Oregon, with Wilson of Portland leading Cleveland of Portland, 42-0 after three quarters, the Wilson coach cleared his bench. But then, a few weeks later, it was learned that one of the  Wilson JVs, whose participation consisted of taking part in exactly one kickoff return, was academically ineligible at the time.  

Wilson dutifully reported the violation, but Oregon Scholastic Activities Association (OSAA) rules are clear and they are firm. And they call for a forfeit.  No exceptions.  So the score goes into the record books not as 42-8, but as Cleveland 1, Portland 0.


Bellevue, meanwhile, is 3-1.  After an opening-game loss to national number one Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, they’ve run all over the poor local yokels in Washington who haven’t yet figured out how it’s done.


*********** The Bills had just pulled to within six at 16-10, but then they put on a masterful display of Hawk Tackling that allowed the Giants to convert a dinky little flat route to a back into a 50-yard touchdown that gave them a 14-point lead (after the two-point conversion) and put the game away.

*********** Speaking of Hawk Tackling... How 'bout that there Hawk tackle the Cowboy tried on CJ Spiller  - the one that let him go 80 yards for a touchdown - and let the Saints beat the Cowboys in overtime?

Yes, he  missed the tackle.  And yes, the runner scored the winning touchdown. But no one got a concussion.   And wasn't that the point?

*********** Burnt Orange Nation is not happy…


*********** The Jacksonville kicker missed a field goal as time ran out.  But Indianapolis had called time out.  Given a second chance, he missed again.

Given a third chance in overtime, he missed that one, too.

*********** Jay Cutler, much-maligned, came in and drove the Bears into position for the game-winning field goal.

*********** It ain’t easy being a Bills’ fan.

Their Bills lead the league in penalties.  Sunday, the seventeenth and final one came with under a minute to play, nullifying a Buffalo TD that would have given them an outside chance of winning.  It was chop block, called against a fellow well-known for doing things not in the best interests of his team - Richie Incognito.

Props to Rex Ryan for giving his team the league lead in at least one category.  Also for a great personnel decision.

***********  Back in 2014 when Bill Nunn died, a number of us noted the enormous contribution that he’d made to the Pittsburgh Steelers - and to black football players.

Nunn had been sports editor at The Pittsburgh Courier, a  newspaper with an appeal to black readers nationally.  As part of its strong coverage of sports at black colleges, in 1950 it began naming a black college all-American football team, and as part of his reportorial duties, Bill Nunn got to know the coaches and the athletes.

When he complained to Dan Rooney, the son of Steelers’ owner Art Rooney, that NFL teams were ignoring the players he was recognizing, Rooney responded by hiring him as a scout.

That was 1967, and he was hired full-time in 1969, which coincidentally was Chuck Noll’s first year as the Steelers’ head coach.

Nunn helped identify and sign a number of black players from little-known schools who starred on the Steelers teams that between 1975 and 1980 won four Super Bowls.  Among them were John Stallworth of Alabama A&M, L. C. Greenwood of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Mel Blount of Southern, Dwight White of East Texas State, Donnie Shell of South Carolina State and Ernie Holmes of Texas Southern.

In a new book, “The Color of Sundays: The Secret Strategy That Built the Steelers' Dynasty”, author Andrew Conte argues that Bill Nunn was as much an ingredient of the Steelers’ success as such better-known names as Noll, Greene and Bradshaw. Or Swann, Lambert and Hamm.


american flagFRIDAY, OCTOBER 2,  2015-   "I feel more strongly about this than anything else in coaching: anybody who lacks discipline, who doesn't want to be part of the team, who doesn't want to meet the requirements - has to go.  It's that simple."   Bud Wilkinson

*********** Evidently Michael Vick has requested that beginning with tonight’s game on the NFL Network, he be identified as “Mike Vick.”

No problem as I see it.  Lots of Jameses want to be called Jim; lots of Williams are called Bill; lots of Roberts go by Bob.

It’s not as if he wants to be called Meta World Peace. Or Chad Ochocinco.

Or Caitlyn Jenner.

*********** Jimmie Johnson’s son - I don’t know how old he is, but I’m guessing from some of the things he’s written that he’s between 14 and 25 - evidently doesn’t appreciate how fortunate his dad is to have a job in the NFL.

Dad, Jimmie Johnson, is the tight ends coach of the Jets.  He knows how tough the football business can be. He worked his way up though positions at historically-black colleges until finally landing a job with the Vikings, and then he was out of work all of last season, after  being let go when Vikings’ head coach Leslie Frazier was fired.

So now, he's back in the NFL.  I hope.

Because just recently, his knucklehead son had to go and wage an ugly war on Twitter against Jets Geno Smith and Antonio Cromartie, addressing Cromartie in one tweet as a “weak-ass bi—h.”

Now, I don’t know how old the kid is, but it sure seems to me a spanking would be in order.

If there’s anything left of him after Smith and Cromartie get done.


*********** Mercer Island, Washington is an affluent, liberal suburban community.  In spades.

It is a beautiful, wooded island in Lake Washington, just east of Seattle.  The median home price is $919,000.

As is common in such places, its schools are good enough that its citizens feel no need to send their kids to private schools.

The schools are good because the people of Mercer Island are generous in their support of their schools - and because they are politically savvy enough to know how to make their voices heard.

When the Mercer Island schools recently announced that they ere banning the playing of tag on school playgrounds, with one of their goals the prevention of “unwanted touching, ” they must have felt certain that the parents would be on their side. 

But no…..

The parents raised hell.

They started a Facebook group called STARMI, an acronym for Support Tag At Recess In Mercer Island.  It had 400 members by last weekend.
“The kids had been told not to play tag, and I think they were really bummed,” said Kelsey Joyce, who has two elementary-age kids. “To be honest, kids get hurt on the playground. It’s an unfortunate part of life, but part of learning and growing.”

The district, saying  that unstructured play, such as tag, often “deteriorated into name-calling, fighting and injury,” finally relented, but its first response was to announce plans  for alternatives to tag.

Said the superintendent, “We want to initiate a new form of tag-like running games to minimize the issues of ‘you were tagged/no I wasn’t’ or ‘the tag was too hard and felt more like a hit.’”

Parents weren’t buying.

By the weekend, the district announced that tag would once again be allowed.

They didn’t say anything about dodgeball.


***********When you face a tough opponent  after some easy wins you have to prepare your kids mentally to accept the fact that things will probably not come so easy - but that doesn't necessarily mean they're not making progress. We talk to them about splitting wood.

Here in the rural Northwest, most of our kids have done that.

We make the point that it may take 50 or 60 whacks to split a piece of firewood. And that it isn't the last whack that does it - every single one of the whacks contributes to weakening it.

We tell our kids to think of every block, every tackle, every positive play, as a whack -  and to keep them focused on the job we'll tell them "forget the score - are we splitting wood?"

Last Thursday night, head coach Todd Bridge  brought out a good-size round and a couple of splitting mauls, and one by one,  starting with the seniors, each player took a swing, until it finally split.

They really got into it, and they got the point that every whack that preceded that final one made it possible. Friday night, time after time, Todd heard kids saying, “Split wood!”

We won, 34-14.

(It did help to have good players.)

*********** For a number of years, Patty Rasmussen, whose dad, General Jim Shelton, was a Vietnam Black Lion, wrote for “Chop Talk,” the Atlanta Braves’ monthly magazine.

Mostly, she did nice human interest features on Braves’ players - what their hobbies were, how they met their wives, what they enjoy doing on vacation. Baseball seems really suited to such articles, probably because an awful lot of them - the Braves, anyhow - seem to be down-home, country-type kids who like to hunt and fish.

For some reason or another, the Braves don’t publish Choptalk anymore, but they should.

In the meantime, who really needs a version of Choptalk - I suggest television promos - is the NFL.

Surely, not every NFL player is a dimwit, a buffoon, a sociopath, a barbarian.  (Anyone notice how I got through that without using the word “thug,” which we are being told is now considered synonymous with “black?”)

But that’s what we see when we watch the games, and that’s what we perceive when we read the news and watch Sportscenter.

The NFL keeps deluding itself into thinking that it’s bulletproof - that in return for our weekly pro football fix, the the American public will endure all manner of atrocious misbehavior by its players.

But for those of us who remember the Pennsylvania Railroad, and Pan Am, and IBM and Ma Bell, history has taught us that nothing can go on forever, not even Big Football.

And one of the things that will take The League down is that fewer and fewer will come to its defense, and more and more will applaud its demise.

Yes, the NFL does make puny little efforts to show us what good guys its players are, but really - when we see some guy loading groceries into a trunk for delivery to the poor, when we see a couple of them playing flag football with inner-city sixth graders - does anyone watching actually believe that they’re not just staged events?  That the players didn’t just take their checks for the personal appearance and head out to a “gentleman’s club?”

If I were Commissioner Goodell, I’d commission a series of spots  featuring the good guys. With almost 2000 men playing in the NFL, there have to be a few - guys who are studying to become doctors, engineers, teachers.  Guys with good families and interesting hobbies.

Guys who are just good people and good family men.

The risk, of course, is that you go to show what a family man Adrian Peterson is, and then it turns out he has kids he didn’t even know he’d fathered.

Too bad the Eagles had to go and cut Tim Tebow.

*********** Expect lots of comments about gun control being the answer to Thursday’s tragic shooting in Roseburg, Oregon.

Except Roseburg is classic God-and-guns country, not the precious “Keep Portland Weird” Oregon.

Roseburg is a lumber town, and like lumber towns all over the Pacific Northwest, it got hit hard by  the greens, who campaigned ostensibly to save a bird called the spotted owl, but whose real purpose was to stop logging in the Northwest’s forests.  All you have to do is drive through empty town after empty town, past shut-down sawmill after shut-down sawmill to see how well the bastards have succeeded in their mission.

Roseburg is a nice town. My wife and I have stayed there a number of times on trips to and from California, and it’s not hard to see how it once was when it was the bustling center of a large area.

What a damn shame that such an ugly incident has to give outsiders a terrible perception of a great little town.

I should mention Roseburg football.  In Oregon, it's hard not to mention the two together.   For many years, the Roseburg Indians (not sure what they’re now called, since the state association banned the use of “derogatory nicknames”) have been  state powers.   Their coach, Thurman Bell, is 72 years old, and he’s announced that this will be his last year.

In 45 years at Roseburg, coaching in the state’s largest classification, he’s won four state titles and finished second five times, and at the start of this season he’d won 331 games.

I can’t say enough good things about the guy.  I’ve heard him talk at clinics and I’ve seen his teams play.  And I’ve worked with his kids at camps - you could always tell Roseburg kids by the way, without exception, they’d hustle from drill to drill, show up at each new station in hit position, pay close attention to instructions and coaching, and run every drill at full speed.

Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun played for Coach Bell, and he says that at Air Force, no player is allowed to wear the Number One, going back to the influence of his high school coach and his constant stress of “team” over “individual.”

Scott Healy, now a deputy district attorney outside Portland, recalled playing for Roseburg and scoring a touchdown and pointing his finger in the air in celebration.

He said that when he got to the sideline, Coach Bell was there to greet him, and he was not happy.

"He screamed at me 'I don't ever want to see that again,'" recalled Healy.  "'Why don't you show some class and act like you've been there before!'

"And that was Thurman - Always preaching to us to never show up an opponent."


*********** From my favorite non-political politician

Hugh (As you can see,  we’re on a first name basis),

I hate political correctness. It's dangerous.

It's preventing us from speaking honestly about our challenges, our differences and our culture.

Case in point -- last week I said that a key part of Islam known as Shariah law was not compatible with the U.S. Constitution and that I couldn't support a Muslim candidate for President unless these tenets were fully renounced.

For example, under Shariah law women must be subservient and people following other religions must be killed.

The media, the Left, and even some fellow Republicans rushed to condemn me. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on me to drop out of the race.

How ridiculous.

The Judeo-Christian values upon which America was built allowed us to become the greatest force for good on the planet. We shouldn't give them away in the name of political correctness.

Ben Carson

*********** Good Morning Coach,

Glad to read your team won again.

My squad is starting to get into a rhythm a little as we won our 2nd game in a row. We were having trouble with team stacking the line, and the kids were not adjusting. I think we fixed that problem for now, plus we are throwing a little more to keep teams honest. We only had 88 brown in, we put in Thunder, Red, and Blue and that has caught teams off guard.

My real problems deals with me being the Head Coach of the Youth program I coach in. My oldest son is on my team with the older kids, while my middle child is playing on the younger team. I oversee both programs, but leave the day to day running of the younger team to the coaches of that team. With that being said, the Head coach of my younger sons team came to me last week and told my how well my son was doing, how aggressive he was, and really getting after it in practice all week. Then on Saturday, my son only got in for 2 plays. I am not sure how to handle this? My son was telling me he only got in for 2 plays, and he was more asking why then just stating the fact. I did not know what to tell him. As a parent when you hear how well your son is doing in practice you would expect to see some playing time to reward his effort, especially at the 5-6 grade level.

I am frustrated in the fact I do not want to say anything for fear the younger coaches are thinking I am telling them to play my son. Which I would never do. My boys need to earn their time, even at the youth level. I try to teach them that nothing is guaranteed because of who you are, you have to earn everything, especially in the real world.

Any thoughts on how I should approach this as a Coach/Parent? 


I don’t think that this is as difficult for you to handle as you might think.

I think my approach would be,

“I’m not telling you how to coach your team, but I am concerned about your players.  It just so happens that in this case it’s my son, which is actually a good thing, because if it were someone else’s kid, they might not understand, and if they were to come to me about it I couldn’t defend you.  This is not high school varsity football, and so in the interests of our program, we have to make a commitment to our kids and their parents that any kid who follows our rules and attends our practices will see a reasonable amount of playing time.  I wouldn’t ever specify what “reasonable” might mean, but I can tell you that it’s more than two plays.

“I’m also telling you that all coaches have an obligation to the great game of football.   At a time when football is coming under attack from all angles and increasing numbers of parents are refusing to let their kids play, the very last thing we ought to be doing is giving them another reason not to let them play.”

Go for it!

*********** It may be football season, but here in the oh, so politically correct Pacific Northwest, local newspapers work very hard to please everyone by running feature stories about what could best be described as low-interest high school sports.

Last week, the Vancouver Columbian ran a nice article about Mason Minder, a young lady who’s captain of the Camas High soccer team.(Camas  does happen to have one of the state’s best boys’ and girls’ soccer programs.)

I ordinarily wouldn’t have read very far, but for some reason I did, and I came upon this gem:

“Tony Minder, Mason’s father, played quarterback at Camas High School.  She said her dad isn’t a big soccer fan. ‘He calls us foot fairies.’”

*********** From 2006 through 2013, Hoosic Valley High, in upstate New York, won a total of nine games.

It was actually just seven, until Coach Pete Porcelli took over partway through the 2013 season.

Coach Porcelli had enjoyed quite a bit of success at Lancisngburgh High, and he was coaching a semi-pro team in Troy, New York, when he was approached about the Hoosic Valley job.  I remember our phone conversation about it - it was a Monday and I was driving back to Ocean Shores after a weekend at home.  He was quite frank about how down the Hoosic Valley program was, but I felt he was up to the job and told him so.

He knows his double wing, and in a fairly short time, he managed to lead his kids to two wins in what remained of the 2-13 season.

And then, last season, the Hoosic Valley Indians finished 7-2.  I could find  no records of the last time they had a winning season.

Since no good deed goes unpunished, their reward for last year's success was a bump up in classification, but even against tougher opposition this season,  they’re now 2-2, after last week’s  43-14 win over Watervliet.

In the game, the Indians rushed for 448 yards and seven touchdowns on 43 carries.

Gonzalez Family*********** Since 2011 we’ve had at least one  Gonzalez brother starting for us at North Beach, and following our game last Friday night I was able to get the family together for a photo.

Pedro, on the left, was my first “open wing” B-Back, a real do-everything guy, and a great team leader on top of it all.  (He was our Black Lion in 2013, and as you can see, he proudly wears the patch on his jersey.)

Second from the left is middle brother Saul, a senior and a sensational 3R (run/receive/return) guy who’s a threat to score any time he touches the ball.  He’s also an exceptional strong safety/outside linebacker.

On the far right is youngest brother Diego, a junior and a two-way starter at offensive line and outside linebacker.

With the three brothers are Mrs. Gonzalez and sister Maria.

american flagTUESDAY,  SEPTEMBER 29,  2015-   "One man with courage makes a majority."    Andrew Jackson

*********** A memo from our state's governing body,  the WIAA…

It has been brought to our attention that officials, coaches, and players, are experiencing an increased frequency of racial slurs during contests at the middle school and high school levels.

This type of language WILL NOT be tolerated.
We are working with the WOA to inform all officials that we have a zero tolerance policy in regards to racial slurs.  If an official hears a racial slur, the offender will receive an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty regardless of whether or not it was directed at an opponent, a member of their own team, or directed at no one.  It also doesn't matter in which context it was said.
If in the judgement of the official the violation is flagrant the offender may be disqualified from the contest.

What in the world is going on?

Are we so uncivil that we're using language that we'd pretty much buried back in the 60s?

Or, based on that "
a member of their own team, or directed at no one" business, could they possibly be talking about the dreadful practice of black kids using the N-word?

*********** Who would  have thought that you could play the number three team in the state, a team you’ve never beaten at their place,  lose three fumbles and allow two long passes, one for a TD and one to set up a TD - and win by 20 points?

On Friday, at Raymond, Washington, the North Beach Hyaks made numerous key mistakes, but combined a suffocating run defense with a pounding running game  to defeat the Raymond Seagulls, 34-14.

For head coach Todd Bridge and me, this was our fifth meeting with Raymond, and although it was our second straight win, earlier meetings had been painful.  In 2011 and 2012, Raymond put running clocks on us.  In 2013, only a kickoff return after the final Raymond score enabled us to avoid a shutout.  And last year, although we won in two overtimes, we didn’t score an offensive touchdown until the final play of the game.

We did an exceptional job of preparing for Raymond’s wing-T.  By halftime, we’d forced them out of it and into a spread passing game.  They wound up throwing 33 times, and two of those throws resulted in long completions that resulted in Raymond scores.  One came just before halftime to cut our lead to 14-7, and the other came near the end of the third period to bring Raymond to within six at 20-14.

But to put things in perspective, 21 of Raymond’s passes were incomplete, and four were intercepted. The next-to-last interception, by Saul Gonzalez, was returned from our goal line to the Raymond 25, and on the next play Gonzalez finished the job, running off tackle for the remaining 25 yards. The two-point conversion extended our lead to 28-14 with 6:42 remaining.

Three incompletions and a 10-yard sack by linebacker Jonny Law gave us the ball on downs at the Raymond 35, from where it took us four plays - plus an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty - to score, with Skyler Wells going in from the nine  to cap our scoring with 4:06 left.

Raymond put on a short drive into our territory until, under heavy pressure from defensive end Brenden Cheney, the Seagulls’ QB threw an interception to linebacker Ben Poplin, allowing us to run out the clock.

The win, in front of a large and noisy crowd of North Beach rooters, was the first by North Beach on Raymond’s field in anyone’s memory.  In fact, it had been a couple of years since anybody had beaten Raymond at their place.

North Beach rushed 45 times for 389 yards. Three Hyaks rushed for more than 100 yards - Saul Gonzalez with 13 carries for 145 yards and two TDs,  Skyler Wells, with 131 yards and a TD on 22 carries, and Ben Poplin, recently converted form tight end to B-Back, with 106 yards and 2 TDs on six carries.

We threw only three times, and didn’t complete a pass.

In the air, Raymond was 12 of 33 for 229 yards and a TD, but on the ground the Seagulls were held to 57 yards on 23 carries.

Next week, we host the Rainier Mountaineers, now 3-1 after a 59-19 win over Ocosta.  Two weeks ago, Rainier dropped a hard-fought 27-13 decision at Raymond.

 *********** A guy I used to work with named Jim Hagen was in the fight business on the side - he managed a few fighters in the Seattle area.

He said - I guess it’s pretty much the norm in boxing - that in bringing a fighter along, you build up his early record against guys he could beat.

But eventually, there comes the time when you have to find out whether he can take a punch - and that’s when you find out if he’s going to amount to anything.

Saturday, coming off a breather against Georgia State, Oregon got punched in the mouth.  By Utah. And the Ducks spent the rest of the fight - er, game - rolling around on the canvas.  Yes, they went the distance, but there sure were a lot of Ducks who looked as if they’d just as soon their manager had thrown in the towel.

I can’t remember when a supposed national power got so completely eviscerated, so  suddenly and completely exposed as a pretender, not a contender.

And it all can be summed up in two words: Marcus Mariota.

With Mariota in control, the Ducks could do no wrong.  But even if they did make mistakes, Marcus could make the big play to save their asses. 

Turns out he was that good.

Turns out that that while their scheme was inventive and their pace of play intimidating, it really depended heavily on that one exceptionally talented guy who could make everything else look good - offense, defense, special teams.

Turns out that with an ordinary quarterback at the controls, the Oregon offense looks like a high school spread offense that simply doesn’t have the guy to run it.  And worst of all, unable to score 50 points against any defense in the country, it means their own defense now has to step up and do its job, too.

Turns out the defense, especially the secondary, is not very good.

But it’s on offense where the Ducks simply fell prey to their own belief that they had the all-conquering scheme.  It’s hard to believe that they haven’t been seeing in practice what any trained eye can see on game day - that the FCS quarterback from Eastern Washington (the one who couldn’t even manage to graduate on time so that he could take part in off-season workouts) wasn’t going to come close to replicating Marcus Mariota. And they already knew that Mariota’s backup wasn’t up to the job.

But look - they still have a good offensive line.  And good receivers.  And good running backs.  And a couple of good tight ends.  Do you see where this is going?

Wake up, Ducks.  You’ve got enough talent that in a week you could put a damn good I-formation team on the field and play with anyone one your schedule. (At least offensively.)

Where is it written that you have to stay with the scheme Chip Kelly left you with, when it’s clear you don’t have the guy to run it?  Is Kelly doing the same thing now that he’s in Philly?

Yes, yes, I know - it’s the excitement of the Ducks’ warp-speed offense (combined with their flashy attire) that has kids all over the country wanting to be Ducks. Well, guess what?  Maybe you haven’t heard, but high school kids are notoriously fickle.  Another beat-down like the one on Saturday, and no kid in the country is going to want to be a part of the dismantling of a program.

*********** One play to score two extra points and send the game into overtime, and the Titans run straight ahead.  Well, almost straight ahead. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

************ There are a lot of bad teams in the NFL.  Really bad teams.

How bad are the Bears?  This bad:  every single one of their “drives” this past Sunday ended in a punt.

***********Tamiko “Miko” Grimes, wife of Dolphins’ cornerback Brent Grimes, was arrested following the Dolphins’ game Sunday, charged with battery on a police officer, resisting arrest with violence, and disorderly conduct.

Police say while officers tried to control crowds outside the stadium, Mrs. Grimes was told not to walk  toward a restricted area, but ignored orders and kept walking. An officer told her she was was under arrest, whereupon other officers say she grew belligerent and charged them, yelling obscenities.

Officers took her to the ground and handcuffed her,  but after she was stood up, she head-butted an officer standing behind her.

Cell phone video shows Mrs. Grimes on the ground, yelling at officers, “are you ‘———’ kidding me?”


*********** Texas’ last plays…

Last week it was a missed extra point.

This week it was a mishandled center snap by the punter, setting up Oklahoma State's game-winning field goal.

*********** Football in a parking lot…

I hate to disparage any football program, but why would a program as downtrodden as Eastern Michigan choose to play on a field that looks as if it’s made of cinders?

And then, to add to the farce, although their school color is green, they wear gray jerseys, a la Boise State and their blue jerseys on a blue field.

Eastern MIchigan Field

american flagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25,  2015-   "I don't build character.  I eliminate the people who don't have it."   Vince Lombardi

*********** We’re just headed into NFL Week 3 and already the talk radio guys are having a blast discussing which NFL head coach is on the hot seat and which teams simply have to win this week to have any hope of making the playoffs.

But considering how hard the NFL tries to promote “parity” through its early-season scheduling, it does seem strange that  there are so many clubs - many of them considered to be potential playoff teams - off to 0-2 starts:

New York Giants
New Orleans

***********   Hi Coach,
It’s been a long time.  I used your DW system years ago ( back when it was just printed material and VHS! ) when I coached youth football for 8 years.
Many of my players (now young men) still tell me it was the most fun they had playing football.   Thanks for that!
As I’m watching my Eagles get manhandled by Dallas on Sunday I couldn’t help but think – Hmmm, how could he shore up the D-line shooting the gaps and how could he get all 3 of his talented
running backs on the field at the same time?   What do you think?  Demarco Murray as your B,  Sproles would make a great A and Ryan Matthews as your C.
Chris Dikos
Wyomissing, Pennsylvania

Coach, Nice to hear from you again.  I’m really pleased to hear that your coaching had such an impact on those kids (now young men). Ironically, Chip Kelly knows about my Double Wing, going back to his days in New Hampshire, where a mutual friend named John Trisciani was doing a great job of running it, first with his youth team and then at a high school. When Chip first came to Oregon as OC, I sent him a note congratulating him and welcoming him to the Northwest, and he responded by saying he was a “big fan” of the offense and suggesting we get together and talk. For one reason or another, it never happened.  Who knows where it could have led?  Maybe to a place on his offensive staff and a title - Director of Super Powers and Criss-Crosses - but then I’d have the Philly media and fans on my ass, too.    “Open it up, Wyatt!”  "You know any other plays, Wyatt?” “Hey, Wyatt - you heard about passing?” Seriously, one huge factor standing in the way of any appearance of the Double Wing in the NFL any time soon is the fact that so few teams have even one fullback on their roster. Thanks for the note!

***********  Coach,

I am looking for a better way of making/creating scout offense cards.  (opponents plays to hold up in huddle and show them who to block)  This weeks opponent is very complex for a high school team and it took me all weekend to do them by hand.  They run 14 formations, from those formations they run 26 run plays/variations and about 14 pass route combos.  They also use several different types of motion to add different looks or to gain a blocking advantage.

How do you do scout cards?  Is there an easier way than drawing them up by hand?

Gabe McCown
Piedmont, Oklahoma

Coach, For play drawing, whether it’s for my offense or defensive stuff, I really like Playmaker Pro.  It’s expensive (about $200 I think), but it’s really good. One very nice feature is if you draw a play to the right, you can easily flip it so it’s shown to the left.   Big time-saver. You change formations by clicking on a player or players and dragging them to where you want them; you do the same with the defenders, which you can either represent as symbols or as letters designating their positions.  You can, if you want, hide the defense. And, of course, once you’ve saved a play, you can retrieve it for next year’s game, or for another opponent who runs the same play. There are a lot of other features, too.  It’s a very nice program. I have gotten to know Bruce Williams, the developer, and he’s been very helpful. Another way to go is iDraw, which was first shown to me by Coach Ed Campbell in Florida, who always seems to be an early adopter of the latest in software.  I’ve used it form several years. It’s a lot cheaper than Playmaker Pro and it’s very useful and very quick.  I use it with my iPad as well as my computer.  You work with layers, so that if you draw the basic formation as your bottom layer, you can superimpose new layers on it, each devoted to individual plays using that  formation, without having to draw the formation over and over. It offers the same sort of click-and-drag flexibility in changing formations. And, once again, you can save your work for future use.

***********  Welcome to America, Abdul!

The boys' room is down the hall on the right.


*********** Anybody else see that Colts-Jets atrocity?

Guys who can’t make a simple handoff without fumbling down on the goal line will be happy to come to your place (for a fee) and show you how to do it.

***********  Coach,

What do you think about a bubble screen with the fullback, out of Lee formation, for example, with the split end cracking and the slot man arc blocking the corner?  This is assuming the fullback is a decent runner and not just a big guard type kid.  Thanks for your input.

Josh Montgomery
Berwick, Louisiana

Toss Left

Coach, Given a very fast fullback, PLUS the ability of the playside tackle to reach/scramble block the DE, it has a decent a chance.  Starting where the fullback does,  and given the risk of a muffed backward pass (same as a fumble), it would be a whole lot simpler and less risky to just have the QB reverse out and toss it.  You could probably get away with pulling the playside guard for the playside LBer.

*********** The Quinnipiac (QUINN-i-pee-ack) River empties into Long Island Sound at New Haven.  Two years ago Quinnipiac (QUINN-i-pee-ack) University, in New Haven, was in the College ice hockey finals.  (By great coincidence, its opponent was Yale, also from New Haven.)

A lot of good that did Quinnipiac University, which in these days of political campaigning,  is  known for the poll it conducts - a poll that the news guys insist on calling  the “Quinn-IPP-ee-ack” Poll.

Which brings me to Shep Smith, a self-important anchor on Fox News who very cavalierly took Dr. Ben Carson to the woodshed for his quite logical statement that he couldn’t advocate for a Muslim for president.  And then Mr. Smith went on to pronounce the name of the most recent Saint of the Roman Catholic Church, Father Junipero Serra, as “Joo-NIP-ee-oh” Serra.

But, hey - why should the overpaid peacocks who read the news - or the underpaid peons who write the stuff they read  - have to research the way names are pronounced?

Their job isn't to report accurately.  It's to tell us what to think.

*********** The few NFL games I’ve seen so far have  verged on the  unwatchable.

That damn yellow box flashes on the screen at the end of what seems like every third play - the one that says “Penalty.”

Yes, it seems as if way too many penalties are being called, but whenever there’s a replay, it shows clearly that the call was justified.  In fact, replays often show countless other instances of flagrant rules breaking that the officials, since there are “only” eight of them, missed.  (Usually, it’s offensive holding.)

So what’s it going to be, NFL, you guys who talk big about the integrity of the game?

Are your officials going to continue calling penalties as they see them, nullifying big play after big play and slowing down the game?    Are you going to go the NBA route and tell your officials to simply look the other way, in order to speed up play?  Or are you going to change the rules and end the farce, making the illegal legal?

Memo to Commissioner Goodell:  have you ever considered insisting that  for the good of the game, coaches  actually coach and players actually play within the rules?

The rules are pretty clear.  But as it is, coaches either overtly teach their players to break them, or at the least  shrink from their duty to  coach  them not to.

I suggest suspensions for players and coaches once they  exceed certain penalty limits (agreed on, of course, by the Players Union, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to care about the integrity of the game).  As it is now, coaches  consider the possibility of a ten-yard penalty for holding a tiny price to pay  for the enhanced ability to protect the  quarterback or spring a runner.

(When was the last time you saw an NFL coach chewing out  a guy for holding?)

*********** It is nothing short of nauseating  the way people who ordinarily wouldn’t have a good word to say for Christianity itself - the kind who approve of tearing  the Ten Commandments off walls, firing coaches who pray with their teams, and Planned Parenthood’s abortion factories - are kissing up to the Pope.  You don’t suppose, do you, that  it’ has anything to do with his having a liberal agenda?

*********** Coach,
We have a team on the schedule that is MUCH bigger, stronger, than our squad.  Especially on the DLINE.  We can hang with anyone in the league with the Double Wing, but this team is a beast.  They too, btw, are the only other double wing team I’ve ever seen in our small part of the world.  So they understand our nuances.  We are a 10-11 year old league.  I’ve installed the DW only in a Tight formation with Power, Super Power, Counter (w/XX), 6G, Wedge, Sweep, and a few Pop passes.  All of the above with any variation of fakes/keeps/motions/directions.
I think the DLine is going to blow up our OLine off the snap. And that is just being honest of the talent level we have.  Do you have any preferred plays/schemes/formations for a foreseen penetration by the DLine?  Have you seen the Wedge work on 2X’s the size D?  Should we Rocket Toss/Sweep and try to get outside?
Just trying to get insight on how David can beat Goliath.  Because that is exactly what we would have to do.  Thanks.

Coach, Unless you have a clear edge in speed, there aren’t many things you can do against a team that is “MUCH bigger, stronger” than your squad. Yes, you may be able to get something going to the outside, if you are more evenly matched there.  Perhaps a rocket/lazer sweep would work.  For a while, at least.  I would make sure that your line can scramble block on the playside because blocking low does give the smaller lineman a great advantage.  And - until the large linemen/zone blocking guys manage to pack the rules committee and change the rules - it is still legal. If your QB can sprint out you have a chance.  (You didn’t say whether he can throw.) Keep your playside TE or wingback in the block at the corner so your QB can get outside with a run-or-pass option. To keep the opponents honest, you do have to hit them with a wedge every now and then.  If your kids can block a wedge correctly - which means blocking only against one defensive lineman and maintaining the integrity of the wall, your many kids are superior to any one of theirs. You might also consider moving your left tackle over between the right tackle and the tight end (or the converse). You can still sprint out and you can still run a rocket-lazer sweep.  You can still run Super Power, but you can only pull the backside guard (since the tackle is over on the playside). But the main play where the unbalanced line gives you an advantage is 6-G/7-G to the strong side. Just some ideas. But remember that there is no magic fix.



american flag
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22,  2015-   "I'll borrow from anybody, but once I use it, it's mine."  Wayne Hardin, former coach, Navy and Temple

*********** Let me see if I have this right…

Ohio State beats Virginia Tech and wallops Hawaii, but struggles to beat Northern Illinois by a touchdown…

Michigan State beats Western Michigan handily, then beats  highly-ranked Oregon and a decent Air Force team…

LSU gets rained out of a game against Nichols State, then beats a ranked Mississippi State team, THENpounds Auburn.

But Ohio State is still Number One, because…?

Skyler Wells vs Seton*********** Playing a Saturday afternoon contest, the North Beach Hyaks ran all over an undermanned Seton Catholic team, 59-0, running their record to 3-0.  In three games, the Hyaks have outscored opponents, 159-7.

The game was out of control quickly. 

The Hyaks stopped Seton on its first possession, and after the Seton punter bobbled the snap and threw incomplete, started out on the Seton 35. They scored in three plays,  with 9:25 remaining on the clock.

Less than six minutes later, they led, 37-0.

During that short span, the Hyaks’ overpowering defense held the Seton Catholic offense to five net yards in five offensive series. They recovered two Seton fumbles, intercepted a Seton Catholic pass, and returned a punt 53 yards, giving their offense the ball on average at the Seton 16-yard line.

At the half, the score was 52-0, and the final North Beach score came shortly after halftime, after which the North Beach JVs came in and preserved the shutout.

Playing with a short field all day, the offensive stats were not fancy.  The only drive of any length was 59 yards. The Hyaks rushed 47 times for 326 yards, and quarterback Alex McAra completed 5 of 6 for 60 yards and 2 TDs. 

Leading ball carriers were Skyler Wells, with 121 yards and four TDs on 10 carries, Brenden Cheney with 43 yards an a TD on seven carries, and Saul Gonzalez, with 42 yards and a TD on seven carries.  McAra carried six times for 32 yards.

Friday night, the Hyaks travel to Raymond, Washington  to take on the undefeated Seagulls.  Raymond has played a much tougher schedule than North Beach, and has already beaten two of the Pacific  League’s top four teams.  Last year’s contest, at North Beach, went into two overtimes before the Hyaks won, 12-6, on a fourth quarter touchdown pass.

*********** There’s  one NFL penalty that’s becoming so annoyingly common that I’m beginning to suspect that every NFL kick return team has a position on it secretly called Designated Blocker-in-the-Back.

*********** Alabama-Ole Miss was a heck of a football game.  You’ve got to be good to beat Bama anywhere, but to do it in Tuscaloosa…

The classic  uniforms that Ole Miss wore took me back to my junior year in high school, when Ole Miss came to Philadelphia to play Villanova.  I was there.  Me, my buddy, George, and 98,000 other people.

The game was the brainchild of Villanova AD Bud Dudley, who would later go on to found the Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia and then move it to Memphis.

The Wildcats weren’t drawing well at tiny Villanova  Stadium and Dudley’s idea was to rent decrepit, old - but huge - Municipal Stadium, which held over 100,000 people, and was used for only one event a year - Army-Navy.

I have no idea what he had to pay Ole Miss to come north, but to fill the stadium, Dudley worked out some deal with Acme Markets that if you bought a certain amount of groceries - I’m thinking it was maybe $5, which in those days would have bought you a surprising amount of stuff - you got a free ticket.  My mother, God bless her, got us two tickets.

Then, all we had to do was get there.  Municipal Stadium was as far south in South Philly as you can get (about where today’s Lincoln Financial Field is), and we lived in the far northwest end of the city.  It meant about an hour each way, first on the “S” bus to broad and Olney, then a transfer onto the Broad Street Subway all the way to the end of the line.  (You could do that in those days.  Even at night.  It never occurred to anyone that it might not be safe, because it was.  Nowadays, such a trip would earn you at least a Bronze Star.)

I was blown away by Ole Miss.  I was standng on the track as they ran onto the field.  They wore the same uniform scheme that they wore 61 years later against Bama on Saturday night:  light blue helmets with red stripes, and  gray pants with  blue and red stripes down the sides.  And - this is what really got me - they wore low cuts.  Everybody.

On my team, I was the rebel, the one guy who insisted on wearing low-cuts, and there was the entire Ole Miss team - linemen and all - wearing them!

The fact that they beat Villanova bad - 52-0 - did nothing to lessen the awe in which I held the Rebels.

That awe would later prove costly.  The Rebels went on to have  a good season, and made it to the Sugar Bowl.  So did Navy.  Philadelphia has always been a Navy town,  so I had no difficulty finding suckers to bet on the Midshipmen.  I was going to clean up.  But the impossible happened - Navy’s “Team Named Desire,” behind the quarterbacking of George Welsh (who would later go on to coach at Navy and Virginia), beat the Rebels.  Shut them out, 21-0.  Cost me dearly.

Years later, I’m still in shock over that one.

But I still love those Ole Miss uniforms.

*********** Don’t know what it is, but over the years, Stanford has always been able to come up with a great effort against USC.

*********** To think that these are the same guys who would teach us peons how to teach the fundamentals…

In week one, the Eagles blew it when a screen pass for what would have been a winning TD was called back because of a blatant case of holding - by the same guy who’d been called for the same penalty not long before.

Also in week one, the Chiefs lost when the Broncos recovered a last-minute fumble and scored. All they were doing was trying to run out the clock by running a simply running play.  But all you high school coaches out there, who might average maybe one lost fumble a game - what would you know about protecting the ball?

In week two, Cowboys put on one “drive” in which they got five first downs thanks to Eagles’ penalties.

(I almost failed to mention Pete Carroll choosing to kick off to start overtime.)

*********** I laugh when I hear a major college football coach talking about “our kids.” 

What a joke.

And I laugh even harder when I hear one get going on the subject of turning those “kids” into men.

An even bigger joke.

But I don’t laugh at all when a college football coach has a "kid" who’s too f--king  lazy to go to class and get a passing grade in a f—king class called DANCE APPRECIATION -  and the coach’s way of handling the issue is not to give the "kid" a swift kick in the ass but instead to have a “talk” with the class instructor.

No, it’s not funny. When that’s the Rutgers way of turning those “kids” into men, there’s something very wrong at Rutgers.

What an embarrassment the Rutgers football program must be to its alumni and to the people of New Jersey (who, considering the state of their politics,  are not easily embarrassed). 


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

I am sensitive to the topic and readily admit that.  But the poster you quoted flippantly threw out the phrase "it is completely retarded" when referring to the rebranding,etc., that has gone on with Army football.  In no way is using that word in that way not only offensive, it is irresponsible and reprehensible.  We have a responsibility to make the world a better place and defend the cause of the oppressed.  That word is one that needs to disappear from our lexicon for anything other than it's actual meaning (to slow down or impede).

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach, I respect your opinion and for the record I do not personally use that adjective, but it was said by someone obviously less sensitive to the issue than you and I.  I am guessing he has not been impacted personally by the issue.  I quoted him because of the strength with which he made his point.  I am careful to quote verbatim except for cases where it’s necessary to disguise someone's identity or where a few dashes may be needed to soften extreme vulgarity.

Good Luck this week!

*********** I’ve been a Chip Kelly fan for some time, but it is beginning to appear that he may have sown the seeds of his undoing.

Writes Mike Sielski, in the Philadelphia Inquirer…

Any mistake that the Eagles could make, they made. Any penalty that they might commit, they committed. Every question that they insisted they had settled in the offseason either remained unanswered or was indeed settled - with the worst of all answers. Any way you could have spent your Sunday afternoon would have been better than spending it watching this.

Three hours of having my fingers slammed in a car door? Sign me up.

All of this - this unspeakable, 20-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys; this 0-2 start; this offense that is not outscheming or outmuscling or outculturing anyone - rests in a pile at Chip Kelly's toes.

The kill is on.

Kelly may not get out from under this one.

Professing not to care what the Philadelphia media thinks or says, he’s been dismissive of them.   But, as the old saying goes, they buy their ink by the barrel,  and now he’s about to find out that they have the power to run him out of town.

He’s done some things that caused them to question his judgement, but he’s been able to do them because he rules absolutely.   And because his system has worked.  Up to now.

His self-assuredness has carried the day.  Screw the news media, was his mantra - as he has made it clear, he doesn’t read their stuff or listen to their radio shows.

Ah, but his players do.  And now that he’s shown himself to be vulnerable - now that the cracks have begun to show - he’s in danger of losing his team.

***********  Hi coach,

Tough weekend.  Excuse the trivial question, but we played against a nose guard that was the other teams best player.  He continually drove our center back into the quarterback (who is one of our bigger, stronger, more reliable guys).  We weren't able to do much of anything.  I tried changing up the count, which helped a little bit.  Any other tips? Hope all is well.  

Hi coach. Lesson one - you need to be big at center.  Your center  doesn't have to be particularly athletic but if he doesn't have some size this is what will happen. Short of that, you can go unbalanced, which will either force the opponents to adjust, moving the nose man over onto a guard, or put them at a numerical disadvantage on the unbalanced side. An undersized center against a big, strong nose is going to be a problem no matter what offense you run. It's simple physics.

*********** This past Saturday we played a team that ran the double wing and my kids came off the field and and were able to recognize the offense. Although they do not run it like we do(that is the kids talking). They had 1 foot splits and did not run the Power. They ran sweep and tried to counter off the sweep. My kids knew to stay home backside and watch for counter because of our practices. The counters went no where. The sweep was a different story however, they have an amazing ball carrier that could cut back and be full speed quickly. Just can't stop great players all the time. I asked the coach afterwards where he got his system and he said USA football. I told him if he wanted to run it right to visit your website, especially since USA football took it from you.

As always thank you for your endless support,

John Guebara
Head Coach
North Country Jr. Falcons
Newport Vermont

***********  A question I need help with is: how to reward your A back. On my team, my A back is a workhorse for us. He is a tough runner who I can count on to get me 4 yards every time he touches the ball. However, he is not getting any of the "glory". The B and C backs are scoring all the TD's and I know that it is because of the hard work the A back is giving between the 20's. the C back is scoring a ton on 47 C and the B back is getting in with the trap, G and Wedge. I have personally talked with the A back and his parents and told them how much we depend on him, and to his credit, he keeps saying "it's about the team coach." Still I can't help but feel bad, here is this kid working his tail off and everyone else gets the "glory". Any thoughts on how to help to recognize this young man would be greatly appreciated.

Coach, I think that you are making a big mistake by even concerning yourself with the A back and his parents and who gets the glory. Everybody has a job to do and if everybody does his job, the team wins.  Simple as that.  But we have to continually stress it. Concern for individual glory or stats leads to selfishness which eats away at the team-first attitude and ultimately destroys a team. Perhaps - just saying - the problem is that there’s too much “glory” going to the guys who score the touchdowns.  Perhaps - just saying - those guys who score the touchdowns have gotten the idea that they’re doing it on their own.  Perhaps they haven’t been taught to share the “glory” with the other guys who made it possible. I have no sympathy for the A Back or his parents, and I wouldn’t even have raised the issue with them.  I constantly remind our backs that there are seven kids up front on the line who block for them and never even get to touch the football, and they repay those linemen by protecting the ball and running hard. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I have no use for individual glory in one of the purest of team sports. PS.  If your C-Back is scoring on counters, why not a counter the other way, so the A Back can carry?
*********** Coach,

Congrats on the good start to the season. Hope it continues.

It looks like you have worked with small numbers on your teams the last few years. Do you have to make any accommodations to practice when the inevitable injuries and bangs up come along?  Usually at this time of the season and beyond.


John Bothe
Oregon IL

Coach, We don’t let up that much in the scrimmaging, because we always hit high and we never take a man to the ground, and as a result we seldom get anyone hurt. When injuries/attrition have affected our numbers, there have been occasions when we've sometimes had to go to half-line work, especially on defense.   And at times our defensive work has been inside drill followed by outside drill, meaning  that our defense didn’t work together as an entire unit until game night.

*********** I wasn’t able to get the Army-Wake Forest game on our cable system here in Ocean Shores, but thanks to an app called tunein I was able to listen to the Wake broadcast on my phone. Sure was nice not to have that irritating "Army West Point" nonsense shoved down my throat every time the play-by-play guy referred to Wake's opponent.

*********** As hypersensitive as we are today, if I were still teaching school, I’d almost certainly  get a letter of reprimand if I ever used the expression “Chinese Fire Drill.”

But then there’s this…


*********** Amen to this post (a guy writing about  Army football sucking) - and we thought the problem was Todd Berry

The powers that be didn't like Bob Sutton

Didn't like Todd Berry, who is doing well in Louisiana.I    am sure Army fans would love to have his record

Tim Brown
Athens, Alabama

Todd Berry may not have been the right guy for Army, but he’s proven himself to be a good coach! He suffered by his earlier association with the AD who hired him (the same guy who fired Bob Sutton), a guy that the people there REALLY grew to dislike. I agreed with those who said that Berry’s wide-open football wouldn’t work at West Point.  Now, I’m waiting to find out what will. Maybe in my lifetime...

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

Friday was one of the more interesting game days that I have ever had.  Fortunately, our kids handled the unique situations well and played the way they are capable of playing.

Bad storms were predicted throughout central Illinois.  Both schools agreed to move the game time up forty-five minutes (6:15PM) to give more time to get the game in.  We could not leave any earlier to accommodate this change due to transportation issues, so our guys would have to adjust once we arrived to an accelerated timetable.

On the way to the game our equipment trailer was rear-ended and rendered undriveable.  By the time the driver of that vehicle was able to make sure everyone involved was ok we were about seven to ten miles down the road.  After his phone call we turned our buses around and headed back to get our equipment.  our kids unloaded the trailer and held their equipment on their laps the rest of the way.

Upon arrival I had to announce that our first "wave" would be heading out in twenty-five minutes.  So, boys, get off the bus and get changed because game time is in forty minutes.  

There was a thunder delay right after halftime.  Thirty minutes of waiting (and literally looking at the starts in the clear sky right above us) ensued.

Fortunately, like I said, our boys showed quite a bit of maturity with the whole thing.  We were the physically dominant team, so winning was never really an issue, but it easily could have been one of those games that you slog through, win, but never really feel good about.  

We won 55-7.  We ran for a bunch.  We passed efficiently and for two scores.  Our second team offense ended the first half and played the entire second, and we even subbed their towards the end.  All thirty-four juniors and seniors played significant minutes and a number of sophomores got in as well.  In all I think we played forty boys and in general they all played pretty well.

Good luck to you and yours this week.

Todd Hollis

Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach, A great example of resilience - anybody, anytime, anywhere. It’s the sort of thing that can happen at playoff time, when schedules and timetables and itineraries get out of whack, and it’s great that your kids had the experience.  (Not so great that your equipment trailer took the hit.) Congratulations!

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

I hope this email finds you well.  Thought I would pass on some news from the Volunteer State.  Vol fans are delighted in two things this football season.  First, Butch Jones seems to have the football program heading in the right direction... albeit sans a real running game, unfortunately.  
The other is the simple fact that Alabama is smack-dab in the middle of getting "Kiffin'd"...  good and hard!
July 16, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico ... words from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. "
-Dr. Robert Oppenheimer

September, 19, 2015
"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of football programs. "
- Coach Lane Kiffin

Steve Smith
Cumberland Gap, Tennessee

***********  Coach,

We were awful last night.  We played a team that we beat last year 58-0 so I think the kids were looking past them to next weeks division game.  Hanover is better than last year but they are not better than us.  We lost 6-13 but it felt like we got blown out.  They put 5 men on the line and walked up two OLB that slanted in all day.  We had one quick pass for a long TD but other than that we couldn’t really do anything.  Our line was pathetic last night,  we lined up in open and threw a little but our QB was on his back a lot. The receivers were open all night but we had trouble getting the ball to them.  When we did we dropped the ball in the end zone when we were wide open.  We fumbled the ball 4 times, lost two of them.  We had 127 total yards of offense, only 71 of them rushing.  I thought our effort was bad last night but then I watched the film, and it is worse.  We had holes but the lineman hit and stopped all night.  If we continue to play like that we will lose all of our games.  It is very frustrating coaching a team that has little to no fire.

The officials are horrible in —— county.  They are not the reason we lost but they are bad every week.  The opposing  tailback was moving forward on every play and the ref refused to call it.  The side judge called it once and agreed that it should be called everytime but the old man over ruled him and wouldn’t call it.  On the one touchdown run they had he took a full step forward before the ball was hiked.  I sure would like to have my running back get a head start down hill every play.

Coach, Sorry about the loss. It’s always a challenge to play somebody that your kids “know” is not as good as they are.  Today’s social media makes it even worse than it used to be, because not they read all kinds if crap on different forums about how great they are and how bad their opponents are.  And most of the comments are by people who don’t know sh—. Might be time for a chat with your kids, because it does sound as though they might have gone into the game cocky and thinking that they could mail it in. The idea of the chat is to get them to admit it.  I once asked my kids after we were upset to raise their hands if they thought that the game was going to be easy,  if they  thought there was no chance they could lose.  Every damn one of them raised his hands. Your job is to convince the kids that they are good enough and they are well-enough prepared, but they simply didn’t execute, and that was because they didn’t take their opponent seriously. This is not necessarily a setback if it helps you get across the idea that in football nobody is so good that they can afford to play less than their best.  Against anybody on their schedule.

american flag FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18,  2015-   “There are people so addicted to exaggeration they can't tell the truth without lying.”Josh Billings
*********** If you spend any time in big cities, watch your step. Literally.

Public urination and defecation by the homeless are moving us back to the Dark Ages. Next: hogs roaming the streets, feasting on garbage dumped out of second second-story windows.

Not that our government seems to care.

Back in August, the Justice Department, sticking its nose into a case in Boise, took the position that  outlawing camping on city sidewalks and in city parks (which inevitably results in using parks and sidewalks as latrines)  is unconstitutional because it is "cruel and unusual punishment."

Considering the high hopes they had for their new nation, it's hard to imagine our Founding Fathers, who first gave us the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment," foreseeing that one day our government would be taking up the cause of allowing  beggars to crap  on our sidewalks.

*********** Good evening Hugh,

Well, we switched up our B, C and QB and our A back was in fine form after struggling in the exhibition game on a hot day and after essentially missing most of pre season practices. The result was each wing had 19 carries, one for 202 yards and one for 264 yards. The team had 50 carries for 507 yards.

We played at a facility across town where they host doubleheaders. Our coach got a few messages that he read: "More wedge" and later "I love it and so would Coach Wyatt". Turns out Tom went to the game which started at about 7:00 p.m.

We went over to play with 25 dressed. When the bus arrived from the division I was on my way out and asked them to pull up to the front. They said sure and I smiled and said "Two busses?" One driver responded, "Standard practice" and the other said, "Offence and Defence?" I said that's hilarious.

We wore this team of 40+ players down. It remains to be seen if many teams will beat them about the same as our 37-7 victory. Six new kids showed up today- nothing like a win. No worries- they worked hard today and they all are athletes. Hopefully they stick around. The  9 two way players could use a break once in a while.

Good luck to the Hyaks,

Yussef Hawash
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Hi Yussef- Congratulations!  That’s a very impressive performance, all the more so because Tom was on hand to witness it. Thanks so much for keeping me updated - and continued good fortune. Success often breeds more success!

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

Last week we challenged our boys to dedicate themselves to the mental aspect of the game (preparation).  They did and it showed on Friday night.  
The Knoxville Blue Bullets game to town, a preseason pick to contend for the conference title.  They returned 20 of 22 positions from last year.  As you know, we only returned 4 of 22, and our inexperience showed up in week 2 against a ranked team.  The nice thing with a "young" team is that there is so much room for improvement.  We opened things up a bit from the double wing we had utilized effectively in weeks 1 and 2, using a lot of Jet motion (slot back - our fullback) from the shotgun.  The Knoxville defense was befuddled and we took a 35-6 lead into halftime as a result.  Credit has to go to our defense as well.  They were absolutely prepared, calling out formation tendencies and responding with the speed that a team can show when they react rather than think. The second half saw lots of guys getting playing time.  The score ended up 35-20, but there was never any doubt about who the better team was.  Our boys played very well.

Statistically:  325 yards rushing on 50 carries and four touchdowns.  7 of 10 passing for 78 yards and a touchdown.

This week we play a team that is very much down.  They are 0-3.  A good week to reward the scout team guys who have been preparing us so well.  Key for our guys is to play at a really high level against a team that they are physically vastly superior to.  I tell our guys "if you score a bunch of points it doesn't mean you are being rude or unsportsmanlike.  It's how you go about playing the game that determines that.  If you play hard you honor your opponent.  If you do your business you honor your opponent."  

Good luck this week.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

*********** A Washington State punt return man fielded a punt 3 yards deep in his own end zone against Rutgers Saturday.

Fortunately for him, he made it out, but it raised a question…

What if he’d called for a fair catch?  I don’t know.

Canada has that covered.  There’s no fair catch - anywhere -  and you have to run the ball out of your own end zone or it’s a point (called a "single,” or a “rouge”) for the opponents.

***********  "Americans are horrified by images of tens of thousands of people, mostly young unattached Muslim men from the Middle East and Africa, crossing unguarded borders into Europe. The news media often describe these people sympathetically as refugees from the civil war in Syria, but many could be migrants seeking a more comfortable life in a rich society with a cradle-to-grave welfare state.

"The scene is eerily reminiscent of the tens of thousands of people from Central America who crossed into the United States last summer. Often described sympathetically as unaccompanied minors fleeing gang violence, most of those Central American arrivals were able-bodied, tough young men who left their families in search of better economic opportunities.

"Wealthy European nations did not offer to help out by accepting thousands of migrants from Central America. We did not expect that of them, and they should not expect it of us now."

Phyllis Schlafly

*********** In Ohio, a small-college QB  is doing a great job of leading his school in its first season of college football - but not everyone is happy about it.

Mainly, it’s because the player was a part of the notorious Steubenville rape case, and after his conviction of raping a 16-year-old girl, spent two years in stir.

Yes, yes, he paid his debt to society (if you consider two years in Juvie to be sufficient payment for a rape conviction) but human nature being what it is, for the rest of his life people are going to look at him and think, “rapist.”

Or at least they used to, back when there still was such a thing as shame.

*********** Steve Patterson is out as AD at Texas.

The hiring of Patterson was a mystery to me in the first place.  But then, I remember his role as GM of the Portland Trail Blazers during the ugly “Jail Blazers” years.

At UT, he didn’t even last two years in a job that his predecessor, DeLoss Doss, held for 32,

HIs problem?  Dunno, but I think one radio commentator may have nailed it: “ all he had to do to keep his job was not be a jerk.”

Easier said than done.

*********** Last Friday night, a Linden (New Jersey) High defensive lineman pulled off the helmet of an opposing offensive lineman, then  hit the opponent in the head with his own helmet.

The opponent  required 10 stitches in his head, but otherwise was not seriously injured.

The perp has been kicked off the Linden team.


*********** Maybe James Harden is really dumb, or maybe he’s no different from any other  average, run-of-the-mill entitled pro athlete.

They’re different from you and me.  I mean,  whenever we agree to take  $200 million in exchange for  endorsing somebody’s product,  don’t we (or our lawyers) always read the fine print, where it says we won’t use a competitor’s product?

*********** Now the Wall Street Journal has jumped on the Hawk Tackling bandwagon, with an article about how it originated in  rugby, and how “safe” rugby tackling is.

Yeah, safe - take a look at an illustration from the Journal of the “safe” technique that they say  we should be learning from rugby. 

Yeah, safe - “Be sure to drop that head and grab his legs, fellas. “

rugby tackleOne look at that rugby player in the Journal graphic, tackling with his head down, makes me wonder if we’ve lost all sense of history.

It’s hard to believe that our memories are so short that we’ve forgotten those awful days in the 1970s and 80s and even into the 90s when a couple of times a year we’d read about  young football players left paralyzed for life because they’d led with their heads in attempting to make a tackle.  Names like Marc Buonoconti and Chucky Mullins come to mind.

Personally, as one who’s been a football coach since 1970, that possibility scares me - and motivates my teaching - far more than a concussion.

Without doing everything we can to prevent a concussion, we can’t forget our even greater obligation to minimize the risk of  catastrophic injury.  While we all  know of people who’ve suffered concussions and gone on to live productive, healthy lives, including in many cases a return to football, I have yet to hear of anyone who’s completely recovered from the paralysis caused by a severed spinal cord. 

Marc Buonoconti

Chucky Mullins


Curtis Williams

Coaching friend Rick Davis actually posted this comment on wsj.com following the article:
I'm an American football coach who is now living and coaching American football in rugby-mad New Zealand. Rugby players making tackles surely know to keep the heads out of the tackle, because an errant knee, etc. can result in a pretty good blow to the head. However, the example of the rugby tackle shown in this article shows all of the things that you should avoid when making an American football tackle...the rugby tackler goes in low and has his head lowered (rather than head up, eyes to the sky, etc.), both of these increase the risk of possibly serious injury. Having watched a lot of rugby matches on TV in NZ, I'm not sure that the US should be rushing to adopt their style of tackling....I cringe when I watch these rugby matches at the number of times players go low with their heads down. I think that American football coaches need to give serious thought before embracing the Pete Carroll/Seahawk/rugby style tackling technique.

*********** Two northwestern Pennsylvania high schools, Meadville and DuBois, hooked up in a game for the ages last week. The final was 90-7.

At least, that’s what the scoreboard at DuBois’ home field said.  The actual score, though, was Meadville 107, DuBois 90.  But who, back when they bought the scoreboard, would have dreamed that they’d ever need three digits?

Meadville running back Journey Brown rushed for 720 yards and 10 touchdowns; DuBois quarterback Matt Miller threw for 782 yards and 10 touchdowns.


*********** Rutgers doesn’t look bad enough, what with all the recent arrests of current and former Rutgers football players for assorted thuggish offenses, but now its head coach, Kyle Flood, has been suspended for three games and fined $50,000 by the university for contacting a faculty member regarding a player’s grade,  a violation of university policies prohibiting such contact.

Actually, I see an even bigger potential problem.

Frankly, if I were a college professor, I wouldn’t feel nearly so intimidated by a coach who everyone knows is on shaky ground  as I would by a 6-3, 235-pound linebacker who sees me as the only thing standing between him and playing in Saturday’s game.

***********   Although Tater tots were invented in Ontario, Oregon, near the Idaho border, in Portland, 300 miles to the west, they’re a key ingredient in late-night bar food served in many an area tavern.

Google “Portland totchos” and see what I mean.

***********  An Army fan - not me, but it could have been - expressed his anger at the Cadets' two season-opening losses, on top of having the new brand -  "Army West Point" -  shoved down his throat.
I am just so sick and tired of always hoping and ALWAYS being disappointed with Army football.  We almost never fail to find a way to lose.  We consistently suck ass.  One week our defense sucks so bad it is shameful.  The next week our offense stinks up the place.  Other weeks our special teams fail us.  Other weeks we have several turnovers.  But without fail, almost every week, we find a new way to lose.  Our football program is a loser.  Maybe in 10 years, we might not be.  But we have been so bad for too long for it to just be a cycle.  We have some sort of institutional rot that is causing this.  Navy and Air Force can do it.  There is absolutely no reason why we can't do it too.  But we have something stopping it from happening.  I don't know what it is, but it has to be something.  We cannot suck this bad for so long by just bad luck.  I am just so sick of excuses, requests for patience, giving the newest coach time to get "his" guys into the program.  I mean come on.  And all of this during a time when USMA ramps up its money grubbing.  Charging for everything they possibly can.  And the whole "rebranding?"  I honestly cannot believe that intelligent people got together and that is what they came up with.  It is completely retarded.  I have never talked to ANYONE who thinks it doesn't suck.  Anyone who was part of that committee and expressed any positive feedback on the idea is either a complete ass kissing sycophant or stupid.  And we are stuck with it for a few years until someone has the balls to admit its retarded and we REBRAND AGAIN!  How can an institution that actually does such a great job at education and training leaders for the Army be so completely and overwhelmingly incompetent when it comes to building a football program?  I am just so freaking pissed off at this that I want to yell at someone.  ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*********** What are you supposed to do when not even this guy can keep them in line?

Rutgers' Campus Police Chief is named Kenneth Cop

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

Congrats on your win again this week.  We won 19-12 but we made it very difficult on ourselves.  We played York Tech which is a AAAA school with a lot of speed and a very big line.  They were 1-9 last year but will be much improved this year, they are now 1-1.  We scored on our first two drives, and it seemed very easy.  Then on the next series we looked awful.  The kids just weren’t putting in the same effort.  We had penalties and run thrus on the line, we ended up in a 3rd and 30, our punter shanked the punt for 0 yards and they had the ball on the 25.  We gave them the ball inside the 30 4 times, luckily our defense played great.  We had 2 punt snaps go over our head, on the one the backup punter was in and the ball went in the end zone, he tried to run it out and gave them the ball on the 3 ( I know…he should have taken the safety).  Then at the very end they recovered the onside kick.  We had to run a bunch out of base, they were just lining up in our gaps and sending everyone, we were able to reach them a bunch and Dash looked good.

I feel like we scored 2 easy touchdowns so the kids let up and then we had a couple bad things happen, which got us down and we played worse.  I know I am in he middle of a rebuild for this program but I have a couple questions for you.

1.  Do you have any coaching points for the center snap in open, we had high snaps all night which really screws up our timing.  Our center is a 210 pound not very strong sophomore that had a 6-5 306 pound nose on him.

2.  How do I teach the kids to keep the gas pedal on and blow them out, which is what we should have done.  The film shows that we just took the 3rd series off.  We did get it going again in the 3rd but only for one series.


Congratulations on the win. First of all, the center snap - You have to watch his tail to make sure that he’s not uncocking those knees and lifting his tail.  Next, we coach him to lock his wrist and keep it locked - not to flip his wrist.  If his fingers are pontiff up at release, there’s a good chance the ball will come up.  If he’s keeping his tail down and not flipping his wrist, the ball shouldn’t be coming in high. By the way, our centers and QBs spend 10-15 minutes on this every day. The other problem is something that concerns us, too. Hard to believe, give our 62-0 win, but our game was pretty ugly. At least our kids responded to our challenge to play championship football in the second half, and in spite of a running clock our JVs got us two final scores.
So I have an idea of what you’re coping with. It's partly a matter of today’s kids, I think, because most of them have never been in a fight. It also may be a matter of conditioning, although I doubt that your kids are poorly conditioned.  Ours sure aren’t. And then there’s the fact that when kids know that they are pretty good, when they’re playing an opponent that they perceive as weaker, they may forget that the other guy can make then pay for less than their best effort. The big thing, I think,  is that our society and our schools reward kids for being “good enough”instead of making them strive for excellence and taking pride in doing a great job.  The result is a tendency in the classroom for most kids is to do just enough. It’s a sad commentary on our culture that as football coaches we’re much more demanding of excellence that teachers are allowed to be, and It’s a major job for us to convince them that the “good enough” attitude toward school work can’t be brought into the locker room. So we have to work hard on the idea of taking pride in a job well done.  Not in the final score, but in the work that made it possible. It may sound touchy-feely, but most kids now someone in their lives who is very good at what he (or she) does and takes pride in being very good at it, and it’s this pride in craftmanship that we’re working at building. Anyhow, that’s just to give you an idea that it’s something of a universal problem among coaches.  Unless you have a bad team.  And then you just hope for occasional signs of just being good.

***********Hi Coach Wyatt,
I’ve been running DW for most of my youth football coaching career and you’ve been a lot of help, with coaching materials and advice.  Unfortunately I’m not coaching this year but would like to take advantage of my time off to hone my skills even more for 2016.  I read your “news you can use” and have seen “open wing” mentioned several times.  What is that, exactly?  I can’t seem to find a description of that versus traditional DW.  Also, will you be coming out with a Dynamics book that draws up the plays using hockey stick movement?  I don’t want to overload the kids but I would like to learn additional concepts about the DW.  Last year we ran the DW wildcat exclusively.  My QB kept having problems under center and it didn’t help that my starting center broke his arm before the first game was even played, but the wildcat was a savior and worked great for us.  I do want to go under center when I return in 2016.  I know you’re busy and it may be a while before you answer and want to thank you for everything you’ve done so far.
Manny Juncos
Glendale, California

Coach, “Open Wing” is a name for what I am doing now, with an “Open Side” (usually with twins) and a “Wing Side” (a tight end and wing back). I continue to use my numbering and terminology.  The running game is still based entirely on Double Wing/Wing T principles, but there is a passing element and an ability to use the QB that the Double Wing doesn't provide. I don’t have any materials on it yet, but here’s a short clip to give you an idea. https://www.dropbox.com/s/kt3otqrxqy2s0md/OPEN%20WING%20EXPLANATION.mp4?dl=0 We do a lot more, but this is the basis. Feel free to hit me with questions.

american flagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15,  2015-   “War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.” G. K. Chesterton

********** Play-Caller Pete,
the guy who gave the world "Hawk Tackling" and the architect  of Seattle’s loss in Super Bowl 49, was at it again Sunday, demonstrating another new, mind-boggling  way to cost his team a win.

This time it was an onside kick to start overtime against the Rams.

Surprise! Seahawks lost.

*********** North Beach 62, South Bend 0. The Hyaks started out with a bang - Saul Gonzalez’ 91-yard return of the opening kickoff for a touchdown followed by his 93-yard run off-tackle on the Hyaks’ second play from scrimmage - but otherwise played a very sloppy first half of football Friday night.

During the first 24 minutes, the Hyaks lost two fumbles, had two touchdowns called back on careless penalties, and had to stiffen twice to stop a pair of South Bend drives inside their own 5.

And yet, the halftime score was 30-0.

The second half was nearly flawless North Beach football, with the JVs scoring the final two touchdowns and preserving the shutout.

The Hyaks gained 521 yards total offense on 43 plays.

They rushed 33 times for 362 yards.  Saul Gonzalez rushed four times for 134 yards.  Skyler Wells carried seven times for 57 yards and two TDs, and Brenden Cheney carried eight times for 63 yards and one TD. 

Alex McAra completed eight of ten passes for 159 yards and a TD.   Saul Gonzalez caught four passes for 46 yards and Andrew Wagner caught two for 43.

Next week it’s Seton Catholic, of Vancouver, in a rare Saturday afternoon contest.

*********** The Washington State Cougars’ weird propensity over the years for turning seemingly sure wins into shocking losses  has come to be called Cougin’ it. But Saturday, 3,000 miles from Pullman, they definitely Uncoug’d it, coming back from an opening game upset at the hands of Portland State to defeat Rutgers in the last minute of play.

*********** Both Oregon teams lost to both Michigan teams, in sellout games a mere hour’s drive from each other. At Michigan, against Oregon State, it was Jim Harbaugh’s home opener; at Michigan State, against Oregon, it was the Spartans’ avenging last year’s loss to the Ducks.

*********** The Portland Oregonian’s Jason Quick, on game day in Spartan Stadium…

Inside the stadium, it is quite the atmosphere, more intimidating than Michigan, a feeling of unhinged energy that ranges between entering a gladiator pit and a five-keg party.

It is Autzen Stadium on steroids, and although it might not have the design to funnel noise like the Ducks’ celebrated cauldron, it is  decided advantage.

*********** Notre Dame is off to a 2-0 start, but if I owned Notre Dame stock  I’d be trying to sell it, now that QB Malik Zaire is done.

Seeing how UCLA dealt with UVa and how tough the Cavaliers played Notre Dame, UCLA might be really tough.

Did anybody have two tougher games to open with than UVa?

*********** LSU’s Leonard Fournette is a BEAST.

*********** A crack-back block by an Air Force wide receiver, a helmet-to-helmet blindside hit on a San Jose inside linebacker, was as dirty a play as I’ve seen in some time, and earned the Zoomie an ejection.

*********** Of course, the NFL is committed to its players’ safety.  Which is why Adam “Pack Rat” Jones, who yanked off an opponent’s helmet and hit him with it, was not ejected. But he’s been.  Not suspended.  Fined.

(No, I’m not going to mention how many helmets I’ve seen come off in NFL games. Look for yourselves.  Funny.  I thought player safety was the reason why high school and youth coaches are required by  NFL-funded USA Football to learn how to fit their players’ helmets correctly.  And the reason why high school players are required to have four-point chin straps, all fastened securely at all times.  Is there a lawyer reading this?)

*********** Coach Wyatt:
Good morning to you and I hope that you had a great weekend.  I just wanted to follow-up on my last e-mail to you reference our first (JV) game.  We won 36-8 with unofficially over 400 total rushing yards on offense without passing.  It was an awesome feeling to be able to get our first regular season win in four years.
Our varsity team is now 3-0 for the first time since 1999. 
I hope that you have a great day.

Maurice Wyatt
Newberry, South Carolina

*********** Serena Williams,  the world’s greatest female tennis player, was just one set away from getting to the finals of the US Open, and a chance to win the first single-year Grand Slam in 27 years.

But she  wound up losing to 300-1 underdog Roberta Vinci,   a 33-year-old veteran pro with no major tournament victories.  It was a huge disappointment to the thousands of people in attendance in New York and to the millions watching on TV, but it sure did prove that the sport is on the up-and-up, and that the lesser-known players on the tour are highly-skilled professionals, too.

With 300-1 odds in anyone’s favor, in any sport,  it might ordinarily be tempting to suspect that the fix might be in, but - not a chance. For one thing, Serena Williams has made more money than she’ll ever need. But even more important, there’s only one thing in the world of tennis that she hasn’t achieved: a single-year Grand Slam (Wimbledon, plus the Australian, French and US Opens).  As fiercely competitive as she is, there isn’t enough money in the world to keep her from the pursuit of that  goal.

At her post-match press conference, held a mere minutes after her defeat, an obviously disappointed Ms. Williams was the epitome of grace.  Football coaches everywhere could profit from seeing the way she answered questions, totally avoiding making excuses and heaping praise on her victorious opponent.

*********** Within 20 minutes of Serena Williams’ being knocked out of the US Open, ticket prices for the women’s final plummeted from $270 to $40.

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

We opened the season with #4 in the state and took a whipping 54-6.  Last year they beat us 44-0 and returned all 8 starters from that team.  They start 7 seniors and a junior, when healthy we start 2 freshman, 3 sophomores, 1 junior and 2 seniors.  There were some positives. Last year we got 1 first down and had only 41 yards total offense.  This year we rushed for 174 yards, had 194 yards total, scored once, dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone and got stopped inside their 5 on a "illegal block below the waist" call that the state officials association reviewed and agreed was a bad call.  So we had a chance to score three times when a year ago we only crossed the 50 once. 

Yesterday our Head Coach was called before the superintendent, a booster, and some school board members and informed that if we don't have a winning record and make the playoffs the school is "going another direction".  One of those board members is a football parent and it has gotten out that coach is in trouble.  Morale among the staff and players is in the toilet.  Practices are flat. 

The ship isn't sunk but it's taking on water.  To top it off one of our two seniors, our starting guard is unable to play due to a heart arrhythmia that is being investigated by Dr's.  His backup is another freshman. 

It sure is frustrating to see a town not understand that the coaches are doing more than expected given the talent level.  The positive is that the next two weeks are not sure things but are winnable, after than we have #3 in the state at home.  Hopefully we can make a good showing.

Coach, First of all, my condolences to your coach and your entire staff. That is a really huge burden to place on you all, and it’s very unfair to your kids. I can’t imagine what their reason was, other than to almost guarantee that things will be rough. I do think that the only way to approach is to meet with the kids and be straight with them- "Guys, you might as well know what’s going on.  We’ve been told that in order to be your coaches next year, we’ve got to have a winning record and make the playoffs.  If we don’t, the school is going to “go in another direction," which in our business means we’ll be fired. Now, there’s only one thing you need to know: we are not going to stop coaching you the way we know how. None of us in this room can control the future.  All we can control is what we do today, and what we’re going to do today and every day from here on out is give you our best, and the future will take care of itself. If we wind up with a losing season, we’ll be able to look each other in the eye and say, “we gave it everything we had.” And if we wind up with a winning season, we’ll be able to look each other in the eye and say, “we gave it everything we had.” And that way, win or lose, we’ll get together with you at your 10th reunion and we’ll talk about what a great season we had." God bless you all

I shared your advice with our coach and he did it.   And the kids responded and played the best game we have played in our time in (-----)   We won 40-18.

I'm so pleased for you all. By being straight with your kids you have done two great things: You've got the kids and the coaches working together as one; And you're giving kids a chance to see how real men handle themselves in a desperate situation. Congratulations and good luck.

*********** Well, the secret is out about Oregon’s new acquisition, quarterback Vernon Adams (make that “V Adams Jr.”):  he can’t run, and he’s not that good a passer. (A good passer doesn’t miss a sure touchdown pass to a wide open receiver with the game on the line.) And he gets rattled in the pocket.  

Perhaps there were other reasons for  compromising their program’s integrity by poaching a quarterback with a year of eligibility remaining at an FCS school, but only the Ducks know what they might be.

Meanwhile, now that Oregon’s opponents know that they can tee off on running back Royce Freeman without worrying about a running quarterback, too, it’s going to be hairy. (The Ducks rushed for only 65 yards against Michigan State.)

Kirk Herbstreit kept saying, as if to excuse Adams’ play, that he’d only been in Eugene for four weeks to learn the offense.  Well, yeah, except that that was because he couldn’t leave  Eastern Washington until he’d passed a basic math class required to graduate. And he wasn’t free to sign with Oregon until he’d graduated.  My question to Kirk Herbstreit  is -  whose f—king fault was that? 

Shouldn’t that have told Oregon something cautionary about the guy they planned to put in charge of their offense?

*********** It's unreasonable to expect Marcus Mariota to keep this up, but…

In his first regular season game as a pro, the kid from Hawaii by way of the Oregon Ducks threw 16 times, completing 13 passes for four touchdowns.  It looked just as good in real life as it does on paper.  The kids was throwing darts.

Don’t ask how the quarterback drafted ahead of him - Jameis Winston, the one who was supposed to be more “NFL-ready” - did.

*********** Meanwhile, if you want to see what the NFL’s pass-dominated offense looks like at its absolute ugliest  … Peyton Manning threw 40 passes Sunday.  For 175 yards.  To save you the math, that’s 4.4 yards per attempt.

*********** I won’t root against a Washington high school team when it plays an out-of-state club, , but maybe Bellevue began to reap what it has been sowing when it got hammered Friday night by USA #1-ranked Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, 35-7.


*********** Did you happen to see the markings on UNLV’s field?

unlv field
All that was missing was a guy leaning over the stadium wall rolling a giant set of dice.

*********** american flagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11,  2015-   "Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it."   Jonathan Swift

*********** Coaching rumors attributed to footballscoop.com

Rumor Number 1: Nick Saban to Texas or USC (yes, yes, I know - both places already have coaches.  For now.)

Rumor Number 2: Brian Kelly to the NY Giants.  (After the season.) It appears that ND will have  a good year, and the Giants won’t.

*********** Although they were not particularly happy about their Cornhuskers’ last-season loss to BYU on a Hail Mary, the posters on a Nebraska football forum were nearly unanimous in their belief that if Bo Pelini had been the Cornhuskers’ coach Saturday, their team would not have made the  adjustments that allowed them to come back from a halftime deficit and take the lead, they would have lost by at least 20 points, and Pelini would have said or done something to embarrass the university.

*********** The pre-season poll cast its long shadow over the first week’s rankings.   I saw the National Football Foundation’s weekly “Top 16”, and I thought, here we go again.  LSU is in there, and the Tigers haven’t even played a game yet.

If you’re highly ranked in the pre-season, you don’t even have to play a game  - and you’re still ranked.   WTF? 

And if you play a turkey in your opener, no penalty for doing so.  (Unless you lose.)

I say bull. 

So here’s my top 10.

It’s based on a combination of quality of opponent and decisiveness of the win, with the emphasis on the quality of opponent.  For example, Auburn’s close win over a good Louisville team means more to me that Notre Dame’s convincing win over a punchless Texas squad.

You don’t qualify if you haven’t played an FBS team (sorry, Oregon).  And you certainly don’t qualify if you haven’t play at all (LSU’s game with McNeese State was cancelled).

1. OHIO STATE - beat Virginia Tech 42-24 

2. ALABAMA - beat Wisconsin 35-17

3. UCLA - beat Virginia 34-16

4. TEXAS A & M - Beat Arizona State 38-17

5. AUBURN - beat Louisville 31-24

6. NOTRE DAME - beat Texas 38-3

7. MISSISSIPPI STATE - beat Southern Miss 34-16

8. USC - beat Arkansas State 55-6

9. ARKANSAS - Beat UTEP 48-13

10 (Tie). GEORGIA - beat Louisiana-Monroe 51-14

10. (Tie) OKLAHOMA - beat Akron 41-3

Freak stat: my top three teams all won by 18-point margins

*********** Well duh.  The Department of Veterans Affairs says that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans whose misconduct (usually in the form of drug and/or alcohol abuse) caused them to be discharged have “dramatically higher rates of homelessness”  than those discharged honorably.

*********** Very seldom is a bribe as simple as “you vote for this and I’ll pay you that.”

It’s usually a little more subtle. Like making a contribution to a political candidate’s campaign, and then, after the election - surprise! - being named ambassador to Togo. Or like paying Hillary Clinton, not the most electrifying of speakers,  $250,000 to give a 30-minute speech. 

But not even the pols in Washington can top what happened in New Jersey, between United Air Lines and the head of the Port Authority of New York  and New Jersey. The Port Authority is responsible for tunnels and bridges around the New York City area. Also airports.

United wanted some major improvements made at Newark International Airport, a major United hub.  And the head of the Port Authority needed a better way to get to his weekend home in South Carolina.

Now, the guy (who’s no longer with the Port Authority) was making enough money that he could easily have chartered a jet (or even bought one) but when a major airline wants something, and you’re in a position to give it what it wants, why not get something in return?

In this case, it was a once-a-week non-stop flight from Newark to Columbia, South Carolina, the nearest major city to the guy’s vacation home in Aiken. (The flight left Newark  on Thursday afternoon, and returned on Monday morning.  Hmmm.)

And then the Port Authority got caught up in creating huge traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, on the ramps to the George Washington Bridge - a payback to the mayor of Fort Lee for not supporting New Jersey Governor Chris Christie - and the head of the Port Authority became its former head. And shortly afterward, United discontinued its Newark-to-Columbia service.

Now, after an investigation by the feds discovered this unique quid pro quo (literally, in Latin: this for that), the United CEO is also out of a job, along with a couple of his underlings.

Don’t feel sorry for him. Even though he did an overall crummy job of combining Continental, once a really good airline, and United, which hasn’t been a good airline since the 1970s, and even though the new United continually ranks poorly with travellers, and even though he leaves with the very strong appearance of having bribed a government official, he will be well taken care of in his golden years.

He’ll receive lifetime flying and parking benefits, and the title to the company car he’s been driving.

And he’ll receive a lump-sum payment of $4.875 million.  In cash.

But just in case you’re a regular United flier and you’re thinking that this might mean improvement in the way United treats its passengers, I think you ought to know that the new CEO’s last job was at CSX.  That’s a railroad, guys.  A freight-only railroad.

All aboard!

*********** My friend, Juan Cotto, coaches at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School. (Quick- how many of your players have ever heard of Nathan Hale?)

This past summer, Juan and his wife and their eight-year-old son, Clemente, took a trip to West Virginia to visit family, and while there, they took a ride trip to Pittsburgh to take in a Pirates’ game.

A little background: Juan is Puerto Rican, and his son is named for Puerto Rico’s greatest sports hero, the legendary Pirates’ great Roberto Clemente, who was killed in a plane crash in 1972 while flying emergency aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Outside the ballpark, Juan showed the statue of Roberto to his young namesake, and once inside, as often happens, Juan, a friendly guy, got talking with a group of people sitting around him.  Somehow, they discovered  that Juan’s son was named Clemente, and that he was named in honor of the great Roberto, and that was all they needed to know. 

Clemente went home with a Pirates’ hat (a gold one, like the one Roberto wore), a tee-shirt, and all he wanted to eat and drink.

*********** Baseball doesn’t allow players to cork bats. It took care of the spitball years ago.  And despite the binge of home runs - and the huge crowds it produced - during the steroid era, it outlawed performance enhancing drugs. For the good of the game.

The NFL long ago ended the practice of allowing players to wear lightly-padded casts on their arms, the better to strike a forearm blow. 
It even debated, in all seriousness, whether to allow kicker Tom Dempsey to use a specially-made shoe.  (Guy was born with half a foot.)
It outlawed the use of stickum years ago.

See, it's all about the integrity of the game, the NFL likes to keep reminding us.

Yet The League seems  seems totally unconcerned about receivers using all sorts of tackified gloves to make previously impossible catches.  Inflated stats? Who cares? Offense sells. We're in the entertainment business, aren't we?

To those who care about the game -  doesn't it seem strange that they spent all that time on one or two lousy psi in the Patriots' footballs?

*********** I’m sick of mealy-mouthed politicians, so I have to admit I really do enjoy a lot of Donald Trump’s bluff and bluster, but the guy can really be a creep. 

I absolutely can’t believe that a person who claims to be an aspirant to our highest office would say, about Carly Florina, “Just look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next President?”

Now, I don’t know if she’s married, but if she is, I’d sure like to see Mister Fiorina grab The Trumpster, one hand by the hair and one hand by the seat of his pants, and throw him out into the street.

Meantime, in my reincarnation as a news reporter, I’d like to ask Mister Big Shot just one question:

“How is a guy who thought it was a great  idea to move the USFL schedule to the fall and go head-to-head with the NFL (which is what Trump bullied the other USFL owners into doing, bringing about the league’s demise)  going to be smart enough to compete with the Russians and the Chinese?”

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

How are things going this young season? My team is struggling right now primarily on the defensive side of the ball but we are having some issues with the DW that I hope you can help.

 One problem is it seems that my wings are getting run down from behind on the powers, and I can not determine why. It seems like it is the backside OLB or DE. Should I have my TE block back instead of down? So far both teams have not had anyone over the guards or tackles, more like  head up on the TE., and then another player lined up to his outside. It is one of those guys chasing the play.

Second, on Wedge if the team is in a 4-4 and both D-tackles are head up on the guards who would we wedge block on. This has been our other issue. We have been blocking the DT over the 2 guard, but the other DT is getting through. How do I stop this?

And lastly, we do not kick extra points, not sure why in our youth league, so we run a play from the 3 yards line after touchdowns. Our play of choice is 88 Brown since we get two points for passing and 1 point for running in the PAT. We are having a tough time getting around the DE that is charging hard straight up the field, we will run this play in the open field as well with the same results. I watch ht Bback and he is attacking the end but we still can't get around, any suggestions?

Thank you for your help. Even though we are struggling we still are always one play away from scoring anywhere on the field. I know once we shore up the D and the few inconsistencies on offense we will get better.

Again Thanks,

John Guebara
Newport, Vermont

Coach, A..  I am guessing that your wings are going in motion  - and going too deep. If you will go back to a couple of weeks ago when I ran a multi-part series on how I coach the Double Wing you will see how I advise coaching the wingback in order to avoid the problem you describe. Check this clip. This is the most advanced state of the Super Power.  You’ll probably see several things different from what you’re now doing. https://youtu.be/FQbajo1nuSI
1. No motion.  That way the defense has no idea which way you’re going until the ball’s snapped. 2. The runner gets NO depth at all.  This all but eliminates the possibility of his bouncing outside, and it gets him close to his primary escorts, the backside guard and tackle, where he want him. 3. The runner catches the ball and works to get his inside hand on the back of the pulling tackle.  If you work on this, there is no chance of his bouncing outside.  (If he can’t do this, he is getting too deep.) 4.  The pulling linemen turn upfield at their first opportunity.  We work very hard at making sure that they stay square.  Notice in both of these plays they they are looking upfield.  As soon as they start looking outside they start writing outside, and as soon s they start doing that, you are screwed. 5. The QB tosses and turns and runs that hockey stick.  You can see that any time we wanted to, we could simply tell him to keep (without notifying anyone else - if the ball carrier doesn’t have the ball tossed to him, he simply runs the play without the ball).  If it doesn’t influence the DE, it also sets up a roll out. 6. If you look closely, we run it as more of an inside play than an outside play, and in recognition of this, within our own organization we refer to it as 66 or 77 (rather than 88 or 99) Super Power.

B. You should always wedge on a down lineman. Against a 4-4 if the backside tackle is penetrating it means that your backside guard is not stepping to his inside to seal the seam between him and the center. He needs to understand that the center is not going to be where he is before the snap. You will undoubtedly have to deal with this issue with your backside tackle and end as well. C. Just guessing, but I bet your QB is not running a "hockey stick" path after tossing. This sets up Super Power by tempting that DE to come across to stop the QB's roll out. This is also described in my series. You need to coach your QB to try to get outside but to recognize when he can't.  In the latter case he pulls up and shuffles toward the target. If I were having trouble going for two, I'd settle for the surer one point. It's basically what the pros do. Best of luck and let me know how it goes.

***********Hi Coach.
I was just curious to know if any of your coaching materials are available for sale during the season? (I know how busy you are during the season, that’s why I’m asking.)
At some point, sooner rather than later, I need to purchase a few items from you such as the “Hockey Stick” video, the “Practice Planner” and the “Demo Deck” set.
I  need to know if I should wait until the season is over before I would purchase such items.
BTW- I had a chance to see Eastern York High School in action last weekend. I had to get some footage on their opponent (Columbia) that evening. In any event, it was good to see a DW team in action. I even got to see some of that “Open Wing” concept being utilized (mostly in their warm ups). EYHS ran all over Columbia with mostly 88/99 Power and a few 3 Trap at 2 plays mixed in here and there. I didn’t  see much “Open Wing” during the game , but it was nice to see EYHS in action. And, what a dynamite little complex they have! Very nice field!! Needless to say EYHS won the game rather easily as Columbia had no answer for the EYHS power play. Columbia saw a big dose of that play all night long.
Mike Lane
Avon Grove, Pennsylvania

Hi MIke- During the season, we actually maintain two “storehouses” of materials, one here in Ocean Shores and one at our home in Camas, three hours away.  (We get home most weekends.)   So we’re able to make shipments of any of our materials during the season. Dave Kemmick is doing a great job at Eastern York High.  He has a very good group of kids and coaches, as the guys at my clinic saw, as well as a very nice facility in a beautiful setting on a bluff above the Susquehanna River. I have long seen him as a solid young coach and I’m really pleased to see him in a place where he and his kids and coaches can be successful.

*********** In Vancouver, Washington, Ike, a police K-9 “Officer”, died Wednesday, a day after being stabbed by a guy named Jacky Chan Karuo.

Karuo had two outstanding warrants, and was accused of violating “supervised release conditions.”

He was initially charged with harming a police dog, which could get him five years, but now that the dog has died, the charges will increase.

What got me especially interested in the story was that it said that at his hearing he was “accompanied by a Trukese interpreter.”

WTF?  First time I’d ever even seen the word.

Trukese, I learned, is a language spoke only on Truk, a small island in the South Pacific.

It’s spoken by maybe 70,000 people.  Nevertheless, we still managed to find - and pay - an interpreter for the guy.

So the guy  can’t speak our language, he comes from a remote place thousands of miles from here, and he's a criminal.  What the f—k is he doing here in the first place?

Next question:  Since we’re doing such a terrific job of assimilating the illegals already  in our country, who, besides Lord John Kerry, thinks it’s a great idea to bring 10,000 Syrians to the US?  From what I’ve seen, the vast majority of the “refugees” now flooding Europe are young males.  Just what we need - more unemployed, unassimilable young males in our cities.

*********** The Pope will be visiting Philly in September, and the Philadelphia Brewing Company has plans to celebrate the visit in an only-in-Philadelphia way.

The company will introduce a draft-only Belgian-style ale called “Holy Wooder.”

(A native Philadelphian, it took me maybe 10 years living in Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland to learn how to pronounce “water” any other way.  Occasionally, I still slip.)


american flagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8,  2015-   "I would like to electrocute everyone who uses the word 'fair' in connection with income tax policies." William F. Buckley, Jr.

*********** Oregon was leading FCS  power Eastern Washington, 51-35 with maybe six minutes left when their starting QB got clocked while hook-sliding.

Seems pretty dumb leaving him in the game, considering that all we’d been hearing was how close the competition between him and another QB was.

Maybe Oregon realized that the way its defense was playing, the lead wasn’t safe.

To compound the issue, the a**hole who took the head shot at him began  playing to the booing crowd after his ejection was announced.  HIs coach, to his credit, put an end to the display.

rick, alex, hugh post game*********** The North Beach Hyaks opened at home Friday night, and defeated the Ilwaco Fishermen, 38-7.

The Hyaks rushed 55 times for 411 yards, and quarterback Alex McAra completed 5 of 11 for 57 yards and two TDs.

Slotback Saul Gonzalez scored four touchdowns, two rushing and two receiving, running for 109 yards on nine carries and catching two passes for 37 yards.

Wingback Skyler Wells carried 19 times for 132 yards and a TD.

B-Backs Brenden Cheney (65 yards), Ben Poplin (29 yards) and Tavo Muro (28 yards) combined for a total of 122 yards on 19 carries.

McAra rushed for 40 yards on five carries.

Defensively, although giving up a fourth-quarter touchdown, the Hyaks held the Fishermen to 88 yards rushing on 38 carries and 71 yards passing (7 of 26).

In the photo, guest coach Rick Davis, who spent three weeks with us, poses with me and QB Alex McAra, our 2014 Black Lion Award winner.
Coach Davis  now lives in New Zealand but in his time coaching youth football  in Duxbury, Massachusetts he presented 12 Black Lion Awards. After the game, our kids bid a fond farewell to Coach Davis, who left Saturday to return to New Zealand.

(The Aberdeen Daily World’s high school football preview)
*********** I’m a Penn State fan, but I’m also a Philadelphian.  And Temple is a Philly school.  So "Go Als!")

Temple was once pretty good.  They actually played in the first Sugar Bowl. (You could look it up, as Casey Stengel was fond of saying.)

That was a very big deal, because there were only two bowls back then.

But that was in 1935.

Temple was decent following World War II, when they had combat veterans  - and future Philadelphia Eagles -  Bucko Kilroy and Mike Jarmoluk, both Philly guys, playing for them.

And then they began to fade.

When I was in junior high,  they played their games on Friday nights, and we’d catch the “H” bus out to Temple Stadium - way on the outskirts of town, far from the school’s urban campus - to watch the “Als” (that’s how {Philadelphians pronounce “Owls”) play a variety of opponents,  from Albright to Syracuse.  They’d beat the Albrights and get killed by the Syracuses.

A guy four years ahead of me in high school named Larry Cardonick played linebacker for them, and I used to love watching him.  He was a killer - still one of the hardest tacklers I’ve ever seen.  But the Als struggled.

During the 70s, when Wayne Harden, who’d coached two Heisman winners at Navy (Bellino and Staubach) took over, the Als were pretty good, but for a stretch they were so bad that in 2004 they were kicked out of the Big East.

Things looked bleak, but Temple people are loyal and they are resilient, and they rallied.  And behind good coaching by Al Golden (now at Miami) and Steve Addazzio (now at Boston College), they managed to return to competitiveness.

Meantime, crowds have always been a problem for the Als.

Except when they play Penn State, that is.  The NIttany Lions make occasional appearances in Philly, partly for the large number of alums  in the area, partly because it’s prime recruiting territory for them.  The Als, for their part,  have always been able to count on a good crowd - and a loss.   1941 was the last time they beat Penn State, and most of the losses since then have been bad ones.

1941 -  That’s 74 years, if you’re counting.

But Saturday they did it, and they did it convincingly.  Temple beat Penn State and beat them badly.

Meanwhile, Army lost to Fordham Friday night, but one Army fan  took consolation by saying, “At least we have Penn State on the schedule and not Temple.”


*********** Because we played on Friday night and Army did, too, I didn’t get to watch the Army game until Sunday.  (Army lost to Fordham, 37-35.  The difference, essentially, was that Fordham place-kick holder running in for two points after bobbling the snap, and Army’s failure to make the two-point conversion when it scored.)

I’d read all sorts of woe-is-me stuff on the Army Forum, so I was prepared to watch ugliness.

I didn’t see it.

What I did see was a true freshman, Ahmad Bradshaw, at QB and I thought he played lights-out.  In my opinion, it was the best performance by an Army QB in the seven or eight years they’ve been playing triple-option football.

Defense?  Yikes.  They looked small. And slow.  And they tackled poorly.

Fordham is not a bad FCS team.  They have a running back that anyone at any level would like to have.

After scoring late to pull within two, Army used its last timeout trying to get the onside-kick attempt straightened out, and then botched the kick anyhow, but still managed to hold Fordham and get the ball back with a little over a minute to play.

Bradshaw got them to midfield, but Army was still 15 or 20 yards short of field goal territory.  They wasted a down taking a shot downfield, then eventually ran out of downs. Game over.

*********** On defense, Army looked as if they’d been spending a lot of time perfecting  Pete Carroll’s vaunted  Hawk Tackling - going low, head behind the ball carrier, grabbing at his legs, then lying there in his wake.

I know, I know.  It’s supposed to reduce concussions.

Yeah, right.  Also tackles.

I call bulls—.  The only sure-fire way to make certain  not to get a concussion playing football is not to play football.

***********Army wasn’t the only FBS team to be beaten by an FCS club - Kansas lost to South Dakota State, Wyoming lost to North Dakota and Washington State lost to Portland State - the first time WSU has ever lost to an FCS team, and the first time Portland State has ever beaten a PAC-12 team.. 

And Oregon beat Eastern Washington, largely because the Ducks' new QB could/should have been playing for the other team.  If Vernon Adams (now Vernon Adams, Junior, as if we’d confuse him with his father) had stayed at Eastern, the Ducks would likely have gone down.

*********** Two great things that I have discovered about the way you use wrist coaches:

1. If you need to adjust a player in a formation, but can't think of a logical name or it's only one guy who has to move and you don't want to spend the time teaching everyone it, just put it on that player's wrist coach. I have the player highlight that play, so he never misses it.
2. If you have a kid who missed the call in the huddle, he can shout: " check, check, check," and another player can give him the number.

It does require a coach who is willing to go back to kindergarten and do lots of cutting and pasting.:)

Tom Wall
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Coach, It is a LOT of work, but to me it is well worth it. We run far more offense than we could if we required very kid to memorize every play. You’d have thought years as a teacher would have taught me the futility of that approach, but it was almost 40 years after I started coaching that I finally awoke. For kids who’ve spent years trying to remember plays, it’s a godsend. It’s like going into a test with the answers written down somewhere, what the old-timers used to call a “pony.”

********** BYU’s last-second Hail Mary (not that many Mormons know the words to the Hail Mary)  win over Nebraska was a HUGE one for the Cougars, but it came at an enormous price.

For the third time in four years, their quarterback - and this year’s captain - Taysom Hill, suffered a season-ending injury. 


*********** The War on Police - the refusal in some quarters to submit to authority - appears to have wormed its way into football in a version of the Knockout Game.

By now you’ve almost certainly heard about the two creeps from San Antonio, Texas John Jay High School who assaulted an official during a game.  You’ve probably seen the video - one defensive back, while the play’s going on, runs up and slams the umpire in the back, knocking him to the ground, after which another one spears the guy.

The two perps were ejected from the game, and it sounds as if the John  Jay people are taking this seriously.  Very seriously.  Why, they’ve suspended the two young men from the team!

Not to say that the John Jay coach doesn’t seem to have a firm hold on his kids, but earlier in the game two other John Jay players were ejected. 

(Quick - how many of you reading this have had four kids ejected from a single game?  How many of you have had even ONE?)

Now, I’m willing to give every kid a second chance, so I hereby offer to take them in at North Beach, on the exotic Washington coast.  We’ll reserve two places for them on our team.  On offense.  They’ll spend the rest of the season as running backs on our scout team offense.  Running behind our JV line. 

I know they’re really tough guys, hitting older men from behind and all that, but I’ll give them a week.


*********** The color guy for the Army football broadcast was… Jay Feely.  WTF?  A kicker? 

Usually, they want guys with some experience as a football player.

*********** Not to say that the Aussies are excited about Jerryd (The Plane) Hayne’s making the 49ers’ final 53-man roster… but my son, Ed, who lives in Australia,  sent the montage  (below) from Sunday’s Sydney Daily Telegraph.

He said that the happiest people in Oz are the bookies.  They’d already handled millions of dollars worth of bets on whether Hayne, a big rugby league star Down Under, would make the final cut, and now, they look forward eagerly to taking the action on all sorts of proposition bets, such as whether he’ll see any action, get any carries, catch any passes, return any kicks, score any touchdowns, and so forth.

Jerryd Hayne News stories

***********  A Florida man…

While the New Mexico State Aggies were being pummeled by the Florida Gators 61-13 Saturday, their team bus was being looted.

Tweeted the NMSU AD, “Passport, laptop, house/car/work keys, but losing the paperwork is the worst!! Ps a lot of us can't drive home we have no keys.”

Not sure why personal possessions and valuables were left on the bus and not in the locker room, but anyhow…

Welcome to the Swamp.


*********** The Kansas State band set a new standard for bad taste  Saturday with a halftime show  that was supposed to depict the starship Enterprise crashing into the Jayhawk mascot of K-State’s hated rival, the University of Kansas.  (The theme was “Space.”)

Trouble was, the “starship” bore an uncanny resemblance to a phallus (a "dick," to use a more vulgar term), which “crashed,” with dead aim, into the open beak of the Jayhawk.

A bit less violent than an intergalactic collision but a lot more gross, the show prompted numerous Internet complaints, but the band director on Sunday assured one and all "there was absolutely no intent to display anything other than the Enterprise and the Jayhawk in battle.”


He went on to say that the band meant "absolutely no disrespect or malice toward the University of Kansas."


With the school year already underway, I suppose he’ll have to settle for subbing at area middle schools.


************ Not a great weekend for the Pac-12…

Northwestern 16, Stanford 6.  The Card was punchless. And when was the last time you saw college coaches (Northwestern) wearing shorts at a game?

Boise State 16, Washington 13.  At last the Huskies had the stones to play in Boise. They are the first Pac-12 school to do so since Oregon played there in 2010. It was Chip Kelly’s first game as a head coach, and the Ducks took a drubbing.

Arizona 42, Texas San Antonio 32.  Not exactly the impressive opener that ‘Zona fans expected.

UCLA 34, Virginia 16. Incredible debut for true freshman QB Josh Rosen.

Texas A & M 38, Arizona State 17.  Okay, okay.  Enough about the superiority of the SEC.

USC 55, Arkansas State 6.  Hey Sarkisian - all is forgiven.  Have one on me.

Portland State 24, Washington State 17.  What’s it going to take to convince Mike Leach that real football includes defense and a running game?

Hawaii 28, Colorado 20.  Nobody in their right mind schedules a game at Hawaii and expects to win.

Utah 24, Michigan 17.  Hard to tell how good either team really is.

Cal 73, Grambling 14.  Ho-hum.

Oregon 61, Eastern Washington 42.  Yes, the Ducks scored 61.  But they gave up 42.

Oregon State 26, Weber State 7.  A win’s a win.

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

Things are going very well with the offense. We won our 1st game averaging 7.5 yards per carry and we got 4 yards or more on every single 88 super power. Threw the ball 4 times and completed it every time for 135 yards and 1 TD (should have been 2 but my Y got caught from behind at the 1 yards line). Still tweaking some things we were having problems with Rip 88 Super Power so we stopped using rip motion which helped but still were getting there too fast. We found out we were  to tight so now we've been stressing widening our A-back and C-back.

Having some issues with our B-back taking a good angle on kick out blocks and tends to "hop" whenever he is suppose to fill. Both are improving but still when watching him, doesn't look perfect. We only had 88 Brown in for the 1st game and it worked well but it was obvious we hadn't spent near the time on 88 Brown that we had for our run plays so we devoted more time to 88 Brown and 6 Black-O this week.

We have an interesting opponent this week as we play our rival who runs the single wing spinner back offense. So we get to find out if the double wing is twice as good as the single wing. Should be a great test for our kids as we look to continue to improve on the little things. Enjoyed reading the news letter and just reminding me to not do to much is always important. Haven't been pressured by my assistants to do more so that is always good. Our Fresh/Soph runs 5 plays and they won 46-0 so we must be doing something correct.

I'll let you know if the double wing was able to overcome the single wing! Thanks coach!

Tyler Hotz
Pekin, Iowa HS

Thanks, Coach- I‘m glad to hear that things are going well for you. Remember that just because the Double Wing’s passing game is simple and unsophisticated doesn’t mean that you don’t need to put plenty of time into it.  When you pass infrequently, you have to be able to pass effectively. I wish you luck against the Single Wing, although I’m sure you know that it will be a test of the two teams, not of the two offenses.  The single wing (in its various forms) has more than proven its worth and continues to do so, as does the Double Wing. Good Luck!
american flagFRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4,  2015-   "We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”   C. S. Lewis

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

You mentioned IMG Academy in Florida, who was on TV this past weekend.  Their quarterback, Shea Patterson, transferred there from Calvary Baptist in Shreveport here.  He is coming off two consecutive state championships, the most recent a 27-24 win over Catholic High of New Iberia (Wing T).  The whole idea of a sports academy where you just happen to go to class between practices is awfully shady to me.  At the same time, it is hard to feel sorry for Calvary having their quarterback recruited away, when they are in a prime location to recruit Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas (and they do).  

Josh Montgomery
Berwick, Louisiana

Hard to feel too sorry for a school that’s been a big fish in their part of the pond - and then loses their QB to an even larger fish.

*********** Wouldn’t it be the height of irony if Tom Brady were to be injured in the opening game - a game he wouldn’t even have played in if he hadn’t appealed his four-game suspension?

*********** Just when I was  thinking about buying an NFL franchise with the money I’ll make coaching this season, a  judge ruled in favor of Brady and the NFLPA, and I suddenly realized that I’d just be buying  a business that’s really run by my employees.  Screw that. Let some other billionaire have it.

*********** Coach -

I’ve been in touch with you in the past regarding the Black Lion.  One of my assistant coaches “Jeff Cziska” mentioned you the other day regarding the wedge and I figured I’d reach out to you directly.
I’m doing my darndest to move from a single wing to a double wing and I’m having a bunch of growing pains.  I’m coaching kids that are 7-9 years old.  It’s not going too well.

I’m wondering what materials you have that might be useful at this age group.

Coach - The double wing is a lot like basketball, as I once heard it described by a coach - “easy to do, hard to do well." There are a lot of little tricks “under the hood” that make a huge difference. I would suggest that this is the best way to go: 1. Practice Planner - a “coach on the field" 2. Hockey Stick (for the QB) - a really effective way to teach your QB his footwork 3. Old School Blocking - getting the line going To explain the system, I will add at no charge my new, still being tested, “Video Playbook” (not yet for sale) as well as a highlights video of an 8-9-10 year old team running my system very well. Please give my best to Coach Cziska

*********** A long-time, highly successful youth coach who switched to my system this past spring writes…

What's up Coach we put 34 in 1st half sat in opener - buck, power ,trap, counter, brown, and black both hit for tds all 3 rbs and both ends scored - they were on clock 1 min into 3rd qtr as we finished 42-6 - we had second unit finish game running base wild cat.

Your system has been the best thing that ever happened to me and has given me an energy I had lost running my other stuff -  it's tough to defend us from dtdw - the tighter splits and ice pick has worked wonders - the kids love the circle drill.

When I'm completely satisfied I will send you your own film on what we have done since july.

Alberto Correa
East Hartford Mustangs
East Hartford, Connecticut


***********We have a 6th grader that just came out for football and he is really fragile. What you would recommend to keep his busy and keep his interest up. So far we have not let him have contact, I am worried about him physically. Yet, his parent wants him to play,

You thoughts as always are appreciated.

I’d say that goal number one is minimizing your liability. That starts with teaching him how to protect himself- How to get into hit position, how to ward off a blow (with a guy holding a shield) How to fall, fall and get up, fall and roll and get up - lots of agilities Then, introduce him to tackling, making sure that the “ball carrier” is holding a shield. Be especially sure to go very slow and not to throw him into a drill too fast for him to handle. It’s possible that as he gets confidence he may actually start to like it And as he gets confidence, you can create the illusion of putting him in a scrimmage - as wide as possible. (For this reason alone, it helps to have at least one formation that calls for a wide-out).

Hyaks Team Photo*********** A few years ago, I posted a photo of Coach Rick Davis proudly displaying his Dynamics of the Double Wing playbook, festooned with some 15 “Coach Wyatt Clinic” badges from his years of faithful attendance.

Coach Davis was a highly successful youth coach in Duxbury, Massachusetts and a strong supporter of the Black Lion Award program, as well as a regular contributor to this site. 

When he and his wife and their daughter relocated to New Zealand a little over a year ago, he wasn’t about to do without his football, so he started a 16-17-year-old “gridiron” (that’s what they call our football, in rugby-mad New Zealand) team of his own.  That’s another story worth telling, but let’s say that those of you who enjoy fairly regular practice attendance by your players and never suffer a lack of equipment might find coaching American football in a foreign country to be a bit of a shock.

When Rick told me that he’d be visiting the US this summer and, because it’s winter in the southern hemisphere, hoping to take advantage of the off-season to spend some time with a high school program someplace, I offered up North Beach. Of course it would be good experience for him, but it would work both ways - I knew him well enough to know that he would be a real asset to us:  he’s the kind of guy I’d like to be around our kids, I knew that he was head coach Todd Bridge’s kind of guy, and he knew my system as well as my way of teaching the offense. 

Besides, we had an extra bedroom and bathroom in our condo, and he’d be able to do his work.  (Yes, he has a real job.

It has worked out.  Really well. 

He’s been with us from the start of our practice.  He’s been an immense help, especially in working with our younger kids as they learn the ins and outs of the system.

And he’s been a lot of fun to have around.
And now he’s nearing the end of his almost-three week stay.

He heads back to NZ on Saturday, following our opening game Friday night.  (I told him that he should at least stay through the first game, so he could see the fruits of our efforts, an effort he’s been a part of.)

And then, next week, he gets started again with his own kids, back in NZ.

That’s Coach Davis, fourth from left in the back row of the photo, taken Wednesday, at his request, “to prove to my daughter that I really was here and I really was coaching a football team.”

***********  Coach,

The Elmwood/Brimfield Trojans opened the season last Friday against the Mercer County Golden Eagles.  Mercer County is one of the more storied small-school programs in the state of Illinois.  Numerous state championships, runner-up finishes, semifinals, etc.  Needless to say, it was a game that our kids were focused on even back in the winter.  That focus paid off on Friday as we defeated the Golden Eagles 36-12.

With only two returning starters on both sides of the ball we knew we would make our share of mistakes.  Minimizing the impact of those mistakes would be key.  And minimize we did.  Actually, we capitalized on Mercer County mistakes.  Our defense blocked their first punt for a touchdown.  Then our defense came up with a huge safety.  9-0 right off the bat.  We also recovered a muffed punt, had three interceptions and a fumble recovery.  

I think it is a credit to the offense and that our kids understand "the system" that they were able to rush 60 times for 298 yards and three touchdowns.  Also, we were 3 of 4 passing for 32 yards and a TD.  We made our share of mistakes with blocking rules and some technique issues, but the general understanding is there and all mistakes are fixable with reps and explanation.  My goal was to run various sets/formations, but double tight double wing was working so we stayed in it for the entire game.  Keep punching, right?  And now we have those formations in our hip pocket and our opponent this week has not seen any of them.

On a side note, I would like to thank you for being an invaluable mentor to me.  You have quite a "coaching tree" out there and I am happy to be a branch on it.  Friday night's victory was my 100th as a head coach.  So much of the success the Trojans have had over the past seventeen years is due to the double wing offense you helped me install, update and trouble shoot.  Also, the philosophical/moral/ethical guidance you have given has been invaluable.  Coach, I could not have done it without you.  Thank you.

Todd Hollis

See More from Hugh Wyatt

Todd Hollis
Chemistry/Physical Science
Head Football Coach
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach, I salute you on your 100th win.  That is a great milestone in a coach’s career. I thank you for your kind words.  I’m honored to have had the chance to be of any influence at all, but you’re the one who’s made it work, and I’m grateful for the association. Keep coaching!

********* So much for “Au-Barn” and other insults.  Auburn has trounced Alabama in the Wall Street Journal’s grammer, oops - grammar - bowl, which ranks colleges according to the number of grammatical errors found in Internet postings by their various fan bases.

Grammar Rankings

Remember - this may have very little to do with the graduates of these colleges.  For instance, you can be sure that an awful lot of posts about Notre Dame come from so-called Subway Alumni - so-called because at one time, whenever the Fighting Irish played a game in New York, hordes of  blue-collar Irish-American New Yorkers who had absolutely no idea where South Bend was located would arrive by subway at the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium to cheer on “their” school.


*********** It’s been 10 years since I last spoke with John Bonamego.

At the time, he was special teams coach of the Packers, and out of the blue he called me, just to chat about the Double Wing and the direct snap version (the Wildcat) and ways that they might be applicable to what he was doing.

We had a really nice talk. I learned that he had been an assistant at West Point for five years, during which he lived in Vince Lombardi’s house. (Lombardi, as you may know, was an assistant at West Point under Coach Earl Blaik.  All coaches at West Point are provided with free on-post housing.)  I remember wondering how much I could get on EBay for Vince Lombardi’s toilet seat.

Anyhow, I liked the guy, and I followed his career, first  to the Saints, then to the Dolphins, then to Jacksonville and then Detroit.

But somehow, I missed the news that he’d been hired as head coach by his alma mater, Central Michigan.

I was excited to learn that because it had to be the job he’d always wanted.

Unfortunately, the way I learned of his new position was in an article in espn.com about another challenge facing him - cancer.

If it’s in you, say a prayer for John Bonamego, a fellow coach and a really good guy.

*********** I wouldn’t say that there can ever be too much college football, but after months of waiting for its return, it’s hard to believe that there were more than a dozen college games on TV - and that was just Thursday night!

*********** Don’t check your eyes.  Or your cable TV guide.  That really is Oklahoma State at Central Michigan.  And Michigan State at Western Michigan.

It’s because the new playoff system “values strength of schedule,” and devalues wins over FCS opponents that used to be bought for a generous paycheck. You won’t see as many Georgia Tech vs Alcorn State fiascos as you used to.

Now, the big guys have to go out and  find more significant wins, wins  over FBS opponents, albeit from second-tier conferences.  Enter the MAC, with competitive teams willing to travel.  Some.

Willing to travel 2/3 of the time, that is.

Central Michigan has agreed to make two trips to Oklahoma State, and Western Michigan two trips to Michigan State.  In return, as their part of the bargain, Oklahoma will be in Midland, Michigan this weekend to play the Central Michigan Chippewas, and Michigan State will be in Kalamazoo to play the Western Michigan Broncos.

***********  Jon Schuetz was all ready for his first day Saturday at what has to be many Nebraskans’ dream job - PA announcer at the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ home games.

He evidently was well qualified, having spent more than 20 years in TV and 15 years as a sportscaster in the Omaha area.

But Tuesday, four days before the Huskers’ home opener, he was dumped.

And it’s all because of something he posted on Facebook back in November, when Cornhuskers’ coach Bo Pelini was fired:

"Harvey Perlman (that would be the university president, who fired Pelini- HW)  is a disgrace. Remember this was the guy who extended Steve Pederson's (former AD) contract only to fire him a few months later. When will he be held to account."

Recently, as often happens that months-old post surfaced.   Uh-oh.

Tuesday came this statement from the university:

"After reviewing the post, highly critical of university leadership and, after thorough internal discussion, we visited with Jon, who was extremely apologetic and agreed with our decision that he cannot represent the university in such a public capacity."


Moral - The Internet,  like herpes,  is forever.


american flagTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1,  2015-   "Yeah, that test says he's dumb as a fence post, but when he hits he looks like Einstein to me." Bum Phillips, on the  Wonderlic test

*********** In Houston, a deputy sheriff is shot down in cold blood - executed - by a “dark-complected male” (as initially described).

Naturally, since it’s the police officer that’s the casualty in the war on the police, there’s no official comment from Washington. Does the current occupant of the White House really think that no one notices how one-sided are his comments on incidents involving the police?

*********** In the 1970s, Oklahoma’s wishbone was the terror of college football.  Starting in 1971 under Chuck Fairbanks, and continuing in 1973 under Barry Switzer,  they turned football games into track meets, regularly putting 50 points or more on befuddled defenses. 

In the decade of the 70’s, they scored 50 or more 19 times.  They 50’d instate rival Oklahoma State four times.  And poor Kansas State (for those of you who don’t know that the Wildcats were once called the Mildcats): they were on  the “50” list four times, once giving up 75 points and another time 63. (They caught a break one year when they “held” the Sooners to 49.) The Sooners put more than 60 on Oregon and Rice twice each, and once on Wake Forest.

(It wasn’t exactly the 70s, but in 1980, in one of the most entertaining games a guy who likes running the ball could ever hope to see, the Sooners beat Colorado, 82-42.)

They had guys like Jack Mildren, Joe Wylie, Greg Pruitt, Joe Washington, J.C. Watts, Thomas Lott, Billy Sims, David Overstreet - and, almost, Marcus Dupree.

But what a lot of people who didn’t see those Sooners play fail to realize is that they also played some tremendous defense.

In 1973 they had three All-Americans on their defensive line.  That’s amazing enough.  But even more amazing - they were brothers.  The Selmon brothers.  Lucious, Dewey, and Lee Roy.

I’m in the middle of  “Bootlegger’s Boy,”  Barry Switzer’s “autobiography” (with Bud Shrake), and I shook my head in amazement at his retelling of the recruiting of those great football players:
Lucious had played fullback in high school at Eufala (Oklahoma). Everybody in town said he was going to be the next Jim Brown.  He weighed 220 and ran a 10-flat hundred and just flattened those high school kids.  But Lucious’ defensive potential was what excited us.

Eddie Crowder from Colorado was our top competition for Lucious. Eddie promised him he could play fullback.  We were thinking of him as a nose guard. Larry Lacewell, who was recruiting Lucious, brought him to the chow hall on day on an official visit.  I looked up and saw Lucious, and then I saw these two massive friends he had brought with him.  They were piling food a foot high on their cafeteria trays.

“Who’s that?” I asked.

Larry smiled.  “Those are Lucious’ two little brothers.  Only sophomores.”

They both weighed 240-250 and were also backs at Eufala, with another two years to go. Dewey was the fullback who had replaced Lucious, and Lee Roy, the biggest, was the tailback. Nobody in high school could tackle them.  But they were even better on defense.  Obviously, Eufala was going to win the state championship.  Which they did.

Even if Lucious had been on crutches with a wooden leg, we would have wanted him because of his brothers.  Lu, you know I still love you.

Mama Selmon didn’t want Lucious to go far from home.  Lucious had four older brothers who were bigger and better athlete than anybody in the family, but they never had the opportunity to show it because of segregation.  Eufala High was integrated in the late ’60s.  Therefore, Lucious and the two younger brothers and the two sisters got to go to Eufala High School.

Lee Roy and Dewey were in the same class, but they were eleven months apart in age. Lucious told us how it happened. The day the old yellow-dog school bus picked up Dewey eight miles out in the country to take him to first grade, Lee Roy was the only boy left home.  He cried and cried and pulled on Mrs. Selmon’s skirts do she couldn’t get her chores done.  The next day when the school bus came by, Mrs. Selmon put lee Roy on it and told him to start the first grade.

*********** Lemme see if I got this right… With days to go before the season opener, Illinois lets head coach Tim Beckman go, accusing him of all sorts of player mistreatment.  It’s so bad, evidently, that he’s not even going to get paid for the balance of his contract.

But otherwise, his entire staff remains on the job, and the interim head coach is the former offensive coordinator.

So you’re telling me that every single member of that staff was either unaware of what was going on, or was aware of it and tried to stop it?

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

Thank you so much for addressing Hawk Tackling in your NYCU today. I was actually thinking about contacting you for your opinion, but you beat me to it. Your take is spot on, in my opinion.

In regards to concussions, I don't think I've told you that our girls basketball program has had 5 concussions in the past 2 seasons. That is 4 more than our football program has had in the past 2 seasons.

I hope everything is going well for the Hyaks. My best to Connie. Take care and God bless.

Coach Greg Koenig
Beloit Jr-Sr High School
Beloit, Kansas

*********** According to a survey by Turnkey Sports and Entertainment and Sports Business Journal, the number one place where fans would want to tailgate before a one game was Ole Miss, and The Grove (Hotty Toddy.)

A very close second was Green Bay, before a Packers game.  (Been there.  It’s very cool, but mainly because it’s almost like a college atmosphere.  But it isn’t.)

Next came Notre Dame, followed closely by Alabama and LSU. (I suspect that not enough people know about LSU or it would be up their higher.)

In sixth place was Pittsburgh, for a Steelers’ game.  Maybe.

Then came Texas, Seattle (Seahawks) and Florida State.

Worth noting is that a full 21 per cent of respondents named some other place..

A very interesting part of the survey that sports teams had better consider before deciding to curtail tailgating (as some pro teams are doing): a full 43 per cent said that they would not buy season tickets to an NFL or college team if tailgating were not available.

***********  Coach,

Great quote by Coach Fry.  We have been blessed the last few years to have excellent numbers.  Simply stated, our #2's are juniors and seniors and are our scout team.  We don't have to take reps against freshmen and sophomores.  We have had some pretty epic battles and it is not odd for our scout defense to come out one top of our team offense (we score we get a point, they make us punt they get a point).  We had our most spirited practice of the season this past Wednesday and I told them this:

"Guys, I'd much rather have our offense struggle in practice because the scout team is kicking our butts than have us running up and down the field thinking we are great.  We had that one year.  See that pole over there?  (We have a 6x6 pole for each year and it gets painted our opponent's color after a win, leaving a stripe below the new color to keep track of the season as a whole.)  That red pole? That team beat one team.  That team looked great on Tuesday and Wednesday, scoring all kinds of touchdowns and looking fantastic.  I'd rather have us lose on Tuesday and Wednesday because Friday will be easier." 

On a similar note, our theme in our classroom sessions this week was based on one of the points of our mission statement:  celebrate effort above ability.  I really enjoy sharing the parable of talents with the boys every year.  How a guy with 5 who only brings 2 is worse for the team than a guy who has 2 but brings 2 every time.  I ended with this video of Bear Bryant talking to freshmen.  


Good luck.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach- Great video of Coach Bryant. You are very fortunate to have the numbers to have a scout team made up of junior and seniors, although truthfully, I’m kind of glad that we don’t have to manage the problem of seniors who don’t play much. Thanks for the note, and best of luck!

*********** Hey, we all know that colleges have their special majors where they can stash their “student-athletes”, especially those athletes who put less emphasis on the student part.

Years ago it was physical education, but PE has long since been bypassed in favor of such nebulous-sounding majors as general studies and ethnic studies and, in the case of North Carolina, African and Afro-American Studies.

At Auburn, it’s been something called “Public Administration,”  and from the sounds of things in a recent Wall Street Journal article, it has existed mainly to keep football players eligible.

Back in 2012, after a panel reviewing  the Auburn political science department, of which public administration is a part, expressed doubt that the major “contributes a great deal to the Department’s education mission,”  the Political Science department faculty voted 13-0 to drop it.

That set off alarms in the athletic department, which led to a meeting between the AD and the university provost and, it is reported, the offer of athletic department money to keep the major open.

And so it goes.

When Auburn played in the national title game two years ago, 12 of its starters were Public Administration majors, and last year, fully 30 per cent of Auburn’s football players were Public Administration majors.


*********** While there are those who say that college football is becoming more like the pro game, I say that it’s becoming a lot like Major League Baseball.

For example, the Oregon Ducks, desperate to replace Marcus Mariota, their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, did what any good baseball team would do - reached down to AAA  and brought up Eastern Washington’s Vernon Adams, one of the best QBs in all the minors.

*********** The Republican Party could take a lesson from the College Football Playoff system.  From the BCS, even.

Because of the size of the field of its potential candidates, the party has to whittle  the number down for the second debate, and just as they did for the first  debate, they decided to do it by  using the candidates’ ranking in the polls.

Only one trouble - they’re not taking the most recent poll, or even the two or three  most recent polls.

They’re using an average of several polls dating way back to June, before the last debate was even held.

Needless to say, there’ve been some changes since then, not the least of them the rise of Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina.

Fiorina outclassed  the field in the JV debate (she didn’t have the polls to qualify for the last big debate) and has passed some of the original field in recent polls.  But, because she started out so low back in June, her average poll keeps her out of this next debate.

I smell a rat.  It sounds suspiciously like it’s rigged in favor of the big-name guys who started out on top and have been losing ground since.

It’s not  unlike the way major conference college football teams start out high in the pre-season rankings and don’t drop out of playoff contention even after a loss, while  lesser-ranked teams lose one game and kiss their playoff chances goodbye.

At least the college playoff system doesn’t average its rankings, putting a team that was Number One in the pre-season on an equal footing with the team at the top in the final rankings.

*********** Can’t beat the NFL for thrills. The Seahawks beat the Chargers in a 16-15 thriller Saturday night, winning it on a 60-yard field goal with seconds left.

Be still, my beating heart.

*********** I almost had to puke watching IMG Academy roll over some Florida public school.  IMG Academy is unapologetically a football factory, the football version of basketball powers Oak Hill Academy and Henderson Prep.

One of the TV talking heads was asked if he thought this was where high school football was headed - if there would be more IMG academies. Maybe, he said.  He was asked if that would be good for high school football. I don’t know, he said.

I do.  It would be another arrow aimed at the heart of our sport.

And the only way to deal with a monster is to starve it.   Don’t schedule them.   Don't be a chump.

Let ‘em play junior colleges and see how they do.

*********** Greg Gutfeld on the Donald Trump phenomenon:  “It's like he's football and the other candidates are soccer.”

*********** It was a busy weekend for my wife and me.  We left practice at 3:30 on Friday, then drove 2-1/2 hours south to Astoria, Oregon, arriving just in time to watch a nine-team jamboree involving one of our upcoming opponents.

Astoria is a lovely town in a magnificent hillside location near the mouth of the Columbia River, and its new stadium was filled with fans eager to see the football season get under way.

One interesting observation: only two of the nine teams - all small schools - had QB’s under center full-time. One of those two schools was a Wing-T team.

The rest of the teams were in one form or another of the shotgun. 

Most of the teams threw more than they ran, and with the exception of the Wing-T team, they didn’t ask much of their linemen other than standing up to pass block or pushing ahead to run block.

One team stood out for its sportsmanship, or lack thereof.

The entire time the opposing offense was in the huddle and then at the line, their players on the sideline would shout incessantly, creating a constant noise no doubt intended to distract the offense.  Nice.  Maybe someone should tell the coach to try something else: they were 3-6 last year.

american flagFRIDAY,  AUGUST 28,  2015-   ”We are all useful,  but no one is necessary.”   Paul Brown

*********** “The endlessly repeated argument that most Americans are the descendants of immigrants ignores the fact that most Americans are NOT the descendants of ILLEGAL immigrants.  Millions of immigrants from Europe had to stop at Ellis Island, and had to meet medical and other criteria before being allowed to go any further.” 

Dr. Thomas Sowell, Stanford University

*********** Many years ago, I heard longtime Iowa coach Hayden Fry refer to early-season practices as “plowin’ up snakes and killin’ ‘em.”

Now, he wasn’t talking about leaving a bunch of dead reptiles out on the field.

And he wasn’t talking about farmers in his native Texas coming across deadly, burrowing coral snakes as they plowed their fields.

With a southerner’s characteristically adept use of metaphors, he was talking about uncovering  mistakes
- in practice - that  could have proved deadly in games.

It was a lesson that I took to heart.  I took it as meaning that it was an important part of my job not to be deceived by what I saw on the surface - not to see things running smoothly and assume that that meant everything was going fine.  I took it as meaning that I had to work to bring hidden mistakes to the surface, to find out why they happened, and correct them.

You won’t look at a mistake in the same way once you view uncovering it as a chance to kill it before it kills you.

***********  Football coaches (and their administrators) have been bombarded lately with videos showing the innovative way that the Seattle Seahawks now claim to teach tackling. With the sort of arrogance and self-certainty that you’d expect from Pete Carroll, it’s acclaimed as revolutionary, a much, much safer way that originated with rugby, where as most of us know, they don’t wear helmets.

They call it “Hawk Tackling.”

Theoretically, by getting low and aiming the head behind the runner and wrapping up his legs, the tackler’s head is kept out of the operation.  Concussion problem solved.

Now, I don’t live in a cave.  I know the Seahawks are good.

But I’m still amazed at how many high school and youth coaches, sheeplike, immediately changed the way they were teaching tackling - because Pete Carroll told them to.  (In fairness, having seen some of the things that go on, it might actually be an improvement on the way some of them  been “teaching” tackling.) 

People send me links to videos of it, asking me, excitedly, “Have you seen this???”

My reaction?  Um, snore.

A few problems with the whole deal:

1. It’s not readily apparent to me that the  Seahawks  tackle any better than anyone else in the NFL. (They all suck.) They go high (occasionally), they go low (mostly),  they wrap up (sometimes) and launch, arms at the side (a lot).  They miss as many tackles as anybody, but they have superior defensive personnel, and a good scheme, so they play good defense.

2. There is absolutely no evidence that “Hawk Tackling”  produces fewer concussions than the method I have been advocating for more than 30 years. (Hey - if Hawk Tackling is the way to go, why are coaches everywhere being forced to sit through “Heads-Up Tackling” sessions? Shouldn’t we be telling gullible moms to ask their kids’ coaches if they teach Hawk Tackling?  If they’re Seahawks-certified?)

3. By its very structure, Hawk Tackling, done as it’s taught, is arm tackling.  Arm tackling is significantly  less effective, and it can lead to a shoulder injury (which, granted, is preferable to a head injury).

4. Teaching players to tackle around the legs means teaching them to aim low, which increases the chances of the head being dropped and accidentally being struck by a knee or another player’s helmet. Not to sound callous, but I would rather a player have a concussion than suffer a catastrophic cervical spine injury. (I have actually heard Hawk-tackle coaches say “Eyes to the thighs!”  WTF?)

5. Going low and aiming behind the ball carrier is an invitation to be stiff-armed. 

6. Going low to attempt a tackle almost assures that a missed tackle will mean a defender on the ground - and out of the play.

7. Rugby actually has its own concussion crisis right now.  Maybe they should start to teach tackling the way we do.

Obviously people who take their coaching cues from the pros haven’t watched enough pro football - the tackling, the “blocking,” the ball-carrying - to know that the NFL is where fundamentals go to die.

But if you want to teach your kids to tackle like the Seahawks, go right ahead.  Please.  Especially if you’re on our schedule.

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

Just read NYCU and Todd Hollis' commentary.

We did keep it honest and simple. We ran three plays: dive, power and lead. Managed to score twice and opened the game driving for six minutes.

We still got beaten badly (after the first quarter they scored each time they touched the ball), but we did slow it down and didn't let the let hoping cause a play call that would put the kids is a position where they could make a mistake.

Its harder to grind it out with only 3 downs and 20 seconds, but the kids came out feeling like although they got beaten badly that they could run the ball against anyone.

This week we play an opponent who is more our level. I am going to approach this week talking about this being the week when we see big improvements. Not addressing the game or the opponent, just that this will be the week where we see a big jump in how we are playing.

Tom Walls
Winnipeg, Manitoba

PS. Although we are not a DW team, we still run the wedge (on punts) and have six inch splits.

Tom, I’m glad that despite having one less down, you were able to keep things manageable and in the process teach the kids a great lesson!

*********** 1. What would your best pass play, formation etc. for 5-6th grade?

Hi Chuck- If I were coaching those kids I’d run Double Wing.  Fairly easy to coach, very tough to stop. My best play would be a power toss off-tackle (88 Super Power) and my best pass play would be a rollout (88 Brown) that looked just like the power off-tackle http://www.coachwyatt.com/DWbasicNBpractice/DWbasicNBpractice.mov

2. What defense would you run for 5-6th graders?

I would recommend a 5-3 because it’s sound, especially against a run, it doesn’t have many moving parts, you can hide a kid at nose (or even tackle) if you have to and if you have a small staff you can divide it into front 5   and back 6   (or front 6 and back 5 if you include the MLB with the line)
3. How do you stop a QB from throwing low ( towards ankles) of receivers.?
The first thing I tell a kid when that’s happening is that he either doesn’t hold the ball with the nose up (which helps cock his wrist) or he’s got a death grip on the ball (very common with kids).  Check his grip to make sure that the ball’s not touching the palm.

*********** John U. Bacon, a writer and teacher, has been a part of the Michigan football scene for some time, and he’s written several books getting behind the scenes in Ann Arbor.

I first came across him when I purchased “Bo’s Lasting Lessons,” a book that took a good look at great Michigan coach Bo Schemechler and how he ran his program at Michigan.  It had a signifacant impact on many of the things I did in the last head coaching job I ever held, at North Beach High in 2008.

The next Bacon book I read was Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, a look at football in the Big Ten.

And I recently finished his “Three and Out,” the story of the Rich Rodriguez regime at Michigan.

Believe me, I was no fan of Rich Rod when he “deserted” his native West Virginia and bolted for Michigan.  And I got caught up in the “he’s not a Michigan Man” business once he took over at Ann Arbor.

You can’t read this book without liking Rodriguez, and realizing that his failure to get it done at Michigan was not entirely his fault.

In fact, the central thing I came away with was that once you step down as a head coach someplace, the best thing you can do for the program is stay away and keep your mouth shut. Even better than that, you should move as far away as you can.

Damn shame Lloyd Carr, whom I still respect, didn’t take that advice.

Meantime, Rich is getting it done at Arizona, and a friend who watched Saturday’s practice says the Cats look good and QB Anu Solomon looks terrific.

*********** Got to like the football coaches at Fossil Ridge High in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Damn shame they work for one of the most cowardly administrations in the United States - which is saying a lot.

After the head coach required his team to go through some military-type training, he asked every player to select a member of the US armed forces killed in action and research the fallen service member’s background and family.

And on Military Appreciation night, October 15, the players planned to wear camouflage jerseys - paid for by the school’s booster club. Instead of the players’ own names on the backs of the jerseys, they’d wear the names of the deceased soldiers/sailors/marines they’d adopted.

Not so fast, said the Poudre School District.
“PSD cannot comply with this request without giving other causes the same opportunity. Unlike the National Football League, which can use uniforms to support specific causes, public high schools do not typically use school property, such as team jerseys, in this manner.

“As a publicly funded agency, PSD respects the diverse opinions of our community. Thus, the district does not support any one cause over another. PSD policy regarding this matter is intended to protect students from being used for promotional purposes. However, students may support causes through their First Amendment rights.”

Those worms.  Did you get that business about not supporting “one cause over another?

So honoring our fallen service members is just another “cause,”  no better, no more admirable than Occupy Wall Street, or PETA, or Gay Pride?

Funny.  In 2012 at least one team in the Poudre district wore pink uniforms, as part of the well-known breast cancer awareness campaign.

The state association, the CHSAA, does not prohibit the use of a name - any name - on the back of a player’s jersey.

Stranger still, the CHSAA allows the names of commercial sponsors on team uniforms.

Are you listening, Nike?  Are you listening, UnderArmour? Get on this.  Sponsor the name on every kid’s jersey.

Interestingly, I’ll bet there is at least one facility in the Poudre School District that’s named for a former superintendent,    who was quite well paid while he worked for the district, who retired with a pension that would be the envy of thousands of district taxpayers - and who didn’t give his life for his country.  Should a school district (“a publicly funded agency")  be so honoring a former district employee  who merely did his job and was well-paid to do it, when there are plenty of other people in the district at least as worthy of the honor?


*********** It takes a lot for a college football coach’s wife to say, “enough.”

Those women are an amazing group.  They are the ultimate team players, accepting their role as the one who takes care of all the major details of day-to-day living so that their husbands can chase their dreams from job to job.

The ultimate sign of their devotion to the family team - and their husbands - is that there seem to be so few divorces among college football coaches.

Now, maybe it’s because they just love taking the kids everywhere, and attending all those parent-teacher conferences by themselves, and having to move every three years.  I don’t know.

But I used to joke that one reason was that as time-consuming as the job is, no assistant coach would ever have the time to carry on a serious affair.   And for head coaches, while they might be able to slip away for an occasional quickie, today’s wall-to-wall media is sure to catch them.

But then, there’s Steve Sarkisian.  His house in the LA area is for sale.  It’s special enough to have been featured in a recent Wall Street Journal (he’s asking $8 million and change).  It’s on the market because his wife divorced him last year.

It appears, after his drunken, thick-tongued peformance at a major university event, exhorting wealthy boosters (“F—kin’ Fight On, Baby!”) while virginal USC song girls shook their pompons in the background, that we were looking at the tip of a giant iceberg.

To use another metaphor, his wife was the canary in the coal mine. 

Reasonably reliable sources from Seattle say that while Washington’s head coach he displayed a taste for undergraduate females.

Other, even more reliable sources tell of a get-together of former players at a Seattle bar where after clearly having had a few more drinks than a man in control of his faculties ought to have, he boasted of having been contacted about the USC job (as if that might raise his stock among Washington guys), then stood on the bar and led a rousing rendition of a vulgar fight song.

Yeah, yeah.  He needs help and he’s going to get it. 

And nobody saw this coming?

For this, USC threw Ed Orgeron overboard?  

At Ole Miss Orgeron may have, in the words of a distinguished southern lady I know, “verged on the uncouth,” but at USC, compared to Steve Sarkisian, he was Amos Alonzo Stagg.

*********** Since 1983, when John Robinson left for the NFL, USC has had eight head coaches.

During that time, with the exception of Robinson, who came back for a second act, only Pete Carroll won more than two-thirds of his games.

Well, actually, there was one more guy who won more than two-thirds of his games at USC.  True, he only coached for eight games, but he won six of them, which works out to .750.

You like irony?  The guy I’m referring to, whose percentage surpasses that of the legendary John McKay (.749) and of John Robinson (.741), is… (drumroll, please) … Ed Orgeron.

*********** Michigan once fired - er, asked to resign - a far better coach than Steve Sarkisian for what it deemed conduct unbecoming a Michigan coach.  Considering that following an all-time great is never easy, Gary Moeller was doing an excellent job of succeeding Bo Schembechler. In five years as the Wolverines’ head coach, his record was 44-13-3 (.758).  His record in Big Ten play was even better - 30-8-2 (.775).

But his on-the-field record wasn’t enough to save his job after reports surfaced of an incident at a Detroit-area night club in which he was arrested for disorderly conduct. 

Unlike the Steve Sarkisian incident, which happened mere weeks before USC’s opener, Moeller made his big mistake in April, which allowed for a relatively smooth transition to a coach already on Moeller’s staff, Lloyd Carr.

(Moeller went on to coach in the NFL, and spent part of the 2000 season as Detroit Lions’ head coach, after Bobby Ross’ unexpected resignation.  He finished the season 4-3, which makes him the only Lions’ coach in the last 40 years to leave Detroit with a winning record!)

american flagTUESDAY,  AUGUST 25,  2015  “No  battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”   German Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke
*********** Hi Coach!

A great book you should have in your history collection:  "The Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown

(You'll like this) And I quote:

"The first collegiate crew race in America - and in fact, the first American intercollegiate event of any kind - took place between Harvard and Yale in 1852, on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire."

Rowing - far more rugged that I had imagined. It's a great read!

Best regards to you!
J. Rothwell, DC
Austin, Texas

Thanks, John- Just finished it.  Especially interesting to me because I remember how devoted the rowers at Yale were, because the book was centered around the “U” (the University of Washington) and because the protagonist grow up in our part of the state. Also, the coxswain was from Montesano, Ocean Shores’ county seat. Thanks for thinking of me.

*********** We’ve made it through the first week at North Beach, and the kids are looking good.  We have 28 players ready to go, and two more (both projected starters) almost recovered from off-season surgery.  That’s 30 kids, in a school of 100 boys.

We lost some really good players, including our entire secondary, but we’ve got some pretty good kids to take their places.

This is the first year that we’re flipping our linemen (as well as our backs and receivers) and based on what we’ve seen of it in spring ball and our summer mini-camp, I’m sold on it. By cutting the number of assignments in half, it greatly speeds up the learning process.

With our small numbers, the other thing that really helps us is our play cards - every player wears a wrist band containing the card for his position, and his card tells him not only the formation and the play, but also his assignment.  It has taken us quite a while to get all the bugs out of it, and to make sure that the abbreviations we use on our cards are understandable to the players, but thanks to the cards, we’ve been able to bring replacements for last year’s starters, and for our two sidelined starters, up to speed.

So, no, we don’t require our kids to memorize plays. We teach them to understand what the code words on the cards mean. (What’s the point in letting a poor memory keep a good kid on the sidelines?  What’s the point in not installing a play just because the kids can’t remember their assignments?)

*********** I wrote this back in June, and it’s important that I repeat it…

You’ve read here many times about Bellevue, Washington.  Bellevue is a large and prosperous suburb, just across Lake Washington from Seattle (on the “East Side,” as the locals say). The Bellevue High Wolverines are very, very good. Running their wing-T to perfection, they have won 11 of the last 15 state Class 3A football titles, and until losing in this past year’s championship game, they had a 67-game win streak going.

They’re known for making a point every year of scheduling some well-known program from elsewhere in the country, and they invariably win those games.  Such powerhouse programs as Long Beach Poly, Honolulu St. Louis, and Euless (Texas) Trinity have been among their victims.  And, of course, they’ll always be known as the team that ended DeLaSalle’s 151-game win streak.

Add one more thing for which they’ll be known.

They are cheaters.

As to be expected when a program is wildly successful, Bellevue has long been the subject of rumors.  The revelation that the Bellevue boosters have been paying head coach Butch Goncharoff, who isn’t a teacher, upwards of $100,000 a year only furthered the rumors.  After all, the word went, when boosters have that kind of dough, they can probably find other ways to “help out” the program.

One way, it appears, is providing housing assistance to families of worthy (and talented) young men who hope to improve their lives by benefitting from the outstanding coaching (and, of course, life lessons) offered at Bellevue High School.

At this point, the school has self-reported a single offense to its conference and has been placed on three years probation (wow - no bowl games or TV appearances!), and Coach Goncharoff has been suspended for two games next season. Scare me!  (No mention was made of any reduction in scholarships, so I suppose they’re free to proceed as before.)

Actually, it is  possible that Coach Goncharoff had no knowledge of the circumstances under which talented newcomers kept arriving at Bellevue.

However, after years of bringing in newcomers to take positions away from loyal members of the program, and after years of showing kids that playing by the rules is for chumps, his record and that of Bellevue High is, to say the least, tarnished.

Personally, I’d like to see them forced to play  Long Beach Poly, St. Louis, and Euless Trinity over again, all in the same season - and then finish up at DeLaSalle, which for all its fabulous success has never been accused of buying players.

But that was then.  Back in the golden days of two-game suspensions.

Sunday, the other shoe dropped, with a major article in the Seattle Times detailing how Bellevue used a private school described as a “diploma mill” to keep its players eligible - players whose tuition was paid for by the Bellevue boosters. These are not like your boosters, with their 50-50 raffles and silent auctions.  In 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, Bellevue’s boosters raised $427,161.  Eat your hearts out, you small-timers, you.

But they need all that money, because in Bellevue, winning doesn’t come cheap.  First, there’s the football coach’s pay.  No lousy $5,500 stipend for him.  No, sir.  The boosters pay him in excess of $100,000 a year.  Needless to say, he doesn’t teach any freshman English classes.  No, sir.  He doesn’t teach at all.  Coaching Bellevue is a full time job, just like in the NFL.

And that’s not the only thing that’s just like the pros. There’s housing, for kids who need a legal residence inside the Bellevue district, because after all, they wouldn’t want to violate state residency requirements, would they? 

The latest scandal, the one that broke in Sunday’s Seattle Times, is a scam involving Bellevue High’s football program and  something called The Academic Institute, described by the Times as “an obscure, 40-student private school.” 

Obscure?  It’s hidden away in an office park.  An office park in Bellevue.

That’s the key.  It’s in Bellevue.

See, state association  (WIAA) rules permit any student attending a school that doesn’t provide a sport to participate in that sport at the nearest high school in the district.  (The same ruling applies to home-schooled kids.)

So essentially, kids who might have struggled academically at Bellevue have been coasting by at The Academic Institute - and playing football for Bellevue.  In recent years, as many as 17 Bellevue players - including current UCLA star linebacker Miles Jack - have gone that route.

Tuition at The Academic Institute? It's $1750 a month.  But, hey - isn’t that what boosters are for?

The upshot of this whole thing is that all those state titles (11),  and all those victories over nationally-known powers belong not to Bellevue High School, but to the Bellevue Boosters' Elite Touring All-Stars.

Considering that the Bellevue football program has been on probation, it would seem that the death penalty (figurative, of course) would be in order for the coaches and school administration.

But not for the football program, because that would be unfair to kids who'll finally get a chance to play for “their" school.   God help them, of course, when years and years of pent-up animosity are taken out on them by rival schools.

There is, of course,  one issue that the state is loathe to take on, and that is the “residence” of minority kids, many of whose definition of “family” and “residence” tends to be more flexible than customary.

I’ve often wondered what the WIAA would do if a kid were to move to a powerhouse program and simply say he was “homeless.”  It appears that all a kid has to do to qualify as “homeless” is to say that he is, right? And by definition, a homeless kid has no residence, right?

Meantime, I feel like a chump.  I’ve been had.  Taken.  Played for a fool.  I really thought they were just a high school team that took the kids that came off the bus in the morning and beat everybody at the same game.  Instead, their buses came from farther away.  In some cases they weren’t even buses - they were limousines.  And they weren't playing the same game as the rest of us.

But I’ll be okay.  I'll bounce back.  I’m going to cash in on this thing.  I’m already at work on my “Say No To Cheating!” organization.  This time next year, maybe you poor bastards will be required by your state association to listen to my presentation. 

Look - they already require us to take workshops and classes - real and online - in First Aid/CPR, Heads Up (subsidized by the NFL to make our game safer, while their players go out on the field and tackle poorly and unsafely), Concussion awareness, Sudden Cardiac Arrest awareness, State rules - did I miss anything?

So what’s one more requirement?  Hell, we don’t have anything better to do in the week before football starts, do we?
Be sure to come up to the front of the room and say "Hello," and buy a copy of my book "No Room for Cheaters!" (which is in the hands of the ghostwriter at this very moment).  I'll be glad to autograph it for you.


*********** If you needed any further proof that pro football has “progressed” from the days when it was poor kids who couldn’t get good-paying jobs playing in front of working stiffs too poor themselves to go to college to now where it’s millionaires playing for the pleasure of other millionaires eating canapés and drinking cocktails up in their skyboxes, how about the announcement that the naming rights to the new Atlanta Falcons’ stadium have been acquired by… Mercedes-Benz?

*********** Coach - How are you and Miss Connie? Wanted to share with you a recent great experience I had, visiting the Reagan Library. Have been there several times but I went there specifically for the Football Exhibit they have. Wow! A must for any football fan. The exhibit is up until Super Bowl Sunday 2016.  If you have any time at all you need to see it. They have items from Yale, Princeton and Harvard too!  (I believe you are a fan of one of those teams!). They have a couple of Heismans too. I am going to send you a few pictures I took on my new 6G plus phone too!  If you make it out please let me know. John Torres, Castaic, California

***********  Out front,  the NFL spends millions promoting itself as the spokesman for our game and everything that’s good about it, but behind the scenes it seems comfortable in its role as a transmitter to society at large of the gruesome traits of a criminal underclass.

Transmitter Number One: Cris Carter.

At last year’s NFL Rookie Symposium, Hall of Famer  Carter offered the kind of advice you’d expect from a  defense attorney.  Or maybe a cellmate:   Get a fall guy.


"Just in case y'all not going to decide to do the right thing, if y'all got a crew, you got to have a 'fall guy' in the crew," he's heard saying on a video that the NFL once thought worthy of putting on its Web site,  but has since taken down.

Sorry NFL Damage Control - the video’s still out and about on the Internet.

Carter's advice on how "to get around all this stuff”:

"Y'all not going to do all the right stuff now. I got to teach y'all how to get around all this stuff."

Apart from the simple fact that he could have just advised them, like Chris Rock, to just "OBEY THE LAW!"

But no...

Meantime, Big Football is so sorry:  “This was an unfortunate and inappropriate comment made by Cris Carter during the 2014 NFC rookie symposium.  The comment was not representative of the message of the symposium or any other league program. The league's player engagement staff immediately expressed concern about the comment to Cris. The comment was not repeated in the 2014 AFC session or this year's symposium."

Yeah.  Not representative of the message.   That’s why they had Warren Sapp on stage along with Carter.

ESPN, which employs Carter,  said in a statement, 'We completely disagree with Cris's remarks and we have made that extremely clear to him.

'Those views were entirely his own and do not reflect our company's point of view in any way.'

Yes, and Bill Simmons’ view that Roger Goodell was a liar and Colin Cowherd’s view that Dominican baseball players were not exactly Rhodes Scholars were entirely their own and did not reflect ESPN’s point of view in any way - but the World Wide Leader fired them anyhow.

But not Carter?  Is something else at play here?

*********** Today’s “DUH” report…

The good news out of Washington State is that DUI arrests are down.

The state patrol attributed the decline to three things:

1. Education

2. Enforcement

3. Fewer troopers on the road (
budget cuts)

*********** You wrote to a youth coach about how to approach a team that would likely beat them pretty badly.  Honesty is certainly in order, as you suggested.  But, from a strategic standpoint, why not also take the "ball control" of the double wing to its limit? Only snap the ball once the official starts his count.  Milk that clock.  Limit their time with the ball, thereby limiting the amount of points they score.  It could give the kids a decent amount of confidence ("They scored less on us than anybody.") or even something better...

We did this a few years back when out manned against the #2 team in the state.  Two things happened.  First, they got really, really frustrated.  Their defense was chomping at the bit and our kids were just sitting in their stances.  Run a play and hurry up and wait.  They bounced around, foaming at the mouth.  We sat in our stance.  They started looking around at each other and at their coaches.  We ran a play and then waited.  We get a first down.  We keep going slowly.  We plod along.  Their offense is not on the field.  Their coaches get frustrated.  We score.  We happen to get the ball back.  Same deal and we score before halftime.  We end up winning the game 19-14.  Our kids were really, really proud of that one.

We did it one other time.  No chance that time of pulling out the win.  Totally out manned and even our "A" effort would have lost to their "F."  But, their starters had to play into the fourth quarter (they pulled them once the running clock started) for the first time in six weeks.  Their coach thought it was a great game plan and really made his kids work and stay focused.  

I think it was Bob Reade that I listened to one time that said he started running double dive to keep the games close "because getting beat 21-0 is a lot better for your kids than getting beat 42-0."  I think Bob knew what he was doing.  He didn't see many of those 21-0 games, except from the other side.

Todd Hollis
Elmwood High School
Elmwood, Illinois

Coach, I KNOW Bob Reade knew what he was doing, and if it’s okay for him it’s okay for us, too! Good stories about using the Double Wing to maximum advantage. (The youth coach in question has chosen for reasons of his own not to run the Double Wing. I agree with you that it can play a major part in keeping a game close.) Let’s hope neither one of us has to go back to those days.

*********** Hey coach,

Just got finished reviewing the hockey stick video. Looks great. I am currently coaching my sons 5th grade team and will try to teach it this way. Quick question- when you run 88 brown, do you have the A back block the end on the opposite (play) side, or do you have him stay put and block back side?

Thanks. Hope all is well.

Hi Coach- I believe in being very conservative when passing from a run-baed offense, so on 88 Brown I have the A Back take a step or two of “virtual motion” (after the ball is snapped) toward the QB as if he is going to carry, then stop and set up to pass block outside the tackle’s block. So, yes, he blocks backside. This makes you solid on the backside, especially for those times when your QB pulls up a little sooner to throw back there, such as 88 Brown X Corner (Left end breaking for the left corner) or 88 Brown Y Crossing (Right end crossing to the left side). It also sets up the possibility for an 88 Brown A Throwback - A back running a Wheel, or an 88 Brown A screen left. I hope that helps.  Glad to answer any questions that I may have provoked.

*********** A few years ago, an acquaintance, who has hired a coach or two in his time, commented at the time of Steve Sarkisian’s hiring by the University of Washington that he had an uneasy feeling about the guy - and let it go at that.

Sark has since bolted for USC, where now it appears he’s given AD Pat Haden plenty of reason to feel uneasy.

Appearing to have had a bit to drink, Sarkisian took the mic at the school’s annual “Salute to Troy” dinner and put on a performance that’s been described as vulgar, distasteful, unprofessional, and worse.

Let the LA Daily News tell what happened …
Sarkisian stunned the crowd by saying, “Get ready to (bleep) fight on, baby,” from the stage. He also spoke about USC’s road games at Arizona State, Notre Dame and Oregon and said, “They all suck.” But his demeanor also was an issue and at least one group of fans claimed he told a lewd joke at their table.

“I sincerely apologize to my players and staff and to our fans for my behavior and my inappropriate language at our kickoff event Saturday night,” Sarkisian said in a statement. “I have a responsibility to all of them and I let them down. (Athletic director) Pat Haden talked to me after the event about my actions and I assured him this will not happen again.”

Witnesses said Sarkisian was pulled away from the microphone by Haden and senior associate athletic director J.K. McKay. Haden reportedly lectured Sarkisian behind the stage about his behavior.

“I met with Coach Sarkisian and I expressed my disappointment in the way he represented himself and the University at our Salute To Troy event,” Haden said in a statement. “While the details of our conversation will remain between us, I am confident he heard my message loud and clear.”

Said Bill Plaschke in the LA times,
The only message that rang loud and clear through the sports world Sunday was that USC might have a serious problem with its head football coach that might require more than a wrist slap. This would not be only for the Trojans' benefit, but for Sarkisian's sake as well.

Wrote Plaschke,
The biggest issue here isn't the curse word that Sarkisian used on stage — audible in a brief video clip — or that he apparently ripped several other schools by saying, "They all suck." This sort of trash talking is easily forgiven when it comes from excited coaches during pep-rally style events; just ask UCLA's Jim Mora.

The biggest issue is that Sarkisian made these statements while apparently impaired, even though this was one night when he absolutely had to know he would need his wits about him. The judgment here wasn't just lacking, it was nonexistent, which should scare USC into wondering whether this issue could run far deeper than one night and a couple of cocktails.



american flagTUESDAY,  AUGUST 18,  2015-   “In war, the game is always with him who commits the fewest faults. Napoleon Bonaparte
*********** Freshman wide receiver Cordell Broadus has quit the UCLA football team, although he intends to remain a student there and pursue a career in film production.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t be news, but young Broadus is the son of Snoop Dogg, who besides being a noted rapper and pot aficionado  has been a strong promoter of LA-area youth football.

The kid was a highly-recruited receiver in high school at Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High, and a very good one, as those of us who saw a documentary based on his experiences will attest.

Hope dad can deal with his son's decision.

*********** There’s a product new to the market called Shadowman, an inflated “humanoid” sort of dummy that rests on a sled pulled by a player or a coach so that it resembles a runner. Developed for rugby training, its purpose is to give a tackler an experience more closely resembling tackling an actual runner than any player-held dummy.

It looks promising, except…  except… One of them really isn’t enough for a team of any size to get its players enough reps, and they’re being sold in three-packs for $2400.  That’s $800 each.


Although this may be hard to believe for those non-football types who read about the big bucks that major colleges spend on locker rooms, there are plenty of us out here who don’t have money like that to throw around.


***********  “I don’t feel like I have to come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy. It’s more about going out and affirming that for me, I go out and I play, I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that. Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.”    Robert Griffin

Oh, dear.  He isn’t kidding. Somebody needs to stop the kid before he becomes an object of ridicule.

*********** Make of this what you will…

The US Women’s soccer team drew a crowd of more than 40,000 to Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field to watch them beat on the Washington Generals - er, Costa Rica - 8-0.

*********** Coach Wyatt,
I was thinking( as you know, that is always dangerous) what would be the need to go into 3 pt stances for my bobbleheads (6-7-8 year olds) ?

The reason I ask is:
- since they barely put their hand on the ground anyway, it seems they could pull, base, down and dbl team block just as easy from a down position (elbows on thighs).


- since being in a 3 pt stance their heads and shoulder pads tend to go crooked and tends to limit their ability to see the defense, it would be easier for them to see from a down position.

What do you think? (Which is also a dangerous question)

Richard Scott
Lodi, California
Hi Coach, Nothing wrong with thinking. Seems to me a certain coach JT once pondered over this, too. I think your major issue would be an opponent who did a good job of teaching his kids to get in a 3- or 4- point stance and fire out low.  (If anyone can do a really good job of that with 6-7-8 year-olds.)

***********According to a new  survey, 49% of 18-24 year-olds in Britain define themselves as not “completely heterosexual.”


Sorry.  In my book, you either are or you aren’t.

But where is this degenerate sh— coming from, anyhow?

Unless God has rewired all 18-24 year-olds in the UK and not told anybody, there has to be another explanation.

You don’t suppose, do you, that it could possibly be the residue of an educational system that began with “who are we to judge?” and then moved on to “love makes a family” and “Heather has Two Mommies” until now elementary-school kids who once didn’t even know where babies came from think it's cool to question their sexuality?







(sportsbet.com.au is an online sports book - perfectly legal in Australia, where they'll bet on anything)

************ A youth coach writes…

I have a very nice group of kids, who are just not very good.  Right now.

We play the best team in the league next week. Very elite and they run up the score 65-0, 72-0.

What do you think about keeping expectations realistic by telling the kids how good their opponents are? I am just trying to keep getting better and not get anyone hurt or discouraged in this game.

I believe in being honest. You could lose your kids by lying. Be frank: "these guys are good. We're not quite there yet, but we're going to learn a lot from this game, and the day will come when we're pretty good ourselves and we'll look back on this as a very important experience. And besides, football is such a great game that if we play as hard as we can and don't make mistakes, even as good as they are, we can beat them." When it's all said and done you want to make sure your kids still believe what you tell them! Their willingness to believe in us is something very precious that we must handle with care.

*********** You thought Beth Mowins was bad calling college games? You should have heard her do the Raiders-Chargers.

*********** Guy doing the Vikings-Bucs game must have thought we didn’t have television sets.   Yak, yak, yak, yak, yak.

*********** Opening-Game grades…

James Winston …  D   He didn’t play the full game. obviously,  and in his behalf, it’s not the first time in his career he’s come out and played lousy in the first half.

Marcus Mariota …   B-  Made some very good plays.  Made a few bad but they were not his fault.  Better strap it on, based on the pass protection he got.

Tim Tebow…     B+  Considering he was playing with third-group personnel, he played well enough, I think, to convince the ever-innovative Chip Kelly that in Tebow, he’s got a unique weapon that every Eagles’ opponent is going to have to prepare for.

*********** Prior to this past weekend, I heard this NFL expert and that say with a straight face that Marcus Mariota had to show (1) whether he could take a snap from center (he’d played entirely shotgun at Oregon) and (2) whether he could handle the huddle (he’d gone entirely no-huddle in college).

I wanted to say, Holy sh—, guys - that’s the biggest worry?

You trying to tell me that professional coaches can’t do something that any youth or high school coach could do?

I mean, sheesh - it probably took me all of five minutes last year to teach our QB, who’d never played the position before, to make a snap from under center.

I never thought of “handling the huddle” or whatever they call it to be any big deal.  Get the play from the sideline (or, in the NFL, from your head set) and give it to the team in the huddle.

Ready, Break!

Simple as that.  (And you receivers - stop telling me that you're open.)

JERROD HAYNE*********** For a while, there, I was in on a secret.  My son, the Aussie, keeps track of Australian athletes all over the US, and last week he tipped me on one Jerrod Hayne, a former Australian rugby league star who’s been in 49ers’ training camp.

And then, before I could write something about him - Pow! -  the sucker showed the Houston Texans - and the NFL - why the 49ers signed him.

Big - 6-2, 220 -  with sprinter’s speed, Hayne burst off tackle for 53 yards, returned a kickoff for 33 yards, and returned two pints for 24 yards.

Although new to the US game, he’s not exactly green.  He’s 27 years old and a veteran of eight years of pro rugby.



*********** Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey could be one of the nations’ top all-around backs.

He is quite versatile, and he has blazing speed.  No, not just for a white guy.  He really is fast.

He grew up in Denver, where his father, Ed, a wide receiver at Stanford enjoyed a great career with the Broncos.  His mother, Lisa, was a standout soccer player at Stanford.

Okay.  That explains the athletic ability. 

But Dad Ed, while fast enough, was no speedboy.  So where’s he get it?

That would be from his maternal grandfather, Dave Sime (pronounced “Simm”), once the fastest man in the world.  In 1956, back in the days before track went totally metric, Sime held the world 100-yard dash record, and  in the 1960 Olympics, after a photo finish,  he was awarded the  silver medal in the 100.

*********** Before the Geno Smith thing becomes yesterday’s news, it does seem fair to consider what he (evidently) did to goad a teammate into breaking his jaw.

The New York Times, in a recent article, described Smith’s attacker, Ikemefuna Enemkpali, as being pushed to the limit - and beyond - by a teammate who not only stiffed him, but made him the subject of ridicule by teammates.
At an instructional camp back home in Pflugerville, Tex., he made certain to teach boys not just the fundamentals of football but the reality of players who flamed out and the importance of being an upstanding citizen.

He recruited several high school and college teammates as counselors for the camp, including some who play in the N.F.L., and attendance picked up at the prospect that an N.F.L. starting quarterback, Geno Smith of the Jets, would coach, too.
But to Enemkpali’s rising agitation and embarrassment, friends said, Smith was missing.

Smith had promised to come — his image was featured prominently on fliers advertising the camp, and his name was emblazoned on T-shirts given to campers — but he backed out, a friend who had spoken with Enemkpali said, because someone close to Smith had been in a bike accident. Smith never explained that he would not show, leaving Enemkpali to pay for $600 in airfare and limousine fees.

For the next month, Enemkpali, 24, stewed as Smith failed to reimburse him, enduring jokes from teammates about being stiffed, until his frustration boiled over Tuesday in a locker-room confrontation.

One bright note for  the long-suffering Jets’ fans -  Geno Smith might have been their quarterback.


american flagFRIDAY,  AUGUST 14,  2015-   "Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."   Sir Winston Churchill
*********** I got an early report from a young coach (hell - when you’re my age, every coach is a young coach!) whom I’ve seen develop over the years, and he was really excited about how well things are going.

I was excited for him,  but not to put  a damper on his enthusiasm, I wrote,

It’s great to hear that you’re enthusiastic.  I know that the going hasn’t been easy, so it’s nice to know that the future is looking brighter.

You will continue to learn, as I find myself having to learn and re-learn every year, that things are never as good as you think they are - there’s always a new challenge lurking in wait for you at every turn - but they’re never as bad as you think they are, either - every “bad” thing that comes up is another opportunity for you to show how good a coach you are and how much you're needed!

*********** Questions and observations...

(1) I hear people asking, “Why would Enemkpali break Geno Smith’s jaw over a lousy $600?”

Let’s turn that one around.

Why would a guy making what Geno Smith makes try to beat a teammate making a fifth of that out of a lousy $600?

(2) Does that sound like a team leader?

(3) No big fan of Rex Ryan here, but did you see how fast he picked up Enemkpali after the Jets cut him?

Could it mean that he knew enough about Smith to think maybe he had it coming?

(4) Can’t say nobody saw this coming.  Remember my saying, just a couple of days ago, how we could save society an awful lot of grief if we’d deal with the ugly fact that large numbers of people seem to feel it their duty to resist arrest and/or obstruct police officers?

Based on an “incident” while he was in college, Enemkpali is lucky that he lived to punch Geno Smith instead of becoming a “White Cop Kills Unarmed Black Teen” headline…
According to ESPN, Enemkpali was involved in a bar fight after his redshirt freshman year at Louisiana Tech in which he struck an off-duty officer. A uniformed officer used pepper spray on Enemkpali but that didn't subdue him, and a taser was used, according to ESPN's report. He was arrested and charged with battery on a police officer and disturbing the peace, which was later changed to simple battery, the report said.


*********** Massillon, Ohio is known for its football, but Massillon was also the hometown of Yankee great Tommy Henrich.

Henrich could do everything well, and was such a clutch player that he got the nickname “Old Reliable” from Yankees’ broadcaster Mel Allen.

And based on something Yankees manager Casey Stengel once said about him, his reliability must have extended beyond the baseball field…

“He’s a fine judge of a fly ball. He fields grounders like an infielder. He never makes a wrong throw, and if he comes back to the hotel at 3 in the morning when we’re on the road and says he’s been sitting up with a sick friend - he’s been sitting up with a sick friend.”

*********** I was watching the Pats-Packers preseason (you know - exhibition) game and after a play the Patriots’ Number 74 lay on the ground, motionless.

Usually, the first thing you hear announcers say when a guy is lying on the field is, “We don’t want to speculate…” but these guys went ahead and speculated anyhow.

“He just went down in a heap,” said one.

“I don’t know if it’s  exhaustion,” said his partner.

Now, look.  I realize that NFL linemen aren’t exactly Triathletes. Or marathoners or boxer or wrestlers. But exhaustion?

Holy sh—, guys. It was still the first quarter.

*********** Adrian Peterson has been a hell of a running back, but for assorted reasons, he’s missed a lot of action in recent years, and now, returning to full-time action at age 30,  he’ faces the reality that running the ball in the NFL is a young man’s game.

According to some very interesting research by the Wall Street Journal, in the history of the NFL guys 30 years old have rushed for 1,000 yards 23 times.

Once past 30,  the decline is swift.  In fact, it’s only been done 21 times total by guys 31 and older: 31-year-olds have done it only 12 times, 32-year-olds just six times and 33-year-olds just twice. 

Only once has it been done by a guy older than 33 - 34-year-old John Riggins, in 1983.

Actually, the peak year is 26 at age 26. There is a steady, year-by-year climb from age 22 up to age 26, where there have been 96  1,000-yard performances.

And then, after 26, there's a similar year-by-year decline. 

*********** ESPN has to be hurting.  In a very short time it’s lost Bill Simmons and Colin Cowherd, two rating monsters.

Although it spun the news of their leaving as the network’s decision to let them go - Simmons for calling Roger Goodell a liar, Cowherd for noting  the simple fact that while the Dominican Republic  turns out a lot of good baseball players, it doesn’t seem to turn out that many world-class scholars - there’s little doubt that cost-cutting played a role.

(Funny how ESPN fired Cowherd a week before he was due to leave the network anyhow.)

Not that ESPN is likely to collapse any time soon, but the hemorrhaging of cable customers as more and more people cut the cord is having its effect on the World Wide Leader. There’s little likelihood that it will cut back on all the games that it broadcasts, but I look forward to cutbacks in the studio area, where I find obnoxious its eagerness to push its leftist views into every aspect of sports news.

*********** This release from the National Football Foundation sent me running to my history books…
IRVING, Texas (Aug. 12, 2015) – The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today that former Princeton kicker Charlie Gogolak and former Cornell kicker Pete Gogolak have been named co-recipients of the 2015 NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award.

“The Gogolak brothers created a lasting legacy as the pioneers of the modern place-kicking motion, and their impact on the game of football has been felt for more than 50 years,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “From humble beginnings, the Gogolaks were raised in Budapest, and the family fled the country during the Hungarian Revolution. With no soccer team at their high school in upper New York State, the two tried out for football, and the rest is history. We are honored to recognize their important contributions to football, as well as their long journey to the U.S., at our Annual Awards Dinner in December.”

First presented in 1974, the NFF Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award provides national recognition to those whose efforts to support the NFF and its goals have been local in nature or who have made significant contributions to the game of football either to the manner in which it is played and coached or to the manner in which it is enjoyed by spectators. The Gogolaks become the 39th and 40th recipients of the award.

Born in Hungary, Pete Gogolak began to play soccer at age 13 for the Hungarian Junior National team. However, the family fled the country during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, settling in Ogdensburg, N.Y. The boys enrolled at Ogdensburg Free Academy, and Pete began playing football since the school did not have a soccer team. Charlie starred a few years later as the school’s punter. Pete played offensive and defensive end. He practiced kicking on the side, mastering a soccer-style kick as opposed to the popular toe kick. Pete earned a scholarship to Cornell by sending in a film of him kicking 45-yard field goals. In his first game for Cornell, Pete converted three field goals, including a 49-yarder.

While at Cornell, Pete connected on 54-of-55 extra points, he and set a major college record by connecting on 44 consecutive PATs from 1961-63. He still holds the school record for consecutive conversions and career conversion percentage (.982). His 50-yard field goal against Lehigh in 1963 was the nation’s longest in a major college game at the time. He booted nine career field goals, including eight of 40 yards or more.

Following his graduation from Cornell in 1964, Pete signed with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League, bringing his unorthodox kicking style to the professional level. He converted 47-of-75 field goals and 76-of-77 extra points, helping the Bills to two AFL titles in 1964 and 1965. In 1965, he was named Sporting News AFL All-League, and he was selected to the AFL All-Star Game.

Pete became a prime factor in the merger of the AFL and the NFL when he was signed by the NFL’s New York Giants. In nine seasons with the Giants, he set league records for PATs in a game (eight), consecutive PATs made (133), field goals attempted (219) and field goals made (126). Pete also holds Giants’ franchise records for most PATs attempted (277) and PATs made (268). Other kickers began to adopt the new kicking style and by 1973, NFL kickers had increased their field goal percentage to 63.1 percent from 48.6 percent in 1963.

Pete began working at RR Donnelly, a Manhattan based financial printing firm, immediately after his retirement from the NFL, and he served more than 40 years as the vice president of sales. In 1984, he was selected to the Buffalo Bills Silver Anniversary Team. In 2010, the New York Giants announced that he would be included in the team's new Ring of Honor in MetLife Stadium. He is also a member of the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame.

Charlie had never kicked a field goal before he arrived at Princeton, but he sold himself to College Football Hall of Fame head coach Dick Colman. He went on to become a First Team All-Ivy League selection in 1964 and 1965, the first two years the league honored a placekicker, and he was named a First Team All-American in 1965. Charlie converted 16-of-23 field goals in 1965, highlighted by a perfect 6-for-6 performance in a 32-6 win over Rutgers. He kicked a perfect 33-for-33 on PATs in 1965 and 89-for-94 in his career. Charlie finished his career with seven NCAA kicking records and broke his brother Pete’s record by connecting on 50 extra points without a miss.

Charlie became the first placekicker selected in the first round of the NFL Draft when he was taken with the sixth overall pick by the Washington Redskins. In three seasons with the Redskins, he converted 32-of-57 field goals and 72-of-75 extra points. In a 72-41 Redskins win over the Giants in 1966, Pete and Charlie combined for 14 extra points, tied for the most ever in NFL history. Pete played another three seasons with the New England Patriots, converting 20-of-36 field goals and 42-of-42 PATs.

Charlie received his law degree from George Washington University during his Redskins playing days and retired from A.G. Edwards, a Boston based brokerage firm, in 2009. He served on the Princeton admissions committee and the Board of Trustees for the Northeast Harbor (Maine) Library, and he was awarded the Abraham Lincoln Award for Citizenship by the American-Hungarian Foundation. Charlie was also a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club and formerly coached a boys’ soccer team in New Jersey. He was named to the Ivy League Silver Anniversary All-Star Team in 1981 and is a member of Princeton’s All-Century Team.

The Gogolaks will be honored at the 58th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 8 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.
***********  I hear the name “Gogolak,”  and I think "Twin Towers."  And "Human Steps." In 1964 the NCAA opened the door to freer substitution, and in 1965 removed all barriers, permitting the return of platooning, but also increasing the influence of the non-football-playing specialist.  The keeker. Two of the most famous were the Gogolak brothers, Pete and Charlie, who starred at Cornell and Princeton, respectively. Pete was at Cornell from 1961-1963 (no freshman eligibility then), but Charlie came along as the substitution rules were liberalized. The two brothers were among the first, if not the first, so-called soccer-style kickers, and quite early on, inventive coaches were quick to notice that the soccer-kicked ball had a lower trajectory than the conventionally-kicked ball, and set out to exploit that weakness. In 1965, two imaginative attempts to block Charlie Gogolak’s kicks - one called “Twin Towers,” the other “Human Steps” - led to changes in the NCAA rules in the off-season. Richard Goldstein wrote of the Twin Towers,  in Ivy League Autumns (1996)
twin towers
Charlie Gogolak, now a senior, kicked an NCAA-record six field goals in Princeton’s opener against Rutgers.  Two weeks later, Gogolak was faced with an intriguing challenge when the Tigers visited Cornell.  After a drive stalled at the Big Red 19, Gogolak came on to try a field goal. Cornell then went into a vertical shift, or a “Twin Towers” defense.  Jim Docherty and Dale Deter, a pair of defensive backs, climbed upon the shoulders of two 6-foot-5-inch defensive tackles,  Reeve Vanneman and Harry Garman, the Ithaca version of the Berlin Wall. Gogolak aimed his kick slightly to the left, seeing an opening, but he missed. “It was like a bad dream,” he said later. “I would have liked to hit one of those guys in the head.” Cornell was penalized, however, for being offside, giving Princeton a first down, and the Tigers went on to score a touchdown.  The Big Red tried the Towers maneuver twice more, but Gogolak connected for field goals of 44 and 54 yards as Princeton went on to a 36-27 victory.  (The scheme was banned by the NCAA rule-makers after the season.)

John McCallum, in Ivy League Football Since 1972 (1977), wrote of the 1965 Princeton-Dartmouth game, which both teams entered with 8-0 records. Dartmouth's coach, Bob Blackman, was one of the game's great innovators, and he had a trick up his sleeve...
Human Steps
The “human steps” play was typical of Blackman’s attention to detail. 

The complicated maneuver was the brain child of line coach Jack Musick, a Blackman assistant since 1947. “All we need is a tall, leggy halfback who will get a running start, take two climbing steps off the backs of two crouching teammates and leap as high as he can over the Princeton line,” explained Musick before the game. “But he can’t be the type who’ll worry about how hard he comes down.”
The young man who earned the assignment was Sam Hawken, a sophomore reserve. “I’m expendable,” Sam said. Blackman put light, ripple-soled cross-country shoes on the flying Hawken. He put foam-rubber padding on the backs of the crouching linemen.  A mathematician figured the angle of approach, and the play was tested all week in Dartmouth’s Leverone Field House.  When Hawken got so he could knock the crossbar off pole vault standards at 14 feet,  Blackman said, “Okay, we’re ready.” Before the Princeton game, Hawken broke out in a cold sweat.  “My gosh,” he said.  “For the first time in my varsity career, I’ve got pregame jitters.” In the first quarter, the Tigers drive down within field goal range.  Blackman sent Hawken into the game.  Princeton seemed to sense that something fishy was up.   They delayed the centering count. Hawken, trained to take off at a certain interval, found himself 14 feet in the air before the ball was snapped.  The upshot was that Dartmouth was penalized 5 yards for offside, its sleeper play had been exposed, and poor Sam Hawken, the human missile, suffered an elbow in the ribs from an irate Princeton lineman for his trouble. “Actually, though, the play was not a total loss,” Sam said afterward. “Gogolak was so shaken by the sight of me zooming through the air that even though he stood five yards closer on the next play, he hurried his kick and came up short.”
*********** On Sunday, in Seattle, the “Black Lives Matter” (just wondering - have they trademarked that?) crew rushed the stage and took Bernie Sanders’ mic from him.  End of rally. On Thursday, they didn’t even have to rush the stage at a Jeb Bush talk.  They only had to start chanting “Black Lives Matter!” and Mr. Bush gave up and walked off the stage, thereby (1) making you wonder who’s paying them, (2) calling into question Mr. Bush’s ability as President to prepare for situations much more threatening than that, (3) blowing just about any chance he might have had to get the conservative vote,  and (4) setting up Donald Trump’s next killer line: “I defy them to try to disrupt  one of my rallies.  Because I am very wealthy - in case you hadn’t heard - and I have a very large private army. In fact it’s so large that I have loaned it out on occasion to some of my many friends who run other countries, and as a matter of fact  if President Obama continues to cut our armed forces, I may have to lend it the United States. That's how rich I am.” *********** On his Web site,  “Coach Iannucci” (which happens to be the maiden name of my son-in-law’s mom)   makes a great case against the self-styled experts who insist that unless you’re running a spread offense, you’re not preparing your quarterback for the “next level.”
With all the hoopla out there, players (and parents) feel they can't make it if they don't run a spread offense in high school and college. Brett Farve ran the Wishbone! So did Steve Young! Dan Marino was in the wing-t! As was Joe Thiesman! More recently Demetrius Thomas came out of a flexbone college. But announcers keep preaching it. Result is kids transfer. Parents complain to schools. Alumni complain to schools. (see reason number two above) Coaches, to keep their jobs, change to something they don't know as well. Truth is - if you're good enough; you're good enough. College coaches also get paid to teach you. They get paid a lot more then me. If you have the ability you should be able to be taught and progress. To make this statement is ludicrous. It's like saying if you've run the 100 meters in high school then you can never learn to run the 200 meters in college. (By the way didn't Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham not even play college football? So it's better not to play then to play in a different offense?)
http://3backoptionfootball.blogspot.com GO ARMY EDGE *********** A coach who’s been playing around with the Go Army Edge app asked,  “Do you think they could add a setting that only puts 8 players on the field?” Answer:  I doubt it, because of the relatively small number of 8-man teams, but here's your workaround: Get to the EDIT screen on any play. Go to EDIT FORMATION Highlight two linemen and one back and one by one drag them to a sideline. (You have to keep them on their side of the LOS and you can't move them OOB. But way off to the side like that they'll be out of the way and off the screen when you zoom in closer.) Now you've got your 8-man offense. Do the same thing with the defense and you're good to go. www.goarmyedge.com SCENES FROM LAST WEEK'S VISIT PILGRIMAGE TO MASSILLON, OHIO ...
american flagTUESDAY,  AUGUST 11,  2015-   "The job of teachers is to liberate minds, not capture them."  John Agresto,   Former president of St John's University, Santa Fe, NM

*********** I continue to support Dr. Ben Carson.

I think that as more people get to know who he is, his ratings will soar.  Unlike nearly anyone else in the race, he has no negatives.

(Please don’t remind me  that he has no experience in politics or government, as if that’s a knock on him. Considering the corruption and incompetence among those in Washington who do have experience, I consider it a very strong argument in his favor.)

Then there’s Carly Fiorina.  She  may be way back in the pack, but in my judgment she sure kicked ass in the “Not Ready for Prime Time” debate,  and if the Republicans would employ  a relegation system like that of European soccer, she has definitely earned the right to move up to the first division for the next Republican “debate.”

Now, as for who drops down…

*********** Take a quick peek at the Go Army Edge football app...


for more info -  http://www.goarmyedge.com

Please feel free to hit me with questions or comments.

*********** I spent the better part of last week in Mecca.  Football Mecca, that is.

I think I can make a strong case for Northeast Ohio as the Mecca of football.  One of a very few Meccas at the least. 

Let's see... Urban Meyer, the Stoops Brothers, Bo Schembechler.  For starters.

I was in Canton, Ohio for the launch of the GoArmyEdge app, the Army’s football application of the virtual reality expertise that it’s used in combat simulation software as well as its “America’s Army” game.  The launch was successful, and it was quite exciting to be in on the operation, watching professionals at work.
Canton is the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the major reason for its location there is that Canton is where, in 1920, a group of owners of “professional” football teams met in an automobile dealership to form what became today’s National Football League.

I was too busy all week to tour the Hall of Fame, but I did get a somewhat inside look at Football in the Heartland, and I came away impressed.

Canton also happens to have been the home of one of the very first professional football teams, the Canton Bulldogs, which in 1906 began a rivalry with the Tigers of nearby Massillon, a rivalry between the two towns which, after the  demise of both pro teams, has been taken by the two towns’ high schools.   Now, in one of America’s great rivalries, the Canton McKinley High Bulldogs and the Massillon Washington High Tigers face each other on the last Saturday of every regular season.

Canton McKinley

Canton McKinley, shown in the photo above, is one of America’s most storied football programs, ranking 8th in all-time victories among all US high schools.

McKinley has excellent facilities, including an auditorium that would serve most cities as a first-rate concert hall, and a 25,000-seat stadium that sits smack-dab between the school building and the nearby Pro Football Hall of Fame, and serves as the site every year of the Hall of Fame game.
McKinley’s most famous football alumnus is probably Marion Motley, great fullback and linebacker for the Cleveland Browns in the 1940s and 1950s.

Two of Canton McKinley’s former coaches went on to become well-known college coaches: Floyd “Ben” Schwartzwalder at Syracuse and Don Nehlen at West Virginia.

The McKinley Bulldogs have won 10 state titles and they’ve been state runners-up on three other occasions, and over the years they’ve won more games than all but one other school.  They’ve won more games overall than all but one other Ohio high school.

Anyplace else in the country, and they’d be legendary.

Ah, but just 20 minutes or so to the west is Massillon, home of the Tigers, and a legitimate claimant to the name “Titletown.”

Massillon Tiger Stadium

Massillon has won 24 state titles and nine (mythical) national championships, and ranks number one among all Ohio high schools in all-time wins.   Only two other high school programs in the country have more wins than Massillon.   (Number one is Valdosta, Georgia.  Number two is Fort Thomas, Kentucky, Highlands.)

Massillon leads Canton McKinley in their all-time series, 68-52.  Just five games have ended in ties.

I first heard of Massillon when I was in high school, and it’s always been an almost mystical place to me.  I’ve long known,  for example, that every baby boy born in Massillon is given a football by the booster club.

Well-known former Tigers include legendary coach Paul Brown; Harry Stuhldreher (on of the famed Four Horsemen); Horace Gillom (Cleveland Browns punter who revolutionized the kicking game by punting from 13 yards depth); Browns’ great Tommy James (who besides being a great defensive back held for the great Lou “The Toe” Groza) and his younger brother, Don, who quarterbacked two state championship teams and went on to coaching fame at Washington; and more recently, all-pro linebacker Chris Spielman.

For sure, if your aim was to coach at the college level, you couldn’t have picked a better place than Massillon. At least nine former Massillon head coaches have gone on to become college head coaches.

Everyone should know of the great Paul Brown, who went directly from Massillon to  Ohio State where he won a national title, then built a wartime power at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, then built the Cleveland Browns (named for him, if you didn’t know) from scratch into a powerhouse, then did the exact same thing with the Cincinnati Bengals. His record at Massillon was 80-8-2.

But there was also Earl Bruce.  He was 20-0 at Massillon, and went on to coach at Tampa, Iowa State, Ohio State, Northern Iowa and Colorado state.

Chuck Mather was 57-3 and went on to Kansas, and Bob Commings, who was 43-6-2 at Massillon, moved up to Iowa.

Tom Harp went 17-2-1, and moved on to head coaching jobs at Cornell and then Duke.  Bob Seaman was 20-9-1 before going to Wichita State. Lee Owens was 35-15 and went on to be head coach at Akron, and Rick Shepas, who was 53-27 at Massillon, is now the head coach at Waynesburg College, in Pennsylvania.

Not to be overlooked is Lee Tressell, father of Jim, who went 16-3 at Massillon, then moved on to Baldwin-Wallace where he compiled a record of 155-52-6.  Who knows how many more he might have won if he hadn’t died in April of 1981, at the age of 56?  Just months earlier, his last Baldwin-Wallace team had gone 10-1. 

Did I say Canton McKinley had nice facilities?  Massillon has Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, which is said to seat 22,000, and tops most US high schools by having a magnificent indoor practice facility that most colleges would envy (the building with the large white roof in the photo).

Storefronts all over town proclaim their loyalty to the Tigers and their new coach (“WELCOME COACH MOORE AND FAMILY”), and an entire store in downtown Massillon is devoted to Massillon Tigers souvenirs and attire.

Massillon the town is rather nice.  Having lost most of its largest employers, it’s no longer the prosperous heartland city it once was, but you can still sense the pride in its people. There’s none of the down-on-its-luck, poor-me attitude that you might expect to find, and instead of Rust-Belt decay, the downtown sports a number of rather nice places to eat and drink.

(We “had” to stay in Massillon because it was Hall of Fame week, and rooms all over the area were scarce.  It was the best thing that could have happened for me.)

*********** The top 50 winningest high school programs, through 2013

*********** If Michigan had only left things alone, they could sell Tom Harmon’s Number 98. Or Al Wistert’s Number 11.
But no.  They had to pull some “heritage” stunt and let modern-day players wear those hallowed numbers, as part of their “Legends” campaign - and now they can’t sell Tom Harmon’s number for fear of being sued by… Devin Gardner (?)

***********Doggone that Aldon Smith!  Here we thought he’d turned his life around.

A 49ers team source told ESPN's Josina Anderson: "He [Smith] was on a track and he was making good decisions. But I'll say one thing, there shouldn't be a rush to judgment. We need to figure out what happened and not go into a instant panic. There is usually much more to a story. Let's not overreact and say his career with the 49ers is over just yet.”

But wait - here’s the GM himself.

"Aldon's like any young player," Baalke said. "He's growing up, he's maturing. You see that with a lot of these guys. Some of them get themselves in a few more situations that you wish they didn't ... [but I'm] really pleased with the way he's handled things, the way he's working both personally and professionally. I think he's doing an outstanding job. He's always been a great teammate. He's always had an excellent work ethic. Those are things he's even stepped up.

Yeah.   And a day later he stepped out.

Coming soon, to an NFL team near you…


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

There were a couple things from your news that drew my attention and since I had a question for you I figured I would send some comments.

You mentioned the newspaper wanting you to list your 3 best players.  We have a media day here where we are to take 2 players.  I am sure that the media wanted me to bring my 6’3” 255b junior lineman, he is on the list of about 15 "players to watch" in the league.  I took 2 seniors, ---- and ----, you probably remember them.  They are both great leaders.

I read your reply to the coach asking you how to call plays and saw your wrist coach.  I have yet to call a play using the column colors and was thinking of getting rid of those.  Instead, I was going to print the plays on different colored paper.  For instance all my OPEN plays would be on blue paper (Blue 21 would be West 6C…), my tight plays would be on a different color so when I call for Yellow it is a play from the tight wrist coach…a third wrist coach if needed would be a different color.  Does that make sense?

The main thing I was wondering about is if you were ever in a situation like I am.(I am guessing that you have been)  I have 33 kids signed up but 6 of them didn’t play for me or quit last year during 2 days, so I basically have 27 kids.  The 9th grade class is a very good one, I can easily bring up 6-8 of them and they would get playing time.  I am considering bringing up all the 9th graders.  Most of them would only get into the JV games, but with low numbers I need the depth.  The AD mentioned leaving the 9th graders down and canceling the JV schedule.  I realize you don’t have all the info but interested in your opinion.



In my mind, putting the good of the team foremost, you did the right thing.  I’d have done the same. Last year, our kids had two cards: a white one, with the Open Wing plays on it, and a Gold one, with the Double Wing plays on it.  Most wrist coaches have enough windows for two or three cards. Just off the top… My thinking would be to keep those freshmen together and bite the bullet and cancel the JV schedule.  One drawback to binging up freshman is that their classmates lose the kids who would otherwise be their leaders.  I don’t think I would take their best kids from them just to flesh out a JV team. I don’t think that any kids will decide not to play because you don’t have a JV team, but I’ll bet you’ll have some 9th graders who won’t turn out if you cancel the freshman schedule. But as you pointed out, I don’t know all the facts…
*********** Doc Hinger and I were talking about Saturday night’s CFL game between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Michael Sam - er, Montreal - Alouettes.

With all the hoopla last year about Michael Sam, who turned his coming out  into a media circus, Doc asked a question that I hadn’t heard before: “Who do you suppose his roommate is?”

Think about that a minute.  CFL teams don’t operate on lavish budgets, which means that on road trips,   they almost certainly assign two guys to a room.

Do they just arbitrarily assign someone to room with the openly-gay Sam?  Hmmm. How do YOU think even the most tolerant of players would react to the idea of coming back to the room and finding their roommate “entertaining” another guy?

Or do they ask for volunteers?   Apart from the potential awkwardness of rooming with a male who might conceivably find you attractive,  how much of a concern might it be that you yourself could become the object of whispers?  (Suppose Michael Sam and his roommate were simply to oversleep, and then walk in late to a team meeting.)

Or do they assign him to a room all his own, and run the risk of some “LGBT Rights” organization accusing them of discrimination?

Good luck, Alouettes. (Anybody remember the way Tony Dungy was pilloried for predicting that having Michael Sam on your team would cause a distraction?)

*********** Back when I was in grade school, they taught us to respect railroad crossings.  Stop, look and listen.

Also, not to cross in the middle of the block.  And to look both ways before crossing. 

And not to chase a ball that goes into the street.


Well, for our own good.  So we wouldn’t get hurt.

Most of us heard most of what we were told, pretty much obeyed (except when it was a new ball), and - what do you know? - we’re still alive.

So with that lesson in mind,  why aren’t we requiring every school in America to teach our kids - males, at least - to do as police officers say?  Not to run, not to resist, not to make any false moves, not to pitch them any sh—?

Instead, all ass-backwards, we put it on the cops, is if they should respond to resisters  with love and kisses. 

And  as we keep searching for new, more advanced beanbag rounds  to try to deal with the growing numbers of defiant  a&&holes who refuse to follow a simple command, we get closer and closer to the realization that nothing yet invented has replaced the old-fashioned night stick. (The "wooden shampoo," in police jargon.)
*********** Hi Coach Wyatt,

I hope you and Connie are doing well in the COOL Pacific Northwest. The heat and humidity have been rough here in the Carolinas this summer so I am jealous. I've been playing with the GoArmyEdge app that you recommended and i'm impressed. I wish I'd had this thing in June so I would have more time to get a playbook together.

It looks like we may be short a coach this year so I need some advice on coaching/practicing with only one offensive coach. I seem to remember that you were in a similar situation at some point in your career. Can it be done, and if so, what is the best way to organize and run practice? We do have a base offense in from summer workouts.

I took Sarah to the Carolina Panthers training camp on Monday. That was an eye opening experience. I have never been that close to a pro team before and the size, speed, and athleticism was just mind blowing. I'm used to smaller, slower people in football uniforms. Sarah got to meet Luke Kuechly at the fence before practice and he signed her #59 jersey. She was so nervous she could hardly speak! Hilarious! Heck of a nice guy; I'm a fan.

Enjoy your time off. Teams around here have already cranked it up with scrimmages starting next Wednesday.

Take care!
Jim Crawley
China Grove, North Carolina

Hi Coach-

First of all, great story about Sarah.  I am impressed by what I’ve read about Luke Keuchle, and I’m definitely impressed by him as a player!

Glad you’ve had the gumption to take a look at the GoArmyEdge app.  I wish I could have let you in on it back in June, but it wasn’t ready for release then.  The strides that the developers have made just since then are really impressive.

I think that this season with the app is going to be pretty much a feeling-out process for most coaches, but the more experienced you have with it the more proficient you're going to be in the off-season.  You may yet find uses for it this year. Right now, for example,  I’m busy loading last year’s opponents’ plays into our defensive playbook.

I have coached the Double Wing with NO assistants - ZERO - on offense or defense.

In that case, during offensive session I coach the entire offense the entire time and assign the scout defense to the defensive leaders.

If you mean you have one offensive assistant in addition to you, that’s what we’ve got now at North Beach.  I coach the backs and ends and run the entire offense; the head coach coaches the line.  A third assistant helps with the O-line and handles our scout team defense.

Fortunately, it's not a complicated offense.  If we had five or six offensive coaches I wouldn’t know what to do with them.

Good luck this season.  Let me know if you have any questions or observations about the GoArmyEdge app that can help us make it better!

********** Jason Gay, of the Wall Street Journal, is a great one with a phrase.  Here he is on  Rhonda Rousey, pre-fight...

"Rousey burrows her eyebrows and maintains a fixed, menacing glare. She does not look like someone who is nervous. She looks like she has just found the person who stole her dog."
*********** I was an Eagles’ fan almost from birth, but at the time I went away to college, it wasn’t easy to follow your team if you lived in another city.  I went to college in Connecticut, and found myself in Giants’ country.

Back then, in the late 50s, the only NFL games you ever saw on TV were your hometown team’s away games -  by NFL rule all home games were blacked out - so your choice was either to follow the team in your adopted area or not follow pro football at all.

Although they were archrivals of the Eagles (there were no Jets yet), I found myself growing to like those Giants.  First of all, all the locals I knew were Giants’ fans, and knowledgable ones at that, so if you wanted to talk NFL football, you had to learn their language.

To this day, I can tell you more about those Giants than I could about any of today’s NFL teams.  I can still name the starting offensive and defensive lineups.

New York was then the center of all entertainment and media, and to be a New York Giant meant being in the national spotlight.

And as television was assuming a greater role in sports, the Giants were the right team at the right time.

First of all, they were good.  In retrospect, based on the future Hall-of-Famers on their roster, they were really good.  Roosevelt Brown, Frank Gifford, Sam Huff and Andy Robustelli are in the Hall.  Such standouts as Kyle Rote, Roosevelt Grier, Jim Katkavage and Charlie Conerly should be. Longtime Giants owner Wellington Mara once called Conerly, the quarterback, “the best player who’s not in the Hall of Fame.”  Their offensive and defensive coaches (the term “coordinator” hadn’t yet been invented, and besides, they didn’t have many other assistants to coordinate) were guys named Lombardi and Landry, respectively.

But most important of all, they were good guys. Sponsors could trust them not to embarrass them or their products. They were a close-knit group, most of them out-of-owners who lived in the same apartment building during the season.  Their wives and families grew close.  In those days  before free agency,  rosters didn't change much from year to year, and  players and their families formed deep, lifelong friendships.

The Maras, by all accounts were good owners.  To this day, they do more than pay lip service to their motto, “Once a Giant, Always a Giant.” 

What I’m leading up is saying that  Frank Gifford’s passing has hit me hard.

Yes, I know - he had a good life, and he was well up there in years, and sooner or later we’re all going to go anyhow.  But there’s a certain comfort in knowing that people you remember fondly from the past are still around, and when you lose one it’s like coming to the end of a good book.

In fact, Gifford’s death sent me back to his book, “The Whole Ten Yards,” in which he dispelled any idea that he was a stereotypical  California surfer boy.  Oh, no.  He was a Bakersfield Driller. His father was an oil field worker who traveled to wherever the work was. Before he even started high school, Frank had lived in 47 different towns.  He played his high school ball in Bakersfield, an oil field town at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley.  In Gifford’s words, “My high school in Bakersfield had more than five thousand kids, definitely the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.  Many of them were the children of farmers and oil workers.  They were tough kids - black, Spanish, poor whites, kids like me.  Consequently, the school enjoyed a great football tradition.” 

The first person I thought to call  when I heard the sad news of Frank Gifford’s death was Mrs. Perian Conerly, Charlie’s widow.  Mrs. Conerly still lives in their hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi.Through the years, largely because of a few things I’d written about her husband, I’ve come to know Mrs. Conerly, an absolutely wonderful lady just brimming with stories of the old Giants, and capable  of telling them with a southerner’s turn of phrase  in the most beautiful Mississippi accent you could ever imagine.

She tells of the days of moving into the apartment building as soon as the Yankees moved out.  She tells of the nights on the town after big Giants’ wins. And she tells of the players, the good ones and the occasional bad ones.  Frank Gifford was her husband Charlie’s roommate on the road, and they were best friends.  One whose name I won’t mention was, in the eyes of his teammates, a rare “bad one.”  After the Giants’ 1956 NFL championship win, he voted against giving a share of the winner’s money to the equipment manager. (For the record, it was $3,779.19)

We talked about two fairly recent deaths that touched her -  Pat Summerall and now Frank Gifford, two old Giants who stayed in constant touch with her over the years.  Now, she said, she hears occasionally from Rosie Grier, and that’s about it. The old Giants are just about gone.

Mrs. Conerly and I laughed as she recalled Frank and her Charlie welcoming Vince Lombardi, who’d just left Colonel Blaik’s staff at West Point, to the world of coaching pro football players.

Early in his first Giants’ training camp, Lombardi’s efforts to introduce a college-style option play were meeting with resistance from his quarterback, Charlie Conerly. Every time Lombardi would send in an option play, Conerly would run something else. 

Conerly was then in his 30s, a Marine veteran who’d seen combat in the South Pacific in World War II, and an NFL veteran who had been sacked so many times early in his career that the Giants’ head coach  had to travel to MIssissippi to talk him out of retirement;  he had no interest in being smacked by opposing defensive ends.    

Possibly reluctant to confront Conerly, a man of few words but a highly-respected team leader nonetheless, Lombardi went instead to Conerly’s friend, Gifford.

“Why doesn’t Charlie run that play?” he asked Gifford.

“Because,” said Gifford, “Charlie doesn’t want to run that play.”

Thus began Vince Lombardi’s conversion from coaching West Point cadets to coaching grown men.

In Lombardi’s behalf, Mrs. Conerly said, “He realized he didn’t know everything.  And he wanted to know everything.”

Following his football career, Frank Gifford became one of the greats of sports broadcasting, one who saw his role as  enabling the viewer of a game to get maximum enjoyment from the experience.

During his long run on Monday Night Football, he did a masterful job of keeping the game itself in focus while playing interlocutor between two guys who didn’t always  conceal their dislike for each other - Don Meredith, the wise-ass country boy,  and Howard Cosell, the insufferable, ever-pontificating  know-it-all.  

Way back in 1993 Gifford wrote, “I look at sports as entertainment first and the cutting edge of change second."

Unfortunately, he added, ”a few of my ego-driven colleagues have gotten fun and games confused with their personal mission to right the wrongs of the world.”